The Best and Worst of the Last Decade

I thought it might be fun to nominate the best and worst preaching, teaching or personal example within our Christian sphere for the last decade. Some people do this with movies and books, but I think we could try our own pet topic. It might be notable for its ability to communicate brilliantly, inspire or despair, heal or harm, win people or lose them, teach well or badly, reveal truth or obfuscate, lead or mislead or change Christian culture for better or worse. What has helped or hindered you the most?

Nominations don’t have to be well-known – there could be a wonderful teacher at your local church, or even an inspirational person among those you know, who has taught by their example more than any actual teaching.

Only one rule that I can think of – to forstall the otherwise inevitable: no one is allowed to nominate the Bible or Jesus as best teacher etc – we’re talking about things arising through mankind in the last 10 years or so. Although you might have a best or worst translation nomination, if they deserve special note.

What’s on your list for best preaching and teaching – whether its via books, blogs, twitter, youTube, live preaching at church, or television?

What’s on your list for the worst preaching and teaching?

Some examples might even appear on both lists. 🙂

Since we are all influenced by different sources, and at different times in our lives, these may have greater or lesser effect, these lists have to be entirely subjective and are pure personal opinion. Hmm – is it easier to fill the best list or the worst list? Hopefully we can balance up the two.

For all our friends out there who sometimes read and don’t comment… this is a good opportunity on a topic which is a bit frivolous. You don’t have to use your real name.

My threads are typically to be Facelift free zones, but Facelift is allowed one comment here just to make his nominations – if he’s interested.


45 thoughts on “The Best and Worst of the Last Decade

  1. Tough call Teddy. We need to compare it to Matt Ford preaching by simply walking off in la la land and leaving the listeners staring after him.

    How to decide. Both incredibly self-indulgent. B

  2. My nomination for most inspirational would be an old blind man called Cyrel. He lives in a quiet village in England – he has seen everything come and go. If he’s not listening to cricket on the radio, he’s studying the Bible in brail.

    Everytime I meet with him, I realise I don’t have any problems of note, nothing to fear but everything to hope for in Christ.

    He’s not known outside of the village, but has been an inspiration to countless generations within it.

    The worst??? I’ll have to think of a funny one and get back.

  3. In terms of the best teaching, in order would have to be:

    1. Wayne Jacobsen’s transition series which:

    a. explains how our traditional reading of the cross as being primarily about punishment for sin is a result of our cultural background reading a judicial view of the world into scriptures and

    b. that the same scriptures can be read from the point of view of Father being primarily about restoring His relationship with us and

    c. the latter perspective provides a more consistent reading of the whole of scripture.

    2. Dallas Willards the divine conspiracy that explains:

    a. that Jesus teachings in the beatitudes are not just a bunch of unrelated ideas in a random order but are in fact a sequenced argument about living with and in Father God and

    b. Jesus teachings like turning the other cheek must not be relegated to another new testament law that replaced the old testament law, but rather are examples of life of people who a bide in Jesus.

    James Thwaites The Church Beyond the Congregation which explains:

    a. how the church has been hijacked by greek thought, and

    b. what Hebrew cosmology and thinking are about

    c. how Hebrew thinking is through all of life – it does not divide our lives up into church-stuff and other stuff and treat them separately and

    d. how applying a Hebrew world view changes the way we think about the church and our part in creation/the world in our daily lives.

    An honourable mention goes to Lee Grady for Ten Lies The Church Tells Women which again shows how we have read stuff into scripture by reading it from a simplistic perspective.

    These are all excellent pieces of work that go to clearing away a lot of the rubbish that has been accumulating over the last two thousand years that hides what Father wants us to have with Him and in Him.

  4. heretic1 you talk as if your point 1b somehow contradicts your point 1a. The fact is they don’t.

    The traditional understanding of the cross (and mine) is that the cross is primarily about the Father restoring his relationship to us through the punishment of Jesus for our sin.

  5. Phoenix – that is a big discussion, you know, not quite as simple as it first appears, so maybe for another thread. Before we head off in that direction – do you have some best and worst nominations? And did you finish your Phd (or was it a Masters?) this year? That would be a good reason to celebrate!

