A theological defence of Todd Bentley's ministry

In my previous post I mentioned a paper Biblical Reasons to Receive God’s Glory and Give it Away in Power Evangelism by Dr Gary S. Greig, PhD., a former Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Regent University School of Divinity, and Senior Editor, Theology and Acquisitions for the Regal Publishing Group (free PDF download but donations requested). I have now skim read this paper. In it Dr Greig offers a defence from a generally careful theological standpoint of Todd Bentley‘s ministry and the outpouring in Lakeland, Florida.

Dr Greig deals with ten objections to Todd’s ministry. I will summarise them here:

Objection 1: “The healings aren’t really real” and “People are only working themselves into altered states of consciousness.”

On this point Dr Greig points objectors to the clear evidence that real healings are taking place. He also demonstrates that biblical evangelism included healing ministry. It is unfortunate that he likens the objectors to holocaust deniers, and emotional argument which does not fit well with the scholarly tone of the rest of the paper.

Some people have particular objections to reports of resurrections. Dr Greig mentions that three news channels reported on “an older woman being resurrected after rigor-mortis had set in”, but it is unfortunate that one of the three links is broken, and the other two are both to this news report which indeed reports a remarkable event but makes no mention of Todd or Lakeland.

This is perhaps the weakest part of the paper because it fails to provide any verifiable evidence that genuine lasting healings are taking place clearly linked to Todd and Lakeland. Perhaps Dr Greig is not the person to look for for such evidence. But it would help to answer this objection if someone close to Todd could provide this kind of evidence.

Objection 2: “Many healings are partial or gradual, and some people lose their healing after they claim to have been healed.” “Healings in the New Testament always happened immediately and could not be ‘lost’.”

Dr Greig answers this one by showing that biblical healings were sometimes gradual and arguing that healing could be lost.

Objection 3: “The manifestations, shaking, vibrating, laughing, talk of electricity, and weird behavior didn’t happen in the Bible and cannot be from God. Todd Bentley has an obsession with the paranormal.”

Dr Greig writes:

While I agree—and I have heard Todd Bentley and other leaders of the Lakeland revival agree—that our focus should not be on the miracles and the manifestations, but on Jesus alone, it is simply not true that Todd Bentley has “an obsession with the paranormal” or that the “weird” manifestations are not from God …

He also shows that many biblical miracles are just as “weird” as anything seen at Lakeland. In fact he finds biblical parallels for all the kinds of things which Todd does. He rightly insists that what matters, as a test of genuineness, is not the form of the manifestation but the fruit of it.

Objection 4: “There is no emphasis on repentance and holiness in the Lakeland meetings, as there always has been in classic revivals and awakenings …”

This charge against Todd Bentley and the leaders of the Lakeland outpouring is not true either. Anyone who is attentive and who has watched or visited the meetings in Lakeland can attest to the fact that purity of heart, holiness, and keeping our focus on Jesus, are themes that Todd Bentley and the other leaders have repeatedly emphasized.

Objection 5: “We should not be teaching people to interact with angels. Satan masquerades as an angel of light and people can be deceived by demonic angels…”

On this point Dr Greig makes a clear distinction between worship of and prayer to angels and interaction with them. The former is clearly forbidden, and Todd agrees. But the latter is normal in the Bible and should not be rejected, although any message received apparently from angels should be carefully tested.

Objection 6: “It’s wrong and misguided for us to describe angels in detail or to mention their names. This will get our focus off of Jesus.”

Dr Greig’s simple answer to this is that the biblical authors described angels and mentioned their names. Again he asks the question “What is the fruit of such descriptions?”, and shows that in Todd’s case it has been “to focus people on the Lord Jesus and His plans and power for His people.”

Objection 7: “There is no such thing as angels manifesting themselves as female angels in Scripture. Jesus taught that angels are genderless. So talk of female angels with female names is New Age deception.”

In response to this Dr Greig gives a long argument (which Todd accepts in his recent article) that although angels are genderless in their essential nature they can and do manifest themselves in both male and female forms, as well as in various inanimate ways.

Objection 8: “No Scripture supports the idea that the Holy Spirit bestows healing mantles through His angels. Only the Holy Spirit heals, not angels.”

Dr Greig starts his response with the following, which he proceeds to justify in detail:

These assertions are simply not true on several counts, when examined in the light of Scripture. There are three points that need to be made below: 1) The Holy Spirit manifesting God’s presence and glory is attended by angels throughout the Bible; 2) Healing mantles do exist, and they are just another name for healing and miraculous gifts of the Spirit; and 3) Angels are indeed associated with healing in Scripture.

Objection 9: “Todd Bentley teaching that believers can go up frequently in the Spirit to God’s throne in heaven, is unbiblical and borders on New Age visualization.”

“Once again,” Dr Greig writes, “nothing could be further from the truth in Scripture!”:

the New Testament couldn’t be clearer about a principle than this one that through Christ and His blood we have access now to God’s throne in heaven … We are already there seated in Christ in the heavenly realms

He also shows how this kind of experience is an established part of Christian spirituality.

Objection 10: “Todd Bentley is a false prophet, because he teaches things I cannot find in Scripture.”

Here Dr Greig looks back to his previous responses:

as has been demonstrated above, the fact that the so-called “Bible experts,” critics, and concerned leaders, cannot find in Scripture what Todd Bentley and the leaders of the Lakeland outpouring have been teaching and modeling, is more a testimony to the fact that the critics (as well as the rest of us) need to revisit the Scriptures and study the relevant passages more carefully, bind the enemy from interfering with our thinking (James 4:7-8; compare Peter’s thoughts being influenced by the enemy in Matt. 16:22-23), and consciously ask the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth according to Jesus’ promise in John 16:13-15. …

We, the Body of Christ, need to repent of our being functional atheists—acting as if the supernatural realm, that Scripture clearly portrays, is really not functionally real for us.

