Todd Bentley follows Jesus' example

A certain “Doozie”, apparently of Arkansas, USA, who has a private blog (what’s the point of giving me that URL, Doozie?), has commented a few times on this blog in the last day or so. His or her name means “Something extraordinary or bizarre”, and that is a good description also of the content of this comment, which includes the following:

Show me in the NEW Testament where it supports an evangelist/prophet/disciple or anyone else standing in front of large masses conducting themselves as a Leader…….that is focusing only on healing and not repentance. The example of Jesus doesn’t count.

Yes, he or she, apparently a Christian, wrote “The example of Jesus doesn’t count.” I am gobsmacked! Sorry if this doesn’t sound too “Gentle”, but Christian “Wisdom” requires that I correct this amazing error, not because the mysterious Doozie makes it but because this attitude of rejecting Jesus’ example seems to lie behind much of the criticism of Todd Bentley.

In an early post on this blog, nearly two years ago so long before the Lakeland outpouring, I wrote that Jesus is Our Fully Human Example. As I argued in that post, Jesus carried out all of his ministry as a human being filled with the Holy Spirit. That implies that we as Christians should expect to be able to do all the same things that he did – although if we are crucified it won’t have the same significance as Jesus’ crucifixion. We are not perfect and so will not follow Jesus’ example perfectly, but our aim should be perfection according to the model which Jesus taught us (Matthew 5:48).

If we look at Jesus’ ministry, we see a man who started out on his ministry by preaching and teaching (Mark 1:14-15,21-22) and building a team around himself (1:16-20). But he soon found himself healing and casting out demons (1:23-31). Indeed that very first evening of his public ministry he found himself as the focus of a large healing meeting (1:32-34), “standing in front of large masses … as a Leader”. The “Capernaum Outpouring” had begun! But Jesus was concerned to meet a broader need than just in one small town, so he starting a touring ministry of healing – and of asking those who were healed to look for authentication of their healing (1:35-45). Within a few days the crowds had become unmanageably large, but he had also attracted the attention of critics (2:1-12). Soon, despite there being no TV or Internet in those days, his ministry was bringing in international visitors, with people travelling as much as a hundred miles from Idumea, probably on foot, for healing (3:8). At this point he commissioned others in his team, initially 12 and later 70 or 72, to broaden his ministry, and imparted to them the power and authority to heal and cast out demons (3:14-15, Matthew 10:1, Luke 9:1-2,6, 10:1,9) – a ministry they continued after Jesus’ death and resurrection (Mark 16:20, Acts 5:12-16).

Few people alive today are following these aspects of Jesus’ example more precisely than Todd Bentley. He started as an evangelist but soon found himself at the centre of crowds seeking healing. And by the power of God he was able to provide this healing, not perfectly as Jesus was because he is imperfect, but enough to convince crowds to come back for more. For years Todd, like Jesus, has travelled from place to place. He stayed in Lakeland for a time as this allowed his message to get worldwide coverage through TV and the Internet. From this base he has commissioned many others to take his message and his healing power throughout the world. But of course he has attracted his critics. Eventually Jesus’ critics had him crucified. I hope and pray that Todd won’t meet a similar fate! But I also hope and pray that he, like Jesus, will remain steadfast in the face of criticism to complete the ministry which God has for him.

Todd, like Jesus, has encouraged those who are healed to get proper evidence of this. And he has provided this evidence to the press, for example in a binder full of medical records which was given to ABC’s “Nightline” programme. It is sad, but understandable in a litigious age, that doctors are reluctant to confirm healings. But as Christians we should not depend on such confirmation, especially when it implies that we trust the non-Christian media more than the reports of our Christian brothers and sisters. In John 20:26-29, whereas Jesus graciously gave Thomas the verification he required of the resurrection, he implicitly rebuked him and blessed those who believe without demanding proof. Similarly, we should not insist on this kind of verification of God’s works. We should rather trust what we believe God is doing, and allow the Holy Spirit to verify its truth to our hearts.

