Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Wait and See" what fruit Todd Bentley bears? The "Gamaliel Approach"

This is a wonderful article from EndTimesPropheticWords addressing all (including Dr. George Wood and Pastor Stephen Strader) who would say "lets just wait and see what fruit Todd bears or what miracles are done at the Lakeland "Florida Outpouring".

The bottom line is this;
"Wait and See" is a foolish and unbiblical position to take!

The article follows:...

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‘The Gamaliel Approach’ has been quoted a lot about the Lakeland Outpouring, to justify not speaking out about or criticising or ‘judging’ this movement and the doctrine and spirits behind it. The approach has frequently been posted into comments on this site, and on other forum boards, claiming to be the voice of ‘wisdom’ and ‘reason’. Even Jack Hayford, who should know a lot better, recently quoted Gamaliel’s words as a basis for his approach to spiritual discernment.

Although I wrote how the Gamaliel Approach is not scriptural in an article about Jack Hayford’s statement on Lakeland here:, I am reposting the Gamaliel Approach as an individual post as it is brought up so often by so many people. It needs to be vigorously refuted because it just ain’t scriptural!

The Gamaliel Position - a scriptural position or not? eg: currently understood re Lakeland as - Leave Todd Bentley and his ministry and movement alone, do not assess it or criticise it or take action about it, and if it is not of God it will die out by itself in time and fail.

Let’s look at what scripture says within context about who Gamaliel was, what Gamaliel actually said, and what he actually meant when he said the now oft-quoted words. Let’s also look at what Gamaliel did after speaking these words.
“When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them (the apostles) to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. ” (Acts 5:33-39)

Firstly, and most importantly, we see that Gamaliel was not a Christian, he was a zealous Jew opposed to Christianity on the persecutor’s side. Though he may well have trained Saul/Paul, remember Saul/Paul zealously killed Christians before he converted and later on looked back and considered himself an evil man and an enemy of God! Gamaliel may have taught Saul/Paul the law BUT it was Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that showed Paul the truth and opened his eyes to it, not Gamaliel. The law brought death, and the Spirit brought life. Gamaliel was not inspired by the Holy Spirit and a friend of God, but Paul later was. So to quote and promote Gamaliel’s words, is to quote a zealous religiously blind persecutor and enemy of God, not an enlightened friend to the truth.

There is no evidence that what Gamaliel said was either scripturally sound or inspired by the Holy Spirit. Though his words are recorded in scripture, this does not mean them to be either right, wise or godly. God used what Gamaliel said to rescue the apostles from death, certainly, but it does not mean that his speech is therefore applicable and useful in any other contexts - especially when assessing Lakeland.

What Gamaliel said is not even true in a wider context, for if we examine religious or political movements through history, we find many not of God have prospered from the world’s perspective, as has evil in general prospered. Look at the Roman Catholic church! Look at the Mormon Church! Look at the Moonies! Look at Scientology! The list goes on and on and on by human perspective. Indeed, even Gamaliel’s movement that was opposed to God lived on and persecuted and killed many of the saints! So Gamaliel’s words, as well as coming from an enemy of God and not being scriptural, are not logical or true in the context Lakeland supporters apply them.

Then go to the next verse, verse 40. ‘His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.’

Gamaliel had the apostles flogged and ordered the apostles not to speak in the name of Jesus. This is the verse Jack Hayford and others conveniently ignore, for if Gamaliel was moved by the Spirit of God and was wise and prophetic, then we have to say the following action was right to! But it was clearly not right or godly - it was the actions of a religious persecutor who did not know the truth, and sought rather to suppress and silence it. So Gamaliel’s words come from an enemy of God who persecutes and silences the truth and the followers of the truth, and the words are not scriptural, not prophetic, not logical and not true.

It is also clear to me that Gamaliel did not think the apostles to be of God, or that he could be fighting against God by opposing them - nor did he even harbour any doubts as to the possibility this was so - because of the other people and failed rebellions and uprisings he compared them to, and also what happened subsequently with him having them flogged and silenced. He was using a form of logic to make a point, he was not really saying ‘IF these men are of God’, as for him there was no IF.

So again, Gamaliel had made up his mind about the apostles and their way - he was not in any doubt as to it. If he was in any doubt and was ‘waiting and seeing’ their fruit, he would not have dared to publicly flog or silence them. So Gamaliel’s words come from an enemy of God and persecutor, his words are not scriptural, not logical, not prophetic and not true, they come from someone who had already made up his mind as to the spiritual identity and the truth of the men he ‘judged’, and his words are currently used out of context as they’re not applicable for a situation where there is the possibility of any doubt on this matter!

To use Gamaliel’s expression then so completely out of context is theologically illiterate and unjustifiable as well as illogical. It cannot rightly be applied to Lakeland by any stretch of the imagination.

Next, we need to realize that Gamaliel when talking about leaving the apostles ‘alone’, was speaking in the context of not having them killed. He was not talking about not speaking up about these men or judging or weighing up their theology as he had already done that. Because he had ‘judged them’, he took action by ordering them to be quiet about Jesus and punished them!

So if we truly take Gamaliel’s approach, we order Todd Bentley to be silent and publicly flog him for heresy! But I do not think Jack Hayford or any Todd Bentley supporters mean that - but they should -- if they use Gamaliel as an example to uphold and a role model.

So Gamaliel’s words come from an enemy of God and persecutor, his words are not scriptural, not logical, not prophetic and not true, they are not applicable for a situation where there is any doubt, and if we follow them to the letter we should actually take action, speak up and silence and punish the false prophets and teachers (albeit not kill them). Gamaliel took action (albeit he discerned and judged wrongly), he did NOT sit on the fence to wait and see!

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the church should not take a laissez-faire leave alone approach to false doctrine or false apostles or false prophets. It says that the church should vigorously work to keep from false doctrine and false spirits and false apostles infecting it by testing and weighing and judging as previously discussed. It should be on guard and its watchmen and shepherds must do their job and ensure stuff does not creep in unawares. When bad stuff is found within, it must be dealt with and ‘judged’ ruthlessly. When false servants are found, or unrepentant sincere heretics, we are ordered not to associate with such men or allow them to get to the flock.

The Gamaliel ‘wait and see’ ’sit on the fence’ approach is sadly not biblical, and it is partly thanks to shepherds and followers that quote this that the church is in such an apostate state as it is today. By the time the church at large wakes up, if ever, to Todd Bentley and his schemes and resounds the warnings, well it will be too late for many as the damage will be done. The biblical attitude to discernment is not of Gamaliel - either in its true or distorted form.

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