Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Are the Assemblies of God endorsing Todd Bentley?

I was raised in the Assemblies of God and thankfully had mostly biblically-literate leaders. I have now cut my AG/pentecostal/Armenian roots but I do, however, have many godly friends and loved-ones remaining in the organization and hold many Assembly of God pastors in high regard as men of God even though I may disagree with them on some non-essential doctrinal issues. I have appreciated Steve Hill...
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...putting sin and repentance in the forefront of his messages when I have heard him.

These days in many pentecostal/charismatic churches, if a biblically illiterate pastor can get a biblically illiterate congregation to vote him in, pretty much anything goes. And those congregations are the most likely to go after this type of false outpouring.

That the AG does not generally maintain control over what their pastors teach or what books, revivals, videos, etc they endorse in their local churches and does not actively reprimand and or remove pastors who don't eschew these types of unbiblical and/or heretical practices is unbelievable to me and the fruit of that failure will be a huge problem during this "revival".

Ultimately, when extra-biblical "signs and wonders" or teachings/prophecies are claimed, pentecostal/charismatic organizations are afraid to speak out against them because to do so would shatter much of their history and discredit many of their former "saints of God".

They think that by speaking against any "manifestation" they are "grieving the Spirit" and "putting God in a box". I heard Bob DeWaay relate an illustration about putting God in a box. It was something like this...

We don't put God in a box... He puts US in a sheepfold. And the protective fence He gave us in the New Covenant age is the Word of God, the Bible! He gave us boundries so we could stay safe, KNOW Him, and please Him. The fence is our measuring rod. It says that what is inside is safe. What is outside is error. It is by the bible alone that we may judge rightly how far we can go. The extra-biblical signs, wonders, miracles, manifestations etc. are the garbage that the wolves (false prophets and false teachers) have laid outside the fence to tempt us into venturing out and they will be our destruction.

Thomas Brooks wrote that God's "fence" has two attributes:
1. protection (Job 1:10), "Haven't You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns?"
2. affliction (Hosea 2:6-8), "I will hedge up her path with thorns. I will wall her in..."

The hedge of protection—is to keep His people from danger.
The hedge of affliction—is to stop His people from wandering.

The hedge of protection—is to keep them in God's way.
The hedge of affliction—is to keep them out of sin's way.

The hedge of protection—is to keep them from suffering.
The hedge of affliction—is to keep then from sinning, and to put them upon returning to God.

Presently the Assemblies of God has a huge problem if they wanted to make a statement against Todd Bentley since two of their most public, well known pastors (Steve Hill and John Kilpatrick) have now stood on Mr. Bentley's stage and given their blessings calling the Florida revival a "move of God" and Todd Bentley a "man of God".

I'm angry and sad... and seeing AG Leadership on Todd Bentley's stage was the last straw for me. I want the AG to be held accountable to make a statement for the huge mistake made by Steve Hill and John Kilpatrick in which they have made the garbage outside the fence look good to the sheep,... leading untold numbers to error. That hurts.

So I'm calling the AG out. What will the official statement be from any AG leader concerning this "Florida Outpouring"? As a pentecostal denomination they must see that their people will be drawn to this and that they have an obligation to guide people to either support or denounce this so-called revival.

I wrote the Superintendent Terry Raburn at the AG Peninsular Florida District Council seeking an official statement and they wrote back saying:

Brother Sharp,
We do not have an official position on this revival. It is hosted by a Sovereign church and the evangelist is not credentialed with the Assemblies of God. My schedule has not allowed me an opportunity to attend the services.
Blessings to you.
Terry Raburn, PFDC Superintendent

I have also sent the letter to the Assemblies of God General Council asking for a formal statement concerning the "Florida Outpouring" and those directly associated with it including:

1. Todd Bentley
2. Patricia King
3. Joshua Mills
4. Bob Jones
5. Paul Cain
6. Rick Joyner
7. Bobby Connor
8. Steve Hill
9. John Kilpatrick

I have also asked them to provide at minimum a statement of endorsement or refusal to endorse with reasons and asked them if the AG organization has or will encouraged or sent any pastors to attend this revival, and if they have recommended or will recommend that pastors give any particular position concerning the revival from the pulpit.

