Todd Bentley and prosperity

When Peter Kirk visited  the Dudley "Outpouring" he wrote: Gentle Wisdom » A visit to the Dudley outpouring.

At the end of
this they took up an offering, which was rather protracted but
mercifully carefully avoided any prosperity gospel type teaching that
people should give so that they get a greater benefit for themselves.
Instead the point of the offering was clearly stated as to benefit
others, to build up a “war chest” for future outpouring events.

Sadly we see a different picture from Todd Bentleys published sermons at Fresh Fire Ministries (my emphasis in it):

In this regard, on three occasions over the past couple of years I’ve had a visitation from the Lord in which I’ve seen the angel of finance. Every time this happens (in our meetings) there is an incredible financial breakthrough—something is opened up in heaven, it invades the earth, and people respond by giving generously. And afterward many testimonies come in to Fresh Fire reporting the abundant blessings that people have received in return!

So let’s look at what happened in a meeting when I went into a trance-like state and I saw, for the third time over the course of a few years, the angel of finance. [A trance is simply a dream-like state but you are awake. For more information on trances, refer to Acts Chapter 10.] In that trance I experienced one of heaven’s realities and then that experience became a reality here on earth.

Here’s what happened. At first I saw heaven open, and as I ascended a ladder into the heavens I saw full vibrant wings and feathers! These feathers were white and as real as they would be in the natural realm; that’s how vivid it was. Then I noticed wings that moved and there was an arm under one wing and another arm under another wing! As the wings lifted I saw every precious gem you could think of under those wings; and then I saw the angel standing, having a body like a man with six wings. I knew it was the angel of finance.

Next, I saw a door called “treasure” and the door was open. Without thinking or considering what to do, I found myself in a treasure room in heaven. The only item in this room was gold coins, and I began stuffing those coins into my pockets until they were falling out. Then, after filling up another pocket, I opened my trousers and started filling my trousers with gold coins. After that, I stuffed them into my suit jacket. I even opened my shirt and started stuffing gold coins down my shirt!

Hat tip: But how will you Get more Gold, Todd!.

Note that it is worth reading the whole of this "teaching" and noting the place of scripture within it (almost none existent) – another concern for me.

In related news and not knowing if this the start of something more, today I got a weird spam email, I guess as a result of my posts (42: Top Bentley post & 42: More on Todd Bentley) or maybe from my comments on several of Peter Kirk’s posts. I confess that both the English and the layout were so bad that it was pretty much unintelligible. However, it seemed to be all about huge US law suites between some people Todd Bentley invited on stage and the author of the email.

This is an odd thing, way outside my own experience which makes it hard to understand and evaluate. Behaviour by both those extremely in favour and extremely against this "outpouring" is so far from Christianity and Christ like behaviour that I am frequently bewildered by it. I do pray for discernment and for a growth in the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) on all sides of this debate.

[Update]

I have now written several posts on Todd Bentley you can find the others at:

18 thoughts on “Todd Bentley and prosperity

  1. olive morgan

    Tonight I had an email from my niece in London and she asked if I’d heard about two things – the explosion in the centre of Exeter where her Mother (my sister) and my husband’s nephew live, and the ‘revival’ in the States. When I expressed my somewhat sceptical view of Todd Bentley, she told me that her vicar had been over to the US to check out what was happening and its validity. He had come back saying that it did appear to be from God because often Todd only breathed on people and they were ‘slain by the Spirit’.

    Reply
  2. Peter Kirk

    Dave, I am not going to entirely endorse Todd’s teaching here. I share your concern that there is not much of the Bible here. But he is not a Bible teacher; his great gift is not for teaching but for healing and evangelism.
    Nevertheless he is not teaching “give in order to receive more”. He is not encouraging selfishness. He does mention a couple of cases (one in your extract, one in the rest of the article) of people receiving material blessings after giving, which is not wise. But he does not suggest that this is certain, a spiritual law, or the right motivation for giving. Instead he makes it clear that people should give as the Lord leads them, which is surely right.

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  3. Dave Warnock

    Olive,
    I would not go so far as to say “this is not from God”. God clearly works through flawed people and he is stronger than poor teaching. However, I am concerned that we are honest about our failings and are careful about being led astray.
    Peter,
    I do not understand how someone can be an evangelist and not be a Bible teacher (for that matter I don’t understand it the other way round either).
    Nevertheless he is not teaching “give in order to receive more”.
    My reading of that text is that this is exactly what he is doing, albeit with some care and subtlety.
    Does that mean the Holy Spirit is not in this? No.
    Should we be accepting all this without challenging Todd to better theology and better accounting? Absolutely not.
    If we really mean it when we claim “Jesus is Lord” then we should be setting standards that do the statement justice. Does this at present?