  6. Heretic has stolen all my nominations for best, strangely since we’ve read a lot of the same material lately.

    I’d also strongly nominate Wayne Jacobsen’s Transition series on mp3 for best teaching; basically, if you’ve recently emerged out of a church after some form of disillusionment, whether doctrinal or in the way people were treated, then this teaching is extremely refreshing, helpful, restoring and encouraging. It’s a great place to start before then heading off in other exploratory directions. I’ve listened to it several times, and will do so again.

    Pheonix, you will find some references there to the discussion we are not having on this thread, but you would have to listen to several of the mp3’s to get there which means you need time, and the right interest. If you have the right church background, you would find it pretty interesting – a bit of laughing in recognition going on.

    I’d also have to nominate Stuart Murray’s book, ‘Beyond the Tithe’ for a thorough look at the doctrine, which despite the critical outcome (ditching the doctrine as unsupportable), wasn’t filled with anger or bitterness. Plus I found the history of tithing over the last 2000 years pretty interesting. He also tried to come up with some solutions to church finances that were scriptural in place of the tithe, addressing the issue of what does a church that has become dependent upon tithing for its survival, do if it decides it can’t teach it any more.

    I’d have to nominate an inspirational Christian I’ve known a little over the past decade. She is a remarried divorcee, a Pentecostal who attends a local Anglican church, and is not incredibly well off, but content and hospitable with what she has. She has a cheerful attitude in so many things, despite not having an easy life, and has dealt with recent family tragedy and difficulties in a way that I just don’t know if I’d have the capacity to do. Plus people keep getting saved around her. Just someone in whom I can really see the life of Jesus. I bump into her from time to time typically by accident, over the years. She shows me how Christ really can work through someone to bring goodness into the world when they really love Him.

    For worst – well, for me, one of the worst was PP inviting Steve Munsey to preach for the second time. The first time, you could imagine that perhaps he didn’t know that Munsey requests money for miracles. The second time… he knew, and he obviously thought it was OK. Awful.

    The Mercy Ministries debacle was also a ‘worst’, and is ongoing it seems.

    An honourable mention in a very positive light has to go to the friend who keeps passing on great teaching material to Heretic and myself – we haven’t had to work hard ourselves to find the good stuff!

  7. Have agree with Jim Thwaites, He’s a very knowledgable preacher, smart but down to earth. And Paul Washer, I saw him on utube just after i left previous big church, he’s a bit strong i know but i needed to hear some of it. And my children for showing me that you can believe in God and still be “normal” and that family is most important, and God loves us being kind and loving to each other.

    Worst, gee, id rather forget about that :o)

  8. I’d have to say the worst and most obscene thing I have seen is Brandon Barthrop and his “tokin’ the Ghost” and “flippin’ the bird” for Jesus carry-on. I felt physically ill when I saw his website.

  9. found a worst. Happy clappy atmosphere, cue the bass drum, clapping nodding, affirming (to anything person on stage says). Pretty women on stage, dressed well, never preaching. Bring your first-fruits, God will honour and bless you if you do. Amazing speakers saying “Don’t let your mind fool you” (ok). If you give to God (and this church) your barns will be filled. Credit card envelopes on your seat and machines at the back. Cue slick montage of cool people looking like they are supposed to be doing things for God. More base drums and then prompts to tell someone next to you a positive affirmation. This is going to be the next year yet……cue the analogy of a bloke being a bloke and then jesus is mentioned somewhere, once. ………zzzzzzzzzz

  10. MJ, even stranger is when you visit some of the smaller churches that adhere to the same format. There are more people jumping up and down in the choir than there are in the pews.

  11. I can relate to that mj but it was the previous decade! So things don’t change much.

    But with one addition. At the beginning of every year there was a prophecy that this was the year that the revival would finally come!

  12. XC3, yup, that one was pretty bad. A real low.

    MJ, you made me laugh and remember the pain.

    Muppet, that’s really funny. I know what you mean!

    But that’s reminded me of another best – best worship experience for me in the last year only, was at an independent conference, where the band was only 3 people; just a singer, a guitar and something else I’ve forgotten. It was beautiful, simple, and so refreshing after months of a more complex band and a very, very bad sound system at my ex-church. On the other hand, it may also have been the best because I had babysitting and could actually participate rather than pay so much attention to keeping the kids under control.

