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Friday, 18 January 2008 14:51

Let Us Reason Ministries Alert On Lakeland

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by Mike Oppenheimer
Let Us Reason Ministries
\Because a large portion of Pentecostals and Charismatics hold to Latter Rain doctrines and practices it is no surprise another revival has sprung up and is quickly accepted- this time in Lakeland Florida.

Recently meetings have been taking place in Lakeland Florida by a new name breaking forth on the on the Signs and wonders scene: Todd Bentley of "Fresh Fire ministries International: Apostolic Network." Maybe you have never heard of him but he is fast becoming a "household name" in the church. Bentley is called a Canadian evangelist from Abbotsford, BC, Canada. He and his team have been traveling all over the world holding healing/miracle meetings for years.

Since the beginning of April Bentley has been conducting "healing meetings" in Lakeland at the sanctuary of host pastor Stephen Strader’s Ignited Church. Steven Strader is the son of Karl Strader, former pastor of Carpenter's Home Church that launched Rodney Howard Browne’s ministry of passing fire and contagious laughter as the anointing. TBN broadcasted its services, and the church was introduced to this kind of preaching and behavior as revival.

In the mid 90’s when the laughter was at its peak through Rodney Howard Browne, my pastor then said that it would die out like all trends or fads. I had studied the Latter Rain movement, since the end of the 80’s it was growing. I identified this as the resurgence of that movement. My response was that it would not fade but continue to grow and spread. Indeed it has, and it is here to stay. The laughter movement has not gone away, it continues abroad, though diminished in contrast to newer manifestations. The movement has had a metamorphosis, going to Toronto, to Brownsville, and now, all the elements that were found in these former revival meetings, and more, are found in Bentleys services at Lakeland.

This why our ministry has spent the last several weeks in an intensive scrutiny of what is taking place, watching the videos which are numerous in number, reading the reports, reading his sermons and looking at the blogs. What is being claimed is staggering, from people being raised from the dead to seeing through glass eyes.

Bentley is about "blasting" you with the Holy Ghost! And his favorite word is "bam." When they get "it," they shake, convulse, stutter and fall. It is doubtful this can be the Holy Spirit who is called the comforter for the believer. Bentley shakes as he waves his arms over the audience and shouts "˜Fire, Fire, Fire’ just as they did at Pensacola, and Toronto. Then people start roaring, groaning, shaking, jerking, experiencing burning sensations in the body, laughing and falling to the ground, some with their eyes rolled in the back of their heads as the spirit is passed on to them.

As Jacob Prasch pointed out-Many people who have come to know Jesus from a New Age or occult background see obvious connections between this kind of behaviour to what they were into before they became a Christian. These effects have always been found in the occult "“ the most extreme form being the kundalini yoga. Awakening the kundalini energy gives the same sensations and euphoria people are experiencing.

Bentley’s supernatural stories and angelic visitations go far beyond the nonsense that has characterized the Toronto Blessing, Brownsville and other counterfeit revivals. He is also connected to the prophetic movement; the "Elijah list,’ a website of numerous false prophets prophecies. A number of the new apostolic prophets have thrown their mantle of approval on what Bentley is doing, prophesying success unlike any revival before him.

On New Year's Eve, for 2008, God told Bob Jones that "the third wave was coming." Todd asked Bob what the third wave was. He said that Toronto was wave #1, Pensacola was wave #2, and the third wave is the "Winds of Change"--this move of God. This move will be a global move, traveling with signs and wonders all over the world! The third wave is here!"

Prophet Bob Jones stated at one meeting: "The Third Wave is Here!' 12 Places for Healing and Revival to Start are Mentioned--but THIS TIME IT'S GLOBAL."

They believe this revival cannot be stopped. That’s what many pronounced for the previous ones (David Yonggi Cho said the Pensacola will continue until Jesus comes).

