Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When You Find a Perfect Servant of God ... You're Probably In Heaven

I think I've been more worried about the complete and utter silence about the Florida Outpouring than anything else. Terry Virgo's probably one of the most prominent UK leaders who has a blog and he's said nothing yet about it yet (which is odd considering how one of his latest Firstline bemoans how disappointed he is that he hasn't seen revival yet). And the critics!? Remember how potty John Macarthur and Hank Hanegraff went about Toronto? So where - I asked myself - were the opinions on Florida? I think the most dangerous position of all is to be in what Ern Baxter called; "The paralysis of analysis" - essentially pure static because we are too busy and too scared to form an opinion.

Mark Heath provided the first link for me to the torrent of blogs warning that Todd Bentley is the anti-christ and so on. It seems that apparantly Todd Bentley has an angel that speaks to him called "Emma". That name apparantly is the name of some pagan god so it must mean that a demon is controlling Todd Bentley hence everything is bad about Florida? My poor older sister - she is called Emma too ... What is with that?! Can angels not have names? Gabriel? Michael? Lucifer? (I was going to provide some of the links to these posts but I don't think I will bother. You can find them ... if you really want to).

I liked a carefully open but cautious post that Janelle wrote - she is going to go but is wary of the excess and emotionalism. It's wise to be wary. Like her, I've never lived through a revival but I suspect that there will ALWAYS be emotionalism and excess in a revival. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones wisely said;

"There is no problem of discipline in a graveyard; there is no problem very much in a formal church. The problems arise when there is life ... Problems are created by life and by vigour and the problems of the early church were spiritual problems, problems aarising because of the danger of going to excess in the spiritual realm".

I find it slightly odd that a sincere (I am sure) commentator on Janelle's blog can express "concerns" with healing and manifestations of the Spirit in Lakeland but go on to write that air conditioning is a gift from God. Who are we to decide what is a gift from God and what is not? I feel so deeply that we've got to be very careful here. When does "discernment" become "quenching the Spirit"? What's worse - the crime of "jumping on every spiritual bandwagon" or "resisting every spiritual bandwagon"?! How do we keep the balance? Is it enough to remain "open but cautious" - that all too frequently ends up meaning saying "No!".

It seems to me that the key concern with most people comes down to Todd Bentley himself. In short - he's an offence to some of these "discerners". I can get that. The man is short, ginger-haired and covered in tattoos with a piercing in his lip (and goodness knows where else). But let's be consistent here. Ephesians 4 makes it clear that the ascended Christ gives these people as GIFTS. And they are not perfect - and won't be till we get to heaven. Look back over the Word of God for starters. Let's try to put ourselves in the context of being under the leadership of each of these men in the Bible. What would we have blogged about them then?;

1. Moses. What would it have been like to be in the "Desert Outpouring"? Signs and wonders followed this man! We had to flock to him because he was leading us through the desert to the Promised Land! God had appointed him our leader. But then a whisper goes through the camp - a whisper of concern and discernment. "Did you know that Moses killed a man back in Egypt? He's a MURDERER!". Maybe we can forgive that because it was in the past. Even though believing that God can use someone with a criminal record - what about watching him hit the rock the second time in anger? And hearing the word spread round the camp that he was barred from entering the land. Hmm ...

2. David. What would it have been like to be in the "Israel Outpouring"? Such an exciting, militant time! God raised a shepherd boy up to be king (and imagine particularly if you were there since the time in the Cave ... the old crowd). But then! David commits adultery ... and what's worse murders the husband of the woman he slept with. And then goes on to have another child with the ... woman. Who is his HEIR! Surely that's unforgivable?! How can God call him; "A man after His own heart?!".

3. Elijah. Wow ... the "Prophet Outpouring"!! Signs and wonders and miracles again!! Raisings from the dead - exciting times. And the pinnacle of it all when Elijah's fan club is gathered at the mount to see fire come down from heaven in response to Elijah's prayer! What greater vindication that Elijah was a man of God!? But then Elijah disappears!! And the word begins to spread round the camp that he is a coward - was scared of a WOMAN - and has run to hide. Fear?! From a man that called down fire!? Fear - fire!? It doesn't add up!

4. Peter the apostle. Okay so maybe his beginnings wouldn't be quite to our taste (no theological seminary and a bit of a rough vocabulary) but the fact that Jesus Christ singled him out and said; "You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church" maybe brought him some kudos. But then Jesus Christ called him "Get behind me Satan!". Doesn't that equate to a bit of church discipline? But then even worse the word gets round that under pressure Peter swore under oath he didn't know who Jesus Christ was. He betrayed Jesus Christ. But then even worse when the Holy Spirit had fallen and Jesus had gone back to heaven, it seems that Peter and Paul - the two leading apostles - had a fall-out. Because Peter started behaving like a JEW again?!

5. Paul the apostle. How can we follow a man who just days before his "conversion" was murdering Christians?! He stood by while our beloved Stephen was stoned to death and approved it. And okay if we overlook his dodgy beginings we do admit that he writes some good letters to the churches - very doctrinal and they read well. But why does he have to start talking about his "3rd heaven experiences" and go and not tell those Corinthians to behave?

