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Submitted by Craig “Lee” Dorsheimer:

My Statement of Faith

 
For the past six to eight weeks or so I’ve been working on a personal statement of faith.  My intent is to be as complete as possible in outlining my beliefs using scriptural backup without rewriting the entire Bible!  I welcome any input or criticism provided you can backup your view with chapter and verse in context.  You may just help me in refining it further.  This was an enriching exercise for me; and, I encourage everyone to write their own.  You may borrow parts of this or even copy this outright.  In my quest to write this I consulted quite a few statements of faith on various websites; and, I’ve borrowed some of their words.  Here it is:
 

Jehovah God is one God in three persons (Elohim) [Genesis 1:1-2,26; John 1:1-2,14] known as the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Jesus Christ His one and only begotten Son [John 3:16], and the Holy Spirit.  God is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and sovereign.  Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit [Luke 1:26-35; Matthew 1:18] fully God and fully man [John 5:18; Philippians 2:6-7].

 

Salvation into eternal life is only through Jesus Christ [John 14:6] as a result of His death, burial and resurrection on the 3rd day [Philippians 2:8; Matthew 28:1-7; Luke 24:1-10,46] thereby defeating Satan [Genesis 3:15; Philippians 2:9-11] and atoning for our sins [John 3:16; Romans 5:8, 10:9].  Christ has now ascended to be at the right hand of the Father [Acts 2:33] serving as our mediator [Galatians 3:19-20; 1 Timothy 2:3-6].  Salvation is a free gift of unmerited grace through faith in Jesus Christ [Ephesians 2:8-9]. Jesus’ death also fulfilled the Law of Moses [Matthew 5:17]; consequently, Christians are free from this bondage [Galatians 3:10-25].

 

If we believe the aforementioned and acknowledge the fact that we are sinners in need of a savior [Romans 3:23, 5:12, 6:23], repent of our sins [Luke 13:5; Matthew 3:2], and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior we will gain eternal life [Romans 10:9,13].  At the point of salvation the Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer [Romans 5:1-2,5] identifying each one as a Christian who becomes a new creature [2 Corinthians 5:17].  Christians are a Royal Priesthood [1 Peter 2:9] with the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place [Mark 15:37-38] to petition the Father by prayer [Hebrews 10:19-22] in the Name — i.e., in the character — of Jesus Christ His Son as revealed through His Word.

 

The Holy Spirit empowers all believers; and, His indwelling is a seal guaranteeing eternal life [2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14].  Evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit is by the convicting of sin and guidance into all Truth [John 16:8-11,13].  He will bring glory to Jesus Christ [John 15:26, 16:14].  The Holy Spirit gives believers spiritual gifts disbursed just as He determines [1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Romans 12:4-8] and intercedes on our behalf [Romans 8:26].

 

Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh [John 1:1-2,14]. The Holy Bible in its original languages is the Holy Spirit-inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God [Proverbs 30:5; 2 Peter 1:20-21] complete unto itself.  The Bible will never be superseded or supplemented by any other teaching [Proverbs 30:6] and nothing should be subtracted from it [Deuteronomy 4:2;  Matthew 5:17; Revelation 22:18-19].  Its full counsel provides the way to live a complete Christian life [2 Timothy 3:16-17].

 

All Christians should have a part in the Great Commission making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey the teachings contained in His Word [Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47].

 

Jesus Christ will return again [Matthew 24:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:16] and gather all Christians, first the dead then the living [1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17].   Unbelievers will be separated from God and will forever dwell in Hell (Gehenna) [Matthew 13:41-42], while believers will be in God’s presence in Heaven [Matthew 13:43; Daniel 12:3] for all eternity [John 3:15-16, 4:14, 5:24, 6:40, 10:28, 17:2].

Bud Press just sent out this new information and I am flabbergasted. Where will this end? How far will the extreme prophetic go?  Oh Lord come quickly!

This last video leaves absolutely no doubt the nature of this dancing. Listen for these phrases:

“Kundalini Dance”

“Running the Power back to ourselves”

“Altered states through repetitive rhythms”

There is nothing Christian about Ekstasis worship. It is paganism all the way through. Do not be deceived.

Are we suffering for Jesus Christ?

So many people ask “Why do Christian’s suffer?”

I am afraid I have to ask instead, “Why are Christians NOT suffering for the Lord Jesus Christ these days?”

It seems as though we are seeing times of great reversal of thought. For instance, false teachings in the church of today are saying that if we give 100 fold we will receive back, 300 fold, 600 fold, 1000 fold, etc. While it is true that the Christian will receive blessings, and it is not wrong to want the rewards, it is not to be our focus. The Bible tells us we will suffer for Christ, but this makes us uncomfortable so we delight instead of being told of the riches we receive when we give to ministries.

With the attitude of “What’s in it for me?” the gospel perishes. This is the ugly result of Word of Faith and prosperity teachings.

While studying Genesis, I found the story of Joseph truly astounding. There is so much information about how we are live our own lives by Joseph’s example that it simply cannot be contained in this short article.

Joseph was hated by his brothers. He was chosen by God. They plotted against him and threw him into a pit to die, while they ate a meal. When a caravan approached, the brothers decided to sell him to the Ishmaelites so as not to spill his blood. They took revenge on their father Jacob and deceived him by staining the coat with blood of a goat. This is of course the famed coat which belonged to Jacob’s favorite son.

Joseph must have felt led by God after receiving his two dreams. What excitement he must have experienced, anticipating his service to God, only to be sold into slavery in which he suffered for 13 years. He was a servant in Potiphar’s house, only to be accused wrongly by his master’s wife. He then was imprisoned and thrown on the floor in chains. It was not until the Pharaoh summoned Joseph because he could interpret dreams, that he was removed from prison. Later he was elevated to the highest court in Egypt. He was 30 years old at this time.

So what did Joseph do to deserve the extreme suffering that was inflicted upon him? Nothing! There is no evidence that Joseph deserved such treatment from family and foes. He walked with the Lord and was obedient to God’s will.

Search the scriptures in Genesis 39-40 for the complaints put forth by Joseph for his unjust treatment and you will find nothing. Look at his amazing qualities and actions while he suffered and you will discover a model of what constitutes a great leader of God.

Search for the ways that Joseph was trained through his suffering. He always waited on God and learned faith through his difficulties. What trust and fellowship he had. There is no way Joseph would have understood why he was being put through these hardships. Yet there was no hatred, bitterness, doubt, or worry. Joseph’s faith puts my faith to shame. No matter what situation he was in, he endured, he was faithful, and he was determined to be the best slave he could be. The Lord trained Joseph for service in this manner.

How can you look at Joseph and apply his great faith and trust in the Lord to your everyday situations? Are you grousing and complaining about your circumstances? Is the Lord testing you? Are you being prepared for a future work? Is the Lord refining you? If you have never trusted the Lord in your difficulties how can you aid your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Times of trouble can strengthen us if we call upon the name of Lord. The problem with false teachings today is that we call upon the Glory of the Lord upon us and just “soak” in ecstasy. This is a deception of the enemy. The self-elevating process seems ridiculous when looking back at Joseph and examining his faith and actions in his life while he was suffering. What we can learn from the example set forth by Joseph, is how the Lord trained him to serve others. Joseph was eventually exalted. Was he proud? Did he pump his fists in victory? Did he hold his position over his brothers? No.

There was no self-exultation in this godly leader. No self-promotion. He did not touch God’s glory. There are few leaders who can shun the pride of success and fame. This pride is so evident today.

So why do Christians suffer? As a Christian other people are watching you. What is your reaction going to be if you experience a economic downfall? A death in the family? Declining health? Will you be complaining and grumbling, or will you instead be praying for strength in the Lord to bear up under difficulty? What example are you setting for those in your family or unbelievers who are watching you?

Suffering can be a blessing. It gives the opportunity to witness of the grace of God and the hope that He gives in adversity. Are you prepared to witness to the goodness of God when your situation seems impossible? Will others see the love and joy in your heart even though your circumstances may appear glum and dreary? God has a plan that He will work out for His purposes, and we may never know in our lifetime what that purpose may be.

Paul is a prime example of many hardships. Beatings, shipwrecks, persecution, distresses, sleepless nights, imprisonment, loneliness, poverty, riots, and pain. He suffered much while preaching the cross of Jesus Christ. Yet he was not discouraged. He kept running the race. In the midst of such sorrows there was also much rejoicing.

