Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Emergent Monday - The NAR and Their Day of Infamy

3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)
“Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather, it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
I can't lay claim to calling the NAR-Todd Bently debacle the "Day of Infamy" the honor of coining that phrase goes to Steven Kozar and the Messed Up Church blog, but the question did come up last week. When I wrote about the NAR's Spiritual Mapping gimmick, Alec Satin speculated that one would expect a great deal of immorality behind the scenes or perhaps even openly, so maybe a review of the Day of Infamy would answer questions like this.

Todd Bentley was born in Gibsons, British Columbia, a small community on the western coast of Canada. As told in his autobiography, his parents divorced while he was a child, and he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction1 Even though criminal records of juvenile offenders in Canada are sealed, several media outlets have reported on Bentley's conviction at age 15 of sexually assaulting a much younger boy when he was 13. Bentley later said that the original article was trueAt age 17 Bentley was hospitalized after an overdose of amphetamines and hallucinogens. At 18 he converted to christianity and changed his lifestyle completely.  

Bentley was called to ministry, he said, in 1998 when a "glory liquid honey cloud" came through the kitchen of his apartment and into the living room. It rested over his head, and the "manifest tangible presence of God" did not leave his life for three months. During that time Bentley was "slain in the Spirit" from four to 12 hours per day and saw many visions, he said. After the three months were complete, Bentley said Jesus appeared to him on Mother's Day and told him he would never return to secular work again.  (Source)
In 1998, the Fresh Fire Ministry group asked Bentley to give his testimony at one of their weekly meetings. Soon after, Bentley took over leadership of the group, and it became more of a revival movement. In the Fresh Fire ministry Bentley began to promote Patricia King of Extreme Prophetic, grew very close to aberrant Kansas City prophet Bob Jones, and supported false prophet and false doctor Rick Joyner, as well as such churches as the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. He also fell under the spell of the utterly false teachings of the false prophet William Branham.

William Branham taught that the Word of God was given in three forms: the zodiac, the Egyptian pyramids, and the written scripture. He claimed to be the end-time "Elijah" prophet of the Laodicean church age and he taught nonsense heresy such as the Serpent Seed teaching
“Here is what actually happened in the Garden of Eden. The Word says that Eve was beguiled by the serpent. She was actually seduced by the serpent. He was as close to being a human that his seed could, and did mingle with that of the woman and cause her to conceive.” (source)
He even called the handsome serpent the missing link between man and monkey. Branham later declared himself the angel of Rev. 3:13 and 10:7 and prophesied that in 1977, all denominations would be consumed by the Roman Catholics, the rapture would take place and the world would end. He died in 1965, but many of his followers expected him to be resurrected, some believing him to be God, others believing him to be virgin-born

Branham was not just some random nutcase, he was a major influence in what is now the NAR. He was born in Berksville KY in utter poverty. At age 5 he heard a disembodied voice which directed him to abstain from coffee, smoking, and alcohol - which is good advice for any 5 year old even in 1914 Kentucky. Branham also claimed that this voice gave him unusual healing powers. As Branham aged he became fascinated with the zodiac and Egyptian occultism, he also fell under the tutelage of occultist Franklin Hall. 

Branham's teachings permeated and fueled the charismatic movement. I'm going to go on at length about Branham, probably next week, but think about it; here's Todd Bentley, a young power hungry preacher with no formal training and no experience in exposition of scripture. He has been immersed in drugs, alcohol, criminal burglaries, assault, physical abuse of his mother, several stints in prison, and immersed in sexual sin suddenly hearing the teachings of an occultist and his sex fueled Serpent Seed teachings. You would think that he's ripe for satanic attack, and you would be right. Todd Bentley even claims that he was possessed by 25 demons after he was saved.

Todd Bentley may not have learned much scripture, but he did learn money. He learned that there is big money in big crowds. He places ATM's alongside food booths outside his gatherings, allowing people access to cash for for the offering plate and for book purchases. He also sells "anointed" handkerchiefs to the undiscerning at his revivals. 
You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:28)
Even though Christians are not under the law to fulfill righteousness, as we are saved by grace, we have to uphold it (Romans 3:31). The question has been asked, why does Todd continue to add graffiti to his body in opposition to the Biblical standard? Todd Bentley's most noticeable "body suit" of tattoos is made up of occult, pagan, and Christian-ish symbols and images. I can understand if he had the tattoos when he accepted Christ, many Christians do have them from their earlier life (mine is a small image of a wolf howling at sunset, a representation of the 8th Fighter Wing "Wolfpack") but Todd keeps getting more tattoos after conversion. He now sports a tattoo of Jesus crucified upside down with a monkey in his beard, and a tattoo of an Oni, the Buddhist guardian devil of hell just above Jesus' head. Personally my disagreement with his tattoos is the fact that they're outrageously expensive, and to cover your body in tattoos is a hugely arrogant selfish waste of money, especially for a Christian minister.

