Monday, August 06, 2018

I Want to have a standalone Ubysset histoey blog vut Blogger is being owly.

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..."

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.

" 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.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

An apology on behalf of "social media" Christians to Nicolas Cage

(Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, November 2, 2014)

Ted Baehr's Movieguide has felt burdened to apologize to Nicolas Cage about the occasionally visceral reaction to the new Left Behind film.

The open letter...

...argues that Christians on the Internet discussed the film with the bark off.

Anthony D' Amore writes:

These self-proclaimed Christian critics who have been slamming Nicolas Cage and his movie on social media channels have seemingly lost sight of God’s purpose. It’s as if posting a judgmental rant on a web site is more important than a Hollywood actor experiencing the grace of God.

It doesn’t mean every Christian needs to agree with everything about Cage’s movie or what Cage stands for, but as ambassadors of Christ, it is embarrassing and counterproductive for the Kingdom of heaven when Christians behave badly by inflicting searing criticism against someone like Nicolas Cage for whom Jesus Christ died on the cross.

Christians who get caught up in the theological-driven attacks have forgotten that there is a more loving manner with which to deliver an opinion – without attacking.

I myself quite liked the new Left Behind, which closed after only two weeks in my neck of the woods. I believe that Nicolas Cage was good in the film.

That said, I also pointed out at the time that Left Behind filmmaker Paul Lalonde had missed an opportunity to briefly overtly evangelize in the film, stating in an interview that the producers felt they didn't have time to do so.

This, I added, was a glaring omission, given that Paul Lalonde and his brother Peter, spent much of the 80s and 90s doing the bible prophecy themed program This Week in Bible Prophecy on the Canadian TV network Vision TV. Peter Lalonde, in segments you may view today, would tell people how you could come to Christ in less than five minutes.

When you have Nicolas Cage in your film, and presumably an opportunity to reach millions, how could you not do so when you have *done so before* ?
I was firm but not, to my mind, rude. And I directed my point to Paul Lalonde and not his hired gun.

You could mourn the tone of people's critiques, I would agree, but not that they were made, if their points were valid. Backing away from evangelizing at Mach speed, I respectfully suggest, would apply here.

I suspect that Ted Baehr feels the need to refrain from burning bridges with "Hollywood" and this article is the result. That may be correct, but my concern is a worry about needless self-censorship.

"No airline attendant would wear a blouse two sizes too small."--On the new Left Behind film

(Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, October 16, 2014)

Quite the crash and burn, for the new Left Behind film starring Nicolas Cage, as it were.

According to the movie grosses site, Indiewire, as I write, Left Behind has dropped to number 10 on their list of movie grosses, earning just under $ 3 million in revenue in its second week of release.

I myself went to see it twice, the first time in order to make sure that it didn't disappear from theaters before I had a chance to see it. This was on the Saturday of the first week that it was out and there were nine people in the theater.

Guess that any hopes by the producer Paul Lalonde that Cage would give the film a boost at the box officer haven't been borne out yet.

Left Behind is getting a bit of a beating on the Internet as well from both "sides".

More liberal Christians are looking askance at what they see as the film's view of the "end times" . There'll be no Rapture or "end times'. The "end times took place either allegorically or back in the times of the Apostles.

More conservative onlookers such as Todd Friel, decried Left Behind as not being a Christian film, "at all".

His highlighted radio clip for October 6 2014 saw "nothing Christian about it [the film]."

He decried the lack of a Christian witness. Cage's suit looked like it was bought at Goodwill, and such. "I'd expect a film about the Rapture to be about the one doing the Rapturing," he added.

Not that Mr. Friel should have been surprised. Paul Lalonde did warn him, and other conservative Christians, if they read between the lines, in this WND interview.

WND reported (You'll need to scroll down):

But as more mainstream actors find their way into the film, WND asked, did the biblical content get pushed out?

“This movie focuses on the day of the Rapture, so there really isn’t any huge opportunity for anyone to do evangelizing, but the Christian worldview is there,” Lalonde said. “The message is there. Everybody who is watching knows it was the Rapture; they know where those people went; they know why those people left and why those who were left behind were left behind, so there is no attempt to hide the biblical theme of the movie.

“Yet it’s not in-your-face evangelism, because that’s specifically something I was trying to temper for a more mainstream audience,” he continued. “We wanted to hold true to the source material of the ‘Left Behind’ books, ultimately to hold true to the Scriptures and make sure we didn’t change any of the biblical realities.

But the funny thing is that Paul Lalonde used to evangelize for a living. Back in the '80s and early 90s, he and his brother Peter used to have a TV show on the Vision TV channel in Canada--This Week in Bible Prophecy. I used to watch it.

It concentrated on Bible prophecy, but was evangelistic too. Some clips of his videos are now on YouTube.

Back then, Peter was usually clean-shaven in those years, his brother Paul, now the filmmaker, with facial hair. Peter seemed to do most of the talking.

This is a link to a video that they sold, Front Row Seats. This YouTube clip is part 6 of 6. Start watching at 4:20 where brother Peter has no problem at all preaching first to the believer and then at 6:12 to the unsaved.

"Maybe you're not a believer..." Peter begins. 7:45 "...He is calling out right now for you to make a commitment to him..." and then he explains really quickly in a few seconds, how.
Maybe you'd want to take more than two minutes to being someone to Christ, but here the video is building up to this. In the new Left Behind Paul can't be bothered.
If Paul Lalonde thought he or his brother Peter could explain salvation briefly back then, why can't he do it briefly now. Or at least explain why the Rapture happens.

This video is not a fluke. I own another video from around that time from This Week... called Left Behind. In it appears several Bible prophecy experts such as Hal Lindsey and Dave Breese. It is designed for people who have missed the Rapture to explain what is going on. (Nothing to do with the novel.)

Sorry, this is not online, but it has a salvation appeal at the end as well.

What may be interesting about that particular Left Behind video is that it starts with a panicky man rushing in the door after the Rapture has happened. He watches cheesy stock footage of things that may happen after the Rapture on "TV news", and then puts a video into his VCR with the various explanations from teachers.

Couldn't the new Left Behind have started this way or had a character explain to Nicolas Cage's character what had happened and why?

Judging by the videos Paul Lalonde used to make with his brother Peter, this appeal to movie viewers to get saved and thereby miss all the things that Cage's character is going through, could have been taken care of in the Cage film in five minutes or less.