I'm sure that I will have offended someone - but I hope my point's clear. Even in the Bible no man of God was perfect. So if we don't want to accept that God is using Todd Bentley or Rob Rufus - then WHO is acceptable? C J Mahaney? John Piper? John MacArthur? Okay they may not have tattoos or piercings or dodgily-named angels that we know about but surely they dabble in what Jerry Bridges calls; "Respectable Sins". Mahaney has admitted he is a proud man - yet no one has problems in following his leadership. No one even writes a blog criticising him.

I know the Bible says; "Be not many teachers brethren for theirs is the greater judgement". I always thought (and maybe it does) that the "greater judgement" came from God. Maybe I was wrong and maybe that was the Bible warning that the greater judgement comes from the church. All I am trying to say is in this Christian celebrity-obsessed culture, let's cut these guys a little break. NO ONE is perfect. But despite that the ascended Christ still continues to give apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/teachers. Maybe, just maybe God wants to use them - despite not being perfect. I for one am prepared to keep watching Todd Bentley and see what God may be doing with him!

26 comments:

A Tired Pastor said...

Thanks for writing this. I'm no charismatic and certainly not into Todd Bentley but I'm a weary FIEC minister and I am so tired of being expected to be "all things to all men". I honestly do believe my people expect me to be perfect. And I am so tired. I just want to be real.

07000intune said...

That was good Dan.
As for the tired pastor's comment. It was only when I openly got cheesed off with the Methodist church as a youngster, that God actively got involved with me. He used a darn persistent friend who could see I wasn't born again...and I wasn't having any of it for months) Finally I went to the Amersham Christian Centre, probably more than anything to get him off my back. And I thought, bloomin eck, this guy in the film (Billy Graham) talks like he actually believes the stuff.And again and again in my Christian life, only when I was stubborn, and honest and said to God, if You don't show up I'm not going to go on...cos I sure as anything can't produce any Divine life of myself..things always happen. I've seen it twice more at least in the last few weeks. Once with our recent escapades into "house group" stuff. Christine and I got so sick of them, we refused to put our name down for them ever again. Now God is raising up real relationships...may be a bit adhoc,spasmodic, all around our busy schedules...but I'll take the real stuff thankyou. In the last 6 weeks we've had some breakthroughs in our main church meetings. Again Christine and I were sick of the control...the agendas...the worship lists....the "inventive and entertaining" ideas to keep church fun. We've been waiting for God to show up, at least to a degree more anyway...and I can honestly say the meetings have been great.Especially since Florida.There is a buzz of excitement again.. a sense of expectation.(Actually faith needs active expectation to operate...it's probably a spiritual law like electricity needs positive and negative or something). Sorry to meander, but so yes you are probably nearer than you think to a breakthrough!!

Dan Bowen said...

Sorry to hear that FIEC pastor. I've been in an FIEC church and know the pressure a pastor can be under. I'll be praying - wherever you are.

Chris;

"but so yes you are probably nearer than you think to a breakthrough!!".

Oooh I so sooo pray you are prophetic in that statement!! ;)

Mark H said...

hi Dan,

I just want to point out that I have said nothing good or bad about Todd Bentley on my site. (Partly because I have posted nothing at all in the last month or so). From the little I know of what is happening in Florida, some of it sounds good, and some of it concerns me.

The links to other blogs on my website are mainly links to friends. I don't agree with everything they say. But I do find them challenging and insightful.

I would love it if God moved in genuine revival here in the UK. I would love it if we saw an increase in healings. Often when I pray for you, I pray that God would move in power in the children's hospice where you work. I can think of nowhere that needs it more.

Anyway, congratulations on your new nephew.

jkblessing said...

I live in Japan, I was mentored by George Kouri back in OKC at Christ College. I've had lots of Ern's material taught me throughout the years and still listen to some mp3s as I drive to my tentmaking job here in Okinawa.

I have some concerns over what's happening in Florida yet don't want to try and judge someone's walk with the Lord. Sound word is important to me, it was also important to Paul and he wasn't afraid to be rather harsh in his approach to those who came preaching what Paul called another gospel, which in reality was no Gospel!

The issue of pushing the supernatural manifestations concerns me. Jesus told the religious leaders of his time "a perverse generation seeks after a sign!" I love signs and wonders I believe they are necessary, would love to have an abundance of them here in Japan. but my message is Christ. I believe if we obey Christ signs will come, but I don't focus on the signs I focus and point folks to Christ.

I have an mp3 on my PC I will probably run on my podcast that has Todd talking about his experiences with the "angel of finance" and about 21 minutes of him taking up an offering, people rushing up and stuffing money into his pockets. One thing that caught my attention was the fact he did say you cannot buy the anointing yet he felt you could sow into another man's ministry to get the anointing that man had???? Sounds a little like Simon in Acts 8:20 to me.

I also struggle with the idea that churches in China and other nations where persecution takes place or poor by our Western standards yet so rich in God's sight. The idea that God gives us the power to get wealth that we might raise $40,000 offerings for ourselves, or that He sends us angels of finance to insure it would not set well in those nations, where I believe a true move of God is taking place.

Are we willing to pay the price they are paying for a God move? If Paul actually came to one of our big extravaganzas and prophesied as he did in Phil. 129; "that God has granted you not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake
what kind of response would he get?

