Wednesday, July 9, 2008

JUST IN: AoG's Dr. George Wood DENIES a Bentley "Letter of Rebuke"

Here's a story update concerning an alleged "Letter of Rebuke" that was said to have been sent to Todd Bentley by Assemblies of God General Superintendent Dr. George O Wood. An anonymous "Living in The Way" comment to our posting of Dr. Wood's statement to this blog claimed that a letter of rebuke was sent to Mr. Bentley.

Another anonymous comment to THIS POST stated that the letter was discussed at an Assemblies of God district meeting in New York.

I immediately wrote Dr. Wood to get details to assess whether these comments were true or not. My letter follows:

Dr. Wood,

I am Pastor Jon Sharp, who several weeks ago wrote an "open letter" to you which you responded to after returning from Korea. I am now writing again for the readers of my blog "Living in The Way" as well as the blog to which I contribute "Christian Research Net". I am writing in the hope of gaining more details to help me provide clear biblical information to friends and relatives of mine who are both Assemblies of God members and also who are being deceived by Todd Bentley's ungodly agenda.

First, I would like to say that I appreciated your "Statement of Revival". It was a Biblical guide that your churches needed and it dealt with many of the important issues of this time.
However, I would also like to state my disappointment that you did not "name names" and clearly show your disappointment and concern with Todd Bentley and the "Florida Outpouring".
I sincerely believe that if you do not specifically call out Mr. Bentley and his associates as false teachers, many AG pastors and members who are misled and deceived by this false spirituality will perpetuate the desire for this "strange fire" and continue to lead your churches into error.

Just tonight (6-19-08) at the "Florida Outpouring" one of Todd Bentley's students, Ryan Wyatt, (like Todd Bentley, a disciple of Bob Jones)...
...addressed the Florida crowd about rising up as the Manifest Sons of God, the "New Breed", Joel's Army of the Latter Rain Movement. He was preaching the EXACT MESSAGE of false prophet Bob Jones from the 1989 Vineyard Prophecy Conference where Bob Jones gave his message under the guise of "thus saith the Lord":

"I have called the best of every blood line in earth unto this generation…I have elected to bring them forth in this generation…the elect generation…even the bloodline of Paul…of David…of Peter, James and John…They will even be superior to them in heart, stature and love for me’…Your children will possess the spirit without measure…They will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before…coming into the divine nature of Jesus Christ…a Church that has reached the full maturity of the GodMan! This generation…is going to see the beginning of this WORLD WIDE NEW ORDER." ("The New Order," Jewel van der Merwe, p.7)

{{Here is a forum post from a few months ago detailing much of what this movement is trying to "birth": http://www.christian-forum.net/index.php?showtopic=18933}}

Dr. Wood, I pray that you see my heart. I am not "going after" you or the Assemblies of God. I am doing whatever it takes to go after these false teachers, false prophets and heretics who are doing whatever it takes to "go after" YOUR Assemblies of God pastors and congregations! I think you can see that they are succeeding... while you, in being vague in your Statement on Revival, are effectively shielding your churches from receiving much needed Truth!

Right now I am trying to get the details on the "letter of rebuke" which you told the AG New York District you wrote to Todd Bentley. Since you spoke about this letter to a general audience, and since the knowledge that you wrote the letter is not confidential, I would like to know several things. I hope you will share them with me. I have MANY people landing on my blog by searching "Assemblies of God position on Todd Bentley" and related searches. I am trying to help get the truth about Todd Bentley out and I believe I have a fairly large group of AG (and relatives of AG) readers.

I pray that you see it as the right thing to do...please give me some details about your letter to Todd Bentley. I'd like any details you would give me, including, if possible:

(1) The general details of what the letter dealt with.
(2) For what specifically did you rebuke Todd Bentley?
(3) Did you specifically request that Todd Bentley reply to your letter?
(4) As of this date, has he replied to your letter?
(5) Does Stephen Strader have the "blessings" of the Assemblies of God to continue hosting Todd Bentley?
(6) What will be the action you will take if you do not receive a response from Mr. Bentley, or if he does not heed any instruction you might have given him.
(7) Are you going to give more clear guidance to your congregation's pastors and members than you did with your "Statement on Revival"?

