PastimesProphecy -- HYPE or HOPE?

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To: MSB who wrote (4556)8/9/2008 9:39:45 AM
From: Greg or e
   of 5569
Maybe when I get home from my vacation perhaps I will tell you my story, but the major flaw in your thinking is that even if I were a complete unbeliever that would never make the kind of flim flam, con game that Bently is running on gullible and vulnerable saints any less of a crime. He is fraudulently offering healing for money and making himself rich and famous at the expense of the beloved. There is a higher standard for those who profess to teach and there will be a special place in hell for false teachers like him. You might also want to consider very hard and long the consequence of your own promotion of such false teachers and teaching. I pray God will produce genuine fruit in your life as well as my own that does not rely on cheap parlor tricks that blaspheme the true and living God but lift up the grace and mercy that is available to all through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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To: Greg or e who wrote (4557)8/9/2008 2:05:45 PM
From: average joe
   of 5569
"Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of PEOR, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." (Numbers 31:16-18)

Moses commanded the murder of approximately 100,000 young males and, roughly, 68,000 helpless women.

Consider women and children of your own family: No matter how sick they may lay, or how they may go against a religion, how would you feel if a man named Moses, claiming to speak for God, sent men into your house and hacked to pieces the women and male children? Also, how would you react if they spotted a female child, dragged her off with them to do as they please with her? Note that these innocent virgins served for their own sexual pleasures.

Midian, the land of the Midianites, did not reside in an area regarded as a natural enemy of Israel for centuries, and in fact lay hundreds of miles away from the Israelite encampment. Moses, himself, had lived in Midian as fugitive after committing his first murder. In short, Midian presented no threat to God's "Chosen People."

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To: average joe who wrote (4558)8/10/2008 9:08:43 PM
From: alan w
   of 5569
And your point is?


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To: average joe who wrote (4558)8/10/2008 10:48:43 PM
From: Sidney Reilly
   of 5569
I answered this before.

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To: MSB who wrote (4556)8/14/2008 10:34:16 PM
From: Greg or e
   of 5569
Life After Lakeland: Sorting Out the Confusion
Todd Bentley’s announcement that his marriage is ending has thrown our movement into a tailspin—and questions need to be answered.

It was not supposed to end like this.

Evangelist Todd Bentley had heralded the Lakeland revival as the greatest Pentecostal outpouring since Azusa Street. From his stage in a gigantic tent in Florida, Bentley preached to thousands, bringing many of them to the stage for prayer. Many claimed to be healed of deafness, blindness, heart problems, depression and dozens of other conditions in the Lakeland services, which ran for more than 100 consecutive nights. Bentley announced confidently that dozens of people had been raised from the dead during the revival.

But this week, a few days after the Canadian preacher announced the end of his visits to Lakeland, he told his staff that his marriage is ending. Without blaming the pace of the revival for Bentley’s personal problems, his board released a public statement saying that he and his wife, Shonnah, are separating. The news shocked Bentley’s adoring fans and saddened those who have questioned his credibility since the Lakeland movement erupted in early April.

“Among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow. The message was clear: ‘This is God. Don’t question.’ ”

I’m sad. I’m disappointed. And I’m angry. Here are few of my many, many questions about this fiasco:

Why did so many people flock to Lakeland from around the world to rally behind an evangelist who had serious credibility issues from the beginning?

To put it bluntly, we’re just plain gullible.

From the first week of the Lakeland revival, many discerning Christians raised questions about Bentley’s beliefs and practices. They felt uneasy when he said he talked to an angel in his hotel room. They sensed something amiss when he wore a T-shirt with a skeleton on it. They wondered why a man of God would cover himself with tattoos. They were horrified when they heard him describe how he tackled a man and knocked his tooth out during prayer.

But among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow. The message was clear: “This is God. Don’t question.” So before we could all say, “Sheeka Boomba” (as Bentley often prayed from his pulpit), many people went home, prayed for people and shoved them to the floor with reckless abandon, Bentley-style.

I blame this lack of discernment, partly, on raw zeal for God. We’re spiritually hungry—which can be a good thing. But sometimes, hungry people will eat anything.

Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It’s way past time for us to grow up.

Why didn’t anyone in Lakeland denounce the favorable comments Bentley made about William Branham?

This one baffles me. Branham embraced horrible deception near the end of his ministry, before he died in 1965. He claimed that he was the reincarnation of Elijah—and his strange doctrines are still embraced by a cultlike following today. When Bentley announced to the world that the same angel that ushered in the 1950s healing revival had come to Lakeland, the entire audience should have run for the exits.

Why didn’t anyone correct this error from the pulpit? Godly leaders are supposed to protect the sheep from heresy, not spoon feed deception to them. Only God knows how far this poison traveled from Lakeland to take root elsewhere. May God forgive us for allowing His Word to be so flippantly contaminated.