    MJ – you are not the only person I’ve heard say that this year. I think I know what you are talking about. I am not sure yet, but I hope it is true.

  13. Worst – winner : The poor theology of Danny Nalliah on the Feb 2009 Victorian bushfires
    http://catchthefire.com.au/blog/2009/02/10/media-release-abortion-laws-to-blame-for-bush-fires/

    Worst – runner up: Darlene Zschech for denying all responsibilities regarding misleading practices of Mercy Ministries Australia
    http://www.darlenezschech.com/cmspage.php?intid=109&intversion=4

    I nominate the following for the Templeton Prize :
    1) Mark Conner – CityLife Church Wantirna South Victoria for a well balanced perspective on the Feb 2009 Victorian bushfires
    http://markconner.typepad.com/catch_the_wind/2009/02/are-the-bush-fires-the-judgment-of-god.html
    http://markconner.typepad.com/catch_the_wind/2009/02/are-the-bush-fires-the-judgment-of-god-pt2-1.html

    2) Rob Buckingham of C3 Bayside Church in Cheltenham Victoria for allowing GLBT to find God’s love and grace and to worship Him freely within their church.
    http://www.baysidechurch.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=164&Itemid=30

  14. I don’t think any of these where written last decade, I read them last decade, but a couple of influential books for me were ‘Christian Anarchy’ by Vernand Eller. I didn’t like his style but the message was very interesting and relevant to house church. Another was A History of the Baptists by John T Christian, a professor in Christian History. Very thorough. The Reformation by Hans Hillerbrand, an absolute gem, a few great messages in there from unexpected places. quite different from other more partisan works on the reformation. Heaps of others, too many to mention, all the apologies from the pre-nicene church, Aristedes and Justin Martyr to name two.

  15. Hal, if it is OK to ask, which of the books had the greatest impact on you and what was the impact? Feel free to ignore my question.

  16. Best currently living Preacher/Prophetic Teacher … David Pawson. (most of his excellent contemporaries have already been promoted! … e.g. Martin Lloyd Jones et al) I could name some more like R.C. Sproul for example. There are a number of very good teachers out there … they just don’t much publicity.

    The worst public ministry of the past decade has got to be Todd Bentley. He’s completely shameless.

  17. That’s really hard to say heretic. I guess, “The Reformation” had a big impact because at the time (I read it the first time in about 2000/2001) I didn’t know very much about the radical reformation and reading about the anabaptists and Menno Simmons and the other groups really got me thinking and studying. The book is written “in their own words” so to speak so contains miles of documents from the time.

  18. The Anabaptists went nuts and when they took over a city in Europe (can’t remember which one … I’ll wiki them after) they ended up bringing in Polygamy amongst other things, including dictatorial rule.

    It was a real mess.

  19. from the wiki
    Rebellion
    Historical drawing of the execution of the leaders of the rebellion. In the background the cages are already in place at the old steeple of St. Lambert’s church.

    After the Peasants’ War (1524/25), a second and more determined attempt to establish a theocracy was made at Münster, in Westphalia (1532–1535). Here the group had gained considerable influence, through the adhesion of Bernhard Rothmann, the Lutheran pastor, and several prominent citizens; and the leaders, Jan Matthys (also spelled Matthijs, Mathijsz, Matthyssen, Mathyszoon), a baker of Haarlem, and Jan Bockelson or Beukelszoon, a tailor of Leiden, had little difficulty in obtaining possession of the town and deposing the magistrates. Matthys was a follower of Melchior Hoffman, who, after Hoffman’s imprisonment at Strasbourg, obtained a considerable following in the Low Countries, including Bockelson. Bockelson and Gerard Boekbinder had visited Münster, and returned with a report that Bernhard Rothmann was there teaching doctrines similar to their own. Matthys identified Münster as the “New Jerusalem”, and on January 5, 1534, a number of his disciples entered the city and introduced adult baptism. Rothmann apparently accepted “rebaptism” that day, and well over 1000 adults were soon baptized. Vigorous preparations were made, not only to hold what had been gained, but to proceed from Münster toward the conquest of the world. The town was being besieged by Franz von Waldeck, its expelled bishop. In April 1534 on Easter Sunday, Matthys, who had prophesied God’s judgment to come on the wicked on that day, made a sally with only thirty followers, believing that he was a second Gideon, and was cut off with his entire band. He was killed, his head severed and placed on a pole for all in the city to see, and his genitals nailed to the city gate. Bockelson, better known in history as John of Leiden, was subsequently installed as king.

