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Archive for June, 2008

I decided to take a break today from discussing Todd Bentley and the “Florida Outpouring” so that I could bring you documented proof of the sort of greed for money that we encountered during our time at Living Word Church (a pseudonym).

I’ve described before, in a post entitled Asking For It, just how Pastor Smith (another pseudonym) and his family grubbed for money for themselves. 

Here, for your viewing pleasure (click on the link), is an actual image of the letter we received about ten days ago:

birthday3

Something to note:  Although this letter is ostensibly signed from the church “staff,” the truth of the matter is that Pastor Smith and the rest of the Smith family are in absolute, total control of everything that the church does.  As someone who occasionally used to volunteer in the church office, I know firsthand how NOTHING – not even a postcard advertising Vacation Bible School – was sent out from the church without Pastor Smith’s final approval.  Therefore, to say that this birthday card shower is a “surprise” is an absolute, total lie. 

The only surprise for the Smiths would be if the congregation did NOT celebrate their birthdays! 

My husband and I were joking the other day that they probably plan vacations and major purchases around these “love offerings,” seeing as how a conservative estimate of their “haul” is somewhere in the $10,000 range, quite possibly a whole lot more.

I wonder what the tax laws are when it comes to not-for-profit organizations using their postage meters to solicit personal gifts?  The staff members who wrote, printed, folded, stuffed, and mailed these letters, all while on the church’s time clock – how does that factor into the tax code?  Do the Smiths report this major source of income?

Just wonderin’…

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From the Herescope website, here is Part 2 of the series about Lakeland:

The Practice of “Revival”

A Pastor Reports on Todd Bentley’s “Revival” in Lakeland, Florida

 

By Pastor Gary Osborne

[Note: This is the 2nd article in a weeklong series. See the Introduction posted yesterday.]


WHAT I OBSERVED IN THE SERVICES

The first night I personally attended was Thursday, May 8th. Mr. Todd Bentley and his crew were now holding services in the Lakeland Civic Center, which can seat approximately 7,000 people. The doors opened at 6:00 PM to the blowing of a shofar from people waiting to get in. The first thing I noticed as I took a seat in the very back of the auditorium was that the music being played was the loudest I have ever encountered in any “Christian” service I have ever attended. It was blaring loud as the worship team practiced a few songs in anticipation of the 7:00 PM service. I was immediately struck by how many people had banners or flags waving, and how many were jumping up and down like Mexican jumping beans.

There was a lot of “cheerleading” from the stage as microphone checks were being done. Another thing that really stood out were certain buzz words that were used repeatedly. The phrase “stir yourselves up” was used repeatedly, as was the concept of a “transferable anointing.” A woman led in prayer for the service and said, “sound waves carry your [God] presence and anointing” and then told the people to “roar like a lion!” At that request, people everywhere shouted at the top of their lungs and blew the shofars. This same lady was jerking and twitching in a similar way to what has happened in meetings in Toronto and Brownsville in the past. She went on to tell the people to look at one another and say, “You are pregnant – with the Holy Spirit and fire!” There was also much talk of “birthing” and “signs and wonders.”

The “MC” (that’s the best word to describe him) for the meetings then came up and told the audience to get ready because we were going live on GodTV in just a couple of minutes. He had a young man stand behind him and gave the audience instructions to look at this man as he held up his hands for a countdown. Everyone was to make as much noise as possible when the services went live, and believe me they did. It was very orchestrated. There was also talk of being “drunk in the Spirit” during this lead up time to going live on TV.

The service began with loud, loud rock style music. By the way, I am not an old fuddy-dud who doesn’t like up-tempo music. I’m a Pentecostal and don’t at all mind exuberant worship. So my comments are not coming from some prejudice in that vein. I love to praise the Lord, and to do so with a full heart. I clap, shout, and have even been known to jump up and down every now and then. But what I saw and heard at the beginning of this service was unlike anything I had ever witnessed in a Christian service before (and I’ve attended my fair share of “off the wall” services in the past). This was different. It had a secular, rock concert feel to it. People were swaying and dancing to the music constantly. The worship leader, if you could call him that, sang a song whose lyrics include the following:

“I am Free to Run, I am Free to Run”
“I am Free to Dance, I am Free to Dance”

And boy how the people responded to that. There were people dancing everywhere. And by dancing I’m talking some of the same stuff you’d see at a secular concert. Even some men and women dancing together!