Like Ern once said concerning Branham, "he loved Jesus, he was certainly no theologian, and I wish the Spirit and the word could meet in the Church. Then Ern felt we would fill the earth with the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of the Lord."

Jerry <><

Anonymous said...

I would not wish to disregard a move of God through fear or a judgemental approach.

However, I would say I find much about Todd Bentley "off".

However - that is not what concerns me. The whole culture of going to a place where God is moving to get something misses the whole point.

We need to know God where we are. I'm not interested in getting on no plane to experience something when I need Him to break out and break through where I am in my Jerusalem.

And I'd rather have His sweet presence moving me into holiness, overcoming and power than all the gold dust, gold teeth and angel feathers. I want to see souls saved and the Kingdom of God come on earth.

Praise God for every sick body that has been healed through His divine power. Healing is the children's bread.

The previous post hits the nail on the head. Our message must be Christ.
Paul said I resolve to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is the message. Not come and get out of a wheelchair but your soul still goes to hell.
By the way, He is such a Wonderful Jesus, He will heal your body, He will make you whole but your soul must be saved.

The fragrance coming out of the persecuted church is sweet and costly.
What's coming out of Florida does not share the narrow way fragrance as far as I can see.

We need to wake up and realise the times we live in and be sober minded and test everything. Hold fast to the pattern of sound teaching. Keep in step with the Spirit. Live by the Spirit so we will not gratify the desires of our sinful nature.

Eutychus

07000intune said...

Folks,
I believe you are good in your desires and comments...we must remember the very 1st move though.
The one before Acts. The one where the preacher was assumed to be a bastard. Had no theological training...didn't even have the "advantage" of a Gamaliel training as one of his latecomer graduates did.He had only worked with his hands as a carpenter, what could he know? The first thing he did , though not intending to show off, but only 'cos his mummy told him to, was make better wine for a party. Things just tailed off from there. He had lots of deep teachings but only 12 people were interested really...the rest he told double-edged stories to to get their appetites going. The vast crowds came because healings and signs were going on. He actually kept clearing off, so those who really wanted to hear something had to follow him up mountains and things. After several months things got a bit sticky, when He said with that nasty cutting prophetic edge that holiness preachers have...Unless You eat My flesh and Drink My Blood You will not have My Life within You. It was at this point that the Hank Hanegraaf emails came in, saying that this was one step too far...this was a difficult saying...and a considerable number went home at that point to email each other.....So do you understand what I'm feebly trying to say? You are absolutely right in what you say, but God's heart is for everyone...to hook them by any means possible, then later to take them deeper...but He hasn't changed His methods since Jesus. And if Jesus was the No. 1 prototype, we shouldn't expect to operate any differently.
===========================
As regards finance. Todd is covering the costs of stadiums, he's not buying Cadillacs! Secondly when God is wanting to break us in, like wild horses in parts of our lives, He demands radical things. Most Christians are not "broken in" in the realm of finance. Yes we are connected to an unlimited supply...but guess who has to make the first move - by faith. A bit like speaking in tongues for the first time. Who has to waggle the lips..God or me?
Indeed, you cannot buy the anointing....but every so often a prophet will come and say with that authoritative God voice..Poor innocent defenseless widow Give me that last drop of oil, you know, the one you were going to live on for one final day. That is the same principle in the poorest hamlets of China as in the big high rises of Japan.

Peter Day said...

It seems that there are a number of reasons why miracles occurred in the NT.

1) Jesus was demonstrating who He was. Hence in John's gospel we see the miracles referred to as "signs". Today every miracle is a demonstration of who Jesus is. When the church did miracles, they were sometimes described as confirming to the Word. No-one is ever saved by purely intellectual reasoning. The miracles demonstrate that this is God's message.

2) Jesus was moved with compassion. There was no other reason given on a number of occasions. There was no sermon, there was simply compassion.

3) Miracles can open the door to preaching the gospel - people wonder "what is this" and we can tell them, as happened in Acts 3.

The bottom line for me is that I long to see a restoration of full NT experience - awesome preaching, mighty signs and wonders, thousand saved, and (although I don't long for this bit) the fiery trial of persecution.

07000intune said...

Dan,
I've been feeling drunk most of the week. It generally happens before something breaks out. It's the same sort of feeling as I had when I was 13 before preaching to my class at Dr Challoner's Grammar school in 72,straight after being baptised in the Spirit. Sorry in PC speak that would be "a class presentation". I've got no idea what's going to happen in Eastbourne or Havant Glory Conferences this weekend...but something is. God has reminded me of something this week that when shared originally I had taken it to mean churches...but now I'm not so sure.
We were praying for a lovely family to join our church called the Dales of Waterlooville....back in the late 70s, and someone had a vision of castles or strongholds all along the south coast of England. Then I thought of this weekend...that simultaneous events are planned , unbeknown to each other, all along the South Coast. And Peter Stott (Havant)had some sort of waking dream about this also, before hearing a prophet that same day say it on God TV in Florida or perhaps in Shaftsbury...it was around that time.Just in case the glory hits and everyone is too incapacitated to blog...here are the last 2 items before this weekend.

jkblessing said...

