Why I don’t trust the Todd Bentley Lakeland phenomenon

Dear friends in Christ,

Even before the Lakeland phenomenon broke out, I heard a report about Todd Bentley’s meetings on the Gold Coast that dismayed me somewhat. It had to do with the way he raises money, by telling people that they should “sow” money into his anointing so that they can receive an impartation of it.

I can’t say I was prejudiced against these meetings from the start. In fact I had heard of Todd Bentley and knew he moved to some extent in gifts of healing and miracles for some years. I hadn’t read anything that looked really wrong. I even obtained permission to publish one of his articles on my website some years ago which I thought was helpful. I heard the pastors who organised the meetings on the Gold Coast talk about it and I wasn’t thinking – “Oh what a bad thing that Todd Bentley is coming”.

However, at the present time, I am deeply concerned about these meetings and the fanfare they are attracting. It would be good if what was being taught was consistently Scriptural and the meetings were causing people to fear God, to confess and turn away from their secret sins. But I don’t see that that is what this “revival” is about.

It seems to be about Todd Bentley, angels of finance, the supernatural, boasting about dreams, visions and prophetic experiences, and the impartation of a spirit the nature of which seems highly questionable to me right now. The Bible instructs us to “believe not every spirit, but test the spirits”. It doesn’t seem to me that a lot of testing the spirits is going on at Lakeland.

It seems to me that this revival is first and foremost about “the supernatural”. Its not healthy for “the supernatural” to be the primary emphasis in Christian meetings, since there are supernatural or spiritual phenomena which are NOT of God. Its true that when God is moving it is normal for there to be supernatural things happening at some level. I personally believe healing and deliverance SHOULD follow the preaching of the gospel, and certainly these things have happened many times when I’ve preached. I also believe that churches SHOULD have the operation of revelational gifts of the Spirit. But not every revelation is given by the Holy Spirit – and not every time you feel good does it mean that God was behind it.

If God sends a revival to the church, the FEAR OF THE LORD would have to be a primary theme. If people do not fear God as a result of being in a revival meeting, I question what spirit is operating. These days “the supernatural” is much more commonly in manifestation than in former times, but godliness is much less. I believe we are living in dangerous times.

If you want to know whether a particular movement is inspired by the HOLY Spirit, ask yourself whether it feels holy or unholy. If something looks unholy, and feels unholy, it probably IS unholy. And the Holy Spirit is not behind such things, no matter how supernatural they may be.

Jesus must be the focus, and it must be the same Jesus the Bible testifies of, not “another jesus”. There were “other Jesuses” in the time of Paul the apostle and even in recent times plenty of people talk about having “Jesus” as their new age spirit guide.

Many will rise up acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:5).

Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

The mention of the name of Jesus and the presence of supernatural phenomena does not guarantee the approval of God on a ministry.

In the life of a true prophet I would look for fruits of gentleness (not violence), self-control, the glorification of Jesus Christ and not of men, and so forth.

It bothers me when people talk to others saying “your anointing”, “your power” or when people say “we are going to do it and not even the devil can stop us now”.

The Bible says that power belongs to God. (Psalm 62:11).

“God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.”

Let’s not talk about “our power” and how great we are.

What really bothers me is that so many big names of the charismatic and “apostolic” world have come to endorse the whole Bentley phenomenon. It makes me think that we have now entered into the beginning of a “Great Falling Away” prophesied in Scripture. If you follow men and their ministries, and don’t study God’s Word and God’s ways strongly, you could easily be deceived. You have to love truth more than money, influence, fame or supernatural manifestations to stay on the right side of God in the days ahead.

Thankfully a lot of people can see through this thing, but its obvious now to me that many will be deceived. I wish I could say, “This will just blow over” but I rather suspect it will not, because they have harnessed the power of media, something many true servants of God have been unable to undestand and utilise. Why true servants of God have left the media in the hands of false prophets and charlatans to such a large degree is something I do not understand. Now, more than ever, we should take hold of the TV, the internet and so on, and stand up for what we believe in.

What do YOU think?

comments

About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

Comments

  1. Diana Hester says:

    Rick Joyner is trying to “restore” Todd Bentley’s ministry. Please read the following. It is good advise.

