Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Reckless Revival?

Over the last several years I have studied, and written articles about, the dangers of the Apostolic/Prophetic movement. These articles point out the deep ties to the Latter Rain Heresy and other strange doctrines such as Dominionism and Manifested Sons of God (MSoG). Generally my articles have been well received, at least in my circles. But, as you can see, "Joel's Army" is alive and well.

The danger is not new within Pentecost. In 1948 the Assemblies of God dealt with the Latter Rain heresy. More recently, in 2000, there was "Resolution 16" which was backed by an A/G position paper which dealt "with current emphases, teachings, or practices which mark departure from our scriptural understanding of local church government and ministry; and a variety of issues or excesses surfacing in charismatic/Pentecostal churches today, which can impact various of our churches and ministries."

So what should we do when a "powerful move of God" appears to surface in these last days? How do we evaluate it?

We must first agree that the Scriptures are the "infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct."

What do we do when that "powerful move of God" is accompanied by what appear to be miraculous healings? Does that change anything?

Again, we must agree that the Scriptures are the "infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct."

Doctrine is important. We cannot lay doctrine by the way just because we have witnessed a miracle, or felt goosebumps, or seen "prophecies" confirmed. II Thessalonians 2:9 tells us that Satan is capable of "counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders." Should we not expect these as the end draws nigh?

Jesus himself stated "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:24) Friends, it IS likely that many people will be deceived.

Make no mistake about it, in these days we will hear much about angelic activity. One revivalist currently on the scene talks about seeing angels, and recounts their brightness. The Bible coincidentally calls Satan "an angel of light." (2 Cor 11:14)

OK, now that I've got you interested let me stop pussy-footing around. What is going on in Lakeland Florida with Todd Bentley? If you haven't heard about it, you will.

Even before the so-called "Florida Outpouring" Bentley assumed "apostle status" by virtue of his visitations with Jesus and the apostle Paul. In one visitation he claims to have seen Jesus in an unglorified body, with "eyes like Bambi." At the "outpouring" he announced that he was receiving his "kingly anointing." Without going into the details, this is dominion theology with a good dose of Latter Rain. Be leery of anyone who talks about establishing the "government of God." The Bible says "The Government shall rest on HIS shoulders" (Isaiah 9:6).

Bentley, in talking about healing, has proclaimed that "we do not have to age." This is a keystone of the MSoG heresy. More recently, it was reported that he stated "Tonight I’m not a man, because, I’m under the Anointing."

I'm still looking for the video on that (3 witnesses so far), but based on his extensive collections of teachings available on the internet, it is plausible. Also probably not worth further consideration, because any objection will invariably be countered with "that's not what I was really saying."

However, here is Bentley paraphrasing Psalm 91:1-2:

He who dwells, not visits, dwells in the abode of God shall be like the Most High in that you will be uppermost, far above, in the highest excellence of anything that you do in your life as supreme ruler in your circumstances. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High is supreme, far above uppermost, highest heights of heaven, lofty, excellence, overcoming Christian. Are you understanding me?!?"

This should be disturbing. Unless I'm not "understanding" him.

We do know that Bentley has compared his meetings to those of William Branham. Branham denied the trinity and promoted the bizarre "serpent seed" doctrine. Bentley states that the angel named "Healing Revival," who was one of Branham's angels, is now often present at his meetings, Also there is much talk about an angel named "winds of change" at these meetings, as announced by both Bentley and "prophet" Bob Jones. Bentley also speaks of Bob Jones' angel "Emma."

Much of the "Emma" teaching was recently removed from his website; you may find an archive copy of the teaching here.

Bentley speaks of "spirit travel" and mentions that he has literally traveled to Australia in the spirit; that he physically walked on the streets there. So far, no eyewitnesses have come forward.

Bentley, while on stage, constantly talks about the "Angel of the Lord" whispering in his left ear and telling him things. According to Bentley, "left ear" means "healing."

In his November 2003 teaching on "Angelic Hosts" Bentley states this:

.. 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..

There are many other aspects of Bentley's theology that are disturbing, but his preoccupation with angelic beings is easiest to demonstrate. His emphasis on transferrence is another aspect that begs for futher study.