    Claiming to be the successor of David, he claimed royal honours and absolute power in the new “Zion”. He justified his actions by the authority of visions from heaven, as others have done in similar circumstances. He legalized polygamy, and himself took sixteen wives. (John is said to have beheaded one wife himself in the marketplace; this act might have been falsely attributed to him after his death.) Community of goods was also established. After obstinate resistance the town was taken by the besiegers on June 24, 1535, and in January 1536 Bockelson and some of his more prominent followers, after being tortured, were executed in the marketplace. Their dead bodies were exhibited in cages, which hung from the steeple of St. Lambert’s Church; the cages still hang there, though the bones were removed later.
    [edit] Aftermath

    The Münster Rebellion was a turning point for the Anabaptist movement. It never again had the opportunity of assuming political importance, the civil powers naturally adopting the most stringent measures to suppress an agitation whose avowed object was to overthrow them. It is difficult to trace the subsequent history of the group as a religious body. The fact that, after the Münster insurrection the very name Anabaptist was proscribed in Europe, is a source of twofold confusion. However, the Batenburgers under Jan van Batenburg preserved the violent millennialist stream of Anabaptism seen at Münster. They were polygamous and believed force was justified against anyone not in their sect. Not surprisingly, their movement went deep underground after the suppression of Münster with members posing as Catholics or Lutherans as necessary.

    For those who opposed the use of force, differentiating themselves from the Münster rebels became of utmost importance. Many nonresistant Anabaptists found leaders in Menno Simons and the brothers Obbe and Dirk Philips, Dutch Anabaptist leaders who repudiated the distinctive doctrines of the Münster Anabaptists. This group eventually became known as the Mennonites after Simons. They rejected any use of violence, preached a faith based on love of enemy and compassion and never aimed at any social or political revolution.

    In August 1536 the leaders of the various Anabaptist groups influenced by Melchior Hoffman met in Bocholt in a final attempt to maintain their unity. The meeting included followers of Batenburg, survivors of Münster, David Joris and his sympathisers and the nonresistant Anabaptists (Williams, p. 582). At this meeting the major areas of dispute between the sects were polygamous marriage and the use of force against non-believers. Joris proposed compromise by declaring the time had not yet come to fight against the authorities, and that it would be unwise to kill any non-Anabaptists, lest the Anabaptists themselves be seen as common thieves and killers. The gathered Anabaptists agreed to the compromise (Williams, p. 583) but the meeting seems to have done little to slow the fragmentation of Anabaptism into various groupings.

    The enforced adoption of new names makes it easy to lose the historical identity of many who really belonged to the Münster Anabaptists, and, on the other hand, has led to the classification of many with the Münster sect who had no real connection with it. The latter mistake has been much more common than the former. The Mennonites, for example, have been identified with the earlier Anabaptists, on the ground that they included among their number many former Münster Anabaptists. But if the continuity of a sect is traced in its principles, and not in its adherents, then the Mennonites had little do with their violent, polygamous predecessors.

  20. Hi Bull. That was only one small group with most of the accounts written by their enemies. The wiki quote is interesting but anabaptists groups pre-date Munster. It was the siege at Munster (not to be confused with Thomas Muntzer) that brought it to an end. They weren’t strictly speaking ‘of’ the anabaptists but had enough in common to lump them together. Münster was cut off by the authorities, the peasants began to starve, The town was taken and the ring-leaders tortured to death.