    Excerpt from “Protection from Deception” Derek Prince

    But with regard to any kind of manifestation, there are two questions that I always want to ask. Number one: Is it a manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God? Or is it a manifestation from some other source? And number two (and this is related to it): Is the manifestation in question in harmony with Scripture? In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul says, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the author of all Scripture, and He never says or does anything to contradict Himself. Every genuine manifestation of the Holy Spirit will, in some way. harmonize with Scripture.

    The Identity of the Holy Spirit

    In all of this that we are speaking about. this worldwide phenomenon, I believe there is one, central, underlying issue, which is often obscured. In fact, very seldom do we come really to grips with this issue.This issue is the identity of the Holy Spirit. How do we recognize the Holy Spirit?

    Now we come to one final Scripture, which is in Matthew 12:31-32. Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”

    That is a very solemn and frightening warning. We are warned by Jesus Himself to be very, very careful how we speak about the Holy Spirit, how we represent the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus uses the word blasphemy, and I decided to look it up in my big Greek lexicon. The primary meaning of to blaspheme is given in the lexicon as this: to speak lightly or amiss of sacred things. So when you speak lightly or amiss concerning the Holy Spirit, or misrepresent the character of the Holy Spirit, by definition you are close to blaspheming.

    If you have ever done that, or been prone to do it, or been associated with those who do it, I want to offer you some sincere advice: You need to repent. You need to settle that matter once and for all with God and never again be guilty of misrepresenting God’s Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit is holy and He is God.

  2. Ed Chambers says:

    America needs revival. When President Clinton lied to us about his infidelity his approval rating remained high. In my heart it bore witness that this symbolized America had chosen mammon over God. America was happy with its material prosperity and that was more important than integrity. It seemed to me that America had placed itself in the place of judgment instead favor. America soon was attacked during what is now called 9/11. The World Trade Center was destroyed within an hour (similar to what happens to spiritual Babylon in Rev 18:9-18). This representative of mammon was destroyed and America was changed forever.

    We hit a recession and instead of the revival many hoped for after this we saw no noticeable difference in the hearts and beliefs of our people towards God. True revival will change hearts, minds and societal issues. Instead, as a nation we befriended Islam and embraced their religion while our economic experts sought to solve our financial problems without divine inspiration.

    We did not turn from our wicked ways as a country…we merely hardened our resolve for the journey in our own strength. The financial experts lowered the nominal lending rate to stimulate lending and we saw a flood of sorts as Alt-A liar loans came about in large numbers. The housing market took off and America pulled itself out of its recession…or so it thought. A few years later the same economic geniuses projected inflationary issues on the horizon and thus slowly raised the lending rates back up to what was considered a more normal level. They then left the rates there for over a year. This effectively strangled off most of the very same people that bought only a few years earlier. These people could not afford the high increase in their mortgage payments and so they tried to unload their houses onto the market.

    Another flood of sorts occurred as too many houses rushing the makrteplace all at once meant the inventory of houses would grow faster than the houses could be re-sold. The riskier than normal loans written from 2001-2005 were bundled together creatively by Wall Street and then leveraged some 25 to one. This was risky but they never expected the high volume of investors that wanted out once they realized just how risky the investments were. Wall Street (another symbol of mammon) fell to its knees as firms could not trade. Some firms were absorbed by banks only to be spit back out. Other folded or merged. The big firms on Wall Street before 2008 were Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, and JP Morgan. Today Merrill is under Bank of America and causing them all kinds of problems, Bear Sterns is under another bank umbrella, Lehman Brothers has gone bankrupt. The others are in trouble as well. Goldman borrowed $5 billion from Warren Buffet @ 10% interest.

    America had not really pulled itself out of the recession of 2001. It had only made the recession show up again later on and this time much worse. We may even be headed for a depression. No one really knows for sure except our Lord and He is plcing his call out among us looking for His prophets to rise up with His Word once again. God wants all men everywhere to repent. He wants us to turn from our ways and to shine His light on the path of others so they can see the way of the Lord.

    After our economists temporarily patched up the recession of 2001 and before the recession that started in December 2007, our nation thumbed its nose at God Almighty as it sought moral acceptance and legalization of homosexual marriage.

