Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Charisma magazine, and the dog that did nothing in the night

An article from Charisma magazine this morning reminds me of Sherlock Holmes.

Jennifer LeClaire, the magazine's Senior News Editor, posted an article on the magazine's website, which gives a rundown on several "prophetic words" of 2014. It is "Did 2014’s Prophetic Words Ring True?" which you may see here:


I have to commend her for her piece. Getting "prophetic words" down for the record is something valuable for accountability reasons and she and the magazine are to be praised for that.

But the Sherlock Holmes story Silver Blaze comes to my mind.

Holmes is on a case when he has an exchange with someone form the police. It goes like this:

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time." Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

if you read the Charisma piece, you may suspect that they found several dogs, er prophets, that did not bark in the night, as the Holmes quote is usually erroneously rendered.

The prophecies quoted seem very vague and could be pegged to anything. LeClaire is also careful to note that the prophecies may not have happened yet.

I'm aware of the charismatic teaching these days that prophets are not obliged to get their prophecies 100% right as in Bible days. "Even the best prophets don't get it totally right..."

But I do wonder if LeClaire, in the back of her mind, was thinking "This will show that this use of 'prophecy' can be a bit bogus. This article will show that." as she wrote....

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Crossroads Communications network renames and rebrands itself

An interesting story in the National Post a couple of days ago.

Reporter Claire Brownell reports on changes to Christian broadcasting in Canada.


She concentrates of Oakville, Ont. bible teacher Bruxy Cavey who has his virtual parishoners go to 15 movie theaters around the province to hear his sermons.

Buried in the story ia news that Crossroads made some changes in September. It's now Yes TV on air, and has started to air reality shows like The Biggest Loser, in an attempt to get viewers.

Lorna Dueck hosts a program on the channel, Context With Lorna Dueck. She flat out says that no Canadian christian TV show can survive without donations. Her program airs on Global "in an arrangement similar to purchasing an infomercial".

More details in the story, but it looks to me like Yes TV maye be having to make a virtue out of a necessity.

Todd Bentley's wife is pregnant

It should be noted for the record that Jessa Bentley, the second wife of Todd Bentley, is well along with being pregnant. It was confirmed by an e-mail to his supporters a few weeks ago, complete with photo of a very pregnant Jessa.

A few days ago, she tweeted this:


"I feel huge! #27weeks, 6months and 3weeks along. Can't believe I only have less than 13weeks to go! 󾌯 Please... http://fb.me/2atxkvmj3"

Whether Todd Bentley should have remarried was probably a central issue in the aftermath of the collapse of the Lakeland Revival. Possible unsound theology, excesses on stage, people didn't seem to want to get a handle on that. Mentor Rick Joyner and Bentley were probably getting a lot of blowback on that, as the pair spent a bit of effort arguing why Bentley had to divorce Shonnah and city the theology that allowed for the divorce.

Bentley, in occasional e-mails in recent months, has taken pains to quote Christian leaders of the past. Perhaps he thought they were wise, but probably, it may be to appeal to traditionalist conservative Christians who feared he was a heretic.

The baby is nice enough, but if you believe Christians are allowed to marry once and not divorce and remarry, it makes another divorce unlikely.

Todd Bentley can probably never remarry Shonnah and return to his stater set of kids, now.

If he sinned in his divorce, this is a sin he can never repent of.

Any chance of appealing to an audience that isn't on the wilder side of the charismatic movement, is slipping away.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Marci McDonald: A "friend" of Faytene?

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs on, November 10, 2014]

Did you know that reporter and author Marci McDonald was at one time part of "The hand of Hell"?

Or that at one time, she was a "friend" of Canadian evangelist and activist Faytene Grasseschi (nee Kryskow), who was a portrayed as a poster child for religious extremism in McDonald's 2010 book The Armageddon Factor?

Oh, don't worry, I'll bet McDonald is surprised too.

This follows up on a bit of a "nine day wonder" in the spring and summer of 2010 where The Armageddon Factor was discussed extensively in the media and on this blog.

And hopefully it also sheds light on how a certain charismatic Christian mindset reacts to being in the public eye.