Paul Lalonde could have given Peter Lalonde a five minute bit part in the new movie to explain all this. Being the producer and all. But he didn't.

Look again at his WND quotes. He didn't "have time" to explain the Biblical background.

Well then, why did you spend several *years* on a Canadian TV show explaining about the "end times" and why people needed to turn to Jesus if that was not, or rather remains, crucial?

It's not as if the new Film that Paul Lalonde made, is much help.

I like Nicolas Cage. I have a fondness for so-bad-they-are-good movies. So, I might be letting things slide and not observe, as my mother did, "No airline attendant would wear a blouse two sizes too small?"

She said another good comment too: "Is this an airplane disaster film, or a God film?"

That's the issue. Paul Lalonde, I presume, is born again. But he makes it difficult for the viewers of his film to become born again as well?

The thing I most liked about the new Left Behind film is that it does a good job of giving the views of non-Christian characters. The daughter sees an evangelistic woman who quotes Matthew 24:7 is seen as a "wacko." Those "left behind" on the airplane raise all kinds of crazy speculation about what happened to the others. Panic and crashes happen. All well acted.

But Paul Lalonde chose to leave some things obscure. The characters eventually figure out that the "vanished"are all children or Christians.

Why specifically Christians have left remains a mystery. The closest they come is a short scene with a pastor who knew what to say, but was left behind. "You have to believe," he briefly says.

Believe what? Believe in who? Why?

All left unanswered. But there is a bus and plane crash. 'Cause Paul Lalonde is a film maker now, you know.

This problem with the film is reinforced by this comment on the Left Behind fan page on Facebook.

"Auntie Lori" writes this:

"Auntie Lori will be seeing it again.. and was given an idea... take some tracts, maybe try and speak with a person or two AFTER the movie Like · Reply · 124 · October 6 at 2:21pm"

Great idea. But shouldn't the film have done this, so we don't need to?

And what if Jesus tarries before the Rapture happens/ Say 20-30 years. And then the Rapture happens and someone remembers that they saw an old Nicolas Cage movie on millions of people disappearing.

How helpful would the new Left Behind film be to this person then? Presumably there won't be a lot of people around to say. "Oh, they forgot this this, this and you need to know.." after the Rapture.

1 Peter 4:16 comes to mind for Christian filmmakers, like Paul Lalonde, who should realize they really oughta have more of a witness, but are skittish about it.

I quite enjoyed the film, But given the subject matter, Left Behind needed to be a little more. Not everyone who sees it will be born again .

Yellow light for Todd

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, Sept. 22, 2014)

Todd Bentley evidently sees his recent trip to British Columbia as a success, as he's planning more.
From Sept. 25-28 he'll be back at Windword church in Langley Township, B.C.. This is where Brent Borthwick is pastor, and Bentley's starter wife and kids fellowship. {Borthwick has been involved in Bentley's providing of child support.)
I specify Langley Township, as it is not Abbotsford, his old stomping grounds. Windword is near Abbotford, but not *in* Abbotsford. But, as the video of his recent sermons there has Bentley implying or stating that he is in "Abbotsford" over and over again. Check it out in YouTube. I may post on the videos.

Then, from October 2-4, he'll be in Sherwood Park, Alberta, an Edmonton suburb. Oct. 5, he'll be in Sylvan Lake AB.

Not seeing the Christian equivalent of angry villagers with torches looking for the Frankenstein monster, he feels free to carry on. He should be able to visit with his kids too when he is in the Fraser Valley.

If you think that Todd Bentley is theologically troublesome, and there has been a reaction of "Meh" from B.C. Christians, that would perhaps be a sign that the sheep are napping. Would like to be wrong though.

I don't have a torch, as it were, but perhaps there's a bit of "If we ignore it, it will go away", is in play.

Berated for not being able to predict Mark Driscoll's and Todd Bentley's futures

(Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On Sept. 2, 2014)
Blogger Jeffrey Yoder is even harder than I can be in the case of Todd Bentley, if that were possible. But I think it a bit much to expect people to predict the future.

In his new post

Yoder notes that the recent enforced sabbatical of Mark Driscoll reminds him a lot of the crash and burn of Todd Bentley.

But whose fault is it? Anyone who offered Driscoll and Bentley a pulpit. And I read between the lines that Yoder seems, to me anyway, to be as annoyed with their friends and hangers on as his is with Driscoll and Bentley themselves.

Yoder writes: [Emphasis added is mine)
I want to make two big points in this piece. 1. Sexual immorality and verbal/emotional abuse are equally serious sins in the New Testament. Yet evangelicals by and large have made sexual immorality the big sin, while giving a pass on swearing at people up one side down the other and emotionally abusing them with hurtful words and fits of anger. Paul puts these sins on the same level in Galatians and 1 Corinthians. Sexual immorality is not more serious than verbal abuse. 2. The people who promoted Bentley and made him a star later got off the Bentley ship (excepting Rick Joyner). But to my knowledge, none of them made any public confession that they were part of the problem. They should have asked forgiveness. They should have owned the fact that they gave Bentley a stage. They erred in judgment for promoting Bentley in the first place, exposing him to the Church. This was wrong and they should have come clean with it. This pattern is repeating itself. The people who promoted Driscoll and made him a star are getting off the Driscoll wagon, but I’ve not seen any admissions or repentance for promoting him in the first place. They knew of his temper problems, his profanity, his harshness in dealing with people, and looked the other way. Why aren’t we seeing confessions by John Piper, Matt Chandler, Rick Warren, and the other people who gave Driscoll a platform? This was a major error in judgment and they were part of the problem. It’s not too late for those who offered Bentley and Driscoll platforms to make public admissions and ask forgiveness.

Wow. Well, I'm not an expert on Driscoll, but I flatter myself that with my 13 year back story with Bentley, I may be a little helpful here.

Yoder raises a salient question. How careful do you need to be before allowing someone to "promote" himself in your church?

I was not surprised when some of the character issues shown in my Report magazine coverage of Bentley came to full bloom and helped The Lakeland Revival to collapse. But I did not expect that people were obliged to have sought out what I had written in a small Western Canadian newsmagazine that had since gone out of business. When Bentley had repeated his "misleading" in a Charisma magazine feature, I did a follow up story about his tendency to prevaricate.

But how fair would it be to expect most people to act on that?

If Bentley announced plans to come to my church, which would be very unlikely, I'd be obliged to give a heads-up. This would not necessarily disqualify Bentley, but it would advise them to be watchful.