I wrote on my blog:

If (the "letter of rebuke") exists, I commend Dr. Wood. HOWEVER, if he has enough of a concern to rebuke Todd Bentley, he must see some severe problems with Mr. Bentley. And if Dr. Wood indeed sent a letter of rebuke to Mr. Bentley, it is concrete proof that Dr. Wood is UTTERLY FAILING to faithfully lead tens of thousands of AG members who have embraced the "Florida Outpouring" AWAY from Todd Bentley's deeds or teachings that prompted his rebuke. AND if Todd Bentley has DELAYED in responding to a rebuke from an international denominational leader, then HE shows utter disregard and disrespect for the rebuke and the Assemblies of God which gave him his platform for this so-called revival!

Dr. Wood, now is the time to help free many from this deception and heresy. Even if the Assemblies of God lost some membership, pastors and/or churches, it is the Biblical thing to do to boldly stand FOR the Word of God and AGAINST the roaring lion who is even now devouring many of those we love.

In Christ, and looking forward to your response,

Pastor Jon Sharp

The Way Christian Fellowship
McCamey, Texas


This was sent on June 19th. As soon as I pressed the send button I received an automated response saying that Dr. Wood would be on vacation until July 7th.
Yesterday, Dr. Wood finally responded to my e-mail. His letter follows:

Pastor Sharp,

Thank you for your email.

I don’t know who gave you the information about a letter of rebuke, but that is not true. Todd Bentley is not a credentialed Assemblies of God minister and I never have talked with or corresponded with him.

My statement on revival speaks for itself. I have sufficient confidence in the overwhelming majority of our pastors and lay people that they can exercise discernment based on Biblical principles.

In my years of ministry I have found that sometimes a defensive posture only energizes those who are critiqued, and gives public relations ammunition to present themselves as martyrs.

At this point, with the counsel of many leaders, I have chosen to stay on principle rather than personality.

Blessings to you.

George O. Wood


Okay, so Dr. Wood DENIED sending a letter of rebuke. However, I was still concerned about the truthfulness of our "anonymous commenter" that spoke of Dr. Wood's statements at the Assemblies of God New York District meeting. So I wrote a note back to Dr. Wood which follows:

Dr. Wood,

Thank you so much for writing back to clarify this. I just have a couple more questions. But first, please note that I refer to what a commenter on our blog wrote concerning you. The comment follows:

"Dr. Wood recently visited the A/G New York District Office where he shared that he sent a letter to Todd Bentley to which he has not yet received a reply although he believes that Todd had replied in a roundabout way on one of the broadcasts.

I don't remember all that he said, but do remember that he mentioned that angels are good for two things: jail breaks and confirmations. He also mentioned that when Todd spoke of William Branham (and the angel on him) he immediately knew something was wrong as Branham was a well-known heretic.

As this was not one of the more important or interesting topics during the discussion I took no notes and am not remembering exactly what else was said, but he did mention the letter and he brought up some issues he had with this so-called revival."

Dr. Wood, would you please tell me how much of and/or which of the above statements are true?


I would like you to know that I sincerely appreciated your "Statement on Revival". It was biblical and dealt with the issue nicely... I only wish that you would further publicize it, noting that what you said in that statement should be applied to the "Florida Outpouring" (the principle)... even if you don't want to deal with Mr. Bentley (the personality) himself.

I agree that a statement by the Assemblies of God against the personality could cause him to present himself as a martyr furthering his foothold in the minds of many. But there are so many Assembly of God members and churches that are falling into this that I really think that it is vital that somebody in the AG organization deal with publicizing the views of your statement and applying them to the "Florida Outpouring".

Again, I must state that the local AG pastor is now planning his third trip to see Mr. Bentley and this time he will be taking a group of his church members. He is also currently showing videos of Todd Bentley, the Florida Outpouring services, and Patricia King/Joshua Mills in his church to entice his members to want "more" of what those ministries offer. This shows, that at least in our area, the discernment of the pastor is dysfunctional.