Dr Greig then brings his readers back to “Jesus’ criterion for discerning false prophets and false teachers”, which is simply “By their fruit you will recognize them”. He discusses this issue in greater depth, without explicitly applying it to Todd Bentley, and concludes as follows:

The end of the matter: Receive all God wants to give you, and give it away

My prayer is that you will not make the same mistakes I made. I wholeheartedly encourage you to support what God is obviously doing through the Lakeland outpouring. My prayer is that you will be used by the Holy Spirit to empower and equip as many leaders in the next generation as possible to receive the glory and Presence of the Lord and take it to the nations. We need to give ourselves to the Lord and His cause of preaching the gospel with power to all remaining unreached nations and people-groups, to hasten the Day of the Lord, when Jesus will return for His Bride, the worldwide Body of Christ!

Amen!

61 thoughts on “A theological defence of Todd Bentley's ministry

  1. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Todd Bentley lifts Jesus high

  2. Pingback: iamhealed.net » Blog Archive » If you don’t have time for the whole 55 pages…

  3. Hearing a testimony of God’s Love and power changes lives and is one of the two ways that the bible says that we as believers “overcome”. Listen to the real testimonies of God’s great Love and healing power at iWasHealed.com

  4. Peter,
    It is Dr. Gary Greig here: I too am an Anglican, and I appreciate so much your gentle wisdom web-site. Thank you for your outline of my paper here. I think you may have missed my point in the first section of the paper. The point was that one need only watch the meetings to see raw, empirical data that cannot be explained away as somehow “not really real”–so many miracles such as people getting out of wheelchairs, the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, children born with cross-eyed conditions who are clearly not cross-eyed any more with parents who attest to their children’s former condition. It is impossible that all these hundreds, thousands of people who claimed to have been healed are ALL deceived, lying, or making it up. The point, then is that empirical evidence that is observable before our very eyes is available to the world through God TV and the internet and cannot be explained away like Ahmadinajad tried to deny the clear reality of the Holocaust. The critics are ignoring the forest for the trees. They did the same thing back in the Vineyard revival of the 1980’s and 1990’s when John Wimber received the same criticism. That is why Kevin Springer and I published “The Kingdom and the Power,” a compilation of chapters from 15 evangelical scholars and church leaders, including J. I. Packer, Wayne Grudem, Don Williams, Charles Kraft, etc., laying out the biblical and practical foundations of power evangelism. Chapter 13 of that book by Dr. David Lewis, a cultural anthropologist and research associate of Cambridge University, UK, statistically documents, as thoroughly as anyone would want or desire, mutiple verified healings from the Vineyard revival that are similar in every way to the current Lakeland healings (healing resulted when people were prayed for in Jesus’ name, bringing Him glory and making people want to follow Jesus even more). Lewis also cited medical doctor, Dr. Rex Gardner’s similar verifications of reported Christian healings in the “British Medical Journal” (vol 287, 1983) and in Gardner’s book “Healing Miracles: A Doctor Investigates” (Darton, Longman & Todd, 1986) The bottom-line is: I’ve seen the critics make the same false claims about healings not being real before, Peter. They weren’t right about the Vineyard healings and they are certainly not right about the current Lakeland healings. Especially given the fact that I myself have been healed of sleep apnea (a condition where the tongue blocks the throat so that one cannot breathe during sleep–people often have heart attacks and die from sleep apnea), two weeks ago while watching the Lakeland meetings. (And, no, I cannot agree with critics who will certainly claim that my healing is of the devil–why would the devil make me love and praise Jesus more, which is what this healing has done for me? And no, I cannot agree with critics who will argue that my healing from sleep apnea is really not real–My wife would adamantly disagree: I used to stop breathing hundreds of times per night and snore loudly waking and scaring my wife half to death; and I used to have to wear various paraphernalia around my head and in my mouth to keep my tongue from blocking my throat at night so I could breathe at all–but NOW I DO NOT WEAR THEM ANY MORE and I SLEEP LIKE A BABY: I couldn’t possibly have made this up for the past 14 nights!) So I conclude from the empirical evidence of my own healing, from the empirical evidence of miraculous healings that bear good fruit (people loving Jesus more) that I see every night in the Lakeland meetings, and from the biblical evidence presented in my paper, and from the independent witness of mainstream Old and New Testament scholars about the significance of the biblical evidence, that what is happening at Lakeland IS INDEED from God.
    Empirical evidence matters. The truth matters. We cannot make reality go away because we refuse to acknowledge what is real. That is why I see the critics no different than Ahmadinajad’s denying the abundant empirical evidence that the Holocaust really did happen, just as there is abundant empirical evidence in the Lakeland meetings that people really are being healed (like I was) for all who have eyes that can see.
    Blessings upon you and thank you again for your peaceable tone on this web-site. Please forgive me if my tone doesn’t sound peaceable. I really want to be. But I see a clear denial of reality in the way the critics are reasoning. And their thinking is not worthy of the Lord. He expects more of His people. He expects us to bind the enemy, to humble ourselves and our thinking before Him, and to ask His Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth (John 16:13-15; James 4:7-8; John 10:27-28; Prov. 2:1-10). Anything less is unworthy of our Lord. He is calling the Body to deliberate, Spirit-led standards of scholarship and theological research and education. And that is how I came to my conclusions about Lakeland–I asked Him to lead me, I bound the enemy from interfering, and I consciously listened to the Holy Spirit as I studied the passages and the research of biblical scholars on those passages. Anything less is not worthy of His Holy Name, Jesus.
    If you would like to contact me, e-mail my friend and former prayer partner from the Univ of Chicago, James Spinti of Eisenbrauns Academic Publishers , who is also a scholar of Greek NT and a scholar of the ancient Near East, and who also recognizes that Lakeland is from God, and he will give you my personal e-mail. I will ask James only to give it to you, Peter.

  5. Thank you, Dr Greig, and especially for more details of how you were healed.

    Let me just clarify that I agree with you completely. I agree that the evidence of my eyes is sufficient to prove that many real healings are taking place, although not to prove that every individual healing is genuine and lasting as a few cases could be trickery or wishful thinking.