This rejoicing and glory was balanced by Paul’s thorn in the flesh. He asked three times to have this thorn removed. But God did not remove it. He was told, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a)

So Paul delighted in his weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10) “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

So how can we apply this to our own lives? We certainly have our share of sickness, trials and tribulations. The comfort God gives us will balance our afflictions and His grace will be sufficient. Of course, this is not what we are hearing from the pulpit. God’s grace is not enough so we are being sold the deception that healing and prosperity has been withheld from us because we lack faith. This destroys our walk with the Lord. How this cheers up Satan when we no longer rely on the sufficiency of God, and his abundance of grace. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

This lack of trust in the Word of God, stops the flow of comfort that we would give to others. (2 Corinthians 1:4)  So we should rely on the eternal glory that outweighs all suffering.

“Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18.)

Paul is saying that the eternal glory will far exceed the sufferings of this present life, since we have the resurrection to look forward to. Not all suffering will bring glory though. Faith is required. That is why we are not to fix our eyes on the unseen. When faith is not enough we allow ourselves to stray into realms of the paranormal to satisfy our lack.

Both Joseph and Paul experienced God’s comfort in their trials. But God gives a supernatural comfort, joy and peace. Is this your experience, that every trial is abounding with consolation? Are you anticipating the glory that is promised to all believers at the return of Jesus Christ? Are you willing to suffer pain for His name? Are you willing to endure persecution for the declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

1 Peter 4:19

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

 

Todd Bentley and the ’13th Resurrection’

What was the name of that funeral home?

 by Bud Press, Director

Christian Research Service

www.christianresearchservice.com

ChristianResearchService.blogspot.com

July 22, 2008

 

In this 5:28 YouTube video

Todd Bentley reads an unverified e-mail and excitedly proclaims the “thirteenth resurrection from the dead” which, according to Bentley, took place at a funeral home.

 

While reading the e-mail, Bentley says a family requested that the God TV/Florida revival be aired during an “all-night wake” for a dead man resting in a casket. Amidst the cheers and applause from his revival audience, Bentley states:

At the funeral they played the revival, and we declared that our brother would not be embalmed. At 2:19 AM, my brother began to stir in his coffin! In his coffin!

And Bentley’s followers went wild with cheers and shouts.

 

Bentley continues reading the unverified e-mail, stating that,

My brother sat up in the coffin praising God and the Reverend Todd Bentley! Now listen to this! My dear brother, all day, since he’s been raised from the dead, has been telling us about his journey to heaven and how he thought he would never come back.

 

He died and went to heaven! Listen to this! He thought he would never come back to the earth to be with us, but then he heard our beloved Reverend Todd and his voice pulling his spirit out of heaven. All of us at the funeral home began screaming and shouting for more fire. Thank God for the revival and God TV!

 

NUMBER 13 FROM THE DEAD! We’re gonna confirm it. We gotta confirm it. We’re gonna do a follow up. But I thought I’d read it as I received the testimony.

I became curious after watching the video and called numerous funeral homes in and around Lakeland, Florida. I spoke to officials and asked questions pertaining to a dead-man being raised to life from his coffin. A few asked, “Are you serious?” while others laughed.

 

But without exception, they all said it had not happened. Also, a few of the officials said that if a dead man had actually been raised to life from a coffin, they would have known about it–nationwide.

 

Indeed, the dead being raised from their coffins in funeral homes, as well as the aftermath, would make local, state, national, and worldwide headlines, such as:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Dead’ Rising To Life from Caskets

Funeral Homes Closing Doors

 

No doubt funeral home directors and employees would be seeking a different line of work, or unemployment benefits.

 

Anyway, one funeral home representative said that a family–via the Lakeland revival–had come to the funeral home and prayed for one that had died, but the burial took place as scheduled.

 

So, just to make sure, I called the Board of Funerals, Cemetery, and Consumer Services in Florida and asked the same questions. Again, the answer was, “No.” Had a dead-man sat up in his coffin–as described in the e-mail read by Todd Bentley–they would have heard about it.

 

While I believe wholeheartedly that God has and can raise the dead to life–embalmed or not–perhaps Todd Bentley will graciously provide the name of the funeral home in question, along with documented proof of all of the alleged “resurrections” from the dead.

 

It never hurts to ask, due to the fact that documented proof will stand up to intense scrutiny–provided the story is true, that is. 

 

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).

 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

A Biblically based commentary on current issues that impact you

 

Unbiblical Teachings on Prayer and Experiencing God

 
How Mysticism Misleads Christians

by Bob DeWaay

 

To a Christian, praying to God is privilege, a blessing, and a Biblically defined responsibility. We are called to pray. But a genre of literature exists that I call “prayer secrets.” Practitioners claim to have discovered new avenues of prayer that can create power, excitement, success, and even new revelations from God. These “prayer secrets” add unbiblical practices and claims to prayer in the hope of spicing up the topic to make it more interesting. And this is not a new development; mystical practices have been brought into the church under the guise of prayer since medieval times.

However, since these teachings change in form and packaging, I will review three books about prayer and “experiencing God” subjectively. What they have in common is a form of pietism that promises better things than to go before the throne of grace to find help in time of need, as well as other basic Biblical teachings on prayer.

 

Experiencing God by Henry T. Blackaby

 

Blackaby’s book, co-authored by Claude King, promises readers that they can come to know God by experience and come to know God’s will beyond what is revealed in Scripture, thereby living out a life full of adventure.1 Blackaby promises his readers that they will, among other things, learn to hear God speaking to them and learn to identify God’s activities.2 He promises to alleviate their problem of being frustrated with their Christian experience.

Experiencing God does start out with some basic facts about the gospel and has a place for people to check to indicate that they have made a “decision for Jesus.” I am glad he told his readers about such things as sin and repentance but am disappointed in the “make a decision for Jesus” approach. We have addressed that elsewhere.3 But having checked the appropriate box, the reader is quickly ushered into the realm of subjectivity that permeates Blackaby’s approach from beginning to end. For example, we are urged to evaluate our “present experience with God.”4 However, I have known people who are totally deceived and in bondage to false doctrine who are very excited about their experience with God, so such evaluation doesn’t do much good. For example, I once met a pastor who just returned from the Toronto laughing revival and was so very excited because he had seen “God” cause people to bark like dogs and quack like ducks. That is just one example why what one thinks about his own “experience with God” is immaterial. What we need to know are the terms God has laid down for knowing Him and walking faithfully with Him.

In Blackaby’s theology, the importance of God’s self-revelation through the Scriptures is de-emphasized while personal experience is given priority. He writes, “We come to know God as we experience Him. God reveals Himself through our experience of Him at work in our lives.”5 I am not disputing that God is at work in our lives if we have truly been converted. But, like other subjectivists, Blackaby de-emphasizes specific revelation (Scripture) and puts unwarranted emphasis on general revelation (what can be observed in the created order). Our personal, spiritual experiences are unreliable. People observing general revelation and interpreting their own spiritual experiences in light of it have created the host of the world’s false religions.

For example, Blackaby writes, “Find out what the Master is doing—then that is what you need to be doing.”6 Here he suggests that by observing what is around us and studying human history we can determine God’s will. He further suggests that God reveals His will by some process in history—that He hasn’t revealed it once for all. But this subjective approach cannot reveal God’s moral law which is His revealed will. Someone’s estimate of “what God is doing” is likely to be based on their own prejudices and inclinations. Let’s look at another example. Consider a person who believes the social gospel. If they see a situation where social services are being provided, they will conclude that they are witnessing “what God is doing.” In the previous example of the laughing revival, that pastor was a charismatic. His thinking led him to believe that anything that appears to have a supernatural cause done in the context of a Christian meeting must be “what God is doing.” So he saw people behaving oddly in such a context and joined it so as to participate in God’s activities. Subjective evaluations can lead to falsely attributing things to God that in fact are not from God.

God’s providence unfolding in history is what we actually observe. But providence contains good and evil. We cannot know what God’s revealed will is by observing providence. We can only know His will through inerrant, infallible, special revelation—Scripture. Even our dreams and inner impressions are part of providence and they too are a mixture of good and evil (and indifferent). They do not reveal what God is doing or His will for our lives.

Blackaby fails to distinguish these categories, and thus uses stories of God revealing things to prophets and apostles in the Bible to suggest that these experiences should be normative for us. For example he includes a section about Moses, not to prove that Moses was an authoritative spokesperson for God, but to prove that God expects all of us to gain revelation like Moses did. This is false, and we have shown it to be false in a recent article. In the Moses section of his book Blackaby writes, “His desire is to get us from where we are to where He is working. When God reveals to you where He is working, that becomes His invitation to join Him.”8

Such a search for “where God is working” makes no sense. God is working always everywhere as He holds all things together by “the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Blackaby’s concept “where God is working” is vague. Is he talking about geography? God’s revealed will is to preach the gospel to all people everywhere. God works through the gospel to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment and to convert those who will be saved. There is no place off-limits, and this great work of God is not limited by geography. Blackaby’s kind of thinking causes people get on airplanes scurrying to the latest hot “revival.” But how do they know God wants them in Pensacola, for example, chasing a spiritual experience rather than preaching the gospel where they live? The simple answer: they don’t.

