Home > False Doctrine > Calling things that aren’t as though they were (1)

Calling things that aren’t as though they were (1)

In Charismatic circles today one hears much about being able to speak things into existence. Charismatics quote from Proverbs, probably more than any other single book. Yet they do not take what they quote and interpret it in context. One of their favorite verses from this book is Proverbs 18:21, which says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (2)

Charismatics believe that one can speak life or death with the tongue. In other words whatever you say will come to pass. I was once rebuked by a Charismatic Pastor for saying that a certain person was not saved. This Pastor told me that I am never to say that a person is not saved, or say that someone is sick, or say that I am in debt. The reason this Pastor gave for not saying these things is that if we make statements such as these, then these circumstances will not change. We are to always speak the opposite about everything we talk about. Yet this is nonsense. If I say that someone is well and they are really sick, then who will pray for them? Or If I say that someone is saved and they are really lost, then who will pray for them? I can confess all I want to that my car is red, but every time I walk outside and look at it, that car will still be black.

The idea behind these Charismatic statements is called the power of positive thinking. This is a philosophy that has been forced into Christianity and has nothing to do with faith. Faith and the power of positive thinking are just as opposite to one another as oil is to water. They do not mix. God has always called on us to place our faith in him; no matter how discouraging the circumstances appear to be. We are not to confess the opposite, in order to change the circumstances, but are to pray that God’s will be done in the midst of them. The circumstances may be there in order to change us.

This much said, I will go to my main scripture that Charismatics rip from context. When Charismatics pray, preach or speak about changing the circumstances around them, they always use these words, “We are to call things that aren’t as though they were.” They speak as if they are God and have the power to create. (3)   But the only place in scripture that even contains such words is in Romans 4:17. In this chapter, however, Paul is not claiming that we are able to call things into existence. Yet Charismatics never interpret this in light of the context of scripture. They are to busy ripping scripture from the context and making it say what they want it to.

Let’s examine this scripture and see what it is saying:

Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

In this scripture we see that it is God who is able to call things which be not as though they were. God can call Abraham the father of many nations before he ever is the father of many nations. God can call people his people before they are ever his people and only God can call something out of nothing.

So we see that the Charismatic belief that you can name it and claim it or speak positive confessions is a man made philosophy that has nothing to do with Christianity. God has called us to believe in him, to trust in him, to put all our confidence in the one who can call things which be not as though they were.

Written by Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

(1) This article is my weekly article entitled “Today’s Pentecostal-Charismatic-False-Heretical Teachings”, but I am going to start naming them by the topic being discussed for that day; in order that they will not all be entitled the same thing. This will allow one to easily search out a topic.

(2) Most interpret Proverbs as being absolute principles or principles, if followed, will always produce the result of the Proverb. Yet Proverbs are not to be interpreted as absolutes. Proverbs are wise sayings and should be followed, but nevertheless God is still sovereign and can do as he pleases. For instance, I can train up my children in the way they should go and when they get old they can still depart from it, even though the scripture states that “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The reason he can depart from it is because God may not have chosen him to salvation, just as he did not choose Esau. So Proverbs are good principles that are to be followed, but nevertheless, they may not always produce the result of the Proverb.

(3) Some Charismatics are claiming to be little gods. We will address this in a later post.


  1. Wendy Crosato
    April 12, 2014 at 10:43 am

    God has called us to be like Him, just as He has made us in His image. We are to be imitators of Him, just as children imitate their parents. In denying what He has called us to be like, is just religion and giving yourself a license to be lazy.

    The Word of God is a mirror for you to look and see, what you already have. Say…”I got it!, I already have everything I need.” Don’t go to God using your faith, to try to get God to do something for you, begging and pleading. Release what God has already given you. Say… “thank you God, you already gave it to me. I read it in your word and therefore I know I have it.” Your Word say to “speak those things [ that I desire] that be not, as though they are [already mine] and it shall be [mine].

    “Even…God…Calleth Those Things Which
    Be Not As Though They Were…” (Romans 4:17)

    The Apostle Paul gives us another key to Bible interpretation (Rom. 4:17), “As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, before Him Whom he believed, even God, Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

    God, who knows the end from the beginning, can speak of things that have not yet happened in either the present or past tense. The verse quoted above is a prime example. Paul is referring to (Gen.17:5) where God says to Abraham “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” At this point Abraham had no child by his wife Sarah, so his national paternalship was in the future. Yet God spoke of it in past tense.

