Harold Smith on Todd Bentley and Lakeland

It seems as though there are a lot of folks who have taken very personal positions over the collapse of the Todd Bentley / Ignited Church / Lakeland, Florida “revival” that was referred to in the last article “Compromise.” As a result, I have been labeled as insolent, reactionary, a spreader of gossip and rumor and “who are you to judge” because I made the statement in that article that Mr. Bentley had been removed from the ministry as a result of having admitted to having an affair outside of his marriage that I called adultery. So, please allow me this opportunity to clarify my statement and set the record straight. Also, please, read all the way through this article before forming your assessment.

It has been brought to my attention that, so far, there is no “proof” of any actual sexual dalliance on Mr. Bentley’s part, that it was only an “emotional involvement” that he confessed to. As a man, I have an acute understanding about what “emotional involvement” actually means. Yeshua said adultery is an attitude of heart (Matthew 5:28). Now, I did not write the Book – I just read it. Words mean things and I believe He meant those words.

There are some other issues that have surfaced since publishing that article I was unaware of at the time of writing that had I known of, I would have included. I did not know about them because, frankly, I didn’t really care enough about what was going on in Lakeland beyond here was, yet again, another place for believers to get “goose bumps.” Isn’t it interesting that we have all these “believers” running to and fro, to this event and to that prophet, to be healed and nowhere in scripture is it recorded that Yeshua ever healed or delivered any of the disciples? He EMPOWERED them. We look for His Power to be on exhibit externally when scripture says, for a believer, the very power that raised Yeshua from the grave dwells within US. (Romans 8:11).

Then this week, this email came to me by way of a woman who had spent some time as a member among the occult sect of Wicca: She writes: “I saw this man on God TV, (I do not usually watch this but wanted to see what all the fuss was about) and saw the Wicca ‘EMMA’ brand on the inside of his left arm. THAT is what turned me off. I guess if people have not been in the occult, they have no idea just what this means. EMMA is the king of Hell in Wicca. It appears as a seducing spirit, either male or female, whatever appeals to the person who works for Emma. It calls itself an ‘angelic’ spirit, which tells its host that they do not have to approach ‘God’ alone, they will go with you and plead your case for you. You know, Satan can look whichever way he wants – if you are with Emma, he will look like the Lord.” 

Curious, I began some research and found just what this woman had revealed to be true. In fact, what else I found documented on video was Mr. Bentley, caught on camera, boasting of his personal “angel” he had been given by God whose name is EMMA that had come to him and led him into salvation (I was careful to document his own words) and that he regularly prays with this angel who shows him heavenly things. On top of this, after watching hours of video from the Lakeland meetings, I was struck with the realization that rarely, if ever (I could not remember a single instance), where the name of Jesus was spoken. The words, “God”, “heaven”, “angels” (lots and lots of angels), “spirit” were all used frequently – but not the name of Jesus.

The Good ShepherdFolks, this is not rocket science. The scripture says plainly to “try” the spirits (1John 4:1-3). The way they are tried is to hold them up to the standard of Truth which is the testimony of the Life of Yeshua (Revelation 19:10).

But that article and this one are not written about the subject of individual sin be it near-adultery or occultic-demon spirits, nor was it written to castigate Mr. Bentley personally (Romans 3:23). Having been divorced and witnessing firsthand the devastating and lasting effects it leaves on everybody’s lives, I am deeply saddened for him, his family and those who are affected by all of this and pray for God’s intervention, healing and restoration to encompass them.

So, let me make very clear – these words are addressing the foundational premises that brought us into this arena to begin with, i.e., compromise. These were compromises that were made, as a Body, to be tantalized by signs and wonders at the expense of integrity. character and Truth; and the compromises that were made from the embrace of the hierarchical structure of “apostolic authoritarianism” that developed, maintained and promoted the very platform Mr. Bentley stood upon which is not found in scripture. We are given no model in scripture for how this should work, except through love unfeigned (2Corinthians 6:1-10) – and that model was breached. What surfaces in overt behavior (darkness), on any level are just indicators of a more basic separation from Truth (light) at the root.

There were other indicators that compromise had taken place. When one moves in power without character it becomes like Paul describes in 1Corinthians 13, a sounding brass or clanging cymbal. It becomes jarring to the ear. If you look at any of this event in Florida on the YouTube videos, that is what you see and hear. Strange doctrine being preached, embracing encounters with other spirits, sick people getting kicked in the stomach, little old lady worshipping getting kicked in the face with a biker boot, etc. and the people laughing at the stories of this abhorrent violence in the audience. It is perverse and nauseating and in no way represents or extols this Person of grace and majesty and true Power spoken of in scripture that I have witnessed and come to know over the years. (James 3:13-18).

Throwing aside pre-conceptions of Who He Is does not mean mitigating His Nature to suit our purposes. Just because He can use rocks or donkeys does not mean He plans or intends to from the outset. He wants to use us, but He wants us to present Him in Truth. If it is Truth, it will be so all the way down the line with no excuses, no equivocation and no shadow of darkness – and it will apply equally to all involved. There IS a more excellent Way. This aspect of His Nature applies even more fully to those who would assume a mantle of responsibility within the Body because of the eternal effects their words and actions have on those who would follow them (James 3:1Matthew 23:13).

I lay the responsibility for this debacle squarely at the feet of the so-called “leaders” of this so-called “movement” and their willingness to turn a blind eye to the excesses that led to this and other places. They have all soiled their hands with wealth (when did Yeshua ever charge admission to hear HIM speak?) fame and renown (Philippians 2:7) and it has clouded their judgment – all of them. These men, even now (with the exception of only a few), are not decrying any of what has been mentioned above, but are searching for ways to gloss it over and keep it running so they might continue to profit from it – for great is the seduction of these spirits. The Hebrew word for “mammon” is finances – money (Luke 16:13).