    Thomas Müntzer on the other hand was a radical who ended up involved with the peasants of frankenhousen(?). When the authorities moved in, the peasants just stood there singing hymns, they didn’t try to run or resist and where butchered. Terrible. Then the authorities went in to the village, rounded up the remaining healthy men and cut their heads off. Münzter himself was found hiding in bed pretending to be just some sick guy who had nothing to do with anything. He recanted everything, begged forgiveness and they cut his head off. The condition and treatment of the poor was a big factor in all of this. The vast majority of anabaptists were pacifist sects who took the scriptures as their only authority and the words of Jesus as the centre of their practice. The vast majority were not (still aren’t) polygamous or tried to take over towns.

  21. Bull – the Anabaptists that I have read and appreciated greatly today are the Mennonites. They have a wonderful ministry in peacemaking and reconciliation. We have a lot we can learn from them. As a denomination, they have totally rejected violence, as your wiki quote describes above, and promote peaceful methods of increasing social justice. They acknowledge the events of Munster and as the article says, abhor them.

    At the same time, they have a legacy in the area of forgiveness, since Anabaptists were murdered by both the Lutherans and the Catholics for refusing to baptise their infants. I think you went on the birth records when you were baptised, back then, and later this meant you could be taxed. So refusing infant baptism interfered with tax collection. So there was more than a religious motivation in murdering the Anabaptists – their refusal to accept infant baptism was seen as resistance to the social system as well, threatening the Princes of the time. Now I’m a little vague on this, so could have some detail wrong, but its interesting when we look it all up.

    In any case, while I don’t identify with all the Anabaptist thinking, I think they have a great deal to offer us as a people committed to living out the teachings of Christ, particularly in the area of peace making and also, considered intellectual thought.

  22. It must also be understood that they were despised by Lutherans and Catholics at the time. Recently a document was released with an apology from the Lutheran church in the US to the Anabaptists, acknowledging the crimes of long ago, and seeking mutual healing. I posted a link to it up here some time ago. Here it is again:

    http://archive.elca.org/ecumenical/ecumenicaldialogue/mennonite/RightRemembering.pdf

    It is a credit to both churches that they are willing to examine their past issues in such a way.

  23. rightly said hal, and it should not be forgotten that the renowned Martin Luther congratulated the authorities on their handling of the peasants revolt. However, Muntzer had many flawed opinions theologically and politically and misled his followers, his behaviour (I mean the recanting and posing as someone not involved, not his plea for forgiveness) when they sacked him tells a lot of his motives and character.

  24. “…the renowned Martin Luther congratulated the authorities on their handling of the peasants revolt.”

    From the document I linked to above:

    The anti-Anabaptist statements made by Lutherans in the sixteenth century fall into several categories, with very different levels of authority for present-day Lutherans.

    Some are nothing more than the personal judgments of individual persons; however, because leaders like Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon are among those involved,many contemporary Lutherans and Mennonites may regardthose statements as having a particular authority or influence.

    Such statements not only hereticize the Anabaptists of their day but also call upon the state to use its power to extirpate the heresy.

    – emphasis is RP’s

    The modern Lutheran church has now repudiated these statements. A difficult issue because of the involvement of Martin Luther. But they have done it. It is commendable.

  25. The quote acknowledges the differences of opinion and so on.

    Much can be gained from the study of these people I think.

    It was a real mess in Munster … with that small group of people … not the whole movement. (is what I should have said)

    I would agree with the peasants and had I been there I would hope to have their courage and overcome in the face of certain death as they did.

    Shalom

  26. Forgot to mention re: best and worst. I discovered the musiciann Moby last year. He is a Christian (and was quite legalistic for a time). His music and philosophy I found v profound and he is quiet about his beliefs but tries to help others in practical ways. i just found him very inspiring. My kids already knew of him and think its funny i have his cds :o)

  27. Yeah, he says he was quite self righteous about it too. He then had some kind of epiphany that he was being a bit of a bore about his beliefs.

  28. Also. Fred Phelps I would nominate to be one of the worst.

    I encourage anyone to read some articles from the current pope. I found some of his teachings quite theologically sound. He got my attention last year when he promoted at the WYD08 the importance of being baptised by the power and life of the Holy Spirit.

    Some of his writings and teachings are very impressive.

    But I must agree that ‘Church Beyond the Congregation’ is a winner for me. I didn’t know about it until Heretic put Thwaites onto me. First it made me depressed seeing how the church and me are affected by platonic thinking. But then halfway into reading it, I started finding a greater freedom I never knew I had in Christ.