    No genuine Christian hates homosexuals, and the sin of homosexual is no more guilty of sending people to hell than lying or adultery. We simply point out that Americans are moving in the wrong direction…choosing to accept what God has already judged as wrong. Instead of restraint we are seeing acceptance sought for the sins of the flesh and finding a sympathetic ear. We see the same Americans ridicule preachers of righteousness and find they would judge us as judgmental, mean, and narrow minded.

    Matt 7:13-14 is enough for me to know the way is narrow, but John 14:6 makes this point as well. We must preach Jesus and we cannot be pressured by others to stop just because it brings their sins to the light and it is uncomfortable. Peole need to be woken up if they are sleeping in a burning building and this may be the state of our nation.

    America has lost its way and we need revival. Join me in praying that we will see genuine repentance and real changes in as many as we can. It seems our nation is facing judgment and the church must get before God and find out what He would have from us. We cannot do this casually nor continue to go about our merry ways as if the times are not important. America could be in the beginning stages of its demise as it falls from grace and it is our duty to seek the face of God to see what may please Him. We owe Almighty God this much.

    P.S. We will be holding meetings to revive Americans here in Illinois and elsewhere as God is pleased to provide. Please join us in praying that we see Him glorified.

    Ed

  3. I am surprised at the hype about the healings at Todd meetings.
    Have attended more power packed crusades in India and have seen creative miracles.
    Had been to Evangelist Rambabu meetings, and seen missing organs being re created. just thet he is not on tv as much as Todd is on.
    After seeing power of God in action without any hype at Rambo crusades, feel shocked at the hype they are creating about TODD.
    JESUS IS LORD.
    Yash.

    • Look, its true. I’ve been with Rambabu on the platform one time and the kind of miracle anointing there and the kinds of things that happen – with absolutely NO WEIRDNESS, were far greater. It wasn’t about Rambabu either, it was REALLY about Jesus.

      The TV coverage can make something very big. Thats why I am involved in Christian TV. The whole Christian TV industry needs radical reformation in order to glorify God properly, but we MUST use TV if we are serious about fulfilling the commandment of Jesus to preach the gospel in all the world.

      From what I hear and see on youtube, the Todd Bentley meetings are not about preaching the gospel – as in the meaning of the death and resurrection of the Son of God – they are about the supernatural, angels, money, “revival” and Todd Bentley. Its sad because Todd is gifted in the divine healing ministry and obviously was called by God to be a signifant healing evanglist. But that doesn’t mean God is happy with everything else he is doing – covering himself with strange tatoos, teaching people to “sow into” the anointing so they can receive it, kicking ladies in the face in the name of Jesus, teaching guided visualisation, imparting what seem to me to be spirits of divination to people and so on and so forth.

      The tragedy is that no one in modern charismatic leadership that Todd would listen to is willing to stand up and confront these things with a view to bringing correction. Instead, the so-called apostles and prophets are all basically telling him how great he is, and will be.

      • nlouise says:

        There was a video clip of Todd Bentley giving his own testimony. In his own words he described himself as entering a porthole in space, being laid on an opperating table, and a box being incerted into him, when he received his annointing. The whole testimony sounded as if he were duplicating an alien abduction. I believe the video was on his own web site a year ago. Also, it was done prior to adding all the occultic tatoos. His arms were clean at the time of this testimony, and he had longer hair. I would guess it was over a decade ago. I would not call this man annointed of God in any way, shape, or form. The video clip is about 15 minutes long. I don’t know if it is still on his web site or if he even has a web site anymore, but I watched it, back when the Lakeland revival was going on. It was pretty bizzare.