But God does graciously provide some evidence. TC Robinson has posted a testimony of partial healing from a medical professional. Also I found the following in Todd’s book “Christ’s Healing Touch”, volume 1 (Fresh Fire Ministries 2004, ISBN 0-9736387-0-2), pp. 296-297, concerning Todd’s mission to India in 2004:

Doctor Rod Thompson, a medical doctor from the Pacific North West in the USA, was able to check and document the validity of many healing testimonies. If this procedure does not convince the skeptic, nothing will. Again and again, after examining the people the doctor verified Jesus Christ still heals today. Here is part of his report:

“Todd had called out a word of knowledge for a blind 13 or 14-year-old girl. A 13-year-old girl came for prayer. I examined her eyes with an ophthalmoscope and found a dense cataract in the left eye. She reported that she was totally blind in that eye. After Todd prayed for her, she reported partial sight. I re-examined the eye and to my amazement, the cataract looked like it had broken into several pieces. Medically, this does not make sense, but that is what I observed. I believe God was breaking up the cataract and restoring her sight. …”

In the book there is a picture of Dr Thompson examining an Indian woman. Presumably he could be traced and asked for an independent copy of his report.

Jesus also said:

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 your enemies will be the members of your own household.’

37 Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 10:34-39 (TNIV)

In his own day, and indeed ever since, this Jesus who preached peace and reconciliation has been a cause of strife and division, within nations and even families. This was necessary in order to separate the true people of God from those who, while claiming to know him, would not accept the messenger he sent. And it seems that Todd is following this aspect of Jesus’ example as well. He has become a cause for division within the church, the family of God.

Now I would not want to suggest that Todd’s ministry has the same significance as a cause for division as Jesus’ ministry. But I might suggest that there is a real analogy between the way that many of the Jewish people in Jesus’ time rejected his ministry and the way in which many Christians today reject new ways in which God is working in the world. This situation has been foretold in the Bible:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, … 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

2 Timothy 3:1-2,5,8-9 (TNIV)

Today there are both Bible deists and people who claim to be charismatics who presume to pontificate on what God can and cannot do today. Some of them assert principles such as that God cannot do anything which he isn’t recorded as doing in the Bible. Where did that come from? Not from God, who said

See, I am doing a new thing!

Isaiah 43:19 (TNIV)

– ironically the one thing God did in the Bible which these people don’t allow him to do today – nor from Jesus, who said

Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12 (TNIV)

Christian ministers today can do different things, greater things than what is recorded in the Bible, because Jesus is risen and ascended to the Father.

Among Jesus’ critics were those who accused him of ministering by the power of demons (Matthew 12:24). This is part of his response to them:

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Matthew 12:32 (TNIV)

I hope and pray that this will not be the fate of those who reject the working of the Holy Spirit in these days. Instead, I long to bring them back to the truth about what God is doing today, following James’ final exhortation:

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring them back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the way of error will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:19-20 (TNIV)

26 thoughts on “Todd Bentley follows Jesus' example

  1. Jesus says in Matthew 7 verse 18
    “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” In verse 20 He says “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Todd Bentley is bearing much good fruit. Sick bodies are being healed and many souls born again. More than that, he is praying for people, and they are going back to their churches and experiencing more of God’s manifest presence, with His miracle working power breaking out at a new level.

  2. You say souls are being born again and people healed. Healings have not been verified. I have no doubt that some are taking place but that happens in many places outside of a revival movement. Praise God for the lady in the wheelchair on Nightline who emphasized that she did not feel she needed go to the revival movement and get touched by Todd because if it was God’s will to heal her, he would do so in his own time and wouldn’t require the touch of any other man for that.

    As for the alleged numbers getting saved, I have to question how you can possibly know that. I have no doubt that some probably have. God works in spite of our folly. But that alone does not justify the revival as being from God any more than my Arab friend who got saved while reading the Koran justifies it as being a Holy Book from heaven.