Scripture tells us that Yeshua and the boys carried a money pouch (John 12:3-6). Now, they didn’t have jobs, so why would they need such? – except to receive donations. There is nothing wrong with receiving donations. The truth of what He is wanting us to see of Him, though, is that nowhere in scripture is it found that He ever took up a collection – He never “passed the plate”, didn’t take up an offering, He didn’t “pull” for money, didn’t ask for or let anyone know of His needs. He KNEW that if the Father was in it, He would fund it. Yeshua did not have to, nor is it recorded that He ever, made an appeal to the masses. He GAVE Himself and everything He had to the masses. He FED the poor. He didn’t use the money donated to Him to buy an upscale donkey to “further the ministry” and the Son of Man had no place to lay His Head (Matthew 8:20), so it wasn’t spent on His personal welfare. Consequently, if we do the same as His example, the Lord will move on this one and that one to come alongside as we have need without us ever having to “reach out”. I have seen it happen over and over – but this is a way of life that is completely foreign to what we have been taught and led to believe is the normal way of operation by these “power” ministries in complete contradiction to His Life.

Just A ToeSo, who am I to cry out and denounce these men and their antics? Nobody. I am nothing – I have no wealth, no position or prestige, I have no following, no cathedral to fill and I haven’t written any books. I am but a single cell on the little toe of His Body. But, if you think the little toe is of no importance, try ramming it on the bedpost when you get up in the middle of the night and see if it doesn’t bring the whole Body to a complete halt. There are many of us little cells that comprise this Body. The way to put a stop to all of this nonsense, this heresy that continues to crop up in our midst is to do as Yeshua did, to bear witness to the Truth by His Life (John 18:37) and to quit being a participant by encouraging them with our presence, making excuses for their errors and sending them our money – not for their sake, but for ours. A small flame will illuminate the whole room when it is dark. He is the Light of the World and He Lives in Us.

Having tasted of His Glory, and from a life-time of experientially knowing Him, I do not care to “settle” anymore for anything less than Truth in my personal life nor do I care to partake in the mechanics of men that would attempt to compromise by the illusion of that Glory the lifting up of some man or artificial architecture. Personally, I am here to extol the high standard He set with His Life for me to aspire to with my life so as to be, as He declared, a witness by my life, to Truth. I do not believe that bar to be out of reach. He is found in Truth. Not half-truth, faded truth or attempts at truth. He IS Truth. If I am alone in this endeavor, then let His Light begin within me. But, I am not alone. That is the confidence I have in Him for where sin and darkness abound – there grace abounds even more (Romans 5:19-21)

The Lord is allowing all of this in this moment to test our hearts. He is bringing decision and even judgment to the Body (1Peter 4:17) to see what we really want – signs and wonders at any price or Him and Him alone. If we choose Him, the signs and wonders will follow, but the presumption of man will be gone. If we choose signs and wonders, He will say He never knew us – because we didn’t know Him enough to BE Him. (Matthew 7:23).

The orginal post you can see at http://www.hethathasanear.com/ article titled “Eye of the Needle”

An Apology from Dutch Sheets on behalf of the Charismatic church leaders to the Body of Christ

NOTE:  While we cannot truly endorse the ministry of Dutch
Sheets, this is the first real Apology that has come out of that
camp – and as such it is refreshing and well worth publishing.

A STATEMENT and APPEAL REGARDING LAKELAND
-Dutch Sheets. (Aug 21, 2008).

It has now been a couple of weeks since I heard about Todd
Bentley’s plans for separation and divorce. Like everyone, I have
had a variety of emotions including anger, sadness, and grief.
Every time I see this scenario repeated, I grieve: for the husband
and wife involved; for the family that will be scarred in so many
ways; because of the incredible reproach it brings to Christ; and
the distortion it gives concerning God’s heart and ways. I am
praying for Todd and his family.

I was asked numerous times to write my position on Lakeland
while it was happening, but always felt checked by the Lord—the
waters were too muddy and emotions too high. I now feel strongly
that the Lord wants me to do so. It will be arguably one of the
greatest risks of my ministry to date, but one I feel must be taken.
Fathers, when given the voice to do so, bear the responsibility of
giving correction and wisdom. I hope mine qualifies for the latter. I
assure you I have spent many hours praying and thinking through
the situation. The risks are broad: with some of my dearest friends
and co-laborers, I risk harming those relationships; with many in
the charismatic body of Christ, I risk appearing to be an arrogant,
“self-appointed” spokesperson for them; to the “I told you so” crowd,
I risk the accusation of “spinning” the situation. (As far as the
heresy hunters and revival police—not those who raised legitimate
questions about Lakeland, but the attack dogs who make their
living and build their ministries criticizing everyone else—I lost
respect for them long ago and couldn’t care less what they think.)

My purpose and sincere prayer in writing this statement, however,
is three-fold: to see healing begin for the body of Christ; to initiate
a process that can remove the reproach brought to Christ and the
Church; and to do these things while preserving and honoring my
current relationships. I pray that these desires, along with my heart,
come through loudly. And I hope I’m writing this with true humility—
who among us clearly sees all hidden in our own hearts? Let me
also preface this statement by saying that what needs to be said
cannot be done quickly or carelessly. I do not want my heart to be
missed and am not willing to run that risk for the sake of brevity,
so please bear with the length. (Incidentally, I think it will be
obvious no one involved in the Lakeland situation has asked me to
write this; and for the sake of integrity on my part, none have been
consulted concerning what I’m stating.)

Mistakes at Lakeland

Did leaders handling the Lakeland situation make mistakes? Yes—
huge mistakes. Beyond the obvious fruit of salvations and healings,
can good come from Lakeland, as some have suggested, even
with the recent revelations concerning Todd Bentley? Yes, but only
if there is complete honesty and transparency, the removal of all
attempts at self-preservation, and absolute humility from all sides.

Did I endorse the Lakeland meetings? No, I did not, nor did I
condemn them. I acknowledged that healings were occurring and
some were being saved, which I still believe and rejoice over. I
realized and stated that the thousands of people attending were
hungry and sincere, as were those involved in leading the 2
meetings. The worship was regularly good. But looking past some
of the immediate and positive results, I, like many, also looked
ahead to the possible fruit from questionable doctrine and
experiences, exaggeration and hype, youthful pride, character
issues and the frightening potential of a 32 year “young” man
leading a movement that could shape the future of the Church.

These things were frightening, very frightening, to others and me.
When something has the potential of setting precedent, birthing a
movement and being reproduced as a prototype, we are no longer
simply endorsing good brothers, good intentions and miracles.
Doctrine and foundations will be built on these events. Teachings
and paradigms for future ministries will be formed—in short, the
next generation of the church and the move of God in the earth
could be greatly impacted. This is why I stopped short of endorsing
everything at Lakeland. Just as importantly, I could not ignore the
“check”, the uneasiness, the sickening feeling deep in my spirit
telling me something else was wrong—terribly wrong—in this
situation. Like other leaders I tried to push past my uneasiness
with the showmanship, the “bams,” the head butts and kneeing,
along with certain experiences and doctrines, all in order to
embrace the good. Like many of my friends I tried to be—and
believe I was—gracious, accepting, ready to think “out of the box”,
etc. But try as I may, the uneasiness in my spirit just wouldn’t leave.

Did I voice my concerns to the appropriate people? Yes,
including stating my concerns for Todd’s marriage to the Lakeland
Outpouring Apostolic Team. Did they listen? Some did, some
didn’t. But I want to state emphatically, this is not an “I told you
so” statement. In fact, much of what I want to address goes back
several years into our charismatic Christian history. And I assure
you that concerning our present weaknesses in the charismatic
church, there is plenty of blame to go around. Personally, I’ve
been right at times with my discernment and decisions, wrong at
others. It would be worse than hypocritical for me to point the
finger of accusation—I have no stones of judgment to throw.
Nonetheless, mistakes were made and must be acknowledged
and learned from in order for us to heal, grow and move forward.

Some of my closest friends endorsed and participated in the
Lakeland meetings. For them I have both criticism—all of us lose
credibility at this point if we’re not completely honest—and
affirmation. Should they have been more discerning and have
listened to the warnings they received? Obviously. Should those
who “aligned” Todd with spiritual fathers (which was a good thing
and positioned him to receive help if he chooses to accept it) have
realized to do so publicly was a mistake and could be interpreted
by those watching in no other way than as a complete
endorsement? Yes, they should have, especially when the event
became a commissioning ceremony, complete with decrees and
prophecies of going to higher levels, predictions of Todd’s
increasing world-wide influence and leading a world-wide revival,
emphatic and prolific endorsements of his character, etc. How
could those watching believe the evening was anything but an
aligning, endorsing and commissioning ceremony? It was. It really
doesn’t matter who laid their hands on Todd—all share
responsibility. This was unwise at best, naïve at least and at its
worst, foolish. And should the leaders involved have realized that
those of us connected to them relationally, ministerially, and as
movements—some even in alignment with them apostolically and
as sons and daughters—would feel minimalized, if not betrayed,
by the fact that they were in essence taking us onto the stage
with them? Yes. These feelings were inevitable, especially when
we had such uneasiness and asked them not to. Should there be
an acknowledgment of these mistakes to the body of Christ for the
sake of accountability and in order to rebuild trust? I believe so,
and remain hopeful this will happen.

With such strong statements of disagreement, what is the
affirmation toward my friends who led, participated in or endorsed
this ceremony (and the meetings in general)? Simply stated,
I know their hearts. It is not a contradiction of my criticisms
toward some of their actions to, at the same time, defend and
endorse their hearts and character. It is completely appropriate —
when true—to defend a person’s heart and integrity while
disagreeing with their actions.

I think the blunder of that night was huge and very damaging to the
body of Christ, but I also realize that in their hearts, those involved
honestly felt they were doing the right things. Again, while not
defending the action taken, I would defend the character and
integrity of Peter and Doris Wagner as vigorously as anyone I
know, and do so with absolute confidence. There are no two
people, and I mean that literally, who embody the qualities of
humility, integrity, holiness (no compromise!), sacrifice, unselfish
kingdom-thinking, the tireless giving of themselves to Christ’s
cause and the body of Christ—and do I need to add risk-taking?—
as much as Peter and Doris Wagner. It remains my great honor to
be associated with them and call them a spiritual father and
mother. And again, while not minimizing or “sweeping under the
rug” any wrong decisions, I remain steadfast in my belief that
similar affirmations could be made of others involved—either
directly or indirectly—in the ceremony. And some of them still see
their endorsing of Lakeland as an endorsement of revival generally,
not of Todd personally.