I realize that the first portion of this article is dealing somewhat with my own subjective thoughts on the meetings. I will get to some objective points about what is taught in these meetings later in the article, but please bear with me because it’s important for you, the reader, to have an idea of what goes on at these meetings and what the general atmosphere is like.

There was a very sensual spirit in the meeting. Much inappropriate dress as well. And everyone was caught up in their own euphoria. After nearly 45 minutes of upbeat music, things finally slowed down. People were still standing everywhere, but the music was now slower and more hypnotic. The same songs were being played over and over and over. People seemed to be in a trance all around me. If the worship leader said, “raise your hands” everyone did so immediately. If he said, “drop to your knees” they did so immediately. In my humble opinion what I observed that night was nothing more than mass hypnotism. The music had the people mesmerized. Oh, and I didn’t know one song they sang the entire night. Not one!

At about 8:30 PM, with music still being played and Todd Bentley still standing with the other leaders on stage, the music leader says, “I’m feeling drunk.” He then tells the people to say to God, “Intoxicate me, Lord” – “Inebriate me, Lord.” I am disgusted at this point. We will deal with the so-called “drunk in the Spirit” phenomenon later in the article. The music continues and picks up again. Now the people are getting truly wild and the leader says, “Scream!!!” and the people let out a yell that shakes the entire building. Finally the worship leader falls to the floor himself, but the back up singers continue. This continued until nearly 9:00 PM and I had seen enough for my first night. I left amidst the shouts of thousands.

Talk of angels was prevalent throughout the night as well. This seems to be a key point with this particular “revival” and we will discuss it more later in this article.

THE SECOND SERVICE

I came back the following Thursday, May 15th, which was the 44th day of the revival, determined to stay and hear Todd Bentley (if the music leader would allow). This time I entered the Civic Center and noticed that people were much more subdued. Why? Because the band was not practicing and instead much softer music was being played on a CD throughout the auditorium. There was only one person with a flag/banner raised this time, as opposed to the 10 or more I saw the first night. Things stayed calm until the MC came out and once again pumped up the audience with a countdown to going live on TV. As soon as that happened the people were the same as before – shouting, jumping, dancing, etc.

Two men, one looking like the bearded guy from ZZ Top, give each other a high-five near the back of the auditorium and both “fall under the power” immediately. The music is going fast and furious and the same emotions and actions that were in the first meeting are in this one as well. There also continues to be much talk of angels in the songs.

After almost an hour and a half of singing the MC comes back to the center of the stage and declares, “I feel the ‘sauce’ tonight.” He then introduces Todd Bentley who comes out wearing a t-shirt that reads, “Jesus Gave Me My Tattoos.” He tells everyone that he “felt like the Holy Spirit was massaging his body” tonight. He then talks about the transferable anointing that comes in like a mist. He claims that God told him he could “feel the anointing just like Moses did” in the book of Exodus! Of course God never told Moses that he could “feel” the anointing. God did say He would “show” Moses His glory, but He never mentioned “feeling” the glory. Yet Bentley continues to emphasize feelings. This is a huge part of his entire teaching. He talks of not only seeing a mist but says that in some of his previous meetings he has been able to smell incense, concluding that this is the glory of God manifest. He then invites people to come to the altar and screams, “Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire!” which is a trademark signature of his.

There’s a real restlessness in the arena. In fact, I’ve never seen more people coming and going, moving from seat to seat to seat, than I have at these meetings in Lakeland. There’s a tremendous lack of peace amongst the people. No one seems to be able to settle in, and people are walking the aisles and moving constantly.