    I think it is accurate to compare the critics to holocaust deniers, I’m just not sure if it is helpful. If I had been writing such a paper for an academic audience I would have pointed in it to evidence like that of Lewis and Gardner which you mention. But then perhaps nothing we can say is helpful with extremists, just as no evidence is going to convince Ahmadimajad.

    I am already in contact with James Spinti. I am glad that you are together on this.

  6. We, the Body of Christ, need to repent of our being functional atheists—acting as if the supernatural realm, that Scripture clearly portrays, is really not functionally real for us. This is so easy to do on so many different levels in the Christian life. We think we are somewhere we are not. We think we believe in the supernatural but when we see it we run screaming! May God soften our hearts and lead us into HIS truth. Thank you Peter.

  7. Peter – Thanks for your posts on the revival! And I’m delighted Dr. Greig told his healing testimony in your comment section – I printed it and intend to share it publicly tomorrow at church. I was already planning to refer to his written defense of this revival in our worship services tomorrow and encourage our people to study it carefully. I’ve gone through it twice now carefully. I believe this is a touch of God that will help this revival break through a level of resistance. I hope it becomes a book and is handed out liberally – though I wish he dealt with one additional point of controversy, namely “violence and the Kingdom of God”.

    I heard Todd tonight say they have stacks of medically verifiable healing reports, doctor statements, blood tests, before/after xrays, etc. and that they are about ready to release these to the media. My sense though in dealing on my blog with those sitting in the seat of scoffers is they won’t believe “even if someone is raised from the dead.” Blessings to you!

  8. Pingback: Great Florida Outpouring - Dr. Greig was Healed Watching God TV « Rahab’s Place

  9. I lifted Dr. Greig’s comment and blogged about it on my site with a link back to you.

    I have enjoyed reading your take on this. I am sure there are things we disagree about (if we all agreed, we would all be in the same denomination and how boring would that be?) but it our love for the Lord that unites his children as we walk in the light he has given us.

    Walking in love doesn’t mean we have to agree on every point. It does mean that we don’t try to destroy those we disagree with. I wish that message would get through to those who have objections to Todd Bentley.

  10. If the paper was supposed to be an academic treatment of the subject, I was sorely dissapointed.

    I found Dr. Greig’s frequent use of ad hominem attacks against those who question what is going on to be a major distraction. In the paper you will find frequent references to terms such as “heresy hunters” or “self proclaimed bible experts.”

    Ironic that he marginalizes those who cannot read three biblical languages, yet he acknowledges that Bentley is quite uneducated himself, yet he pronouces him doctrinally sound.

    I would have liked to have seen a better treament of the topic of angels. From the paper I can only conclude that the “angels of finance” are real because they brought Dr. Greig some money.

    If there was meat to this paper is was hidden under the usual rhetoric.

    Bill Fawcett
    Harrisonburg, Virginia

  11. Bill, do you have any evidence that Dr Greig profited from this paper, despite what Todd Bentley writes about him “donating it to Fresh Fire Ministries to use as we will”? If you have any evidence to back up this charge, please present it. If you have not, please withdraw your accusation. You cannot expect your complaint about “ad hominem attacks” to be taken seriously if you distract your readers with your own ad hominem attack.

  12. Dear Peter,

    I don’t recall making any accusation that Dr. Greig profited from the paper. That is ridiculous.

    I will concede that perhaps I did not make myself clear when I stated “I would have liked to have seen a better treament of the topic of angels. From the paper I can only conclude that the “angels of finance” are real because they brought Dr. Greig some money.”

    I’m guessing you did not catch the reference to angels on Page 44, where Greig states:

    “And then I would watch as He dispatched his angels from the throne room to carry out His word. For each and every one of the past seven months, as I have prayed the way I was told to by Father God, we have received unexpected checks in the mail or gifts or other unexpected income that totally surprised us, but all of which were granted to my family in prayer sessions when Jesus allowed me to come before Father’s throne of grace in heaven.”

    This was an obvious defense of Bentley’s 2003 treatise on Angels entitled “Angelic Hosts” where Bentley states:

    “Scripture also speaks of another angel that releases finances. I understand that God will supply all my need according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19). Do you know what that means? There are riches in glory because the earth is the Lords and everything in it. He is the God who supplies our needs according to His riches in glory. The bible even tells us that the silver and gold are His. 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.”

    I’m sorry I did not make myself clear, and I assumed that anyone who was studying these issues would be aware of his seminal writings.

    The paper is posted on Patrica Kings website:

    http://www.etpv.org/2003/angho.html

    -Bill Fawcett
    Harrisonburg, VA

  13. Bill, I’m sorry, I misunderstood you. I had forgotten that passage from Greig’s paper and thought you were hinting that he was profiting from the blessing which Todd had received by being paid for the paper. I am glad that we agree that that would be ridiculous.

    But of course the passage you quote from Greig’s paper is not his main teaching about angels. That is in his responses to objections 5 to 8 which are all about angels. That is 20 pages of solid teaching about angels. You may be disappointed by its quality, but you can hardly ignore its quantity.

    I agree with you that his references to heresy hunters etc distract scholarly readers from his main points. This is what I had in mind when I wrote

    It is unfortunate that he likens the objectors to holocaust deniers, and emotional argument which does not fit well with the scholarly tone of the rest of the paper.