07000intune, good points I agree, but still at least according to Paul sound doctrine and building upon the one foundation which is Christ is all important. I agree who God uses is entirely up to Him, He makes choice among us. He used a Smith Wigglesworth and in Balaam's day He used a donkey.

On the offering thing at least according to the mp3 I have; very strongly seemed to imply that the "angel of finance" said the offering was meant for him meaning Todd. But I'm sure that a large portion went to the venue.

Peter Day said...

Just a quick response to "a tired pastor" (first comment on this post). I will be praying for you. I am an FIEC pastor too and for years tried to be "all things to all men" and failed miserably, including making myself quite ill.

By God's grace I am learning a different way- to be myself. If you want to contact me at all (in complete confidence, of course), then my e-mail is peter@thebestisyettocome.org.uk .

Dan Bowen said...

Hi Mark, thanks for the comment - it's always good to hear from you. Please don't think I was having a "dig" at you - it wasn't that at all. It was simply that I don't really hunt widely around the internet and just happened to see the link to something about "Todd Bentley ... BAM!" when I whizzed by your blog. It was just the first link that I found to many others that are concerned with Todd Bentley. That's why I mentioned you.

Hi Jerry - great to hear from you and thanks for the comment. I do agree with you 100% that the "sowing into revival" thing is something rather legalistic that makes me jumpy and it's a hangover to the health, wealth and prosperity days. The gospel of grace knows nothing about us being obliged to give so that we may receive. Jesus Christ's sacrifice has accomplished EVERY spiritual blessing for us in Christ!!! We give to these things because we WANT to not because we HAVE to. That being said, I'm not prepared to ignore the genuine healings, miracles, signs and wonders because of this. I do agree - Paul was prepared to be harsh when required, but it was the legalists in Galatians who took the brunt of his severity! Let's ensure that we aren't standing in Galatian error (where we started off in the Spirit but ended in works of the law) so that the Word of God has got nothing good to say about us.

Chris - absolutely agree with your comments, Jesus was another radical that I could have mentioned!! And:

"Dan, I've been feeling drunk most of the week"

Awesome!!

Pete, I think that's an excellent summary of what and why miracles happen. MacArthur-esque cessationists seem to forget that compassion was actually a major factor in why Jesus did miracles, and why the apostles too did miracles. "Silver and gold have I none but such as I have, I give you". Sounds like an anti-prosperity gospel message to me! The cripple couldn't "sow into the revival!". Let's never forget that real feelings form a part of our ministry and our call to the lost.

Eutychus - I think I pretty much agree with what you've been saying, except I don't see a reason why it has to be an "And/Or" situation. Yes - of course I believe in preaching Christ and Him crucified (and raised from the dead gloriously and ascended on high and exalted and pouring out the Holy Spirit) - yet I also believe that the gospel did not come "with words only but with power". I don't know if your a cessationist or not from your comments (if you are - fine) but surely you too would believe that there must be a miracle working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the hearers so that they can come to salvation? Even MacArthur would teach that.

Just so with your rather having holiness rather than angel feathers and gold dust. Why does it have to be an either/or situation? God's God and so what if He chooses to pour out on His people what He will for their blessing, delight and manifest knowledge of His Presence? I've not had any gold dust appear on me - but I certainly wouldn't say no if it appeared. I'm hungry for HIM and HIS Presence and what that entails. And I hope you would agree that if His manifest Presence does draw near, then true holiness is inevitable for as we see Him we go from glory to glory.

Hope that makes it clear that I am not trying to advocate chasing after gold dust and angel feathers over holy living and advocating chasing after miracles and signs and wonders rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, resurrected and ascended on high. Why choose? I want everything God is ready and willing to give.

07000intune said...