    That was my experience with that book anyway.

  29. S&P – that YouTube video is hysterical. After all this time – we finally know how men should be men!

    (It’s scary – he’s serious!!!)

  30. http://apprising.org/2010/01/10/apostolic-pirate-brandon-barthrop-teaches-jesus-was-born-again/

    the jist of it is:
    APOSTOLIC PIRATE BRANDON BARTHROP TEACHES JESUS WAS BORN AGAIN

    By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Jan 10, 2010 in AM Missives, Current Issues, Word Faith

    Apprising Ministries has shown you e.g. in John Crowder And The New Mystics that there’s a younger section of the Word Faith Movement that’s so far out there we can’t even get a radar fix on them, to use the words of my good friend Bud Press of Christian Research Service.

    Chrystal over at Slaughter of the Sheep is also a friend and she’s a very good resource for exposing these kinds of false prophets/teachings ala the Manifest Sons of God, the Kansas City Prophets and the International House of Prayer (IHOP). In fact, about a month ago Chrystal alerted us to a supposed student awakening now going on at KC Prophet Mike Bickle’s IHOP.

    She also informs us in Student Awakening at IHOP—The Next Lakeland:

    I received an e-mail from a reader who alerted me to the new “awakening” that is happening at International House of Prayer (IHOP). I have been keeping my eye on this lately, and given it’s growth rate, it’s time to alert the flock. If anyone is wondering if this is similar to Lakeland – yes.

    It’s not Lakeland’s identical twin, it is the same as Lakeland in a doctrinal sense, for the same spirit that drove Lakeland is fueling this. It just reignited in a different location. (Online source)

    You may recall that Lakeland was the stomping ground of false prophet Todd Bentley, who’s friends—and spiritual running mate—with Crowder, is now being promoted by the MorningStar Ministries of Rick Joyner. Seems Joyner has been heading up the “restoration” to ministry of Bentley.

    And you should know that, even as wacked as Crowder is, Chrystal asks an important question in Mike Bickle Headed To MorningStar, “For those defending Mike Bickle, I wonder how they can defend him now knowing he’s basically giving his stamp of approval to Todd Bentley and Rick Joyner?”

    Not only that, but Bickle’s IHOP Forerunner Bookstore even stocks John Crowder’s book Miracle Workers, Reformers, and the New Mystics . Enter “Apostolic Pirate” Brandon Barthrop of something called Red Letter Ministries, the “prophet” in the video below.

    About a year ago in The Apostolic Birdie!?! Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough placed up a different video by Barthrop and told us:

    Warning: This video is shocking, sad and EXTREMELY offensive. We are posting this here because it shows the true nature of the people promoting the Tokin’ the Ghost heresy. (Remember we post this type of stuff because this is the Museum of Idolatry).

    The man in the video is Brandon Barthrop and he has a “ministry” website called Red Letter Ministries that promotes getting high and whacked in the ‘Holy Spirit’. Brandon has also made the rounds with John Crowder and Benjamin Dunn promoting the Tokin’ heresy in churches.

    This video exposes the true satanic nature of this heresy better than anything else we’ve witnessed.

    Do you think Jesus behaved in this manner or taught his disciples to do anything even closely resembling this? Of course not, yet there are people who call themselves Christians and churches that claim to be Christian that listen to and follow this man and his teaching.

    well … it’s food for thought.

  31. That was interesting, Bull. Good to have that Manifest Sons of God stuff explained. I might look it up a bit more, since I have friends whom I think are interested in it.

  32. Stephen Baldwin leads Alex Reid (Jordan’s Fella) to Jesus on Celebrity Big Brother

    On the Celebrity Big Brother show that aired earlier tonight in the UK (14th January 2010), Stephen Baldwin is shown leading fellow celebrity Big Brother housemate Alex Reid to Jesus.

