Saturday, 30 August 2008


Not So Easy Rider !
The controversial Florida Outpouring/Revival led by Todd Bentley has come to an abrupt end as news emerged of Bentley’s ‘marital difficulties’ and his relationship with an unidentified female member of his team. The Fresh Fire Ministry founded by the evangelist has asked Bentley to step down from all ministry for a period of rest and refreshment! Also the live broadcasts of the Florida meetings (they are continuing under associate members of the FFM team) have been pulled from God TV, up to this they had been broadcasting nightly since the beginning of the crusade. Obviously those critics of Bentley and his unorthodox methods feel suitably vindicated, while his supporters are, I expect, at the very least crestfallen. Having watched quite a few of the televised meetings I veered towards giving Bentley the benefit of the doubt on the basis of the apparently dramatic healings but also because I was genuinely impressed by many of his sermons and their solid Biblical basis. Some of the criticisms levelled against him were petty in the extreme ,like the Christian disdain for his tattoos many of which he had done after his conversion. The one reference condemning tattooing marks on the body came from the same Old Testament chapter that also forbade the wearing of silk and cotton fabric mixed, and a host of other archaic rules that seem peculiar to that place and time and not transferable to the 21st century! Other issues however gave more serious consideration for concern like his reliance on angelic visitations and revelations which Bentley seemed to experience on a frequency even unknown to bible saints. In dealing with the Spirit realm there is need for great discernment as there are two sources of angelic encounter and the New Testament warns believers that Satan himself can masquerade as an angel of light to deceive the saints of God. There is also the line of argument that any man used of God is subject to mighty diabolical attack and Todd Bentley won’t have been the first (or the last, for that matter) to fall from grace while being part of a genuine move of God. I suppose one thing that this whole experience should teach us is the pre-eminency of Gods Word when it comes to what we believe and how we adjudicate where someone is coming from. Our experiences must flow concurrent with the stream of Scripture and we should allow it to be a lamp for our feet and bread for our soul ,letting God be true and every man a liar. And our reading of the Word must infuse in us a hunger to press in to the presence of Jesus Christ ,our Living Word. Let me leave the last words to A.W.Tozer who expressed this need of the hour with his usual succinctness and spiritual clear-sightedness…"Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and centre of their hearts.”
Gerard O'Shea


Tony said...

I couldn't agree more!

Ralph said...

Events and happenings such as these tend to move our focus away from where we ourselves should be.
Far away hills are greener. Will lessons be learnt from this or is there anything to learn at all. We live in shallow times and have shallow memories. Next please ....! before we get bored.

Anonymous said...

America, America, God Bless America.