Blackaby’s book is filled with claims that we all need personal revelations from God, that these are binding upon us, and that if we do not gain these “words from God” we are going to fail God and live frustrated and empty lives. He claims that we are to obey these words seemingly without question: “When you do what He tells you, no matter how insensible it may seem, God accomplishes what He purposed through you. Not only do you experience God’s power and presence, but so do those who observe what you are doing.”9 This is simply wrong and is a version of works righteousness.

All that I can possibly know as God’s binding, authoritative will is what God TOLD me (Scripture) not what God “tells” me (subjective ideas that may or may not be from God). It is abusive to bind people to non-authoritative, fallible words (even insensible ones) and tell them that obeying such words is the key to God’s presence in their lives. This, in my opinion, is an attack against the gospel. We have the promise of God’s presence because of what He did for us through the cross, not because we have become mystics following ideas that enter our minds which we decided might be from Him. But Blackaby reiterates, “Obey whatever God tells you to do.”10 So, on that point I think I’ll choose to follow his advice based on what I know God has told me in the Scriptures. I know God told me not to listen to people who teach false doctrine; I am going to obey that and not listen to Blackaby.

Beyond promoting these personal revelations as laws to be obeyed (as if they were God’s revealed moral law), he further claims they are also infallible: “When we come to God to know what He is about to do where we are, we also come with the assurance that what God indicates He is about to do is certain to come to pass.”11 This is another problem, because the only things certain to come to pass are those God has predicted in Scripture. Personal revelations that we think might be from God are not certainly from God [we can’t be sure they are] and they will not “certainly come to pass.” Blackaby calls this type of word “revelation”: “When He opens your spiritual eyes to see where He as at work, that revelation is your invitation to join Him.”12 Subjective impressions are now to be considered revelation? This approach could lead to every imaginable error.

Blackaby makes personal revelations not only binding (they must be obeyed) and infallible (certain), but he also declares that they are necessary for everyone’s spiritual well-being: “If the Christian does not know when God is speaking, he is in trouble at the heart of his Christian life!” Furthermore, he says, “If you have been given a word from God, you must continue in that direction until it comes to pass (even twenty f13ive years like Abraham).” That means that if someone should get one of these “words from God” and if it actually was not from God, he would be obligated to follow whatever foolhardy, insensible path the “word” led him down. Such teaching, in my opinion, is foolish and abusive to the flock.

God physically appeared to Abraham many times as “the angel of the Lord.” Abraham received special revelations. We don’t. We do not have the same certainty that our subjective impressions are “the word of the Lord.” Amazingly, Blackaby sees the problem with his approach but still presses on with it: “If you have not been given a word from God yet you say you have, you stand in judgment as a false prophet . . . [cites Deut. 18:21-22].”14 EXACTLY! That is the very claim I made in the last issue of CIC.15 If these personal words from God are taken as binding, and we speak them to ourselves and they are not totally accurate, we have become false prophets to our own selves. Blackaby evidently agrees, yet he pushes on.

The flaws of Blackaby’s subjectivism are rather obvious when you examine his claims objectively. God’s revealed will is not found by subjective experiences, but in Scripture. Looking around in the world hoping to discover “where God is working” is impossible since God is always working everywhere as He providentially brings history along toward His ultimate purposes. We will be fooled by our own prejudices because we think “God working” must look something like whatever our religious inclinations tell us it will look like. Furthermore, he has elevated fallible words that may or may not be from God to the level of infallible Scripture and elevated every believer to the status of Moses and Abraham as recipients of special revelation. Following his approach is not how we “experience God.” We cannot not know if we are experiencing God in any way other than to come to Him on His own terms, by faith. When we do, we are assured that God is with us no matter what experiences we have.

 

Body Prayer by Doug Pagitt

 

Doug Pagitt,Emergent Church leader, wrote a book (coauthored by Kathryn Prill) that claims that using various body postures can bring people closer to God and deepen one’s life of prayer.16 Here is an example of some of the claims of this book:

 

Engaging the body in acts of being present with God, including certain ceremonial practices, opens us up to God in new ways. People of faith in ancient times understood that such physical acts and practices as rest and worship, dietary restrictions, and mandated fabric in their wardrobes were of great value to their faith and life.17

 

The problem is that the Bible says that these types of practices are of NO value:

 

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with the using)– in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23)

 

Furthermore, creating dietary restrictions for religious reasons is called a “doctrine of demons” (1Timothy 4:1-5).

 

Pagitt claims that we can connect with God through body prayers. He calls his approach a “deeper” form of prayer: “This book is meant to be a companion and a guide into deeper forms of prayer; this book is not a specific prescription of how prayer must be done.” I appreciate that he does not claim that these postures are mandatory. But that introduces an important question—if his postures are not mandated by Scripture (and they are not) how can they be “deeper” than the sort of prayer the Bible does teach? Such claims are the problem with all the “prayer secrets” books. Why is praying to God in the manner taught in Scripture so inadequa18te that people need to discover new practices that are superior to those Jesus and His apostles taught? Would God withhold something so good and important to all but those spiritual innovators who discover the secret? The Bible says, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2Peter 1:3). God did not forget to reveal to the Biblical writers key practices we need.

Pagitt teaches the same “breath prayers” that we have discussed in other articles:

 

As you begin to pray, close your eyes. Then inhale and exhale with deep breaths. Put your hands in a comfortable position—consider turning both hands palms up. Notice the tension in your head … and let it go as you take in a deep breath … and then exhale. Notice the tension in your shoulders and let it go, again by breathing in and then out. Notice the tension in your stomach and let it go. Move down your body doing the same.19

 

Concentrating on one’s breath is a way to achieve an altered state of consciousness. Jesus told us to ask the Father in His name, which we can do when fully conscious and requires no prior stress relief practice.

Some of the postures are similar in that they seem more like a technique for self awareness. One is pressing fingertips together: “There is a theory that pressing each fingertip to its corresponding fingertip activates a certain portion of our brain. Also, it is one of the gentlest ways to feel our own pulse.” Doing some of these practices is even confused with reconciliation which one comes through the finished work of Christ received by faith:

 

Start in a sitting position. Then use your arms to push your body up so you are standing. Inhale deeply through your mouth. Let your shoulders fall, release any stress in the top of your legs, and let your hips fall forward. Feel pressure on the bottom of your feet—and in that space alone. Keep breathing deeply. Allow the deep breaths to prepare you and arm you for the work of reconciliation.21

 

Reconciliation does not happen through some physical process, but through Christ’s blood atonement which we have received by faith (Romans 5:9-11).

It is not surprising, given the theology of the Emergent Church, that Pagitt’s approach is infused with theological immanence at the expense of transcendence. He writes, “So we extend to the rest of the world this hope: that good will be saved and increased and that God’s dreams will be done on earth as they are in heaven.”22 Pagitt claims that we are co-re-creators of the world: “God is never finished with creation, and God is never finished with us. We are constantly being re-created, and we are invited to join God as co-re-creators of the world.”23 There is no cataclysmic, future judgment of the cosmos in the theology of most Emergent Church leaders. Rather God is working in the world to transform it into a better place through the processes of history.

Pagitt’s terminology reflects a rather panentheistic worldview that is infused with God in some not totally explained way:

 

There is a rhythm to life. We find it in the ocean tides, in the rising and setting of the sun, in the beating of our hearts. And there is a rhythm of God—a rhythm that encompasses life, both the life we can readily see and the unseen life of the spirit. The rhythm of God beckons us, guide us, and dwells in us.24

 

This highly immanent theology implies that God is in the creation to be discovered, and not as the transcendent One who can only be known by His self-revelation in the authoritative Scriptures and in Christ who came in the flesh and ascended into heaven. Pagitt says, “As those who are created in the image of God, we are endowed with this rhythm.”25 Since all human beings are created in God’s image this is a universal statement, not limited to those who have been converted through the gospel. He continues, “We can find it [the rhythm of God] step into it, and live in it. This is the kingdom of God — to live in sync with the rhythm of God.”26

Sadly, the processes of “body prayer” described in this book reflect a theology that is gleaned not from authoritative Scripture but from creative efforts to create a version of prayer that is in keeping with the sensibilities of the postmodern culture. Key ideas that the Bible teaches about prayer (coming to God on His terms, grace for sinners, how we have access to God only because of the blood atonement, that God hears Christians who ask according to His will, etc.) are missing from this book. The techniques and teachings found in the book are not taught in the Bible. So the bigger question is whether God has spoken and revealed how we can come to Him or whether the means of access to God are discovered in the creation. Pagitt and his co-author leave us searching for the “rhythm of God” in the creation by means God has not ordained.