  14. Pingback: CHARISMATICA » In Defense of Lakeland

  15. Pingback: 4 Post on Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival (v. 0.6) « Moderate Christian Blogroll

  16. hi,, my church has recentley been holding revival services from a man who has spent a lot of time in lakeland and my pastor and his wife just got back from lakeland from a week long trip to the revival. In these services I have seen some amazing stuff from healings,,people laughing uncontrolably,,people drunk in the spirit. I myself saw someones shirt glistening with metalic lights and had an incredible energy buzz for a week. The energy buzz wasnt from the excitement i saw it was just hard to explain how i felt.(Im 29 and for that week i havent felt that physically good since i was a little kid) The reason im writing this is because im having a hard time taking in everything i experienced. Was it really from god. Im not knocking the experience im just having a hard time understanding it. The areas im having the most trouble understanding after i saw it with my own eyes are the being: drunk in the spirit :being slain in the spirit .. my pastor gave me scriptures talking about people in the bible who possibly were slain in the spirit,, and after studying them im still undecided… and ive also read the scriptures that explain the being drunk in the spirit and im still undecided about that…. i belive 100% that what i saw at these sevices is real but i need to know 100% that it is from God. My biggest problem is that everything that i look up on this revival is negative and says it is demonic. They also make some good points that i cant disagree with at least right now. I have been praying for God to reveal the truth to me, the last thing i want to do in this point of my life is to believe in a teaching that is false.(let me point out that i do not believe it is false but that i do not understand yet)If I wake up tommorrow and have revelation that it is all Gods work being done I will be thrilled. If anyone out there has anything that can help me understand this more please email me at: luke4acre1979@yahoo.com …. i appreciate it…thanks

  17. Thanks, Gus. I understand where you are at. It is sad that so much has been written that is negative. You have come to the right place to find the positive – I mean Dr Greig’s paper rather than my ramblings. A couple of other blogs which you might find interesting on this because they take a more cautious line: Dave Faulkner and The Simple Pastor.

  18. Gus, thanks for the link. But I am confused, a different Greig writing about Lakeland? I wondered for a moment if the same man uses different first names when wearing his academic and church planting hats, but it seems that Gary is American but Pete is British.

    I like this, from the article you link to:

    even if it is just a small percentage of reports that are accurate (and we pray that it is more than this) then we are witnessing some amazing signs of God’s power at work.

    We do not have to prove that everything reported from Lakeland is 100% kosher to know that God is at work. If only some of it is, he is at work. Maybe he is working alongside a lot which is not fully from him, as he has been forced to do in most churches for centuries. That does not limit him. But it does demonstrate that he is blessing what Todd is doing, despite its imperfections, and so we should be careful not to curse it, a lesson Balaam had to learn the hard way (Numbers 22:12,32-35).

    He is also right here:

    Lakeland doesn’t have a monopoly on God’s blessing. … Lakeland is perhaps best viewed – for the time being – as a prophetic sign for the church, provoking us all to greater hunger for God’s power and especially for His presence. … Let’s pray with all our hearts for the advancement of the Lakeland Revival, but let’s not kiss our brains (or our values) goodbye, in the process.

  19. It’s interesting, but very frightening how Christians are saying that what is happening at Lakeland e.t.c. is demonic. Infact many say that it is of Satan. People should be VERY careful about saying such stuff as if this is of God (which I strongly believe it is) then couldn’t their remarks sound significantly like “blaspheming against the Holy Spirit” by attributing Satan to what God is doing?!

  20. Bill, I think the title of Prasch’s article shows how balanced and impartial it is:

    A Review Of Gary S Greig’s Pseudo-Scholarly Apologetic For The Unbiblical Antics Of Todd Bentley And The Lakeland, Florida Sequel To The Failed Revivals Of Kansas City, Toronto, And Pensacola

    Nevertheless I will skim read it.

  21. Bill, I appreciated the beginning of Prasch’s paper, his criticism of modern theology. But then he launches into an immoderate criticism of Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the world’s best respected evangelical institutions, and then of anyone else who can be tainted by association with this great school.

    I accept the criticism that those who have responded to “revivals” in North America have largely been “transfer growth”. That is, they have mostly been people who were previously at least nominally Christian, and who may as a result of their experience transfer to a new variety of church. But this criticism ignores the clear indications that many of these people were previously only nominally Christian and no more than occasional church attenders, whereas afterwards they become much more consistent and committed Christians. Arguably that is in fact what revival is supposed to be about.

    Of course we would all like to see mass conversions of complete non-Christians, but these are unlikely to occur in Florida where few people have no Christian allegiance. Does this mean that events like Lakeland, which largely deepen the commitment of Christians, are wrong or even a waste of time? Surely not! Yet this “transfer growth” charge seems to be the only specific one made against Fuller and those associated with it.

    Then when Prasch comes to Greig’s paper, he starts with a whole lot of ad hominem charges. Indeed the poor guy is likened to higher critics, Roman Catholics and Mormons, before any attempt is made to address his arguments. This is not a proper way to argue.

    When Prasch claims to examine Greig’s arguments, he in fact merely makes unsubstantiated claims that Bentley’s teaching is false and heretical and his actions “of the flesh”, leading by more or less circular argument to the conclusion that he is a false teacher to be avoided. But Prasch fails even to consider the evidence that Greig gives that Bentley’s teaching and actions are biblical.

    Then we have this:

    Todd Bentley is a convicted homosexual pedophile imprisoned for molesting a seven-year-old boy, who now professes to have been “born again.” … supposedly becoming a Christian

    Mr Prasch, are you denying the truth of Todd being born again? If so, on what evidence? If he has been born again, after this offence (not covered up) committed during his wayward youth, then he has been forgiven by God, and should be forgiven by others, lest God does not forgive them. Have you ever read Matthew 6:15? Meanwhile Greig is blamed for ignoring the issue, which is what he was right to do.

    Then, having tried to assassinate Todd Bentley’s character, Prasch tries the same on Greig, but the best he can do here is to find that a member of a congregation Greig sometimes preaches to was involved in a dubious practice. But since when have visiting preachers been responsible for the actions of people who may or may not have heard them preach?

    Prasch condemns himself when he writes:

    An authentic scholarly approach to any issue requires an abandonment of ad homonym [sic] literary strategies seeking to circumvent an issue by character assault on the personality.

    Mr Prasch, assuming you meant “ad hominem“, this is precisely what you have done. You have entirely ignored Greig’s arguments and instead sought to attack him and Bentley ad hominem for their associations, and for Bentley’s actions before he was a Christian. Remove these elements from your paper and there is almost nothing left.

  22. I had read Dr. Greig’s paper and wrote a letter to him with questions. Instead of mailing it I looked for a way to email it, and found this website. I will just copy and paste it here.