Suddenly, Bentley says there is “great authority” in the building tonight and he says that people can decree whatever they want, but to be careful what they ask for. It’s obvious that he’s heavily influenced by “Word of Faith” teaching and believes that God has abdicated His throne and given us authority to do anything we want, or better yet have anything we pronounce. In fact, he himself says “I speak creation. I speak new hearts, new livers into existence tonight.” Speaking to the audience in general he tells people to take off their oxygen and he commands tumors to fall off bodies and for cripples to get out of wheelchairs. He continues to declare all types of healings. I watch as several people gather around one wheel-chair bound woman and pray for her. They exhort her to rise, but she cannot.

People now begin to come forward to share their testimonies of healing. Everything is carried out just as it would be in a Benny Hinn or Earnest Angley type service. There are claims of everything from headaches cured to resurrections from the dead, but everything is carefully shared on a first name only basis. I imagine Todd and his crew could claim this is done so that the media or other curious people would not harass the individuals giving the testimonies. But what this effectively does is keep anyone from verifying any of the claims. One severely handicapped girl (physically and mentally) was brought forward in a wheelchair and was lifted out of the wheelchair by Todd and another man and dragged several feet before Todd let her go so she could be “slain in the Spirit.” It was a travesty, in my opinion.

Bentley then claims that this revival was prophesied in 1977 and again in 1989 by none other than Paul Cain, of the Kansas City prophets. We will deal with him more later on, but it’s important that the reader gets an understanding of who Todd Bentley looks up to. He is very much in the same camp as the KC prophets, among others. I decided to leave at this point, as it was approaching 10 PM and I had an hour drive back home.

A THIRD MEETING

Many other events could be documented, but space limits me from going into more detail concerning the two nights I attended. However, there was one other service that I caught on TV, and fortunately taped, that must be mentioned here. On Saturday, May 17th, a service took place unlike any other I have seen yet. During the testimony time some extreme manifestations took place. One young eleven year old girl was brought up and Todd asked her if she would like to feel the “manifest presence of Jesus” and she sheepishly said yes (clearly not understanding what he was talking about). He took her by the hand and blew on her. Nothing happened. He then told her to close her eyes and repeat after him. “Jesus, fill me with your presence” he said. He placed his hand on her head and was clearly exerting some pressure in an attempt to make her fall down. She still didn’t collapse so he focused his attention on her cousin (who he wrongly called her mother – so much for his prophet status) and blew on her. She went straight down as the little girl watched. He then blew on her one more time but she never went down so he turned away.

As Todd went over to the other side of the stage he began to laugh in a deep, scary way. There is no other word I can think of to describe this laughter. After speaking with that person, who was very hyped, he laid hands on her and gave his trademark yell, “Bam!” She went right down. From there he began to laugh more, and the audience went right along with him. He talked about drinking from the river. He instructed everyone to put their head back and open their mouth and drink. More scary laughter occurs as he blows down another 9-year-old girl. He then tells the girl’s mother that he is “drunk in the Holy Ghost” and as his head is shaking strangely he mentions that “it’s [meaning the anointing] leaking out of my eyes.” More laughter and more “bams” occur as he sweeps his hand over the audience and rows of people react.

Todd then shouts “Fire!” and tells the people to say, “Come Holy Ghost, get me.” This continues for several minutes. He tells Jesus to “get them all.” Others on stage are laughing uncontrollably and staggering around, not even able to talk without slurring their words. The laughter from Todd is very much like Rodney Howard-Browne. As he continues to shake Todd asks the people to stand and make a barrel. So they clasp their hands together and act like they are holding a huge rain barrel in their arms. Then he shouts for them to tip this imaginary barrel up as their head is tipped back and “Drink!!!!” He shouts it again, “Drink!!!!” This is some of the most insane stuff I personally have ever seen in my life. I have been in many of these types of meetings, including meetings conducted by Rodney Howard-Browne and John Kilpatrick. Yet I’ve never seen anything as extreme as this.