This might be precious for someone who may be reading this. I was thinking how we are all totally unique.The devil abuses us. God the Father and Creator uses us for what we really were made for.
Say, I'm a guitar. The devil uses me perhaps as a tennis raquet. But only God uses me respectfully for what I was made for...to strum tunes on.....
Now think about the patterns in your life. Unique patterns. I can't copy them. They are you.
Todd Bentley says Bam. Also on Mother's Day, God regularly does things with him. (Perhaps his angel is called what people think is Emma, but in reality like in Spain, it is an abbreviation for (Ema)nuel,God with us...now that makes sense to me) But anyway Todd is unique. I'm unique. I've been reflecting on the Chris Welch species and how it operates. For instance I took ages to walk, 18 months I think, and then I never did. I ran. On an airport lounge in Accra Ghana. (All of that sounds prophetic to me)But I'll have to see. When I lost my voice it took ages, my mum called up for breakfast and this strange intruder with a 6 octave low bass voice replied"Coming!" .
When I was baptised in the Spirit in April 1972 in an upstairs bedroom in Gt Kingshill near Prestwood, everyone else shot off in tongues, I just stood there. (I did not speak in tongues for 4 weeks) Eventually someone prophesied about just thanking the Lord that I had received it. I did that.My stomach exploded, within seconds the Lord was telling me as a command to shout Hallelujah as loud as I could...to break the spirit of complacency and smugness that was and still is around our area of rich Britain. I felt a black power pressing in on me from all around. I yelled in blind obedience, the Power of the Spirit crashed down on me,my legs practically gave way and I was paralytically drunk. They helped me down the stairs.People could tell on my face what had happened to me. I took 2 or more years to become a good piano tuner and to work with my hands generally. (Brother Andy Kenyon took about 2 months)But I have tuned for Nigel Kennedy (His dressing room piano) Andre Previn,
Carl Davis, other brilliant but less well known world class pianists like Demidenko, even Jools Holland and sort of Paul Weller(his parents, but he was often there)and other people.
When I married....it took ages...I was single til 40. I married a wife who had a late teenage family. So in one swoop I became, within about 5 years a Dad and a kind of Grandad.
So there is a pattern forming!!!
In meetings as they close, I am invariably moved to say "Oh and one final thing!!!" This is very embarrassing and doesn't go down well with those leading the meetings.
Apart from a brief spell as a kind of pastor among friends in Exeter University, in 36 years of being baptised in the Spirit and after 6 years in Bible College,I have never formally been asked to preach,pastor or do any thing other than a few artistic projects or drive around in a furniture van collecting for a debt relief project. Yet I know in my spirit, that though I am no Morris Cerullo
I carry in my insides a heavenly Apostolic Certificate to open up the 3rd Level in the Body of Christ.
Maybe I am one of thousands. But I have the certificate, written in my insides like the New Covenant.I have tried in 36 years to operate in the 1st and 2nd levels.(Have you ever seen pancakes land on floor surfaces?) But what I was trained in , in the early Amersham house meetings of the 70s, through the Emsworth years under Jorge Pradas and Ed Miller, was to listen for God.The only meetings in Havant that really work for me (until recently) are the Key of David meetings, which are the most 3rd Level of our meetings. So I am excited.

07000intune said...

Every 10 years some thing significant good or bad or both happens. At 10, I moved away from all my friends and came to Amersham.At 20 I was collared by a prophet in true David style"You are that man...after he had sinned "and was brought to Emsworth. 10 years later I was thrown out, but for me I was ejected out of the 2nd level, and began exploring the 3rd level, like a spy!!!10 years later I got married. This very Saturday is my 50th birthday!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dan -

Your clarification is very helpful.

I'd not thought of it in terms of either/or... but I suppose I was more getting at what we focus on.

Just to clarify - I want to live on the right side of pentecost and I am not a cessationist. Far from it. I thank God for the gift of tongues and I will make war on the devils war in Jesus' Name whenever it crosses my path. But I know for my own life my greatest need is godliness with contentment.. and out of that can flow so much.

(By the way you're more generous towards cessationism than I am! I don't think it's fine. I think it limits the Holy One of Israel and that's very serious - but maybe your more gracious approach shows greater maturity)

Your quote from 1 Thessalonians is absolutely pivotal.
Our gospel must not come in words alone (as it does in so much of the reformed tradition). Lets remember the Gospel is the Power of God unto salvation. Not the idea of God, not the love of God and not even the grace.. but the Power of God unto salvation. In 1Thessalonians 1 (I think) it says the Gospel came in the Holy Spirit, in power and with much assurance.

The pivot on the door that the church in this nation must walk through is the Power of the Gospel. Without which church is simply not church and is worse than a secular social club.

Eutychus

Dan Bowen said...

Wow Chris loving your "10 years" progression - it's interesting isn't it how history tends to unfold!? Standing with you and very excited to see what happens on your 50th!!

Eutychus - glad to hear that you are a truly Biblical Christian! I may be able to be gracious to cessationists, but it doesn't mean to say that I understand why they would lock God and His Spirit into a box that He didn't ask to be locked into!

I think what you said is key:

"The pivot on the door that the church in this nation must walk through is the Power of the Gospel. Without which church is simply not church and is worse than a secular social club".

Sadly it's my observance that much of the Church IS a social club. That's why I am hungry to see signs, wonders and miracles accompanying the preaching of the Gospel. My only passion is to see the lost come flooding in with hearts won by the ultimate sacrifice of love.

jkblessing said...

Interesting to note that in His earthly ministry Jesus tore up every established religious establishment He went into. He came to tear down; do away with the 1st to establish the 2nd. He spent 31/2 years preparing a wineskin that could contain what He wanted to pour out. In chosing those 12 He certainly did not pick those we would today, we'd want those who had attend some Bible school and had all the proper ordination papers, yet that was surely not His way. One thing the religious leaders noted about the apostles aside from the fact that they were ignorant and unlearned men, was that they had been with Jesus.

Maybe what we're seeing today is Jesus again tearing down a religious system that has disobeyed His clear teaching and through what many would call ignorant and unlearned men is once again preparing a wineskin to contain what the Holy spirit wants to do in this hour????

Heb. 9:8; The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the Holy Place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing."

blessings
Jerry <><

Dan Bowen said...

"Maybe what we're seeing today is Jesus again tearing down a religious system that has disobeyed His clear teaching and through what many would call ignorant and unlearned men is once again preparing a wineskin to contain what the Holy spirit wants to do in this hour????".

Amen Jerry! I think you are seriously onto something there!! It's bizarre that all my life virtually I wanted to go to Bible college or seminary. I've wanted to go to them all. Trinity Evangelical Divinity, Phoenix, Regents College - but aside from the delight of sitting in a theological library - why did I really want to go?