    Dear Sir,

    I read your paper about Todd Bentley, and didn’t understand why certain things didn’t make your top 10 objections list.

    Todd got many of his tattoos after he began his ministry. Besides the debate about whether we are supposed to do that as Christians, some of the tattoos have questionable meanings. There is the oriental name “Emma” that has been traced to a demon in Japenese literature and also the Satanic Bible that mentions “Emma-O”.

    http://www.patholliday.com/christograms/from_scribd/ANGEL_EMMA_O_%20GOD_FROM_THE_UNDERWORLD_TODD_BENTLEY.pdf

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2909690/AN-ANGEL-CALLED-EMMA?query2=who%20is%20emma-o%20(deity)

    Other tattoos are the Jesus death mask, one which has a demonic monkey in the beard and a superimposed “oni” demon. Also a Masonic “all seeing eye” and an inverted cross. On his chest he has a skull in a rose with foreign words about the “tree of life” that are found in the Kaballah and other mystic literature. A flaming eye which means clairvoyance and a naked medusa with nipple rings on his leg. A lion and a lamb laying together with the scripture 1 Peter 5, which reads, “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walks about, seeking whom he may devour.” Doesn’t it seem strange that the devil would be the lion, and the people of God, the lamb? And he has them laying together? The people of God are laying down with Todd’s ministry!

    Back to the tattoo of the “tree of life” tattoo, in one of his messages, he encourages the people to come up if they want to partake of the tree of life. Where in the Word does it give us permission to do this? Here is a website about this deception:

    http://deceptionbytes.com/Todd-Bentleys-Fire-of-Kundalini

    Todd Bentley also manifested demons during a Bible study, according to his own testimony. You haven’t even mentioned any of the relevant concerns of people like me, regarding these things! I do not deny signs and wonders are taking place in the meetings in Florida, nor the fact that Jesus’ name is mentioned sometimes…probably not as often as angels, but nevertheless…unchurched people are hearing about a Jesus that is not the same Jesus that came and lived by example, taught about repentance, change of heart, and counting the cost of serving Him. They are getting “impartations” to take back to their families and churches that are not holy. Learning to “vibrate clockwise instead of counterclockwise”, to access portals into realms is not what we need to be delving into either!

    What are the elect thinking, to be deceived so easily! I knew it would happen someday, but I thought it would be more subtle than this!

    There is so much more I could name, in our objections to this movement; I won’t waste your time because if by now you are not convinced that you need to at least take a second look, nothing will.

    Please, sir, I read your paper and it seems like you’re a humble man, considering the last of your paper about your pain of dealing with those two men that you mentored. It will take someone doing more research, to see what I’m saying is true, to bravely change his opinion and make it known to the church leaders.

    I ask you to take more time to look into these matters, and count the cost of doing the right thing, by God, and by His people.

  23. Carrie, thanks for copying this letter here. Do you have a source for all you seem to know about Todd’s tattoos in places not normally visible?

    the fact that Jesus’ name is mentioned sometimes…probably not as often as angels

    This is ridiculous! At Lakeland Todd mentions angels only rather rarely, but Jesus all the time. If you want someone like Dr Greig to take any notice of your letter, please check your facts.

  24. Peter, didn’t you see my links I included in my letter to Dr. Greig? Anybody looking extensively for information about Todd and his tattoos will find them online. As a matter of fact, when questioned in an interview about his tattoos, he said he got his first at 14 and most of the others before he was saved, which would have been age 17. But if you look at earlier footage of Todd in his ministry, you will not see the extent of tattoos on his person as you see today. Check this website out for clearer pictures of his tattoos: http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/why-is-todd-bentley-lying-to-the-media-about-his-tattoos/

    And yes, he does refer to angels protrusively…don’t deny that.

  25. Carrie, I accept that Todd talks about angels quite a lot, indeed more than I am comfortable with. But he also talks a great deal about Jesus, don’t deny that.

    Sorry I did not read your links, but their titles suggested they were not about Todd’s tattoos. Well, I have now glanced through them.

    Pat Holliday seems to believe in the truth of Japanese and Indian mythology and rejects C.S. Lewis as occultic, but he has nothing of substance to say about Todd’s tattoos.

    This apparently anonymous article, in the same Pat Holliday style, also teaches Indian mythology as truth, and it does have some pictures of Todd’s tattoos. It also makes the understandable mistake of dating to 2007 this video of Todd which I read elsewhere is in fact from 2003. But this author admits that “I’m not an occultist” and so can only speculate on alleged occult meanings of the tattoos. One of them clearly depicts a lion lying down with a lamb, with crosses in the background, a positive biblical picture, but the author misinterprets the lion as the devil, and you seem to agree! The words do not say “1 Peter 5”, let alone specify the particular verse you quote, although I am puzzled by the significance of “I Peter”.

    Mishel also teaches various occult teachings as truth. There is little about tattoos in this article, but there is in this post at the same blog which has pictures. But Mishel makes no claim to understand them.

    As for these alleged tattoos:

    the Jesus death mask, one which has a demonic monkey in the beard and a superimposed “oni” demon. Also a Masonic “all seeing eye” and an inverted cross. On his chest he has a skull in a rose with foreign words about the “tree of life” that are found in the Kaballah and other mystic literature. A flaming eye which means clairvoyance

    I have seen no evidence for any of them.

    Mishel also links to a recent article (19th June) in the Charlotte Observer according to which Todd

    said most of his tattoos are from his pre-Christian days, but he makes no apologies for them.

    His exact words are quoted from the interview transcript, also quoted by “Sheepy Weepy”:

    I got my tattoo when I was a teenager. I’ve had numerous piercings over the y ears from the time I was 14. Most of the tattoos I have gotten have (before becoming a Christian). People have asked me about that. To me, it’s not a spiritual reason. But when I’m asked how can I back up from a theological perspective to justify the fact that I have tattoos, then I’m kind of forced to bring out my personal conviction about what the Bible says about tattoos. That’s really the only time I answer it. I don’t want it to be this spiritual thing, like I had a vision and God told me to get my tattoos. I love art and, to me, my skin is the canvas. I’m not taking my skin into heaven.