The next man up to be interviewed is Pontus and he’s clearly led a rough life. His arms are filled with tattoos and to be honest he speaks as if he’s drunk. Todd comments on one of his nice tattoos and shows the man a similar one on his arm. This man is eventually “slain” as well. Todd continues to laugh in an almost demonic way. He continues to exhort the people to receive the anointing. Another lady is brought forward and the man holding the microphone for her says she’s been “bellied up to the bar here drinking quite a bit tonight.” She is of course an easy mark for being slain. Her husband then receives a “big fat drink of the Holy Ghost” as well. Todd goes on to say he’s “feeling drunk” and then he begins to shake his head to the left and right violently and shouts “ohhhhhhhhhh…!” It’s a truly frightening moment as he seems to be controlled by a spirit and my mind immediately went to the story in Mark’s Gospel of the young boy who was often tossed about by demonic spirits attempting to kill him (Mark 9:22).

Todd then asks God to fill everyone with that “drunken, drunken holy glory” that he supposedly is experiencing. He tells people not to get to close to the edge of the stage lest they fall off. More “bams” and laughter occur. Then Todd asks for a “release of the wine.” I could go on and on about the silliness that occurred that night. People were staggering around, not able to speak correctly, and basically acting like drunken sailors. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever witnessed.

TOMMOROW: Todd Bentley’s Connection to the Latter Rain Movement[For interesting historical background information on this “revival,” see this report. Also, read the 6-part in-depth report on the “Laughing Phenomena: Its History & Possible Effect on the Church” by Ed Tarkowski, which begins here and continues here, here, here, here, and here.]
“Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.” (Isaiah 29:9)

 

The Truth:

 

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From the Herescope site comes an excellent series of articles about the Lakeland “Outpouring.”  Here is the introduction to the series:

 

A Pastor Reports on Todd Bentley’s “Revival” in Lakeland, Florida

 

By Pastor Gary Osborne

[Note to reader: this article begins a week-long series of posts, an in-depth eyewitness report from a pastor who attended and observed this “revival” as it unfolded.]

A couple of weeks ago I began to receive phone calls and emails asking me if I knew anything about a “revival” that was going on in Lakeland, Florida. Since that town is less than an hour away from me I decided it was important to find out what was happening in my own “back yard,” so to speak. I did some checking and found out that sure enough, revival meetings were taking place in Lakeland under the ministry of Todd Bentley. In fact, the services were being broadcast live on God TV. Therefore, after watching several services, I decided to attend a couple myself, and the following article deals with what I found out firsthand and the conclusions I have come to.

There is no doubt in my mind that the “Lakeland Outpouring,” as it is now being called, is nothing more than a recycling of previous movements that stretch back decades. Whether it was meetings held by people like William Branham, Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, Steve Hill, or any of the so-called Kansas City Prophets, the spirit and basic doctrine are the same. There’s a common thread of specific heresies that go back a long way. That’s why I call it recycled revival. It’s nothing new at its core. In addition, this revival and ones similar to it promote ideas that are contrary to what the Bible tells us about the end times.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE LAST DAYS

At the outset I’d like to say that I’m very much a Pentecostal Christian. I believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for today and that God still baptizes people in the Holy Ghost. I also believe in revival. I’ve read the Bible through dozens of times and seen enough genuine moves of God to know beyond any doubt that the Lord still pours out His Spirit on hungry hearts. With the Lord’s help I’ve made a careful study of authentic revivals down through history and the characteristics are always the same: strong preaching against sin; deep repentance; an emphasis on the cross of Christ; an emphasis on the world to come as opposed to this world; and an emphasis on the Bible. I believe we need genuine revival. We need it because of our [the Church in general] apathy. We need it because of our ungodliness. And we need it specifically because we are in the Last Days. But there’s a distinction between praying for God to pour out His Spirit on a person or church and believing that there will be an end times revival that will sweep the world and “Christianize” the nations. There’s a huge difference between those two things and what you believe concerning this point will affect the way you pray and it will affect the way you look at things as we draw closer to the return of Christ.

