The Elijah List Bio of Todd Bentley

clip_image001Healing evangelist, revivalist, and author Todd Bentley is the founder of Fresh Fire USA. As a teenager, Todd, an alcoholic and drug addict, had a dramatic life-changing encounter with the saving, delivering power of God. Today, Todd and his Fresh Fire team travel the world to lead the lost into the miraculous, delivered and set free—launched into the reality of intimate relationship with Jesus. The passion of Todd’s life and ministry to the nations is souls and to see others experience the transferable, tangible anointing of the Holy Spirit.

God releases His presence and power through Todd’s life in a mighty way, confirming that Jesus still heals every sickness and disease. God has drawn Todd into deep and intimate places of prayer. These extended times in God’s presence have released a fresh prophetic and miracle-healing anointing. Todd believes the Body of Christ needs to be strengthened and encouraged. He ministers prophetically, corporately and personally as well as brings forth the Word of God with the power and demonstration of the Spirit-God confirming His word with signs and wonders following. God has released an increase of the healing anointing into Todd’s life—the blind see, the deaf hear and growths dissolve as Jesus heals every sickness and disease. More here.

The manifestation of the Spirit through the gifts are on an individual bases by the Spirit according to the Will of God for the purpose of edifying the body of Christ and to give glory to God in all things. I contend that though every believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption Eph. 1:13, though every believer is baptized into the Body of Christ by the Spirit 1 Cor. 12:13, not all believers are given gifts as outlined in 1 Cor. 12 & 14 as a personal possession. “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually, as He wills.” 1 Cor. 12:11 is not necessarily saying that every believer has a gift but that the Spirit works through individuals according to His will so as any one individual can manifest any one of the gifts at any given time according to the Will of the Spirit. I don’t see the gifts blanketing the Body of Christ as we are seeing today. Nor can I say that the “gifts” portrayed today are an abuse of spiritual gifts as the phenomena occurring in this present hour are not the biblical gifting’s of the Spirit. If you study biblical history, God has always moved in the remnant, never the masses.

God gives to those who are responsible with what is given them. People act today as though the Gifts of the Spirit are a smorgasbord thrown on a table where people can just serve themselves. Peter taught “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” 1 Peter 4:10-11. The one gifted is to be a steward of such gifting entrusted to them by the Lord for the strengthening of fellow believers, and that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. The gifts are not a free for all to be used at the will and whim of people. Nor are they used to draw disciples after our selves, or to build your own ministry, nor to become popular as though you have the corner market on the gifts or a special anointing.

I believe a parallel can be seen with the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was given to individuals for a specific purpose and then withdrawn. As I said above, every believer is sealed and possesses the Holy Spirit, He indwells every believer. However, the operation of the Gifts of the Spirit are given and then withdrawn according to the “Will of the Spirit” to accomplish a specific purpose. The problem is we claim them as if the gifts are ours, they are not, they are the “gifts of the Spirit” and Scripture is conclusive, He distributes to each one individually as He wills. This is where a lot of confusion exist today, the gifts of the Spirit have never operated on a large scale and the majority of what is seen today is an artificial replication of the biblical gifting’s. If they were not a imitation but truly do originate from the Holy Spirit there would be valid miracles performed drawing people to the Saving Grace of Christ. Instead we see wild claims from our charismatic counterparts that Jesus heals every sickness and disease through men like Todd Bentley. The blind see, the deaf hear and growths dissolve as Jesus heals every sickness and disease? Every sickness? Not even Jesus healed every sickness and disease! In John 5 Jesus went to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews, there he was seen at the pool of Bethesda. On the five porches there was a “great multitude” of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, all waiting for an angel to stir the water that one might enter the pool and be healed. Jesus saw one man there who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years. It was this one individual who received healing, Jesus then withdrew from the pool and went to the temple. Why didn’t Jesus heal all who were sick at the pool? Scripture doesn’t say, but the point is, Jesus didn’t heal every sickness and disease. Only one out of a great multitude of people was healed that day. But one thing is certain, when Jesus did heal, people where completely healed and it was visible and verifiable.

So how can we determine the real from the false today? The lines seem to be blurred, but the answers are easy. First; You compare the message with the manifestation! Second; You judge according to their fruit, you look at their track record. The emphasis has never been on the miracle in Scripture, but on the message. Before Jesus ever did one miracle, he preached “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near” Matt 4:17. He then went about all of Galilee teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, healing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people, not all sickness and disease vs. 23.

Todd Bentley is nothing more than a recycling of previous movements that stretch back decades. Whether it was meetings held by people like William Branham, Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, Steve Hill, or any of the so-called Kansas City Prophets, the spirit and basic doctrine are the same.  There’s a common thread of specific heresies that go back a long way.[1] We’ll get to that in a moment, first I think it best to address an issue which has troubled me for some time now.

What of Cessationism?

I have endeavored to justify the cessationist view with Scripture and have come up empty. Most cessationist arguments are from a historical perspective rather than a Biblical exegesis. However, the few verses some do implement become a violation of the hermeneutics they claim to adhere to. Whether we like it or not, we must except and believe all that Scripture reveals of God, His activities and workings in the earth with mankind. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 fall within the love chapter of the Bible and we see the gifts in contrast to love. The Gifts are partial, temporal, and are not eternal. Everything in this age compared to the perfection of the new creation is at a child like stage including the gifts. But rather than suggesting the termination of the gifts during this age or at an early point in church history, this passage proves just the opposite. “That which is perfect” refers to the completion of God’s purposes after the Second coming of Jesus Christ. There is no other reason other than human opinion to presume to attribute these verses to the conclusion of the canon of the Scripture.

While the inspired Word of God was completed at the end of the first century, its completion did not signal an end to the continuing operation of the very powers it describes.[2] It is possible, though not from a biblical point of view, that the gifts were dormant for a period of ages, still there is evidence that God will pour out of His Spirit at the end of the age that His people will do great exploits. I am not saying that what we see today is that out pouring, on the contrary, what we are witnessing is a counterfeit to that which God does.

Prophecy carries a literal meaning, what some may not be aware of is that there is a significance in prophecy beyond a prophets present day, often their are hidden layers of meaning. Prophecy has a way of repeating itself, cycling through time according to the perfect order laid down by God. For instance, some prophecies have a near and far application. In the prophecy of the seventy weeks in Daniel chapter nine we are told that the physical attack on the Temple and City of Jerusalem happens in the middle of the week. This literally happened twice in Israel’s history since the giving of this prophecy. Once with Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C., and again when the Romans attacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Yet Jesus speaks of a future fulfillment of that same prophecy in Matthew 24. Ok, so what is my point and how does is it related to the Gifts of the Spirit? Acts 2:14-21 is my point!

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:’ And it shall come to pass in the last days says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughter shall prophecy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood; Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

It is here we can see both the near and far application of Joel 2:28-32. As peter stated, what was happening on the day of Pentecost was a fulfillment of what Jesus predicted in Acts 1:8, and a direct fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy when God would pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh. Yet we also see a far application here, a dividing line can be seen between verse 18 and 19. The last days (vs. 17) refers to the era of the church from Pentecost to the return of Christ. Joel’s prophecy will end in the midst of monumental signs and in divine judgment during Daniels 70th week. The text itself argues that the outpouring of the Spirit continues from Pentecost until the consummation of the age.

Historically, no argument can be authoritatively conclusive. Recorded history can never provide irrefutable proof and supply an definite finality on an argument. Only Scripture is authoritatively final. And as I pointed out above there is more evidence in Scripture to the continuance of the Gifts of the Spirit than there is on the side of the cessation of the Gifts. However, the lack of proof in history in behalf of the operation of Spiritual Gifts does give a strong argument that the Gifts ceased only to reemerge during the Great Tribulation Period within Daniels 70th week. This is the moderate cessation view and I find myself leaning in that direction.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia defines Moderate Cessationism by saying: “A moderate Cessationist would also deny the possibility of gifts on a priori grounds. He would deny the existence of manifestations of genuine charismatic gifts in the Church no matter what, even in the event of seeing apparent miracles or healing. However, a moderate Cessationist allows for the possibility of a new charismatic period in the future, when God would powerfully guide His people. This openness to the possibility of a new charismatic period is motivated by premillennialist eschatological expectations, where it is assumed that Christ’s Second Coming will occur before the establishment of Christ’s millennial kingdom on Earth. Within this premillennialist conceptual framework, the Great Tribulation is seen as a future period immediately preceding Christ’s Coming. A moderate Cessationist would insist that the new charismatic period is possible only during the Great Tribulation for otherwise the genuine gifts would be in operation before the Tribulation, and, thus, charismatic gifts could not be rejected on grounds of principle. Moderate Cessationism is compatible with all premillennialist positions (pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib and pre-wrath).

The moderate Cessationist understanding of the principle of Sola Scriptura is almost identical to the strong one. A moderate Cessationist would agree with all three propositions of Strong Cessationism, but with an important qualification: all three propositions are valid only in the post-Apostolic Age of the Church before the Great Tribulation, i.e. in the period after the 1st century until the days of the Great Tribulation. Thus, in practical terms, both strong and moderate Cessationism are the same. They differ only in eschatological terms, whether the gifts will reemerge in the last days immediately preceding the time of Christ’s Second Coming. The strong Cessationist eschatological view is not a premillennialist, and, thus, does not share the premillennialist conceptual framework, such as the premillennialist view of the Great Tribulation as something belonging to the future.