In October 2013, Faytene Grasseschi spoke at The Harvest, a small church in Kitimat. B.C. [My apologies, but I only found this in the past few days. And since it touches on something that caused quite a media and blogosphere firestorm back in 2010, I think this follow-up would be very useful.]

McDonald, a veteran reporter, came out with The Armageddon Factor in the spring of 2010. Her thesis was that "Christian nationalism" was having a dangerous influence on Canadian politics. Political conservatives, in turn, thought her book poorly researched and alarmist.

[I Have my own bias. The hardcover edition of the book made a passing reference to Terry O'Neill, my former editor at the magazine I worked for, with a glaring factual error. That specific item, I've posted on here. Terry O'Neill won a correction in the paperback edition of the book.]

[I myself felt that the specific enemy she feared remained too weak to fear. However, although I disagreed with her, the public policy question she raised is important, interesting and newsworthy.]

Anyways, McDonald featured Faytene as a "bete noire" in her book, with an entire chapter on how scary Faytene reportedly was.

Fast forward to the fall of last year when Faytene was speaking at The Harvest. Her sermon for Oct. 10, 2013 is on streaming audio here.


Faytene was speaking about being able to persevere through adversity. I'll blog about the whole thing, but I'll single out the part about McDonald first.

At 1:06:27, Faytene says this (emphasis mine):

"....Within the same 24 hours period believe it or not, within the same 24 hour period, a friend of mine who I love and can't wait to see her next named Marci McDonald, who is an international best selling author with the New York Times [best-seller list] wrote a book, some of you might remember it, it came out right that month, April 2010, called The Armageddon Factor and it was [subtitled] the Rise of [Christian Nationalism in Canada]

And it [The Armaggeddon Factor] was a full-on slam on the Christian movement who were influencing government, with the number one focus of the very first chapter and the [rest of the] book being yours truly, personally by name! She talked about my family in the book [Faytene chuckles] and the same day she was on {the TV program] and this book was everywhere in Ottawa! People were like 'You're that girl! You're like that scary girl!' or whatever..."

While I pick myself off the floor, my readers off the floor, and perhaps Marci McDonald off the floor, some observations.

As of the fall of 2013, how could Marci McDonald and Faytene Grasseschi possibly be friends? Especially after McDonald put the boots to Faytene in her book?

It would take a miracle, but Faytene is fond of that sort of thing. :)

I have to wonder if this is true. Whether Faytene thought to herself "Oh, I'm all the way over in Kitimat B.C., Marci will never hear this..." Would to God they were friends, but it would be quite the story if that were truly the case.]

And now cue a little back to her more general remarks on her dark night of the soul in April 2010, which start at 1:03:04 of the sermon audio.

She is trying to communicate the spiritual value of stick-to-it-iveness through adversity to her audience. Granted as a charismatic, I'm receptive to her point of view, yet I thought she had insight.

She tells the church audience, starting at 1:03:54 about a dark night of the soul in April 2010. She began by saying this was the first time in Canada, and the second time ever, that she was going to share about this.

"....in a 24 hour period, there [was] a convergence of events where both heaven and hell, literally--and my dad was a hockey player so I understand this--lifted me up and and threw me up against the boards at the same time."

She briefly alludes to receiving a word of correction about how she ran her ministries. So, you could understand that if you threw the release of McDonald's book on top of that, Faytene was quite distraught.

And then Canada AM was talking about the book on their program.

Back to Faytene, starting at 1:17:30 (emphasis mine):

"In Ottawa, people were like 'You're that girl that's like that scary girl' or whatever and I was in this thing where the hand of the Lord was dealing with me....but also the hand of Hell was just coming down on me. Professors from different universities that were writing expose articles about me, and it was like, it was like...This little girl, who is just trying to pray for Canada, you know what I mean? I had no grid for how to deal with a massive persecution at the national media level...."

"....[It was like, it was just tough and literally this demonic oppression--I can honestly say that demonic oppression jumped on me in this moment of vulnerability...."

"....It's like all I needed in that moment was, like, a hug, and somebody to tell me that I wasn't an evil person for mobilizing prayer in Canada. You know, like really. Because i felt like Hell was screaming in my face..."

