I’ve been watching Todd Bentley from the USA with some interest in the last few days. For those of you who don’t know him, you can see his website : http://www.freshfire.ca
I’ve posted this entry at http://www.emergingafrica.info to see the conversation there (which is usually more interesting than here) so you’re welcome to read this there and comment – or, just comment here!
Todd has, of course, caused some stir amongst Christian circles with the usual rumblings : he’s a heretic this, and a heretic that; OR, he’s the best thing to come since Christ Jesus.
Both views do, in my opinion, miss the point. But I’ll be honest : I always find myself skeptical when guys preach about these visions they’ve had, and that they’ve gone up to the ‘third heaven’ and spoken to this or that angel. Probably, I can understand some people do have a lot of visions (so, I can live with those — even if some of them seem a bit wierd.) But as for all the angels stuff, I just worry when people get all hung up on that. Too much of his teachings do focus around angels, and I’m like “why?”
I’m pretty sure that people are probably getting healed at his meetings. It’s impossible for someone to run a slick con-operation on this kind of scale. I always wonder why God seems to use the guys who we all might see as ‘wierd’ for this kind of thing — I just wish we could have normal, down-to-earth people in the healing ministry (There is Francis Macnutt, who I think seems pretty normal.) Maybe it’s because the eccentric are usually the only guys willing to make a fool of themselves, and the rest of us are trying too hard to be respectable? It would be interesting to hear thoughts on that.
(I do wish I could see someone like Francis Macnutt do this sort of thing : pity there’s no real free info of him on the web. I don’t think I can really afford to import a video — although I do recommend his book “Healing” which I am in the process of reading the second time now.)
Anyway, what do you all think about this sort of thing? The healing stuff does intrigue me, especially since I think healings of all types should be what the normal Christian life is about. Hopefully, one of these days, God will use me more extensively in healing ministry. I hope He uses us all! (or, rather, we’ll all be willing to let Him!)
Should we give up our respectability for a bit of eccentricness? Have you had any experiences of healing? I’ve been healed a few times myself, and only seen people healed from minor things at my prayer. Although, I’ve seen guys healed of some major things at the prayer of pastors I know. Anyone around here prayed for someone and seen them healed? Want to share it? And your thoughts on this stuff?
I do think Todd Bentley’s website sucks : it represents a typical American ‘give us money’ type of approach. Whether that is his heart or not is hard to say. I imagine he is probably too busy to worry about his website : but guys should make sure their team represents them well.
6 thoughts on “Todd Bentley”
Healing and preaching ought to go hand in hand in my opinion just as preaching and experiencing Godde ought to go hand in hand. In my experience of church intimacy with Godde, in the corporate and personal sense, has little priority and along with it we miss out on public corporate experience. Sure we can sing about and preach about Godde but that’s not the same as encountering Godde.
What experiences have you had with healing and, I guess, spiritual gifts in general? Do you prioritise facilitating others’ experience of Godde if/when you preach?
Thanks Tim, great comments!
For me the main aspect of preaching should always be the prophetic. I don’t really get much opportunity to preach (as in, a large church setting) but I do get many opportunities to lead the church into worship. Those opportunities I get to preach are usually in smaller settings, where it’s more facilitating (prophetically) than preaching.
Why I mention the worship bit is because I have seen people healed even just during worship times. I’ve also seen people ‘slain in the Spirit’ and that sort of thing during worship times (IE – no one prayed for them, God just touched them.) The thing with worship is it *must* be Spirit-Led (i.e. prophetic in nature) and I think that preaching should also be.
Obviously, you know that I don’t mean “thus saith the Lord” prophetic – what I mean is Spirit-Led ie. we hear where the Spirit is blowing during those times we get together, and we get on board with where He is going.
By being Spirit-Led or prophetic in all of our gettings-of-together, we are guaranteed that all will experience God and also hear from Him in various ways.
Which is why I agree with you – in fact, I would say that we should expect to see healings WHENEVER we get together; if we’re singing, preaching, teaching or just talking or even reading. This is because our lives ought to represent something of the prophetic (keeping in step with the Spirit) and something of praying without ceasing.
My own connection with Spiritual Gifts is somewhat limited (obviously if I’m going to compare myself with someone like Todd Bentley) – I mean, God has used me both prophetically in many ways but as far as healings are concerned I’ve only seen minor healings from my prayers (and, not too often.) I have experienced certain healings for myself at my own prayers (and by the prayers of others.) I also speak in tongues (not always) but I’ve never done any “interpretation of tongues.”
So, those are my own personal experiences – but I’ve experienced / seen all the spiritual gifts happening in various times of getting together etc. (although, I don’t think I’ve really seen a miracle like an ear growing back or anything.)
How do you prioritise facilitating the experience of others if/when you preach?
How do I prioritise facilitating the experience of others if/when I preach?
My primary experience is serving as an urban missionary. I used to do the talks and ministry sessions at Alpha Courses but felt I wanted to work more with non- and post-Christians than with nominal Christians.