This is why Yoder's stance unnerves me a bit. Perhaps the state of the Church is such that we should assume that preachers will sin or be heretical, especially after one strike at the plate.

But Christians defer to thinking the best of people, and work off of word of mouth. Maybe we are too flip and casual in such matters and Yoder is correct to point that out.

That said, anticipating that people will err and sin is very strict.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Good News for British Columbia, indeed

{Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, July 30, 2014)

In the run-up to the B.C. Day long weekend, a bit of obscure history related to sharing the Gospel in the province.

Back in 1971, local Christians wanted to do something unique to celebrate the 100th anniversary of B.C. becoming part of Canada. This now rare booklet was the result.

"Good News for British Columbia" is a Gospel of Mark from the Today's English Version translation. This is confirmed by several line drawings inside by the late artist Annie Vallotton, whose artwork is intimately associated with the translation. This booklet was commissioned by the B.C. District of the Canadian Bible Society and printed by the American Bible Society in the United States. (1971, you'll recall was the 100th anniversary of B.C. becoming part of Canada.)


I make an educated guess that the booklet was designed to appeal to tourists who came to visit during the various celebratory festivities in 1971, and then afterwards. For those not from B.C., the photo on the booklet cover is of the totem poles in Vancouver's Stanley Park looking towards the "North Shore."

It seems like a good idea, as perhaps tourists would see it as a neat keepsake of their visit and then read what was inside. (I wonder why other provinces, who were also celebrating centennials in surrounding years, didn't think of the idea.)

I've found press evidence that B.C. churches liked the idea of the booklet.

In the June 23, 1971 edition of The (Sunshine Coast) Coast News (as it then was, which you may see here, the local paper for Gibsons reported on the booklet. Please scroll to the bottom of page 5, and the item Scriptural Project.

It reads:

"As a Centennial project churches in Gibsons and Sechelt are joining in a combined effort to distribute Scriptures during the week of June 23rd to July 3>Many householders will be visited and offered one of the special Centennial copies of St. Mark's Gospel. These copies will carry the title of 'Good News for British Columbia'."

Hard to imagine churches doing a mass distribution of Bible portions in this way these days./br>
I make another guess that the local section of the Canadian Bible Society promoted the booklet a little, as I next saw a reference to it in a 1973 newspaper.

If you scroll to page 18 of this edition of Quesnel's "Cariboo Observer", as it then was, you'll see another mention of the booklet in their March 28, 1973 newspaper. In the "Our Churches" column by Shirley Demers, she notes that the "United Church of Canada (St. Andrews)" was going to be handing out the booklet as part of the "Key '73" evangelical push of that year.

I mentioned that the booklet is probably "rare". Well, I've seen it twice, perhaps three times, in 28 years.

I used to go to a Baptist church when I first moved to Vancouver, and I recall that they had a copy or two in their literature. So, when I recently saw another copy in a small thrift store, I made sure to buy it for myself. That is the one pictured above.

Street evangelism is an often thankless task. So, if any readers recalled the booklet, I wanted to take pains to note that I do as well.

When I was out on errands this afternoon, I found another copy of the booklet. As you may recall, this was a "Good News Bible" Gospel of Mark issued in 1971 to tie in with the 100th anniversary of B.C. joining Canada. Now copies are thin on the ground and hard to find.

This new copy to me, however, has a blurb on the back cover which explicitly makes the tie to marking the 100 years.

I'd like to reproduce the blurb in full below, in case you are curious.

It reads:
SCRIPTURES FOR '71 BRITISH COLUMBIA CENTENNIAL One hundred years ago, our Province joined the Confederation and became part of the great Dominion of Canada. In this Centennial Year we have reason to give thought to the Scriptures. For they have been the foundation upon which our freedoms have been built. Our freedom and prosperity are worthy of our thanksgiving to God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life. The familiar "Beautiful British Columbia" is certainly appropriate, for wherever we look we see nature, the handiwork of God, arrayed in magnificent splendor. For this we thank God. Many years ago in another land and to another people and appeal was made that is applicable for us in our Centennial celebrations: "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which he has given you. Beware that you forget not the Lord your God." Deut 8:10-11 What God has done for us in love demands our thanksgiving. In the activities of life, and in this year's Centennial celebrations may we take time to read th Scriptures and find in them the Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Two of the most scary video soundbites that I have recently heard

{Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On July 7, 2014)

It takes some doing for Todd Bentley or a friend/supporter of his to leave me a bit gobsmacked by something they say.

Let's turn a last time to Todd Bentley's appearance on the History TV Canada program Miracles Decoded June 1, 2 and 4

A couple of soundbites contained in the Todd Bentley segment of that episode of Miracles Decoded are a bit unnerving, to say the least. I'll try to save the relevant clips on YouTube, but in case they disappear, I'll type them out.

Todd Bentley says something unnerving at 35:15 of the show.">

He says this:

"I can't expect people just to accept that what I say and do is real. People need to have evidence and they need to have science. They need to have verification and we're good with that."

Frankly Todd, you don't act like it. I'll explain...

1. Thanks to the YouTube poster who saved and annotated this clip from the ABC Nightline profile of Todd Bentley during the Lakeland Revival.

Todd lies about praying for a little boy with Spina Bifida Todd lies about whether he said onstage, and on God TV, that the boy was healed. Moreover, Todd tries to argue that he boy had faith for healing. He had nothing really to do with it if you're holding him accountable for it. Shortly after the boy was healed, he still had spina Bifida according to his Mom.

If Todd is "good with" verification, why did he lave it for ABC News to do?

Did he explain what happened to the boy on the Lakeland stage? I'd bet dollars for doughnuts he didn't.

2. And then there is the noted World magazine article which noted that people that Todd Bentley's ministry proclaimed were healed died shortly after Lakeland of what they had been healed of.

If you're "good with" verification, why did World magazine do this and not you, Todd Bentley?

Accountability for what you do doesn't end once the person leaves your stage.

3. Todd Bentley addressed the question of whether he brought people back from the dead in a May 2010 video distributed by his mentor Rick Joyner.

Unfortunately the video is now behind a subscriber wall, but fortunately I quoted it at some length in this post.

Bentley appears to be quoting some kind of report about the 22 people who came back from the dead as of 2010--down from 31, I note at Lakeland.

We still don't know who did the report. No names so we can ask this or these doctor(s) directly.

Bentley, as far as I know, has never released this report. He has just quoted it once in this video. Allegedly.