    For those getting saved, I must question what they are getting saved to. There are many a Jesus being preached today, but only one that matches up with the Jesus of the Bible. With Todd Bentley this very pagan form of spirituality it is clear that the Jesus he is promoting is also a pagan one.

    These revival/renewal movements will highlight the people getting saved. What they will not highlight are the numbers of those who are falling out of the back door of churches feeling abandoned and alone because they think God has abandoned them, when in actuality it’s not that God has abandoned them but rather that they are receiving pagan substitute for Him much like the one Todd Bentley is promoting.

    As I close, I pray for discernment for all of us. “Lord, I pray right now for you to give the body of Christ discernment so that they might be awakened to the delusion that has been sent them. I pray for false prophets and false teachers to be exposed for what they are. Whatever power they operate in Lord, I pray that you will put a stop to it so that they will no longer be able to operate in that power and deceive many. Lord, I thank you for I knew you will answer this request in your own time, accoding to your will. I thank you for my brothers and sisters in Christ and I pray that together we may be unified in the cause of your mission as commanded in the scriptures that we may serve you in unity and not be caught up in deceptive and hollow philosophies which sidetrack us from getting to know you better through the reading of your word. Amen.”

  3. The Jesus Todd is promoting is the Jesus of the Gospels who preached to and healed thousands like Todd did.

    You might find your prayer backfires on yourself and you are the one awakened from some delusion that you are under.

  4. Well then why did Todd not preach the gospel on Live Liberal television- ABC Nightline last week. He had tons of opportunities to share his faith in Christ. He did not have even one mention of the name of Jesus because he was too concerned with defending himself. That’s a squandered opportunity. Peter, I was once deluded and I’m not going back. Counterfeit Revival by Hank Hanegraaf opened me eyes. You should read it with an open mind. In reading God might just offend your mind to reveal what is in your heart.

  5. Peter,
    Just to add for the record, I do believe in healing. I believe in miracles, signs, and wonders. I believe in the spiritual gifts operating among us today. If I did not believe that I would not be attending an Assembly of God church where I am very active.

    I even believe that there may be certain times that miracles, signs, and wonders may be more at work than other times. However, healing should not be the purpose of any ministry. Salvation for the lost should be the focus of any ministry or revival. I pray some day we do see the real thing in that regard- but I am convinced that Todd Bentley is everything but that. If you were any how aware of the heresies of the Latter Rain Movement- you too would be convinced. So blast me all you want. I guess you would have blasted Paul too when he warned the church at Corinth, Galatia, Colosse, Thessalonica, etc. about false prophets that would come into their midst and transform themselves into apostles of righteousness.

  6. Peter
    It is striking how the events at florida are bringing out extremes. On one hand we have “heresy hunters and revival policemen” warning us against false prophets, delusion and focusing on the wrong things. On the other we have the “Charismatic KGB and Holy Spirit’s SS” warning us about quenching or even worse blasphemeing the Spirit and how dare anyone challenge what they consider God is doing. Between these extremes lie the likes of yourself who essentially endorses what is happening, and others I perceive like David Faulkner, “42” and Charismatic Skeptic who have to date been asking a lot of probing questions

    As with any human endeavour or theological system, everyone produces Scriptural verses which “prove” their viewpoint. I have no doubt that I could do the same to underpin my own shifting opinions on Todd and Florida. And frankly I am not sure that the my verse trumps yours, or “your analysis is wrong and mine is right” approach which seems so common is actually getting us anywhre worthwhile. To me we need to continually come back to the Bereans and I Thess 5, namely continually search and discern.

    Which brings me to your above point about those who suggest God may not act consistently with Scripture. It is perhaps a little odd that you promptly back that up with a verse, though since we are all doing it, why not?

