Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An Open Letter: The Assemblies of God re: Todd Bentley

Today I received a response to my letter to the Assemblies of God National Headquarters concerning the Lakeland "Florida Outpouring" revival that has been going on now for about 50 days. It was a worthless response that did not answer my direct questions. It said...


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READERS: Please post and link to this letter wherever possible. If you have friends or family in an Assembly of God church, e-mail it to them. We must get the word out as much as we can!

If you have any concern about this you could also write a letter:

General Council of the Assemblies of God
1445 N. Boonville Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802-1894

Or call the AG:

Phone: 417-862-2781

Or e-mail the guys I e-mailed:

•General Superintendent, Dr. George Wood: gwood@ag.org
•Peninsular FL Dist. Supt, Terry Raburn:
traburn@penflorida.org
•AG Public Relations Director, Keith Surface:
ksurface@ag.org
•Steve Hill's church:
contact@stevehill.org
•John Kilpatrick's church:
ministry@johnkilpatrick.org



Today I received a response to my letter to the AG National Headquarters concerning the Lakeland "Florida Outpouring" revival that has been going on now for about 50 days. It was a worthless response that did not answer my direct questions. It said:

Jon,
Typically, the Assemblies of God does not issue statements on local revivals. I have checked with our leadership and no statements are planned at this time.


Keith Surface (AG Public Relations Director)

The response I got from the AG Peninsular Florida District Superintendent was worthless as well.

Good afternoon, 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.
Sincerely,
Terry Raburn - PFDC Superintendent


The problem is that this Florida revival started at and it is hosted by AG pastor Stephen Strader at Ignited Church... an official Assembly of God Church. I was not sure what they meant by "It is hosted by a Sovereign Church... and this certainly is not a "local" revival, so I replied with an open letter which I will post below:



To:
Dr. George Wood (AG General Superintendent),
Terry Raburn (AG Peninsular Fl. District Superintendent),
Keith Surface (AG Public Relations Director),
Steve Hill (AG Pastor, Heartland Church),
John Kilpatrick (AG Pastor, Church of His Presence)

Sirs,

I'm a nobody. And though I was raised in the AG I am not credentialed. But I certainly can plainly see that the AG has some direct involvement in this movement and that they also have some responsibilities because of that involvement.

Brother Raburn, are you saying Ignited Church is not an AG church or that it is not hosting the revival? If not hosting they are surely promoting:
http://www.ignitedchurch.com/

Ignited Church shows on your national website as an AG church.And Stephen Strader shows as its AG minister.

PHOTO: Todd Bentley being interviewed by CBN displaying Ignited Church logo in background.
http://ag.org/top/church_directory/index.cfm?Display=Yes&churchdetail=4cb575be-b3d7-46bc-8c91-da78f346a3b9

If "Sovereign" churches are ones not associated with the AG please tell me how I can get a listing for my church on your web site!

Todd Bentley's website shows it as an Assembly of God church...
http://www.freshfire.ca/index.php?Act=read&status=revival&Id=148&pid=954&bid=923

Please give me the AG definition of a sovereign church.



Let me assure you that I am not being antagonistic. I have a sincere concern that many thousands of AG congregants are being deceived by this false revival. And my claim that it is a false revival is substantiated many places but none quite as nicely as in your own position paper.

http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_endtime_revival.cfm

Yet, I am becoming extremely concerned that this IS an Assembly of God revival and that the Assemblies of God are ignoring their own position paper in this instance.


It says in part:

...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...

Would you be so bold to be criticized now? Has the desire for "fidelity to Christ" left the AG in just 8 years? It would benefit the organization if you would dust this paper off and do what it says and judge this revival, its participants and your pastors by what it says.

Of grave concern to me is this. Two of the top Assembly of God pastors (Steve Hill & John Kilpatrick) stood on Todd Bentley's stage and "blessed" Mr. Bentley as a man of God and they blessed the revival as a move of God.
(
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQqe8BJm12g )
(
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEIp11FnuSg&feature=related)

So in effect, to myself, your national congregation, and in fact, the world, the Assemblies of God HAS already made a statement regarding this "Latter Rain" revival. That is the real problem. In fact,
http://firstagvictoria.org/ has a link to Todd's page. Is one group big enough for you to be concerned about? I'm sure there are many more planning trips if they haven't already been there.