If the General Council will maintain support for the actions of their pastors Steve Hill and John Kilpatrick they must in agreement publicly call Todd Bently a man of God and the "Florida Outpouring" a move of God.

Otherwise they should publicly denounce what their pastors said and stick to the statements they laid out at General Council, August 13, 2000 which, incidentally, was in Orlando, Florida!.

The AG Position Paper linked above says in part: (bold emphasis is mine)

...We believe that God's Spirit never goes where His Word does not. . . . We have been lambasted by elements of the electronic church and charismatic renewal as being backslidden and non-Spirit led when we have not jumped on popular bandwagons of the day loaded with the meringue of personality and spiritual excess rather than the plain meat of God's Word. So be it! If criticism is the price we must pay for asking the question: "What saith the Lord in His written Word?"-then let us wear that criticism gladly as a sign of fidelity to Christ...

...Just as Scripture tells us a prophecy must be judged (1 Corinthians 14:29), so should an unusual physical response be judged. Is the physical demonstration the result of the Spirit’s conviction resting heavily on a sinner? In revivals of earlier centuries, conviction has led sinners to groan, to weep, and even to scream as the fear of eternal damnation gripped the soul. Such "manifestations" seem entirely appropriate, if they are sincere expressions leading to conversion.

Reports of souls saved and lives changed should never justify wrong theology and practices. Yet Paul said about the false prophets who were causing him and his ministry frustration, "Christ is proclaimed in every way whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice" (Philippians 1:15-18). But Paul obviously wanted Christ to be proclaimed from right motives and with biblical integrity. So do we.

"So do we."? Then to you, Assemblies of God, I say, "Prove it!" Give us a statement concerning the "Florida Outpouring."


UPDATE: Since I have had no response (as of 5-26-08) I sent a second letter to the Assemblies of God leadership which can be read HERE.

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Eric Smith said...

I don't speak for the A/G in any way, but I am an A/G pastor. While I just posted my concerns about this 'revival' on my blog this morning - I would like to respond to your post by saying that in essence, the A/G has already responded to things like this. You referred to it in your post - the article from the Orlando Convention that was passed (dealing with 'Joel's Army', etc.), if you are wanting more than that - that probably will not happen.

The reason being, and like it or not, the A/G never seems to be too quick about speaking out 'for' or 'against' anything like this. If you will remember they were extremely slow to embrace Brownsville - and that was an A/G church obviously. I would expect to hear nothing about this - otherwise we would have an official statement about the hilarity that is known as TBN.

I would, however, caution you not to take their silence as an 'endorsement' in any way, shape or form.

While we’re on the topic I would love to see the A/G at, at least, appoint a study committee to study Rick Warren's purpose driven doctrine, the Emergent Church doctrines, and other such groups - but I sadly don't think that's coming any time soon either.

As far as Kilpatrick and Hill - I'm pretty sure neither were representing nor speaking for the A/G that night. Both these men took incredible criticism for the Brownsville revival and have both promised not to 'to quickly judge' future revivals because of that. Right or wrong, that is where they stand.

Having said that, seeing them on stage with Bentley greatly disappointed me as well - knowing what I know about Bentley by hearing/reading it directly from him. I would love to hear Hill’s take on Bentley’s little ‘angel’ named ‘Emma’.

William Fawcett said...

The A/G position paper on Resolution 16 already soeaks out against this, but A/G as a policy will not criticise something like this outside of the fellowship.

Hill and Kilpatrick seemed to be blindsided by bentley's request for hands laid on him. It seems they came to bless the meeting.

As to Kilpatrick, is his current church an A/G church? I think with his affinity with the N.A.R., he is probably moving away from the A/G.

William Fawcett said...

My Bad, Kilpatricks church is A/G. Amazing how many A/G churches will not even mention A/G on their website.

Check out http://godsplace.us

and see what they are preaching these days.


Anonymous said...

So far I cannot understand what the fuss is all about too..

