I had not planned to write more on Todd Bentley and his revival meetings at Lakeland in the US, but the meetings in Dudley are having an impact here in Raunds.
Of the bloggers I read most, Peter Kirk is still the most positive towards Todd Bentley and indeed I found his post Todd Bentley lifts Jesus high quite reassuring. So in the spirit of Henry Neufeld’s post Danger, Will Robinson! I have been doing some more research and thinking about whether I should travel to Dudley as Phil has: see Visit to Dudley (part 5) (well part 5 is the summary and has links to the other 4 parts).
However, my greatest motivation for finding out more is not my own curiosity, but concern for the Churches I minister within. Some people have already been to Dudley and others are planning to go. I have been listening to them and been prayfully reflecting on their (and my) concerns.
Now I don’t think Peter really approves of my doing this (see Who has the right to test interpretations of Scripture? Although I thought I had a better example from Peter but can’t find the post at the moment). On the other hand I believe that the Methodist Church expects me to, otherwise why would my ordination service include:
In all things, give counsel and encouragement
to those who Christ entrusts to your care.
Pray without ceasing.
Let no one suffer hurt through your neglect
After prayerful consideration I amd concerned that saying nothing about Todd Bentley and the Revival Fires meetings in Dudley would risk those in my care suffering from my neglect. I have three reasons for thinking this:
- Prosperity Gospel
- Place of Scripture
Let me flesh these out.
Go and watch these two video clips:
That is one from Todd Bentley in the US and one from Trevor Baker in Dudley, UK. Peter Kirk attempts to justify this in Violence and the Kingdom – and Todd Bentley again. I totally disagree with Peter on this one, particularly the interpretation of Matthew 11:12 which is about violence against the Kingdom of heaven.
The simple test of comparing this to Jesus is clear, the idea of Jesus ever using violence to heal is bizarre. Remember Jesus is the one who would not let violence be used to protect himself from an unjust death. How can violence ever be part of the healing work of the Spirit?
Can you say "Hey I serve the Price of Peace, so be healed by this kick in the face, or groin"? Absolutely not.
I have written before that Todd preachers this. See 42: Todd Bentley and prosperity. Peter seemed sure this was not the case in Dudley, Phil was not so impressed Visit to Dudley (part 3). However, the description I heard this weekend from a Dudley meeting last week was a very simple summary of the Prosperity Gospel "Give money generously in order to be financially blessed". It especially worries me as this is such a simple "no brainer" to fix. If you do not believe in the prosperity gospel then simply say so on your websites and in your meetings. It is not as if it is any surprise that people are going to be concerned about this – and if the label does not fit then it is so easy to fix, but at least so far I can see no attempt has been made to do so.
Place of Scripture
Again this is not a new concern. In 42: Todd Bentley and prosperity I wrote:
that it is worth reading the whole of this "teaching" and noting the
place of scripture within it (almost none existent) – another concern
After their visit to Dudley last week, one person was bubbling over with enthusiasm for what had been taught about revelations beyond Scripture, how the Bible was incomplete and there needed to be more gospels and how tghe supranatural was needed to take us beyond the Word.
I don’t know about you but alarm bells are going off left, right and centre in my brain at that point.
Now, of course what I write here about a meeting I was not at is hearsay and yes of course communication and understanding of a message is not perfect. But if our teaching can leave aChristian believing that they now need something more than the Bible and that they need to be finding extra gospels and experiences that take them beyond scripture then I submit that something is deeply wrong.
I have grave concerns about this "revival" but my primary concern is how to support congregations who are always eager to hear and experience more of God and so will go and receive exciting experiences wrapped in bad teaching.
I have now written several posts on Todd Bentley you can find the others at: