Friday, June 01, 2012

Todd Bentley practices recycling (and plans next revival to start on Monday)

{Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On June 24, 2011] It would seem that Todd Bentley has learned something from the collapse of the Lakeland revival. This time he appears to have a "Plan B", if the revival that he expects to start on Monday [June 27] fizzles. In the past few weeks he has been sending out some interesting e-mails. I'll take them up in roughly chronological order. On May 25, Todd Bentley sent out an e-mail titled the "One Million Soul Challenge!", complete with donation button allowing you to "sow into souls", in which he asked for $15,000 to cover the cost of "our region wide crusade" in Peru. The e-mail adds: "...We have also partnered with mayors and political leaders, some of who are Christians, some of whom are not, but they are all excited..." Shouldn't the meetings have been tototally apolitical given the bad things that can happen when the two are mixed together in Latin America? Todd had introduced the e-mail by having his minion write this interesting paragraph: "This is an exciting time as Fresh Fire Missions expands and Todd enters into a schedule of international crusade ministry! In the first 10 years of Todd's crusade ministry we saw over ONE MILLION people make public decisions for Christ and make public decisions for Christ and get connected in local churches for discipleship and are now making plans aroun dthw orl to see another million soulds come to Christ!... Two days later, in the innocously titled e-mail "We want to reconnect", we have an e-mail in which the author is either Todd or speaking on his behalf. They write:
Reconnecting with you for a million more souls... Years ago, at the start of Fresh Ministries in Canada, the Lord through the Holy Spirit gave me [i.e. Todd] a vision of a great harvest where I saw our generation: men and women young and old, children, the world touched with the mighty power and presence of Jesus Christ, and coming to know Him having heard the Gospel preached, and seeing and experiencing the Word heal, save, set free, and deliver in signs, wonders, and miracles. In another vision, according to the Gospel of Luke, I saw Peter out on the boat fishing with the disciples and their empty nets. They?d toiled all night and caught nothing. But the Master came and told them to put out into the deep and let down their nets for a catch, and they dipped their nets at His Word, and caught a net-busting, boat-sinking harvest of fish, so incredible, that Peter had to call upon his partners to help. The Lord said, "Todd, you need to signal for help...great is the multitude in the valley of decisions."
If Todd Bentley's heart has changed, this would be a laudable thing. But I do ask how accurate is the estimate of people who were saved, given that it is almost certain that Bentley retains no ministry staff from his pre-Lakeland days? It's interesting that Todd asks for help in the form of donations. And I think I have heard of efforts to save millions of souls before. And I think that you have too. Yes, Rodney Howard-Browne's Great Awakening Tour. Whatever you may feel about his theology, for the past five years he has been ostensibly making efforts to save one hundred million souls through evangelistic crusades. While this link goes to his website, I do recall reading about what he is trying to do in various Christian media. Well, I hope that Todd "blue-bags" because he is not above recycling an idea that people seem to support. A humble approach would perhaps seek to help Howard-Browne, or ask to adopt his methods as well. But I don't think that will be happening. As the Lakleland revival started to collapse, we heard an interesting second-hand account passed on by evangelist Robert Ricciadelli in a radio interview on KGNW radio in Seattle, Washington. Ricciardelli had heard of a confrontation between Todd Bentley and Rodney-Howard-Browne. The blogger at End Times Prophetic Words summarized what happened this way:
Rodney Howard Browne met with Todd Bentley early in the Lakeland meetings. ‘My advice to you is do not talk about angels, do not get off on angel Emma, preach the word of God and let’s see what God does.’ And Todd agreed with him. But the very next day in defiance, Todd said at the meeting: ’Someone recently told me that I’m not going to talk about angels’ – then he chanted in a demented and pagan way for the angels to come, then he also got the crowd to chant for angels in a demented and pagan way.
Having retained a tape of the broadcast, I can say that it seems to me to be an accurate paraphrase of what was said.] And recall this audio from Lakeland saved on YouTube. Todd recalls praying to God about just being able to praying for healing without dealing with "all that other stuff". Quoting Todd directly, starting at 0:46:
"He [the Lord] said 'Because Todd, you gotta get people to believe in the Angel." I said "God, why do I gotta get people to believe in the angel? Isn't it about getting the people to believe in Jesus?' He said 'The people already believe in Jesus, but the church doesn;t believe in the supernatural.' The church has no problem believing in Jesus. What we don't believe in, is the supernatural! We don't believe in Angels! WE don't believe in the prophetic..."