And, sirs, this is a "local revival" like the Super Bowl is a "local" football game! I live in Texas and am already steeped in talk about this revival. Do a little Google search and see how local it is. It is an issue of national concern and there are many Assembly of God members being affected and are "going to get some" because of the Pentecostal/charismatic flavor of the meetings.

Sirs, this revival is a hand grenade that the AG may decide they would rather not deal with "at this time". But you don't have to be a Florida Outpouring Prophet to see that pretty soon it will blow up in your faces.

I know that Mr. Surface is just the talking head for the AG and that it must be difficult for both he and the organization to make a statement because it is an uncomfortable rock/hard place situation with the involvement of Steve Hill & John Kilpatrick, but for the souls who are at stake I must demand some kind of direct answers to my individual questions... even if they are worthless political ones.

I'll repeat the questions:

I'd like to know the official statements of the Assemblies of God regarding the Lakeland "Florida Outpouring" revival in general.If there are no official statements please make up something besides "the Assemblies of God does not issue statements on local revivals....and no statements are planned at this time". Perhaps it is time to plan and make a statement.

I'd also like an official statement concerning the specific people who are involved directly with the movement. I'd like, at minimum, a statement of endorsement or refusal to endorse each of these people with reasons:

1. Todd Bentley (a latter rain student, Joel's Army, who claims true apostleship based on a "visitation" by Jesus & Paul)
2. Patricia King
3. Joshua Mills
4. Bob Jones
5. Paul Cain
6. Rick Joyner
7. Bobby Connor
8. Steve Hill
9. John Kilpatrick
and might as well add
10. Stephen Strader.

I'd also like to know: Does/has/will the Assemblies of God, either on the local level or national level, encourage(d) or send (sent) any pastors to attend this revival. and more specifically were Steve Hill & John Kilpatrick sent by the organization (an authorized/church-paid trip) or did they go on their own funds and their own volition.

and:Do/have/will you recommend(ed) that pastors give any particular position concerning the revival from the pulpit.

I am blogging about this issue (
http://blog.thewaycf.com/2008/05/are-assemblies-of-god-endorsing-todd.html) and I will post this as an "open letter". I intend to keep my readers informed concerning these correspondences.

Again, this is all based on my burden for ay AG friends, family and acquaintances and is not meant to be antagonistic. Please know that if the AG has left its desire to live by biblical standards and it's refusal to attach itself to this new "Latter Rain" (
http://www.freshfire.ca/index.php?Act=read&status=prophetic&Id=2&pid=954 see "Restoration & Convergence") "Joel's Army" (http://www.freshfire.ca/index.php?Act=read&status=prophetic&Id=9&pid=954) revival that I must be as vocal and public as possible about that decision for those I love. The AG would have backed me at one time:

http://www.ag.org/top/Beliefs/sptlissues_imparting_spiritual_gifts.cfm

http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/199904/084_lessons.cfm

http://www.ag.org/top/events/General_Council_1999/19990811_councils_30_40.cfm

Please help to quench this false revival wildfire. Now is the time, before it is too late.

Prayerfully, In Christ,

Jon Sharp

Oh how the Assemblies have changed since 1949 when they refused to support the "Latter Rain" movement. Today the "Latter Rain, New Apostolic, Joel's Army" movement is crawling back out of its hole and checking to see if the same men of God are in place at Springfield. I guess I'm checking to see as well.

We'll see what response we get and will post it here.


UPDATE: As of 5-26-08 I have had no response from any except John Kilpatrick which is HERE

UPDATE: HERE is my second letter to the Assemblies of God leadership.

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18 comments:

FishHawk said...

Very well done!!!

TMRFiles said...

Good Job, Jon. I would just like to take some time to comment if I may on the AOG I don't like being the bearer of bad news, but I am not a bit surprised at Terry Raburn and his apathetic attitude. He reminds me of those spoken of in the Church of the Laodiceans, lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. Not to throw the baby away with the bath water, but the AOG congregants for the most part, I have found, are heavily involved in the blasphemous WOF/Word of Faith/belief. And this is widespread among various AOG churches around America and whatever countries AOG have churches located in, so they have already bought into the lie I am sorry so say. I can give you a link to an open forum where the Lakeland Revival is openly praised and endorsed, along with the WOF/Kenneth Copeland blasphemous teachings whose members are longstanding members for the most part from AOG. There is a common denominator between WOF and Bentley teachings and many of the membership at AOG have bought into it. At this point in time, the best we can do is pray for them because time is short, and we are in the apostasy knee deep.