What does the Bible say about the end times? It’s important that we establish this point before we move on to discuss the happenings in Lakeland, Florida. Let’s examine a few Scriptures. In Matthew 24 Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the end times. They have asked Him to tell them what the signs will be for His return and the end of the age (vs. 3). The first thing Jesus says is what? That we are to expect a great end times revival? That we are to accept what anyone says simply because they claim to be a servant of Jesus? NO! The first thing Jesus says is “See to it that no one leads you astray” (vs. 4).

It’s interesting that Jesus would begin a discussion about the last days with that admonition. He then goes on to say (Matt. 24:11). In Mark’s gospel, He adds to this and says,“many false prophets will arise and will mislead many” “false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect” (Mark 13:22). So Jesus tells us that one of the primary marks of the last days will be deception. In fact take note that while He says the gospel will be preached to the world He does not say the world will accept the message. Nowhere does He tell us to expect great, worldwide revivals just before He returns.

The Apostles also had much to say about the last days.

  • 2Th 2:1-3 – “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first.”

Note that Paul did not say Christ will not come unless a great worldwide revival comes first. He said “apostasy” which is a falling away. So Paul lines right up with Jesus on what we should be looking for in these Last Days. Paul also tells us in I Timothy chapter 4 “the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” Again I’d like to point out that no where in this or any other passage does Paul tell us to expect an end times revival that will bring in millions or billions and Christianize the world.

Peter echoes this same thing when he states that “false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed” (II Pet. 2:1-2).

It should be obvious to any student of the Scriptures that the last days will be perilous times (II Tim. 3), and Christians must pray for discernment. This is in compliance with I John 4:1, an extremely important Scripture for our discussion.

  • “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

This is what I will be doing in this article. I’m not judging anyone. I’m not condemning anyone. I don’t have a “Pharisee” spirit (as one man accused me of recently). I’m simply obeying the biblical command to test the spirits. Remember too that one of the nine gifts of the Spirit mentioned in I Corinthians 12 is the discerning of spirits. There are three basic “spirits” that information or teaching can come from: the Spirit of God, the spirit of man, and demonic spirits. We must understand that just because a person claims to be a Christian and claims to be operating under the anointing of God it doesn’t mean they really are. They could be operating in their own fleshly spirit, or worse yet they could be operating under seducing spirits posing as angels of light (II Cor. 11:14). We must know the Word of God, and know it well, in order to be discerning Christians who can rightly divide the Word of Truth and not be led astray.

Once more, let me emphasize at the outset that we do need genuine revival in the land today. Apathy in the Body of Christ is at an all time high, and I can fully understand people wanting to draw closer to the Lord. That’s a worthy aspiration. In no way is this article judging the intentions or motives of those that go to these meetings. I’m sure that many, if not most, of the people that attend do so because they are somewhat desperate for more of God. But we must never put discernment and the Word of God on the backburner because we feel spiritually dry. In fact, it’s often during those times when we are thirsty that we need to be extra careful about what source we drink from. A desperate man, lost in the desert, may drink from the first pool of water that he comes to, but it may be poison. So let us be careful to diligently seek God when it comes to purported moves of the Spirit in certain churches or services.

This article will be divided up into two distinct sections. In the first section I will give detailed accounts of what I personally witnessed at two of the meetings I attended in Lakeland, and I will also detail a portion of a third meeting I watched and taped off television. This first section will obviously include subjectivity from my vantage point. The second portion of this article will deal with 7 issues that need to be addressed concerning this “Revival” and will include some of the more salient teachings of Todd Bentley.

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The other day, I was poking around on youtube, and I stumbled across a series of videos recently released by our former church’s music department. Pastor Smith’s (not their real last name) son (an excellent pianist but a horrifically tone-deaf singer) put out a new CD this past spring, and the church had obviously poured a bunch of money into producing some pretty professional looking DVDs of the key songs.

[Random aside:  I couldn’t help but wonder, as I watched the choir and backup singers, many of whom are amazingly talented, if Tommy Smith was giving any of these singers and musicians a cut of the money he raked in from selling his CD and DVD.  I highly doubt it.  Yet without those singers and musicians, people would be forced to listen to the pastor’s son sing alone, and he’d be a mere shadow of what he’s now able to think he is as he hides behind those who can actually carry a tune.]