I noted that the only thing the report's experts were willing to do was commit to possible resuscitations, not resurrections.

As I noted back then:
Todd Bentley is hoping that you don’t listen carefully, as resuscitation doesn’t mean resurrection. A Princeton University online dictionary offers a very interesting definition for our purpose: (n) resuscitation (the act of reviving a person and returning them to consciousness) "although he was apparently drowned, resuscitation was accomplished by artificial respiration" I’ll bet that these two doctors and their report, commissioned by Todd Bentley and his friends, will never see the light of day. Doctors X and Y are playing it very safe. I’ll bet dollars for doughnuts that they don’t use the exact phrase “miraculous resuscitations”. I’ll bet it is “resuscitations”. It could refer to a miracle, but the doctors are playing it safe. “This person was apparently unconscious and is now conscious. We do not know why,” is probably a layman’s explanation of what they are trying to say. And Todd Bentley takes it and runs with it, swaddling what the doctors were willing to say in “back from the dead” verbiage.

Todd Bentley says he is "good with" verification so that you will think that he is. He says it, must be true. But there is evidence he is not.

Release the doctor's report, Bentley. Unedited, with the names and contact information for the doctors.

The second one is where Summer M. Cottam comments on her Mom's "healing" with a presumed assist by Todd Bentley.

At the 57:00 mark of the show, she says:">

"I mean, it doesn't matter if it is true or not that she was healed by God. No matter what she was healed...however it came about. It can't be wrong or right."

Now, back in the days of the Apostles, healings--as part of signs and wonders--were intended to back up the preaching of the Gospel.

If we presume that this is a true healing, Summer has missed the central point of what has happened. And it is completely Todd Bentley's fault. A glaring fault of how he does ministry.

Anyone presumably healed should absolutely walk away from that with several facts. Onlookers too.

1. Jesus (or "God") must get credit for what happens, especially if it is good. Summer should know that "God" is to be praised. She should know that it is credited to Him, and that it was Him who is responsible.

Bentley does not talk enough about Jesus in his meetings,if those who are blessed in this way can be unclear.

Jesus being presumably responsible for the healing should have been drilled into Summer`s head again and again and again. She could have tried to figure out what happened, as she does here, but she should be able to recite why and how this happened as shared and taught from the front, even if she disagrees with it.
2. A miracle should lead to the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus did something even better for you, and now that we have your grateful attention...

3. A healing being either "wrong or right" addresses what the will of God in this case. Summer should not be led to think of this big question, when Todd Bentley as a non-cessationist charismatic, should properly believe that a healing leads to the preaching of the Gospel.

But when you have a bit of a show on your hands, some things have to be cut for time. Unfortunately.

Todd Bentley on History Channel Canada

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs on July 4, 1014

(My main post on Todd Bentley's appearance on History TV Canada June 1, 2 and 4.)

Todd Bentley, the noted faith-healing Canadian evangelist, was featured in a History TV Canada program in early June.

The second episode ever of Miracles Decoded, which featured Bentley along with the late Padre Pio and what the show describes as the "white witches" of Poland.

Not that it wasn't a useful introduction to faith healing, which aired June 1, 2 and 4 for viewers across all of Canada. It was. But the wrinkle is this specific man who was featured. Todd Bentley, a native British Columbian now living and ministering in the US, who is in some ways is not typical, even of faith healers.

It would help viewers to have Bentley put into context. Once over lightly may mislead. So, what follows is a brief analysis of that episode for those who were unable to see it.

The Reno Outpouring site has pictures of the "History Channel" cameras at Bentley's visit to the church in 2013. This probably means that Bentley was interviewed at that time for this episode. Others featured in the show may have been interviewed at that time as well. But the various "experts" are filmed on their own.<.br>
That doesn't discount the possibility that a camera was sent down early *this* year to do interviews and re-enactments. So, if I make a reference to "2014" it is to this obvious follow up work.

Throughout the how, there are references to "now" or "today", so History Tv Canada was working on the assumption that things would carry on without change up until when the program aired.

I think that most of my readers missed the show, so here is my report on it, in some detail.

Actually Bentley was supposed to appear on the very first episode of Miracles Decoded the Sunday before. An ad with Bentley aired as late as 3 hours before the premiere of the show. Evidently it was pulled at the very last second, as that promo aired all that week.

Last second editing? Who knows?

Miracles Decoded is kind of a catch all show on the miraculous. This episode also had sections on Padre Pio and the "white witches" of Poland. The part on Todd Bentley, interspersed throughout the show, is all I will be writing about. [Time notations, such as 28:15, are cued from the start of this episode.]

The section on Bentley starts the show. He is filmed in Reno, Nevada. The narrator [0:41] says in a voice-over: "can Todd heal the sick or is he just a travelling showman?"

Now Pastor Eric Moen, Bentley's friend and a sympathetic expert.
Eric Moen, pastor of the River Rock Christian Fellowship, has been trying to get the Reno Outpouring going for several years.

Had the producers done a little research on Moen, perhaps they may have thought he may be not the best expert on Bentley. He may have an ulterior motive in speaking favourably of Bentley. (His opinions may well be valid and helpful, but some background may also help.

To briefly summarize, Moen is a self-described "friend" of Bentley's, who has ministered with him overseas. That is all right, but Bentley and Moen collaborate on what is likely a failed prophetic word--predicting the future wrongly--might hve been interesting to mention.

Also, I wonder--if the History TV Canada producers had known that Moen and Bentley in the past had collaborated on a "revival" in the past at a time that Todd Bentley was pitching the idea of a reality show to the Discovery Channel--would they fear that they were being played? Here's my audition tape for the show I want to do with you, it aired on History TV Canada as part of their show...

We do know that Bentley has recently acquired a little ministry complex with broadcasting facilities. Home every night and people travel to you to be on the "revival" show.

[An earlier post on what he obtained is here:
Following up on the first episode, the producers group Bentley with Padre Pio of the '60s, and the "white witch' whisperers of Poland. should be quite a how. All three segments are interspersed throughout the program, but I will only be discussing Bentley.

A caution before I get in to the program proper.

This is a "re-enactment" type of reality show. Unlike news, which would have, say, live footage of gunmen robbing a bank and a brave security guard stopping them, they re-enact what happened using actors.

I have a friend who is an actor. He appeared on the program Untold Secrets of the ER. He played a doctor, even though he is neither a doctor nor the actual doctor involved in these events. He was dressed in hospital whites and said his lines and played his part. Now, what he was relating could have been accurate, but it also could have been tweaked to make for good television.