A while back I started a ministry venture to post-Christian and New Age seekers. I set up a stall offering “Open Channelling” in a room full of psychics, mediums, tarot card readers and channellers at the monthly Holistic Lifestyle Fair in Obs in Cape Town.
I simply took the ‘prophetic’ and relabled it. The word “prayer” seems to indicate you talk to a someone who doesn’t necessarily talk back. The word “channelling” is a technically correct descriptive reference for a wide range of phenomena wherein a human hears from a non-human things that they do not have immediate access to about the person consulting them.
I put forward the gifts of the Holy Spirit before my inbred evangelical desire to try and convince people of the gospel. We did not try to theologise with people. We simply explained what “Open Channelling” was and then conversationally presented what Godde revealed, whether in a dream, vision, picture, word or sense.
My aim, then, was to get the person with me to “hear” from Godde and “see” what Godde was doing as well as get the client to directly experience Godde for themselves. In order to do so we stood and together invited the Spirit to come. Generally Godde spoke during the initial conversational bit but if not then, then S/He would speak and act in the next session.
I try to “hear” from Godde ahead of time. I want to know that I’m preaching something Godde wants to communicate on/about. Then I try to spend time waiting on Godde before the session, with the understanding that S/He may or may not share what S/He plans on doing. So, sometimes I know ahead of time what to expect, though mostly I don’t.
After preaching I encourage people to also ‘wait on Godde’, to see what S/He wants to do and to experience Godde for themselves there and then. I generally don’t have the “ok the service is ended so if you really want come up for prayer and we’ll see what we can do” approach. Rather, I make the experience of Godde the climax of the session.
Whenever I host a small group I “build in” part of the flow of the evening a significant chunk of time to “hear from” and “experience Godde”.
I try to speak about things I’ve personally experienced or personally witnessed. I find this builds expectation. Tell someone who is a Christian that you hear from Godde and they may respond with “whatever”. Tell someone who’s hungry for Godde that you’ve seen someone healed or received dreams from Godde for others and they’ll often say “I want that for me!”
Also, whenever I host a small group or gathering I insist that people working with me also speak about what they’ve personally witness. Generally I try to encourage people to speak about recent experiences, i.e. if it’s older than a year then seek Godde for a new experience!
How do you think we can grow in the revelatory and power gifts?
PS – I post as Envoy on emergingafrica
Sorry for my late response – lots to do this last week!!
Anyway, I wanted to say well done on the Open Channeling evangelism thing. I was actually at your site a few weeks ago and saw it on your site and thought to myself ‘okay, that’s a little wierd.’ Now that I know what the point of it was, well done! You’ve boldly gone where a LOT of guys probably wouldn’t go.
I like what you say about preaching and small group. Generally, I’ve done the same thing and have attempted to use various means to give people that opportunity to hear God. If not preaching, then a video. I have found worship times to be the ideal times for that and for experiencing God – but I do try to ensure we don’t just worship with music but find other ways to worship too.
To answer your last question : I’m increasingly thinking that the way we should simply practice the revelatory and power gifts. I’ve discovered that the more I just ‘do it’ the more easy it becomes. However, I also have discovered that the more I open myself to God (in relationship and obedience) the more easier it is. These probably work hand in hand – because if we just ‘do it’ we’re obeying what God wants, and by obeying what God wants we grow in being able to ‘just do it.’
I’ve often heard people in my circles preach and say, “Practice the Prophetic.” The verse of Scripture that we can refer to is the one in Timothy where Paul charges him to ‘fan into the flame’ the gifts he has been given.
Practising the prophetic is something we often do, and we often did in small group settings (before I joined a church plant recently, where we’re also doing this but a little differently.) But, when we look at the power gifts – do we practice them? No, we don’t, and why? I’m beginning to have a hunch why – and it has something to do with what we expect. We expect that all healings must be instant. But, yet, most of us haven’t really grown into our healing gift and haven’t practised it. We don’t really pray for the common cold (only a handful do.) How can we expect to see blind eyes opened and legs grow back if we don’t even practice on the common cold?
Do you think the power gifts need to be ‘practised?’ What does this mean when we consider what God does and what we do?
I’ve also responded to you on EA but will also here since the conversation seems to be slightly different.
I think expectation does come into the picture and I equally found that just doing it makes all the difference. I take my cue from Jesus “I only do what I see my Father doing” and “hear and obey” along with Paul’s “my preaching was not just about trying to sound wise and persuasive but prioritised a demonstration of the Spirit’s power”. I make that the basis of what I do.
I’m also busy with a church plant and we’ve just started exploring the idea of experiencing Godde. I’m super amped to see where this goes for us as a community. I’m busy posting a new thread on my blog. I’d love it you’d join in.
Yeah, the “Open Channelling” but does make Christians a little edgy and makes me sound a little “over the edge”. But hey, nothing ventured nothing gained.
I enjoyed reading the thought about how we don’t even practice healing prayer on the common cold. I believe that as a church, we have pretty much almost abandoned the field on healing. Most preachers do not believe in healing because they don’t practice it. Period. you do only what you believe; not what you say.
I also blog on this at: