by Mike Oppenheimer
Let Us Reason Ministries
Before we move on into examining the teachings of Bentley and the meetings in depth we need to pause and consider the Word of God’s teaching on these supernatural matters.
The basis of some peopleâs Christianity is if a miracle takes place, it is sufficient evidence for them to believe it is from God. They never check it out or test it; something that God commands us to do. The Bible teaches us that Satan uses this method to deceive the naÃ¯ve, the immature, and the ignorant to remove them from walking in the truth of the word. Someone who argues that miracles are from God 100 percent of the time is already open to deception. This becomes a major flaw from those who are willing to accept all miracles that happens is from God. To avoid testing is to neglect many of the Bibles commands for our safety. Jesus warns us about a movement in the last days that will be done by many coming in his name (Mt.24:5-6) and include miraculous signs taking place. Matthew 24:23-25: âThen if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christ’s and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.â If a Christian neglects this they will be deceived.
The Scripture gives us insight into the power the enemy can have. The first beasts deadly wound is healed. It says of the second beast âHe performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.â (Revelation 13:12-14). Great signs-Counterfeiting the glory of God would be very convincing. FIRE- consider what you hear today at the miracle meetings.
Not all things supernatural experiences are from God. Just because one receives a dream or vision does not mean it is from God. Satan can give dreams and visions, he even did to Jesus to tempt him to receive his inheritance by a short cut. âThen the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of timeâ (Luke 4:5). The misconception is that if it is from Satan, its always going to look evil, when it more often the opposite. âFor such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their worksâ (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Satan can look like the real deal and the only way to protect oneself from his deception is to discern, by testing him with the word of God..
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10: âThe coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wondersâ The power and energy exhibited by Jesus in his miracles will be counterfeited by the Devil, in the meantime before he shows up his servants that look like men of righteousness are at work among us.
âWhy would the Devil heal people when the Bible says the Devil comes to kill, steal and destroy.â Contrary to what we hear that the Devil afflicts and only God heals is not the total truth. The argument used is that âthe Devil canât heal; He comes only to kill, steal and destroy.â However, miracles take place in cults, by Occult means and in other religions (also by shamans, witchdoctors, gurus and spiritualists, etc.) it happens all the time. Those who deny Christ and the essential teachings of the Christian faith perform them. Can anyone believe that the true God healed someone in a cult or religion that teaches blatant false doctrine?
We are warned in Deuteronomy 13 v 1-5Â âIf a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place,â Consider that God is saying it can take place, they are accurate, you do see a display of power- God says it is not from him. Moses goes on to say and he says, âLet us follow other godsâ (gods you have not known) âand let us worship them,â you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.â
He is leading you to a completely new perspective of God by giving you new revelations, from angels or telling you that you can visit heaven when you want. By listening to this revelation, or dream or vision you are showing that you reject God, you have no respect for his word and have strayed from Him.
What is real does not always mean it is true or authentic. People judge the authenticity because of what they perceive are healings and miracles; exactly what the Devil likes to see happen. Because if they judged by doctrine â the word of God and not just what they see they would come a very different conclusion.
This is why Iâm not not going to be influenced in my judgment by how many people testify they are healed or how many miracles they have seen take place because we do not validate what is from God by this alone. A subjective knowing that confirms what is true is not how a Christian is to test a supernatural experience or story. There is Scripture and principles that God uses to prove what is of him and what is from another source. We should carefully examine what we see or hear to see if it is really of God. Those who have seen both the real and the counterfeit explain that the ONLY way to tell is by careful scrutiny from the Word. If someone claims Christ and does miracles, we need to know what the person really believes on the core teachings of Scripture. The person the healing came by should hold and practice the core doctrines of the faith. If they fail this test, no matter how remarkable the healing or miracle you are to separate yourself from them.Â We need to confirm that the person is orthodox and that it is actually God who has used the human vessel. If one does not test the spirits the way the Bible tells us to- they will be deceived, just as Todd and others surrounding him are. The bottom line, your body can be healed but you can lose your soul if you follow a false teacher. Therefore there must be another explanation for what we may see.
We need to look at the supernatural from a biblical perspective. It is inconsistent with Godâs character to permit His supernatural power to accompany false teachers/teachings that deny what He has so clearly said in His word. Satan can perform lying signs and wonders that exhibit power just as the apostles did. If Satan cannot do these miracles then how can we explain the incredible success the Anti-Christ will have? Lying signs and wonders only endorse the person as a messenger from God when they are not questioned, when one is willing to overlook any false teaching.
Someone can convince them-self that by feeling no more pain or having a temporary energy boost, they are being healed. However, healing may come from another supernatural source, the Devil. Thatâs right, Satan who afflicts us can temporarily can alleviate that same sickness or pain to increase deception and demonic influences within the personâs life.Â It can look like a healing because he afflicted a person and then relieves them of it. That is why it is called a lying sign.
Who is to say the Devil does not give up a pawn in order to gain the queen in his deceptive game of chess. This way his kingdom is not divided but is advanced. Satan certainly has the power to put his hand on individuals to make them ill; he also has the power to take his hand from that individual, thus manufacturing a bogus âcure.â It can be convincing enough for those who unaware of his deception and power. And those who do not test it are under his cruelty.
