By Marsha West
evangelist Todd Bentley has drawn hundreds of thousands to his Florida
Healing Revival to "soak in the glory and spread the fire." Before you
pack up the car or purchase an airline ticket and head to Lakeland
Florida, here's a word of warning: Christians who play with fire will
All the controversy over the Lakeland Outpouring is causing deep
division within the Church. Some Christians believe Bentley is bringing
a long overdue revival. They argue that since people are getting healed
it's a move of God. But a growing number of believers say he's a fraud.
So which is it? Is Todd Bentley a prophet of God, or just another
huckster? Let's examine the evidence to find out if a genuine revival is
going on in Lakeland.
There's a plethora of video clips online that show Bentley in all his
raging glory, stalking the stage. In one clip I watched, he's bragging
about "grounding and pounding" people who have come to him for healing.
In another clip he declares that God told him to batter a woman's legs
with a baseball bat. He then boasts how he has applied choking moves on
sick people who come to him for help. Then there's the story of the
"Chinese guy" he "hit so hard that a tooth popped out of his mouth."
Bentley's "healing" is often so brutal that some witnesses compare it to
WWF Smackdown! The man may be a wrestling aficionado, but he's
definitely not a prophet of God. No offense, but he is as phony as most
professional wrestlers. But don't take my word for it. Watch the video
clips in this article and you'll discover that I'm not making any of
this up. Here's the
What struck me about this clip is that people in the audience, most of
whom are professing Christians, laughed and applauded as Bentley blamed
God for telling him to inflict pain on people! The Apostles never
behaved in such an appalling manner. Would Paul kick a senior citizen in
the head, even with lightweight sandals on his feet? Peter may have been
hotheaded, still he would never have resorted to grounding and pounding
the sick in order to heal them. Now, imagine John choking someone and
saying that God told him to do it! What I have just described is Todd
Bentley's WWF style of healing.
Many of Bentley's "healings" are not instantaneous, by the way. For
example, a man claimed partial restoration of his hearing on Wednesday
and on Thursday he claimed his hearing was completely restored. Both
Jesus and the Apostle's healings were instantaneous, and that's because
they were authentic. People were restored to full health. Not in
Lakeland, though, where they experience "miracles in progress."
Something I found odd is how Bentley feigns wide-eyed surprise at some
of his "miracle healings." Since he's allegedly healed masses of people
for a number of years, why does he look so amazed when people are
healed? The answer is obvious. He plays the audience! And he's oh so
effective at "priming the pump" to keep their minds engaged.
Restoring someone's missing eye or severed hand is an outward healing.
Todd Bentley's "healings" are inward. Glaringly absent are restored body
parts. Several video clips show people allegedly healed of cancer, heart
problems, tumors, diabetes, deafness, asthma, fibromialgia, broken
bones, and so on. Again, Bentley's healings are not outward like the
genuine healings of Jesus and the Apostles. Moreover, he claims to have
raised people from the dead!
The obvious question is if miraculous healings like the sort Jesus
performed are actually taking place in Lakeland, where's the proof?
Photos and videos of people with restored limbs and missing body parts
would be splashed all over national TV and the Internet, especially on
Christian news sites. Where are the "before" and "after" pictures of
burn victims, kids with cleft pallots and other obvious birth defects?
Absent are stories from Alzheimer's sufferers who miraculously regained
their memories. One blogger made this astute comment:
" Bentley's close friend and mentor, Bob Jones is sick with kidney
problems and is obese. Todd Bentley is overweight and balding and had a
recent heart attack. Quite a few of Todd Bentley's musicians and
singers, as others have remarked, are also very big so there is no
miraculous weight loss anointing or healing baldness anointing or any
healing anointing working among them -- and Todd claims the anointing
drops pounds off fat people and puts hair on heads. James Goll's wife is
seriously ill with cancer. Get my drift?"
In the next clip an eleven-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsey who cannot
walk without a walker has a dream of running around the baseball
diamond. The boy sincerely believes he's been healed. (This one brought
me to tears.) He struggles to speak as he relays his "healing"
experience to the crowd. All the while his mother holds onto his shaky
body to keep him from falling. The boy cannot stand alone, let alone
run. Yet he's told by Bentley that he's a "healing in progress." Then
before the boy knows what hit him, BAM! he's "slain in the spirit"
(pushed to the floor).
it and weep.
What did Jesus do?
" Then he [Jesus] said to the paralytic, 'Get up, take your mat and go
home.' And the man got up and went home" (Mat 9:6-7).
What about Peter?