A prominent Pentecostal evangelist called me this week after Bentley’s news hit the fan. He said to me: “I’m now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the anti-Christ when he shows up because they have no discernment.” Ouch. Hopefully we’ll learn our lesson this time and apply the necessary caution when an imposter shows up.

Why did God TV tell people that “any criticism of Todd Bentley is demonic”?

This ridiculous statement was actually made on one of God TV’s pre-shows. In fact, the network’s hosts also warned listeners that if they listened to criticism of Bentley, they could lose their healings.

This is cultic manipulation at its worst. The Bible tells us that the Bereans were noble believers because they studied the Scriptures daily “to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11, NASB). Yet in the case of Lakeland, honest intellectual inquiry was viewed as a sign of weakness. People were expected to jump first and then open their eyes.

Just because we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit does not mean we check our brains at the church door. We are commanded to test the spirits. Jesus wants us to love Him with our hearts and our minds.

Because of the Lakeland scandal, there may be large numbers of people who feel they’ve been burned by Bentley. Some may give up on church and join the growing ranks of bitter, disenfranchised Christians. Others may suffer total spiritual shipwreck. This could have been avoided if leaders had been more vocal about their objections and urged people to evaluate spiritual experiences through the filter of God’s Word.

Why did a group of respected ministers lay hands on Bentley on June 23 and publicly ordain him? Did they know of his personal problems?

This controversial ceremony was organized by Peter Wagner, who felt that one of Bentley’s greatest needs was proper spiritual covering. He asked California pastors Che Ahn and Bill Johnson, along with Canadian pastor John Arnott, to lay hands on Bentley and bring him under their care.

Bentley certainly needs such covering. No one in ministry today should be out on their own, living in isolation without checks, balances and wise counsel. It was commendable that Wagner reached out to Bentley and that Bentley acknowledged his need for spiritual fathers by agreeing to submit to the process. The question remains, however, whether it was wise to commend Bentley during a televised commissioning service that at times seemed more like a king’s coronation.

In hindsight, we can all see that it would have been better to take Bentley into a back room and talk about his personal issues.

The Bible tells us that ordination of a minister is a sober responsibility. Paul wrote: “Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others” (1 Tim. 5:22). We might be tempted to rush the process, but the apostle warned against fast-tracking ordination—and he said that those who commission a minister who is not ready for the job will bear some of the blame for his failures.

I trust that Wagner, Ahn, Johnson and Arnott didn’t know of Bentley’s problems before they ordained him. I am sure they are saddened by the events of this week and are reaching out to Bentley and his wife to promote healing and restoration. But I believe that they, along with Bentley and the owners of God TV, owe the body of Christ a forthright, public apology for thrusting Bentley’s ministry into the spotlight prematurely. (Perhaps such an apology should be aired on God TV.)

Can anything good come out of this?

That depends on how people respond. If the men assigned to oversee Bentley offer loving but firm correction, and if Bentley responds humbly to the process by stepping out of ministry for a season of rehabilitation, we could witness a healthy case of church discipline play out the way it is supposed to. If all those who were so eager to promote Bentley now rush just as fast to repent for their errors in judgment, then the rest of us could breathe a huge sigh of relief—and the credibility of our movement could be restored.

I still believe that God desires to visit our nation in supernatural power. I know He wants to heal multitudes, and I will continue praying for a healing revival to sweep across the United States. But we must contend for the genuine, not an imitation. True revival will be accompanied by brokenness, humility, reverence and repentance—not the arrogance, showmanship and empty hype that often was on display in Lakeland.

We are weathering an unprecedented season of moral failure and spiritual compromise in our nation today. I urge everyone in the charismatic world to pray for Bentley; his wife, Shonnah; his three young children; Bentley’s ministry staff; and the men and women who serve as his counselors and advisers. Let’s pray that God will turn this embarrassing debacle into an opportunity for miraculous restoration.

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From: Greg or e8/15/2008 2:53:36 PM
   of 5569
Prophecy and Signs and Wonders
by Frank Turk

Before we get started here, it behoves me to remind all of you -- and there's no gracious way to say this, so here it comes -- that Dan told you so twice. And what really polishes the apple there is that, as some astute commenters have almost noted, somehow we're the ones who don't claim to be prophets who get a spontaneous word from God, and the folks who are very ardent and urgent to claim "prophets" and "apostles", well, missed it. By a lot.

We'll get to that, because I have a veritable laundry list of stuff I want to get through on this today, but let's start off by being fair: if you type the search "bentley", on the second or third page of that search you'll see that in the reader forums at Charisma, many reders there were plainly distancing themselves from Bentley, plainly denouncing him as a fraud. It just seems that the editorial staff of Charisma couldn't find a way to sort of harness the spirit there and find out, one way or the other, if the critics had a foot to stand on -- biblical, pneumatological, podiatrical or otherwise.

So what's to learn from this? I mean, what's the take-away, given the context that I have opened this can of worms by linking Dr. Piper's response to these events?