    In the 53rd chapter of Isaiah we find the prophecy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This was written over 600 years before the birth of Jesus. Yet out of twelve verses ten are in the present or past tense. We find phrases such as: he hath no form nor comeliness… he is despised and rejected of men.. surely he hath born our griefs… the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all . . . he was oppressed, and he was afflicted . . . he was cut off out of the land of the living… he made his grave with the wicked… he was numbered with the transgressors.

    At the birth of John the Baptist it is recorded, that his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people” (Luke 1:68). This was before the birth of Jesus and long before his ministry. The people of God (the Jews) had not been redeemed. (This is to take place in the future at the return of Christ). The fact that this is so sure to happen is why the words can be spoken in past tense.

    Another similar verse is (Heb. 2:8), “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things under him.” Although the first part of the verse is in past tense, the last sentence reveals that it has not happened. When the Messiah returns to this earth all things will then be subject unto him.

    It is good to be aware of this key to understanding the Scriptures to keep the Divine sequence correct.

    • April 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you for your comment ‘and’ for visiting my blog.

      I want you to pay attention to the conjunction ‘and’ in my first sentence above. I thanked you for commenting on my blog post ‘and’ for visiting this blog.

      So that was two things that you were capable of doing, so I combined them with the conjunction ‘and.’

      Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. The proper method of interpretation is to exegete the text. The word ‘exegesis’ means to draw out of the text what it is saying. A faulty way of interpreting scripture is called ‘eisegesis.’ ‘Eisegesis’ is reading into the scripture what is not found in the text. So let’s read Romans 4:17:

      Rom 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

      Notice the conjunction ‘and’ in this text. The conjunction ‘and’ continues describing what God can do. The text states that God can quicken the dead ‘and’ call things which be not as though they were. My question to you is if you can call things which be not as though they were, can you also quicken the dead?

      Though we are called to be the sons of God (this includes daughters of God), nevertheless we do not have the creating power of God. Only God can create. God called Abraham ‘the father of many nations,’ even though at the time he was not ‘the father of many nations.’ God can do this because it is God who will bring this to pass. You and I have no ability to bring anything to pass, therefore we cannot ‘call things that are not as though they were.’

      John Gill states concerning this text “calleth those things which be not, as though they were; so he called Abraham the father of many nations, when he was not in fact, as if he really was; and the Gentiles his seed and offspring, before they were; and when he comes effectually to call them by his grace, they are represented as “things which are not”, whom he called, “to bring to nought things that are”, 1Co_1:28; they were not his people, nor his children, and he called them so, and by his grace made them so, and made them appear to be so; for as in creation so in regeneration, God calls and brings that into being which before was not: and the phrase seems to be an allusion to the creation of all things out of nothing; and it is a Rabbinical one, for so the Jews speaking of the creation say (s).”

      Commentaries agreeing with what I have said are numerous. Gill, Calvin, Geneva Bible, Clarke, Barnes, etc, etc…. The burden of proof rests on you why all these commentators have stated something contrary to what you have said. In other words, when your understanding is not in agreement with the historical interpretation of this text, then there are three possibilities: 1) They can be wrong 2) you can be wrong 3) both you and them can be wrong…..but it is certain that you both can’t be right.

  2. May 21, 2014 at 10:17 am


    I read your post and what you wrote makes a lot of sense to me. I study the word to get a better understanding and make sure I’m not being taught misinterpretations from others. This morning in prayer I had the urge to really look into the “cliché phrase” some Christians like to use “Speak those things as though they were”. I wanted to read more about it and see if that’s really what God is saying. I do realize that at the end of the day, my understanding will come from God. But, it is interesting to see what other people have understood. I do have a question … If in fact I am understanding your view from what you stated below ….

    reformedontheweb: “My question to you is if you can call things which be not as though they were, can you also quicken the dead?”

    Me: And if the word “QUICKEN” means the following below ….


    QUICKEN, v.t. quik’n.