One pastor from Hawaii who went there said: "The Lord spoke to me while in Lakeland Florida and said, "'This is My Holy Spirit 'Bird Flu.'" A divine virus that is now aire borne and highly contagious and highly infectious. He said, This one is incurable! This one will spread throughout the whole world!"

Besides how rediculous this is, this is so obviously wrong. God does not call any move of his spirit as associated with being deadly. As one exercises discernment the meaning of the description’s bring serious concern.

Many who were involved in the previous revivals are rank and file in this one, except for those who were rescued out of them.

Bentley ministry constantly has angels visiting him with new revelation (even a female angel of which the Bible says nothing about) and claims that his miracles are accomplished with the help of angels. He has angels follow him and speak to him nearly everywhere he goes. "Recently, I had several daily visitations of angels which lasted for weeks. Since the beginning of this year I’ve also sensed an increase in the presence of angels in our meetings" (Todd Bentley, "Opening Our Eyes to the Angelic Realm.") He has endorsed the healing rooms of John Lake and has a strong connection to the Later Rain healer of the 40’s -60’s William Branham. An angel told him, "I was with William Branham" (the Voice of Healing movement), the angel said. "I am a healing angel . . . You are going to take miracles, signs and wonders around the world." This is nearly identical to what Branham was offered by "the Angel" that worked in his ministry.

There are only a few accounts in the New Testament of angels interacting with man. Contrary to the promoters of angelic appearances these creatures mostly work behind the scene fulfilling God’s divine will, not revealing themselves to us. Bentley and others are teaching how we can summon angels to appear and release angels which is not a biblical teaching. It is a teaching found in the New Age Movement and is similar to the apparitions of Mary.

Bob Jones, formerly with the Kansas city prophet movement that was accepted into the Vineyard church by John Wimber, he is considered a senior prophet by Bentley, and he sought an impartation from him. After Bob Jones convinced Bentley that he could visit heaven at any time, (he claims to go there daily), Bentley had escalating encounters with angels and visits to heaven.  Trips to heaven are promoted as commonplace in Bentley’s life and he is teaching others how to go to heaven anytime they want. No apostle ever taught the church how to go into a trance and be transported away to heaven- but this is found in the new age movements "“its called astral travel.

Bob Jones 10 years ago said " And now my government is in place, and in a time of great stress I shall bring forth my next step, for Toronto was a step, Brownsville was another step; My next step will be my glory, and signs like you have never seen before..." (The Remnant Seed", a prophecy by Bob Jones at Hamilton, Ontario, March 1998). Does this mean he is a prophet? Hardly, these dysfunctional spiritualists are always trying to propagate a movement like this ever since they entered the vineyard church and brought chaos to it.

This revival has all the elements of all the other false revivals combined and is very powerful in its influence. The revival in Florida is powered by supernatural stories and testimonies and experiences. The stories increasingly stretch ones incredulity "“ incredible healings, with claims of 20 people already being raised from the dead. Reports of people seeing angels, angels filling teeth with gold, sending down feathers into meetings, gold dust, diamonds appearing, etc.

Bentley ministry constantly has angels visiting him with new revelation (even a female angel of which the Bible says nothing about) and claims that his miracles are accomplished with the help of angels. He has angels follow him and speak to him nearly everywhere he goes. "Recently, I had several daily visitations of angels which lasted for weeks. Since the beginning of this year I’ve also sensed an increase in the presence of angels in our meetings" (Todd Bentley, "Opening Our Eyes to the Angelic Realm.") He has endorsed the healing rooms of John Lake and has a strong connection to the Later Rain healer of the 40’s -60’s William Branham. An angel told him, "I was with William Branham" (the Voice of Healing movement), the angel said. "I am a healing angel . . . You are going to take miracles, signs and wonders around the world." This is nearly identical to what Branham was offered by "the Angel" that worked in his ministry.

Instead of people getting saved they are getting people lost- by listening to a mans experiences of the supernatural that are both unbiblical and untrue. Extra biblical and even anti biblical revelation, are a constant theme in his ministry.