Here's my first suggestion -- and it's to people like John Piper and C. J. Mahaney for whom, frankly, I have the highest level of respect and from whom I have frankly learned more than I could list: you can't publish essays like this one after the fact, well after the next ridiculous charismatic fraud has exposed himself as a profiteer toward God's Gospel, and not face the question, "How did you not see this coming?"

I wholly affirm what Dr. Piper said here:

Discernment is not created in God’s people by brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance. It is created by biblical truth and the application of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds. When that happens, then the brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance will have the strong fiber of the full counsel of God in them. They will be profoundly Christian and not merely religious and emotional and psychological.
And if anyone asked me -- anyone, at any time, in any circumstance -- whether I thought men like Dr. Piper and C.J. grasped and taught biblical truth, and thereby were broken, humble, repentant, I'd say "yes" with no qualifiers.

Yes, in fact: heroes of the faith. In their way, they have stood up against the trend to remove the cross from the church, seeking to turn the people who bear the name of Jesus toward their God rather than the TV, the movie theater, and the internet. That's what they do.

Somehow the false idol of entertainment can be identified in every other place and spoken against in no uncertain terms, but when a Todd Bentley starts actively deceiving people under the cover of signs and wonders, it seems the credible advocates of the "continualist" view always -- always -- adopt a wait-and-see approach to these quacks who are simply tempting the hurting and the gullible away from the faith and toward a sideshow profit center.

Seriously: how is it possible that "60 Minutes" knew more about Todd Bentley -- and were more willing to get him on the record -- than Charisma magazine? Doesn't Charisma have more to lose by doing what it did -- namely, giving Bentley a free pass for almost 5 years until his ship came in and then crashed into the dock? They had to know -- tracking him as a Canadian Evangelist since at least 2003 -- what he was teaching and how he was developing. How could they not know? And how could they not, frankly, denounce him -- or at least call him to be accountable for what, in hindsight, J. Lee Grady called plainly, "cultic manipulation at its worst".

Dr. Piper is welcome, in my view, to defend his position on the continuation of the gifts as he sees fit (I have a whole other series of post on that matter coming). But, unfortunately, this last article of his glosses over the abuses and overlooks the lack of discernment in those with whom he, apparently, agrees with on this matter for the sake of fronting a minor apologetic on the matter rather than plainly denouncing a fraud.

This does not diminish my admiration for Dr. Piper or Desiring God Ministries. This simply underscores the real lack of engagement by serious people about these matters which require biblical truth and the application of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds to discern before the name of Christ and the power of His Gospel is denigrated.

Todd Bentley has denigrated the church -- to outsiders and to the many whom he deceived. Nobody needed a dream from an angel to see this one coming -- yet nobody but crackpots like Dan and myself and Phil said anything about it. Unless those who are actually committed to the charismatic/pentecostal vision can themselves discern the wheat from the chaff, that movement will be consistently plagued by this sort of folk revivalism, substatiation of "elmer Gantry" stereotypes, and the discrediting the most important message in the history of the world.

God be with you this weekend as you go to the Lord's House on the Lord's day to be with the Lord's people. He is with you when you gather and listen to His word and take His ordinances.

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To: Sidney Reilly who wrote (4560)8/18/2008 2:57:12 AM
From: Broken_Clock
   of 5569
Message 24855499

Message 24854404

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To: Greg or e who wrote (4557)8/20/2008 3:25:41 AM
From: MSB
   of 5569
I'm sorry, Greg, for that which I thought in my heart against thee, because of what you spoke with your mouth against me.

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To: MSB who wrote (4564)8/20/2008 9:17:44 AM
From: DMaA
   of 5569
Here's how your post COULD be interpreted:

I'm sorry you are such a jerk.

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To: DMaA who wrote (4565)8/21/2008 4:42:52 AM
From: MSB
   of 5569
When I got baptised with the Holy Spirit, I didn't know what happened to me. But it was so awesome and so wonderful, every doubt I ever had as to the realness of God was instantaneously wiped out! Because I wasn't attending a church at the time, I came to SI seeking answers from those who frequently posted to the old ASK GOD thread. It wasn't really something I had wanted to do. I had been away for sometime, and I was quite happy to keep it that way. (BTW, I never found anyone who could tell me what had happened to me.) You see, I wasn't a very nice person when it came to interacting with those who were not on my short list of those I trusted. I knew how to bait, insinuate, manipulate, and basically tell someone where to go, how to get there, and what to do along the way. What the Lord did on that very wonderful day was set me free of a spirit of hatred and rage. And ever since that day, I have determined in my heart that I am not going to go down that road again under any circumstances.

Jesus Christ took my worthless, dead, emptiness, and HE gave me HIS life. It doesn't mean I don't or haven't made mistakes, but God help me if, after being convicted by the Holy Spirit, I should ignore HIM and not repent of any transgression which I am guilty of. I'm not responsible for another person's salvation, unless I am directed by the Lord to do something for that person. As Paul said, "Let every believer work out his own salvation."

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