Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Should Todd Bentley speak at Newfrontiers Brighton 09?

There was an excellent post, followed by some good comments on wordandspirit asking who should be invited to speak at the Brighton Conference in 09.

A suggestion was made regarding Todd Bentley being invited. These are a few reasons why I would be nervous of doing that.

1) If we look at most of the great speakers of recent years, Mahaney, Kriansak, Driscoll, Rufus, each was different, each was annointed in a different way, but all were totally focussed on putting whatever their gifting was into play by planting local churches engaged in local mission. I would want to keep that rule of thumb as I feel that serves us best. People who only think it, but people who do it, and have a track record of doing what they think in local churches.

2) Each of those invited gave us "access" to a relatively new person to most of us, a new ministry, a new way of looking at things. God TV has so saturated the mainstream christian media and the blogosphere with the Lakeland stuff that most people want a break more than anything. All that we need to know or see is available at the touch of a button every day.

3) I think the messenger would get more focus than the message. Bentley fans may come for the man rather than the vision. In the same way I think we would take a lot of flak from other evangelicals if we invited Todd Bentley. We should never bottle a decision like that just to appease some criticism, but you have got to know 100% for it to be worthwhile. Put "Todd Bentley" into google and you see a christian culture at war with itself. I don't want us to take sides because it is not our fight.

4) I think many people in many churches are struggling to find a correct response to the whole Lakeland thing anyway. It has a platform way beyond what any other minstry / minister has had in years, considering the recent nature of the whole thing and the difficulty finding verification of healings etc. I don't want to just write off any ministry or minister, but I am concerned. I feel it has been raised up in profile way, way beyond what God is doing in other parts of the world, in other church movements, through other annointed people. If people are already feeling a sense of unease, then raising the profile is not going to help find the right response.

5) There are some great things happening and God is touching lives - but that doesn't mean all the messages coming out of Lakeland sit right with me. I believe God works in healing power out of a deep sense of compassion, and to draw people to himself and to glorify his son Jesus, that people may be saved and join the missional church in reaching others, bringing further glory to Jesus. Let's not lose that focus amongst the "third heaven", angelic visitations and teaching which sounds depressingly like the prosperity gospel.

So all in all it would be "thanks but no thanks" from me. I do want to bless what is good. I don't want to criticise fellow brothers in Christ. Nor do I want to get distracted from preaching the gospel, building community, ministering to the poor, seeing God work in signs and wonders and planting new churches which express these things and engage in relevant local mission. I think other people can help us do that in a more relevant and balanced way, so they would be my priority.

6 comments:

Mark Heath said...

well put. I too have grave concerns about Todd Bentley's theology & methodology & would not be pleased if he came to Brighton. To be honest, I struggled quite a bit with what Rob Rufus taught.

I think there are some interesting times ahead for us in newfrontiers, as clearly there is a diversity of opinion about these healing/televangelist types. As you say, we need to make sure we know where our priorities are. A focus on being gospel proclaiming, grace filled, Spirit filled, missional churches is in my opinion much more healthy for us than rushing to get "in" on the latest "outpouring"/"transferable anointing"

dave bish said...

I would be stunned if Bentley was invited. Ideally you want someone who can help us build on this year I'd guess...

...so that's people who can move us into the detail of engaging culture - like the guys from Zactrust Amy Orr-Ewing, Michael Ramsden etc or a Don Carson, Al Mohler or Tim Keller.

...so that's people who can help us think about mission as a whole like a Chris Wright, Krish Kandiah..

...so that's people into church planting like Scott Thomas, Tim Keller, Steve Timmis, Tim Chester, Mark Dever.

...so that's people who can get us to start writing down our doctrine and building a good movement rather than a bad institution like Mike Reeves, Don Carson, John Piper, CJ Mahaney, Jeff Purswell, Wayne Grudem, Thabiti Anyabwile, Ligon Duncan...

..and maybe instead of Bentley you want to get Sam Storms to come and teach on Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections (Signs of the Spirit)

beatthedrum said...

One of our Elders and two of the congregation have just returned from Lakeland in the last two weeks.

Todd Bentley was not there during their meetings. They all came back have experienced a powerfull encounter with God in all but one of the 8 meetings they attended.

They have spoken about what happened and for them the most powerfull element was not the teaching or the ministry time but the worship which had a tangible presence of God.

The three guys who went are not what I call 'Shake Rattle and rollers' and two of them are fairly staid guys. Having come from Methodist / reformed back grounds.

Two of them have moved in 'Charismatic' circles for over 40 years and they said they have never felt anything like it.

But to get to the point. They said it was not about a man but Jesus. Therefore if the 'outpouring' is happening when Bently is not there, he is not that relevent to what is going on.

So what does he bring to us... except controversy and problems with our brothers and sisters.

On wordandspriit I said the two people i would love to see at Brighton would be the current Archbishop of York or the current Bishop of Durham. Both are great men of God willing to make a stand for Jesus. It would also help biuld bridges within the greater Church in the Uk when we seam to be fragmenting even further.

Jongudmund said...

I doubt I'll be going to Brighton 09, but my answer to the question in the title of the post would be very short.

No.

Anonymous said...

I very recently left a church where Lakeland-type ministry and other weirdo prophetic ministries were being promoted. I've heard enough Bams for one lifetime thankyou. Worryingly however, I have been to two other church meetings in the last week (one Anglican, one non-denom) where the ministry at the end involved the aping of Lakeland-type stuff e.g. shouting Fire, Impartation, More etc repeatedly into people's faces, some people essentially being pushed over, others falling when a prayer ministry person suddenly flourishes their arm in that direction, people falling apparently under God's power then getting up 3 minutes later as though nothing has happened (this one always amazes me), others shaking violently, and others displaying holy laughter which actually sounded like forced cackling to me etc etc. My point is that you had better watch out, Bentley's style and the manifestations are spreading whether people like it or not. We had better be sure that this is God at work, because the consequences will be dire if not.

Anonymous said...

Lets call a spade a spade... Todd Bentley is a con artist. He is highly intelligent and has learnt the art of sedductive manipulation and uses it with great skill..."so as to mislead even the elect of God". The day he is invited to speak at a New Frontiers Church , is the day I resign my membership. I would find in extremely difficult to trust any movement that climbs into bed with the likes of Mr Bentley...