    Alex Reid said a ”sinner’s prayer” while an excited Stephen Baldwin held Alex’s hand and lead him in the prayer step by step. While the Big Brother house cameras whirred, Alex Reid asked forgiveness for his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

    Was it real or was it merely a publicity stunt to grab attention and headlines (on Alex’s part), or was it, perhaps, a mixture of both? Hard to say when there are cuts in the aired footage and you don’t know all that went on that day, or any of the the other days. And, regardless of what goes on in the Big Brother house, even if you had seen every second of it, you don’t know the people in real life, off of camera. Nonetheless, pray for Alex Reid and his household – and pray for Stephen Baldwin too.

    (A bit of background for those who don’t know (where have you been?!) – Alex Reid is famous for being the partner of surgically enhanced topless model turned celebrity and tabloid newspaper headline grabber, Jordan, aka Katie Price. Both Alex Reid and Jordan have been doing a lot of PR recently – some of that PR being doing reality TV shows – in an attempt to restore their favour in the public eye after the dramatic fall in Jordan’s popularity (and income?!) after her infamous marriage split from pop singer Peter Andre.)

  33. A little necromancy for Mr. and Mrs. Bentley

    By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

    The most scary thing that comes out of Todd Bentley’s Dec. 18th, 2009 service, however, is that Jessa Bentley, Todd’s new wife who is evidently learning quickly, apparently has the ability to call dead people into her dreams?

    A big hat-tip to blogger P.J. Miller, who spotted this first and might even be more flummoxed than I am at the Bentleys’ effrontery.

    At 101:37 of the Dec. 18th service, as saved on Todd Bentley’s website, Jessa Bentley comes up to share for a moment. It would seem that she might have a prophetic gifting, as Jessa emphasized in her remarks that ”Lakeland was just an introduction” of what God is hoping to do. (Cue ominious music again.)
    Jessa began by saying:

    “So, a couple of nights ago I had a dream where Oral Roberts was speaking to Todd–I didn’t understand what they were saying but I remember they were talking and then he stopped and he looked over to me and he ran over to me and he [Oral Roberts] stopped and he put his hands over my eyes and he said what do you see? And so I looked and I didn’t see anything at first then I saw this elephant racing across my eye and Oral Roberts, he said, he put his hand over my eyes and said what do you see and…I said I didn’t see anything at first and then all of a sudden I saw this elephant racing across my eyes and it was dancing, it was going crazy, it was just, it had this big smile, but it was just going crazy and I said, “It’s a wild elephant, I see a wild elephant.
    And then I said ‘What’s with the elephant and he said, “Exactly, what is it with the elephant?” And I looked again and in that vision what was highlighted was the trunk of the elephant and I said “The elephant nose (knows) and he said “yes” And I said it’s discernment and he said “exactly.” And then he says,” Do you see the lion?” and I closed my eyes again and then I saw the lion and the lion was just a golden lion and I woke up.
    And when I woke up…”