Well because it was to sit at the feet of great men like Gordon Fee and learn. But I've learnt that "great men" tend to be imperfect men and will all upset and let down. What greater Great Man than Jesus Christ Himself!??! C H Spurgeon and D M Lloyd-Jones didn't go to seminary yet submitted themselves to the unction of the Holy Spirit and were greatly used by God!!

I love what someone once said;

"God doesn't need your strength, or your intelligence, or your hard work - God wants your weakness for His strength is perfected then".

jkblessing said...

Ask yourself the question who would you rather set under a well educated college professor with all the diplomas and academic awards to prove it or an ignorant fisherman who had spent time with Jesus?

In my own life I spent several years on the academic trail and in the process gained much head knowledge but literally lost my first love. The curse of Israel was line up on line precept upon precept (Is. 28:10-13).

Paul told the elders in Ephesus to be on the watch for false apostles some who would even raise up from among themselves(Acts 20:28-31). Then later in Rev. 2:2-4 the letter to the Church in Ephesus we see they obeyed Paul's word and gave the false apostles no place. Yet, in spite of their orthodoxy they left their first love!

Ern said it right we need baptized brains, finding the tension between the Spirit and the word.

Jerry <><

Anonymous said...

The presence of God is the pre-requisite qualification.

If you don't have the presence of God then stop preaching, stop leading worship, stop pastoring, stop prophesying, stop teaching and stop writing. Humble yourself and stop it.

Nobody is a pastor or a preacher because of a title.
If you are either of those two you were them before you got the title and would still be it without the title.

Bible schools are curious places. Not sure what I feel about them. Because they can create learned men without the presence of God. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.

How can you tell whose over you? Jesus said you shall know them by their fruits.

We MUST have the presence.

Was it Terry Virgo who said "I hate church when it's not church."

God requires us on the altar with our weakness. He requires us to give Him right of way to the throne of our hearts. Yield to Him. That's it. He doesn't need our giftings or our confidence.

My God my God, a new breed of unlearned anointed unlikely individuals is going to come up outside of the denominations and catch something of a fire...

Eutychus, pressed but not crushed...

Dan Bowen said...

Amen, amen to you both - I couldn't agree more!! Some of the things that Jesus did (and by the way called and commissioned US to do) unfortunately just don't fit in with our minds and our academic understanding! I think this is where being a "Reformed Charismatic" sometimes gets a bit difficult. Because we may be reformed, but we seem to blush a bit when we say we are still believing in spiritual gifts or in signs and wonders and miracles. That's why I think cessationism is such a convinient doctrine. It means that your head knowledge is still happy - after all, if there are no miracles or signs or wonders to expect and no spiritual gifts because they all finished when the Bible was finished, then there's no need for our faith to be stretched is there?

Yet unfortunately I still haven't got answers to the problem that the Bible DOES promise counterfeit signs and wonders and miracles in the last days!! No one seems to deny that! So why would there be counterfeit signs and wonders appear but no genuine? The counterfeit is the opposite to the genuine! If there's no genuine then EVERY sign and wonder will be of the devil surely? So why then does the Bible warn us to be on our guard?

Not logical - not consistent.

"Was it Terry Virgo who said "I hate church when it's not church."

Yes ... I love that quote!! What a radical yet right attitude to have. We have to admit that there's something wrong with church ideology. And God wants His Church back!

jkblessing said...

While some may not like Viola's book "Pagan Christianity" he does a good job of researching much of our present practices, yes even in the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches, one being how Bible Colleges started and why, it ain't a pretty story the same is true of much of of our church history and practices.

Going back to the simplicity of 1st Century Church life would be neat, but I've never experienced it myself but some say they have? But Paul's desire was that the Bride might not be seduced, drawn away from the simplicity of Christ Jesus. In most of my experience even from among those who preached Kingdom and reformation is always leadership from the top down and office and titles, rank and privileges. things that Jesus said ought not be! How is we've strayed so far from the foundation that has already been laid IN Christ?

I'm hungry for something that will totally break the back of professionalism in ministry and bring us back to Christ and the brotherhood of all believers.
Check out my humble attempts at Podcasting, click on jkblessing at the beginning of the post. http://www.himwepreach.podomatic.com/
blessings
Jerry <><

jkblessing said...

I found this article by Andrew Strom. It is interesting from a different perspective.

MOST “CONTAGIOUS” ANOINTING - Florida - WARNING!
-Andrew Strom.

Todd Bentley has declared that his Florida anointing is the most
“contagious” that he has ever imparted to people. (In other words,
the most easily transferable). And indeed this seems to be the
case. It is spreading rapidly throughout the world.

But what exactly is this anointing? One observer of the Florida
revival notes: “Todd Bentley constantly manifests his “anointing”
by shaking his head back and forth, and by his body physically
shaking. These manifestations also happen frequently in those
who he imparts to. He will even wave his arms over the audience,
shouting, “Fire! Fire! Fire!” and then people in the audience will
start manifesting. Some appear to be convulsing, and some even
as if they are being thrashed by a spirit.”

In a CBN News interview, Todd stated: “Our focus here in Florida
every night is I lay hands on every single person who comes -
whether it’s 5,000, 10,000 - And I’m praying every night, ‘God, give
it away, give it away, give it away.’ And that’s the focus here: Impartation.”