Anyway, I bring up those youtube videos because one of the new songs Tommy had written contained lyrics that focused on how all we as Christians need is “just a moment” with God.

It is actually a very pretty song, one that tugged at my heartstrings as I listened to the emotive harmonies, the whispered, worshipful “hallelujahs” in the background. And a part of it was quite nice, singing about a moment in the Lord’s presence, and how wonderful this could be.

Matter of fact, the majority of the songs Tommy Smith has written are along these same lines, always celebrating God’s presence…with the insinuation being, of course, that it (God’s presence) is found within the four walls of our former church. I’ve been struck by this observation before, but as I listened to this new song, pretty though it was, it yet again occurred to me that the people at our old church really believe that “receiving a touch from God” is what a successful Christian life is all about.  Have a problem?  Get the pastor to lay hands on you.  Need a breakthrough?  Hope and pray that the pastor will give you a prophetic word.  Need to make progress in your Christian life?  Well, the specifics of Godly character were rarely discussed – not even simple things, like being nice to one another in the church parking lot, instead of cutting people off and giving them dirty looks as you fought for your turn to exit after the service. 

We would never hear basic, practical teachings from the Bible.  But we were relentlessly hammered with the idea that “being in God’s presence” – which was defined as falling down on the ground, weeping before the Lord, praying in church – was what was needed to make one holy.  If you wanted to be a victorious Christian, you needed to be where God’s presence was.

Of course, there’s a nugget of truth buried in there somewhere.  But it only takes “a little leaven” to ruin the whole thing, right? 

People at our former church never seemed to be taught that the keys to Christian living were right there in their hands – the Bible, and the indwelling Holy Spirit Who already resides in them as believers.  People were never taught that they should look to the Holy Spirit to help them become more Christlike, in such areas as being more honest (we met more pathological liars at our former church than I’d met in my entire lifetime prior to becoming members).  Aside from being told to give money sacrificially to the church, people were never taught anything about “dying to self.”  Instead, we were told week after week that God was going to make us people of great destiny, that we were going to be favored, that we were going to be prosperous…as long as we remained at Living Word Church (for the record, a pseudonym) and under the “covering” of Pastor Smith’s “anointing” – which, when you got right down to it, was always defined as the power that flowed through him when he preached, prophesied, and laid hands on people.

So, Tommy Smith’s new song is pretty good at summing up what the Christian faith is at our former church – it really is about “moments in time,” where one “feels” God’s presence…with the insinuation being that it happens at church, through the pastor or his appointed guest speakers.

I think more than a bit of that mentality is at work in the Lakeland meetings, too.  “Come and get some” means what?  What, exactly, is going to be the fruit produced by “some” of whatever “it” is?  I guess time will tell…how many of those people will shake and tremble and twitch and roll, “drunk,” all the way back home, and actually exhibit more Christ-like character?

I hope it’s all of them, but from our own experience, I’d be surprised if it were very many at all.  I knew far too many people who did lots of “carpet time” at our old church, only to get up and go and lie and cheat and just be generally wacky flakes the rest of the 167 hours left in the week.

Yet they thought – because we were constantly fed this notion – that they had a superior handle on Christian living since they had access to Pastor Smith’s “anointing.”  They’d enjoyed many memorable moments in “God’s presence” at church.  And since that’s all it takes, they had it all together.

This “moment in time” type of Christianity feels good, and it sounds appealing because it’s easy.  But since its fruit bears so little resemblance to the “fruits of the Spirit” (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control), I do not believe that it’s healthy for us to reduce our life in Christ to distinct occasions where we “feel” something that has been dispensed to us through “the anointing” of another human being.

Try as I might, I just can’t find this concept anywhere in my Bible.

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Saturday night, an alert commenter (thanks, Jan!) posted that Geraldo was going to be interviewing Todd Bentley on Fox News.  We decided to stay up to watch that segment.  It was a bit disappointing to have to wait until the last ten minutes of the show…especially since the piece was essentially more of the same – Todd Bentley proclaiming the great miracles to the world, with talk of “all kinds of documentation,” but no actual interviews with attending physicians of all the dead people who are now supposedly raised to life or anything like that.

