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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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!

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.

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…)

Once I got going on this Todd Bentley thing I found lots of interesting stuff. It’s more of the same old same old. This guy is really funny and I laughed a lot reading this. It starts out a bit slow; skim the first part. Word-Faith people won’t like this at all. Ok, well I’m done for now and will move back to my topics and stop focusing on performers…

May 27, 2008

Leaving Lakeland

by Mike Kirkland

The three o’clock traffic in downtown Lakeland wasn’t bad. I decided to ride by Lake Mirror since it was such a beautiful afternoon. (more…)