One of our commenters posted this link to a snippet of a Todd Bentley sermon. While this clip has been making the rounds for awhile and has been discussed on other sites, I listened to it again today and had some additional thoughts about what he says.
I was going to just put those thoughts in a comment where the link was posted, but as I got to thinking about it, I realized that although these particular remarks of Todd’s have already been analyzed by many folks, I don’t really remember anyone mentioning a couple of the most burning thoughts that I had about them.
For the sake of accuracy, I decided to transcribe, to the best of my ability, every word that Todd says in this two-minute clip. Here is the transcript:
This thing’s gonna break out, now just wait up here in Shreveport, I’m releasing it back, to where it all started in 1948, I’m releasing it back.
Now for some of you who are here, it doesn’t really matter to you, all that stuff, all you care about is that God’s moving, and you know what? That’s all that really matters. So if you’re not big on prophetic, supernatural, and angels, I’m sorry. It’s my testimony, but if you want to know why God’s moving, I’m sorry, I have to tell you the whole story. If you don’t believe the story, well – sorry.
You know, I told the Lord, “Why can’t I just move in healing and forget talking about all that…other stuff?”
He said, “Because, Todd, you gotta get the people to believe in the angel.”
I said, “God, why do I want people to believe in the angel, isn’t it about getting the people to believe in Jesus?”
He said, “The people already believe in Jesus, but the church doesn’t believe in the supernatural.”
The church has no problem believing in Jesus. But what we don’t believe in is the supernatural. We don’t believe in angels, we don’t believe in the prophetic, we don’t believe in some of what’s going on. And I’ll tell you what, we need to have an awakening.
I said, “Well, God, maybe you wanna give this ministry to somebody else because nobody’s gonna receive it in the package that I come in.” [CHARISMANIA’S EDITORIAL NOTE: Uh, then why did Todd keep getting all those tattoos over the past couple of years? Clips of him preaching as recently as three years ago show him to be pretty mainstream-looking, with curly hair and un-inked skin. So although he did spend some time in jail as a youth for child molestation, it seems like “the package” that Todd comes in today is increasingly and deliberately MORE “edgy” and controversial than it was before his conversion, not less. I find this rather bizarre, if Todd is truly concerned that the message God wants him to deliver is not going to be well-received because of his looks.]
I said, “You gotta give me the most controversial testimony? You gotta visit me with all this supernatural stuff?” I mean, hey, maybe if I was a little more clean-shaven and polished, people would believe me more. Or maybe the world is looking for something new. How many of you believe we need something new! [Crowd cheers, as the implication of Todd’s tone is clearly that we need “something new.”]
The most striking thing about Todd’s teachings here is, of course, that he is claiming to say that God spoke to him directly and told him that believing in Jesus is not the point – people already believe in Jesus – but that God wants to move so that the church will come to believe in the supernatural, in angels and in the prophetic.
As many others have already pointed out, it is impossible to imagine, by any stretch of the imagination, that the God of the Bible would ever make such a statement like that. It is utterly contrary to everything everywhere in Scripture.
But aside from that obvious point, something else struck me about this little conversation that Todd claims to have had with God.
Todd says that God told him, “The church doesn’t believe in the supernatural.”
According to Todd’s understanding of what God meant, people in the church don’t believe in angels and the prophetic.
Well, I would beg to differ. I don’t think there’s a shred of a problem with churchfolk NOT believing in angels.
Go to any Christian bookstore and take a look around. You will see lots of angel memorabilia and paraphernalia. Matter of fact, don’t even bother to make it a Christian shop. Go to ANY store that sells knick-knacks, and there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to pick up something made in the likeness of an angel or decorated with angels.
The truth of the matter is that most people believe in angels. I was reading the other day that something like 80% of Americans polled believe that angels are real, and 40% go so far as to believe that they have their own personal guardian angel who plays a part in their lives.
I don’t think the angelic hosts of heaven are getting ripped off in the faith and attention departments!
The second part of what Todd thinks “God” meant when “He” supposedly said that people don’t believe in the supernatural is that, “We don’t believe in the prophetic.”
This is the piece that really got me to thinking.
I would like to ask Todd a question about this one. My question is simply, “Todd, WHY DO YOU THINK that the church doesn’t believe in the prophetic?”
Isn’t it because the majority of us – even those of us who would count ourselves as NOT being cessationists, those of us who would categorize ourselves as Charismatics – see so few examples of real, genuine, Biblical-quality prophecy?
I, for one, used to believe wholeheartedly in just about everything that was presented to me as being “Christian prophecy.” We used to be part of a church where the pastor had the reputation for being “a true prophet.” I spent much time reading and re-reading transcripts of the personal “words” that had been delivered by our pastor to my husband. I thoroughly believed that he was speaking on behalf of God.
I also used to be a regular reader of the Elijah List, which is where, incidentally, I first heard of Todd Bentley several years ago. Although I never did become a subscriber, I would check their website on a regular basis and read through the most recent prophecies. I never was able to quite get around my gut instinct that some of them sure sounded wacky…while others were so vague that they were more like the horoscopes you read in the newspaper. But I made a lot of mental effort to set aside the misgivings that the Elijah List provoked in me, and I would listen respectfully when some friends at our church would breathlessly relay the latest “words” from the likes of Kim Clement and Patricia King (who is one of Todd’s main mentors).
But you know what? It was my regular reading of the ELIJAH LIST, and its prophets’ dismal accuracy record, that finally turned me off on the so-called “prophetic movement.” THAT is why I personally have a difficult time believing much of what is supposed to be “prophecy” today.
So, Todd…I think you are woefully mistaken in your assessment about people’s belief in angels, and I think you’ve got it totally backward when it comes to a belief in “the prophetic.” It’s not that the church needs MORE meetings where they are exposed to MORE talk of angels and prophecy. Nope.
There’s already enough belief in angels…far more belief in angels, if you ask me, than in the historic crucified and risen Jesus Christ.
And if there’s no belief in prophecies? Well, give the church what would REALLY fix this problem. Those of you who are so inaccurate that you make Agnes Nixon from National Enquirer fame look more “anointed” than you – just need to keep your mouths shut. Quit distributing all your vague stuff that almost always turns out to be either obviously misguided or downright false.
I know that I, for one, would have a much stronger belief in “the prophetic” if I hadn’t seen so much garbage being presented as the “word of the Lord.”
How do you guys live with yourselves, anyway? Doesn’t this ever keep you up at night, in a cold sweat because of how wrong you’ve been when you were daring to speak in the holy name of the Lord God Almighty?
I’m telling you, it keeps ME awake at night, worrying on your behalf. May God have mercy.