    Now I will certainly recognise that especially since we can prove almost anything if we try, we need to look to other means to help us towards the best interpretation. Come in reason, tradition and in my view experience. The advice of Wimber and Pytches that “the proof text out of context is a non text/pretext” holds now as it did in the 80s. Too many of us evangelically minded people fall into treating Scripture as a set of tick boxes. Yet it is surely telling that most evangelical type bodies have a statement of faith which underlines the supremacy of Scripture. As do the 39 Articles and the Westminster Confession.

    My own advice to anyone who asked my views on Florida has been to watch as much of God TV as possible, and listen to other trusted Christian friends. Then pray, listen, weigh it all up in Berean style against Scripture and come to a view. Be ready to change it, either way, as new evidence comes to light. That is what I have been doing in these days, and it is how my wife and I handled the Toronto effect in 1994. I would not accept that anyone sitting under the authority of God’s word will lose what God has for them, as our congregational leadership at that time suggested. And to thosse who suggest we add to the revelation of Scripture, I point to Revalation 22 v 18 et seq. So there is one of my quotes!

    This post is too long already. So I will hold back on the passage on Thomas. I found this beautiful episode most moving when I was preparing to preach on it on Low sunday around 3 years ago. I may come back to it.

    God bless

  7. Colin,
    I really appreciate your post. I agree with what you write. Anyone can twist the scriptures to make their own case. Eckhart Tolle has proven that in his new book which he and Oprah Winfrey are promoting.

    That’s what I say as well. Let us ask questions and have meaningful dialogue that gets us closer to the truth of the matter. This is where my journey out of this movement started eleven years ago. I was a very wounded sheep- focusing on the wrong things and believing that God had endowed me with a special power much like Bentley claims and displays.

    Dialogue is the key to being unified in our faith. Let us have meaningful dialogue and ask the right questions. As a side note, I am aware of how zealous I can come across. We are most passionate about the things that affected us the most- whether their effect was positive or negative. That is why I am so passionate about this. I do not let my passion get in the way of friendship. I think simply that we should seek the truth in light of what God’s word tells us. Each of has a very unique experience of our faith and how God reached us. Let us share that and use it to edify us rather than divide us.

  8. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Todd Bentley back at Lakeland from Friday

  9. Chadwick, I am answering your comments here together with your longer comment on the other thread.

    Colin, thanks for your helpful comment. I back with Scripture my point that God can do new things because I want show the proof-texters that even by their standards what Todd is doing is Scriptural. But I agree in not wanting to pin too much on proof texts. That was my point in my post, to show how much the general shape of Todd’s ministry reflects that of Jesus.

  10. Peter,
    No one is going to argue that God can not do new things. But God is not into sensationalism. He’s into winning souls. Like Pensacola, this movement in Lakeland is full of fabrications.

    Let’s focus on April 6, 1997 when John Kilpatrick pastor Brownsville prophesied that that revival would sweep America and humble the hearts of even those in our government. I’m still waiting for that one to materialize. Lakeland has similar fabrications, such as the lie that Hollywood is talking about doing a reality show on the revival or that they faxed their authenticated healings to Geraldo’s office and he called and told them that he was impressed. None of these claims are verified and have actually been refuted. They are just believed by people that Todd Bentley has manipulated by using cultlike and occultic tactics.

    I am praying for God to bring an end to this revival movements- but knowing that for whatever reason God sometimes allows them to run their course before he judges them. We’ve witnessed it time and time again from the decline and exposure of the Voice of Healing Ministries in the 1940’s and 1950’s to the so-called Second Wave in the 1960’s, and then in the Toronto Blessing and the Pensacola Outpouring of the 1990’s. They all have one thing in common- they have ended in 100% confusion and turmoil 100% of the time. When that happens in Lakeland I pray that then Peter you and all the others have been beguiled by the serpent will realize the dangers of these extremities and quit trying to repeat the commercializing of these false revival movements. Until that time, I will continue to take a very bold stance against this golden calf.