And indeed there are more and more reports of this anointing being
transmitted from Florida to other states and nations across the globe.

As we have already seen, a report from England tells of a preacher
who brought Todd’s anointing back from Florida and now it is
manifesting in his UK meetings: “Fire, a burning sensation, was
felt all over people’s bodies… There were outbursts of joy, drunken-
ness and spontaneous healings throughout the meeting.”

A man from Clearwater, Florida says that a number of people from
his fellowship have attended the revival and then brought the
‘anointing’ back with them. Here is what he personally saw:

“These are the effects that I have witnessed on people who have
attended this movement and either have had hands laid on them or
claim to have been imparted with “the spirit”:
-They come back with this kind of childlike drunken stupor.
-Descriptions of a burning sensation either in their veins, heads or
stomachs.
-Descriptions of being washed back and forth like the waves in the ocean;
-Dancing about like drunk…
-Inappropriate yelling and screaming like they’re at a football game;
-Young men whistling over and over and holding their heads and
claiming that they “feel the Holy Spirit about to split them in two”;
-One young man’s back two teeth turned completely to some
metallic finish.
-People with their eyes rolled in the back of their heads and weaving
around like they’re lost.
-Women just gyrating and pulsating like they’re being ravaged from
behind from some unseen force.
-Drunken uncontrollable laughter in the middle of a solemn prayer time…
-People being “slain in the spirit”… just falling down and being
unable to move (like something’s holding them down)…”

Another eyewitness from the USA writes:

“A friend of mine invited me to a church where the ministry team
brought back a “Fire” from the Lakeland revival… The pastor’s wife
was moderating, but she could not complete her sentences
because she was ‘drunk in the Spirit.’ She imitated the type of
sounds I read in your blog. I saw people breaking out into
uncontrollable laughter. I came with my Bible to receive a word…
There was no teaching or preaching. Just testimonies. They talked
about their experience in Lakeland… Where was the word? I did
not find any. I also heard a sound BAM and then I saw someone
being slain in the spirit.”

A Spirit-filled pastor that I know from the UK who has been following
Todd Bentley’s ministry closely for some years wrote to me about
what he himself has observed since the year 2000:

“My difficulty with Todd Bentley’s ministry is not whether he has
recently covered himself with tattoos or pierced himself silly, but
the SOURCE of his power. He keeps changing his position on this.
Sometimes he says it’s the Holy Spirit and a lot of the time it’s his angels…

“Many have said that they believe that Florida is a ‘mixture’.
Personally, I do not believe ‘mixture’ is involved. I believe these
deceiving spirits have hi-jacked Todd’s ministry… Either the healings
are of God or they are not. Which is it?

“People can be healed in spiritualist churches. I have witnessed,
close-up, first hand, people being instantly healed by mediums
and faith healers. I have also seen people healed by the power of
the Holy Spirit. To begin with there is no discernible difference.
However the counterfeit healings soon begin to either go wrong or
something far worse comes upon the person.

“When God heals someone - He adds ‘no sorrow.’

“I know Todd started off OK - I was there in his early meetings…
In September 2000 I stood in front of Todd and gave him the
warning that God gave me for him. “Beware, the leaven of the
Pharisees, lest an angelic leaven enters your ministry.”

“One month later, according to Todd’s own account, at a meeting
in Grants Pass Oregon, Cal Pierce walked in with Branham’s
‘Healing Revival’ angel in tow, Todd saw and accepted this spirit
without reservation. His ‘angels’ have been with him ever since.

“I have written to Todd on numerous occasions and reminded him
of God’s warning, alas to no avail.

“When Todd Bentley conducted a healing meeting in a large
charismatic church here in England in 2005, he laid hands on
many people who were apparently healed. I know of at least one
instance where a pastor’s wife with cancer was prayed for by Todd.
Soon afterwards she heard voices in her head telling her to ‘drown
herself just like her father did’. The poor woman ended up in a
mental hospital, I believe she still has the cancer.

“No-one is following up or keeping records of what happens to
people who have hands laid on them by Todd or others like him.

“I have kept records as far as I can, concerning this particular
church. Over a relatively short period, there has been a dramatic
increase in premature deaths, cancers, marriage break-ups,
sickness and disease amongst the congregation where the
leadership have allowed this type of ministry into their church.
Many people left the church in fear.

“These are the consequences of following this type of ‘ministry’
which no-one is either aware of, or wants to address. I know, I have
visited the people in hospital and attended one of the funerals…”
[END QUOTE]

Meanwhile we find a number of prominent leaders beginning to
declare that this will be one of the greatest revival movements in
history. Some even see it as the beginning of a “new awakening”.

Bob Jones declared that “This move will be a global move, traveling
with signs and wonders all over the world! The third wave is here!”

As this ‘anointing’ spreads worldwide, I believe there are some
serious questions that we need to ask ourselves:

Isn’t it possible, with all the dubious ‘anointings’ and angels and
manifestations associated with Bentley’s ministry, that what we
are really seeing is a giant ‘counterfeit’ revival? Isn’t it possible
that if it continues to grow at the present rate, that it may literally
become one of the great “delusions” of the Last Days - a great
deception that has the power to actually deceive, if possible, the
very elect?

