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Archive for July, 2008

From the Herescope site:

Lakeland’s Recycled Revival

 

Music, Mass Hypnotism and Angels

A Pastor Reports on Todd Bentley’s “Revival” in Lakeland, Florida
By Pastor Gary Osborne
[Note: this is part 4 of a weeklong series of articles on this topic]

MUSIC AND MASS HYPNOTISM

Everything in these meetings is driven by the music. I shared this earlier but it bears repeating. When the music is going strong and loud the people are literally mesmerized. I use that word because it so aptly describes what happens to the masses of people in these services. The music helps to put them in a state where they are susceptible to unbiblical manifestations like being “slain in the Spirit.” In Brother Larry Thomas’s book The Watchman he has a chapter entitled “Slain in the Spirit” where he talks about the phenomenon at length and how it ties into hypnotism and high emotionalism.

 

Alan Morrison, of Diakrisis Publications in England, discusses this phenomenon. Concerning the origin of the “slain in the spirit” manifestation, he writes:
“One of the earliest and most notorious advocates of this experience was an itinerant preacher in the so-called ‘Holiness Movement,’ Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924), who also gained a reputation for falsely prophesying that San Francisco : would be destroyed by an earthquake in 1890. In her preaching in the 1880s, she advocated a religious experience which she called ‘The Power,’ and she would often go into a trance during the services, standing with her hands raised in the air for more than an hour. Nicknamed the ‘trance-evangelist’ and even the ‘voodoo priestess,’ she was often accused of hypnotizing people. And here we come to the very crux of the ‘Slain in the Spirit’ phenomenon.”

Morrison goes on to say that what Woodworth-Etter had discovered was the ancient art of hypnotism, popularized almost a century earlier by Anton Mesmer, the father of hypnotism or mesmerism, as it was also known, and an occultic faith healer. Morrison quotes one researcher who says “the phenomena that are now defined as ‘hypnotic’ emerged from the faith healing activities of Mesmer at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.”

One of Mesmer’s famous healing sessions is described in another book on the occult:

“Mesmer marched about majestically in a pale lilac robe, passing his hands over the patients’ bodies or touching them with a long iron wand. The results varied. Some patients felt nothing at all, some felt as if insects were crawling over them, others were seized with hysterical laughter, convulsions or fits of hiccups. Some went into raving delirium, which was called ‘The Crisis’ and was considered extremely healthful.”

The real significance of Mesmer’s sessions was best understood by his contemporaries. The King of France in 1784 ordered two respected bodies, the Academy of Science and the Royal Society of Medicine, to examine Mesmer’s claims.

Among the highlights of this most discerning review were the following remarks:

“That man can act upon man at any time, and almost at will, by striking his imagination; that the simplest gestures and signs can have the most powerful effects; and that the action of man upon the imagination may be reduced to an art, and conducted with method, upon subjects who have faith.”

Morrison drew the following conclusion from his research:

“Just as the Western psychologists are proffering ancient shamanistic practices in a guise which is more palatable to the uninitiated Westerners, so the professing Christian churches which peddle ‘religious fainting’ have simply made the Possession-Trance state of shamanism more readily acceptable to the undiscerning sheep who attend their heated meetings. These are the true origins of the strange phenomena which are being so widely reported today and which are bringing the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ into so much disrepute.” (pp. 69-71)

Sadly, the same things that were happening in Mesmer’s meetings over centuries ago are happening today in Bentley’s meetings. Fainting, laughing, convulsing, and the like are the norm at these meetings. More information about these emotional manifestations, almost always accompanied by music, can be found in Larry’s book The Watchman which can be purchased by writing to A.B.P. at the address given on our website www.biblical-pentecostals.org.

Music is a powerful tool that can be used to draw us closer to God, but also can put people in a position to be lead away from the Lord. We must not fail to put music in its proper place, and be discerning in this area.


EXALTING THE SECULAR AND WORLDLY

By now most people are aware of Todd Bentley’s outward appearance. He does indeed have a body covered in tattoos and he wears earrings, eyebrow rings, and a ring in his chin. He definitely doesn’t try to cover these things up, but instead seems to exalt in his “worldly” ways.

At the Saturday, May 17th meeting he had a young man come up on stage to give a testimony about being healed. As soon as he walked up, Todd pointed out that the boy had a WWE wrestler t-shirt on. Excitedly, Bentley told the boy that the t-shirt he himself was wearing also referenced a WWE wrestler named Edge. Then Todd turned to the audience and with a big smile on his face rattled off the names of several other professional wrestlers. On another night he wore a different WWE wrester’s shirt. Anyone with any common sense understands that wrestling today is a very worldly, sensual form of entertainment that has no business being pimped by a supposed man of God at any time, much less during a revival meeting. By mentioning these things to everyone in the Civic Center, and the people watching around the world, Bentley gave De facto approval of the wrestling industry. And that ought never to be, saints. Never!