" As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in
Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been
bedridden for eight years. 'Aeneas,' Peter said to him, 'Jesus Christ
heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.' Immediately Aeneas got up.
All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord"
The obvious question is, does Satan have the power to heal? The answer
is that he gives the appearance of healing, but it's a counterfeit. It's
true that God performs miraculous signs and wonders. And the apostles
performed signs and wonders and miracles by the power of the Holy
Spirit. Sorcerers perform "miraculous lying signs and wonders" that lead
people astray and keep them from the truth. But lying signs and wonders
may not be miraculous at all. Satan has the power to deceive, "even the
elect—if that were possible." Some faith-healers use social emotional
and psychological manipulation to get people to to change their
behavior, their attitude, even their morals. In a crowded setting people
are more susceptible to manipulation tactics. This is known as peer
pressure. Responding to peer pressure is part of human nature.
In his article SOAKING? A spiritual discipline or Eastern Mysticism,
Gary Gilley describes psychological manipulation thus:
John Arnott writes [in his book The Father's Blessing]: It is no
coincidence that we have seen people prophetically acting like lions,
oxen, eagles and even warriors. In Steve Witt's church in St. Johns, New
Brunswick, I saw all four of those manifestations happening at the same
time -- the ox, the eagle, the lion and the man (warrior). The lion and
eagle manifestations accompanied prophesying. The man who was acting out
the part of the warrior had both hands gripped together around the hilt
of a sword, and he was swinging it. These warrior actions give the
observer a real feel of battlefield action. The people who were doing
this were mostly credible pastors or leaders. I was astonished but
sensed the awesome presence of God.
"One lady who played the keyboard and weighed about 115 pounds was on
all fours, snorting and pawing the ground like an angry ox or bull. It
was obvious that she was surprised and a bit frightened by what was
happening, but at the same time she seemed determined to follow the
Spirit's leading (p. 178)."
People who follow the "Spirit's leading" in this way look like they're
crazy, drunk or possessed, which is the reason Scripture doesn't support
foolish behavior! In this next clip a group of people line up to receive
This is actually scary!
Scripture never mentions lying supine on the floor sizzling like bacon
in a frying pan as Bentley induces people to do. Nor does it mention
crying or laughing hysterically, screaming, shaking all over, clucking,
mooing, barking and roaring "in the spirit." This may come as a surprise
to some Christians, but being slain in the spirit is not normative in
Scripture. Read 1 Cor. 14 to learn what God wants a church service to
look like. Paul makes it clear that, "Everything should be done in a
fitting and orderly way."
I find the next clip disturbing on so many levels. Watch what's taking
place in the Ashrams of India, the cults, the New Age movement, even
inside the church! Popular Word of Faith teacher Kenneth Copeland gets
in on the act and comes close to mussing his hair:
Watch the mindless
In Galatians 5:22-25 Paul describes the "fruit of the spirit" and how to
live a Spirit-filled life. Ponder these verses and decide for yourself
if the fruit produced by the Lakeland Outpouring is fresh or rotten. The
fruit of the Spirit is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is
no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful
nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let
us keep in step with the Spirit"
I wonder, are faith-healers recruited by the U.S. military to heal
soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who have sustained horrific
injuries, from lost limbs to burns to blindness. Benny is always
trapsing around the world to bring healing to the sick. One can't help
but wonder how much time he spends bring healing to our brave American
soldiers. Our Lord healed the sick in his own backyard:
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside
begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening.
They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." He called out, "Jesus,
Son of David, have mercy on me!" Those who led the way rebuked him and
told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have
mercy on me!" Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him.
When he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"
"Lord, I want to see," he replied. Jesus said to him, "Receive your
sight; your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and
followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also
praised God" (Luke 18:34-43).
Now for more "fire
burning heat healings" from Todd Bentley. Only this time he takes
credit for a three year-old girl's resurrection from dead.
According to Charisma Magazine, Arnold Palmer Hospital denied the
report. A blogger who believes the girl was healed claims that the she
died a second time "under mysterious circumstances."
After watching Bentley in action, any reasonable person would have to
conclude that the Florida Healing Outpouring is not a movement of the
Holy Spirit as those involved in it believe. This so-called "revival"
was birthed in the pit of hell. And speaking of hell, Bentley claims
that the audible voice of God told him to pretend to be demon possessed
during a Charismatic Catholic meeting. At first he argues with "God"
about it, but then caves in and does as the voice tells him. Suddenly he
finds himself "writhing around on the floor like a serpent." Then a
demonic power commences speaking from his mouth and he starts cursing
and using profanity. Fortunately for him a first-rate faith-healer is on
the scene to grab the bull by the horns. The "healer" proceeds to cast
twenty-five demons out of Bentley's body. Don't take my word for it,
watch the next clip.