These are very serious questions - but I believe they must be
asked - because this ‘anointing’ is already beginning to circle the globe.

If you have been to a meeting where someone has brought the “fire”
back from Florida, please write and tell me what you saw. I am
collecting accounts from people about this.

Send any emails or feedback to- prophetic@revivalschool.com

URGENT - PLEASE PASS this EMAIL ON!

Our website- http://www.revivalschool.com

God bless you all.

Andrew Strom.

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks for this article Jerry - it certainly seems more balanced than some out there that I have read. It's good that the author says he has a heart after revival too. I must admit I'm in a dilemma - of course I don't want the church to be deceived by false teachers and of course I believe false teachers will arise. But each "discerning" article I read leaves me with a bitter, sour taste in my mouth. The question I have for these "disceners" is - fine, criticise what you don't like about Todd Bentley's ministry or Benny Hinn's ministry, or Rodney HB's ministry - but when was the last time YOU laid hands on the sick? When was the last time YOU cast out a demon? When was the last time YOU preached the Gospel with signs and wonders following?

I guess these "discerning" articles take a long time to research and write. Alan Morrison was the "discerner" of my days in my home church, a British pastor who had an entire website called "Diakrisis" (I think he's gone underground now - feeling the whole Church is apostate). And he really did build his entire career on picking and pulling apart ministries he didn't like and felt were "unsound".

Where does it end? Where is the replacing of the counterfeit with the genuine (which I am still not convinced at all that the Florida Outpouring is counterfeit). To be sure, let's go with Berean-like minds and let's certainly not throw our brains away in the midst of this spiritual life and power. That's why we have our Bibles.

But the main bulk of the concern seems to centre around Todd Bentley's ministry with angels. I don't understand why everyone is so nervous about angels. I started a Reformed (cessationist) Theology module a couple of years ago and was surprised that there was an ENTIRE module devoted to angels! When I asked the course leader why this was, he looked at me oddly and said; "Because the Bible speaks so much about angels - that's why".

Yes let's ensure that we heed the Bible warnings about angels, and don't worship them, and don't go beyond the boundaries of our relationships with them, but angels ARE ministering spirits and they ARE sent to aid the Kingdom of God. And it doesn't disturb me particularly that Todd Bentley happened to see an angel called "Emma" (shortened for "Emmanuel") walking into the room. They saw angels all the time in the Bible - why should we the end-time church only hear them sing and hear faint rustling of robes?! I expect to see them!!

Sorry ... didn't mean to get into a rant. But I have spent most of my Christian life "discerning". I want the genuine now. I am not getting into "paralysis of analysis" with this one. If we as Spirit-filled Christians are walking in the Spirit and relationship with God, if we are praying and communicating with God and hearing Him speak with us and to us and for us then I cannot believe that He the loving heavenly Father that He is will let us so easily be deceived. And there are a load of "ifs".

jkblessing said...

Ern said something one time about having baptized brains. He was referring to the tendency of Charismatic and pentecostal types to ring their bells, toot their horns, and blow their whistles while on the other hand the reformed brothers ignore the working of the Spirit all together. Ern's desire was to find the tension between the Word and the Spirit.

On my own part I do struggle with the angel issue, not because angels aren't mentioned but because of Paul's warning about angels, and why would as one of the KCity prophetic brothers once said about the "healing room' thing say he saw an angel with electric sparks coming out of his fingers as he was turning in circles. When this prophet asked what are you doing? The angel replied I"m raising the level of the anointing at these meeting! Maybe I'm missing something here but that I believe is the work and the life of the Spirit that indwells us.



Blessings.
Jerry <><

Mr. Tamago said...

A voice from the past echoes in the present.

http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/derek-prince-warns-about-todd-bentley-from-beyond-the-grave/

“In 1989, Dalit and I pleaded and warned the leaders of a local Messianic congregation we attended and were married in to not go out to Kansas City (Mike Bickle’s church) and have a well known “prophet” named Paul Cain prophesy and lay hands on them. God had shown us that this minister Paul Cain was a homosexual and was operating in something which he called “the mantle of the late William Branham”. The leaders of our congregation told us to be quiet and not spread our opinions to the other members because they considered themselves more spiritually in tune with what God is saying than Dalit and I.

Being discouraged but still not willing to be quiet with this strong warning rolling on the inside of me about Paul Cain, God arranged a few days later for us to have a spontaneous meeting with the late Derek Prince. In this small and intimate meetings, we had the chance to share some of our prophetic concerns with Derek and he wisely told us a testimony of one of his best friends named Earn Baxter who travelled many years with William Branham. Before Earn had passed on into the glory realm, he told Derek Prince that at the end of William Branham’s ministry there was a strange thing happening. Branham had the great ability to operate in a very accurate word of knowledge from God but also at times seemed to operate in a spirit of divination! Derek Prince then went on as a wise sage to warn us as young bucks to have nothing to do with any in so called “prophetic” ministry who say they have the mantle of William Branham transferred on upon them!!!! No matter how many signs and wonders are evident!!!!”

By Scott Holtz
Todd Bentley claims the mantle of William Branham.