Biblical grounds for moderate Cessationism is the reference to two powerful prophets of God, Rev 11:3-11. According to a moderate Cessationist, events described in Rev 11 are in the future, during the Great Tribulation. For this reason, a moderate Cessationist has a ready answer to the question why the Bible is so vague about the cessation of the charismatic gifts: the Bible is obscure on this point precisely because the gifts will reemerge during the Great Tribulation. A moderate Cessationist concludes that they will absolutely end at the Second Coming of our Lord, at the end of the Great Tribulation.”

As I said, I lean in that direction though I’m not a staunch moderate cessationist I do view myself as a light moderate cessationist. I do see a gap, sort of speak, between Acts 2:18 and 19. The event described in Acts 2:19-20 is Eschatological and must be viewed alongside of what Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 24:29-30 and Revelation 6:12-17.

The Super Apostles

Although I view the Gifts as being latent what has emerged in the last century with the “latter rain,” “Word of Faith,” and “New Apostolic Reformation” and now the “Emergent Church” is an all out assault on the Body of Christ. Deception from these movements materialize quickly when compared to Scripture. Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton are all joined at the hip and if you’ve read one of their books you’ve read them all as they are simply swapping spit. Pedestal’s are being built by these men acclaiming the raise of the super apostles who have insights into the supernatural which transcends human understanding. Super-apostles look really hip and chic because they claim to be in touch with popular philosophical and cultural trends, and they bring these trends right into the church, doubtless in the name of “being relevant.” Some of the traits of these super apostles can be seen in that they change the parameters of Scripture, re-inventing it to suit the changing times. Their messages go beyond what is written in the Word of God and in the name of Christ they through subtle logic, twist Scripture to appeal to contemporary practices to petition people. What is important to them is not the message of the Gospel, repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, but their own standing and status in the Church. They have a new and improved version of the Gospel, and it is costly to their followers who have to pay for everything from special services to prayer and deliverance.

The term “super apostle” is not a newly invented title in the modern age. Paul contended with a group who in their own esteem were surpasser’s of the foundational apostles. These were self appointed apostles who compared themselves to Paul. “Yet I consider myself as in no way inferior to these [precious] extra-super [false] apostles” 2 Cor. 11:5 AMP. It is clear by the context that these super apostles had Satan’s agenda at heart. Because of them, Paul feared the Corinthians minds would be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted devotion to Christ 2 Cor. 11:3. These super serpent apostles brought another Jesus, a different Spirit, and a different gospel from the one they had received and welcomed by Paul. Paul chided them for their tolerance of such lies and deception 2 Cor. 11:4.

Rhetoric is the art or study of proper forms and methods of public speaking, highly emphasized in antiquity. Although only the well-to-do had much training in it, the rhetorical forms and ideas they used filtered down to the rest of urban society through public speeches, in a manner similar to that in which television permeates modern Western society.[3]

Rhetoric was important in Greco-Roman society, including Corinth. Paul’s statement that he is unskilled in speech (1 Cor. 11:6) did not mean he was a terrible speaker. It seems he had been accused of inadequate rhetorical skill by others, however; his writings attest a higher level of rhetorical sophistication than possessed by most people of his day. The text indicates that these super apostles were gaining a large audience because of their rhetorical abilities, with the intent of subverting the Church. Paul says: “For such men are false apostles [counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ. And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light; so it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. But their end will correspond with their deeds” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If you finish the chapter, Paul could not be a true apostle according to the super apostles otherwise he would accept money for his services. In verse 20 Paul polishes this chapter off showing that these super apostles lives and ministries manifested nothing of the Spirit of Christ. And again he chides the Corinthians for “enduring it if a man assumes control of your souls, and makes slaves of you, or devours your substance, spends your money and preys upon you, or deceives and takes advantage of you, or is arrogant and puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. To my discredit, I must say, we have shown ourselves too weak for you to show such tolerance of us and for us to do strong, courageous things like that to you! 2 Cor 11:20-21 AMP. Verse 20 is a description of just how carnal these super apostles ministry was: it brings people into bondage, not liberty, it devours them selfishly, it’s leaders exalt themselves and not Christ. Why is it that the flesh enjoys bondage and human schemes instead of the simple love and grace of Christ? And nothing has changed today! Men such as Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, and Bill Johnson degrade God’s people, devour God’s people, defraud God’s people, deride God’s people, and defame God’s people and people seem content to endure and tolerate it. Not to mention their butchery of God’s Word, their false manifestations, and their undermining of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

[1] Lakeland’s Recycled Revival  By Gary Osborne.

[2]Spirit Filled Bible; Jack W. Hayford, 1991 Thomas Nelson, Inc. p. 1739

[3] Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. 1993. The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, Ill.