    Surely there is at least the possibility that earlier in his ministry Todd covered up the tattoos on his hands and neck with some kind of cosmetic. I’m sure this is possible, and previously he might have considered it important when ministering in places where the tattoos might be misunderstood, and posing for formal photos.

    “Sheepy-Weepy” posts more tattoo pictures, but still no occultic ones. He or she accepts that “the majority of the visible tattoos are ‘Christian’-prophetic themed”. No problem with these, then. Todd has said that he had at least some tattoos before he was a Christian, and that may explain some of the more occultic images – if they exist at all. If the majority of the tattoos are in fact from before he was a Christian (actually the Charlotte Observer transcript seems confused there, especially if the paranthetical “(before becoming a Christian)” is an editorial addition), these must be ones which are not visible, ones which Todd has very sensibly chosen not to have photographed. So there is in fact no contradiction between the majority of the tattoos being old and the majority of the VISIBLE ones being new.

  26. The spirit of New Age has entered into the Body of Christ, and it will not be obvious to everyone…the great falling away will be so unnoticed because it will be in the name of “Jesus”…how genius! And all this time I thought it was because people will intentionally backslide, but that is so like God…he chooses unlikely things to perform his Word. If Emma and “her” origins…Bob Jones’ reputation, along with his relationship with her and Todd Bentley…and the other mentors in Todd’s ministry…along with the “commission ceremony” that took place with world religious leaders don’t alarm anyone, then the body of Christ deserves what it gets. Happy Impartations to those who aren’t looking twice at what I’ve presented. I choose my Jesus the way He chose to come, simply and perfectly…with angels proclaiming Him and then letting Him be Himself, leading by example, with no side shows. The only people out of control were the ones He was casting demons out of. Where in the Old Testament, or New, did God bring such disorder to get His message across?

  27. Carrie, read 1 Corinthians 12:3 and 1 John 4:1-3. If a movement is proclaiming Jesus Christ as the incarnate Lord it cannot be operating in “The spirit of New Age” or any other wrong spirit.

  28. I’m sorry, Peter. You’re wrong. There are so many reasons to debunk Todd, but it’s obvious that it would waste so much time to try. Please ask God to show you…what is closest to His heart. He will show you souls; He will show you His Son and the Cross and its Purposes, NOT glitter and angels and manifestations. Todd doesn’t crack the Bible open much…
    I want revival, too, Peter. But not at the expense of the true Gospel. I’ll stay in this realm and wait for it..not venture off with some “angel” to find it through some portal.

    Many places online for more insight(I’m attaching one, but there are so many more)…I’ve seen both perspectives, and I was compelled to believe people who think Todd is what he says he is. But there is too much going the other way, and it can’t be both. I wouldn’t put dung in my brownie recipe, not even a touch of it…just because it wouldn’t be detected. Not intentionally…and I want to know the truth. Don’t you?

    http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2008/04/24/max-lucado-speaks-out-about-false-teachers/

  29. Carrie, I don’t see much sign of you cracking open a Bible or responding to the Bible verses I mentioned. You just quote people who teach occult mythology as truth but say “You’re wrong” to my teaching straight from the Bible. Then you ask me to ask God to show me when he already has done through his Word. If that is your attitude, there is no point in us continuing this contradiction match.

  30. Carrie,
    I do not know what revival you are watching. The one I am watching has Jesus being magnified, glorified and lifted up. People are repenting of their sin and it is being taken to the streets. I have heard the message of the Cross many times, and have witnessed many coming to the Lord. As far as Todd’s tattoos go, if you are going to apply one Old Testament Law…you have to abide by them all…which I doubt any one can do…
    Mr. Kirk…thanks for your gentle wisdom…it is so desperately needed during this time.

  31. “Surely there is at least the possibility that earlier in his ministry Todd covered up the tattoos on his hands and neck with some kind of cosmetic.”

    Yes, and its possible that pigs can fly.

    Bentley said around May 1, 2008, when asked if his tattos predated his conversion “a lot of it, not all of it. I have gotten some art, you know, after conversion.”

    Now we view the videos at TACF in 2003, and he is remarkably free of the Tattoos now visible on his neck, hands and arms. Please, don’t suggest he was wearing make up.

    Besides, since most of the tats on neck, arms and hands are Christian-themed, we can conclude these were most likely post-conversion.

    And so the issue for me isn’t some deep doctrinal thing over tattooes, but why did he lie about it?

    In fact, in June, it has been reported that he showed up on stage with a “Jesus gave me these tattos” T- shirt.

    (Tattoes pre-c0onversion?) “a lot of it, not all of it. I have gotten some art, you know, after conversion.”

    Well, that’s an understatment.

  32. Bill, whether you like it or not, I will say that Todd may have been wearing makeup on stage in 2003. Wouldn’t you if you had embarrassing tattoos and were appearing in public in a place where they might not be welcomed.

    But there is no reason to think he is lying. The evidence is quite consistent with Todd having extensive tattoos in places which are not so visible from before his conversion, and the visible Christian themed ones are later. Yes, I saw him on stage, on TV, in that T-shirt, of course not to be taken literally.

  33. Peter, pls stop this defending of Todd Bentley to the extend of saying that he was wearing makeup to cover his tattoos. Your ‘gentle wisdom’ doesn’t sound so wise anymore as all your quotes are to defend Todd Bentley and making up excuses for him. This is not gentle wisdom, this is blind loyalty.

  34. Charismatic, all I am saying is that one possible explanation to be considered for some alleged inconsistencies in the stories is that at some times in the past Todd may have used makeup to cover visible tattoos. In fact I don’t think there are any real inconsistencies. Nevertheless it is possible to disguise tattoos with makeup and also that Todd may have done this.

  35. Pingback: Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring « On Living

  36. All the signs,wonders and miracles in the world,do not change the absurd heresies being proclaimed by Bentley.His adventures have more in common with the “X files” than with the Scriptures.