Bentley’s ministry focus is on [false] revelatory visions and visitations from angels and personal visits from the Lord. His ministry encourages others to do the same by teaching his own experiences of contact - called an "open heaven." This is a dangerous precedent, offering his (counterfeit) experiences to others as being what the Bible teaches. The reason we can say they are counterfeit is because Biblically they are foreign to how Scripture describes interaction with the Lord and these beings. Because this is not a biblical teaching, it actually puts people in the unfortunate position of being visited by angels of light. Fallen angels or another Jesus who comes to deliver new revelation and deceive by experience.

One video account has Bentley telling a story of going to heaven via a pillar of fire through the church roof and then having the pillar of fire visit his room later. As he went to heaven through a portal, an open heaven, he crashed onto an operating table and was operated on by angels in white coats. God tells him to go back to the hotel room where he takes several friends, everyone is caught up in the same vision, the pillar of fire angel visits them and he describes himself as burning on fire. The next day the rooms above are literally burned down in the hotel. This story of Bentley’s experience has not been told only once but numerous times. Each story seems to have some different details that alter it and even contradict each other. Question any validity to this we investigated the story and found no fire like he described at a hotel on the day it took place. We have written his ministry and the others involved and are being stalled in getting some straight honest answers. The story of the hotel fire that took place because the angel visited their room has no factual proof of taking place and this is important fact to understand how these men start their stories which spread like fire.

His stories like these are numerous and people are believing his supernatural experiences as if they are the gospel truth.

Bentley says, "In one service I saw heaven open, it was like a hole tore open in the air and I saw a glory light like a pillar come out of this portal. Then I saw a 14-20 foot angel in the pulpit by the name of healing revival. At that time God spoke to me that this Angel was like the Angel (John 5: 1-4) that came down at a certain season to stir the waters of the pool of Bethesda." (Todd Bentley Ministering Under An Open Heaven, Sep. 23, 2002 "http://www.etpv.org/2002/aohe.html).

Like in Gnosticism, the angel is named after its activity, angel of healing angel of miracles etc. Rodney Brown also was involved in Gnosticism by the words said over and over that were sounds similar to summon angels in gnosticism.

In John 5:4-9: "For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had." V.6-9: "When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked."

This did not have any human interaction, the angel came and stirred the water and left, he did not speak to anyone. Jesus’ healing has absolutely nothing to do with the pool or the angel. He does not help the man into the pool but offers him healing directly. He sees he is desperate and has lost hope. He appeals to his apathetic will offering him the solution. We should take notice, not everyone was healed, this one man is the only one healed and it was not by an angel. We can see Bentley has completed missed the meaning of the passage and put the emphasis on angels that heal instead of Jesus that heals. Jesus did not endorse the pool healings but instead offered to heal the man himself. Contrary to what Bentley claims, it is not the Lord that is saying this is the same angel at Bethseda, or that He is going to release angels to heal or send angels of healing revival (as stated elsewhere). This is certainly another Jesus saying this to Bentley.

Bentley’s point is clear as he has connected this revival with Toronto and Pensacola and the Healing Rooms. Todd Bentley has a view of the supernatural that has crippled him from understanding the simple truth of the word. He has replaced it with his own revelations and supernatural experiences that exceed even the apostles. Teaching people that we can do all and more that the apostles did is a heresy found in the Latter Rain movement that was rejected by Pentecostals in the late 40’s.

In an advertisement of a new school by Todd Bentley and Fresh Fire Ministries- he teaches instruction on how to engage the revelatory realm of Heaven. "¦ Todd will teach and impart prophetic gifting to each student in faith that takes this course." " Todd shares many of his prophetic experiences and teaches how to activate spiritual senses. "¦Saints, get ready to fly like an eagle into the supernatural realm! "The School of the Supernatural Realms of Heaven" will help launch you there!

This is about taking dominion of the spiritual realm, angels and powers, this is not what the Bible teaches us.