 

Prayer Quest by Dee Duke

 

The subtitle to this book is “Breaking through to your God-given dreams and destiny.” Duke speaks of our dreams and God’s dreams throughout his book. In the Bible God gave dreams to certain people. Those dreams, if interpreted by an infallible prophet, revealed God’s will and God plans. In the Bible, the dreams were from God, but they were not God’s dreams. They were the dreams of the people who dreamt them (for example Nebuchadnezzar’s in Daniel 2). Here we have to add a point of clarification: Only the dreams that are interpreted in the Bible by God’s prophets and spokespersons can be considered to authoritatively reveal God’s will.

The term “dream” in English can mean “hope for an ideal future,” as in, “I have a dream.” This denotes the hope for some better state of affairs that may or may not come into existence. Duke, in his book, is clearly not using the term in the Biblical sense as a dream a person has that has been interpreted by an authoritative prophet. Instead he says, “He calls us now to dream His dreams, to ask Him daily to display His power.”27 Duke is speaking of a hoped for future when he uses the term “dream”:

 

Welcome to the reality where dreams come true! God has a dream, and it is certain to happen just as He imagines it. He has placed the stamp of His image on our souls, so that we also dream great dreams. As we learn to passionately share and enjoy God’s dreams, we will see Him work in amazing ways . . .”28

 

This statement involves some serious category problems. Supposedly God’s dream is His imagination about the future. We (all humans evidently because all humans are created in God’s image) can dream like God. Either this is anthropomorphism run amok or some seriously bad theology. God is the one who says this about Himself: “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:9, 10). God does not dream, He decrees. God calls things into being and works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). He doesn’t imagine a potential future that may or may not happen.

Concerning us, the only thing we know about what God “dreams” (using Duke’s terminology) is what is revealed in Scripture. Our own dreams about what we would like the future to bring are not going to make God do anything. Duke says, “This book is intended to help you learn to walk so intimately with God that you will see Him fulfill His dreams in and through you.” This brings us back to the typical “prayer secret” genre of Christian writing. Supposedly there is some key to “intimacy with God” that is not based on the once-for-all finished work of Christ, not based on availing ourselves of the means of grace by faith, but based on our own level of personal piety and the use of practices not revealed in the Bible.29

Duke asks his readers, “Do you feel as though you’ve given up on dreams you had when your faith was new?” The implication is that our “dreams” (i.e., hopes for an ideal or optimal future) somehow authoritatively reveal God’s will and that we must make these come to pass by some process. But our ideas about what we hope life will be like are nothing more than ideas and may have nothing to do with God’s purposes. Our dreams are part of providence, but providence contains good and evil. Duke is treating personal imaginations about the future as if they were infallible guidance to be nurtured and followed. But personal dreams are not God’s moral law.

Here is a further definition of what Duke means by “dream,”

 

A dream is a desire felt so strongly that we think and meditate on it constantly until we see it in our mind as clearly as if it were reality. A dream believes that what is desired will happen; it is accomplished by anticipation and positive expectation. People who dream tend to be upbeat and enthusiastic.30

 

This is a very much the type of mind over matter thinking that has enjoyed popularity in self-help circles.

He gives people some practical guidance on releasing their “imagination” in prayer: “Envision yourself embarking on a day trip into the presence of God. . . . Envision yourself approaching God in His glory.”31 This is strikingly similar to guided imagery. He gives more examples of how to manage your dream time with God, including making lists of dream notes. This is a journey into the subjective realm under the guise of “prayer.”

Much bad teaching comes into the church by route of mysticism, subjectivism, and having faulty theological categories. In previous articles I carefully defined categories to help my readers avoid these pitfalls. Risking redundancy, I must again assert that there is God’s revealed will in Scripture as well as God’s providential will (containing good and evil) that is revealed as history unfolds. Though Duke wants us to dream God’s dreams about the future, he admits that these dreams we might have come from various sources. He lists thoughts from God, your own thoughts, thoughts from the world, and thoughts from Satan. His readers are supposed to sort through their dream notes to find ones that they think are from God. But how? God’s future providen32tial will is not revealed and cannot be known until it unfolds in history. Our dreams about the future cannot be determined to be from God by any means available to us because they are not revealed in Scripture.

Duke reveals his lack of Biblical understanding when he cites the scripture, “My sheep know my voice,” as proof that we can figure out which of our dreams is God’s voice. That passage in John 10 is about those whom the Father has given to the Son and who consequently will respond to the gospel and follow Christ, not about listening to various subjective voices in our heads and trying to figure out which one sounds the most like Christ.

There is no need to belabor how bad this book is theologically. It starts from a series of faulty premises and bad theology and builds from there a concept of prayer that is not taught in the Bible. The term “dream” as he uses it is basically the idea of one’s imagination. The Bible tells us about those who speak in this manner: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord’”. (Jeremiah 23:16).

That a publishing house like Navpress produced this book shows how little discernment there is in the evangelical movement these days.

 

Conclusion

 

God has not left us to fish around in the world of spirits and subjective experiences to know Him and speak to Him. God send His Son, who pre-existed as God and with God, to be born of a virgin and live in history in the flesh. The apostles heard Him, touched Him and saw Him (see 1John 1:1-3). He died for sins on the cross, shedding His blood to avert God’s wrath against our sin. He was bodily raised on the third day and He bodily ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father. Before He left He promised His followers that they could ask the Father anything in His name. He inspired eyewitnesses to write His inerrant words so that we would know the truth from Him. The Bible promises us that He hears us. It doesn’t give us a set of techniques to hear inner voices and call these techniques “prayer.”

The mystics are confident that their extra-biblical techniques and extra-biblical experiences are certainly from God and are making more pious Christians than those of us who only have prayer as taught in the Bible and the Word of God to go by. Having discovered the secrets to increased piety and “intimacy with God,” they write books so that others can become similarly “enlightened” and be saved from their “ordinary” Christian lives. Dear readers, they are selling you a bill of goods. They are not infallible apostles and prophets, they do not speak authoritatively for God, their theology is unbiblical, and their practices are not ordained by God. I have touched on three examples of this approach but there have been literally thousands of them in church history. The simple application is this: do not listen to them. They can only deceive you; they cannot make you more holy or pleasing to God. Only the finished work of Christ and His ordained means of grace can do that.

Find more of Bob DeWaay here:

http://cicministry.org/articles.php

Tony Blair Promotes Ecumenism in Effort to Eradicate Malaria

 Submitted by Craig “Lee” Dorsheimer

Thanks to Roger Oakland from Understand The Times, author of the book Faith Undone, for sending me this link on this newsworthy item:

 

http://www.understandthetimes.org/inthenews/13_owlyt.shtml

 

Here’s the video/audio:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksnMx6l4T64

 

After Tony Blair’s recent conversion from the Anglican Church to Catholicism he went one step further into blatant ecumenism with his Faith Foundation.  Now, with his new Faiths Act which he rolled out on June 10, he goes it one more.

 

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was initiated in May 2008 with one of its goals to work toward increased understanding between the major faiths of the world.  His new Faiths Act outlines a plan to eradicate malaria promoting an interfaith effort toward this cause.  A complete transcript of the audio from the above video follows this article.

 

My first question regarding this is: Why the need for an interfaith effort to help in the fight against malaria when Blair could just as well promote his cause without using religion as a vehicle?  Why not send aid to local governmental officials directly who could then disburse it?  Surely, governmental approval would be necessary before such an interfaith outreach as proposed by Blair could be enacted anyway.

 

“Faiths Act will mobilize global faith communities to come together and achieve multi-faith action on issues of crucial importance in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals.  Our first goal is to end deaths caused by malaria.  Put simply, between one and three million people die of malaria each year most of them children under five and pregnant mothers living in sub-Saharan Africa.  Their deaths are preventable.  In Africa 40% of the victims are Muslim.  But across much of Asia malaria continues to strike and combating it is a huge opportunity for people across the faiths to act in unison: Hindus, Sikh, Buddhists as well as the Abrahamic faiths.  We call, therefore, on the four billion people of faith in the world to help do more to end the scourge of malaria.”

