Thursday, July 24, 2008

Holy Spirit Breakout or Pagan Invasion

While Jim Jones was successful in gaining a following around his Socialist/Marxist ideals, Todd Bentley has been successful in introducing a very pagan form of spirituality. However, many say that the manifestations you would see in a Todd Bentley meeting are the work of the "Holy Spirit." These manifestations include being "drunk in the Spirit," Shaking uncontorllably, Holy Laughter, "Slain in the Spirit," Vibrating, Gold Teeth, Gold Dust, Angel Feathers, Barking in the Spirit, Clucking Like a chicken in the Spirit, etc.

Being drunk in the Spirit is often validated by a misuse of Acts 2 where the apostles speak in tongues and everyone thinks they are drunk with wine because they are speaking languages they do not know. Sadly, this passage has been misused to support acting drunk and stumbling around in church inebriated with the Spirit. A clear look at the context of the passage reveals that the men were thought to be drunk because they were speaking a language they had no prior knowledge of.

Shaking uncontrollably is mentioned in the book of Daniel when Daniel responds out of fear in one of the rare encounters of anyone in scripture with an angel. I believe it may occur as a response to conviction. However, modern day revivalists encourage it as a means of getting in touch with the Spirit- letting the joy of the Spirit consume you. That is no different than a mind-body cultivation that you would find in a pagan religious setting.

There are several references in scripture which may be used to justify to slain in the Spirit. I personally believe that sometimes the power of God can come on a person so strong that they are not able to stand. However, it is a practice that is very rare in scripture and not meant to be normal among us today. It is entirely up to God and we don't need to have any evangelist touch us in order to experience that. Seeking the experience is very unhealthy- for God wants us to experience him first and foremost by getting into the scriptures and getting the scriptures into us.

Holy laughter also finds its origins in Eastern/New Age religions. It was first introduced to America by South African Evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne. It too would have to be classified as more of a pagan min-body cultivation, as would vibrating, barking in the Spirit, and clucking like a chicken in the Spirit.

Other manifestations such as Gold dust, gold teeth, oil from heaven, and angel feathers falling from the ceiling all have their origin in the kingdom of the cults and the occult. I am not sure if there is a planned delivery of them in such services or if it is the work of demons. It is a very dangerous practice as it fuels a gospel of National Enquirer Sensationalism. It is like we are trying to give people a sign to get them to believe, when in reality Jesus gave us the only sign we need in His resurrection from the dead.

So how do these experiences occur? What inspires them if they are not the work of the Holy Spirit? When I first came out of my delusion in 1997, I attributed most of the experiences to the work of demons. At that time I thought that the work of a hypnotists was also demonic. Scientific studies have revealed the reality of how people get worked into "an altered state of consciousness" where they are fully aware of their surroundings yet they are hypersuggestible to the point that they are willing to believe virtually anything that enters their minds. It is at that point that they become subjects to mind control. People may be worked into an altered state of consciousness by chanting things repeatedly singing a song over and over again, etc. When they are worked to that level, they become like puppets and you can get them to do anything.

This was a tactic Hitler used in getting the hatred of the Jews to spread leading up to the Holocaust. He was so charismatic that he started an "I hate Jews" chant. The crowd followed and even the Jews among the crowd got so caught up in the moment that they participated in the chant. In one of my college classes, I had the privelege of meeting a Jew who was there when Hitler gave that speech in Germany, and he admits that he himself was screaming with enthusiasm "I Hate Jews."

I don't think that all the revivalists that use these techniques are fully aware that that is what is happening. I think that some are. These techniques if they get into the wrong hands can lead to a danger like Hitler's Holocaust, or Jim Jones People's Temple. I must admit that even though I am aware he is nothing more than a spiritual fraud, the theatrics of Todd Bentley are very entertaining in much the same way that Jim Jones' tactics were in the 1960's and '70's. I just pray that Bentley does not take those tactics to the extreme in the same way Jones did by leading 918 people to drink koolaid laced with cyanide in the greatest mass cult suicide in history.

Are miracles really taking place in Bentley's meetings.. Is Todd Bentley a man with great healing power or not? Or is this just a theatrical sideshow where he gets people worked into an altered state of consciousness where they are willing to believe virtually anything that enters their minds and thus become his puppets? I will answer these questions in my next post as I give my own personal account of the meeting I attended.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Greetings, dear brother (or sister?) (I'm sorry; I just realized I don't know...) --

I have been blessed by what I have read here of the insights given you by the Lord and His Spirit. May I offer something to the discussion? In response to your saying:

"There are several references in scripture which may be used to justify to slain in the Spirit. I personally believe that sometimes the power of God can come on a person so strong that they are not able to stand. However, it is a practice that is very rare in scripture and not meant to be normal among us today."

I would simply state that two different pictures can be found in scripture with reference to falling down in the presence of the Lord. One is that which occurs in the instance of those who know and reverence the Lord, who walk with Him and reverence Him as GOD, as in the example of the Prophet Isaiah who, when visited by God, FELL ON HIS FACE before Him, at first "as though dead" -- completely speechless and overwhelmed by the holiness of the Presence before him, then moved to proclaim his (Isaiah's) utter unworthiness to be in the presence of One so holy. This is a point often missed in the treatment of the phenomenon of "falling down in the Spirit" as it is popularly experienced and promoted in much of is called "charismatic" circles today. As a matter of fact, of a truth, the only instances in scripture in which people fall BACKWARDS in their encounter with God (or the Lord Jesus) are those who are not believers, but rather, are considered the enemies of God, because they do not believe Him nor do they trust in Him. On the other hand, those who BELIEVE, whose hearts are reverent toward God, when permitted a glimpse of His eternal glory, fall FORWARD -- ON THEIR FACES -- before Him, in abject amazement, humility and worship, aware of their COMPLETE unworthiness in the presence of such Majesty.

The enemies of Christ, on the contrary, when sent to arrest the Lord Jesus, fell backwards at each proclamation of Him saying, "I AM (he)." They fell upon the ground BACKWARDS, as though hit with a great violent force. But on the other hand, GODS'S people, those humble before Him, who bow before Him and who reverence His name, when they encounter just a glimpse of His utter majesty, fall to their knees in worship, covering their faces with their hands (just as do the seraphim in Heaven!), smitten with His utter majesty and their unworthiness to be found in the presence One so glorious.

I am certain you know what I am talking about, very likely having experienced something similar to this in your times alone with the Lord, in His word and in prayer, when the Holy Spirit has brought home to you some tremendous weight of truth accompanied by an amazing awareness of God's majesty, a wondrous sense of His glory.

Am I right? And isn't it a precious, glorious reality? It pleases me no end to know this, to see this in the Word of God, and to be able to testify to it in my own life. When HE "slays" me (impressing upon me the majesty of WHO HE IS), I am overcome with a wave of humility and an even greater sense of wonder - that HE would reveal Himself to ME! How could I ever be deserving of such wondrous grace as that? I cannot help but bow before such a One as He, in grateful adoration for the undeserved gift of the knowledge and presence of Him! Hallelujah! (Amen?)

A grateful sister in Christ,
Lynn Huston