A lying sign often brings glory and prominence to an individual or ministry, not Christ, even though He may be mentioned. They may say Jesusâ name which leads them into further false teaching. When you are under deception, you are able to justify any action as long as Jesusâ name is attached to it. If we look at the apostles, they did not preach the Word for the signs and wonders to take place; the Word was preached and signs would followââwhen the Lord was willing. We are to preach and teach first and let the miracles be up to God. Advertising the miracles to attract people already gives us insight to whether this is of God or not. A lying sign or wonder is a miracle claimed to be from God. A miracle in itself cannot reveal the source of its power. It must be tested, by knowing what the person whom the miracle came through believes. If someoneâs doctrine of Christ is wrong, if there practice is wrong, God cannot express His supernatural power by or though that individual. Then the source of the miracle is not from God. That is- God does not use false teachers or false teaching to pour out his power through. We can tell by how they mishandle scripture, its what they want it to mean not what it actually means from the author. A tell tale sign is the abundance of new revelation and the misuse of words to make it sound like it is Christian.
C.D. Cole stated it well by saying, âPeople who are looking for miracles as a sign or proof of Godâs presence and favor are putting themselves in a good position to be deceived. What is supernatural is not necessarily divine.â Certainly to hold the position that all healings are from God can be disastrous; there are counterfeits, and if they can take place outside the Church, there is no justification for saying they canât take place inside as well. Especially when Scripture tells us that they will. Paul writes
If people gather to see signs and wonders, they are already removed from the prescribed order for a church gathering. God is interested in communicating truth not just His power. Godâs Word is truth that has the power to change lives. God said He would lead us into truth through His Word, not through miraculous signs. God still does miracles but He will NOT honor falsehood by the power of His presence. Any sign or wonder must be questioned, and tested by the word rather than relying on the experience itself to validate it.
Many of those who are caught up in the miracle services say, âit is not for you to judge, God will stop or expose those whom are teaching incorrectly.â If one really puts all the correction on God then the next time you are in a conversation with someone who spoke wrong, say nothing and let God take care of it. Donât correct your children, donât correct yourself. don’t evangelize, don’t teach because God is capable of doing all of this without you, does this sound biblical or right to you?
The fact is, God tells us to confront those who have offended and hurt us. And false teaching leads people astray from the faith and it is far more serious than being offended or bruised by someone. We are told to EXPOSE the unfruitful works of darkness. I cannot think of a more applicable Scripture than this to what is taking place today “And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). You canât know what not to participate in unless you judge, and after you find out its wrong you are obligated to let others know.
The one thing that God does not say is to do nothing and leave it ALL up to him.Â He tells us to do what is right. One must be mature to do what is right.
1 Cor 5:12-13: For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges.â
John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ confronted the religious leaders, calling them a ‘generation of vipers’ and told them to repent. Were they were wrong to pass judgment on them? It is not wrong to challenge false teachings by the Bible, it is something God says for all of us to do? Are we wrong for saying they are wrong or are they wrong for saying WHAT’S WRONG?
Was John wrong to write in 1 John 4:1 âBeloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.â
The Bible even says in 1 Cor. 14:29 âLet two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge“-
2 Timothy 4:2-3 âPreach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching earsâ
âThat you may charge some that they teach no other doctrineâ (1 Timothy 1:3). In other words if they have stories of Jesus, of heaven that are not of the Bible, it is another doctrine other than what the apostles delivered.
For those who have already subscribed their loyalty to his ministry, I have this to say. From the videos I have seen there is hardly any preaching of Godâs word, but instead his EXPERIENCES. When the word is read it is applied to his EXPERIENCES. Bentley feels most comfortable when he is talking about his EXPERIENCES. In fact he is teaching others to have supernatural EXPERIENCES. There is no questionâit is more about his EXPERIENCES than glorifying God.
Satan is not just a counterfeiterââhe is an inventor, especially when it comes to religious-spiritual practices. He uses clever deceptive means to get us from one level of deception to the next. Satan has a counterfeit program involving signs and wonders that he has used throughout history. Contrary to popular belief that we need signs and wonders convince people, it changed very few hearts in Mosesâ time and Jesusâ day and it is no different today. People are motivated by selfishness to seek a sign and wonder and have a supernatural experience like mystic adepts. Signs for the most part were for unbelievers to attest what to believe, not for believers. The signs were to move the people to pay attention to what Jesus spoke not what He did. Jesus scolded them saying âExcept you see signs and wonders you will not believeâ John 4:48). He made it clear thatÂ it is an evil generation that seeks a sign! Nothing has changed in the word of God nor in the heart of man.
God can overwhelm someone with His presence if he wants to. However, whenÂ presumes to represent the Spiritâs work and it is contrary to the word and is the opposite of what the fruit of the spirit produces we can know its not of God. A true supernatural experience will compliment the word NOT contradict it.
Once again miracle and healing crusades are filled to the brim, butÂ genuine teaching and evangelistic ministries continue to be poorly attended.
Many have come using the name Jesus in their false teachings and counterfeit miracles and you can be assured many more will. We canât judge the motives of the people involved, they may have good intentions. Nonetheless, we need to make a decision from the Bible,Â not from our personal feelings or loyalties. To judge teaching and supernatural occurrences is to act in love. To stand by and ignore this while falsehood continues to spread and misleads and destroys many lives is negligence. It is the absence of true discipleship and compassion. True love is not silent when people are being misled or deceived.
Nowhere are we told to have grace for false teachers and allow them to continue with no challenge or exposure.Â Let them repent and we gladly accept them back. But if they do not let ,everyone know of their heresy. That is the Bibleâs command
Paul wrote in Phil. 3:15-17 :âTherefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.â
Paul used himself and the other apostles as our physical examples. Paul could not deal individually with the many false teachers springing up like weeds in the different areas.Â Paul said to follow his example as he followed Christ.Â Christ openly showed what is false, so did Paul, and so did the other apostles. Much of the New Testament was written to publicly correct false teaching within the Church itself. Every second epistle written by an apostle is for correction or judging false doctrine. It is up to us all to watch over the household of God and help the brethren, by doing this we show our loveÂ for them.