    1. Primarily, to make alive; to vivify; to revive or resuscitate, as from death or an inanimate state. Rom. 4.

    Me: Then doesn’t your question posed to another commentor contradict what Matthew says in chapter 10:8? Were we not told to “raise the dead?” The scripture is below.


    Matthew 10:8

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,[a] cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

    By no means am I trying to make arguments. I think just like all of us who are developing a relationship with God, are seeking a better understanding. I believe at the end of the day, God is the one who will answer. I just wanted to make sure I understood where you were coming from and what your insight about Matthew 10:8 was.


    • May 24, 2014 at 6:23 am

      Thank you for visiting my blog and reading the posts here. I also want to thank you for commenting and asking a question.

      To deal with your question, you asked: “If the word ‘quicken’ means what it does (in your link), then are we not told to raise the dead?”

      First let me say that word studies are useful to some degree. Nevertheless, we have to be careful not to commit the exegetical fallacy associated with word studies. In other words, a word may have meaning by itself, but it has a particular meaning within a phrase or sentence.

      Secondly, in Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul is not pointing to Abraham’s ability to raise the dead (though he would have none), but instead is pointing to God’s ability. The scripture states that Abraham believed in and trusted God who only has the ability to quicken the dead and to call things which be not as though they were. No human has the ability to resurrect a dead corpse, unless God gives that power or ability to an individual. Even if he does give the authority to an individual, to resurrect the dead, nevertheless it is still his power performing the resurrection and not the individual who is calling them to life.

      Third, we must always read scripture in the context in which it was written. When we rip scripture from context we distort it by placing our own preconceived interpretations into it. Notice how Matthew 10 starts out:

      Mat 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

      Jesus gave his twelve disciples the ability to heal the sick and raise the dead. This scripture does not apply to every single Christian that shall ever live. The apostles were given special gifts that were only fit for the office of an apostle. There are no more apostles.

      If we follow the miraculous signs throughout the scriptures we shall see a pattern develop. Moses began writing scripture and proclaiming the gospel. To verify that he was speaking and writing what God told him to, he was given miraculous gifts. Later God introduces into scripture the office of prophets who also wrote scripture. Their preaching and writing was confirmed by the miraculous gifts given to them. When we come to the New Testament we see that the apostles went on to write more scripture. Their preaching and writing was confirmed by miraculous gifts. The word of God confirms what I have told you.

      Heb 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
      Heb 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

      Once the canon of scripture was closed, there was no more need for the miraculous signs and wonders that we see throughout scripture.

      I hope I have answered your question to your satisfaction.

  3. September 22, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Just read this today and i must say i agree with your analysis of Romans 4:17. I was at a church where they would yell out to money and call it to come to them (calling the things that weren’t as if they were). I felt from the Lord that this was not correct. You have brought some clarity regarding those verses. Thank you. I do disagree with your first comment regarding Proverbs 18:21, which says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” “Death” and “Life” aren’t the main thought of the verse in my opinion, it’s “the tongue” and the choice of using it for positive (Speaking God’s promises) or negative (Speaking not God’s promises) on yourself (“eat the fruit thereof”). Confessing something that is not God’s word is not going to result in anything but frustrations “Blue car, black car”. Confessing that by the stripes of Jesus I am healed and that I am more of a conqueror in Christ is completely different. God himself is bound to His promises. An example could be in Judges 6:12. Here we see the Angel of the Lord calling Gideon a mighty man of Valor when he had failed not to change the circumstance but to remind Gideon of who he was in God’s eyes

    • September 26, 2015 at 4:07 am

      First I want to say, Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog. I appreciate you reading this short article and welcome to my blog.

      Secondly, I appreciate your kind words to what I have written. I was in charismatic churches for 16+ years and was a Pastor of the last one I was a member of.

      Thirdly, though you say you differ on my interpretation of Proverbs 18:21, I do believe that you have misunderstood my point. Proverbs are not absolute principles, but are good proverbs or bits of wisdom, that if followed, they will guide your life in a godly direction. As I explained in my footnote, someone can train up their child in the way it should go, but in the end, they may still depart from their upbringing. This is because God is sovereign. He controls the destinies of all men. There are Jacobs and Esaus in every family. I am not saying that all our kids are non-elect or that all of them are elect, but what I am saying is that God controls all things, including the salvation of men. My illustration of a car being blue or black was more of a ridicule of charismatics. I didn’t interpret the Proverb as meaning that one can change the color of objects, if they just speak it. This is the mindset of charismatics. They are the ones who believe that if you confess something enough and believe it, then it will happen. Hence, they believe that if you walk around some property 18 times, claiming that it is yours, then God will give it to you. So I never actually interpreted Proverbs 18:21, but was using sarcasm and ridicule towards the mindset of charismatics.