Numerous examples of people going to heaven are cited, Elijah and Enoch and Moses and Elijah appearing with Jesus. We are told these should all be commonplace because what happened with Jesus and Paul later, he can make appearances today.

But all of the examples used are unique one time events, never to be repeated again to anyone. So why should we expect it to take place again today?

Bentley teaches that people can visit heaven anytime they want- by faith, which is completely and utterly false. It was God who brought John and Paul to heaven, we cannot initiate this on our own. The Bible teaches us that only the apostles were communicated a revelation of heaven, not regular Christians. The reason it was given to them is because they were the ones commissioned to teach the church doctrine and write the word for us today.

What Bentley is teaching is not new "“ much of it can be found in the Latter Rain teachings that went through the late 40’s, 50. There are an increasing number in the church who think everything from Moses to Paul, whatever the apostles have done we can do, and more- the church is now being empowered to do more than any apostle or prophet ever did- we will be doing healings and miracles unlike any other time period. Bentley has posted 20 resurrections have been accomplished "“ some by viewing his service at least one at a funeral. But the details and names are withheld.

What we are supposedly witnessing is Acts 2 Pentecost- the Latter Rain. Welcome the Latter Rain movement of our day, a complete fabrication of what will take place in the Tribulation period. Bentley is following the Latter Rain blueprint as he preaches on his supernatural experiences. Hardly what Peter preached recorded in Acts 2. Bentley’s messages are how God has visited him, angels have visited and how he is able to go to heaven whenever he wants. This he said he learned from Bob Jones. Jones has taught that prophets do not have 100% accuracy in prophecy. This is because it would be too pure and the church was not ready for this, we are immature. So some of the prophets are near 10% accurate and possibly as high as 85-95% in their accuracy.

What about the Old Testament prophets, did they not have 100% accuracy in prophecy all the time? And when these modern prophets miss it (even 10%, its far more then should be credited) his excuse is that it’s God’s fault, not ours. This means we cannot trust God’s word to be absolutely accurate. Make no mistake about this- it is a spiritual attack on the word of God that is eternal and will endure forever. The reason they may have a low percentage is not a hearing problem but an understanding one, for they are more like fortune tellers and channelers of the new age movement than Biblical prophets. As if this is not bad enough we also find Bentley as part of "Elijah’s List," a loose group of false prophets (nearly all) who have intentionally divorced themselves from the word of God in their interpretation and operation of spiritual gifts. They now have an influential internet forum to sell their books, DVD’S and post their prophetic promptings. Answering an affirmative to the Question: Do psychics have a prophetic gift from God? This is attributed to gifts given to everyone who is born.

This is how active their Bible training and discernment is-flat lining. They just do not understand the very basics that we hold differ from the world.

Bentley is also trying to pick up where William Branham left off. William Branham stood out as "the healer and prophet" of The Pentecostal Healing Movement. It was transformed by a number of new teachings he introduced. We now know it as the Latter-Rain, which began in Canada from Branham who laid hands on the leaders. The similarities to Branham are all there. They even believe it is Branham’s angel working among them. An angel told Bentley, "I was with William Branham" (the Voice of Healing movement), the angel said. "I am a healing angel . . .

From the beginning Branham had unusual manifestations which he attributed to his angel. "The power invested me by my commission given by Almighty God and ministered to me by an Angel, a Pillar of Light" (The Revelation of the Seven Seals p.112-113). Branham spoke of the angel as a pillar of light, similar to Todd Bentley’s experiences with angels and light. The angel that William Branham had was actually a powerful angel of light- a demonic entity that masqueraded as the angel of the Lord and the Holy Spirit of God. This entity appeared throughout Branham’s life from early childhood and eventually led him into all kinds of "serious error." Bentley is laying claim-renewing the call of William Branham. Bentley’s acknowledgement of his angel as Branham’s angel.

Bentley says "Angels have a purpose in God's plan. It shouldn't come as a surprise to the Body of Christ that an angel, called the "Winds of Change" should usher in a new move of God."