Much of what he teaches was gathered through routine "third heaven experiences," which to many observers resembles astral projection. Legitimate or not, the entire point of these "third-heaven" experiences is that this movement teaches that revelation gained through such experiences is at a higher level than other revelation. By this definition, a third-heaven revelation trumps much of the Bible.

So here's an example of Bentley's third-heaven revelation:

Do you know what green represents, besides prosperity? It’s growth, new things, life, growth in the Lord, what you grow into. Blue is revelation, and when you grow into revelation, what does it release? Purple! This color represents authority and kingship. [Revelation and counsel bring might, and revelation releases the true authority which brings the kingdom.] What happens after purple? Pink! Remember, last week I said that pink prophetically represents love and emotions. These two attributes are crucial because faith works by love! So, here’s the download: You grow in revelation; revelation releases authority, and the kingdom comes and rules; and it operates out of emotion and love.

Bentley should get together with his mentor Bob Jones, a man who has visions of angels, hears voices, claims to meet and talk with God almost every night, has had out of the body experiences frequently and has hands that turn purple in the presence of sin. Apparently in Jones' third-heaven realm, purple has another meaning.

By the way, the Book of Hebrews, according to Bentley, was written by Abraham, as dictated to Paul through a third-heaven experience, which is why Paul did not claim authorship in the text.

Can you see what happens when the Word of God is relegated to the status (as stated by some in the prophetic movement) of "stale manna?"

I could go on at length at how well Bentley is doing in self-promotion. But just as signs and wonders are not a valid test, neither are things such as this. Nor should we judge the meeting by the abberant manifestations, the violent laying on of hands (with pushing), or the leading questions during testimonies. In one service while he was acting "prophetic" as he interviewed someone who had been healed, he misheard them, and then made a quick correction. Its my personal opinion that he has learned all the tricks of the trade, and learned them well. Frequently, when someone claims that this or that happened to them, Bentley will then state that the Lord had showed him that beforehand.

Others would be alarmed by his unseemly pre-conversion past, or the hideous tattoos and piercings which have appeared in just the last few years. Its not about appearances, either.

No, we must stand firm on Doctrine. And where good doctrine is not present, we should simply stay away. Do not fear that you will miss something that others proclaim God is doing. God will reward you for standing on his Word.

Is God there? We know that where two or three are gathered in his name He will be there. And when you get several thousand together, with a sense of expectation, you should expect some good things as a result. The jury is not out on the healings, which God may be doing in spite of the circumstances. In fact, God seems to be moving in healing at many different places right now.

God is up to something. Let's get revived! Let's do so within the loving constraint of the Holy Scriptures.

Further Reading:



  1. Bill,

    As always you provide plenty of tangible primary source quotes. I certainly respect your dedication to tracking down this sort of objective information. Keep it up please.

  2. Update: Bentley confirms that the "Angel of the Lord" is Jesus! com/watch? v=9zMRChoojZo

    Why a post-ressurection Jesus is appearing as the "Angel of the Lord" is an interesting doctrinal issue.

  3. I was watching when Bentley made the statement of “I’m not a man….” It happened a few nights ago. He was talking to a woman who he was getting ready to heal. He also told her that in two hours he wouldn’t be able to heal her because the anointing was present only right now. I can’t remember exactly how he said it, but it was something like that.

  4. Very good, Bill.

    I think I may have found someone on Andrew Strom's RevivalSchool forum that might have a citation for the 'I am not a man when Im under the anointing' dealio.

    Hopefully she will message me back.

  5. Bill,
    In response to what you said to me on the grey coats...I see your point. I tend to spot the new age practices first before the aberrent doctrinal beliefs because thats more my background-though I am becoming more aware now of the teachings.

  6. I guess I should actually READ your post first before commenting. good stuff.

  7. Amanda,

    I found the comment on Stroms forum. As best I can determine. from the timing of three comments I've found so far, the date would have been May 12-14. I have not located the bite yet; the May 13 video has been edited into small chunks and some stuff may be missing.

  8. Thanks, Mary.

    I'm sorting teachings now and would like to come up with a composite teaching on angels, the "tree of life" and portals, which seem to be the most troubling of his teachings.


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