Monday, November 02, 2009

Swallowing the Spirit Feathers and All

"He swallowed the Holy Spirit feathers and all!"

That is what Martin Luther said of the fanatics in his day who claimed they had Divine inward revelations that were on par with the revealed word of God in scripture.

The same sentiment can be said of much of what passes for the "revival movement" in America, it is high on excitement and low on faithfulness to biblical doctrine, even spurning it as a byword. I have avoided these sorts of issues as no fruit seems to come from stating the obvious, however the rise and fall and seeming rise yet again of Todd Bentley is a case in point example of the fiber of this movement.

I take no joy in the fact that Mr. Bentley fell into gross sin as some critics of revivalism seem to have. Bentley is a man made in the image of God and has inestimable worth and dignity based upon this reality. My beef however, is that the folk who occupy this movement seem to think they know better than God, at least as He has revealed Himself in His word.

Todd Bentley had an adulterous affair with a woman, then divorced his wife, and subsequently married said woman. Obviously, this was frowned upon. Scripturally, Bentley is not only disqualified from ministry as Paul states the requirements a church leader is to possess but due to his continuance in sin should really be excommunicated:

"Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach," (1 Tim 3:2)

Bentley lacks most of these traits, I can not judge his hospitableness. The most flagrant compromise is that Bentley continues living in adultery by virtue of his new marriage to the woman with whom he committed adultery. Christ could not be more clear in His view of adultry and remarriage as He states:

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
(Matt 5:31-32)

The latter clause is why I say with Christ that Bentley is still living in adultery.

A fairly recent article in Charisma displays the attitude in much of the charismatic circles toward leaders found in gross sin. The article basically describes Bentley as a victim, and there is not the slightest hint that the continued relationship with the woman and continued ministry of Bentley is in any way improper. The only victims I see in all of this are Bentley's children and former wife, which get barely a mentioning.

In fact it is suggested that there is something wrong with you if you have a problem with this by Rick Joyner. Yes, we should forgive a repentant person, but Bentley is disqualified Biblically from ministry, AND biblically he hasn't repented as he continues his adultery.

Right now Todd Bentley is being "restored", allegedly based on Gal 6:1, to ministry, yet another move in defiance of scripture (as one who has fallen into sin can be restored to fellowship but NOT to leadership as he now fails to meet the requirements of leadership).

These biblical requirements for leadership unfortunately do not daunt the individuals over seeing the "restoration process", Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries, and Bill Johnson of the Bethel church in Redding CA. Todd Bentley still "ministers" the article states and I would assume in the eyes of most within the revivalism movement I am the bad guy for having a problem with any of this.

The reason why one who has run headlong into iniquity while in leadership simply is disqualified from ministry is because it gives the enemies of the gospel grounds to mock. We are called to refute the gainsayers, not only with our sound doctrine but our godly lives (Titus 1:9-13).

It is the loose lifestyles of all of these big named speakers/revivalists, the gross avarice and love of worldly riches on display in these lavish churches, and the wretched theology incessantly spewed out of the meetings that have caused me to long since avoid this movement like the swine flu shot.

I am not a full blown cessationist, but, the constant compromise of biblical teaching and biblical morality within these charismatic circles is the strongest case for cessationism in my mind. Articles like the one in Charisma to which I linked cause me to yet again review why I even believe that the gifts are for today.

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