Tuesday, July 8, 2008

LIES and MORE LIES: Todd Bentley & Stephen Strader

On June 22nd, the Lakeland Florida "Ledger" Newspaper published an article written by Cary McMullen called "Florida Outpouring Revival Concerns Pentecostal Leaders" in which both Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood, and Lakeland's "Ignited Church" Assemblies of God Pastor, Stephen Strader were quoted, as was Todd Bentley.

We'll start with the following quote from Todd Bentley:

"We're preaching and teaching the gospel and praying and healing the sick," he said in an interview just before the recent service began.

First off, Todd Bentley is a liar. While there is some minimal evangelism training and witnessing going on in Lakeland, (at the 1:00 services) "preaching the gospel" is NOT coming from Todd Bentley's mouth. Period. I would nearly be willing to wager (not because I'm a gambler... but because this is NO GAMBLE!) that the percentage of Todd's spoken words that have anything to do with Jesus Christ would be in the low single digits... 1-5% maximum... and that's being generous.

Also, a great many of the healings are false, a great many are arguable and some are said to be authentic. But regardless of whether they are real or not, if healings are occuring "they" (Todd & Associates) are "stealing God's Glory" because it is not "they" who are "healing the sick"... Only God heals the sick. And God does not appreciate Todd stealing glory He is due if the healings are true. Isaiah 42:8 says "I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another.

Todd continued...

"Jesus said a tree is known by its fruit. What's the fruit we've produced? Thousands are coming to praise God."

What??? Since when is "praising God" fruit of a true ministry? This is absurd misdirection and shows Todd Bentley sadly twisting and misapplying the Scriptural Words of Jesus.

Let's look at a few of the groups who have historically "Praised God".

Muslims, Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Branch Davidians, Members of People's Temple, Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God, Christian Scientists, etc, etc,...

Do/Did those groups bear TRUE FRUIT of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? No!...but they ALL "praise(d) God"!

The ONLY fruit of a true ministry is SOULS. All that we do, all that we say, should point people to JESUS CHRIST (Plow & furrow), lead people to Jesus Christ (seed & plant), and teach them (water & fertilize) until they become FRUIT of all that we say & do by repenting and putting their faith in Jesus, thus receiving their salvation! The only "fruit" a ministry bears is souls!

The Ledger's article continues:

(On June 6th, 2008), the Assemblies of God, the largest predominantly white Pentecostal fellowship in the country, claiming 2.8 million adherents, issued a statement about revivals that, while not targeting the Florida Outpouring specifically, seems to caution people about it.

For example, one guideline warns against Christians being "overly enamored with charismatic manifestations." The statement goes on: "Miraculous manifestations are never the test of a true revival - fidelity to God's Word is the test. Jesus Himself said there would be many who would do miracles in His name and even cast out demons, but He does not know them."

Reached by phone from Springfield, Mo., the Rev. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, said the guidelines are intended to instruct church members about any revival but his office had received a number of queries about the Florida Outpouring. Wood, who said he had watched YouTube video clips of the revival, said one concern related to a claim Bentley has made in the past about encounters with angels named Emma and Wind of Change, from whom he received messages.

"I'm concerned anytime someone reports to have special revelations from angels or a deceased person like the apostle Paul. That sort of information is not in the Bible," he said. "We need to make sure there is adherence to Scripture in any spiritual movement."

The Rev. Stephen Strader, pastor of Ignited Church, who invited Bentley to Lakeland, is a minister in the Assemblies of God, and his church is part of the Peninsular Florida District of the Assemblies. He said he agreed with Wood and the statement from the Assemblies headquarters.

(But Pastor Strader LIES... or he would follow Dr. Wood's advice and "avoid" Todd Bentley)

"We have the exact same concerns. (LIES) We watch over everything. Everything that happens on the platform is scriptural," he said. (MORE LIES - just watch the revival any night) Strader and Bentley say there has been very little talk about angels at the Florida Outpouring. (EVEN MORE LIES)

"Emma has never been part of this outpouring.(LIES - Bob Jones discussed Emma -by name- ON STAGE, with Todd Bentley, saying she was vital to the revival.)

It was an experience Todd had seven years ago, and it's been totally blown out of proportion," Strader said.

(Yeah... like Ted Haggard's homosexuality and Jim Bakker's fraud and conspiracy were blown out of proportion! Sin and false teaching CAN'T be "blown out of proportion"- they are GIGANTIC in the eyes of God. What if I said Ananias & Saphira's "lying to the Holy Spirit" thing was blown out of proportion?... What's are the lies Todd is telling less serious?)

Pastor Strader continued:
"The nightly message has been totally 100 percent nothing but Jesus. (LIES, LIES, LIES!!!) People looking for a problem or a heresy, they're going to find it." (Whoops, this is TRUTH! We will find it because you can't cover false teaching up!)