This drove Faytene to her knees and God helped her through. But she felt sorry for herself first.

"How do I, in this moment, not quit?" she remembers thinking. "How do I not say 'What am I doing this for? What am I working for free for? Why am I working 18 hours a day? What is this about?"

Faytene added that she felt like she was under "the cloud of hell", but came to understand the value of perseverence.

"...I determined in my heart and spirit to finish to the end" she said. "Even if nobody is cheering me on. Even. Even if I feel misunderstood. Even if the national media has got a bazooka to my face...."

This isn't new with Faytene. She has overreacted to the media and blogging before, as I have explained in an earlier post, which you may read on this blog.

I have enough of a difficulty discerning for myself, let alone for someone else.

Faytene's ministry method of "touching the heart of a King" to have profound effects for less effort, seems wise.

And if she could be conservative without any dominionist overtones, I would be happy.

However, he tendency to demonize those she sees as her opponents is worrisome.

There is a devil, and he does work and oppose. But could those who differ with her be just opposing her using their own human reasoning and opinions?

If Faytene does believe that the devil was behind her woes, I applaud her forthrightness in saying just that.

But using "the devil" could be like using an anvil to swat a fly.

Her remarks to this church could point to a reason why she was savaged in The Armageddon Factor.

Faytene, in these remarks, seems to think of herself in two ways.

First, she is a "little girl" who started "a prayer movement". Think Judy Garland in those old movies where Judy and the kids "put on a show." Why are you picking on her?

And then she is someone with stick-to-itiveness, a "finisher", which is certainly a good thing. Yet, Faytene has been fond in the past of using Joan of Arc as an example. So, I think that Joan may have been an example to Faytene of this second sort of person.

Think of McDonald now. I would speculate that McDonald would be very familiar with the old stereotype of the humble well meaning, moderate Canadian church. The Anglicans. The old United Church. Think of "The Comfortable Pew".

McDonald, then, might have thought of ardently conservative activist types such as Faytene Kryskow(as she then was) as something from outer space. A stake, wood and fire, is how you respond to a Joan of Arc type. This may explain why McDonald reacted that way in her book, as if Orson Welles is broadcasting his War of the Worlds.

As I said, McDonald could fairly argue her thesis in her book. But for Faytene to default to It`s the devil!" ignores possible explanations such as the one I just advanced. If you torque up the rhetoric, don`t be surprised if there is a response in kind.

Faytene may well be right. McDonald may well be right. And I may well be right about some reasons why this perfect storm happened.

But at any rate, it`s good to get one side of the story regarding this tempest in a teacup that made a bit of a media and internet storm a few years ago. If you got wet, this lady's point of view might explain why.

Harper signed trade agreements with China while Canadian Christians rot in prison

{Published at Bene Diction Blogs On November 9, 2014]

Can't say that Stephen Harper doesn't know the value of a dollar.

Over the past few days he has been In China, finalizing trade agreements with the government of China worth $2.5 billion. As he did, Canadians Kevin Garratt and Julia Dawn Garratt are still in Chinese prisons.

The couple, as the Wall Street Journal reported in August after their arrest, "are under investigation for suspected theft of state secrets about China's military and national defense research," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said at the time. It added that the couple's actions had "harmed China's state security activities."

Today, as I write, was the day that the Church worldwide prays for persecuted Christians around the world. So my church prayed for them, as my pastor knows them. From what he said today, they were trying to be a good witness and doing a little lay ministry when opportunity allowed.

They have lived in China since 1984, most recently operating a coffee shop in the city of Dandong on China's border with North Korea.

Their son Simeon, from what I understand, is in China now, trying to use Harper's visit to help the situation.

Not that Harper was much of a help. Cap in hand, in my view, he signed on the dotted line.

Canadian Press has reported that there was little visible movement in helping the duo.


CP reported:

The prime minister raised his concerns about the three-month imprisonment of Kevin and Julia Garratt with Premier Li Keqiang during a closed-door meeting at the ornate Great Hall of the People, a spokesman for Harper said.

Harper didn’t reiterate those concerns publicly when Li, the second most powerful man in China, was asked about the fate of the Garratts during a post-meeting news conference.