The reason that I mention this is that the producers of Miracles Decoded had a "plan B" in readiness in case Todd Bentley was unable, or didn't want to, appear in the show.

I found this as it was one of the first links on Google related on the program. You may find it here.

The site Showfax is a resource for actors. Ihe page linked to shows that Miracles Decoded *casting director* Larissa Mair was looking for people to *play* several people on the show if necessary. One of the roles offered is "Todd Bentley".

If you were and actor with $1 US on your credit card, you could apply to have the "Todd Bentley" side sent to you, so you could apply to play "Todd Bentley" on the show!

I'm not a faith healer, but I play one on TV.

Cooler minds prevailed, and that is the real Bentley on the program. No doubt Bentley is well known enough that they felt they needed him in person.

But let's note that they have an "actor in mind here. Todd Bentley, in parts of the show may have been coached and directed. Todd Bentley, however, is theatrical enough that it should have been easy for the director to get what they wanted.

One note though. The end credits for the show credit "Casting Director" Muir, a "casting associate" and a "background casting director". My guess is that at least in Bentley's segment, the real people--Moen for certain-- wanted to be in the show and be on camera.

But bet they may have been coached as needed.

And now into the program proper. Time notations are correlated to the time things are done or said on the show.

Todd Bentley is in Reno Nevada, at River Rock Christian Fellowship where Eric Moen is pastor. We are also introduced to him in this post here.

The narrator of the program ponders out loud whether "Can Todd heal the sick or is he just a travelling showman?"

At 2;08 Eric Moen introduces Bentley this way: "His persona is very loud, very charged. I think that God like to use people Todd because they challenge people's ideas of what a man of God should look like.

Dr. Karen Stollznow, author of the book God Bless America, is the first quoted expert.

Don't know if she's ever seen Bentley live, but at 2:22 she has an interesting take on him.

"Todd Bentley is a very likable guy. You want to go to his service then have a beer with him afterwards. He's just very friendly, very reasonable," she says.

The narrator then says that Todd is not merely "colourful", as people believe he can channel the "healing power of God." Cut to Todd being interviewed about how he started yelling "Bam!' and striking people to that end. Please note that this is something he says, not a nickname of his. He's never referenced himself as a name with "bam", and as someone who has followed him for 13 years, I know this for a fact.

Next is Crystal R. Innis, of the Reno Nevada area, who during the course of this show will share how she was "healed" by Todd in the past.

Although she's shown on TV, the program cuts to her daughter, Summer M. Cottam who says that her daughter who explains that due to her mom having an alcoholism problem, her mom developed "pancreatitis". The narrator says this disease is life-threatening, which Wikipedia seems to agree with. {It can causes organ failure, which snowballs.)

At 3:44 Summer says "I had the doctors tell me 'I don't know if she's going to make it...her organs are shutting down.'"

Then the narrator says that Bentley's ministry is "on the rise" and Moen argues that Bentley's ministry built up from "a few hundred people at a conference".
If viewers aren't wise, they could think that where Bentley is now in 2014, is the best situation he has ever been in. Not so, and they would think this due to inexact editing.
The Lakeland Revival of 2008 is well known to Christians, but much less so to the general public who would watch Miracles Decoded. Much simpler not to get into that, I know, but that is more honest. Do we want to imply that Bentley has built from success from success when he has flared across the sky and then crashed and burned at least once?

But the producers of Miracles Decoded DO know about Lakeland. You know Roy Petersen's feature documentary on the revival, Lakeland: The Movie? The Miracles Decoded people mention "Lakeland The Movie" by name in the credits for this episode. And if they had at least watched in, as their mention implies, they would have known of the fall of the revival as Petersen finished it *after* the revival's collapse!

There are many voiceovers in this program, with footage of Todd Bentley doing his thing. It seems to be all Reno footage, and interestingly tight angles are being used at the "Reno outpouring". Under 100 there for sure, I'd guess.

The other two segments are introduced, and the show returns to Todd Bentley at 20:55. The next expert, Prof. Irving Hexham, explains the background of Bentley's charismatic Christianity, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

At 21:48, Todd is interviewed on camera and says: "Some people might call us (?) a faith healer. I don't really like that label. I do pray for people in faith and we hear some amazing stories and testimonies of lives that are changed."

If Todd backs away from being a faith healer and says "stories" and not "news" or "accounts", that's a neat disclaimer. Please note.

Introducing Crystal Innis, who gives another testimony here:

The narrator of Miracles Decoded introduces her in a voiceover at 22:01. " 2010 Crystal was diagnosed with severe pancreatitis brought on by drug and alcohol abuse."

Innis is at last on screen and explains how her plight led her to cry out to God for help.

What follows is a feature for both Innis and Kimberly Gomez. Both were healed at the Reno Outpouring at some time, but there is no live real-time footage of them being "healed" back then. So,there will be re-enactments with a director who is used to actors and knows what looks good on TV, overseeing how they re-enact what happened.

Please note that back in 2010, when Todd Bentley was also at the Reno Outpouring and angling for his own TV reality show.

And thus, for both women, it alternates between a re-enactment of what happened back then (my guess is in 2010) and their interactions with Todd more recently. Much soft focus, tight shots, to make you think, if you don't look too closely, that this is live and real-time.

For example, at 22:15, Innis' voice-over narrates as we see a montage of a out of focus shot of an empty church, then Innis' legs walking forward, then a close up of her face, then a close up of Todd's mouth speaking into a mike, then a close up of her face, then a close up of her face and Todd lays a hand on her.

Then the narrator says:

"All of a sudden something happens that will change her life..."

Makes for dramatic TV even though it's gussied up a bit.

Narrator: "As Todd lays his hands on Crystal, something happens that will dramatically change her life."

On cue, Innis is dramatically slain in the spirit and falls down. Good thing the Holy Spirit can take a cue. Oh, you mean she falls backward on purpose for the camera?

Then a rabbit trail. Todd talks about a "flash of lightning" that happens just then, This is nicely debunked at another blog's post here, but Miracles Decoded instead shows a screenshot of the picture Bentley is talking about.

Unless Bentley is recycling an old trick of William Branham's?

"It was like a supernatural sign!" Bentley says of his photo.

The narrator carries on over footage of Innis worshipping in church, asking whether she was healed by the "power of God" or is there "another explanation".