Also, the local members to whom I have spoken knew nothing about your statement on revival. And I have had AG members from around the nation contact me via my blog to ask questions about whether Todd Bentley's teachings are Biblical, so this is not isolated and it is not getting any better.

If you are going to rest your case concerning Florida on your statement, please do something to publicize it to every Assembly of God congregation and member.

Thanks again for your response.

Pastor Jon Sharp

The Way Christian Fellowship
McCamey, Texas



I very quickly received another note from Dr. Wood in response. In this note he VERIFIES the New York meeting and clarifies the details. And again he DENIES writing a letter to Todd Bentley. In his follow up note he wrote "betweeen the lines" of my e-mail to him to clarify what the anonymous commenter said. His note follows:

Pastor Jon,
See below for my comments.
George Wood

(from the previous letter:) Dr. Wood, ...please note that I refer to what a commenter on our blog wrote concerning you. The comment follows:

Commenter: "Dr. Wood recently visited the A/G New York District Office where he shared that he sent a letter to Todd Bentley to which he has not yet received a reply although he believes that Todd had replied in a roundabout way on one of the broadcasts.

George Wood Replied: I DID NOT SAY THIS.

Commenter: I don't remember all that he said, but do remember that he mentioned that angels are good for two things: jail breaks and confirmations.

George Wood Replied: I made an off handed comment that in the book of Acts angels did two things: jail breaks and confirmations (Acts 27:23). They did not bring doctrinal truth. Of course, in the nativity and passion, they are present for specific reasons.

Commenter: He also mentioned that when Todd spoke of William Branham (and the angel on him) he immediately knew something was wrong as Branham was a well-known heretic.

George Wood Replied: I’ve been at Branham’s grave in Jeffersonville, IN, a town I lived in as a teenager. Garish. Pyramid structure with eagle on top. He definitely was off-center theologically, heretical would be an appropriate word and I think I used it.
I am continuing to assess whether a further response (concerning the revival) is needed by me. Thanks for your input.


So there you go. Dr. George Wood admits that he believes Todd Bentley's hero, William Branham, was a heretic... and since Todd Bentley preaches the same things as Branham, what would that make Todd?

Also, Dr. Wood says in his statement (in effect) that the Florida Outpouring and Todd Bentley "should be avoided".

The "Letter of Rebuke" issue is cleared up, and I think Dr. Wood's stance is a little more clear, even though he still refuses to stand directly against Todd Bentley and directly call the Florida Outpouring false.

Please PRAY for Dr. George O. Wood during his "assesment of whether a further response is needed." There are so many who are being led astray.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since T. Bentley is not an AoG pastor, it makes sense that he did not receive a letter. However, one has to wonder whether S. Stader, who is an AoG pastor, may have received a letter or other communication.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your work in getting Dr. Wood's take on this. I am a lifelong AGer, his word may not hold much weight with many AG pastors. I trust he will see through this false revival and distance the AG from Lakeland and Bentley. It is also good to hear that Dr. Wood feels Branham is an heretic. Branham is a hero to many of the kook Charasmatic faction. The AG needs to get back to basics of Christianity, reaching lost souls for Christ. Healing in someones physical body or gold teeth or gold dust or angel feathers or BAM has never saved anyone. God help us and forgive all of us, we have strayed from our calling. Lee

KafirCrusader said...

FROM A COMMENT HERE:
http://forums.charismamag.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2794

In otherwords, Dr. Wood would rather shuffle the test they provided in their "Statement on Revival" to the pastors in the field and to the sheep as well and let them figure it out for themselves, asking the pastors and sheep to do the very thing that the leadership itself is unwilling to do. What leadership! What a cop out....what cowardice. How spineless.

Instead of "political correctness", would this be "religious correctness"?

God forbid they would dare take a stand one way or another. Stay lukewarm. Straddle the fence! Don't ruffle any feathers.

