My last blog was about the ministry of Todd Bentley and my thoughts on the so-called Florida Healing Outpouring which seems to be gaining widespread acceptance among many Pentecostals and Charismatics. This will be my last post for now on this topic. Last week, I had the opportunity to go and hear Todd Bentley live as he had an impartation service at Cabarrus Arena here in Concord. He was only in town for one night but his associates did stay and preach the other three. From what I heard in the two nights at Cabarrus Arena, I am very moved to be more in tune with scripture than ever before and to be more aware of Christian doctrine because these guys are clearly showing the uncanny ability to twist the Word of God to their advantage.
The first night was full of reasons that validated my concerns. The speaker, Jerame Nelson said God had shown him how to take the treasures he's stored up in heaven and get them transferred to his earthly bank account (I wish God would show me that.) As Nelson continued preaching- it was obvious that what he was speaking was the very same doctrines of the Latter Rain heresy of the 1940's. Of particular danger is the Manifest Sons of God- the belief that there are is a remannt of people on earth who will bring about the return of Christ by growing into and becoming an incarnation of Christ prior to his return.
The second night Todd Bentley came and spoke. He wasn't as extreme as I expected though in the little bit of time that he did talk he did say a few things that brought cause for concern. His testimony indeed was powerful and compelling. At the same time even in the midst of giving his testimony, he could not resist talking about miracles, signs, and wonders and particularly how when he first converted he thought all Christians walked in that power and also had angelic encounters. He brushed over the topic of angelic encounters. I think much of that has to do with the fact that the pastor at Lakeland has asked him to tone down his references to angelic encounters. Karl Strader, pastor of Ignited Church in Lakeland has also asked him to tone down his reference to third heaven experiences.
Todd Bentley does indeed appear to have toned down his references to such. However, there are still references of the angel and his third heaven encounters in the teachings on his website. Based on the examination of those teachings, there is still much cause for concern. We must be discerning and test these spirits- and not simply just drink the kool-aid that he and his associates are serving up to us.
I have no doubt that the majority of the people listening to Todd Bentley are doing so with a hunger for the things of God. Satan as well is aware of that hunger- and that's why he doesn't come in his naked deformity but rather masquerades around as an angel of light. The greatest and most dangerous shift in the body of Christ is the belief that we needs miracles, signs, and wonders to operate in normalcy among us today in order to confirm the gospel of Christ. While I do believe in miracles, signs, and wonders the Word of God must take precedence over everything so that all is in accordance with sound doctrine. Looking at the teachings and beliefs of this movement- it is clear that there are many errors and many contradictions which might as well be spitting on the Bible. In Luke 11, the religious crowd asked Jesus to perform a sign for them. Jesus replied, "A wicked and adulterous geeration looks for a sign- no sign shall be given you except the sign of Jonah." As Jonah was in the belly of a whale, so the Son of Man would be in the belly of the earth and would conquer death, hell, and the grave.
It is the Spirit of religion that tells us to jump into the river embracing the experience without worrying about the doctrine. It is the Spirit of religion to believe and or to teach that there is any more of a sign needed what Christ did in His death and resurrection. It is the Spirit of religion that reigned last week in Cabarrus Arena. It is the Spirit of religion that is driving this so-called revival. It is the Spirit of God that tells us to test these spirits, to discern what is of God and not to turn to this man and his ministry for an impartation when we can go directly to the throne of Christ himself and receive that.