  37. PeterKirk…. Have just finished reading the discussion here and on other blog posts about Todd Bentley and I wish to add my voice on this. 🙂

    For many months I have been Keeping track of Todd Bentleys ministry with his many partners which include Patricia King and Jones….both of whom are well known for their new age beliefs, including Open Heavens, spirit guides, angels, and the such.

    I have been to the sites which Charismatic wrote about, and I have read and seen Todd Bentley’s statements on YouTube, at his own website, and many, many other area’s online.

    Todd Bentley misquotes the Bible so often that I really couldn’t understand how so many professing Spirit Filled people were willing to overlook it! Again, today, among your guests comments and your own, I see it again, and, I have to agree with Charismatic and some of the others that had pointed that out and which you and others disregarded their words as “untrue”.

    I do not belong to any church denomination…was not of a churchgoing family and discovered God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible alone in my home as I grew up. I asked for and received God’s infilling of the Holy Spirit with the small gift of a personal prayer tongue at home, alone, with just God and Jesus there with me. I have been blessed for many a year without the Lord ever leading me to ANY “angels” or gold dust or anything else that Todd Bentleys ministry tries to say is “of God”. God once told me He is a plain speaking God and does not NEED such things, and neither do we. Everything we need is in the Bible and through going to God directly for ourselves and testing the spirits to make sure it IS God whom is teaching, leading, or guiding us. I certainly believe in miracles…have been witness to them in my own walk…and, God has led me through many area’s of teachings within his Book of Life, the Bible, and again, I repeat, He has never led me to seek an angel or preached another Christ or to accept another spirit like Todd Bentley is now and has done. Instead, God has warned of such things and laid them at satan’s feet where such things originate at, and continues to stress pleading the blood of Jesus, going to God for answers and NOT man, and testing the spirits no matter whom is saying what before accepting anything taught by another.

    Which you should do right away about what I am saying here. Go to God. Ask Him. Ask for confirmations. I usually ask God for 3: At least one has to come from an outside source that doesn’t know about what I asked God about…one or more can be through Scripture….doesn’t always happen in one day, sometimes many pass before answered. And if I question whether the answer is one I WANTED it to be and that’s why I took the answers to be what they were, I ask again for 3 confirmations. Believe me, I know myself, lol, and, if the answers are too quick or downpat to what I WANT to believe I will be more apt to question than if it were the other way around! 🙂

    (Unfortunately, the answers about Todd Bentley and the others never changed)

    Whether everything that happened at Toronto, Lakeland, and other places had any PART of God within it, I can only say this: IF God was using Bentley, Bentley was more of a “Judas” than he was a “Paul”. I have seen God able to use anything to His advantage, and, shaking people out of their complacent and hot nor cold beliefs and seeing how easily a laughing satan can fool even the “elect” is one of them.

    Think of that a bit…and remember: Satan mimicks everything he can that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit do……and he will blindside you into losing your place in the Book of Life if he can…that’s his mission after all.

    Your sister in Christ,

    Sheri/ForeverSet

  38. * I don’t know why I kept saying the Bible is “The Book of Life”….I have always said it to be God’s “Book of Truth”…forgive me that…hmmmm…have to ask God about that! God Bless! Sheri/ForeverSet

  39. Todd Bentley misquotes the Bible so often

    ForeverSet, thanks for putting paid to the lie that Todd Bentley doesn’t use the Bible at all. But I would be interested to hear of any specific examples to back up your accusation of it being misquoted, of words being used which are not in any legitimate Bible translation. As always, I am not prepared to tolerate generalised accusations of wrongdoing without evidence. Or do you mean that he misinterprets the Bible, a very different charge?

    I am glad that God is blessing you in the path he is leading you along. But you need to learn not to criticise those whom God is calling on other paths. Sadly there are many websites out there which are dominated by a negatively critical attitude which is fundamentally anti-Christian. Please stay away from them.

  40. RE: “Todd Bentley misquotes the Bible so often” and “misinterprets the Bible”

    LOL…both? After replaying things within my memory, the problem is that Todd doesn’t seem to give a Scripture Verse anywhere…just uses generalized area’s of what/where in the Bible he is speaking about. Something which many of us do, for instance, when writing Blogs and comments because of space/line count issues everywhere, so, it’s easy to overlook that when we are online….even when viewing video’s.

    The Minister that preaches before Todd comes out is the only one that basically speaks about the Word of God according to the Bible…giving Scripture and verse as he preaches. So, the people DO hear someone preaching the Word of God…but, not from Todd. Look back on your own memory and on his webpage, YouTube and GodTv video’s. Check it out for yourself.

    Will check back later, Cable guy is here 🙂

    Sheri/ForeverSet

  41. ForeverSet, there are no space or line count issues on blogs, at least not in WordPress or Blogger which I have used. But there are time constraints on preachers, which is no doubt one reason why they don’t quote the Bible verbatim all the time. As you point out, at Lakeland there was someone else who expounded the Bible. Todd’s task there was not to do that, which he is not an expert in, but to put into practice the calling and giftings which God has given him, of inspirational preaching and prayer for healing.

  42. Unfortunately, Blogs like this one are probably one of the exceptions as to space/line issues. 🙂

    So…space is not an issue here? LOL, no, I will restrain myself from filling your Blog up with things I COULD submit for you to read…

    Instead, I will give you a link to an online book written by Derek Prince quite a while ago. Within the very 1st chapter of the book is info I think you and anyone else whom may venture to this Blog would do well to read and test the info out for yourselves.

    Much of it I could have gone on explaining in my own poor way, but, now that I have found the info and site, I can see that he explains things so much better than I can. 🙂

    http://www.geocities.com/lostorfound_2/Deception.htm

    God Bless!