  11. Chadwick/Colin,

    Thankyou for your posts. I know all too well how a focus on emotions and sensationalism can do damage, sometimes leading to the cult of personality with leaders (whether intended or not) and other things besides. As for the ‘revival movements’ themselves, I’m not sure. The Welsh Revival, although it lasted a handful of years and its effects did dissipate somewhat, did have a widespread influence. When I pray for revival, I pray that God would bring Christians ever deeper into a faith and dependence upon Him and embolden His people to do His will.

    I believe that signs and wonders are a part of the Gospel work. What is a greater sign than a life transformed? A persons deepest wounds healed? Someone set free from an oppressive bondage or addiction? Someone given true hope for the first time in their lives? Sometimes God may choose to do the miraculous. Sometimes. Not always, not to be expected all the time – His plan, not ours, lest we think we know exactly how God works.

    We should praise God when we hear of any true work of God, with people giving testimony to God Almighty. But should we ask for more of a particular work of God as hallmark of what is happening locally? Should we ask God to make ours a healing church, or a church for the homeless, the refugees etc? Perhaps all these things. More grace is worked out in what we may call the quiet things than we can be aware of.

    May God continue to guide His people, leading us into all truth so that we can move on in maturity in the faith and growing in a living knowledge of Him. Amen.

  12. Chadwick, if God prophesies that he is going to bring revival and millions of Christians like you pray against it, and God has promised to answer his children’s prayers, then what should he do? If I was him, I would consider writing off the lot of you, by that I mean most Christians, and starting with a new people, much as he had to do in Jesus’ time in writing off most of the Jewish people and building a new people mostly from the Gentiles. God is more merciful than I am. But I’m sure the time will come, has perhaps already come with Lakeland etc, when he will start ignoring the prayers of those who pray against his work and don’t seem to want the lost to come to him, or impose on him conditions on how he is allowed to work.

    If you think that Toronto ended in “100% confusion and turmoil”, you need to look more closely at your facts. Yes, many churches got confused about Toronto and rejected it in the face of opposition from people like you. But quite a lot of other churches have continued the same movement, in a quieter way and without the excessive focus on manifestations which was anyway exaggerated by its opponents. Out of Toronto has come the worldwide spread of the Alpha course through which millions have come to Christ. And in many ways Lakeland has come out of Toronto. So don’t write off God’s work too quickly. However much you and your friends try to stop God doing what he intends to do, he is far more powerful!

    Jamie, thanks. I too agree that “a focus on emotions and sensationalism can do damage”, and I don’t support those aspects of Todd’s work. I note that Todd is trying to get the focus off himself by imparting his gifts to others to take it worldwide, and by gradually distancing himself from Lakeland. I guess he has been persuaded to return there more quickly than he would have liked because the whole thing is more personality oriented than he likes. Indeed we should be asking God to make each church a healing church, in one way or another, and this is what my church has done.

  13. Peter –

    You have been a fairly staunch defender and apologist for the various things that others see as either heresy or excess. You’ve laid out some of your premises above – so I’d like to ask you, within the framework you have laid out above where and how do you see discernment operating?

    If the above is a complete picture you would see no picture for discernment whatsoever, so long as signs and wonders were being performed – your usage of Matthew 12:32. [Presumably, using this reasoning, if the Anglo-Catholic wing of the CofE church was a place of signs and wonders you wouldn’t be so quick to label them Caeasaropapists].

    Let’s take some of your proof texts:

    Matthew 10:34 – Just because Jesus brings division it doesn’t mean that you can argue the other way around and say that because someone brings division they are necessarily good. This applies even if they are performing signs and wonders, after all:

    ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”

    This points indirectly to an important principle of *why* discernment is needed even in the case of signs and wonders.

    Isaiah 43 of course is a section that hints at God’s future work amongst the Jews – both in alluding to Jesus and the New Creation – it isn’t a blanket statement covering an endless series of new innovations in the church.

    Taking John 14:12:

    Christian ministers today can do different things, greater things than what is recorded in the Bible, because Jesus is risen and ascended to the Father.