The Ledger continues-
Bentley said he doesn't understand the controversy. (Really? Then it's because he is blind, deceived, biblically illiterate, and/or a liar)

"I'm not having weekly or daily experiences of angels. (LIE! This goes against things Todd has said many times) I believe they're present at every service. I have felt them, (OKAY?!- Here he contradicts his prior sentence. He "feels" them because they are at every service yet he says he's not having regular experiences! And then he also says...) "but this revival hasn't focused on angels at all,"...
LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES! What is THIS if it is not "focused on angels"??

The Ledger article continues:
Strader acknowledged there have been some missteps and that the leaders have made "a small amount of adjustments." They no longer say people have been healed, only that people are "claiming to be healed," he said.

Stephen Strader is a liar. Todd Bentley (even since this article was published) continues to not only "claim" healings, but to tell people they are healed or are being healed, as well as saying to his TV audience (while reaching out to and looking into the camera) "you are being healed!".

Finally, the ledger article quotes Assemblies of God Peninsular Florida District superintendent, Terry Raburn who said:

"In a spiritually charged atmosphere, there is the possibility of excesses - astral travel, out-of-body experiences, healings that can't be verified," he said.

Yep... all of that and more are regular experiences for Todd, the Lakeland revival bunch and Todd Bentley's friends and associates.

Mr. Raburn continued:
"Half the people calling our office want me to shut it down, which I would not be inclined to do even if I could. I have no authority over (Bentley).

No, he can not shut down Todd Bentley... but he CAN and SHOULD deal quickly and finally with Stephen Strader and Ignited Church Assembly of God... why do you suppose Mr. Raburn would not want to "shut down" a false teacher, false prophet, blasphemer who is drawing the members of his denomination and churches into error? That scares me for the Florida Assemblies of God under Mr. Raburn.

But fortunately, all is not lost... Thankfully, SOME pentecostal ministers in Lakeland seem to have some understanding of the Word of God.

Wayne Blackburn, an Assemblies of God district official and pastor of Victory Church in Lakeland said: "From what I understand, these services are different because at Brownsville, every night someone preached about the Lord Jesus Christ. It's amazing that this one is called a healing revival. That's the focus..."

Brother Blackburn understands that if a revival is not focused on Jesus that something is wrong... and something is DEFINITELY wrong at the "Florida Outpouring"!

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Jeremy C said...

Good post. I also noticed the other night that the crippled woman whose legs Todd banged up and down on the platform like a baseball bat became a crippled man when he shared the story on Monday. This makes me begin to doubt the accuracy of any of those stories.

I put together a video of Mark Driscoll addressing some common pitfalls charismatics fall into. It's from a conference he is speaking at in the UK this week. It definitely applies to the many people flocking to Lakeland.

Check it out if you are interested:


pete said...

maybe todd is not so wrong when he states it is no... maybe todd is not so wrong when he states it is not angel focused, i would say it is TODD BENTLEY FOCUSED.
(commenter website removed by editor due to language content)

pete said...

maybe todd is not so wrong when he states it is no... maybe todd is not so wrong when he states it is not angel focused, i would say it is TODD BENTLEY FOCUSED.
(commenter website removed by editor due to language content)

Anonymous said...

I am an A/G pastor, and I will tell you exactly why Steve Strader has not been dealt with--He Has A Big Church and A BIG Following. If this was a small A/G church it would have been stopped a long time ago.

Now the A/G has egg on it's face once again, because Lakeland is falling apart and we (The A/G) Never took a firm position.

I cannot imagine the apostle Paul not dealing quickly and strongly with Timothy if he allowed such a man as Bentley showed up in the Ephesian church(s). Paul stood strong against error, but if we do that today we might lose some people and people = money.

I am saddened and ashamed for my own organization for the weak ("Let's just hope it goes away") position taken by our leaders. What about all the hurting people left in the wake of this fiasco. Will the A/G leaders apologize to them? I am afraid not. Help me pray that our leaders will once again grow a backbone and stand against error as they used to under men like Thomas Zimmerman! And not fear losing people out the door. All we are doing by what was done is lose them to deception. Well, I guess even deceived people still pay tithes and count in our A/G numbers right? I am heartbroken over the entire thing, especially for the people left bleeding in the wake of the Lakeland circus. That includes Todd, and his wife and children. My question is--where is Che, Bill and John--Are they healing the wounded from Lakeland. I don't know, but I think they are probably planning their next big "pathetic prophetic" conference to pay off the L.A. Bentley disaster dud meetings leaving Che reportedly $300,000 in the hole.
Keep Standing For The Truth!