    Reply
  4. Bene D

    Yeah. I’ve been getting stuff also, genuine queries, spam, and odd stuff, but having covered these revivials before I was mostly expecting it.
    Along with the ‘angel of finance’ dominionism is a key component of the teaching. I’m seeing more aggression.
    I’ve closed the comment section to the Bentley post at BDBO.
    I was talking to a friend in western Canada about this latest push, and he is not optimistic it will die out soon; that is not what has been planned and the use of the internet has changed parameters.
    Peter: I put up the info from Revenue Canada at connexions so people can search Fresh Fires filed returns.
    While this is not primarily about money, acknowledging it is a factor certainly can’t be ruled out.
    (The Strader family are at the heart of this stop (Lakeland) in the tour)
    I’m not sure where Peter is getting the idea health.wealth is not being pushed. While it is not Bentley’s primary focus, it is a significant part of what he does.
    Peter, I’d encourage you to at least read local news coverage in Florida and Rev Can returns if you don’t believe Bentleys own words, return is very much one of his laws.

    Reply
  5. Ian Southall

    I watched a little of the Todd Bentley programme last night and I thought he was definitely talking prosperity – he was on about planting $500 and receiving $5000 in return – sounds like fairly run of the mill prosperity stuff to me

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  6. Sam Norton

    Dave – this’ll seem pernickety but I think it’s important. What you list at the end of your post are the fruits of the spirit, not the gifts, and I think they are listed as fruits precisely because they are how we are to judge between the different “spiritual” phenomena – and I also suspect that self-control is one of the most important in this context (especially given what St Paul says elsewhere about propriety in worship). Whether Todd Bentley’s work is of God or of the Devil can only be discerned by the presence of this fruit (miraculous healings are insufficient). So what I would want to ask is: has the community there become more loving and forgiving, more self-controlled and so on?

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  7. Peter Kirk

    Peter: I put up the info from Revenue Canada at connexions so people can search Fresh Fires filed returns.

    Where, Bene? I can’t find this or any links to it at your post, only a smear campaign with little substantiation behind it and a cowardly decision to close comments.
    Thanks for pointing out that “It is a revival that rejects the literal Rapture of the Church.” Great that Todd Bentley has the sense to reject this unbiblical teaching invented in the 19th century on the basis of a total misunderstanding of KJV. On the other hand, if this claim is as accurate and based on as much evidence as your other revival characteristics, perhaps I should conclude that Todd is in fact a dispensationalist!

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  8. Iain Gardiner

    Having read all on this subject, my comment is that we should always be wary of evangelists making big claims as these seem to be. There are so amny that spring to mind, remember Maurice Cerrulo!

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  9. Otudo

    I believe the man could do with some biblical scholarship. Otherwise this will be little different from the many burn & fizzle ‘revivals we’ve seen.

    Reply
  10. Joe Bednarsky

    On June 27, 2008 at 8pm EST Live, we will be interviewing Doug Perry of The Fellowship of the Martyrs – http://www.fellowshipofthemartyrs.com in regards to him speaking out about Todd Bentley of Fresh Fire Ministries. Some of the questions we will be asking is Who is Todd Bentley and why is Doug and others speaking out about him? If you’re a Christian you don’t want to miss this eye opening show, so feel free to call in with your questions and comments about Todd Bentley.
    Bednarsky Talk Radio
    Hosted by: Joseph V. Bednarsky Jr.
    Phone Number: (724) 444-7444
    Call ID: 10285
    For more info and updates visit http://www.joebednarsky.com

    Reply
  11. Steve

    You may want to hear our audio discussion on the Lakeland Outpouring. We did it to speak to those confused or caught up in the Lakeland thing so, although we are clear as to where we are coming from, we are careful not to be over-condemning> Go to http://www.saffronplanet.net and tell us what you think.

    Reply
  12. Pieter Siebert

    Dear brothers and sisters
    I greet you in the love of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
    I write to you to plead the case of Todd Bentley, our brother in Christ.
    It has weighed heavy on my heart the different attitudes and opinions that fellow Christians have shown to Todd.
    This morning I am reading the gospel of John and was once again reminded by the words of Jesus when He prayed to the Father on our behalf. “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23b and also;
    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
    I ask you this, how is your criticism and condemnation of Todd demonstrating any of the above commands of Jesus?
    It reminds me so much of the Pharisees who tried to find fault with Jesus when he healed a man born blind. John 9. In verse 24-25 “A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” and verse 33, “…if this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” Tens of thousands have been healed directly or indirecly as a result of the revival in Florida, and many have given their hearts to Jesus, bringing glory to God. How is this a bad thing? Look at the fruit!
    I ask you again; who’s work are you doing; who are you glorifying by your words and attitudes?
    Sincerely and with love in Jesus,
    Pieter Siebert

    Reply
  13. Dave Warnock

    Pieter,
    It is not showing love to allow people to be mislead by false teaching. Therefore it is important to check all teach as Scripture requires us to do. If Todd is teaching a prosperity gospel then the teaching is not following Jesus and it would be wrong to support it.
    As for the healings, ABC’s Nightline were unable to verify any healings. In that sense there is no good fruit to look at.

    Reply

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