Another man came forward that night that had tattoos all over his body. The man was clearly inebriated and was struggling to speak clearly and stand up straight. Bentley immediately noticed his tattoos and told him how nice they were. He then proceeded to show the man a couple of his own tattoos and how pretty they were. And all of this was being done in front of everyone, with not the slightest hint that this could be wrong. Never mind that God’s Word forbids the Christian to defile their bodies made in His image (Leviticus 19:28). Never mind that the Bible tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and as such it should be kept undefiled (I Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20). Yet Bentley has the audacity to wear a t-shirt one night at the meetings that boldly states “Jesus Gave Me My Tattoos.”

There is no question that Todd Bentley exalts in the secular in many ways, in spite of the fact that our Lord told us we were in the world but not of it. It would be one thing if all of the tattoos and piercing came before his conversion. We cannot help but have “scars,” whether literal or figurative, from our time in sin and darkness apart from God. But once we are saved these things should cease. Not only that, they should not even be talked about, much less exalted in.

  • Eph 5:11-12 – “And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.”

“ANGELS” WATCHING OVER ME

Years ago Amy Grant made popular the song “Angels Watching Over Me,” and there is no doubt that God does use angels to carry out his purposes. But the Scripture doesn’t give us nearly the same picture as Bentley does when talking about angels. Todd has claimed on numerous occasions that the source of power at his meetings comes from an angel who will often stand right by the pulpit where he speaks. I heard him say this myself during the meeting in which the “spirit of drunkenness” was so prevalent. Jackie Alnor, a Christian apologist, had the following insightful comments about Bentley and his fascination with angels:

Speaking of angels – that’s another source of power Bentley claims to have working for him.
The parallel passage to the description of Lucifer in Isaiah 14 is the 28th chapter of Ezekiel. Here God further describes His arch-enemy as one who has a great love for treasure.

 

“By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud” (Ezekiel 28:4-5).

Contrast that with Todd Bentley’s focus on riches as documented in an article called “ANGELS & the FLORIDA HEALING REVIVAL – Warning!” written by Andrew Strom, a historian of the Charismatic Movement, who quoted Bentley from an article Bentley wrote in 2003 called “Angelic Hosts.” Bentley wrote:

“So when I need a financial breakthrough I don’t just pray and ask God for my financial breakthrough. I go into intercession and become a partner with the angels by petitioning the Father for the angels that are assigned to getting me money: ‘Father, give me the angels in heaven right now that are assigned to get me money and wealth. And let those angels be released on my behalf. Let them go into the four corners of the earth and gather me money.’”

Todd’s money-gathering angel’s name is Emma, who his good friend Bob Jones (discredited “prophet” who was disciplined for using his prophetic office to get women to undress for him) credits with birthing the discredited Kansas City Prophet movement of the late 1980s. In Bentley’s own words:

“Twice Bob Jones asked me about this angel that was in Kansas City in 1980: ‘Todd, have you ever seen the angel by the name of Emma?’ He asked me as if he expected that this angel was appearing to me. Surprised, I said, ‘Bob, who is Emma?’ He told me that Emma was the angel that helped birth and start the whole prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s. She was a mothering-type angel that helped nurture the prophetic as it broke out. Within a few weeks of Bob asking me about Emma, I was in a service in Beulah, North Dakota. In the middle of the service I was in conversation with Ivan and another person when in walks Emma. As I stared at the angel with open eyes, the Lord said, ‘Here’s Emma.’ I’m not kidding. She floated a couple of inches off the floor. It was almost like Kathryn Khulman in those old videos when she wore a white dress and looked like she was gliding across the platform. Emma appeared beautiful and young – about 22 years old – but she was old at the same time. She seemed to carry the wisdom, virtue and grace of Proverbs 31 on her life. She glided into the room, emitting brilliant light and colors. Emma carried these bags and began pulling gold out of them. Then, as she walked up and down the aisles of the church, she began putting gold dust on people…”

Bentley claims that his angel also assisted William Branham in his healing ministry in the 1960s. [Check out background on William Branham who called the Trinity a pagan doctrine.] In fact, Branham always claimed that he could do no healings until his angel showed up. Bentley refers to his angel as “the angel of the Lord” and also waits upon Emma for the signs and wonders to manifest. However, according to Bible scholars, the term “the angel of the Lord” is an Old Testament reference to the pre-incarnate Christ, also called a Theophany. It seems that Emma is really overstepping her bounds to be referred to as “the angel of the Lord.” [1]

Numerous discerning Christians and ministers have done research on this “Emma” angel and one conclusion that has been reached is that this angel could be a demonic spirit or angel named “Emma-O” who according to Buddhist mythology was the keeper of men’s souls. Whatever this creature is, one thing I know for sure. Nowhere in the Scriptures does an angel ever appear as a woman! Never. They always appear as men and their names are names given to men (Michael & Gabriel). So Todd’s description of Emma appearing as a woman is enough to cause great doubt in my mind as to the validity of the encounter from a Biblical standpoint. But even if there were “women” angels recorded in Scripture I’d still point out that we are never told to give them the emphasis or place that Todd Bentley assigns them.

The Apostle Paul dealt with the inordinate attention the Colossian believers were giving angels when he writes to them and warns:

  • Col 2:18 – “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.”

The apostle Paul also reminds us of a very important fact. Satan was once an archangel, named Lucifer, and therefore it should come as no surprise to us if he “disguises himself as an angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14). This is why we must put our emphasis on God, and not angels! They are only created beings, not the Creator.

TOMORROW: “Belly Up to the Bar”

[For more information, see:
http://www.deceptionbytes.com/ToddBentleysAngels]


The Truth:

“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” (I Corinthians 5:11)

Endnotes:
1. http://www.apostasyalert.org/REFLECTIONS/bentley.htm

 

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From the Herescope site:

Lakeland’s Recycled Revival

 

TODD BENTLEY’S CONNECTION TO THE LATTER RAIN MOVEMENT
A Pastor Reports on Todd Bentley’s “Revival” in Lakeland, Florida
By Pastor Gary Osborne
My first real concern with these crusades revolves around the issue of who Todd Bentley looks up to and who he considers spiritual leaders. He frequently mentions, and even has up on stage with him from time to time, members of the “Kansas City Prophets.” And the KC “prophets” are, in many ways, an extension of the Latter Rain movement that really found its legs through the ministry of a man named William Branham.

Although Branham didn’t found the movement, he was instrumental in popularizing many aspects of it. This article will not go into detail concerning Branham and his ministry except to say that he was a preacher who ministered primarily in the 40’s and 50’s. He was a forerunner to many of the “healing evangelists” of today in that he would call out words of knowledge concerning the private lives of audience members, as well as pray for the sick to be healed, all with astonishing results. Interestingly, he would often tell the audience wherever he was ministering that he had to wait for his angel to appear before he could give any “words” or work any healings. This will be an important point that surfaces later in our discussion. But let’s stop right here and ask the question: Does God ask His people to look to angels or to Himself for any need? He tells us it is by His Spirit, and not angels, that He operates in words of knowledge, gifts of healings, and the like (I Corinthians 12).

In spite of his miraculous signs and wonders, Branham was a false prophet according to the standards of the Word of God. Why do I say that? Well, read the exhortation from the Lord to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy.

  • Dt 13:1-3 – “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. “

I believe the Pentecostal Church in Branham’s day failed the Deuteronomy 13 test because while he did perform signs and wonders, he also counseled people to turn from the God of the Bible through his spurious teachings. He taught there was no Trinity (he was “Oneness Pentecostal”); that he was literally the prophet Elijah come back; that the world would end in 1977; that Jesus was “created” and not the Eternal Word as John 1:1 declares; that he was a “god” (and this is where the Manifest Sons of God movement got it’s name and teaching); that he could decree things just like God; that Eve had sexual relations with the serpent in the Garden of Eden; that the Zodiac and the Pyramids were equal with the Bible as the Word of God; and that there would be no eternal Hell.[1]

As you can clearly see, the man was way off in his teaching about God. So the question must be asked, “What criteria do we use to determine if a person is a true prophet or a false prophet?” If you look only to the signs and wonders a person does, and not to their teaching, then you fail the Deuteronomy 13 test. It is NOT the miracles that count. They are only used to CONFIRM the message. It is the teaching coming from the “prophet” that counts the most, according to the Bible. And Branham fails the test miserably. Even today, if one were to visit his gravesite they would see a tombstone shaped like a pyramid!

William Branham helped popularize an entire movement called the “Latter Rain” that has continued to teach differing heresies down through the decades. In the 1980’s a group of men, including Mike Bickle, Paul Cain, Bob Jones, Rick Joyner, and John Paul Jackson formed an alliance of sorts and became known as the “Kansas City Prophets.” Time does not allow me to discuss these men in detail, but it is important to know that these men took some of their cues from William Branham. Two of the main leaders, Paul Cain and Bob Jones, have both been guilty of grievous sexual sin while “ministering” as prophets. Cain has been revealed to be an alcoholic and a practicing homosexual, while Jones admitted to having women undress in front of him to experience the glory of God.[2]

In spite of many doctrinal heresies, this movement continued in one form or another. Whether it be the Toronto Blessing, the ministry of Rodney Howard-Browne (“laughter”) or Brownsville Assembly, it can all be traced back to Branham and to the Latter Rain movement that he helped spread. And so it should come as no shock to anyone that Todd Bentley is connected to all these men. And he is. Paul Cain has shared the stage with Bentley in Lakeland.[3] Bob Jones and many of the others have been mentioned in a favorable light on more than one occasion during the revival.

But the kicker to the entire thing is found here, in an interview that Bentley had with BCN (Breaking Christian News) last month. In that interview he said that he “saw an angel he described as carrying the ‘Winds of Change.’ Asking him to describe this angel, Bentley replied that those familiar with the life of William Branham would recognize the angel from being a relevant factor in his healing ministry.”[4] It should be apparent to all that Todd Bentley’s meetings derive from the same spirit as Branham and the rest. It all comes from the same place. Let the reader take serious note of the obvious and continuous bridge between Branham and Bentley.

“FEELINGS, NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS”

The second issue I would like to touch on briefly is the emphasis on “feelings” in all these meetings. Don’t get me wrong. We are created beings that do have feelings, and often times those feelings are a part of our worship to the Lord. If I’m going through a mountaintop experience in my life I may very well “feel” great and shout to the Lord. There’s nothing wrong with expressing feelings in this sense. We can clap our hands, jump and sing praises to God when things are going well, and we can cry and lay prostrate on the floor when facing difficult times. But David said, “as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say you are my God.” He understood that regardless of what he was going through, he would not allow his feelings to dictate truth to him. In the same way the point of this passage and many more like it throughout the Psalms is that God’s faithfulness and truth are not conditioned by our feelings. We enjoy it when good feelings accompany our faith, but we must remember that the faithfulness of God is not based on our feelings.

Unfortunately, in the Bentley meetings “feelings” are the big emphasis, to the detriment of the hearers. Why do I say that? Because the Word of God is not preached in these meetings. Rarely does Todd even bring a Bible to the pulpit with him. He actually bragged about bringing more “real Word” to the people than preachers who expound on the Bible week in and week out because he was bringing a living Jesus through the experiences [i.e. “signs and wonders”] he was giving them. I heard this for myself on his Saturday, May 10th God TV telecast from Lakeland. And the people loved it so. No Word of God is ever brought at these meetings. It’s all about the “feelings” they can experience. This type of mindset and philosophy of ministry leads to very shallow Christianity. I fear for most of the people that attend these meetings because when they come down off the “high” they have been on in these emotionally charged services they will probably crash and burn spiritually. I’ve seen it play out too many times in the past to think otherwise.

In the same vein as the “feelings” issue, there’s also a huge stress on what Todd and his crew call the “tangible presence of God.” That phrase, or one similar to it, is used many times in each meeting. People are conditioned to expect some outward, sensual experience with the Holy Spirit. Whether it’s tasting God’s presence, smelling God’s presence, hearing God’s presence, or seeing God’s presence, it’s all a big part of this revival. Todd talks about seeing a mist or cloud. He talks about tasting something similar to honey. He talks about smelling the incense from Heaven. Everything is done on a 5 senses level. Yet no where in the New Testament do we read about the disciples promoting anything like this nonsense. God is Spirit and those that worship Him will do so in spirit and in truth. The more we move from the objective truth of the Bible and more towards these outward manifestations, the more open we are to deception. The Devil can and does work on people’s senses but he cannot get to us if we know and worship God based on His Word. People in other religions have “experiences” but it doesn’t make them godly experiences. So we must be careful not to be pulled into the trap of feelings-oriented or manifestation-oriented theology. Yet this is exactly what Bentley emphasizes.

TOMORROW: Music, Mass Hypnotism and Angels

[For further information, see the following link:
http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NL_June1990.pdf]


The Truth:

“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” (Romans 13:13)

Endnotes:
1. www.letusreason.org/Latrain4.htm
2. www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel19.html
3.www.charismamag.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2408&start
=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&sid=386e07de8ab0207fdfb34ca594d2b5ea

4. www.freshfire.ca/index.php?Act=read&status=
revival&Id=132&pid=954&bid=923

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