  4. Siyanda says:

    For the past week I have been overwhelmed by these teachings of Prosperity. Some how the whole teachings just do not fit in very well with me. All of a sudden these prosperity teachers have infested the whole world with their questionable teachings. I need a deeper spirual understand on this subject, I believed once until my spirit could no longer take it in. I realised the same teachings are being shared amongst people who are far awy from God like the BOOK “THE SECRET”. How can worldy beliefs be the same as our gospel, by the look of things the devil has seen an opening at is taking advantage of it. Please brethrens asssit me in this, one thing I can tell you is though we are told to claim wealth, health and richness I would claim the Kingdom of God. And I believe God answered my orayers in rejecting these teachings. When are these teachers going to stop telling people to sick worldly things like wealth when would they draw the line since we will leave all of these things here on earth. They seem not to worry about that though they want people to satisfy thier greed and who cares about what happens when they die

    • michael says:

      God wants us to succeed if we are humble enough to do things His way. There are times we may need lots of money for God’s work, but its amazing what can be done through God’s power alone, without anything more than food, clothing, a Bible and a healthy body. Success does not always mean an abundance of resources, though it might at times, depending on God’s particular plan. At times we won’t have those things, even though we follow God faithfully.

      The danger I see in the teaching and example of “prosperity teachers” is the subtle implication that God is very happy for us to live in luxury and indifference towards the needs of others. The Scriptures are twisted to make out that Jesus Christ lived in opulence on earth. Not so. The amount of money Christians waste on unnecessary luxuries is TOTALLY SHAMEFUL, and many of our Christian leaders are leading the way in this conspicuous consumption. Many of them would like their followers to lay up as many treasures on earth as possible, as long as they get their 10% cut. They live in opulence so as to attract followers who also want to keep what they have for their own self indulgence, all the while believing that Jesus Christ thinks it is just fine. God is interested in us having the kind of love that does something for the poor and for the gospel, rather than merely accumulating for ourselves.

      • nisa1969 says:

        Sadly it is getting harder to separate out the truth that the Lord does want to meet our needs and yes, even ‘prosper’ us from the teachings of TV ministers that are preaching wealth. Prosperity is revealed in the bible to include peace, wholeness etc

        When I have seen documentaries exposing Benny Hinn’s lavish lifestyle I have been offended because he is missing the obvious

        2 Cor 9:8
        And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
        (NKJ)

        Benny and others have missed the fact that the abundance God has given them is for EVERY GOOD WORK and not for themselves. The ‘all sufficiency’ is for them (bills met, perhaps?).

        They are stealing if they have kept the abundance for themselves.

        • Brian Sakala says:

          I ve’ taken a bit of interest in the life styles of some preachers not that am trying to pick on them (Touch not mine annointed, do my prophets no harm) but their lives are quite luxurious, expensive meals (over $2,000.00 per plate, if translated into my national currency its quite huge K7.1 million), mansions that are just dreams to an average human being, some have even bought planes (personal planes) etc…not that all these things are bad but when you look at the early church “and they shared…and no one lacked” we are so different.

          Its more about an individual than it is for the body of Christ.

          You hear people suffering in Darfur and most preachers are talking about it “give this much to feed so many people” why can’t they sell their planes or cut down on their luxuries and donate? Sometimes am made to think probably ‘Properity’ is mostly for the preachers…may be they deserve to live the way they are living, may be its God’s will for them..

  5. I agree with the warnings posted.
    Jesus warned in Matt 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
    The commission that Jesus gave to the 12, 70 and the 120 that instituted the New Testament Church were told not only to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers”, but also to Preach the repentance and remission of sins in every nation, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:46-49. I have not seen or heard Mr. Bentley preach a message against sin or to make an altar call for sinners.
    Jesus came into the world to save sinners; 1 Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ; of whom I am chief.
    The are three purposes named in the Bible for the “Laying on of hands”; # 1 the healing of the sick; Mark 16:18, the receiving of the Holy Ghost in Acts 8:14-17 and the ordaination of Elders in Acts 6:3-7.
    Any thing else is for “self promotion”.
    Paul instructed the Church at Corinth to; “Let everything be done decently and in order”.
    Pastors and Christian leaders must take a stand against such evil as this,

    KJV

  6. This has been the first time that I have lost sleep regarding the teachings of an alleged follower of Christ. While there have been instances of teaching that I disagreed with in the past, never has the Spirit weighed upon me so heavily.

    The pastor of my church recently chartered a trip to Lakeland and approximately 20 individuals went on this junket or “JUNKIT”. After hearing about the “wonderful” things that were happening in Lakeland, I decided to do some internet research.