The Bigger Picture

It may come as a surprise, however, that my real purpose in
writing this is not to only state the above, as important as I believe
saying it is. My primary purpose, and I believe my assignment
from the Lord, is to identificationally repent on behalf of the
leadership of the charismatic body of Christ (see Nehemiah 1:4-7;
Daniel 9:1-19). In doing so, I do not have a pompous, “no one else
will, so I’ll do it” attitude, nor am I arrogant enough to think I have
become the spokesperson for the charismatic church. But in the
same way that I can identify with the racism of white predecessors
and repent to blacks, Native Americans and other races, I can
represent the leadership of the charismatic body of Christ and
identificationally repent for our sins and weaknesses. I encourage
leaders who find my statements true and appropriate to join me.

Beyond the simple fact of it being appropriate, I firmly believe it is
the only way to begin the process of rebuilding trust with those
asked to follow us and to remove the cynicism of the world we ask
to listen to us. As you know, regaining credibility is much more
difficult than attaining credibility. Concerning what I’m about to say,
I don’t believe I have a critical spirit, nor do I want to diminish the
sacrifices, faithfulness, and hard work done by so many in ministry.
The fact remains, however, that we have failed the Lord and His
people in many ways—not just with Lakeland but in countless
other situations—and must repent if we are to be trusted in the
future. And as you also know, no repentance is effective if watered
down and couched in excuses, therefore, I intend to be brutally honest:

1) We, the leaders of the charismatic community, have operated in
an extremely low level of discernment. Frankly, we often don’t even
try to discern. We assume a person’s credibility based on gifts,
charisma, the size of their ministry or church, whether they can
prophesy or work a miracle, etc. (Miracles and signs are intended
to validate God and His message, not the messenger; sometimes
they validate the assignment of an individual, but never the
person’s character, lifestyle or spiritual maturity.) We leaders in
the Church have become no different than the world around us in
our standards for measuring success and greatness. This has
contributed to the body of Christ giving millions of dollars to
undeserving individuals; it has allowed people living in sin to
become influential leaders—even to lead movements, allowing
them influence all the way to the White House. Through our lack
of discernment we built their stages and gave them their platforms.
We have been gullible beyond words—gullible leaders producing
gullible sheep. When a spiritual leader we’re connected with
violates trust, is exposed for immorality or falls below other
accepted standards of behavior, it does not exonerate us simply
to say we don’t condone such behavior. Those we lead trust us to
let them know whom to trust. We have failed them miserably in
this regard. For this lack of discernment, and for employing and
passing on inappropriate standards of judgment, I repent to the
Lord and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.

2) We, the leaders of the charismatic church, spin our involvement
and fail to acknowledge our responsibility when other leaders fall—
all of which stems from our self-preservation and pride. Enough of
the spin—we’re no different than Washington, DC. Every time
another embarrassing and disgraceful situation is exposed, the
dancing begins. It seems that no one bears any real responsibility
except the man or woman who actually commits sin. Incredibly,
we even blame “revival” itself—the pressures, attacks, weariness,
the “revival is messy” argument, etc., saying it is responsible for
the failures. This is disgusting. Those of us on boards of fallen
leaders, those who helped give them a voice, put them on TV,
published and endorsed their books (yes, I have), etc., are not
exonerated simply by saying we don’t condone the wrong behavior
or that we didn’t know. We’re supposed to know. I don’t believe
anyone is expecting perfection from us—I know I’m not. We’re far
too human for that. But we are expected to have enough humility
to look the world and those who follow us in the eye when we miss
it and say, “we were wrong and we are sorry.” Our careless
accountability has caused the body of Christ to be spiritually
raped and abused. It has produced disillusionment and brought
immeasurable reproach to our God and cynicism to His message.
Concerning Lakeland, what was called the “greatest revival since
Azusa Street” has become possibly one of the greatest
reproaches. We, the leaders of the charismatic church, are
responsible. For not accepting and acknowledging our
responsibility, for caring more about our own reputation than
Christ’s, I repent to God and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.

3) Our procedures and standards of accountability are incredibly
inadequate. We have provided camaraderie, not biblical
accountability. For those on Todd Bentley’s board who had
previous knowledge of his marriage problems and said nothing, it
was more than a mistake—it was reckless, foolish, and
irresponsible. For those on the stage the night of his aligning and
commissioning who knew and said nothing—ditto. For those there
who didn’t know, my question is, “why didn’t you?” You were
trusted to know. That is one of the purposes of public
commissioning and the purpose behind the concept of
endorsement. I’m not trying to point the finger; I’m endeavoring to
get us to be honest about our failures—we have serious credibility
issues. Have I ever laid hands on, commissioned or endorsed
anyone without adequately checking them out? Yes, but you
better believe I’ll be more careful next time! And we must not
single out Lakeland. We’re all guilty. What about the leader in my
city who ran with some of the leading spiritual fathers in our nation—
sincere and good men, I might add, and not all “charismatic”
leaders—who sang his praises and helped build his stage—all
while he was doing drugs and having sex with other men? But we
shouldn’t blame only the high profile cases—what about those of
us who unknowingly have had adulterers on our staffs or appointed
elders that turned out to have compromise in their life? Sounding
familiar yet? This is so epidemic that every member of the body of
Christ stands guilty—what pastor or leader did you follow that
turned out to have sin issues? What ministry did you support that
was unworthy? There is plenty of blame to go around. The big
question becomes not “who do we blame” but “how do we fix this
mess?” Leaders can live in sin—adultery, homosexuality, financial
wrongdoing, drugs, etc.—for years without it being realized. They
can offer completely unacceptable lifestyles for the body of Christ
to follow and still keep their TV programs and lavish lifestyles. In
the name of grace, compassion and forgiveness we have lowered
the standard so much that often there isn’t one. We have bought
into the lie that true discipline is “shooting our wounded.” We have
made a mockery of biblical restoration, making “ministry”—not
healthy individuals, marriages and families—its ultimate goal. The
fact is, integrity matters. No, we don’t need legalistic, pharisaical
standards, but we must have standards. For this lack of biblical
accountability, I repent to God and I ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.