    Sheri (ForeverSet)

  43. Sheri, sorry your comments got caught as spam. Probably the geocities link was thought to be to a spam site.

    Thank you for this chapter from Derek Prince. I don’t really disagree with it, although I think it focuses a bit too much on the negative. He calls what was behind the Toronto Blessing, I presume, “a mixture of spirits, both the Holy Spirit and unholy spirits”. I expect he would have said something similar about Lakeland, if he was still alive.

    Well, it is the nature of all human endeavours to be like this, as nothing human is perfectly holy. But what do we do with such mixtures? Do we reject what the Holy Spirit is doing because there are also unholy spirits at work? No, because if we did the Holy Spirit would be unable to do anything in the world! Instead we have to keep what we do as pure as we can and trust God in prayer to minimise the damage caused by the unholy admixture. If this is not right, then of course God will withdraw his Holy Spirit from the work and it will become obviously entirely evil. I don’t think Lakeland ever got that far, but I suppose it was God’s way of purifying it, although not perfectly, to take Todd out of the way, so that what remains is much more pure.

  44. PeterKirk… You are very welcome 🙂

    The next 2 chapters are just as good reading….very thought provoking, bringing up issues that I had thought about but hadn’t researched futher into. (Just click on the bottom of his first page which mentions the 2nd chapter, and then the 3rd…is only a 3 chapter book/pamphlet)

    Interestingly enough, he names “Five Movements that Went Astray” as examples of what he has been speaking about….and, one of them involved himself. Back in the 80’s, I had read books by Don Basham and others and they always brought up Derek Prince, but, back then, I didn’t have any literature by Mr. Prince, but wished I had. Anyway, Mr. Basham was in the Deliverance Ministry, and though he was doing well, he often thought how he wished that the people whom came to his lectures and services could have a more well rounded coverage of the many area’s of the Lord, coverage by people whom were led to a ministry in each area. This “wish” was brought to be as he, Mr. Prince, and 2 other men of different types of ministries joined together to do just that. It went well at first. Then, it all began to go “wrong”. Fanaly, they all split up as their ministry no longer was a Joy or Triumph for the Lord but became an embarrasement to not only them but God. They allowed their eyes to turn to themselves instead of to what the Lord wanted for them and their ministries. Fine men….after 20, 30+ years of ministry for some, but, it simply went “wrong”. Oddly enough, the reason they banded together was so they’s be covered by one another by satan’s many attacks on each of their ministries after other men of God whom worked alone had taken big hits and had fallen….and, each one felt that THAT could have been one of them!

    What I am trying to say, is, that Mr. Prince understood the failings that happen because he had experienced them, and, had had to go to the Lord about that as well as any other ministry he had researched or witnessed.

    Each of the 5 he had chosen were different types of movements gone wrong…and, though the ministry he had been in seems to be the lesser of “evils”, it also showed what different area’s satan can be involved.

    In this, he reminds me of Andrew Strom’s testimony about his early years in the Prophetic Movement with Todd and King and Jones, etc.,. He too left the “movement” and he explains it very well in his testimonies which can be found in search as well as on his site at http://revivalschool.com/

    I well can understand your position…and, Derek Prince had brought up many questions within his little booklet about the situations within a ministry where there is good AND evil….

    The main one that had always bothered me is simply that satan was able to undermine the whole thing because of the good AND bad, and, how Todd had seemed to embrace the false spirits and New Age techniques that his older partners do….and announced to the world that it was ALL from God, Jesus, and God’s Holy Spirit…bringing confusion and everything else that Mr. Prince spoke about.

    Another thing that jumped out at me within his chapters is how he mentioned the word “play” and reminded me of how the Lord had impressed upon me about the “carnival” atmosphere of earlier ministries I had asked Him about and how He stressed that that was satan’s playground and NOT God’s…. and said that He and Jesus were plain speaking Person’s and so was their Body of Christ…and, that the Holy Spirit is USED by God and noone can control it for their own use….which Mr. Prince stated emphatically as well.

    Todd Bentley and his colleagues give everyone the impression that they have control over the Holy Spirit within their ministries. That is how it looks to an outsider, and, the only way you will see “Truth” is to back up and look at it as an outsider too.

    I have many many prayers concerning you and all others that are seeking and believing in our Lord that has been “touched” by the ministry that Bentley and the others have. God Bless and I will look in from time to time if you ever have a wish to converse about this or anything else on your mind. 🙂

    Your sister in Christ, Sheri

  45. Thank you, Sheri. Again I had to retrieve your comment from my spam, I don’t know why.

    I have read through chapter 2 of the Derek Prince booklet. Well, I have strong objections to his apparent claim that it is only the MALE human who is the image of God, contradicting Genesis 1:27 which makes it clear that both males and females are his image. I am also not entirely happy with what he has to say about styles of music – doesn’t he realise that classical music, even Mozart, is also used to call up demons, and that many people sing old hymns with the attitude “Excite me. Thrill me. Satisfy me.”? But these points are irrelevant to this discussion.

    But I am prepared to accept that at Lakeland there has been “soulishness: an undiscerned downward slide from a focus on God to a focus on self, from objective scriptural truth to subjective personal experience.” That is, it started well if not perfect and became less good, more man-centred. And God did something about it, removing Todd.

    I can also accept Prince’s assessment of the various movements and the way that they went astray. His insight into Branham is interesting, but note how he is clear that Branham genuinely operated in the Holy Spirit. I suspect he would think similarly of Todd Bentley: genuine powerful ministry but also serious flaws.

    Concerning “Latter Rain” Prince wrote: “one of Satan’s tactics is to discredit that which is good by its misuse.” 50 years later, here in comments on this blog, people are still using the words “Latter Rain” as a tactic “to discredit that which is good” at Lakeland and elsewhere. By doing so these people are, I’m sorry to say, serving Satan.

    I will comment separately on chapter 3.

  46. Pingback: Lakeland and Toronto

  47. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » How would Derek Prince have reacted to Todd Bentley?

  48. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Guards down, armour on

  49. Melanie, I know that there are things going on in every church, including some which have the reputation for being the most sound, which do not line up with the Word. Meanwhile I have stopped defending Todd Bentley, mainly because most people have stopped attacking him.

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