Next expert up is Andrew Galloway, the noted Canadian "addictions therapist". His take is that anyone going up on stage is "open to the idea of change." Whatever works for you to kickstart your change is "great".

There's footage Of Innis worshipping happily at the "Reno Outpouring" recently, At the front, she says at 23;49, "iwas honestly and truly healed!"

Well and good, but as the Reno audience is cheering and clapping, and she has the mike in 2013 or 2014, she is talking about her healing in 2010. Innis may have clarified this, but it appears to have been edited out of the 2014 revival footage we are seeing her in.

Innis: "All of a sudden it felt like all this twisting and everything and I was like..."

Todd Bentley, standing alongside her: "Electricity?"

Innis: "Yes! And when I got up and I got in line, I was like "i want some more!"
Audience: "Yeah! Yeah! (clapping)"

Innis is then prayed for and is promptly slain in the Spirit. Innis remembering what happened to her in 2010? Or did something else that is new happen to her in Reno while the Miracles Decoded cameras were there? If so, why not develop what happened recently, so it van be examined carefully?

Or did she carefully talk about her 2010 healing in a way that led her audience to think this was happening now. If so, was this so Miracles Decoded could try to get footage of the Reno Outpouring audience reacting to a live "miracle"?

Maybe I'm slow on the uptake, but I was a little confused here.

Andrew Galloway follows up on his point: "I don't think it matters what we connect to, if it's God, great> You know, I tell clients if reading the Yellow Pages works for you, every morning for an hour keeps you sober...whatever it takes."
Br/>[My theologically conservative friends would give pause here that an evangelist's actions would be seen that way. Miracles in the days of Acts brought people to Christ, but now we have "Whatever works" being seen as the important thing.]

Back to Innis, who is still on the ground "slain" being covered by a blanket. At 24.18 though, the camera catches an offscreen Todd Bentley saying, "I love testimonies of healing!"

Was he talking about Innis? If so, which healing and when? Or did Todd Bentley have a hunch that sloppy editing might imply that Innis was being healed right then in 2014 in front of the Miracles Decoded cameras?

Matthew Baxter, a "paranormal and supernatural investigator" has a take on Bentley which is also a voice-over over some footage of Todd doing his theatrical ministry at the front.

Baxter says: "he is a combination of a circus ringleader and a drunken hillbilly and that's a good approach, toe be honest because he acts like he's the everyman, the normal guy that God chose, and if God can choose *him* to become a healer, I could have that connect with God as well."

Miracles Decoded leaves Bentley to address its other subjects in this episode.

But at 32:49, the program reintroduces Bentley in Reno by saying "Hundreds of people have come to this evangelical revival in search fo miracles."

Hundreds? The few shots of the Reno Outpouring that we see in this episode, show that the facility they use seats well less than a hundred. Perhaps around 75 would be my guess, but it's hard to tell
As they are showing Todd, there is another insight by Dr. Karen Stollznow, which starts as a voiceover, but then cuts to her on screen.
,br/Sollznow says,: "These [evangelists} are people where often their services are like rock concerts. You go along and they've got a band playing, or they've got a choir singing, people clapping and shouting and singing, and testifying and they're very emotional."

The narrator then pipes up with "The star attraction is one of the most popular faith healers in North America, Todd Bentley..."

One of the most popular? Really in a lasting sense? Lakeland made Bentley a "nine day wonder", as they used to call it in newspapers, but like a meteor, in my opinion, he flashed across the sky and disappeared in the minds of the general public. Thus Miracles Decoded felt a need to introduce Bentley from scratch.

Then, the program turns to Todd Bentley about to call out words of knowledge, which he does. Prof. Irving Wrexham then comes on screen to explain the Holy Spirit gift of "knowledge and how Todd Bentley would use "words of knowledge" at his meetings. (Assuming he actually does, I am sure Prof. Wrexham would probably add in a caveat.)

At 34:01, Bentley himself comes on to describe how he gets "pictures" or "visions" to help him with prayer for healing.

As Bentley is explaining this, however, we have a cut to footage of Todd Bentley sitting at a desk with a Bible open before him. His eyes are closed.

Bentley: "I'll see a woman's face..."

{A close-up of the side of Bentley's face, his eyes closed.)

Bentley: "...The colour of her dress...

(A close up of Bentley's pen-wielding hand writing in his Bible)

It then cuts to Todd being interviewed on screen: "Things in my body..."

I get the feeling that the director of Miracles Decoded wants me to think that Todd is quite pious.)

Bentley welcomes a man responding to a word about "kidney failure" Bentley prays and the man is "slain."

The narrator then makes amends for the above by asking if Bentley really hears from the Lord, or whether this is "just a trick".

Dr. Karen Stollznow. first in a voice-over and then on-screen, then has a fine insight.
Stollznow: "Faith healers use a technique known as 'shotgunning'. And that is when you've got a large audience and you're wanting to whittle down that audience to ond audience member..."/br>
The producers of the show cut off her thought right there in mid-argument. My guess is that she was going to say that he would start off with something broad and then narrow it down with more details. Would have liked to have heard it though.

In Bentley's defense, though, his Reno audience is probably less than a hundred, so were he to get a real "word" which is specific. shotgunning may not apply here.

Matthew Baxter, the next expert, has a different explanation which may apply in this case.

Baxter says: "If people are coming to a place for faith healing, he can spit out a couple of different ailments and there's going to be people in the audience who have those ailments...because he's got an audience of people with ailments that are looking to be healed."

Then, at 35:15, Todd Bentley says something that is so stunning I'm dealing with it in a separate post. He says that he doesn't expect people to "accept" that what he says or does is real.

Then, at 35:31, Kimberly Gomez, and he 2010 healing, is introduced.

I think she is in one of the photos of Todd Bentley's 2013 Reno visit here.

Gomez apparently does some teaching. She's shown at 35:39 worshipping and then it cuts of a re-enactment of her accident. We see her walking from the waist down, she falls, and then there is only a shot of her kegs prone on the ground. Then there is a shot of her using a walker.

At 35:40, Gomez starts to explain what happened to her, first in a voiceover and then on camera. She says this: "I had had a mild stroke and I collapsed and I did a great deal of damage to my ankle and I had pain that went all the way up my ankle [She touches her left leg]. And it went all the way up, almost all the way up to my knee and I was in constant pain...
The narrator says she was "unable to walk and facing the prospect of painful surgery." Yet the accompanying footage at 25;56 shows her using a walker. Properly this would be "unable to walk without support".