      Finally, you mention being healed by the stripes of Christ. If you mean physical healing, then this would be the charismatic interpretation of 1 Peter 2:24. This would be another one of the charismatic errors. We are not told anywhere in scripture that Christ suffered for our physical healing. Sickness is the result of the fall. Christ suffered on the cross for our sins. If you read 1 Peter 2:24 carefully, you will see that Peter is referring to our spiritual healing and not our physical healing. It is the stripes of Jesus that returned us to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Peter has Isaiah 53 in mind when he is writing his epistle. More especially these verses:

      Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
      Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

      Notice here and in 1 Peter, it is transgressions, iniquities, sin that the stripes of Christ healed. Also the word ‘Stripe’ in the Greek is in the singular in 1 Peter 2:24. It is the stripe or blow of the cross that brings spiritual healing to Christ’s people and returns them to the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls.

      No where in scripture do we find Christ dying for our physical healing, this side of glory. God has healed many throughout the history of this world, but without shedding of blood there has never been any remission of sins. Someone had to pay the sin debt we owed and fulfill the law in our place. This is known as the passive and active obedience of Christ.


  4. Deb Keaghey
    April 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Christ Jesus still heals today. After listening to all scriptures about healing many yrs. ago, faith took root in my spirit. Unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I saw a mole shrink before my eyes & later I believe I was healed of a stroke. The gifts are given to the body of Christ(not just the apostles) to empower ministry. Like Peter said “the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is given to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord shall call.”

    • April 7, 2017 at 5:30 am

      There is one thing that I have found in most debates and that is: those who think they are saying something against what I have written or said, very rarely deal with the article or the statement I have made. On top of this, they ignore the scripture I have given and make no effort to exegete it, nor do they provide any scripture themselves; in order to prove their point. So I will deal with the one paragraph assertion that is posted above:

      My opponent stated “Christ Jesus still heals”

      My response: The article is not about healing per se, but about God and God alone who is able to call things that aren’t as though they were. So this would also include healing. So we are in agreement. The first line of my opponents statement does not disprove anything I have written in this article, seeing that my opponent’s first sentence does not prove that men today have the gifts of healing. However, God does still heal, but not through men who have gifts of healing. We will deal with how God still heals, down below, when we discuss what James wrote.

      My opponent stated “After listening to all scriptures about healing many yrs. ago, faith took root in my spirit.”

      My response: As it should have if God quickened you as you listened to the scriptures. Scripture declares that faith “cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God Romans 10:17” Nevertheless, this sentence does not disprove anything I stated in my article, nor does it prove what my opponent is trying to assert and that is, the gifts of healing, tongues, and miracles were given to everyone.

      My opponent stated: “I saw a mole shrink before my eyes & later I believe I was healed of a stroke.”

      My response: My opponent stated that they saw a mole shrink before their eyes. I assume that they are saying that once they prayed, the mole shrank over a period of time. My opponent also stated that they were healed of a stroke. If they recovered, then certainly they were healed of a stroke. Most Charismatics want to appeal to major healings, such as: Limbs growing back, the blind seeing, people getting out of wheel chairs, and etc….. But I say, that even the common cold is something that can take you out if God does not heal you. So if you recover from a common cold, then God healed you and this statement of my opponent still does not prove that the gifts of healing were given to everyone. God heals today through faithful saints praying and through natural means.

      My opponent stated: “The gifts are given to the body of Christ(not just the apostles) to empower ministry.”

      My response: This is a broad statement that should have been backed up with scripture. If I can show at least one scripture that states that only the apostles had certain sign gifts, then this statement is disproved. Think about it, if God gave certain gifts to everyone, then why are the charismatics waiting on the faith healers to get to their churches in order for someone to get healed. Certainly someone in their own congregation ought to have the gift of healing. There is no reason to call the quack faith healers. If the gift of healing was given to everyone and you were sitting in a congregation of 100, wouldn’t some or half of those have the gift of healing? But scripture declares: Heb 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; Heb 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

      God bore witness to what the apostles were preaching by giving them certain sign gifts that only vindicated the office of an apostle. God was verifying that what the apostles were preaching and writing was in fact from him.