 

Please note that these “Millennium Development Goals” were outlined by the United Nations which has shown itself to be anti-Semitic and not exactly friendly towards Christianity [excepting Roman Catholicism] as well.  In fact, the UN has become increasingly pro-Islam.  With this in mind, it is curious that Blair would make reference to Judaism, Christianity and Islam as “the Abrahamic faiths” as if there is much in common between the three.  Why didn’t he refer to Hindus, Sikh and Buddhists as simply ‘the eastern faiths?’

 

“…Churches, mosques, other places of worship are ideally placed to be centers for distribution networks and community-based health education initiatives.”

 

Blair’s plan sounds remarkably similar to Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E plan with respect to Warren’s fight against AIDS/HIV.  This is not surprising as Warren, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and Oxford Anayltica, is on the Advisory Council of Blair’s Faith Foundation.  Could this be a step toward the redistribution of wealth and one world religion as outlined by the channeled writings of Theosophist Alice Bailey among others and as prophesied in the Bible?

 

16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.  [Revelation 13:16-17 NIV] 

 

Time will tell.  What do you think?  Is this yet another push for a one world religion/government under the guise of philanthropy?

 

************************************************************************

 

Following is the complete transcript:

 

“Welcome to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation Faiths Act Campaign.  Faiths Act will mobilize global faith communities to come together and achieve multi-faith action on issues of crucial importance in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals.  Our first goal is to end deaths caused by malaria.  Put simply, between one and three million people die of malaria each year most of them children under five and pregnant mothers living in sub-Saharan Africa.  Their deaths are preventable.  In Africa 40% of the victims are Muslim.  But across much of Asia malaria continues to strike and combating it is a huge opportunity for people across the faiths to act in unison: Hindus, Sikh, Buddhists as well as the Abrahamic faiths.  We call, therefore, on the four billion people of faith in the world to help do more to end the scourge of malaria.

 

“We can prevent such catastrophic losses with just a few simple steps.  One ten dollar [US $10.00] or five pound [GBP £5.00] insecticide treated bed net can protect an entire household.  Medications that treat malaria and prevent it from causing death are well established and could be made readily available to even the most remote infected communities.  Churches, mosques, other places of worship are ideally placed to be centers for distribution networks and community-based health education initiatives.

 

“So, the foundation is working to bring people of all faiths – and none – together to respond the UN Security General’s urgent call for universal bed net coverage by 2010.  And, our media campaign is a drive to raise one million bed nets by September the 25th, 2008, the date of the next UN General Assembly and the midway point to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

 

“It’s been one month since the Faiths Act campaign was launched and in that short time we’ve received thousands of emails from people from all over the world including the UK, US, Spain, Pakistan, Kenya, Turkey, Uganda, India, Tanzania and Chile – all people who support this cause and want to know how they can help.

 

“On our website you will find toolkits and resources that explain how you can get involved with our efforts.  Please download them and share them with your friends and family and your own in other faith communities.  Create multi-faith events and raise awareness for malaria prevention.  Become an activist for the good that faith can do in the world. 

 

“To those of you who have already begun to work, I would like to say, ‘Thank you.’  It’s only with your help that we can accomplish the tasks that are set out before us.  But, secondly, I would like to ask you to send us examples of what you’re doing within your own faith communities and those of others to help end deaths caused by malaria so that then we can share them here on the website and let others around the world be inspired by your activism. 

 

“I’ve been so impressed by many of the emails we have received detailing your individual efforts.  It’s my hope, therefore, that in sharing your ideas and stories here on the website we can motivate others as well.  Malaria doesn’t discriminate between religions and so we have to come together across faith lines to fight it.  So, please, join us to fund a million bed nets by September the 25th.  Go to www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org to find out more. Thank you.”

 Angels or Demons? 

 

Todd Bentley and “The Beautiful Side of Evil”

 

By Berit Kjos – June 26, 2008  

 

The Beautiful Side of Evil

Back in the eighties I read The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelsen. For many years she was caught up in the occult, yet she believed that the “angels” who reached out to her were servants of God, not Satan. One of those “angels” sounds strangely similar to Bentley’s “floating” angel, Emma:

“[She was] beautiful with flowing hair and robes of shimmering dark blue spangled with tiny stars…. She took me by the shoulders and gently kissed me on the forehead…. ‘Welcome, my child,’ she said. Then she turned and floated back through the wall as she had come. I have never experienced such joy, such light and peace, such unspeakable ecstasy. I was on the right path at last.”[2,p.83]

No, she was tricked! Masquerading as an “angel of light,” Satan used her feel-good experiences to deepen the deception. Through those painful years, Johanna’s “fellowship” with demons brought her indescribable depression and despair. The enchanting moments of light were fleeting, while fear and confusion darkened her days. She would continue to suffer under that cruel master until God set her free. But since that time, God has used her testimony as a much-needed warning. It calls His people to– 

“Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph 5:8-11

Exposing the darkness can be costly. Church leaders who seek unity, popularity and unbounded fellowship are quick to label us intolerant and judgmental. But the cost is nothing compared to the genuine joy of serving our Lord!

Mesmerizing the masses

To alter her consciousness and connect with these entities, Johanna used meditation, visualization, concentration — and the repetitive beat of a metronome. Bentley’s tools are different but just as effective. Like tribal shamans (and like his own former world of “satanic music”), he uses loud rhythmic sounds (drums, etc.), then adds repetitious words and hypnotic music. Pastor Gary Osborne described it in his article, Bentley’s “Revival” in Lakeland, Florida:

The phrase ‘stir yourselves up’ was used repeatedly…. A woman led in prayer for the service and … told the people to ‘roar like a lion!’ … People everywhere shouted at the top of their lungs…. This same lady was jerking and twitching…. There was also much talk of ‘birthing’ and ‘signs and wonders.’… People were swaying and dancing…. There was a very sensual spirit… People seemed to be in a trance all around me. If the worship leader said, ‘raise your hands’ everyone did so immediately. If he said, ‘drop to your knees’ they did…. The music had the people mesmerized….

 

“At about 8:30 PM… the music leader says, ‘I’m feeling drunk.’ He then tells the people to say to God, ‘Intoxicate me, Lord…. Now the people are getting truly wild and the leader says, ‘Scream!!!’ and the people let out a yell…. Finally the worship leader falls to the floor himself….”[5]

This manipulative process started up again the next evening. Finally, with the crowd thoroughly conditioned to “break out of the box” of Biblical order (1 Cor 14:40), Bentley took control. Wearing a t-shirt with the words, “Jesus Gave Me My Tattoos,” he announced the presence of “great authority” in the building. “I speak creation,” he declared. “I speak new hearts, new livers into existence tonight….’”[5]

Doesn’t he know God’s view of such arrogance? Has he no fear of His judgments on those who serve the purpose of the master deceiver?

“For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven… I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” Isaiah 14:13-15

Signs, wonders and mystical healings

“The glory of God is intense,” wrote Bentley in a “Personal Message” on May 20. “…miracles continue – tumors disappearing nightly, cancers and deaf ears being healed. It has been reported that more than 55 people in wheelchairs are receiving their healing. Another remarkable turn of events – 13 reported resurrections!”

He claims that a male “angel” named “Healing Revival”[6] worked with him in many past healings: When he comes,” said Bentley, “I get… the ability to diagnose people’s sicknesses with my left hand…. I get very accurate details from God…. And whenever this angel shows up the miracles go off the charts.”[4]

Four angels supposedly operated on him during one of his heavenly visions. He saw “a Pillar of fire” rise up through the roof of a church. When “God” told him to “get into the Pillar,” he complied — and landed on an operating table in heaven. The angels tied him down and began surgery:

“[T]hey pick this thing up… and they stuck it in me right here on my neck and it didn’t hurt…. they went right down to my lowards and all of a sudden … everything inside of me popped out onto the table, my heart, my liver — like everything…. . [T]he angels start taking these white boxes… and they start stuffing these things inside of me… and I heard the verse ‘I desire truth in the inward parts.’”[7]

Bentley’s reference to Psalm 51:6 illustrates his blatant Scripture twisting — a timeless demonic tool. And his “surgery” reminds me of the mystical reports about “alien abductions.”

It’s also similar to Johanna’s experiences with painless operations in Mexico. Both claim to have seen countless supernatural healings that clashed with all medical knowledge. But Bentley’s “heavenly” experience (while in a trance) occurred only in a psychic realm, while Johanna assisted in numerous operations where patients actually bled. A few incredulous doctors observed this bizarre process and validated the results.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Long ago, missionaries to distant tribal cultures described both the source and the effect of and shamanic magic. It’s not a new phenomenon!

Johanna would assist Hermanito, a demonic spirit that “possessed” a Mexican woman named Pachita and used her body to operate on his patients. Like Bentley’s six angels, he often replaced something from the patient’s body with special objects.