Bentley describes what is taking place "So there's something about angelic sound being released in these meetings. There's something about the sound that comes out of the realm of angels. And that sound has light and it's creative and things are being created. And they're coming out of light and they're coming out of sound, and little seedlings are growing into mighty trees, and so get ready to receive that."

"The Bible says God speaks the word and the angels do His word. That was the creative...it wasn't just any old angels. The angelic realm that I saw was the realm that "does the word." Decree a thing and it will be established. The angels that do the word, God's amplifying their voice. They're being heard by the saints. The saints can join in with the angelic sound and decree what Heaven is saying so it can be manifest on earth. You hear what I'm saying? (TODD BENTLEY: "The Bowls of Heaven Are Full with the Altar of God's Fire and being Cast Back Down to Earth")

This is by far the most serious of deceptions I have seen in all my years in ministry- truly we are experiencing the last days deception Jesus spoke of by many false prophets. There are numerous false movements converging.

These are dangerous spiritual statements and practices through Freshfire ministries and at Lakeland that cannot be upheld in the Bible. To be involved in this type of angelic activity is right out of New Age seminars. Bentley is preaching experiences via angels, things that no one has ever heard of. We can know everything we need by what God has revealed through His Word and by His Spirit. Jn.14:20- the Holy Spirit will us direct us to the words of Jesus. He does not need angels to discover anything new by experience or find ways to enter the spirit realm, a place that we are not told to seek.

The apostle Paul told Timothy and us to pay attention to doctrine and to teach it in the church, for if it is not upheld we can be removed from the faith. I Timothy 4:1: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" He also says "˜The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables’ (2 Timothy 4.3-4).

This certainly is the time period we live in. Few seem to ask how much of this is really authentic and assume it is from God, or how much is in the imagination of the people giving the stories "“ this is what fables consist of. It does not matter for the end result is the same if they do not pay attention to the words of Paul who continually asserted "That you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine" (1 Timothy 1:3). "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Timothy 4:16). In 2 Timothy we are told to: Hold to sound doctrine (1:13), Teach sound doctrine (2:2), Abide in sound doctrine (3:14), Preach sound doctrine (4:1-2).

Paul states: "If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of good doctrine which you have carefully followed" (1 Timothy 4:6). We are in need of nourishment, not unproven supernatural stories.

I see none of what Paul requests in what Bentley and his ministry is doing at these meetings, for this reason we are sending this alert to pastors in the church that I’m affiliated with to have people be aware of what is taking place and avoid it.

An excerpt of our DVD "the False Revival" is posted on "youtube"- comparing the effects of spiritual influences in other religions and what has been taking place at these revivals inside the church.

Let Us Reason Ministries, 5/20/08 - The Todd Bentley "revival" in Florida. (located on "what’s new" page)
Todd Bentley "Meet the new thing- same as the old thing" "Will We get fooled again?" - Todd Bentley's pursuit of the supernatural.
pt.2 To be Forewarned is to be Forearmed- How important is it to know the word to test supernatural experiences?
pt.3 Stories of heaven- Examining one of Bentley's frequent trips to heaven and His experience of a pillar of light.
pt.4 When the Angel came- The Branham connection- Bentley's claim of the visiting angels, revelation and power.
pt.5 The fire- Fresh Fire-
pt.6 The Fire as an ANOINTING- Experiences of  a baptism of fire, the pillar of fire and what the Bible has to say on this.
pt.7 Angels we have heard and seen- Are we to be visited by angels to have heavenly experiences?
pt. 8 An Open Heaven- Bentley's Highway to Heaven- A closer look at his many visitations and trips to heaven,  how they are NOT biblical.
We have been working with Christian Research Service investigating some of the claims of Bentley, especially his story of a pillar of fire appearing at a meeting and him being brought to heaven- please read Todd Bentley or Jesus Christ? by Bud Press, Christian Research Service.

Read 4241 times Last modified on Sunday, 01 February 2009 06:20

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