I'm really getting tired of Christian leaders raising strawmen. Strawmen are when people say a certain group believes or does something that isn't true. The emergents do it all the time and so do the third wave Charismatics. The emergents try to convince us that every evangelical that isn't in their theological camp are extreme Calvinists, and the third wave Charismatics do it by saying that everyone who doesn't believe in healing THEIR way are cessationists.
It is the latter to which I refer to in this post. I am saddened that both Lee Grady and Stephen Strang, editor and publisher respectively of Charisma magazine has come out and said/intimated that if we don't agree with what is happening in Lakeland, Florida right now, we are against healing. At their own forum I cannot count the many, many people who make it VERY clear they are not against healing but are seriously questioning WHO is healing there. When a healer "sees" angels with names like Emma and reports really way-out-there experiences and revelations, we have to ask what kind of healing is going on? But in Grady's and Strang's world, that qualifies us to be "against healing.". This is just plain dishonest by both of them. The people on the forum have stated for weeks now the massive problems with WHO is holding these healing so-called revival meetings in Lakeland, Florida. And yet, Grady never responds directly to these concerns. And that was bad enough but now Strang comes out with the same. Charisma magazine is no longer a minor league Christian magazine and it needs to be more responsible than this and frankly, more comprehensive. From the beginning of this "river" revival, Grady and Strang have been enamored of it. Most Charismtics and Pentecostals I've read and talked with have serious questions about the Third Wave Charismaticism. And they also have serious questions and reservations about what is happening in Florida. Charisma really needs to do better than this. They should be presenting the classic Pentecostal position of Healing in the Atonement more instead of constantly pushing the occultic new age teaching of impartation by the "river" people in our faces. Although Bently finally started to teach healing in the atonement last year, I haven't heard him teach it this year and he doesn't seem to practice it. To teach healing in the atonemnt you don't have to drag the controversial Faith teachers into it. You can go back to Mason and MacPherson who both taught it. In fact, all three Pentecostal denominations that came out of those two people - COGIC, Assembly of God and Foursquare - believe this. For some strange reason the Foursquare statment of faith doesn't clarify this but MacPherson taught it. But then I don't know what is happening in Foursquareland lately but I plan to write about it in another post. On the other hand, the Assemby of God has it in their statement of faith (http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/index.cfm) and so does COGIC (http://www.cogic.org/believe.htm). People who believe in healing through the atonement of Christ, and not in impartation by "special people" (this smacks of Manifest Sons of God teaching, by the way) should not be pillolried as "people who are against healing." It's just plain dishonest. Let's get rid of those strawmen, shall we?
In conclusion, here is what Andrew Strom (a more true prophet and a Charismatic) said today in his email letter. I am quoting the last half of it:
A Spirit-filled pastor that I know from the UK who has been following
Todd Bentley's ministry closely for some years wrote to me about
what he himself has observed since the year 2000:
"My difficulty with Todd Bentley's ministry is not whether he has
recently covered himself with tattoos or pierced himself silly, but
the SOURCE of his power. He keeps changing his position on this.
Sometimes he says it's the Holy Spirit and a lot of the time it's his angels…
"Many have said that they believe that Florida is a 'mixture'.
Personally, I do not believe 'mixture' is involved. I believe these
deceiving spirits have hi-jacked Todd's ministry… Either the healings
are of God or they are not. Which is it?
"People can be healed in spiritualist churches. I have witnessed,
close-up, first hand, people being instantly healed by mediums
and faith healers. I have also seen people healed by the power of
the Holy Spirit. To begin with there is no discernible difference.
However the counterfeit healings soon begin to either go wrong or
something far worse comes upon the person.
"When God heals someone - He adds 'no sorrow.'
"I know Todd started off OK - I was there in his early meetings…
In September 2000 I stood in front of Todd and gave him the
warning that God gave me for him. "Beware, the leaven of the
Pharisees, lest an angelic leaven enters your ministry."
"One month later, according to Todd's own account, at a meeting
in Grants Pass Oregon, Cal Pierce walked in with Branham's
'Healing Revival' angel in tow, Todd saw and accepted this spirit
without reservation. His 'angels' have been with him ever since.
"I have written to Todd on numerous occasions and reminded him
of God's warning, alas to no avail.
"When Todd Bentley conducted a healing meeting in a large
charismatic church here in England in 2005, he laid hands on
many people who were apparently healed. I know of at least one
instance where a pastor's wife with cancer was prayed for by Todd.
Soon afterwards she heard voices in her head telling her to 'drown
herself just like her father did'. The poor woman ended up in a
mental hospital, I believe she still has the cancer.
"No-one is following up or keeping records of what happens to
people who have hands laid on them by Todd or others like him.
"I have kept records as far as I can, concerning this particular
church. Over a relatively short period, there has been a dramatic
increase in premature deaths, cancers, marriage break-ups,
sickness and disease amongst the congregation where the
leadership have allowed this type of ministry into their church.
Many people left the church in fear.
"These are the consequences of following this type of 'ministry'
which no-one is either aware of, or wants to address. I know, I have
visited the people in hospital and attended one of the funerals…"
Meanwhile we find a number of prominent leaders beginning to
declare that this will be one of the greatest revival movements in
history. Some even see it as the beginning of a "new awakening".
Bob Jones declared that "This move will be a global move, traveling
with signs and wonders all over the world! The third wave is here!"
As this 'anointing' spreads worldwide, I believe there are some
serious questions that we need to ask ourselves:
Isn't it possible, with all the dubious 'anointings' and angels and
manifestations associated with Bentley's ministry, that what we
are really seeing is a giant 'counterfeit' revival? Isn't it possible
that if it continues to grow at the present rate, that it may literally
become one of the great "delusions" of the Last Days - a great
deception that has the power to actually deceive, if possible, the
These are very serious questions - but I believe they must be
asked - because this 'anointing' is already beginning to circle the globe.