Then in a re-enactment, she is using a walker at church. She says that she was skeptical at first, but decided to give the Todd Bentley meeting a try. (She had her accident in 2003, so when was this. Had to be when Bentley was in town, but when this was is unspecified.)

At any rate, Gomez says she was "looking at nine surgeries down the road."

Miracles Decoded goes to commercials. After the commercials, the episode discusses the other subjects of the episode.

The subject of Todd Bentley returns at 51;24. Bentley is on camera saying "We believe in the supernatural, we believe in miracles."

Narrator: "In 2003, Kimberly Gomez fell and badly injured her leg. Doctors told her she would need a series of surgeries.."

Gomez relates how Bentley called everyone with problems being ambulatory up to the front, with an accompanying tight shot of her using a walker to get up to the front.. She appears to be at the "Reno Outpouring" site. The camera is tight on her, so I can't tell if this re-enactment was shot during a meeting there, or whether the building was empty.

She relates how Bentley asked her if Jesus "heals today". she decided to go for it and Bentley prayed for her. She decided to gently jump up a little to see what happened "and it didn't hurt". She says she jumped higher and then higher, weeping and crying tat Jesus had healed her. This is accompanied by re-enactment footage showing this.

Cut to Gomez at an actual Reno Outpouring meeting. This is a jump cut right after the re-enactment footage and if you aren't paying attention, you might think this happened at the same time. Did they interrupt a later Reno Outpouring service to re-enact what had happened before? If so, was the later Reno Outpouring audience misled to think this was all happening live, right at that moment?

At this real, later, meeting, Gomez is shown being "slain", she is then covered by a blanket, as she keeps talking in a voiceover.

Gomez says: "The presence of the Holy Spirit is so strong on him [Bentley] and you physically cannot stand up, and once you're a believer, your life is changed."

The program then turns to explaining why Bentley's meetings look as they do.

Prof. Irving Wrexham explains it like this: "When you got for the first time [to a meeting] they look really wild and absolutely crazy. But then one realizes after a time that they are not wild and they are not crazy. There is an order. When you watch him [Bentley] long enough, you begin to recognize the order. This says something about the way the human mind works. The human mind thinks it some sort of order, but it also seeks the divine."

I have a question. The experts in the show are quite thoughtful about Bentley, but I am wondering what they are basing their observations on? Di they see him live? On video? Did the producers debrief the experts about Bentley and ask them to offer general comments o charismatics, specifically faith healers. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but it might affect what they have to say.

Matthew Baxter at 53:42 is responding to a question.

He says: "That's the big question. Is it hypnosis or is it God?" As he says this, Bentley is how holding a hand out at the audience. Commercial.

After the commercial break, Karen Stollznow explains how everyone at these kind of meetings "has their own emotional reaction."

Todd Bentley, on camera immediately after, argues well, what else would you expect?

Todd Bentley at 57:57 says, "When I pray for people, I'm thinking how can there not be some kind of reaction when the God of the Universe is moving through you with healing virtue>" That means something is going to be driven out with force. It's like putting your finger is a light socket. There's going to be a reaction."

About these reactions. When you are on the spot, as it were, you're going to want to be the sort of person that God's power flows through. So, you are going to want to co-operate, for good or ill, with whatever is going on.

"But is this ecstasy really miraculous?" asks the narrator.

Karen Stollznow had what I think is a helpful explanation. She says at 57:20:

"People aren't faking their experiences. These are very real experiences. However they're--that doesn't make them miraculous. They are following the social codes of everyone else there in the congregation. I call this a bit of pious peer pressure. It's important for them to participate. If they don't, they're going to be shunned by their group, they're going to be looked down upon. They need to play a part. So, there's an element of role playing and hypnosis there, where people are in the suggestible state, and they're all playing along."

The narrator adds while there always be skeptics, "believers like Crystal and Kimberley have no doubt."

Crystal Innis: "He (Bentley is an awesome man of the Lord. He is truly anointed. Truly anointed.

However, her daughter Summer chimes in with an "it doesn't Mom is healed" type a comment that is so disturbing that Im giving it attention in another post.

Kimberly Gomez, however, seems to be on surer ground as footage plays of her jogging with I presume her husband and dog. One is to infer that she is okay.

Gomez says: "I think God has given him [Bentley] the anointing. Absolutely, I do 'cause I've seen it. I believe God has given him the anointing to perform miracles."

Matthew Baxter is the last expert to speak. He says: "Frauds have been proven. So far, the 'power of God' has not. So it really comes down to a matter of faith."

Todd Bentley is given the very last words in the show.

Bentley at 59:01, says:

I always say to my skeptics. 'It's okay to be a skeptic. Uh, come and be a skeptic. Yu have nothing to lose but your sickness."

Imagine what you are losing out because you don't believe, I would paraphrase this as. God won't heal you unless you believe. *Don't* believe in me. I double dog dare you.

In the end credits, Larissa Mair gets a credit in this episode. Along with a "Casting Associate" and a Backgrounds Casting Director.

When I did some Extra work, I worked as part of the "background" in a program. I was coached regarding what I should do and how I should move while the main actors did their thing.

So, there is the possibility that when the "Bentley at the Reno Outpouring" parts were shown, the service was directed for a few moments by an "assistant director" and not the Holy Spirit.

The show received Canadian production funding credits, so it's likely to be a Canadian production. Americans may or may not see it, which may disappoint Bentley, as the US is now his bread and butter.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't star in documentaries

(Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On July 3, 2014)

Big thanks to blogger Peter T. Chattaway at Patheos, who brings us

the latest news about Hillsong United

Next Easter, Warner Brothers will release Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, a documentary concentrating on the worship band part of this church movement. Chattaway tells us all about it.

Bene D has written quite extensively about Hillsong. Such as their controversial ties to an Australian treatment center"> center"

resulting fallout from that. How back in 2006. various bloggers in Australia

perceived that not all was quite right with the church

How Australians feared that

the church may have tried vote-stacking on the Australian Idol TV show.
Br>I remember first reading about
Tanta Levin at BDBO < at BDBO. In 2007, she wrote the book People Who Live in Glass Houses, published in Australia, giving her "with the bark off" perspective on feeling the need to leave Hillsong due to the problems she saw with the movement. I had to buy my copy of the book from a bookstore in Australia as it got relatively little attention in North America. People, like Bene D, who were following Hillsong, knew of the book, but the general public didn't seem to pick up on it. There was a small flurry of press attention in Australia when Levin's book came out including this interview on an Australian TV program. I'm reminded of the quote in several slightly different versions, attributed to several different people. I heard it as "A lie can get halfway around the world while truth is putting on its boots. People will see the happy-clappy documentary next year concentrating on the famed Hillsong music, and not look at the possible other side of the story, which you have to dig a bit to find.

