Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quenching Discernment!

I agree that we should be careful not to quench the spirit of God. However let us not be so worried about quenching the spirit of God moving in extraordinary ways, that we quench the Spirit's call for us to use discernment and sound judgment when evaluating the teachings, stories and practices of leaders like Todd Bentley.

If we believe all that Bentley has said, then he has had more encounters with angels, Biblical saints, and God himself than anyone in the history of the Christian church. Either all these experiences are true, or some if not all are just cleverly invented stories used to put the stamp of authority on his ministry and his teachings. If these stories did indeed occur in their entirety, we should accept Todd Bentley as someone sent on a mission from God with great authority. If the stories did not occur in their entirety, then we have no choice but to recognize him as deluded and deceitful and seek to expose him as such.

Some people will say that my belief and proclamation that he is the latter of those two makes me guilty of the unforgiveable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, but what if in reality- those who support his ministry are the ones themselves who are blaspheming the Holy Spirit by not answering His call to discernment. Others will say that I am consumed with a Spirit of Religion that makes me skeptical of the miracles, signs, and wonders that are said to take place in Bentley's meetings. Let me make clear that I believe very firmly in the operation of spiritual gifts including miracles, signs, and wonders among us today, but there is no greater spirit of religion that consumes man than to believe that we need any more of a miracle, sign, or wonder to confirm the gospel than what Christ himself gave us in His resurrection from the dead.

This is a very tender subject for me, because in 1997- I started to awaken to the fact that I had been sorely deceived by a movement much like the one Bentley is apart of. That began a journey that was long, hard, and depressing which at times made me feel alone and abandoned by God. In reality I was the cause of my suffering because I lived my faith based more on the emotions of the moment than I did on the commitment of a lifetime.It is a miracle that I am even in relationship with God today, because it would have been much easier for me to bail out spiritually. In the process of this journey, I almost did bail out literally as I contemplated the thought of suicide. Thank God for resources that opened my eyes to the truth and God my feet planted firmly on the right foundation.

In Ephesians 5:13 Paul writes "But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light." That's an amazing concept that God shines a light on our darkest places so that we can become a light to others and lead them out of those darkest of places. That is why I am going to contribute to this post. My prayer is that those of you who may be sarcastically deemed as the "Todd Bentley KGB" will read my testimony with an open mind and an open heart and allow God to speak to you through it. If your thoughts on Bentley are accurate- they will stand up in light of having an open mind and an open heart to discern the truth. I ask you to begin by considering that Bentley might not be sent from God, that he indeed may very well be a counterfeit enough that you will search the scriptures and put this to the test in the same way that the Bereans tested Paul.

In closing let me say that while I was so angry at myself for buying into the counterfeit like I had up until 1997, I was more angry at myself for misleading others along with me. The only thing more tragic than being deceived by a counterfeit is leading others into that deceit with you. So I pray that your mind will be open to read my testimony and to discern the spirits present in this so-called "move of God ."


Watchman on the Wall said...

You made an excellent point, "The only thing worse than being deceived by a false teacher is taking others with you." So true. I think it's very important when God leads us to the truth that we ask forgiveness from those people we led astray - it gives an opportunity for us to humble ourselves and also clear up the ignorance/false teaching. Thanks for the post.

Bationi said...

Yes, indeed an important point to consider! I think this point is very applicable in this case.

"And he said unto the disciples, `It is impossible for the stumbling blocks not to come, but wo [to him] through whom they come;
it is more profitable to him if a weighty millstone is put round about his neck, and he hath been cast into the sea, than that he may cause one of these little ones to stumble.
" [Luke 17:1-2, Youngs Literal Translation]