Two “prosperity gospel” megachurch leaders with a reach far beyond church walls are keynote speakers in Columbus next week for the “I Believe!” Faith Conference. The Revs. Frederick K.C. Price and Bill Winston will co-lead the two-day seminar sponsored by The Bridge Church on Second Avenue.
“These two gentlemen teach principles of faith. They are very principled in their teachings -- how believers should conduct their lives,” said the Rev. Vince Allen, pastor of The Bridge. “The manifestation of the work they’ve done is extensive.”
Price is founder and pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center in California, and host of “Ever-Increasing Faith Ministries.” In 1973, he and 300 parishioners moved from West Washington, Calif., to start the ministry in Ingelwood. In 1984, CCC outgrew its Inglewood facility and purchased the former Pepperdine University Los Angeles campus. CCC is now the home of the FaithDome and, with more than 10,000 seats, it’s one of the largest sanctuaries in the country.
In 1990, Price founded the Fellowship of Inner City Word of Faith Ministries, which includes churches in the U.S. and abroad. In 2001, he established an East Coast branch in Manhattan. Since 1976, he’s sold more than 2.1 million books and is the author of some 50 books on faith, healing, prosperity and the Holy Spirit.
The Ever-Increasing Faith Ministries program reaches more than 15 million households each week and airs in 15 of the 20 largest markets throughout the country.
Price was born Jan. 3, 1932, in Santa Monica, Calif., the older of two sons of Winifred and Fred Price. He has one sister, Delores W. Jones. Price received an honorary diploma from the Rhema Bible Training Center in 1976 and an honorary doctorate of divinity from Oral Roberts University in 1982; both schools are in Tulsa.
In 1998, he received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, presented by a Virginia-based association honoring those who exemplify inspirational success.
Price met the former Betty Ruth Scott in high school. They married in March 1953 and have four children: Angela Marie Evans, Cheryl Ann Price, Stephanie Pauline Buchanan and Pastor Frederick Kenneth Price.
The elder Price’s parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses. His future wife was Baptist. In the first 17 years of his marriage, he led churches in the AME Church, as well as Baptist, Presbyterian and Christian and Missionary Alliance.
According to his bio, Price says he “discovered that the power of the Holy Spirit was missing from his life.”
In his book, “The Holy Spirit -- The Missing Ingredient,” Price writes of this time. He says: “Every time I read the words of Jesus in John 14:12, ‘The works that I do will he do also; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to My Father,’ it left me longing to experience these works. I was not witnessing these ‘greater works’ in my own ministry, nor in the ministry of others that I knew, with two exceptions: Kathryn Kuhlman and Oral Roberts.”
To add to his frustration, in 1962, Price’s 8-year-old son, Frederick K. C. Price III, was struck and killed by a car while he was coming home from school. In her book, “Standing By God’s Man,” Betty Price writes: “Fred and I tried to console each other as best we could, and leaned a lot on one another during this time of hurt. My husband particularly found it hard to get over this tragedy, but he knew -- and continued to say -- that it was not God Who had taken our son from us. Looking back now, we can see how the devil was trying to destroy us as a family.”
While Price was pastoring in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, he read Kathryn Kuhlman’s book, “God Can Do It Again.”
“It stirred my soul,” he says. “This was the missing dimension -- the demonstration of the power of the Spirit of God,” or what the Bible terms “the gifts of the Spirit.”
On Feb. 28, 1970, he received the gift of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of “speaking with other tongues” -- also known as “glossolalia.” That is the event that Price considers the jumping-off point in his ministry.
Price is the author of some 50 books on faith, healing, prosperity and the Holy Spirit. “How Faith Works” is about the operation of faith and its principles. He has sold over 2.1 million books since 1976. His most recent book projects include “Prosperity: Good News for God’s People” and “Answered Prayer Guaranteed: The Power of Praying with Faith.”
Bill Winston leads Living Word Christian Center, with about 19,000 members, in the Chicago area. The church owns a 33-acre mall where services are held in a multimillion dollar worship center. Living Word has a broad range of business enterprises that include the Joseph Business School, Bible Training Center, School of Ministry, Royal Christian Bookstores, Living Word Christian Academy, Covenant Bank and others. Additionally, Winston hosts “Believer’s Walk of Faith,” an international radio and television program.
Winston received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Friends International Christian University, a distance-learning school with locations in California and Florida.
He also oversees Tuskegee Christian Center in Tuskegee, Ala. That campus includes the Joseph Business School, Living Word School of Ministry and Missions, the Forest Park Plaza, a 32-acre shopping mall; Washington Plaza, a shopping center in Tuskegee; and Living Word Christian Academy.
He directs an alliance of more than 350 churches and ministries in this country and abroad.
He is married to Veronica and is the father of three children: Melody, Nicole and David.
Word of Faith
Word of Faith -- also known as Word-Faith or simply Faith -- is a group of Christian churches as well as a label applied by some observers to a teaching movement kindred to many Pentecostal and charismatic churches and individuals worldwide, according to Rhema.org. Winston and Price are in this tradition.
Its objectives are:
Speaking, stating or confessing verses found in the Bible. If one believes the Word of God and confesses it, then the believer shall receive what he or she confesses.
One of the first proponents of Word of Faith was E. W. Kenyon. A New England Bible teacher, schoolmaster and writer, Kenyon wrote 18 books that are used today by many who call themselves Word of Faith. Word of Faith teaching emerged as a reaction to traditional Pentecostalism, which taught the idea of the power of God displayed in the present day by acts of healing and miracles. These spiritual manifestations were unpredictable. In contrast, Kenyon taught that supernatural acts could be guaranteed to happen based on a covenant between God and God’s people.
Later, Kenneth Hagin espoused the teaching. At the core: the concept of the Old and New Testaments as blood covenants -- a contract that binds two parties together as one “blood,” or family, and pledges them to the mutual interest and prosperity of one another.
The Word of Faith teaches that complete healing (of spirit, soul, and body) is included in Christ’s atonement and therefore is available here and now to all who believe.
Word of Faith teaching holds that God wants His people to be financially prosperous, as well as have good health, good marriages and relationships, and to live generally prosperous lives. Word of Faith teaches that God empowers His people, or blesses them, to achieve the promises that are contained in the Bible. Because of this, suffering does not come from God, but rather, from Satan.
A central element of receiving involves confession. This doctrine is often referred to as “positive confession” or “faith confession” by practitioners, and “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it” by detractors.
Likewise, “negative confession” can yield negative results, and hence believers should be conscious of their words.
Winston is a disciple of Price. Vince Allen first met Winston about 11 years ago through a church member who went to high school with Winston in Tuskegee. Since 1999, Winston has led annual church anniversary celebrations here for Allen. The Columbus pastor then met Price through Winston.
Allen said Christians as well as non-Christians could get something out of the three-day conference.
“It’s for everyone,” he said. “The entire community is welcome, whether the Bible scholar or the person who’s never picked up a Bible.”
Allison Kennedy, reporter, can be reached by phone at 706-576-6237