Todd Bentley's first try to get a reality show, and the angel that missed the plane

(Posted at Bene Diction Blogs on June 25 2014)

{The first part of what will probably be a lengthy post on Todd Bentley's appearance on History TV Canada July 1, 2, and 4)

Did you know that the "Reno Outpouring featured on the recent episode of Miracles Decoded with Todd Bentley could have had its own TV reality show featuring Todd Bentley...back in 2010.

Would History TV Canada have smelled a rat had they known this when Bentley was filing with them? Pastor Eric Moen of the "Reno Outpouring calls himself a "friend" of evangelist Todd Bentley and that helped him get some time on the episode of Miracles Decoded devoted to Bentley this month.

But had they did a little more research, I wonder if History TV Canada would have let Moen on the show.

Back in 2010, when Todd Bentley was trying to bring his ministry back from the dead, he and Moen developed a working relationship.

I first noticed Bentley's work there when he tried to start a revival out of a local casino's facilities.

Moen's church, River Rock Christian Fellowship--at least at that time--had access to another facility, but chose to take space for Todd's revival at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino.

I found this

ruefully amusing.

but something interesting developed there, although it wasn't the full blown revival that Bentley was hoping for.

On October 6, 2010, he sent out this tweet on his personal Twitter feed.
Br/>It read
posting a picture of himself being filmed by "Discovery Studios", which we posted in this post. It was captioned ""Discovery Studios trailer shoot for potential upcoming reality series."

(Shortly afterwards, Bentley spent time pressing the flesh with pastors in the Reno area. Evidently, he was

preparing the ground if the revival took off. Dousing potential fires and such. However, back in 2009, Bentley had said that it was precisely this networking that helped to kill the Lakeland Revival.

So we have Moen. Someone who, and whose church, swung behind Bentley to build up a revival in 2010 to hopefully get Bentley a TV show.

Forward to today. Did History TV Canada know of this previous try for a TV show in this very church in Reno Nevada? Were they told?  Did they do work that would lead them to find this out?

I can see a producer thinking "Heyyy...they are using this episode of Miracles Decoded to make an audition tape for the future..."

Can't blame History TV Canada for not finding this failed prophecy by Eric Moen though.
Back in July 2013, Moen was speaking at his church on "Awakening". (It was posted on YouTube July 7 2013 and it looks to have been put up promptly based on the context.)

It's on YouTube

In his introductory remarks, Moen recalls his trip to South Africa in May 2013.  Four minutes in, he says:
Ìn the first week of May, the Lord told me to go to South Africa to be with my friend Todd Bentley....While I was there Todd and I got to renew our friendship...'

At 4:38, he adds this:
"As I was getting ready to leave he [Todd] had a prophetic word for me, several prophetic words, but one of the key ones was he said 'The Lord is assigning an awakening angel to you to bring back to the United Sates when you go.' Now bear in mind when I was down there I was the only pastor that I know of from the US.... [Bentley said] 'I'm going to send an awakening angel home with you.'"

Moen, noting that some things had been predicted at the Bentley events in South Africa and appeared to come to pass 90 days later implied that Bentley's prediction about the awakening angel would come to pass in "the middle of August [2013]"

If you need another citation, at 8:17, Moen quotes Bentley as saying,"You're going home with the awakening angel from Zechariah 4:1."

I haven't heard of a revival centered on Moen's church in Reno. Had one happened, we would have likely heard of it.

The angel missed the plane?

So much for sneaking into B.C....

{Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On June 24, 2014]

If Todd Bentley had been hoping to sneak into Langley B.C., that might not be happening now.

Douglas Todd, the veteran religion reporter for The Vancouver Sun, has noticed that Todd Bentley has announced his plans to minister in B.C. this week, for the first time in five years--or since the collapse of the Lakeland Revival--this week.

He has a detailed post on his blog, which you may see here:

And thanks to him for the kind hat tip. :)

Saturday! In a steel cage! (Or Justin Peters on Todd Bentley)

{Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On June 17, 2014)
Expect lots of listeners for this (internet) CrossEncounters Radio episode. I'm hearing about it days before it is to air!

Tony Milano is scheduled to interview Justin Peters about his confrontation with Todd Bentley this Saturday. Eventually, it will be stored here on their website:

(Sorry about the headline. This reminds me of ads for All Star Wrestling when I was a kid. :) )

"I'm NOT praying for you" doesn't mean "Sometimes people don't get healed."

Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On June 16 2014

Justin Peters' confrontation with Todd Bentley, blogged about here a few days ago, appears to be  a story that "has legs" as we used to put it back in my old newsroom.

Latest on it is the Christian Post, which moves the story forward by Quoting extensively from a video that Bentley has just cited on his website. Lots of talk about people not being healed , no matter hat you try to do.

But sadly, this latest information helps to reveal that Todd Bentley hasn't thought out his theology. He doesn't act as if he believes it. So Justin Peters had to leave as he interfered with Todd Bentley's "show."

But as the headline writer at Christian Post noted, Bentley told Peters at about

0:25 of the video, Bentley says "I'm not giving you my anointing because I have nothing to give." Meaning that he wasn't going to pray for him.

The video shows Peters being taken away from a mike. Bentley makes no motion to pray for him.

Bentley saying that he has "nothing to give


denies God's omniscience and omnipotence. Surely Charismatics like Bentley believe that God can heal at any time, and is not limited by circumstance?

If it is up to God, why not give it a try? Faith like a "mustard seed", you know, especially for charismatics.

And besides, isn't the Todd Bentley show based on miracles, so much so that he can promise them in his ads? "Bait and switch" is for used car salesmen.

Rather "I'm NOT" giving my anointing, properly understood means he will not do it, or he can't do healings. I interpret this as '"won't" as he doesn't qualify "my anointing" at that moment.

If "anointings" can come and go, then Bentley needs to let people know up front and let them leave his meeting.

"I'm not going to give you my anointing" implies a sureness in order to encourage his audience. Implying a sureness you do not feel--as evidenced by his new video. It is a bit dishonest.