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Todd Bentley Occult Revivals In Florida Gaining National Mainstream Media Attention

Posted by Job on May 29, 2008

fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/05/29/1075189.aspx

“Holy Spirit fall! God is here! We want more! More, more, more!” That’s what Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley yells out nearly every evening to the thousands who gather to hear him preach. (Reminds me of how during the Azusa Street revivals, people used to yell and scream at and demand God to give them the baptism of the Holy Spirit so that they could speak in tongues. Pardon me, but the Bible says that God is our sovereign Lord and as such we are supposed to approach the Lord with fear and trembling and make requests of Him, not demands.)

Not everyone is comfortable with this expression of Christianity, including some Protestant theologians. R. Douglas Geivett, a professor at the CONSERVATIVE, evangelical Talbot School of Theology, is deeply skeptical of the “Florida outpouring” and does not believe Bentley’s claims of supernatural healing are consistent with Christian doctrine. “I don’t think it fits neatly into any branch of Christianity,” said Geivett. “Mr. Bentley’s worldview appears to be a mixture of New Age notions, an obsession with the paranormal, and an untutored grasp of Christian theology.” (What has the world come to that not wanting your Christianity mixed with New Age and paranormal mysticism makes you CONSERVATIVE? The spirit of anti – Christ is very much on the march, people!)

Still, what seems to be drawing all these people of varying ages, ethnicities, and classes is a clear hunger for what Bentley’s meetings are offering: the hope of healing and some sort of touch from God. (And not the message of Jesus Christ crucified, or of being a servant. It is all about what God can do for you. Remember when Jesus Christ got angry at the people when they kept demanding that He perform signs and miracles on demand? “Just work one more sign and wonder, Jesus of Nazareth, and THEN we will believe that you are the Messiah. Forget about all of the other miracles that you have been doing for all of these months, things that if they were written down there would not be enough books in the world to contain them. Why? Because you did those miracles according to your own desire and initiative. We only want a Messiah that will obey US and do what WE want Him to do!” People, this is why Corinthians says that sign gifts are for the unbelieving and not for the believers. Believers are fully confident that God exists, they know that God regularly and continuously makes Himself known to all people through creation and general revelation, and that they can encounter God – they touch God and God touches them – through regular reading of the Bible, and in praise, worship, devotion, and service to God. Faith is the substance of things not seen, because if you could plainly see – or feel! – it, then you wouldn’t need faith. And if you had true faith, such mighty impressive things would be of no consequence, because you would reason with the mind that God gave you that if God sent His own Son to save the elect, then healing someone or causing someone to speak in unknown tongues is actually a small work that pales by comparison. These folks want to see – and feel – things that impress their flesh because they doubt the true nature of the miracle of the Incarnation – the God that exists outside of creation that heavens cannot contain existing in a specific place and time as a man – and since they doubt it they cannot fathom it. This is not to speak against miracles – for I have certainly experienced more than a few in my short life! – but for people who have actual faith, A. they do not have a “car accident rubbernecking” fascination with or desire to chase after miracles and B. the focus of their faith is not miracles, dreams, visions, etc. but Jesus Christ as revealed through the Bible. For the faithful, miracles STRENGTHEN their conviction to follow Biblical Christianity. For the FAITHLESS, however, they will abandon Biblical Christianity in a heartbeat to follow anyone who works a miracle.)

In many instances, Bentley places his hands on someone’s head or area of infirmity and cries out for the power of God to descend. In response, some people may stand and physically tremble, while others may literally fall down to the ground in what they call “falling under the power” of the Holy Spirit. (And cries out for the power of God to descend? Is this supposed to be analogous to Elijah praying to God to send down fire in 1 Kings 18:1-46? Jesus Christ would heal people simply by spoken command, and His disciples and apostles did so also with the spoken command in the Name of Jesus Christ. Scripture does not record anyone that Jesus Christ or His servants healing then falling down under the power of the Holy Spirit. If that would have happened to anyone, it would have been the very frail woman who touched the hem of Christ’s garment. Of course, had she done so, Jesus Christ would not have had to ask “who touched me”, for it would have been obvious … the woman “slain in the spirit”, prostrated on the floor rolling like a log while laughing and barking like a dog! And as for the power of God to descend … under the new covenant we have the power of God within us … the indwelling Holy Spirit which empowers us to work miracles such as healing, prophesying and interpretation, tongues, etc. For Christians, the power of God comes not down from above at special occasions – i.e. at our command – but resides within us continually. The old covenant was a forerunner of things to come, the new covenant replaced the old and is a superior one based on better promises.)

