Leadership


In certain circles, I can’t seem to get away from this freak show. Today I heard some friends of mine referencing the “revival” in Florida and Todd Bentley (as if this was something real and of God). Personally, I wouldn’t even want to have ever been associated with anyone who was gullible enough to buy into this in the first place. God amazes me in his willingness to put up with us and even touch people in the craziest of situations. Even among the charletons, God can show up, upset the apple cart and provide AUTHENTIC healing and relationship. It really is astounding. Think of how God does all these things IN SPITE of us!

It is sad, but not at all surprising that this blew up on way or another. I think this post from a sympathetic charismatic focuses on the salient points that bothered me the most. These are thoughtful questions and no one is bashing anyone. In my self-righteous moments I want to say “I told you so!” But that isn’t very often, luckily. Usually it just is plain sad to think about the human wreckage in the wake of the “BAM!” Show. But I would actually rather talk about other things, like being missional and how do we do that in a big ol’ institutional church…guess that will be next time!

Life After Lakeland: Sorting Out the Confusion

Todd Bentley’s announcement that his marriage is ending has thrown our movement into a tailspin—and questions need to be answered.

It was not supposed to end like this. (more…)

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This guy raises the very interesting question without all sorts of inflammatory end-times doom rhetoric–could Bentley go the way of Jim Jones? I didn’t remember the background on Jones (other than the sad kool-aid mass suicide) and was surprised to find out he was involved with the pentecostal heretical latter rain movement (from whence comes Bentley’s mentors’ beliefs). Time will tell if it is just showmanship or if the personality cult is developing. Food for thought. Eat it without the kool-aid though…

Excerpt:

In 1955, Jones attended a Latter Rain Pentecostal Conference where Rev. O.L. Jaggers laid hands on him and pronounced over him that he had a very special prophetic calling on his life. It was at that conference that Jones saw Pentecostalism as a perfect opportunity to draw the masses in. He would go on to hold many faith healing services where there were dramatic resurrections from the dead, people would come up out of their wheelchairs, and others would have tumors pulled from their bodies. We know from history Jones used sleight of hand to trick his followers into believing that these miracles and resurrections from the dead were actually taking place.

Much like Todd Bentley, he had no details and no clear documentation of any healings. All people saw were the dramatic enactments taking place on stage. Jones was clever in the enactments. For example, he had chicken gizzards that he pulled out from up his sleeve to make it look as if he was pulling tumors from people’s bodies. I have no doubt that even in the meetings of Jones some probably did get healed, as I’m sure there are some in Bentley’s that have as well but it has everything to do with Jesus and nothing to with Bentley or Jones or the atmosphere around them. The Holy Spirit works in accordance with his own will, in his own time, and he doesn’t need any man to touch you in order for you to be healed. Though I believe in the gift of healing as described in I Corinthians 12- I don’t believe you need to be touched by any person in order to be healed.

Click on above link for more of article.

Oh Lordy, I am bad! Remember those videos from psych class on the maharishi movements where people are dancing wildly and hypnotically to music (the guru leading it all)? I think it was in the late 60s or early 70s. Well, here is the new “guru” for the new millenium! Whirling dervish craziness. LOOK at those people!

I’m probably gonna have to put all this Bentley stuff on a page later and get it out of the posts; especially when I stop rubbernecking and start developing thoughtful posts dealing with issues that aren’t so pop-culture related! Eegads!

First hand stories are interesting to me. The previous report by the guy who recognized all the hypnotic techniques being used by Bentley was wry and funny (if you missed that, it’s here). The following account is serious and has some typos. This person apparently has visions and comes from the prophetic/charismatic side of things. I copied the story about 2/3 down since there is a LOT of back story about his gifts and other details. Some might find that interesting so for the rest of that you can read here. Also, this guy’s presentation and cultural view is pretty dramatic–not my personal cup of tea. I haven’t done ANY research into his creds or history or theology. I just think it’s an interesting first person story.

I haven’t figured out what my fascination is with this topic…maybe it’s kinda like the rubbernecking response when there is a roadside accident, or just bad roadkill. It started with my yoga research, then friend connections (as mentioned previously), but now who knows. I’m not a spooky superstitious person. I prefer a reasoned argument, some good deep thinking. Ah, well. I do read trashy novels from time to time and maybe this is related. This is all so OUT there and melodramatic and televangelistic-type hype overkill (there’s that word again). One of my very literary, intelligent, artistic, brilliant friends loves to read vampire novels. I think we all have some of that in us somewhere. In regards to religious crap, usually it just makes me sick. And partly, this does, because the poor people involved make is tragedy-comedy.

It also might be the occultic connections that fascinate me since I study that stuff. And it does have a relationship with kundalini and other interesting things. But mainly, I’ll probably just be really sad when it is all over and so many people have been thrashed by it all. By then, I’m sure I’ll be able to watch the expose on tv!

Anyways, that is my long-winded explanation for posting the following story:

You are entering in the middle of the narrative. They are in Lakeland and plan to sing and speak to the crowd and he sees the Angel Emma that Bentley talks about…

We loaded his equipment and headed back down to where Todd Bentley was holding service that evening the Lakeland center or convention center. I’m really not sure what it was called. We arrived and found the place that I felt like the father wanted us to set up. There was plenty of parking in the parking lot where I could have set up or even parked but I had received a warning earlier myself from the father instructing me to not set on foot on that property, to just open my mouth and he would fill it.
Daniel started off singing a few songs playing the guitar and people where very aware of our presence and some started gathering across the road listening. Then I took the mic after a few songs and started in by saying “you like sheep are led astray, Judgment is coming to Florida and then I don’t remember anything else I said until something happened. The anointing was so strong I felt it coming in waves so strong I thought I would not be able to stand. Then my spiritual eyes where opened and I saw an angel coming from the building that was about a block away across the parking lot. She made her way across the parking lot almost instantaneously but the spirit rose up in me and said I rebuke you Emma and I bind you to do no harm.
At that moment it was like I saw her bound by something I could not see, but it rendered her motionless other then every mussel in her body strained trying to break free. And she stayed there until I was done speaking and then I saw her no more. (more…)

Hypnotism can be a very useful tool to change some bad habits. I’ve known friends that have used it for easier and better childbirth, quitting smoking and losing weight. I tried the losing weight audios and it didn’t work on me! Then I learned that people are different in how susceptible they are to hypnotism. I’m not easily hypnotized, which is fine by me. I’ll just use some other techniques.

Now, I don’t particularly want people using these techniques in religious settings, but they do. And it is very common in more ecstatic gatherings, whether called Christian, Hindu, New Age or whatever. Psychology has been studying this for decades. I think that people are too uninformed in religious settings though. This is not a good thing. Intention isn’t important in using these techniques. You could learn them without knowing they are ways to suggest behaviors by just mimicking a particular leader or speaker that you want to be like. I can see how this can happen in religious circles because of the leadership style in certain groups. People are told that they are receiving from God and they want it, so they are susceptible to this suggestion. It really doesn’t matter what is being said, the techniques work.

Here is a video that explains this a little bit:

I haven’t paid that much attention to the use of these techniques in Christian circles mainly b/c I just ignored the charlatans and ignored the weird behavior. I dismissed it our of hand as not worth attention. I’m trying to not be so dismissive now and see what is really happening.

If not, here’s the link

I missed it, but watched it online.  I only could see part of it. This YouTube has the other half of the interview…

I’m not surprised that the Baptists have skepticism regarding the so-called Lakeland Revival. It is interesting that people are going with an open mind and heart to see if God is going to move in their lives at Todd Bentley’s events. Yet, just as with many other “healing evangelists” that involve a lot of manipulation and splash, too many people are leaving in the same condition, or worse, if you consider their crushed spirits. It reminds me of Benny Hinn…For me, it is just sad to see. God is so much bigger than all this hype full of nothing. Why am I so aggravated by all this?

Part of the problem is that I listen to many preachers outside of my own tradition, to expand my “spiritual temperament” and learn more about God beyond my personal biases. This listening isn’t the problem, but my irritation is probably due to the fact that a certain segment of ministers are apparently friends with this circle of Bentley “revivalists” and before finding this out, I pretty much was enjoying most of these guys’ sermons…Sigh. Of course, I had some theological issues, but I can deal with that. But just accepting all this and saying that you are missing out on what God is doing by doubting any of this hype and show is pretty gross to hear.

The article below is eloquent and succinct. Well done. Much better than my personal ramblings!

FIRST-PERSON: Neither faith nor healing

Posted on Jul 11, 2008 | by William A. Dembski

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Todd Bentley’s healing ministry has gained national attention. His daily meetings for the past three months in Lakeland, Fla., have attracted hundreds of thousands from all over the world. The press has begun to question Bentley’s legitimacy — Is his financial accounting above board? Are miracles really happening? I want to raise some more personal concerns.

On July 3, my wife, three children and I attended Bentley’s “impartation service” in Denton, Texas, north of Dallas. Why? We have twin 7-year-old boys, one of whom is autistic (largely nonverbal, still not fully toilet trained, serious developmental delays). Friends urged that we attend the meeting for his miraculous healing. (more…)

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