4) We, the leaders of the charismatic church, have built on hype,
sensation, innovation, programs, personality and charisma. This
has produced: shallowness; false movements; novice leaders—
gifted but immature and untested; a deficient understanding of
God’s word; the building of man-centered rather than kingdom-
centered churches and ministries; competition rather than
cooperation; humanistic, self-centered Christians who don’t
understand sacrifice and commitment; Christians without
discernment; superstar leaders; a perverted and powerless gospel;
prayerless and anemic Christians; a replacement of the fear of the
Lord with the fear of man; and a young generation that is cynical
of it all. We are responsible, not the devil; he takes what we give
him. For this compromise in the way we build, for giving the
Church watered down wine, commercial Christianity, a flashy but
weak Church and hype disguised as anointing, I repent to God and
ask forgiveness of the body of Christ. Galatians 6:1-5 is an
appropriate reference with which to end this statement: “Brethren,
even if a man caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual,
restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to
yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens,
and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is
something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each
one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for
boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.
For each one shall bear his own load.” NAS

My passionate prayer is that God honors this repentance — I
believe He led me to do it and therefore, will—and uses it to begin
a process of cleansing and healing for all of us. In order for the
coming great awakening to bear maximum fruit we must have both,
as well as a course correction that sets us on a path of wisdom
leading to life. There is no doubt that past moves of God have been
aborted, ended prematurely and contained error or heresy that
have wounded, if not destroyed, many. The healing revival of the
40’s and 50’s, the charismatic movement, discipleship movement
and Jesus movement are all examples. My heart is to help shape
a movement, the fruit of which will last for decades — better yet,
forever. And I have great expectations for us—I am not a cynic.

My passionate prayer is also that Todd Bentley’s marriage survives
and thrives…that he turns his heart fully toward Christ and toward
those with whom he is aligned, and allows them, as God leads,
to put him on a path of complete restoration. I thank God for those
who were touched by the Holy Spirit at Lakeland and while
watching it on God TV and the web. May we all move forward into
all God has planned for us in this awesome season of endless
possibility.

With great hope—Dutch Sheets.

~SOURCE:  http://www.dutchsheets.org/index.cfm

Open Letter to Wagner & Joyner by Andrew Strom

OPEN LETTER to WAGNER, JOYNER…
-by Andrew Strom.

I write this as a tongues-speaking, Spirit-filled, prophesying
believer.

Dear Rick Joyner and C. Peter Wagner,

I will do my utmost to avoid disrespect in this letter. But I cannot
avoid the hard questions which must be asked.

I hope my comments here are not construed as “arrogant”. This
is certainly not my intent. But I’m sure you have heard the news
by now that the tide has turned in what you call your “Civil War”.
I’m sure you have heard that the Lakeland meetings have dwindled,
and the “big tent” has been abandoned in favor of the 700-seat
Ignite church once again. I’m sure you have heard that your man
Todd Bentley’s meetings in England have been cancelled, and
that respected leaders even within your own movements have
found vast evidence of falsehoods, fraudulent claims, manipulation
and hype of the most blatant kind. The news of it is worldwide. It
is not just ABC Nightline. It is your own people saying these things.

I’m sure you have heard the news that has even shocked and
saddened me – that the British press is calling Bentley “A US
child sex offender turned church minister who tries to cure cancer
victims by kicking them” – and that 79% of Britons polled want to
keep him out of the country. Where is the glory to Jesus in this?
How could Todd even set foot in England under such a cloud?

Sirs, if this really were a ‘Civil War’, aren’t you living in Gettysburg?

Mr Wagner, I am sure you are aware that because of your open
endorsement of Todd Bentley, numbers of your own ICA ‘apostles’
(some very well-known) are already planning an “alternative”
network without all your ‘Dominionist’ trappings or NAR hierarchies.
Sir, they are leaving. Are you sure you were right to endorse the
Lakeland movement in the very face of your own apostles like that?
Wasn’t this one of the most crucial tests of your leadership? Sir,
if your discernment is such that you could get on a stage and
openly endorse one of the most deceptive movements in the history
of the church, then – with all due respect – should you really be
heading up the apostles of the entire Charismatic world? Are you
aware that you have greatly endangered God’s precious sheep all
around the globe?

And Mr Joyner, are you conscious of how terribly the Prophetic
movement has deteriorated on your watch, sir? As the most
influential ‘father’ in that movement, why have you stood by while
the “New Mystics” have taken over – with their gold dust, their
portals, their ‘orbs’, their drunken jerking, their strange “angel”
encounters and ‘visualization’ techniques, etc? In fact, why have
you actively encouraged and participated in these very things yourself?

Isn’t it true that Bob Jones has been a big mentor for you in these
things, just like he was for Todd Bentley? Wasn’t it Bob Jones
who taught you how to “visualize” your way into the ‘Third Heaven’,
Mr Joyner? Isn’t Bob Jones one of the major hidden influences
behind your ministry? Where do you get your visions? How do you
write your books? How can we ever again trust the “angels” that
you see? Sir, what were you thinking – to openly endorse the
“New Mystics” as you did with Todd Bentley? Did you not see
that it could end so badly?