    She continues to interpret her dream. At the 104 minute mark, she starts to emulate the prophetess Stacey Campbell, with stammering and wil shaking of her head. “Lakeland was just an introduction. Just a table of contents for what is to come.”
    “It’s gonna be wild, wild, it’s gonna be much greater than it was before. Much greater…”
    Todd takes the mike. “You know, when God spoke to her in that dream,” he said. “That was the night that Oral Roberts passed (away). And Jessa said to God ‘So many of our friends got to go out to California in the last few months [to be prayed for by Roberts]….’”
    (Bentley parenthetically explains that Roberts was praying for people to receive his healing gifts and re-enact the healing revival of the 1950s. As I noted in an earlier post, however, while Roberts never renounced his healing ministry, he came to see it as well-intentioned and perhaps flawed. Healing came to be part of all the work he chose to do–not an emphasis–as shown by Oral Roberts University trying to have a medical school as part of their work. A more nuanced description, however, would interfere with Bentley psyching up his audience.)
    So, Bentley continues, his wife was mentioning to God that she and Todd hadn’t had an opportunity to be prayed for by Roberts. “And Jessa said, ‘Lord you called my husband, you called Todd to be a healing evaglist, a revivalist. How come we never got to go out to California to receive this impartation?’ And I didn’t know that she was crying out ‘Lord I really want this and now he’s gone [died] And she had a dream. And Oral Roberts showed up in the dream and laid hands on her. And what she didn’t tell you is that she felt it go through her body and she got it!”
    So what Todd is explaining is that his wife received an “it” in a dream from someone who she thought was Oral Roberts who had just died!
    This is necromancy. The Bible tells believers not to seek to contact the dead. The only time that the Bible reports someone being forcibly brought back from the dead–the prophet Samuel and the Witch of Endor, horrible things happened as a result.
    Why is Jessa comfortable recieving a blessing froma dead man when the Bible says not to seek one?
    Why is Todd Bentley passing the pulpit over to someone who seems to have no problem with an experience that the Bible forbids?
    This might be an explanation why Shonnah was kicked to the curb. Perhaps Bentley’s first wife was uncomfortable doing shady things in the pulpit. Can we wonder if wife number two, aside from being younger and prettier, will wade in with whatever is needed, even extatic prophect or seeing the dead–to put her husband over the top?
    The new age is very popular amongst the young? Do we want young Chsritians or new converts to be influenced to dabble with seeking contact from the dead, because Jessa Bentley had this dream?
    Was any of this compared to what the Bible teaches? Bentley has, reportedly, spent months in the Bible. You kave to know that he knows the Bible verses warning against this…but he continues blithely on, not even saying “I know that the Bible cautions against this, but…” while the lambs nibble the poisonous plants.
    Even if Jessa is wise (and I certainly doubt she is) is tempting others to seek after an iffy experience wise.
    And where is Rick Joyner, the wise mentoring hand in all this?
    I mean, I would love to see my friends and heroes from heaven. But I think of them! On the night that Oral Roberts is finally with his wife, dead son, and Jesus, why call him down from heaven to talk to Todd Bentley and pray for Jessa Bentley? It would be a mean thing to do to Oral, wouldn’t it? (*Imagine Oral visiting with his wife in heaven. His pager goes off. Oral: “Jessa Bentley wants me to pray for her again?” 🙂 )
    I think that Patricia King, Todd Bentley’s old friend, might have a very interesting point of view on all this. A few years ago, she released a teaching on CD, the “Great Cloud of Witnesses”–if memory serves. (It’s at home and not at hand as I write.)
    On the CD, King talks briefly in passing, about the time that she believes that she met the spirit of Aimee Semple McPherson on a plane.
    In subsequent months, there was a bit of a controversy, as concerned Christians were worried that King was dabbling in necromancy. On reflection, she then wrote on her webiste that whatever she might have seen, it was unwise for her–as it was a stumbling block to others–to have shared this. So, she pulled the CD and you can no longer get it from her store or download the teaching from her website.
    I wonder what Patricia King would say to her old friend and his new wife about this.

    I don’t want to know what Aimee or Oral for that matter would say, in a dream or otherwise, thanks. Neither should the Bentleys, for that matter.

  34. Bull, that one on the Bentley’s would have to qualify as one of the worst, and the one above as one of the wierdest.

    I think that given the Bentley’s have so clearly flouted basic scriptural precepts in multiple ways, and demonstrate a greater desire for the limelight than for a time of quiet restoration, God has given them over to what they want. He always respects our free will – they’ve chosen their own path. It can’t end well in the long run; perhaps one day they will actually repent, who knows.

    Anyway, likewise, given that the public are aware of the Bentley’s past issues, they have a choice about whether they pay attention to them or not.

    My feeling is that the Bentley’s will go further and further down this path and become more extreme. Rick Joyner will then also have to demonstrate in a more extreme way where he really stands on upholding scriptural standards for leadership. At the moment, Joyner is waving the flag of love and forgiveness – and therefore very rapid restoration – but the wisdom of this will be shown in the extremes the Bentleys next go to. Joyner will then have to demonstrate with less room for ambiguity where his heart really lies – whether he supports things that are demonstrably not God’s will. People will have another chance to choose to depart from both the Bentley and the Joyner ministry.

    Anyone who then remains, who has the mental capacity to think for themselves, will then be responsible for anything they suffer as a result of this ministry. God will give them over to what they want as well.

    But at least the greater extremes will give more people a wake up call in the meantime.

  35. BTW – its not the love and forgiveness that bothers me, but the hasty restoration, and the lack of love towards the congregation that is demonstrated by it.

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