A former army officer with an inoperable brain tumor came seeking relief from blinding headaches. As his operation began, Hermanito ordered Johanna to hand him the knife: She described the brutal action:

“In a single, violent motion he plunged it into Perry’s skull. The man on the table gasped. ‘Do you feel pain, Perry?’ I asked him anxiously. ‘Oh, no,’ he replied with a faint smile, ‘but I can feel something moving inside my head—it’s so strange!’ he laughed nervously…. Several days after the operation, I called him to see how he was doing. He told me his headaches were completely gone….”[2,p.126-127]

To heal David, a young man with terminal cancer, Hermanito called for more concentrated prayer — using words that blended the Scriptures with occult ideas:

“Take a glass of pure water. Go out to the balcony, raise it high in your right hands and say, ‘May the most precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which, when only represented in Egypt brought freedom to the Israelites by the strong arm of God, free us and favor us against all evil.’… Sun and Earth, Moon and Stars… Mosses, Reptiles…. I ask of you this day the health of this patient.’

      “’Form a circle around him…. Hold hands and pray….’ He raised the scissors in prayer for a long moment, then plunged them into David’s side. He cut for a few moments, then asked ‘Do you feel pain…?’ David didn’t answer…. Hermanito’s breath drew in sharply…. ‘Roll up your sleeve. We must perform a transfusion. Hurry! The rest of you pray!” he ordered…. Suddenly, David took a deep breath and opened his eyes….

     “David had died on the table that night. The force behind Hermanito had brought him back…”[2,p.118-119]

But all was not well in this psychic realm. David died less than four months later. And many other healings were only temporary.”[2,p.134]  Christians who sought help through demonic forces suffered more and were less likely to be “healed.” Satan has only hatred for his deluded victims — especially those who actually belong to the true God.  [See From torment to triumph]

God’s Victory in this Spiritual War

“…many of our churches are in serious danger of occult contamination,” wrote Johanna.[2,p.183]  She knew how easily even Christians could trade God’s truth for counterfeit promises. After all, she didn’t stray into darkness because she loved evil — but because evil looked so good! Her testimony is a wake-up call to churches everywhere:

“That first week in college, when the gospel was shared with me, I welcomed it with open arms. I confessed my sins before God and asked Jesus to enter my life as my Lord and Savior. I know, on the basis of God’s word, that I was born again, and I received in my spirit the assurance of my salvation. I gave myself to Him with my whole heart.

“But I did not understand the importance of carefully, systematically studying His Word. I had no real understanding of what I believed or why I believed it.’ And so, in time, I began to build my relationship with God based on my experience. My experience told me the healings and miracles I witnessed at Pachita’s were of God. My feelings assured me the work there was holy, for the name of Jesus was used and there was a crucifix on the altar, and demons were ‘cast out.’”

“Soon my ‘logic’ told me the Bible was too narrow…. Ultimately, I came to believe Jesus was a way to God — but not the Way, the Truth, the Life. Gently, a step at a time, I fell away from the faith, unwittingly ‘paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.’ (I Timothy 4:1).… Ultimately, because I was a child of God, because I wanted more than anything else to know the Truth, He delivered me.”[2,p.181-182]

I thank God for His mercy and saving grace that reaches out to all who will hear and heed His Word. As the spiritual war intensifies, may we be ready to hear His call, turn around (repent), resist the deceiver, and follow our wonderful Shepherd.

“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-12

 

Full story here”

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/bentley.htm

Confusion on the Davidic Tabernacle

 

Submitted by Craig “Lee” Dorsheimer 

 

The current issue [July 2008] of Charisma Magazine contains an article by Mike Bickle, president and director of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, MO, titled The Tabernacle of David.  This piece is essentially a word for word reprint of a 2000 article of the same name.  The only difference is that the original added an introductory sentence referencing an article from the previous month.  Here’s the original article from the Charisma archives:

 

http://charismamag.com/index.php/columns/265-passion-for-jesus/507-enjoyable-prayer

 

Compare the original to the current piece:

 

 

http://charismamag.com/index.php/charisma-channels/prayer/18744

 

Given that the deletion of this prefatory comment is an obvious revision, it is curious that some of the errors in this article as pointed out on The International House of Prayers’ “Affirmations and Denials” tab are still there.  Is Mike Bickle aware that this article, which he corrects in part on his website, is uncorrected at Charisma?   Is Charisma aware of Bickle’s correction?

 

The original article and its current version point to the fallacy upon which the whole teaching is based and IHOP’s 24 hour worship is practiced.  The faulty premise comes from an incorrect exegesis of Acts 15:16-17 and an incorrect assumption about the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant.  First, the Acts misinterpretation:

 

I came across this secret when I was studying the tabernacle of David (see Acts 15:16-17), the perfect model of a 24-hour-a-day prayer and worship ministry. King David assigned musicians and singers, whom he had trained in the prophetic spirit (see 1 Chr. 25:1-3), to worship God continuously before the ark.”[1]

 

Here are the Acts 15:16-17 verses:

 

16 ‘After this I will return

And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;

I will rebuild its ruins,

And I will set it up;

17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD,

Even all the Gentiles who are called by my name,

Says the LORD who does all these things.’ [NKJV]

 

Put in the context of the whole of Acts chapter 15 we see Paul, Barnabas and Peter explaining why the Gentiles did not need to conform to the Mosaic ritual of circumcision and to Mosaic Law.  Verses 16 and 17 are James answer to the Judiazers using words from the prophet Amos.  The ‘tabernacle’ which had ‘fallen down’ was the Davidic dynasty/lineage fulfilled in Jesus.  In Jesus, Gentiles, not just Jews, would be saved.  This passage speaks nothing about David’s make-shift Tabernacle housing the Ark of the Covenant [1 Chronicles 15:1 and 16:1].  Bickle’s error in the original article was clarified on the IHOP “Affirmations and Denials” page shown here:

http://www.ihop.org/Articles/1000050149/International_House_of/About_Us/Our_Beliefs/Affirmations_and_Denials.aspx

Following is the complete statement:

 

The Tabernacle of David

 

WE AFFIRM

the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority (Luke 18:7–8; Matthew 21:13; Revelation 5:8, 8:3–5, 22:17; Isaiah 62:6–7; Joel 2:12–17 and 32). This prayer movement will operate in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David.
 
WE DENY the restoration of the tabernacle of David is the same as the end-time prayer movement.
  
Explanation: In the days of King David, he established a tabernacle that had singers and musicians who ministered to the Lord day and night. Today, the prayer movement is in the spirit of David’s Tabernacle. This means that the prayer movement will have some components of the Tabernacle of David, specifically pertaining to singers and musicians.
 
The promise of the restoration of the tabernacle of David refers to the governmental restoration of David’s international rule as part of the restoration of national Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.
  
 
 
 
 
 

 

The context of Amos 9:11–12 is the governmental rule of Jesus over all the nations from Jerusalem.
 
In Acts 15:13–18, James referred to Amos 9:11 declaring that Gentiles should be accepted into the predominantly Jewish Body of Christ, without needing to convert to Judaism. The apostles understood that in the End Times, God would re-establish the Messianic kingdom over all the nations. God has just visited the Gentiles with salvation at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10). This was in agreement with Old Testament prophecy. James quoted Amos to prove that many Gentiles will be saved in context to the restoration of the Davidic dynastic reign. This restoration will of course include David’s heart for worship and prayer. Though Amos 9:11 is not prophesying primarily about 24/7 intercessory worship, it will be a foundational reality in the release of Jesus’ worldwide rule over the nations. The prophetic word given to Mike Bickle in May 1983 was that “God would release 24 hour-a-day prayer in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David.” In other words, it would involve prophetic singers and musicians. Worship and intercession is not in itself the actual restoration of David’s tabernacle![2]

 

The last three paragraphs above go about clarifying/correcting the Acts and Amos passages cited in the original article.  For sake of comparison with the Acts verses and completeness, here are the Amos 9:11-12 verses which were paraphrased a bit by James in Acts:

 

11 “On that day I will raise up

The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down,

And repair its damages;

I will raise up it ruins,

And rebuild is as in the days of old;

12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom,

And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,”

Says the LORD who does this thing. [Amos 9:11-12 NKJV]

 

While Bickle corrects these verses [although verse 11 is also considered Messianic – as in Jesus’ first coming], he takes a bit of license with the last few sentences of the last paragraph.  How does he know that ‘24/7 intercessory worship’ as exemplified in King David’s reign during the time he had the Ark in Jerusalem will be a ‘reality’ in Jesus’ millennial reign?  Given that this whole Tabernacle of David prophecy comes from a ‘prophetic word’ from Bob Jones, how can anyone be sure based on Jones’ own assertion that New Testament prophecies will be about 2/3rds right at best?  And, when Bickle states that Amos 9:11 does not ‘primarily’ speak about ‘24/7 intercessory worship’ he is again taking license as this verse says nothing about full time worship – or any kind of worship. 