Bentley’s associates say that this is not a painful experience, but rather one of being physically overcome by the loving presence of God. Anticipating these sorts of responses, one of Bentley’s staff members stands behind each individual to serve as a “catcher” to gently guide the person down to the floor. Skeptics claim this “falling” can be the result of being overcome with emotion or a learned behavior. (Or other skeptics, like me, have legitimate questions as to whether this enterprise is demonic, and I base this on how this does not conform to how Christians are depicted in the Bible, nor does it conform to my own personal experience of healing and spiritual deliverance.)

Erik Thoennes, also a professor from the Talbot School of Theology, offers a more accepting, though still cautious stance, than his colleague Geivett. Thoennes believes many Christians today are open to the idea that God might move in miraculous ways, even if they don’t embrace movements like Bentley’s. (This is the anti – Christ media attempting to pit Thoennes against Geivett. Geivett never spoke against healings, HE ONLY SPOKE AGAINST a mixture of New Age notions, an obsession with the paranormal, and an untutored grasp of Christian theology. In other words, Geivett did not say that God does not heal people, he only spoke against BENTLEY. Thoennes and Geivett actually have basically the same position, and it is one that I share. And I am not even an “evangelical” like them. Geivett, Thoennes, and myself have no problem with signs and wonders happening by people whose practice, doctrines, and actions conform to scripture. It is people like us that the charismania advocates accuse of “putting God in a box” and “trying to limit God.” It is not God that we are trying to limit, but rather it is false doctrines and practices that we are opposing.)

It is curious that MSNBC is being much more tolerant of this healing revival than it is of people who state unequivocally that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and that the Bible is infallible and the final authority in all matters. Claims to be able to heal people – a claim that is present in many religions by the way … in addition to the various Hindu, animist, spiritist, witch doctor, etc. healers see this “John of God” fellow who claims to be possessed by King Solomon, and yes he had a healing revival in America recently – truthfully offends no one. But proclaiming the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the sovereignty of God gets one called a dangerous fanatic with extremist divisive beliefs. (And that, mind you, is what many professed Christians will call you!)

6 Responses to “Todd Bentley Occult Revivals In Florida Gaining National Mainstream Media Attention”

  1. charles hayes said

    TO FEEL THE FRESH FIRE OF GOD YOU MUST GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CLOUDS. TAKE TIME TO LOOK WITH AN OPEN MIND AND HEART–GO DOWN AND CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF AND FEEL THE REAL JESUS IS ALIVE AND DID SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT TO FILL ALL WHO SEEK AFTER HIM. WHAT IS HAPPENING IS REAL AND WILL GO AROUND THE WORLD IN BOTH SIGNS AND WONDERS. I WOULD TELL YOU WRITERS JUST DISCOVER AND TEST IF IT IS REAL!!!!!!!

    JESUS LOVES YOU!!

  2. Faceless said

    Charles Hayes:
    Your advice for us to observe things with an open mind and heart is flawed, as we are instructed from the BIBLE to righteously judge things. Hence, we need to carefully subject whatever we encounter under God’s Holy Word. I would advice you to carefully compare all that is going on in Bentley’s ‘ministry’ with Scripture.

  3. Andrew said

    I agree with Hayes. How can you accurately discern a movement of (something) without going to investigate. Don’t just pour over someone else’s blogs. I haven’t been yet, but I am confident enough in my understanding of scripture that if I go, I’ll be able to use my mind studying scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to work it out. I’m not afraid.