Toni

Pastor Ray Barnett said...

Hi Jon,

Well, you answered a lingering question in my mind - is this demonic manifestation with Todd Bentley taking place in an A/G Church? You have now confirmed my suspicion when I first saw this man on You Tube; i.e. it is in an A/G Church.

George O. Wood took a stand against the "Holy Laughter" movement when T. Trask endorsed it. What will he do now?

All this "no comment" because Ignited is a sovereign church is a red herring. The A/G has NO RESPECT for local churches sovereignty, and have proved so in their many lawsuits against the brethren [Please see "Sue As I Say"... here - http://www.timefortruth.com/ForYourSpirit/StateOfChurch.aspx]

Thanks for the info, and the good work in digging after the truth.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Ray Barnett

www.timefortruth.com

Pastor Ray Barnett said...

LINK to the "Sue As I Say" article

Jeff Whittaker said...

Jon,
What a well conceived and worded plea! I am right now under charges with the national office for opposing and writing about some of these same questions, as well as leading my local, autonomous, and sovereign assembly out of the fellowship. This "non-answer" from Springfield is unfortunately typical of the lack of true spiritual leadership in the AG at this tragic season. I myself have forwarded the 1949 position paper on the Latter Rain to authority figures within the movement, warning about these trends as well. May the Lord bless you and keep you in this effort.
Rev. Jeffrey Whittaker, Michigan
www.michianachristianembassy.com

Anonymous said...

Methinks some church leaders are going to pay an awfully big eternal price for a decision to seek a toddler-like escape in a time like this and "hide from the Lord" by putting their heads in the sand.

Good luck explaining why you thought church leadership was about paperwork. P.S. He sees you now, but you can answer later. Doh!

janelle said...

Hi Jon, thanks for pointing me here from my blog. Just to answer your question about the whole Sovereign Grace comment...it simply isn't true. I'm a part of the Sovereign Grace church closest to the revival and we have nothing to do with it, I can assure you.

On another side note, can you point me to anything you've written about why you think the revival is false and not from God? Or why you think the miracles aren't true either? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Janelle,

That's a great question to just make sure the facts are presented prooving that it's false or not from God. And not to be rude or anything but, besides pointing you to the bible v Bentley knockout, have you seen the Christian blogosphere lately? You should search it specifically. If a portion of the Internet could wear a crown in heaven, it would. The "revival" has been theologically destroyed by bloggers and the poor defenders have run for cover to the official chatroom where they have monitors who kindly blind the sheep from seeing any words that might trigger an escape reflex before the strange fire falls on them.

Seriously, I think it's pretty much agreed that there's now approx a zero mathematical chance that the Holy Spirit is involved. And we know it's not about Jesus and God is being mocked. So unless there's any other member of the godhead it's not....OH WAIT!

Yeah I forgot it is about Emma, Winds of Change and Samael/Samuel. Since that's the new Trinity of Todd it must be God.

Anonymous said...

It would take volumes to write my journey through the Latter Rain Movement, WOF and Purpose Driven Drivel I have seen nothing but devastation and heartache for well meaning Christians who truly wanted more of God. Unfortunately the AOG has been infilterated with demonic heresies and now we see many AOG churches disintergrate. The lil mega church, First AOG of Appleton, WI no longer exists. Many of my fellow believer have fallen into mysticism and some even deny Jesus as the messiah. The great apostolic apostasy is here permeating almost every church. This thing has crossed into every denomination. Friends its gonna be a lonely road cuz not many are willing to give up their spiritual addictions.

Anonymous said...

I go to an AOG here in Clearwater, and a lady that sits with me on the Womens Leadership Ministry Team has already had direct conflict with me over this, what is WOF? The last anonymous poster used that abbreviation, is that Women of Faith? And anonymous is right on when they say its gonna be a lonely road --I'm already feeling it, and my church has said nothing from the pulpit one way or the other and that is worse. Trying to cover up is not going to work for me. Im thinking right now -- where do I go to fellowship tomorrow?? I dont know of any spirit filled born again solid true believing churches in this whole of Pinellas county ......if anyone else does please let me know. There are way too many seduced over here unfortunately.

blogger said...

It means "Word of Faith"

It would include the ministries of such people as:

Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Hagin, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Rod Parsley, Oral Roberts, R.W. Shambach, Paula White, etc.

Dawn said...

