August 2, 2008
Todd Bentley: Unwelcome Wagon in L.A.
The signs and wonders seekers waiting in line under the hot Los Angeles
sun for the best seats in the Galen Center got more than they bargained
for. They came to USC’s sports stadium last weekend to see their hero
Todd Bentley and to receive a promised impartation of God’s anointing.
But what they got was a dud of a meeting inside and some unanticipated
reproofs, rebukes, and exhortations on the outside.
On Saturday, July 26th, I led a small group of five people representing three ministries: Apostasy Alert, Moriel Ministries, and Lighting the Way Ministries to distribute a leaflet that documented the false teachings of Bentley that included web links for resources to assist those who believe in testing all things. We handed out 500 leaflets and also some gospel tracts disguised as 1 million dollar bills that just happen to be produced by a ministry that, unbeknownst to us, was planning their own outreach the following day.
The next day, the Ambassadors’ Alliance, a group associated with Ray Comfort’s Way of the Master ministry, arrived with 14 people and set up a soap box with a microphone and preached the "Law and the Gospel" to the resistant sign seekers. The main speaker was the ministry’s director, Tony Miano, aka "the Lawman," who preached to an angry crowd who turned their back on him and chanted or sang in an effort to drown out the call for repentance unto salvation.
These two different ministry styles delivered the message to Todd Bentley that not all Southern California Christians welcomed his visit. The City of the Angels was just one stop in Bentley’s effort to take the success of the Lakeland Uprising around the world. He had been empowered by false prophets Bob Jones and Paul Cain who proclaimed to him that he was the first fruits of the New Breed that was prophesied to work mighty signs and wonders and fill stadiums to overflowing to the glowing reports of the major news networks. All this in anticipation of the Latter Rain, a time long ago proclaimed by false prophet William Branham to occur before the second coming of Christ. The "New Breed" are prophesied to be able to overcome death, an ominous idea when you read in the book of Revelation that during the Tribulation period men would seek death and it would flee from them.
However, there were no signs of any news media on the scene on Saturday and there was plenty of room for the crowds that showed up on both nights with the highest tier of the stadium virtually empty. The Galen Center seats 10,258 people and it is estimated that around 7,000 showed up each night. Bentley’s stint the month before in Denton, Texas, also fizzled according to a report in the Wittenburg Door. There were no major pockets of chaotic manifestations to speak of, so it would appear that Todd’s angelette, Emma, might be a territorial principality and only able to perform her tricks in Lakeland.
Todd Bentley seemed anxious to close down the show on Sunday night as seen on GodTV. He did not have any people come up to testify of healing as he had done the previous night. And his offering sounded a little desperate. He said that unlike in Lakeland, a stadium in Los Angeles is very expensive – as much as $300,000 – and all of it was on the back of Che Ahn, the pastor from Pasadena who sponsored and co-hosted the event. He was looking for a miracle in the form of a rich businessman who could pay for the entire thing. He also told the crowd that the impartation they were waiting for would be based upon the amount they put in the offering, so they had better dig deep, was the implication. Ahn had promoted the L.A. crusade under the title, "Impartation" in all his advertising leading up to event.
After some more loud and repetitious music, Che Ahn took the podium and told the crowd they would have to leave quickly to clear the place fast because Todd Bentley was going to pray for the impartation on the pastors who came. He said that only those with the orange wristbands would be allowed in the building for that. That must have been a big let-down for those who gave big in the offering under the expectation that they would have hands laid on them for the big impartation.
They could, however, go to the long line of merchandise tables in the front foyer and buy a DVD Bentley was hawking called "Pickling in the Presence of God" that promised to teach them step by step how to soak in the spirit. Bentley got the crowd all worked up over the DVD by parading it around, saying he was going to give it away. As the crowd yelled and cheered, hoping to be one of the lucky ones, he gave two or three of them away to the happy winners. He must have learned this cheap trick from Rodney Howard-Browne who a decade earlier had found that making the people hungry for a free item would compel them to go buy one when they didn’t win one. RHB mastered the art.
On Sunday night when no electric atmosphere could be drummed up, Bentley told the crowd not to believe anything they hear about him or anything they see with their own eyes against him. What a stark contrast to what we told the people earlier – to test all things, even what we were saying, by the Word of God.
As I watched Sunday’s broadcast, I thought of those we had an opportunity to dialogue with the night before. There was the first lady I handed a tract to who reacted angrily, screaming at me, "You’re not going to hand those out!" She had just been participating in what is known as a "fire tunnel" in front of the Galen Center, blocking the sidewalk on Figueroa. They seemed to be trying to have fun, whooping it up trying to conjure up an atmosphere, but nothing manifested, even though an oppressive spirit hung over them. Others from that crowd shouted "Pharisee, hypocrite" at me as I walked past handing out tracts.
Another man gave me back the tract, and, as I reached out to grab it, he tried to slay me in the spirit with his other hand. But the powers that day seem to have been suppressed, Praisallujah!
We had some good feedback from several different people - some who were there just to get the goods on their "silly friends" they knew shouldn't be getting into this. For instance, there was one young man who looked like Prince who was so excited that we were there that he just kept saying to us, "You guys are awesome." He expressed exasperation that the church has not gotten up in arms over this horrendous spiritual assault on the body of Christ.
We were also very moved by a young Hispanic man whose pastor brought him there from Stockton, California – a 350 mile trek. He had inner turmoil from reading our tract, not knowing who to believe and was not very familiar with Todd Bentley. He loves his pastor and if we were right then it would badly affect his relationship with his pastor. He couldn’t bear thinking his own pastor would lead him astray.
Another person who had taken a tract, an older Korean man, came back out after the event had begun. He told us that, after reading our tract, he had become suspicious...Then upon going in he said the music was hypnotic, and there was a goat's head in the shape of a pentagram projected on the wall behind the musicians. He explained that, for this reason, he got out of there! (Can’t confirm what he saw since I didn’t see it when I went in briefly; I was checking out the crowd, not the platform.)
Now it’s being reported that the entire Lakeland Uprising is over. It has been a cause of division within the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ – the name of the apostle/prophet movement that gave it birth. Even other deceived leaders can’t go as far as Bentley was going. Cool heads had to prevail – even if those same cool guys initially endorsed Lakeland and led many astray who look to them for guidance. We won’t hear any apologies – they just retract their endorsements and begin looking for the next sign of a Latter Rain outpouring to fulfill the prophecies of their own false prophets.
|Heavenly Father -- Thank you for watching over us who obeyed Your Spirit's unction to go and share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those seeking signs and wonders. We pray that Your Word would not go out void and that You will water the seed planted in whatever good soil was there. Thank You, Lord, for hearing the prayers of so many of Your people to bring this foolish uprising to a close. Thank You for sending so many of Your children out into the Harvest and for inspiring the opposing voices to this move of the enemy. May Your truth continually go forth bearing much fruit and bringing the lost into Your Kingdom. We pray for true revival that is much needed in a lukewarm church today, Lord. And may Your Word of Truth be at the center of lifting up the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to the world while there's still time. In His name we pray. Amen!|
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