    The passage is about greater things – but your stress is necessarily on ‘different things’. After all, none of the claimed miracles have been greater in character than the ones performed by Jesus [there is a slightly frivolous question one could ask here, such as why is it that no amputee has been healed?] The focus is on the different things – the stories of angels, the story of visiting dead people etc. None of which can be attested to from scripture – and all of which seem to have their focus set on the wrong thing.

    Your proof text from 2 Timothy is an interesting one – because it cuts both ways. How did Jannes and Jambres oppose Moses? They opposed him by performing signs and wonders that were identical to that performed by a prophet of God. Look at the first part of the passage

    You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power.

    What’s interesting is that those are all personal characteristics – rather than a comment on the signs and wonders that someone might perform. This passage thus makes more sense if ‘denying the power of godliness’ refers to God’s ability to change lives, rather than the ability or inability to perform miracles.

    And Matthew 12:32 is not a blanket call to abandon our minds every time a sign or wonder is seen, 1 John 4,1 still applies:

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    This is well exemplified by the couple of Lakeland posts on Terry Virgo’s blog – he has a balanced critique of both the good and bad things he sees on Lakeland. While I don’t agree with everything he says, I think it’s a very good model of what a balanced discerning response would look like.

    So I’d come back to my original question – how do you see discernment operating in this case, because it appears that there is nothing you have any concerns over or won’t try to justify.

  14. Chris, I have just answered your first and last question here. I quote one of the same verses you do. This answers your issue about Matthew 7:21-23.

    Matthew 12:32 does not forbid criticism of doctrinal errors. On my understanding it forbids writing off the work of God as that of the devil. I have criticised some doctrines and positions on particular issues taken by various groups within the Anglican and other churches, and for that matter some of Todd’s, but I don’t think I have ever attributed their positions to the devil or to demons. I did accuse one group of critics of Todd of worshipping Satan, but in fact I think they were doing it as a very sick joke and not because they were really doing Satan’s work.

    I don’t use proof texts. I quote Bible verses to illustrate general principles which I get from the Bible. Todd has not been putting his focus on angels or on talking to dead people, it is his opponents who have put the focus on his relatively rare mentions of these things.

    why is it that no amputee has been healed?

    There have been testimonies of amputees being healed through Lakeland, including one on this blog. I don’t have verification. But nor do you have verification for your claim that “no amputee has been healed”.

    Yes, what Terry Virgo wrote was very sensible and balanced. I don’t always attempt the same balance. Perhaps I should. But I read so much unbalanced negative material that I feel the need to tip the overall balance in the other direction.

  15. Todd has not been putting his focus on angels

    Try the following search on google: “ angels”, note the number of occurrences, the dates, and what is said.

  16. repentance – 154 hits sin – 312 hits. salvation – 375 hits. bam – 87 hits butter – 6 hits trilby – 0 hits

    I dare say I am disappointed with this last one. Sorry, just a crazy moment. It happens from time to time…

    Also… cheese – 450 hits

    Amazing… the wonders of modern technology….

    God Bless, all! A bit of light relief never hurts…

  17. Hi Peter, I believe I read you’d been to the Toronto Blessing and a Bentley meeting in Saskatoon in 2004.

    Is that correct?

    Head into the wayback machine, it’s a good way to see the progression away from evangelism and toward the signs/wonders/prophecies etc and the changes in pages and teachings etc.

    Not to prove anything to you or argue, there is no point.

    If you did the Saskatoon meeting do you work offically or unoffically with FF or any affiliates?

    When I look at his prior affiliates, did you work for any of them?
    Do you recall names?

  18. No, Bene, you confused me with someone else. I have never been to a Todd Bentley meeting in the flesh. I have never worked for him or anyone linked to him, outside my own church whose pastor visited Lakeland. I have never been to Toronto or anywhere else in Canada. I have been to conferences associated with Toronto here in the UK, see this post and this one about some of them but there have been others including one in May this year.