Thank you for your boldness in pursuing absolute Truth. I will email AOG headquarters and lead them to the Fresh Fire web site archives where it talks about honoring angels and transcendental meditation and Sadhu Sundar Singh, who was a universalist.

Keep on keeping on ... don't let up on the pressure for answers. AOG Pastors need to know the truth about this revival so they can protect their sheep. In time, the fruits will be seen ... whether good or evil ... if it is a false move of God it will be exposed.

Anonymous said...

This is a normal response from the AG leadership. What you have to understand the AG leadership in many states and the main headquarters in Springfield MO is more afraid of people than God. So they will not make any statements until the outpouring is over and it’s safe to come out with some carefully crafted statement that want upset too many of their people. The denomination is split; those that would love the outpouring and those that will condemn it and most of their leadership stands in the latter group. Like the Pharisees, that was afraid to answer Jesus’ question because of the fear of the people; the AG leadership too are man pleasers and fearful to revel their true heart on this matter. Although they claim to be Spirit lead it is only after they check with their voting populous and their budgets that they will decide what God is saying. This is an origination that has a veneer of being Pentecostal but its heart is seeker-sensitive and program driven.

Anonymous said...

This is amazing to me, cults don’t attack each other but Christians can’t get enough of it. Jesus said, the world would know we are His disciples because we love one another. They have turned into “Christian cult hunters” How many unsaved people have the “Christian cult hunters” shared the gospel with or how many sick people have they prayed for this week? How many hours have they spent worrying about Todd Bentley or some other Christian that has sent themselves on fire for the world to see. Why do the Christian cult hunters care? Because their god is being attacked and because these threats are doing something and the “Christian cult hunters” are not. The reason they care is because their god is weak and requires their support - Who is their god? It is Theology and Doctrine, the same god that the Pharisees worshiped. Stop, focuse on Jesus and do what he did; love, heal and set people free.

Anonymous said...

Beacuse they will not listen to sound doctrine and truth thst comes forth from me,I the Lord will turn them over to deception and they will eat the fruit of that deception and it's taste will be very bitter.Their ears long to be tickled with words that puff them up and feed their flesh,but this is not of me.I said in my word that I would send forth a strong delusion and it has come.I desire brokeness for ones sin and a contite spirit.I will in no way turn away that one who comes before me in this way.A wicked generation seeks for a sign.They are receiving a sign but it is not from me,take heed and search my word diligently for truth and I will reveal it to you.Not everyone who comes to you in my name is sent from me.I am the Lord and I change not,I bring forth revival,not men nor angels but me the soverign Lord and King of the universe.

The Divine Comedy said...

Well I don't show Ignited Church in the Church Directory for the AG but both Rev. Stephen Strader and his father Rev. Karl Strader are credentialed Assemblies of God ministers in Lakeland FL. Keep up the research. There is definitely "something rotten in the state of Denmark..."

Anonymous said...

We should seek for truth as Jesus said, The truth would set us free! Test the spirits to see if they are of God.Who is being glorified in the holy laughter movement? The Holy Spirit was sent to glorify Jesus. I don't see any thing in that movement that glorfies the Lord.It's gloryifing the person because all the attention is on people, not God.It isn't listed as being one of the gifts.We are to worship the Lord, not worship our worship.

Anonymous said...

Please be alerted to this news report:

GEORGE WOOD’S & DUANE DURST’S
SEIZURE OF ANOTHER LOCAL CHURCH:

REPORT ON

ASSEMBLIES OF GOD SERIAL BULLIES FROM THE PULPIT



NY SUPREME COURT RULING SLAMS ASSEMBLIES OF GOD

LEADERS WOOD AND DURST WHO SUED & HIJACKED ANOTHER LOCAL AOG CHURCH

COURT RULING: http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com/james/aogbethelmassena.pdf



[January 7, 2010 Update: Not satisfied with the destruction they have already wrought, the AOG is taking them to court again: Notice of Appeal was filed in the Appellate Div. of St. Lawrence County Supreme Court against local AOG Church]

Are you one of 22 Assemblies of God local churches in the crosshairs of Durst & Wood for takeover of your church property and bank account?

The New York Supreme Court stopped them in their tracks, but you could be next!



FOR COMPLETE REPORT & INVESTIGATION:

http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com/post/assemblies-of-god-serial-bullies-from-the-pulpit/#more-33





Sincerely in Christ,



James Sundquist

Rock Salt Publishing

http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com