Bentley has a demon alright -- the demon of heresy! (Naming demons is
not biblical, by the way, nor is "binding demons." But that's another
article.) How can a born again Christian be possessed by demons when the
Bible says, "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the
world" (1John 4:4). The Holy Spirit indwells true Christians. Moreover,
the New Testament does not mention that believers should be concerned
with becoming demon possessed. So let's set the "demons can possess
believers" myth to rest once and for all. It can't happen. Oppressed,
yes, possessed, never!
Not surprisingly, Todd Bentley is obsessed with angels. Many of his
followers have heard his tall tale of how a 14-foot angel "towers in the
apartment," where he lived. Seven days after the "visitation" he went
into ministry. Listen to him "telling
the honest truth" about a "visitation from heaven" and how it led to
his healing ministry in Albany, Oregon.
It matters not to Bentley's followers that his angel encounters are
unbiblical. He has received "visitations" from the "Winds of Change" and
his money gathering angel, Emma. On money matters Bentley offers this
advice in his article, Angels and the Florida Healing Revival:
"So when I need a financial breakthrough I don't just pray and ask God
for my financial breakthrough. I go into intercession and become a
partner with the angels by petitioning the Father for the angels that
are assigned to getting me money: 'Father, give me the angels in heaven
right now that are assigned to get me money and wealth. And let those
angels be released on my behalf. Let them go into the four corners of
the earth and gather me money.'"
Where do I begin? First, and most importantly, Bentley's understanding
of angels is unbiblical. God does not instruct humans to partner with
angels, nor are we to pray to an angel. The word "angel" means
"messenger." God sends messengers to humans via elect-holy angels.
Humans are to pray directly to the Father in heaven. Nowhere in the
bible are believers instructed to elicit the help of an angel to
accumulate wealth! Hence, the "angels" Bentley prays to could not
possibly be messengers from God. If you believe that he's "telling the
honest truth" about his "visitations," understand that the advice he
receives is from fallen angels, AKA demons. Had Todd Bentley taken the
time to study the Bible to find out what it says about the host of
heaven, he'd know that his "visitations" are from the dark side!
(Angelology is out of the scope of this article. If you wish to find out
what the Bible says about angels, visit NewsWithViews.com and
read my articles
on angels. 
Todd Bentley says he has conversations with God. He continually spouts,
"the Lord told me…" and passes along to the audience what the Lord
supposedly said. But would God really instruct him to kick a woman in
the face with a biker boot? First of all, if he actually "obeyed" the
voice, he'd have been arrested for battery! Or sued!
What's up with the people Bentley employs? There are a number of them on
stage with him at all times. Apparently they stood idly by when he
assaulted helpless sick people, even knocked a man's tooth out! The
question Bentley's devotees must ask themselves is does this sickening
behavior in any way glorify the Holy Trinity?
I'm inclined to believe the "voice" Todd Bentley says he hears is not
God at all. Either he's hearing from demons or it's a figment of his
imagination. It is not in God's character to lie, nor would the Almighty
honor someone who blatantly twists Scripture.
Following is an excerpt from an article I wrote, Found: God's Will:
"God speaks to us through the pages of Scripture. 'For all our talk
about sola Scriptura,' says Greg Koukl, 'many also hold that God speaks
to them on a regular basis giving true information about Himself and
specific directions for their lives. Their claim is, essentially, "I
believe the Bible is a bona fide source of information and the Spirit
also gives private information directly to me." The second step
frequently follows the first: The personal, subjective sense of what a
person thinks God is telling him trumps the objective Scripture.'
" Koukl makes an important point. Should what we hear in our mind take
precedence over what Scripture says? Christians will often toss out the
phrase, 'God told me' that they should do this or that. Or 'I felt led,'
or 'I sensed that God wanted me to___' You fill in the blank.
Televangelists, who pretend to have a direct pipeline to God, prance
around in front of the TV camera, claiming to hear a 'word from the
Lord.' At the risk of sounding negative or divisive, most televangelists
teach outright heresy (I can prove it), so why would God speak to them
at all? Frauds should not expect to hear from God; they should expect to
be rebuked by God."
And by the way, it's blasphemous to blame God for giving you
instructions that goes against the teaching of Scripture!