  19. Thank yu Peter and others for your kind reactions to my reamblings yesterday. between getting home from wrk and departing fr my model Railway club, here are the promised reflections on the Thomas episode frm John 20. I have almost relived my preparation for that sermon on this passage. It spoke a lot to me and to some in our Parish on the day.

    I had dwelt on 3 main themes:
    1) Thomas honest expression of his doubts – we have to own them before we can move on from them.
    2) How Jesus met with him
    3) what Thomas did as a result

    The second point is the most directly relevant to Peter’s post. Jesus clearly met Thomas exactly where he was, and did not criticise him for being a person he wasn’t. He invited him to examine the evidence he had named. The 3rd point is that he responded to that evidence with a profound confession of faith. there comes a point when questioning eases and we must decide.

    I guess I was offering a different emphasis to Peter in that I don’t see a criticism of Thomas, implicit or explicit. We have the advantage of seeing this episode through the spectacles which now the bigger outcme. Thomas was living it on the day. I tend to the view that in his final comment about believers who did not see, Jesus was prophetically looking towards those from that day on (including us) who would not know the physical Jesus. He gave Thomas only what he gave the rest of the 11, namely his physical presence which on another appearance included eating in front of them.

    So in the spirit of the Bereans, 1 Thes 5, 1 john 4 etc I do feel we are fully justified in seeking evidence appropriate to miracles being claimed, as part of our discernment process. I agree that we should not come at it with the eyes of a secular scientist or lawyeer, And we can reasonably seek to establish what God has actually done. Is it releief of symptons (reduction in pain of cancer, or in the tremors and spasms of MS), or whether the underlying condition has reversed (tumors shrunk or gone, central nervous system damage rectified). The wider issues will require scans and X-rays to establish. The wonder of either should not be underestimated, and to His Name belongs the glory.

    when I learned, from David Faulkner’s blog I think, that Todd was seeking to build up a dossier of evidence, I was very encouraged. I saw this willingmness to be open as a sign of great maturity and confidence in our God. From what I am hearing, the results so far are disappointing. This is sad. It would be a shame if Todd’s team lost interest and let the effort slip.

  20. Thank you, Colin. Perhaps I should not have said that Jesus was critical of Thomas. But he did point to a better way.

    It seems to me that Todd’s team have put together a dossier of evidence which they provided at least to the ABC team, “a binder filled with … contact information, a few pages of … medical records”. Now this information was necessarily “incomplete”, without doctors’ names, for reasons of privacy and medical ethics, and because people had not given permission for their details to be given to the press. I’m sure Todd’s team have been working hard on this and doing what they can to verify the stories they receive. Here there is an account of how within two hours of receiving a testimony one of Todd’s staff “sent medical release forms and press release forms”. But it is clearly a nightmare getting these forms returned adequately. And even then it failed to convince the sceptics, quite predictably if we compare with Luke 16:31. But it should be enough to convince Christians.

    I wonder, where are the stories about this in the Christian press? Even Charisma Magazine has stopped reporting on it, and a search of the Christianity Today site for “Todd Bentley” leads only to a secular newspaper article. The problem is I suppose that in Christian circles this has become too hot to handle.

  21. Peter,

    You’re right about the Christian media coverage or lack thereof. I’ve read too many publications, sadly, whose focus is on trivial matters and spiritually milky matter, rather than getting to grips with matters.

    Maybe the attitude of ‘not wanting to stick out the neck to get it lopped off’ is prevalent there as well. I’m not sure….

    In a world where not only do we not want to offend people but it can be a crime to do so, no wonder the ostrich approach is seen so often.

  22. Ecchh.. No, that’s not right. Bleegggkkkccc. No. Gluurrkkk. Flekktt. Hmm… Uggggkhh. Nope, can’t seem to be able to write the sound I made when I threw up in my mouth reading this.

  23. Ecchh.. No, that’s not right. Bleegggkkkccc. No. Gluurrkkk. Flekktt. Hmm… Uggggkhh. Nope, can’t seem to be able to write the sound I made when I threw up in my mouth reading this

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