1PASTR4U said...

QUOTE:God forbid they would dare take a stand one way or another. Stay lukewarm. Straddle the fence! Don't ruffle any feathers.

Amen Child Of God Amen! It's time to take a stand for righteousness and for the TRUE power fo God!

Diane R said...

This is almost funny if it wasn't so sad. Perhaps you AG's need ANOTHER propostion to affirm Propostion 16 which was presented to the AG in 1999 which tried to uphold the first propostion passed in 1949. Or, just maybe, the AG could memorize what was passed in 1949 concerning the Latter Rain teachings and paste it on their foreheads.

Jon@TheWay said...

Diane,

The HUGE problem is that pentecostals/charismatics are not limited in their beliefs by the word of God...

Since they say God CAN do anything, (even when it is obvious that He does NOT do the crazy things that many promote) many are scared to draw any lines in the sand. But God already drew the lines and built the fence.

When I was little we sang "The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me! I stand upon the Word of God. The B-I-B-L-E!"

If something taught, believed, or performed that can not be directly measured by the Bible, it is shifting sand and should be avoided. You will soon fall if you follow it!

The Assemblies of God must rehash this stuff over and over because, at least recently, they REFUSE to apply what they found to be biblical truth in past incidents to call out those who teach that which is extra-biblical today.

I know, I know... driving a car is extra-biblical... blah, blah, blah...

The extra-biblical stuff we must measure only by the Bible are those things which deal with:

(a)the spiritual realm,
(b)moral/sin issues, and
(c)relational issues in the Body of Christ and with the unredeemed...

The Bible does not deal DIRECTLY with curling your hair... is it sin?... or not? Can we know by applying the Word of God? -- YES!

Using the Bible to gauge whether or not you should get your hair curled is simple... the question should be reduced to a moral/sin issue.

Will you curl your hair due to your sinful pride or as an attempt to seduce,... or will you do it simply in a desire to arbitrarily do something different that day, like wearing pink as opposed to red. Preference does not equal pride. I prefer my hair parted on the right, yet it is not a pride issue. And it is therefore not sin.

The Bible is useful for deciding ALL things and you are complete and thoroughly furnished if you read it and heed it.

Thank God for some of the charismatics and pentecostals who are limited in what they accept to those things that are clearly biblical.

Pray for the rest of them, because they are like fish sniffing a worm on a hook.

Diane R said...

Good post Jon. But, I haven't seen the "D" word used here yet. But then I don't hear it often anywhere except from the Third Wave Charismatic critics...Discernment.

Jon@TheWay said...

I'm sorry... I'm not sure what you mean, Diane. I'm dense sometimes.

On discernment, I (purposefully)rarely use the "D" word because so many have been brainwashed with an incorrect definition.

But my entire site is full of pleas calling people to be discerners by the biblical definition!

Also, I am definitely a "Third Wave charismatic critic"... so, please write back to clarify what you mean...

CHADECHISMSONFAITHANDLIFE said...

Could Todd Bentley be another Jim Jones? In the early stages of his ministry there are striking similarities between Bentley and Jones. In 1955, Jones was prayed for a Latter Rain Pentecostal Conference by O.L. Jaggers who pronounced that he had a very special prophetic calling on his life. Years later when he founded the People’s Temple, Jones used faith healing to draw the masses much in the same way Bentley has in Lakeland. It may be a little premature to say Bentley is treading the same course as Jones, but I think it is a possibility we must be aware of. After all no one ever thought Jones would go to the extent he did by getting 918 people to commit suicide through drinking kool-aid laced with cyanide. Bentley’s claims show that he is very dangerous spiritually as he has placed much emphasis on angels, third heaven experiences, and has claimed experiences where his spirit left his body which is known to New Agers as astral projection. Could Bentley be even more than just a spiritual danger? Could he be leading his followers down the same course that Jim Jones led the People’s Temple in 1978 to the greatest mass cult suicide in history? I am drawing the comparisons and revealing Bentley’s false teachings at http://www.toddbentleyjimjones.blogspot.com