“We have discussed a full range of issues in our bilateral relationship in a frank, open and friendly manner,” Harper said in remarks to the media.

Li, meantime, said they “talked about the rule of law and human rights.”

As for the Garratts, the premier added: “As for individual cases, I want to reiterate that as China continues to build a country under the rule of law, I believe that judicial authorities should be able to handle cases in accordance with the law.”

This is odd.

If China doesn't want foreigners near its borders, why doesn't it ban foreign nationals from Manchuria?

Or do China's leaders hope that foreigners will get a message and voluntarily leave, hoping not to be imprisoned on a trumped up excuse, if this is the case.

Perhaps someone in our foreign affairs ministry could have said to the Chinese. "If you thinks they are "spies", which is fatuous, why not just deport them and not let them back in?"

I would have liked Harper to refuse to sign the agreement until the pair were let go.

But that is probably my disgust with his lack of action talking.

Rewriting history for the past five years, and counting

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On November 6, 2014]

Winston Churchill once said, or wrote: “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.”

Or rewrite it, in the case of Faytene Grasseschi, perhaps?

The Canadian born evangelist and activist was at Toronto City Church in late September to speak.

One evening, she mulled out loud that she might “live out of a motor home” in Canada during our upcoming federal election season next year.

Streaming versions of her, and her and her husband Rob, sharing may be found at the church website.

Faytene’s second set of remarks there, a sermon or rather “A word for Canada in this season” make for interesting listening.

However, at 41:17 of her Sept 28 address, Faytene started talking about the “Dominion of Canada”, Canada’s formal name.

Faytene Grasseschi said:

“…For those of you who don’t know our nation of Canada was established on a covenant. There is a scripture [on] the Peace Tower in Parliament which says this–’And he’ that is Jesus Christ, Psalm 72 [verse 8] ‘will have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.’”

“Why is that script That scripture is there because the 33 Fathers of Confederation all came into agreement. And mu Bible tells me that when two or three are in agreement, two or more are gathered in agreement, that it will be established. And they agreed at the foundation of our nation that this nation would be called the ‘Dominion of Canada.”

“I’m not talking about enforced religion. I’m talking about a nation in love with Jesus. A nation where His mercy and His justice and His ways are exalted above any other system….”

She then goes on to cite a letter from Sir John A. MacDonald to Queen Victoria in which MacDonald cites the name of “dominion” as a reflection of what the Fathers wanted Canada to become. [A quote she cites in her book Stand on Guard.]

There’s nothing new under the sun. Faytene has been making this argument for over five years. I first heard it at The Cry Vancouver back in 2009.

Readers Digest version of my refutation: Canadian political leaders wanted to call Canada “The Kingdom of Canada, but feared American reaction to the name. So, Samuel Tilley came up with “dominion” as a substitute for “kingdom”, getting the idea from the Bible and a long history of British possessions being named “Dominions.”

Also, the notion of Canada being a “Christian nation”–in the same way that the United States likes to think itself as, is debatable. Devoutly to be wished, but debatable.

Anyways, I wrote at great length about this back in 2009 and don’t care to reinvent the wheel. Go to this post and find the section labelled Her book: History and theology.

It seems that Faytene would like to back away from being an overt Dominionist. “I am not talking about enforced religion.” But then she calls up the imagine in her listeners’I minds of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

She also refers, in passing, to the idea of a great end-time revival that will start in Canada, a regular theme of hers. She preached on that in 2013.


They could use that old barn out back

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On November 4. 2014]

There will be at least one sequel to the new Left Behind with Nicolas Cage, says filmmaker Paul Lalonde.

In a statement released on the Left Behind fan page on Facebook…


…Lalonde announced that he feels compelled to keep the series going:

“… I woke up in the night, and for whatever reason, the answer seemed clear. Of course we are’! I’m not sure what it might look like or how big it might be. But we will continue the story. We have to…”
/It will be “a challenge” he says. But the plan has always been several movies based on the novels, with the first concentrating on the Rapture. (Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland leading efforts to “put on a show” comes to mind, But there’s not necessary anything wrong with that.)

Dare we hope that there will be anything purposely evangelical in the sequels? I predict potential backers will insist on it.