 

It’s interesting to note that this same faulty exegesis regarding Acts 15:16-17 is found quite a bit on the internet.  Just do a web search for “tabernacle of david” and see how many sites come up with this same error.

 

Now, moving on to the unveiling of the Ark: Bickle asserts that David’s Tabernacle did not have a veil concealing the Ark of the Covenant from view. 

 

“In David’s tabernacle there was no veil to keep the people from seeing the glory of God.”[3]         

 

He goes on to explain how the Davidic worshipers were in effect a ‘human veil’ over the Ark.  He cites a number of scripture references [1 Chronicles 6:31-33; 15:16-22; 23:4-6; 25:7] yet none specifically state that there was no covering in front of or over the Ark.  Two of these passages actually conflict Bickle’s assertion especially the 6:31-32 verses:

 

31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the LORD after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. [1 Chronicles 6:31-32 NKJV emphasis mine]

 

This position of an unveiled Ark is not supported in scripture.  This would be contrary to the example provided by Moses whose Tabernacle had an inner room termed the ‘Most Holy Place’ housing the Ark with a thick curtain/veil separating this room from the rest of the structure [Exodus 25 – 27].  Besides 1 Chronicles 6:31-32; 23:4, here are the only two Biblical passages directly referencing David’s make-shift Tabernacle dwelling itself:

 

 1 David built houses for himself in the City of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched a tent for it. [1 Chronicles 15:1 / 2 Samuel 6:17 NKJV]

 

1 So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. [1 Chronicles 16:1 NKJV]

 

 [As an aside: it’s interesting to note that the Hebrew transliterated word for both ‘tent’ and ‘tabernacle’ in these Chronicles passages are both ‘‘ohel;’ whereas, the word for ‘tabernacle’ in Exodus 26:1, the Mosaic Tabernacle,  is ‘mishkan’ in the Hebrew thereby illustrating the difference between the two.  Additionally, the transliterated word for ‘tabernacle’ in the Amos verse is ‘cukkah.’ All three are different!]

 

In addition, even an unveiling of the Ark during transportation was apparently forbidden as per instructions Moses gave in Numbers 4:4-6:

 

4 “This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of meeting, relating to the most holy things: 5 When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall come, and they shall take down the covering veil and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. 6 Then they shall put on it a covering of badger skins, and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue; and they shall insert its poles.  [NKJV]

 

Therefore, we cannot assume the Ark in the Davidic Tabernacle was somehow left open, unveiled for all to see.  Since only the Levitical High Priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place/Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, how could we assume the Ark was left in open view?  In addition, in light of the fact that with Jesus’ atoning death on the cross the curtain of the temple was torn thereby signifying that we may now enter the Holy of Holies/Most Holy Place directly [Mark 15:38; Hebrews 9:8-10:12; 10:19-20], why would we assume that the Ark was ever previously in plain sight? 

 

Furthermore – and most importantly – why would we want to resurrect an Old Testament pre-Messianic era practice?   With Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we are now the temple with the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

 

Now, I’m not opposed to corporate prayer.  I’m not opposed to 24/7 prayer.  But, the ToD is promoting just another ritual.  We have enough of those already.

 

Going back to the “Affirmations and Denials” page, the “WE AFFIRM” section uses a bit of scripture to support the ToD stance.  However, the references do not support the assertion that the Holy Spirit is ‘orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority.’  Nor do they support anything about a ‘spirit’ of operating in the ToD.

 

There’s also some confusion – at least to this reader – with the wording in this section.  Starting from the very top in the “WE AFFIRM” section it is clear Bickle is speaking of a prayer movement which will be in the ‘spirit’ of the Tabernacle of David.  And, the restoration of the ToD is not the same as the end-time prayer movement according to the “WE DENY” section.  Does this mean Bickle’s ToD is not an end-time prayer movement but a prayer movement not specifically related to end-times instead; or, does it mean that it’s not the same as the restoration of the Tabernacle of David which refers to the nation Israel’s reestablishment in the Millennial Kingdom?  Looking at the last paragraph of the Charisma article, Bickle refers to the ToD as end-time worship.

 

Is there significance in identifying it as NOT an end-times prayer movement as opposed to simply a prayer movement?

 

The bottom line is there is no Biblical support for Bickle’s Tabernacle of David.  The initial scriptural basis used for it in Acts 15 has been clarified and denied as being improper exegesis.  But, what about the current piece in Charisma which is at odds with the “Affirmations and Denials” of the ToD on the IHOP site?  Could the initial attempt to line up this practice to the Word of God have been instead a matter of eisegesis – looking for Biblical texts to support a ‘prophetic word’ of Bob Jones? 

 

Further, the assertion that the Ark was unveiled for all to worship in front of is Biblically unsupportable as well.  In fact, it’s easy to refute Biblically.  So, where’s the justification for the ToD?

 

 

 

[1] Mike Bickle, “The Tabernacle of David,” Charisma Magazine July 2008 <http://charismamag.com/index.php/charisma-channels/prayer/18744

 

2 Mike Bickle, The Tabernacle of David,” Affirmations and Denials, International House of Prayer , http://www.ihop.org/Articles/1000050149/International_House_of/About_Us/Our_Beliefs/Affirmations_and_Denials.aspx 

3 Charisma Magazine

 
 
 
 
 

 

  
True or False? 

 

 1. It is easy to identify false teachers.

Matthew 7:15

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

~~~~ 

2. False teachers hate money. 

Titus 1:11

They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach-and that for the sake of dishonest gain.

~~~~

3. The people will not want to listen to the false prophets.

   Isaiah 30:9-10

 These are rebellious people, deceitful children,children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.

They say to the seers  “See no more visions!”  and to the prophets  “Give us no more visions of what is right!

Tell us pleasant things,   prophesy illusions.  

 ~~~~

  4. We have to sort the counterfeits working right along side of us.

   Matthew 13:30

Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’

~~~~

5. We are told that the false teachers will be destroyed.

 2 Peter 2:1

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.

~~~~

6. Those who teach false doctrine, we are to receive into our homes.

2 John 1:10-11

 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.

~~~~

7. Many in the church will accept false teachings in rebellion of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3

 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

~~~~

 8. Stay close to those who are teaching false doctrine to correct them.         

Romans 16:17

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.

~~~~

9. Many will seek teachings that will satisfy fleshy desires.    

2 Timothy 4:3 

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

~~~~    

10. The gate to heaven is wide and inclusive.   

Matthew 7:14

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

~~~~ 

11. We are warned that many will be deceived in the end-times.

 Matthew 24:11

And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

~~~~

12. There will be false teachers who will proclaim to be Christians.

Titus 1:16

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

~~~~   

13. We can reprove and rebuke the false teachers. 

 2 Timothy 4:2

 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.

~~~~

14. Error can be prevented by listening those who interpret dreams.

  Matthew 22:29

 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

~~~  

15. False teachers will be hard to find within our own churches.

 Acts 20:30   

Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

~~~~

 16. As time goes on we should see increasing peace and strive for this at all costs.

Matthew 24:6-7  

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

~~~~

17. False teachers will use flattery to deceive those who are easy targets.

Romans 16:18

For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

 ~~~~    

18. Only those professing truth will be able to perform great miracles to convince the people of their words.

Matthew 24:24

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. 

 ~~~~

19. False doctrine planted by false teachers will be someday be rooted up by God. 

Matthew 15:13-14

He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

~~~~

20. Those teaching heresy will appear gentle as doves but will be ravening wolves.

Matthew 7:15

 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious  wolves.

~~~~   

21. The world will have to be “taken” and Christianized before Jesus Christ can return.

Luke 18:8

I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

~~~~  

22. New revelations take precedence over scripture.

Matthew 24:35 

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

~~~~    

22. Everyone who publicly calls on the name of Jesus is saved.

 Matthew 7:21

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

~~~~   

23. Those who preach, heal, perform miracles, and cast out demons, have to be people of God.   

Matthew 7:22-23

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

~~~~   

24. False teachers promise material blessings for those who give abundantly to their ministries.

2 Peter 2:3

In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

~~~~   

25. There will be false prophets and teachers who will deny Christ.

 2 Peter 2:1

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.