This is incredibly unorthodox. Surely the God of the universe, in the form of Jesus, part of the Trinity, can do more than a finite angel? Not according to Todd back then. And, I fear, not according to Todd now. I'll explain... Around June 18, An "Important Notice from Todd Bentley>" appeared on the FFM website. You can check it out, if you like. Todd writes:
Two weeks ago at the Greater Glory Gathering Virginia Beach, the Lord spoke to me about contending for a greater outpouring of his presence, signs, and wonders. During this prophetic experience I saw the Revival Healing Angel that had visited us in Lakeland, Florida. The Lord reminded me of His promise that there would be many healing pools in America like the one found in John 5. This encounter led me to become hungry for something greater than another conference or an event. The services following the encounter I had in Virginia Beach/Williamsburg “Hampton Roads” brought the presence of the Lord in a stronger way. The atmosphere was reminiscent of the outpourings I have seen in the past. The level of the prophetic manifested in such detailed ‘words of knowledge’ that it resulted in many healings. The gift for the ‘word of knowledge’ and healing that came in these meetings reminded me of the early days of Lakeland. The Lord has challenged me for nine months that regions were going to be shaken by the power of God. I realized that it would take more than a 3-day event or 4-day conference to contend for regional break-through. In the past healing revivals in the 1950’s, many of the evangelists would stay in one region for 14days to 3 consecutive months. Carlos Anaconda, an Argentinean Revivalist, would only come to a region if the hosting church would allow him at least two weeks up to 3 months nightly to see regional revival. I believe the Lord may even be giving me a new model of ministry in America. I felt the Lord challenge me to give at least 30 straight days to see His Glory come in Virginia Hampton Roads area. These meetings will be focused on the presence of God, ministry impartation, and healing. I am not saying that this is another revival but I am saying that the Lord has commissioned my team and I to make ourselves available for this outpouring. In the past when we have been apart of revival, like Lakeland Florida, God has shown up sovereignly and stayed. This is the first time I have felt the Lord tell me to prepare for what was coming for a region. To make room for this fresh outpouring we have cleared our entire July schedule.
Oh, he is cute. He may write that "this may not be a revival", but he is sure hinting that it will be like Lakeland or even better. On June 16, he had prepared the soil of his e-mail recipients, as it were, by writing about The Coming Rains of Healing and Miracles" an e-mail in which he wrote "That morning in worship after God had given me this word two wonderful Africans walked into the service and God spoke to me that they were a sign that miracles and healings would come forth in North America like in places in Africa."] Obviously he is wanting to plant some ideas in the minds of his listeners. And note the reference to the "Lakeland angel" above. Obviously if Jesus were sufficient to bring healing, and He certainly is, the angel would be superfluous. But Todd is making sure to mention that "the Angel" is expected to attend. Obviously, he has learned nothing from Howard Brownes rebuke, assuming it was delivered. And we may wonder whether people will be properly led to the atoning gospel as one of his "million souls". But, Todd, if he is as shrewd as I think he is, has an out if the mini-revivals don't take place. He's "saving one million souls" even if the miracles fall flat. Hope I am wrong, but I have doubts. Interesting thing about Williamsburg, the location of the first planned "John 5" revival pool that Bentley mentions in his recent e-mail. It reminds me of Lakeland in some ways. Williamsburg is noted as a former colonial site and tourist attraction If you have a look at the map I linked to above, you notice that Williamsburg is close enough to get to, presumably has some hotel space due to the colonial site there, but is not that close to the major cities of Richmond and Norfolk. Now let's look at Lakeland, Florida. It's close enough to Tampa that you can get there, but you have to drive a bit from the closest major city. I suspect that Williamsburg was picked for its similarities to Lakeland. 1. If it's a little difficult to get to, as a revival participant you root for "more" to happen to make the travel worthwhile. 2. Although Tampa is nearby, the city's TV and newspaper only covered the Lakeland revival in a glancing way. We can be grateful for Cary McMullen's superlative coverage of Bentley in the Lakeland newspaper, but can we expect this to happen again at a "Williamburg revival", say, especially if there is little or no radio or TV news and only a, say, weekly newspaper? {I mean no disrespect at all to these journalists, I merely mean to say that they have understandable difficulties covering Todd Bentley that others might not face.] 3. It would be harder for discernment ministries and other concerned people to keep track of what is going on. The time limit on each outpouring is interesting. You'd figure that, as in Wales, an extended revival would only do more good for the area that it is supposed to touch. Not in Todd's mind. One of the things that did the Lakeland revival in what it's multi-month length. People had time to discern its fruit. National news programs, like Nightline on ABC, had time to plan and execute coverage before the evangelistic tents were struck. It was more than a "nine day wonder" in the local and national press, as their digging revealed that not all was as it seemed. If you quickly load the camels and scoot, many things can be left to be hidden by the desert sands. Well, the saying "forewarned is forearmed" is said to apply to everyone. Even Mr. Bentley.