      In the Corinthian Church Paul dealt with much opposition from false apostles who came in every time he left. He boldly vindicated his authority as an apostle by stating: “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 2 Corinthians 12:12” In other words, Paul was saying that all those false apostles who have been coming into Corinth and deceiving you or anyone else who wants to challenge my authority, look at my sign gifts and you will see that I am a true apostle. Now if everyone had those gifts, then how would the Corinthians recognize an apostle or specifically recognize that Paul was an apostle?

      Certainly gifts are given to the body of Christ for ministry, but special sign gifts such as: tongues, miracles, gifts of healings, etc… were given too vindicate the scriptures that were being written during this time. God called out Moses and Moses began to write scripture and God backs up the scripture with miracles. God calls out writing prophets and they write scripture and therefore some of the Old Testament prophets were given miracles to back up their office as a writing prophet. The New Testament was also backed up with miracles, wonders, and signs. Take a pen and go through the book of Acts and one will see that only the apostles or they on whom the apostles laid their hands were the only ones operating with special sign gifts. If everyone has these gifts, then why did the people of Joppa have to call Peter down in order to raise Tabitha from the dead? Why didn’t some ordinary Christians just raise her? But, according to my opponent, everyone has these gifts.

      James tells us that if there are any sick among us, then they are to be brought before the elders of the Church and it is the prayer of faith that will save the sick, not someone with a gift of healing James 5:14. But we also see that James has Job on one side and Elijah on the other. God allowed Job to suffer, while Elijah worked miracles. So we see that God is sovereign and can do what he pleases with his creation. If God wants someone to be sick unto death, for his glory, then there isn’t anything we can do about that. Which leads us to another question: If Christians still have the gifts of healing, then why do Christians die? Why not just have someone with the gift of healing pray for them? The reason is is that it is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment Hebrews 9:27. Christians are not promised healing in this life.

      My opponent stated: “Like Peter said “the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is given to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord shall call.”

      My response: That is a fact. “Except a man is born again, then he can’t enter the kingdom of God John 3:3.” “1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

      I have used the hermeneutical principle known as the “analogy of Scripture” or scripture interprets scripture and have disproved the statement above.

  5. sheila sweeney nikolov
    June 24, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    You don’t know what you are talking about. I am a witness to events in my life you deny. Don’t be a fool! Jump on the bandwagon because Jesus is the Only Way and if you deny these new teachings, you are actually missing out. I had someone tell me “If he got up he wasn’t dead in the first place.” We are in the endtimes and things are being revealed which folks years ago knew nothing about. It’s real. I experience Victory in Jesus everyday because I turn things around by calling things that are not as though they were Romans 4:17. Stop wasting your time putting things down which you know nothing about and try it so you can realize victory in every situation in your life. Stop minimizing God! He is our source, not man, not our job, not loved ones. Man will let you down; God never will. With God you just have to have faith, patience and trust for Him to bring it to pass in His own time. That’s how He operates and we can do nothing about it! Check out awmi.net, kcm.org, creflo dollar, richard roberts, mike murdock, john hagee, charles stanley, bill winston, leroy thompson, joyce meyer, kenneth hagin, sarah and jeremy pearsons, etc.

    • July 2, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you for stopping by this blog. However, here is a classical example of someone who lives by the emotions and who’s view of scripture is very low. You did not provide not one single scripture to back up anything you said. You accused me of not knowing about what you are speaking of, even though I was in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement for 16 plus years. Not only was I in the movement, but I pastored a Church in this heretical movement. You then point me to every wolf on TV to learn your so-called right doctrines. Everything these wolves promote on TV is not Biblical. What they say and do cannot be found in scripture. If I had time, I would critique your whole comment and show you with scripture that you do err. However, I have written many times against this movement and what I have written isn’t hard to find. Our faith is objective, not subjective. It is based on Christ Alone and not in how we feel.

  1. December 29, 2014 at 4:46 am

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