~~~~  

26. Bible study is a good way to protect yourself from false doctrine.   

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

~~~~

27. There are other true gospels besides the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ    

Galations 1:9 

As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

~~~~  

28. False healers will not be able to perform miracles.   

Deuteronomy 13:1-2

If 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, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,”

 ~~~~

 29. We are not allowed to judge the teachings of others.   

Matthew 7:1

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.   

Matthew 7:2

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Matthew 7:3

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Matthew 7:4

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye 

Matthew 7:5

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 ~~~~

30. False teachers do not want to be unpopular and warn you about your backsliding.

Revelation 3:16   

So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

 ~~~~

31. Preaching good works, gives all the glory to man instead of God.

 Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.

 ~~~~

32. Once you hear and understand the gospel you will never turn away from the truth.  

 Galations 1:6

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-

 ~~~

33. Using seeker-friendly and worldly entertaining methods is a good way to bring people into the church.

 Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

~~~~

34. Those who say there are many ways to God are false teachers.

    John 14:6

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

~~~~

35. It is okay for evangelists of the Word to have many worldly extravagant luxuries.

 1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

~~~~

36. True teachers need to study many types of books to be well-rounded in their education.

Colossians 2:8

 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

~~~~

 37. Men who perform miracles, and promote their visions of angels must be empowered by God.

    2 Corinthians 11:13

 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.    

   2 Corinthians 11:14

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

   2 Corinthians 11:15

It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

~~~~

38. We are instructed to be grounded in the Word of God, so that we can immediately recognize a false teaching.

  Ephesians 4:14

 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

~~~~

  39. False teachers say that Jesus Christ is just a myth.

    2 John 1:7

 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

~~~~

 40. You can be like God.

2 Corinthians 11:3

 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

~~~~

41. God is doing a new thing.

 Hebrews 13:8

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

~~~~

42. As time goes on there will those who will leave the faith by believing the doctrine of devils.

 1 Timothy 4:1

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

~~~~

43. We need to point out error to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 1Timothy 4:6

If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

~~~~

44. Those claiming to speak for God, but do not, will not pay the consequences.

 Deuteronomy 18:20

But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.

~~~~

45. There is something we can do when we suspect a false spirit in a false prophets.

 1 John 4: 1

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

~~~~

46. Jesus told us to abide in His word so that we would know the truth.

 John 8:31-32

 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, “If  ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”“See, I have told you ahead of time.”  

Matthew 24:25

 “See, I have told you ahead of time.”

 

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46. T

FIRST-PERSON: Neither faith nor healing

Posted on Jul 11, 2008 | by William A. Dembski

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Todd Bentley’s healing ministry has gained national attention. His daily meetings for the past three months in Lakeland, Fla., have attracted hundreds of thousands from all over the world. The press has begun to question Bentley’s legitimacy — Is his financial accounting above board? Are miracles really happening? I want to raise some more personal concerns.

On July 3, my wife, three children and I attended Bentley’s “impartation service” in Denton, Texas, north of Dallas. Why? We have twin 7-year-old boys, one of whom is autistic (largely nonverbal, still not fully toilet trained, serious developmental delays). Friends urged that we attend the meeting for his miraculous healing.

Call us stubborn, but my wife and I are unimpressed with doctors who see our son’s condition as hopeless. We believe that God still heals and that His means of healing include conventional medicine, alternative medicine, prayer, fasting, love and, yes, miracles. In any case, we haven’t given up on our son’s recovery (we still remember the day when he was developmentally on track). So if God wanted to use Todd Bentley, we were open to it.

As faith healers go, Bentley is unconventional. Exhibiting black shirt, baggy jeans, tattoos and piercings, he prefers grunge to Gucci. But his appearance wasn’t a problem for my wife or me. God in the Bible used many unconventional people. The problem for us was the manipulation, hype and agenda that seemed to pervade the meeting.

It was a 130-mile drive for my family to get to the meeting. When we called the organizers, they urged us to get there by 3 p.m. even though the meeting didn’t start till 7 p.m. The venue (a basketball arena) seated 8,500 people, yet the organizers told us to expect 14,000 people to show up. So the only way to be sure of getting a seat was to get there early.

We therefore piled the kids into the minivan early afternoon, arriving around 4:30. At 6:30, after sitting for two hours, the arena was about three-quarters full. One of the organizers then announced that traffic was backed up for miles around Denton and that several thousand were trying to get into the meeting, most of whom would have to be turned away. This was sheer hype. A significant block of seats (at least 20 percent) were cordoned off and never used throughout the whole night. We could have arrived anytime and still gotten seats.

At 7, Keith Miller (the chief organizer, http://www.sfwm.org) started things off. After prompting the audience to perform ritualistic acts of worship (stand up, raise your hands, say after me …), he passed the baton to a young woman singer and her backup band. The sound system was terrible — sounds were loud and distorted. The music was repetitive in the extreme. In almost two hours of this “music ministry,” only a handful of songs were sung, and many of them seemed to consist of only one or two phrases.

Finally, around 9 p.m. Bentley began to speak. He devoted much of his message to the visions he has received and the miracles he claims have happened in his ministry. Then, almost as an afterthought, he spent a few minutes preaching from the Bible (John 5). In fact, he admitted that he was having us open the Bible simply so that it couldn’t be said that he didn’t preach from the Bible. So much for reverencing the Scriptures.

Nowhere in Bentley’s message did I see an emphasis on the love and compassion of God — that healing is an expression of God’s goodness and care for humanity. Rather, the emphasis throughout was on power — the power to heal and be healed.

Bentley told stories of remarkable healings. In fact, he claims that in his ministry 30 people have now been raised from the dead. Are these stories credible? A common pattern in his accounts of healing was an absence of specificity. Bentley claims that one man, unembalmed, had been dead for 48 hours and was in a coffin. When the family gathered around at a funeral home, the man knocked from inside the coffin to be let out.

But what are the specifics? Who was this man? What’s his name? Where’s the death certificate? And why not parade the man at Bentley’s meetings? If I am ever raised from the dead through anyone’s ministry, you can be sure I’ll put in a guest appearance. Bentley claims that he is having a team investigate healings performed under his ministry and will soon go public with the evidence. I look forward to seeing it.

After preaching, Bentley took the offering. During the offering he asked “How much anointing do you want to receive?” Thus he linked the blessing we should receive with the amount of money we gave.

After the offering, Bentley said a general prayer for mass healing. People who thought they were healed then came forward. But I saw no obvious or dramatic evidence of healing. After the general prayer for mass healing, Bentley indicated that he would pray for the severest cases.

At this point, a friend who was with us urged that she and my wife take our son with autism down for prayer (I stayed with our other son and daughter). Over an hour later my son with autism was still not able to get to the main floor for prayer. Ushers twice prevented that from happening. They noted that he was not in a wheelchair. Wheelchair cases clearly had priority — presumably they provided better opportunities for the cameras, which filmed everything. They also invoked the fire marshals, who, they claimed, prohibited too many people on the floor of the arena. But earlier in the service, during the worship time, they had packed the floor with people singing and whooping it up.

After midnight we were told that it would be an hour and a half before our son could get prayer. At that point, we got up and left. Yet the story doesn’t end there. When we got to the minivan, our other son remembered that he had left his Bible in the arena. When my wife went back to retrieve it, everybody, including Bentley, had suddenly cleared out. Staying an hour and a half would not have mattered.

Our son was refused prayer twice because he didn’t look the part, and he was told to wait still longer for a prayer that would never have been offered. And even those who looked the part seemed to look no better after Bentley’s prayer — the exodus from the arena of people bound in wheelchairs was poignant.

My son’s situation was not unique — a man with bone cancer and his wife traveled a long distance, were likewise refused prayer, and left in tears. People with needs were shortchanged. It seemed that power, prestige and money (in that order) were dominating motives behind the meeting. Minimal time was given to healing, though plenty was devoted to assaulting our senses with blaring insipid music and even to Bentley promoting and selling his own products (books and CDs).

Neither my wife nor I regret going. It was an education. Our kids are resilient. But the ride home raised a question. We found ourselves avoiding talking about the event until the children fell asleep. Then, as they drifted off in the early morning, we talked in hushed tones about how easily religion can be abused, in this case to exploit our family. What do we tell our children? I’m still working on that one.
–30–
William A. Dembski is research professor of philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The above article was passed on to me by:

Bud Press from:

http://www.christianresearchservice.com/

Bud also send out this update about a video from ABC. Watch and you will see the actual documents presented to ABC from Fresh Fire Ministries, for proof of the healings. Only three were produced and they were measely indeed. What a sham. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69p-vJfWudo&eurl=http://simplicityinchrist.org/2008/07/10/todd-bentley-on-abcs-nightline/

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