The Florida Revival and Todd Bentley’s teaching

Question 140, from Mark, United Kingdom

Any thoughts on the latest ‘so called’ healing revival in Florida

I googled Todd Bentley and read and saw some worrying things, some are saying this is a false move as we are warned about in Matthew chapter 24, verse 24.

For those who don’t know, Todd Bentley is a Florida-based preacher who has recently been attracting much attention amid claims of dramatic spiritual manifestations, healings and angelic visitations. Recently Bentley’s ‘revival meetings’ have been broadcast in the United Kingdom on religious cable channels, and clips are also available on internet sites such as Youtube.

Naturally, in any situation where things appear to happen outside normal experience, questions are asked. Specifically, in this case, is this a revival? And, if not, is this the kind of deception foretold by Jesus in Matthew chapter 24, verse 24? (“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.”)

Some of the concerns raised about Bentley’s actions include, in no particular order:
~ The methodology used in ‘healings’, which includes physical impacts, such as punching and kicking
~ Association with a number of high-profile ‘prophets’, including some who were integral members of the group called the Kansas City Prophets in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The ministry and theology of some of the Kansas City Prophets has often been questioned, and there have been several accusations relating to “moral failure” (a eupehemism for sexual indiscretions).
~ Appeals for money/financial support, often with an attached promise of blessing on those who give money
~ An emphasis on angelic visitations, particularly with regard to “financial angels”

In the United Kingdom, the questions being asked about Todd Bentley’s ministry has provoked a response from the Evangelical Alliance, in the form of an open letter from director Joel Edwards. The solution the EA put forward is for people to ‘wait and see’ what the long-term effects of Bentley’s ministry will be[1].

Prospering & being blessed

Question 139, from Sarah-Louise, United Kingdom

Some Christians say that it is the will of God for all believers to prosper financially, that poverty and lack is a curse and that our prosperity is contingent upon our obedience to the Word of God. Does the Bible actually say this?

I don’t think it does at all as plenty of non-believers prosper, people like Mother Theresa died poor etc but I don’t know how to back up my hunch scripturally.

This is a difficult question to definitively answer, simply because either view can be supported through referring to the Bible. Certainly in the Old Testament, key figures in Israelite history were wealthy as a result of their obedience to God. Abraham, for example, saw his wealth grow as a result of his faithfulness.

Others who were significantly blessed in material terms include Job, David and Solomon, and there are several instances of God promising blessing on the nation of Israel if the Law is kept. Interestingly, several of these ‘blessing texts’ are often used to reinforce the idea that true believers will prosper financially, often with little or no regard for the context in which God promises blessing.

Mis-using texts by ignoring contexts
A classic example of this is Malachi chapter 3, verse 10, which is often used to justify appeals for money, as ‘God will financially bless those who give their tithe’ [1]. However, the context of this verse is (more…)