I also thought it was…interesting, and extremely convenient, to say the least, the way that Todd’s sound feed seemed to cut out at the crucial moment of Geraldo’s only tough question.  But hey, judge for yourself.  Here’s the video:

 

 

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I can hardly keep track any longer, but I think Todd Bentley and his Lakeland “Revival” (or “Outpouring”) are claiming that so far, something like 22 people have been raised from the dead.

I’ve already done a couple of posts about the nebulous nature of these “resurrection” stories.  And I’m still waiting for a genuine documented case of a cadaver in full rigor mortis truly “coming back to life” again.  As much as I believe that God absolutely can do anything He chooses to do, and as much as I believe that it is literally NOTHING for Him to speak merely a word and call forth all the billions of dead people from their graves, even if their ashes had been scattered 200 years ago, I cannot help but be skeptical about these Lakeland stories.

First of all, I think if such things like these purported “resurrections” were truly happening, our secular news media, its anti-Christian bias notwithstanding, would sit up and pay attention. 

But far more telling is how quiet our friends within the CHRISTIAN media have been about these things.  As I’ve said, where is Charisma magaazine in all of this?   Why aren’t they right there, asking the hard questions and TRULY “building people’s faith” by showing the hard facts behind these stories?  These publications have resources, they have reporters, they have people who could ferret out the truth.  If they chose to.

But apparently, they are NOT choosing to.  I find this sad beyond words.

Here is a video of Todd Bentley as he shares the thirteenth “resurrection” story.  Perhaps this video will help to explain why nobody from the news media – secular OR Christian – has had much to say about these many cadavers supposedly “raised from the dead.”

Check it out, and then share your thoughts in a comment below.  Here is my take on this particular “resurrection” story:

First of all, I noticed right off how, when the email writer talked about playing GodTV’s coverage of the revival at the wake, he/she was careful to add that they refused to have the brother embalmed for his funeral.

I thought that was extremely fishy. I mean, if God (and the “anointing” that is supposedly transferred via TV from these meetings) is strong enough to bring a truly dead person back to life, wouldn’t this God be strong enough to restore all the cadaver’s “innards” to their former state?

Why would it matter if the person were enbalmed or not? Why??

One other thing. I find it jarringly disgusting that the email places so much attention on Todd Bentley and seems to give a lot of the credit for this “resurrection” to Todd (i.e., the email writer says, “My brother woke up praising God and Reverend Todd Bentley,” as well as, “He could hear Todd Bentley’s voice calling him out of heaven”).

Obviously, if this email were genuine, Todd would have no control over what the author had written. But he easily could have made sure to distance himself from seeming to take some of the credit for this “miracle”! He could have redirected the crowd to God and His glory. But he did not do so.

And the last line (that he shared) from the email said that after the dead man sat up in his coffin, “All the people at that funeral home began screaming and crying for more fire.”

What??

More fire???

So really, these people are not praising God. They’re praising Todd and “the fire.”

I’m so disgusted.

 

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From the “comments” section of this post, reader Pete made the following observation:

I also find it amazing that these people [Todd Bentley and his fellow “prophets”] are on such casual terms with the Almighty God that they debate and question him so regular yet they critisise anyone who debates or questions their views!

I thought this was an incredibly astute observation.  Something about Todd’s (and other “prophets'”) conversations with “God” has always struck me as a bit “off.”  I couldn’t quite figure it out, but now that I think about this commenter’s words, I realize what it is: 

If these guys were TRULY conversing with the God of the universe – the Holy Almighty God of the Bible, the God Who created the universe, the God Who numbers every hair on our head – they would never be so carefree or bold.  Never.  Instead of questioning and arguing with God, they would experience awe, respect, and fear, uttering with the (true) prophet Isaiah, “Woe is me!” 

At the very least, they ought to be giving “God’s” remarks the same unquestioning respect and acceptance that they are now demanding from their own congregants.

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