    It should not take long for someone to recognize that Todd Bentley has some serious problems. I dare say that if you have never seen him and just heard him you would realize this. (I am so over people saying that his tattoos are causing me to turn him off. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will have tattoos on his legs and thighs when he returns. Granted, they will be different tattoos. However, He doesn’t appear to have a problem with them so why should I?). The violence displayed by this person is shameful. In one service he imparted the healing gift of the Spirit by the rubbing of his bald head against the stomachs of individuals. Excuse me… I thought it was the laying on of hands that we were to use when healing the sick.

    After mentioning some of the concerns regarding Mr. Bentley, my pastor proceeded to provide me with a rebuttal paper that someone had written to the critics of the movement. He also referred me to Mr. Bentley’s website. While I can accept some of the rebuttals and find some issues to be neither here nor there, it surprises me how anyone cannot see the mockery and sham that is being perpetrated against them. I have not been able to justify (through reading of the scriptures or through the discernment of my heart) that there is any way to reconcile the violent actions of this man with the teachings of Christ or the work of the Holy Spirit to any degree. My dilemma is that I am having trouble accepting that my pastor has bought into this. Although he states that he isn’t promoting Bentley, his actions say otherwise. He has come back from the revival more on fire than before (it would appear), but is it possible to receive a blessing/anointing/outpouring from God through a man that is so far off in his words and actions? The pastor wants to begin healing services sometime next month and I won’t know until then how much he has been influenced by this abomination.

    I am hesitant to leave this body of believers for one reason; there are many young Christians that can be easily led astray and I am concerned as to the best way to impart knowledge to them (I’m sure Bentley would impart it with a fist to the nose). If I stay am I supporting the ministry? If I leave who will provide a balanced view? Any thoughts?

    • .

    • I cannot believe that so many of Gods people are being deceived by this disgrace.
      I understand your dilemma gman.

      My Pastor told me that he is “keeping a good eye on this guy” which makes me think that while he is wary, he is so far unwilling to renounce Mr Bentley openly.

      My feeling on this is that we must not be afraid to face this in the power of the Lord Jesus.
      If we run away how far will we keep running.

      There are scriptural references to challenging our church leaders. Take a look at Michaels blog “Different spheres of authority”

      http://www.christian-faith.com/forjesus/node/13659

      I believe that it is within our sphere to take a stand here.

      We are called to hold up our church family in prayer and we have authority in Jesus Name to destroy strongholds of deception.
      Only if our church appears to be moving into apostacy should we get out.

      I hope this is of some help to you.

      I will remember you in prayer.

      God bless,

      Pete

  7. evstevemd says:

    Hello dears,
    Beware of Endtime spirits masquerading as spirit of God.
    Beware of spirit of antichrist, trying to make enviroment
    for appearance of antichrist! Be ware of spirit of Jezebel
    waring against God’s prophets and teaching the church the
    witchcraft! Hold on your swords ready to war against them
    and Glorify King of kings

    Just read A.W Tozer’s book and greatly blessed me at very
    first chapter which I have not even finished. He says:
    “whenever Jesus is glorified Holy Spirit comes” Yes
    whenever Jesus is NOT glorified, demon spirit comes!
    God bles you Michael and ALL CF
    Steve

  8. chadian says:

    i totally agree with you , Michael : we are living in a most dangerous period , with false teachings abounding , and with the majority of “Christians” looking for fleshly experiences in “out-of-this-world” meetings or crusades , call it as you like . Now is the time for us to really seek the Lord and to listen to what the Spirit is telling us : we have entered a season of terrible spiritual war , and those who do not have the Word dwelling in them will end up being the first casualties . I leave in Africa , and i can tell you : the deception is not only in Lakeland . Brothers , sisters , please wake up ! Being a Christian is about being transformed into the likeness of the One who bought us at the price of His life , not about showing the world how powerful and anointed you are . The Holy Spirit is here primarily to mold us into the image of the Son , do not be misled . Spend time reading the Word , meditating on it , and praying ; do not think you can never be deceived , do not take this warning lightly !

    • Gods sunflower says:

      I agree with Michael and Chadian. We also need to be humble people of God. AMEN, AMEN and AMEN. Michael may God continue to bless you as you use the internet to spread the truth of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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