Bud Press made this insightful comment about Bentley:
" Bentley has a desire for power and experience, which has become the
ruin of many before him. If one takes Bentley's view as realistic and
tries to make it normative for today, then maybe we should continue to
write Scripture and add it to the Bible. Because that is exactly what
Bentley is doing."
In their book Overrun By Demons: The Churches New Preoccupation With The
Demonic, the authors explain the working of the Holy Spirit:
" The Holy Spirit is the One who works in us and leads us, while the
Word of God is the means that He uses to bring this about. They are best
friends and never travel alone. In addition, they never have an
argument; they always agree. After all, the Holy Spirit is the agent
used by the Father to write the Scriptures, so He knows them quite well!
Therefore the Holy Spirit would never lead anyone to do anything which
conflicts with the written Word of God, no matter how convincing the
circumstances or intense the experience."
Satan's counterfeit signs and wonders have one purpose: To destroy the
work of Christ. For those who are all caught up in the "sings and
wonders" movement here are a few scriptures to ponder:
" Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill
you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from
the mouth of the LORD." (Jer 13:16)
" A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but
none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them
and went away" (Mat 16:4).
" Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in
order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember
that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day
with tears" (Acts 20:30-31).
" Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying
to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven
should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be
eternally condemned!" (Gal 5:7-8).
" The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of
Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,
and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They
perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved" (2 Thes
" For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great
number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They
will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Tim
There are other verses that support this point, but you get the idea.
Video clips exposing the Lakeland Outpouring abound. Some of them are
far worse than those few I have selected. Most who watch Todd Bentley in
action conclude that the man is a false prophet. In my opinion he's
deeply troubled and in dire need of prayer.
Over the years I've corresponded with a number of charismatics who have
accused me of "quenching the Holy Spirit." What I've found is that if
you don't share their experiences, you're considered "outside." In other
words, if you don't buy into the apostate "signs and wonders" movement
you lack "divine revelation." Since when does "experience" override
Sola Scriptura? "To the Jews who
had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching [Scripture],
you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth
will set you free'" (John 8: 31-32).
This is why committed Christians must be in the Word' so that they will
know the truth! Knowing Scripture is the only way to become spiritually
attuned enough to spot a counterfeit. False teachers are thriving! But
in the end they will lose all they have gained here on earth. In Mat
7:21 our Lord gives this stern warning: "Not everyone who says to me,
'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the
will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day,
'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive
out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I
never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
So when a "miracle" takes place, test what the person is teaching! "Do
not believe every spirit," warned John, "but test the spirits to see
whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out
into the world" (1 John 4:1-2).
I don't claim to know Todd Bentley's motives, only God knows what he's
up to, but I can certainly judge his words and actions. His words are
lies and his actions are dishonoring to God. Thousands are streaming
into Lakeland to receive the false anointing. Visitors are treated to a
magical mystical experience and a bizarre floorshow – literally!
Countless people have found themselves on the floor "sizzling in the
spirit." This is not an authentic revival it is a counterfeit! True
revival accompanies preaching about sin, sanctification, and salvation.
The unsaved leave Lakeland with no concept of sin and repentance. They
have not heard the true gospel from Bentley. "By this gospel you are
saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you
have believed in vain" (1 Cor 15:1-2).
After watching Bentley's performance, I'm convinced this is not a move
of God; it's a move of the Adversary. I'm also convinced that the
charismatic revival, hailed as another Great Awakening, is a lying sign
and a false revival. I realize that some lost souls are coming to Christ
in Lakeland but they're being saved in spite Todd Bentley, not because
of him! This has all come about because of a lack of spiritual depth and
transformation among those who claim to be committed Christians.
One last comment. Any pastor who advises his/her flock to visit the
Lakeland Outpouring cannot be trusted for the simple reason that he/she
is sorely lacking in spiritual discernment. Consider looking for a new
What are your thoughts on this article?
End Times Prophetic, Prophecy, Visions, Dreams, Revelation, Christian
Miracles part 3
Articles By Marsha West (A slew of angel verses in Additional
4, For a biblical understanding of angles, read
Ideas About Angels, By Marsha West
5, An Open
Heaven- Todd Bentley's Highway to Heaven, By Bud Press
6, Overrun by Demons: The Churches New Preoccupation With The
Demonic, By Thomas Ice and Robert Dean, Jr., page 88, Harvest House
What Is True Revival? Originally published August, 1989, By Charles
Scriptures on angels from Sola Scriptura Project website
Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God, By Mike Ratliff
Laughter or Strong Delusion, By Warren Smith
"healings" on YouTube