Teachers or Bullies, Know it all, false persons still too who mostly have not read the Bible firstly too.. who want to teach others, or mislead them
The baptism of the Holy spirit, the gifts of the Holy spirit, the Anointing , tongues, Prophets, Apostles, miracle workers, have become unarguably the most overused, overworked, misunderstood, misinterpreted, contentious terms in the non Pentecostal and in the Non Charismatic arenas, mainly in the fundamental religious circles even because many of these people are mostly still serving self, doing their own thing, looking up to mere man and not God.. man's help useless for the most part in understanding spiritual things still too. Beyond the show of a doubt the devil firstly really hates any references to the Holy sprit, the anointed ones, the idea that Christians do have now empowering to overcome the devil too… and so the devil uses any of his followers, those in the fundamental religious circles too now, to now lie, twist, distort the truths…

I have had only one encounter with a real angel in my life, and his discussion with me helped me to have certain things in my life straightened out.

I recently wrote back rightfully to one bully, basher, ignorant person that he should not be so readily to try to preach, to teach others, especially in matters he really new nothing about or had never experienced personally himself. It is ludicrous still as to how many so called experts can write about their own ignorance of Tongues, Healing, the Bible, Angels too.. On top of that what makes matters worse is the tendency of the devil to make us either have personally initially totally false values, or got to an extreme with a good value. I have been there too myself. When it came to the subject of healing now too.

Anonymous said...

To those that know, nothing needs to be said. To those that don't know, nothing can be said.

Ignorance is not bliss.

The gospel will ride to the ends of the earth on the mouths from the hearts and by the feet of His empowered and inspired people.

For the one's who choose to cower in the corner in quiet, dead places, just remember that guy with the one talent. Don't be like him.

Got it?
If not, get it!

warrior daughter said...

I have been a active member for 25 years in the AOG. I was not born-again until I was 35 years old so I am an older member. I have much to say what I have witnessed in the past 25 years and it is not in favor of the AOG.
Many churchs and just not AOG have a very active Jezebel spirit within. AOG believes that a Christian cannot be demonized so this spirit is running rampart within.
In my church, people cannot wait to exit out the door because they state preaching takes to long. This is because of the worship service that may go on for over an hour and people are bombarded with loud music as if at a rock concert. Some of the songs are very questionable. This music is allowed due to pastor's thinking and being deceived by some that this will attract the younger people in. I ask where are they?
A new Sunday School class was started without teaching just drinking coffee and fellowshipping. This was put into effect for people to get to know new people. Again, I ask where are they?
Sunday night service has been cancelled with the slogan it is a time to spend with your family. Family time can be 6 nights a week and Sunday needs to be dedicated entirely to the Lord.
I have researched Todd Bentley and the AOG needs to approach this man with caution. You can find out who he endorses, where he gets his thoughts and words from ect. It is not good.
I ask AOG where is your truth? Where is your fire? Where is your longing to be more like Jesus and not settle for the world's ways?
Where is your hunger to set man free? Where is your desire to see man saved? Where are you AOG?

Anonymous said...

Have any of you been to Lakeland. I am 30 years old and my Mother (now 56) were each born and raised A/G. She has been to Lakeland, met Todd and we have both watched the revival for over 100 days now. It might behoove you to visit before you judge. Todd is a man of God. My Aunt has been healed of MS in a meeting, my Mother a knee injury and high BP and my 9 year old son was prophesied and prayed for with miracle dental work and God healed him through his prayers of this revival. Dont put my God in a box please. We happen to like our miracles. If you dont want any that leaves more for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I was in the A/G for a long tiime went to Bible School and Seminary and lean more towards reformed but believe in gifts, not apostles and prophets. I left A/G and was in a church that went purpose driven Church for 6 years and it turned emergent in some respects. I am now back with the A/G but over this Todd Bentley affair I am coming to believe that the NAR and Latter Rain have a very strong foothold. Unless the A/G takes a strong stand I peredict there will be a split over the authority of God's word over and above experience. (I am not a prophet its just an observation) I e-mailed my pastor and I received no responce and I am not sure why? Where are the Shepherds who are protecting their flocks?

Anonymous said...

A/G are like other denominations and churches of the flesh, there are a mixture of Spirit, flesh, and demons.

I have attended A/G and Baptist churches and find in them very few men of integrity especially the top leadership but rather deceived ones deceiving others.

It's very sad to see men who say they love the truth but in reality don't want to hear about it because then they must be responsible and accountable for their words and deeds which they don't want to do!