Beginning on April 2, 2008, Bentley was invited by Stephen Strader, pastor of Ignited Church, Lakeland, Florida, to lead a one-week revival. The revival quickly became a para-religious media phenomenon, attracting up to 10,000 attendees nightly with Bentley as the primary preacher. In addition to showcasing Bentley's evangelism, the revival featured colorful light shows and power-chord "Christian" rock music. These extravaganzas were streamed live on the internet and broadcast on GOD TV. (Fitting, because with very very few exceptions the programming on GOD TV is little more than false teaching from the NAR and Jesus for fun and profit hucksters like Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar)

Fast forward to the day of infamy, June 23, 2008. The Lakeland "Outpouring" is in full swing. Lights are flashing, bands are jammin', and money is changing hands. Bentley is in full stride, in the past few weeks he's read personal messages from Jesus on stage, he's "healed" dozens of people, he claims one guy can now see out of his glass eye, another grew a new eyeball. Todd has claimed to heal AIDS, Parkinson's disease, kidney failure and other conditions. This isn't cheap, Bentley informed the crowd that attendees would not receive a blessing unless they gave generously. (source)

Into this circus tent setting swooped the "Super Apostles" C. Peter Wagner,  Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, Che Ahn,  Stacey Campbell, John and Carol Arnott all there to hitch the wagon of superstar cash generator Todd Bentley to the NAR. They took to the stage to "Commission" untrained, undisciplined, undereducated Todd Bentley to become part of their Super Apostles Good Old Boys Club: 
"I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to you Todd Bentley: Your power will increase. Your authority will increase. Your favor will increase. Your influence will increase. I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry. A new life-force will penetrate this move of God. Government will be established to set things in their proper order. God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error. New relationships will surface to open the gates for the future!
However within two months Todd Bentley was gone. He abandoned the Lakeland Revival and resigned from the Fresh Fire Ministries, he left his disabled wife and children, and admitted to having an affair for the past 8 months with a woman on his staff at the Fresh Fire Ministry. He freely admitted that he was 100% responsible for the divorce, his affair with his former intern is in full swing, and he was drunk during Lakeland Revival. 

And, oh yeah, all those healings were fake. I mean, seriously - knee a man with stage 4 colon cancer in the gut and he's healed? Kick a woman in the face and she's healed? This kind of nonsense got Todd Bentley banned from entering the United Kingdom.

This of course was a huge embarassment for the New Apostolic Reformation, and if they had any dignity it would have ended the entire movement. But they pulled together and proceeded to cover up their embarrassment with a restoration project. The task of "restoring" Todd Bentley fell to false prophet and false doctor Rick Joyner who spent about two years "restoring" Todd to whatever it is he was "restored" to. To me it looks like he was restored to exactly what he was before June 23, 2008. Here he is claiming to have resurrected 3 dead people in Pakistan. Folks who are keeping count say he's claimed 35 resurrections in his career. Actually it's Todd that's been counting.

If you feel embarrassed after seeing that video, good. It means your gift of discernment is alive and active and that you understand the difference between praising God and praising Todd. I'm going to leave the summation of this affair to Dr. John MacArthur who wraps it up very nicely
Wagner confesses that he didn’t know Bentley prior to his commissioning, and claims that the apostolic alignment was his attempt to bring Bentley under the authority of other apostles. But compare that with Wagner’s words of unequivocal praise and blessing during the alignment ceremony. In fact, apostle after apostle proclaimed nothing but blessing and favor for Bentley. If they truly were speaking on behalf of God—the same God who was about to reveal Bentley’s immorality—how did they all manage to get the message so wrong?
Worse still, it seems Wagner had heard rumors of corruption and ungodly activity at Lakeland. But he says he ignored advice from others to address those issues privately before the alignment, a choice he defends by saying, “I had to follow God’s leading for me personally.” In effect, then, his explanation of the whole debacle is, If you don’t like the way I handled it, blame God.
That kind of blame shifting has gone on since sin first entered the world (Genesis 3:12), and it still doesn’t hold any water. The fact is, Wagner and his fellow apostles usurped authority that doesn’t belong to them. And that for people who supposedly speak for God, they show an alarming lack of biblical discernment and understanding...
As for the modern apostles, their track record is unimpressive to say the least. Fallible prophecy, inaccurate spiritual impressions, and dangerously poor discernment were not characteristic of the New Testament apostles, and neither should they be hallmarks of church leaders today. In fact, the greatest argument against the modern continuation of the apostolic gifts and the office of the apostle might be the modern apostles themselves.

1 Bentley, Todd (2008-01-01). The Journey into the Miraculous. Destiny Image. ISBN 0-7684-2606-5. Retrieved 2015-12-13.

2 Hiebert, Rick (2001-04-30). "Does forgiving mean forgetting? A faith healer comes clean on his young-offender conviction for child molestation.". The Report Newsmagazine (High Beam Research). Retrieved 2015-12-14.(article intro only; subscription required for full access)


  1. Hi Doug,

    That video doesn't embarras me. It frightens me. It's evident that the man has been anointed. Another name for it is possessed.

    Also of note about the video - it seems to have been published by "Right Wing Watch". The world sees no difference between him and you and I. Think about that.


    1. The thing about Right Wing Watch is that in exposing these charlatans, they're doing our job for us. We should be ashamed that con men and hucksters are using the Lords name to glorify themselves and to line their pockets and we are doing nothing about it.

      As I like to say "even a blind dog can find a bone on occasion" and when RWW gets it right I find myself forced to use their video because we inside the church, the ones that are tasked to judge the actions of those that claim to be inside the church (1 Corinthians 5:12), are not doing it. I don't want to use their video, I'd rather use video from a Christian source, but there is none.

      And yeah, he was anointed (probably the most overused word in Charismatic circles), possessed? He claims that he was/is possessed... which is an awesome segway into next weeks article - Thanks!

  2. His conversion story sounds more like demons at work than the Holy Spirit, especially when you consider his history ever since! I believe the man is indeed possessed by demons and doing the work of Satan.

    1. The most telling part is when Bentley said he was possessed by 25 demons after he gave his life to Christ. Christians don't get possessed, we may get oppressed, but never possessed. Which now begs the question - just who did he give his life to