We all know what Bob Jones said when he stood on the stage with
Todd Bentley in front of the whole world:
BOB: “I released my angels to him… this man from Canada asked
for my angels; this Wind of Change is most powerful. Except for
the arch angels, this ‘Winds of Change’, this is the most powerful
angel…”
BOB TO TODD BENTLEY: “As I watch you, you VIBRATE. You
know there are two portals, clockwise and counter-clockwise.
When you vibrate you close demonic vibration. Counter-clockwise
vibration is demonic. The vibration is healing. Does it seem peculiar?”
[He waves his hands]… “I’m releasing it to you.”

A very basic question here: Is there anything even remotely biblical
about any of this?

Mr Joyner, since Bob Jones is your major mentor, and since you
stood on the stage and openly endorsed that whole movement, I
guess we have to assume that this is the kind of “Prophetic” that
you now represent? Isn’t that fair to say, sir?

And now I need to ask some questions of my colleagues overseas:
Isn’t it true, my friends, that almost every deceptive fad or heresy
of the last 25 years has come out of North America? (ie. The USA
and Canada)? And hasn’t it been growing worse and worse?

When I travel to Africa I find deadly “Prosperity” teaching rampant
in the most poverty-stricken of nations. When I travel to Europe
I find them bombarded with flakey ‘prophets’ from the States.
When I travel to Australia I find them enthralled with ‘Mega-church-
Itis’ imported from the USA. In every way, North America has
become a source of utter pollution, sickness and compromise –
both in the church and the world. And I believe God wants to put
an end to it.

Personally I love Americans. I lived there for four years, and I have
many dear friends in that part of the world. But I do not believe that
God is going to allow this pollution to spread any longer.

Why do leaders in Australia or Europe think that their movements
must be led by Americans? What nation is most of this pollution
coming from? Why do African leaders allow sick money-grubbing
telecasts from the USA to be beamed to their people via satellite?
Why are any of us allowing any of this garbage? When are we
going to stand up and cry, “ENOUGH”? When are we going to
cut off this pollution – not just for ourselves – but for the sake of
God’s precious sheep? Why should we be led by America if they
are leading us into deception?

Should North America even be allowed to lead the worldwide church
any more?

And finally, let me return to Mr Joyner – who once intimated that it
is time to “drive” out those who want to “test the spirits” in the
church. Sir, let me say to you that indeed the time has come to
drive a particular spirit out. It is the spirit of rampant “Charis-mania”.
And sir, I have to say with all due respect, that your very own
movement strikes me as the primest of prime places in which to start.

Discuss this on our Forum at-  http://www.revivalschool.com

Are WAGNER’s APOSTLES LEAVING??

Are WAGNER’s APOSTLES LEAVING??
-Andrew Strom.

Last week we published a number of strong statements against
Lakeland by one of Peter Wagner’s ‘apostles’ named Robert
Ricciardelli. For those who are not aware, Peter Wagner heads
up an organization devoted to setting in place “apostles” over the 
church. This is known as the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ (NAR),
and it has been very controversial. I myself have never seen it as
any kind of true “Reformation” – because all it seems to do is
set up another level of hierarchy over the existing ones. I also
question whether many of the “apostles” are true apostles – but
that is another story. Suffice it to say, that Wagner runs one of 
the most powerful and far-reaching global networks in the
Charismatic world.

I don’t know if Peter Wagner fully realized what he was doing
when he went down to Lakeland and publicly endorsed Todd
Bentley and the ‘revival’ there. But clearly he started a rift in his
own movement that may very well almost tear it apart.

However, before we discuss this further, it is also important to
note that even some “pro-Lakeland” churches are beginning to
have second thoughts about supporting that movement – as more
factual information begins to emerge about what is really going on.

The following was written by the leader of a “pro-Lakeland” church –
and forwarded to me this week. (I have removed the identity of
both the leader and the church). This really is an amazing
admission for such a “pro-Lakeland” leader to make:

“Hi staff,
We need to talk, probably as a staff, and go through what I’ve
found out. I had a long talk with Robert Ricciardelli. He’s no revival
critic… He loves revival, believes in healing, prophecy and all the
rest and is delighted to hear about the healings we’ve had here.
He’s a close friend of Stephen Strader… He’s in an accountability
relationship with Lee Grady (editor of Charisma Magazine) and is
a writer for Charisma on occasion. He’s part of C. Peter Wagner’s
apostolic network, recognized by Peter as an apostle. I’ve seen
the man’s website and he’s legit, not a heresy hunter.

“The reports he has given me are firsthand, not hearsay. I am
deeply troubled, grieved and tormented at what I’m hearing. He
attributes most of the anointing at Lakeland to Roy Fields (worship
leader). I agree. Roy is nothing but clean and God shows up hugely
when he leads worship. I can go into detail later about what is
surfacing, but there are huge lapses of integrity going on… Much
embellishment. Many claims have been made that simply are not
true. The Charisma crew has researched it. I want to weep. My
heart is breaking. For now, to be safe and for the sake of integrity,
we need to stop speaking about the claimed resurrections. Three
of them have been checked out with the doctors and EMTs
involved and found never to have happened at all. Todd has been
confronted with this and has not adjusted the numbers in his
claims. Not a single one of the other claimed resurrections can
be substantiated despite diligent effort to do so. Even after
Stephen Strader brought it down to 13 (and even those couldn’t
be substantiated) Todd ran it back up to 27 and more.
Misrepresentation and embellishment!

“On the financial front, Todd recently told the crowd that God had
told him that there were 1,000 people who would give $1,000 and
that they would be blessed 1,000-fold. Robert called Stephen
Strader to confront the unbiblical nature of that appeal. It came
out that Todd admitted he hadn’t heard that from God, that it was
just an idea he had so that they could raise money to build a big
stadium. Robert challenged them to issue an apology the following
night based on that false claim of being told by God and they
refused to do it on the excuse that it’s a different crowd every night.