    Of course, if you really love God, you have to be honest with God and give Him permission to help you understand scripture, after all He wrote it. You may have a few things that you don’t fully understand that He can help you with. If this really was from God, would you be willing to accept it? Really? If God really did heal the sick today, would that be OK with you?

    The bottom line is, do you want to know God more and more as your relationship with Him grows? Or is your established set of opinions and doctrines so perfect in understanding that you will not allow God Himself to show you in his Word a better perspective? Can you be hungry enough for God that you are willing to part with potentially wrong doctrine? Being hungry doesn’t automatically mean anything goes. Just anything God.

  4. Let’s look at this situation another way. Exactly WHY are people travelling all over the world to Florida? If you read your Bible, live a godly life, and ask the Holy Sprit to teach you things you don’t understand, there is no need to go to places like Florida. In viewing some of the clips, I didn’t see any teaching from the Bible (note, I didn’t go through the entire video clips on the internet).

    If you don’t have the Holy Spirit stirred up in you to hold miracles and healings in your area that is a problem. What is Todd Bentley teaching anyway? I see lots of testimonies (which confirmation and verification is in question) and physical acts (twitching, laughing, etc) but WHERE is the teaching? Just because people claim to be healed at these meetings doesn’t mean that the source came from God. Is repentence taught? I don’t think so.

    We can run the gauntlet of criticism over this guy, making valid concerns. (Personally, I was troubled over the testimony where he kicked a woman in the face.) But as people flock to Florida trying to get this “fresh fire” (or I call it strange fire), there must be a revival among those who oppose this stuff to “step up their game” to return to the fundamental principles of evangelism. What I see here is people are hungry for a word from God. Unfortunately, by having an Old Covenant mindset, they seek out (and give money to) people who claim to have a Word from the Lord instead of opening up their Bibles and reading the Word for themselves. My awakening came when I had to seek out Scriptures for my father who nearly died several times. The Body of Christ will experience their own awakening when they start reading their Bibles, seek God, and repent from their wicked ways.

    Let’s pray that the truth be exposed (from the inner circle) and the Body of Christ is not permanently wounded by this experience.

  5. Job said

    ucanwalknwater:

    Read my Bible? According to you Todd Bentley followers, why should I have any regard for the Bible since the Book of Hebrews was co – authored not by God the Holy Spirit but by Abraham? Why should I accept the word of Abraham – who by the way was not even a prophet like Moses – as infallible and my final authority? Why should I accept a Bible that has a book in it that passes of the word of man as being infallible and the final authority? Did the Holy Spirit tell you that Abraham co – wrote the Book of Hebrews, or that Emma the angel should be preached about instead of Jesus Christ?

    https://healtheland.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/occult-spiritist-todd-bentley-claims-abraham-co-wrote-book-of-hebrews/#comment-29683

  6. Michael Crawford said

    If I understand Christian History, the Protestant Reformation was a revival without miracles…without the Lord working with the leaders by confirming the Word with signs and miracles. This is what the Apostle Paul wrote about when he spoke of a form of godliness while denying the power therein. Christians today are just as hungry for manifestations of the Holy Ghost which demonstrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus as Christians have been throughout history. For the Holy Ghost to touch the spirit, soul, and/or body of a Christian today is as necessary as a man holding the hands of his wife: it is communication. The Holy Ghost must communicate to the Bride of Christ that she is still loved and cared for. Unfortunately, there are many who are so hungry for the touch of God that they gobble-up any spiritual event without tasting it and making sure it follows the recipes found in the scriptures. In these “outpourings” look for the fruit of the Holy Ghost: love(passion for God with a compassion for their fellowman); joy; peace and so on. The presence of the Holy Ghost pours the love of God in our hearts while His continued presence fills us with hope and peace. If the appropriate fruit of the Holy Ghost is not present, then whatever is manifested is not from the Father God but from the prince of the power of the air.

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