Saturday, May 16, 2009

Heal or Heel? – An Update on “The Fall of a False Prophet”

On August 15, 2008 I posted my concerns on this site regarding the legitimacy of Todd Bentley on his revival at the “Lakeland Outpouring.” While there is no denying that God is sovereign in the work of revival, we are to use wisdom and discernment before we embrace what appears to be the works of God that come from men and women whose character does not reflect the character of Christ. In the current issue of World Magazine Warren Cole Smith gives an update regarding Bentley and his ministry. Below are a few quotes from his article – to read the whole thing Click Here.

Heal or heel? by Warren Cole Smith

. . . At the height of what many called a revival, WORLD asked Bentley to talk about the healings . . . six weeks and more than a dozen requests later, the ministry eventually sent a list of 13 names. Christopher Fogle was No. 12 on the list, along with this note: "Healed through the Outpouring and is back to fishing."

That was on Aug. 8, 2008. There was just one problem. Two weeks earlier, on July 22, Christopher A. Fogle—according to his obituary in the Keokuk (Iowa) Daily Gate City, "left this life . . . after a courageous battle with cancer."

A review of the list nearly one year later reveals that Fogle is not the only person "healed" who is now dead. When I called Phyllis Mills, of Trinity, N.C., on April 22, to hear the testimony of her healing, a polite family member said, "Phyllis passed away a few days ago. In fact, we're on our way to her funeral now."

Mills, 66 at the time of her death, had lung cancer and was undergoing aggressive treatments when she was, according to the list, "healed at the revival." Mills "was taking radiation, but was sent home," according to notes on Bentley's list, with "no trace of cancer in her body." . . .

. . . The Outpouring eventually ended in scandal, with Bentley admitting to an inappropriate relationship with an employee and to alcohol abuse. . . .

. . . So do the stories prove that Todd Bentley is either a healer or a fake? Does it mean anything that less than a year after the conclusion of the Outpouring two people on a list of 13 "healings"—a list provided by the ministry itself—are dead, and most of the rest don't stand up to questions?

Michael Brown says it does matter. Brown is the author of Israel's Divine Healer (Zondervan, 1995), considered one of the definitive examinations of how healing takes place in Scripture. He personally believes in supernatural healing, but he also says a healthy skepticism about most healing stories is a sign of wisdom and discernment.

Brown said the fact that this list was presumably the best Bentley's ministry had to offer an appropriately skeptical public is a cause for concern. "If you're going to make claims of healing on a very public, even international, stage, you'd better have your documentation in place," Brown said.

"God is sovereign," Brown said. "He can and does heal. But our experiences should not shape our theology. Instead, our theology should be the lens through which we evaluate our experiences. And our theology should be based on Scripture.". . .

. . . After Bentley stopped leading the Lakeland meetings, he announced that he and his wife Shonnah had separated. At that time, the board of Fresh Fire announced that he had entered an "inappropriate relationship" with a "female member of his staff" and that he would "refrain from all public ministry" until he had received counseling.

In November, the Fresh Fire board said that Bentley was "not submitting" to the counseling and restoration process and that he was guilty of adultery. Bentley relocated to Ft. Mill, S.C., where according to statements he is undergoing a "restoration process" under the direction of controversial charismatic ministry leader Rick Joyner. On March 9, 2009, Rick Joyner announced that Todd had remarried—to the same "former employee" with whom he had had the inappropriate relationship.

Bentley has refused media inquiries, and Joyner did not return phone calls for this story. But in a statement Joyner admitted that Bentley's remarriage was "wrong and premature," but he said that Bentley's restoration process would continue.
"For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." (Matthew 24:24)

1 comment:

  1. i find it very disheartening when faith healers blame sickness on lack of faith. we clearly see in the bible that we live in a fallen world, and that sickness is a consequence of that. the apostle paul had an affliction, king azariah , zacharias, and of course job. exodus 4:11 makes it abundantly clear that god himself can designate sickness for those whom he chooses. there is also lessons learned, and character building in sickness that god ordains, and our faith should be that god is with us, and that god is working in us for his purposes. there are many well known faith healers that do god a huge diservice by allowing those seeking our lord to blame their ailments on a lack of faith, and create a discouraged and broken spirit, which focuses on the self, rather than god. these people will continue to beat themeselves up for their 'lack of faith', and will miss what god intended for their lives. it is clear in the book of job that sickness can even come to the most righteous man, and that god has a divine purpose in it. god wants us to draw close to him in sickness, and pray for healing, but also to reveal himself to us , and use the sickness for his glory. our faith will be tested, but our faith should not include the belief that we won't suffer, or that suffering is soley from satan. paul prayed many many times for his affliction to heal, and it did not. we can and should pray for healing, and we have to believe that god CAN do it, if it's in his will, and if not, there is a reason. healiing is not about us...it's about god, and his will. to believe otherwise is placing healing power in us, our faith, and not in god. this revival/heal-a-thon that bentley is claiming seems to be about numbers and recognition..not god.

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