“That’s the flavor of what I’m finding. There’s a lot more. I’m so
grieved I can hardly think. I’m not saying the Lakeland Outpouring
is not of God (God is bigger than the men involved), although good
men whom I have respected all my life are saying just that (that it’s
not of God), based on what they know and have seen…

“What I am saying is that we need to back up and not identify
ourselves closely with Lakeland and that we need to stop repeating
claims being made on the air lest we end up getting splattered
with the collateral damage when certain issues of false claims,
embellishments and lapses of integrity begin to come out more
publicly. By the way, no one is saying that some healings have not
happened – only that many false, embellished or unsubstantiated
claims have been made. A number of really good men, champions
of revival through the years, are actually saying that the whole
thing is of the devil and that even the healings are demonically
inspired. I want to be clear that I’m not going there…” [-end quote].

So here we have a ‘pro-Lakeland’ church checking out these facts
for the first time and now deciding that they “need to back up and
not identify ourselves closely with Lakeland.” Pretty amazing!

Meanwhile – back to the topic of “apostles” and what is now
happening in Peter Wagner’s main ‘ICA’ organization:

One of Wagner’s apostles, Robert Ricciardelli, put out an email
this week saying that he has received a great deal of support for
his stand against Lakeland – the majority of it from pastors. And
he also made the following very significant statement:

“As a member of ICA, Peter Wagner actually caused many
questions to come my way because of my membership there.
I will no longer be involved with that organization and actually
have not tracked well with them and some of their agendas since
I have been involved with them. However, I have enjoyed the many
relationships I have developed from going to the annual meetings.
Most all of those relationships are also disengaging from their
affiliation with ICA, because of many issues beyond Lakeland.”

So clearly Robert is now leaving the ICA – as are other ‘apostles’
that he knows of also. I asked him to clarify this last point.

Robert wrote to me:
“The ICA leadership continues to adopt belief systems without
seeking the advice and counsel of members. Many of the members
do not, and will not support these beliefs, including the support of
anti-biblical behavior and doctrine currently being expressed through
Todd Bentley and Freshfire Ministries. In fact as ICA embraces
this, they now have taken a stance that will indirectly have to
embrace many of the same ministries, including “New Mystic”
John Crowder and others. This escalating focus on angels,
experiences, trances, etc is far from the focus of Jesus, His
Kingdom, and His righteousness… Many of us who really enjoyed
the ICA annual conferences are now forced to make a decision
as to whether to continue our involvement with them.”

Robert has also stated that he personally was never into
“Dominionist” beliefs or the “hierarchical NAR agenda.” His last
statement to me was: “I think that there is a chance that many
may disassociate with the ICA depending on Todd continuing to
reveal his deceptive doctrine and Peter continuing to support such doctrine.”

I wonder if Peter Wagner ever imagined that by endorsing Todd
Bentley he may be sowing huge seeds of destruction in his own
movement? -Perhaps only time will tell.

Todd Bentley’s Supernatural Training Centre or Kundalini Yoga Training?

Todd Bentley’s “Supernatural Training Center” application in .pdf says on the front page..

  

Fresh Fire Ministries Presents 

The 2008/2009 Supernatural Training Centre Abbotsford, B.C..

 “Activate Your Divine Nature and Carry God’s Presence to the World!’

 I don’t have a divine nature apart from Jesus Christ. It is HIS divine nature I don’t have one. The scriptures say,

Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

 2 Pet 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of {the} divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

 

Here is a quote from someone who talks about their Kundalini experience….

 The awakening of Kundalini is a spiritual awakening, a major step towards realization of the divine. According to Swami Prajananda, “The main purpose of its awakening in a seeker is to enable him to attain Godhood” (Muktananda, Kundalini 9). 

***********
It is the DNA activator. It is the next stage of evolution for man. I believe it is man’s hidden treasure that he lost when he “fell from grace” in the Garden of Eden. Now it is returning to this planet wakening beings to their full natures before the fall only even greater. It is the sacred tree of life. It is essentially however, the secret of realization of God, 
the divine essence within all beings.

http://www.aloha.net/~ruth/Kawake.html

 This person under the influence of the Kundalini spirit that wrote the quote above is attributing a demonic spirit, Kundalini, with the God of the Bible. The Kundalini spirit is trying to associate the workings of Kundalini  with the works of the christian God in the form of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God (Jesus) and the Tree of Life! The source of the Kundalini spirit is of the kingdom of darkness not the kingdom of God. In reality the Kundalini spirit and its wisdom is of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil NOT the Tree of Life.  Todd Bentley makes the statement that if one attends to their supernatural training centre they will be taught how to “activate THEIR divine nature”.  This is not the language of one who is being inspired by the Holy Spirit but one who is being influenced by satan who can transform himself into an angel of light for the purpose of deceiving christians to follow what is false and not of God as if it is of God and true. This kind of talk reminds me of pagan beliefs like Wicca that refer to the “god and goddess within you”…

 Wikipedia says this about the word Avatar.

 In English, the word has come to mean “an embodiment, a bodily manifestation of the Divine.” 

Avatara (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST Avatāra) in Hindu philosophy is the ‘descent’ or incarnation of a divine being (deva) or the Supreme Being (God) onto planet Earth.

 Another website says this about what an Avatar is.

 An avatar is a bodily manifestation of a higher being or a supreme being.

It comes from Hindu mythology. Whenever something divine manifested in a physical form (normally human), it was called an avatar. 

 Another website said this about releasing your “inner goddess”

 Each of us will explore ways to give others in our lives and communitiespermission release the inner goddess, and become a beacon of light that liberates others.

