He mentioned Nigeria directly by name in his “Prophetic Directions for 2008”, as God’s own country http://www.etpv.org/2008/pd4208.html. Glowing testimonies from Nigeria are among the top cited ones on his Fresh Fire Ministries website; yet there are disconcerting aspects about Todd Bentley (a Canadian evangelist with global ministry) that the average Nigerian pastor is most likely totally ignorant about. Todd’s interest and great potential influence in Nigeria, is what has made it a burden for Church Arise! to bring out the information that follow in this article. The responsibility for taking appropriate action is then left for the individual pastor and Christian reader of this newsletter.
So what about Todd Bentley? He is the man at the centre of what is being labelled as the “Third Wave” Revival, in the footsteps of the much discredited First and Second Wave revivals at Toronto and Pensacola years back. This “third wave” on-going since April 2, 2008, is happening in the United States. Todd Bentley had been invited to hold a series of meetings, scheduled to last 5 days, at the United Church, Lakeland, Florida, but an outburst of unusual supernatural manifestations has kept the meetings going on ever since, now running into weeks. (Wikipaedia has a brief favourable report here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakeland_revival).
Yes, there are reports of spectacular healings, signs and wonders; but associated with these are also some strange manifestations. Mike Oppenheimer of “Let us Reason” Ministries (http://www.letusreason.org/) describes some of these manifestations: “This revival has all the spiritual sensations and activities of the other revivals combined: Roaring, groaning, burning sensations in the body, head, and stomach; shaking, jerking, spiritual drunkenness and uncontrollable laughter and then some new manifestations. People have their eyes rolled back in the back of their heads. There are reports of women gyrating and pulsating like they've been ravaged from behind by some unseen force.” Todd Bentley himself describes a particular scenario: “During a visitation, the pastor's wife got totally whacked by the Holy Ghost. She began running around barking like a dog or squawking like a chicken as a powerful prophetic spirit came on her.” Oppenheimer, himself a deep occultist before becoming saved, was blunt in declaring: “Holy or un-holy may still be debated by some but to those of us who are knowledgeable of the previous 'revivals' and the power of the occult, the jury is in. The source is not the God of the Bible.” (www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/markell-prophet-wolf.htm)
Todd Bentley, with his tattoos and body piercings (which he had probably when he was still a demon-afflicted Satanist, before becoming a Christian), has far more than these chaotic manifestations to answer for, even if asking the questions has not always been easy. For example, according to Charisma Magazine editor Lee Grady: “When I called for scrutiny of some aspects of the Lakeland Revival, I was labeled a Pharisee and a 'religious policeman.' I had suddenly become the enemy.”
There were also the issues of significant violence associated with Todd’s ministrations - as when he tried to maul a young man he was ministering deliverance to; or his gloating about the kicking of a healing-seeking lady in the face with his biker boot – under the instruction of the ‘Holy Spirit’. Incredible, but it’s true! See http://www.prophezine.com/PZArticles/AreChristiansThatStupidByRayGano/tabid/706/Default.aspx. (For a partial word-for-word transcript of a YouTube video titled, “Todd Bentley's Raging Revival”. See http://www.christianresearchservice.com/ToddBentleyResearchPage.htm) The 2 minute-37 second video may be reviewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K8XjObzfXM. An apologist, futilely attempts to water down the situation, insisting the boot never touched the face of the lady before she fell under the unction of the spirit! (http://completefaith.wordpress.com/).
By far the most serious aspect of this hyped “great outpouring”, however, has to do with doctrine. One major issue is the key role the “female angel” named Emma plays in the whole “revival” saga. Todd describes the so-called angel as a young, (about 22) beautiful female who appears at the meetings spreading gold dust on people, which invariably translates to financial breakthrough for those so-dusted, among other miracles. As part of his new angels-centred theology, Bentley now teaches: “So when I need a financial breakthrough, I don't just pray and ask God for my financial breakthrough. I go into intercession and become a partner with the angels by petitioning the Father for the angels that are assigned to getting me money: 'Father, give me the angels in heaven right now that are assigned to get me money and wealth... Let them go into the four corners of the earth and gather me money.” This type of prayer is unfortunately gaining much currency among Pentecostal circles in Nigeria at the present time. While the Scriptures say the Father will give His angels charge over us, heir of salvation, it is not our job specifying which angels to send and when! Summoning ‘angels’ and ‘spirits’ has long been the main character of the occult.
Further on doctrine, Bentley has been claiming he makes routine trips to the 3rd heaven where he interacts with Abraham, Jesus, and at least on one occasion, interviewed the apostle Paul (http://www.scribd.com/doc/3356633/-Todd-Bentley-DEMONIC-STAR-GATE-PORTALS-TO-THIRD-HEAVENS- ). Bentley describes all these matter-of-factly and is even ready to assist others to learn how to make these no-big-deal trips. Any informed Christian would easily understand that the trips are nothing different from the out-of-the-body astral travels that are so common in new age spirituality, where a horde of demons meet the gullible seeker at the point of his/her expectations – from posing as UFOs, to taking on forms of dead relatives, or (for the religious minded folks) some biblical character!
Read more on this subject matter from Jan Markell’s article FOOTPRINTS OF A PROPHET OR TRACKS OF A WOLF? http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/markell-prophet-wolf.htm