This book was given to me by a friend who wanted me to read it and give him my thoughts on it.My summary of my thoughts:
Capps is onto something when he writes on the power of speaking out loud.There is definitely something to this.I experienced this first-hand last Sunday.I was playing cello, and a particular song had an easy cello part.By the second verse, I was able to sing along while playing the cello part.While I was thinking of the words during the first verse, I immediately felt more emotionally engaged during the second verse when singing out loud.Ideas become more concrete; passions are ignited; we engage more of our senses in the message.Therefore, I firmly affirm the benefit of speaking the truth out loud, as there is an additional connection to the words when we speak them.
I also see how our words can affect the way we view things.It is for this reason, that my wife and I have agreed from the beginning of our marriage to never joke about divorce.When we speak such words, even in jest, it plants ideas that the enemy can use to tempt us.The spoken word is a powerful thing, as it reveals the heart and it has an emotional affect on those who hear.
That being said, I do not affirm these things because I believe there is inherent power in the spoken word.On the contrary, I see no evidence in the Bible or in the world around us that the spoken word has a power in itself.Some contrary examples may help: if there is power in the spoken word, then we don't need to truly evangelize, we only need people to repeat certain words and phrases in order for them to be saved.And if the power is in all languages, then we can save people in foreign lands by teaching them to say "Jesus is Lord" or something similar, even if they don't know what it is they are saying.We can teach them phonetically, and the words will do their work.This is ridiculous, but this is the result of this line of thinking.
Secondly, Capps indicates that God Himself taps into this power in speaking the world into existence.Two problems with this.First, The Bible clearly states that the power is in God Himself, not in words.Is there truly a power that is greater than God that He must tap into in order to act?Second, God doesn't have a mouth, lips or vocal cords.He is not physical, so when Genesis gives the account of God speaking the world into existence, it is a metaphor of God creating by a sheer act of will.With no physical universe to speak of (pun intended), there was no air through which sound waves could travel, therefore, God did not speak in a literal way.Yet, this is the way that Capps indicates is the source of God's power - a source that we can supposedly tap into.
Thirdly, there is the problem of the object of our speaking.Capps gives instructions to speak to the things around us - speak to your finances to improve, speak to your body to heal, speak to your debt to cease to exist, etc.The problem: these things aren't sentient beings who can respond to verbal commands (some are even abstract objects - what are you speaking to when you speak to your finances?).For example, when you hold your paycheck in your hand and say (as Capps instructs) "I declare that this check is multiplied and increased.I'm now richly rewarded for my work, both creatively and financially," who are we actually commanding?The paycheck itself can't do anything.The only person that can actually give me the raise is my employer.God can work on the heart of my employer to give me the raise, of course, but the language that Capps uses doesn't seem to call upon God to act, but assumes that our words will themselves achieve the result.Do we really think we can command such things into existence?Again, only my employer can give me a raise.Do we really believe that my act of speaking words out loud (even with no one listening) can either change the heart of my employer to give me a raise?Do I really have the same power as God over the hearts of other people?This is a very scary proposition, bordering on blasphemy.
Capps gives instructions surrounding what we say.When we are speaking for a raise, we are to "act in faith by performing your job with the highest integrity and diligence...Tithe in faith in advance for your raise or promotion."When calling for healing of the body, he encourages people to continue using doctors and medicine to "help hold down the symptoms while you are applying God's principles."Capps is wise to instruct people to act appropriately and to trust in God while using the "power of the spoken word."However, this seems to me like the story of the Stone Soup.Visitors to a small village put a stone in water and begin to boil it, proclaiming the tastiness of "stone soup".Curious bystanders are persuaded to add vegetables, meat and seasonings to the soup to make it better.Soon, everyone is able to enjoy the "stone" soup.Of course the reality is that the stone did nothing except as a catalyst to getting things going; the additional ingredients are what really made the soup.Similarly, Capps' instructions surrounding the use of this power (trust God, act in integrity, following your doctor's advice, etc.) are where the real power is, not in speaking.The soup was not any more nutritious or tasty because of the addition of the stone, but it could have broken the tooth of the one person who got the stone in his bowl.Trusting in God and living righteously, wisely and prudently are the things that improve our lives and our outlook on life, but woe to the one who truly believes that he has the power to change reality by simply speaking.
Only God has the power to change reality by the sheer force of will.In the Bible, He shows this power by speaking, not because He had to speak, but so that we would know what He is doing.Changing reality this way is not for us mortals, but for God alone.It was a testimony to the divinity of Jesus that he could command the winds and waves and they obeyed.Contrary to Capps' application of the verse to imitate Christ, we are not to imitate Him in this way.He is uncreated creator and we are not.To Him be all glory and honor and praise.