 Wouldn’t an “avatar” and a “goddess” be considered “divine”? They would to a pagan or someone who was decieved and was under the influence of the Kundalini spirit. The Kundalini spirit is considered divine. The Kundalini spirit actually tries to convince people that it is the God of creation and of life. It works to deceive people to believe it has the ability to heal and transform a persons life. This kind of belief sounds similar to what the bible teaches what Jesus does through the work of the Holy Spirit in a person who accepts Christ. But the only problem is that it is not Jesus Christ but a false christ. It is a religious spirit feigning the Holy Spirit. Because if you read enough info on the Kundalini spirit you will see that it is said to be a Serpent that when not awakened is coiled at the base of the spine. 

Here is another quote from the above person about the Kundalini experience

 It is apparent now according to Lee Sannella, a psychiatrist who has written a seminal work on what he calls “a form of psychospiritual energy” ( 8) the Kundalini Shakti, that is a “process of psychospiritual transformation” that is found in human beings all over the world“transcending personal and cultural differences” (23). I was participating in a universal human experience of transcendence. According to Sannella’s research, Kundalini is integral to the teachings of “Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese Taoism,” some “American Indian tribes, and …even of the Bushmen of Africa.” It was “most carefully studied and conceptually elaborated” in Hindu India (8).

Although the word Kundalini may appear strange for many readers and the concept of it even incomprehensible to the Western mind, in fact it is closer to each person than his own heart. Kundalini is closer than the breath in the body for it is the breather and the breath. In its dormant form it is the very essence of all life. It is the basic energy of all motion and activity. The coiled Kundalini lies dormant from birth at the base of the spine in every individual until one day it is awakened, then it ascends through the spinal column and the subtle nerve channels of the subtle body cleansing and clearing blockages as it rises towards the crown…where it merges with the energy of the higher Self. This connects the individual to the cosmic energy source so she is no longer an isolated, separated entity, but a conduit of the divine cosmic force.

In the awakened form, this uncoiled force becomes the Kundalini depicted in Indian scriptures both as a Goddess of immense power, often called “Kundalini Shakti,” and as a snake or serpent. It is She who is the manifest universe, and when She wakens within an individual, She will sweep one up in Her tremendous passion to reunite with Her Lord, Shiva–the unmanifest –in order to dance once again in his arms. Thus begins a crazy, wonderful, unpredictable ride with Goddess where She rules the body, mind and soul as she ascends through the body to the crown of the head- the seat of Shiva.

 When people participate in the kundalini experience they are submitting to release the “divine” within them. But in the practice of Kundalini Yoga one is coming under the subjection of a demonic spirit that is in no way divine. Christians don’t seek to “Activate THEIR divine nature” because they do not have a divine nature. Christians partake of Christ’s divine nature. This philosophy of activating MY divine nature is pagan. I don’t think that Todd Bentley is actually under the influence of the Holy Spirit. By the fact that in this application for the 2008/2009 Supernatural Training Center school that one will be able to “Activate YOUR Divine Nature” doesn’t sound like something that Jesus Christ is sponsoring or Lord of but something that distorts the word of God to others all in the name of Jesus. But the apostle Paul said this,

2 Cor 11:12 But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.

2 Cor 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers,disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

2 Cor 11:14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2 Cor 11:15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Gal 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;

Gal 1:7 which is {really} not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

 If we accept the heresies that Todd Bentley teaches and instructs people in as if it is of the Spirit of God and are unwilling to separate ourselves from Todd Bentley’s counterfeit Christ influences then we are seeking to please men and not God just as the apostle Paul said in Galatians. And according to the apostle Paul if someone is preaching a gospel contrary to the true gospel of Christ, IF we did originally receive the true gospel, then that person who preaches a contrary gospel is accursed. I didn’t say Todd Bentley was accursed the bible says he is to be accursed since he preaches a gospel that is contrary to the true gospel of Christ Jesus. Further more if we support their false teachings as if it is okay becuause “no one is perfect” then we are in reality deserting Him who called us by the grace of God for a different gospel. 

 2 Cor 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity {of devotion} to Christ.

2 Cor 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear {this} beautifully.

 2 John 1:9-11

9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

 10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

 11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

If someone calls themself a christian and doesn’t abide in the doctrine of Christ they don’t have the Father and the Son. And if we support them anyway then we are a partaker of their evil deeds. 

Lakeland, Florida w/ Todd Bentley Revival Phenomenon: Is it of God or is it of the devil?

I’m just going to post some links about this. There is enough information out on the web about this stuff…


Todd Bentley says “It’s not about Jesus” w/ audio clip article from Living in The Way blog

YouTube video of Doug Perry from Fellowship of the Martyrs
An interview with Patrick Ersig and Andrew Strom


Todd Bentley’s Diabolical Signs

Forum discussion on Todd Bentley’s online teaching titled “Heaven’s Realities”

Charisma Magazine article by J. Lee Grady

True and False Revival article by Patrick Ersig

A Pastor’s Wife Responds to:Todd Bentley-Revival in Lakeland-Email from a ‘Lakeland Resident’

Scriptural Evidence that the Revival in Lakeland, FL under Todd Bently is Not of God:

A False Healing Revival? Lakeland, FL by Andrew Strom

Bentley changes all references to “Emma the Angel of the Prophetic” 
because of the controversy of this heresy flooding the internet 
and church

Also an article about Bob Jones, Patricia King, and Todd Bentley 
targeting the youth to bring them into occult experiences in the church

Influences of Todd Bentley: Bob Jones is disciplined for 
inappropriate behavior in using his “gifts”

More of what is influencing Todd Bentley