Cracked on faith healers

By Rick Hiebert. All Right Reserved. Used by Permission

The humour website Cracked is exposing faith healers. A Robert Evans, who says he is a retired faith healer, explains how he did it, or rather faked it, in this blog post here.

Would be interesting to know if his back story stands up. To Google!

Posted in General | 3 Comments

Berated for not being able to predict Mark Driscoll’s and Todd Bentley’s futures

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

Blogger Jeffrey Yoder is even harder than I can be in the case of Todd Bentley, if that were possible. But I think it a bit much to expect people to predict the future.

In his new post

http://www.radicalresurgence.com/todd-bentley-mark-driscoll/

Yoder notes that the recent enforced sabbatical of Mark Driscoll reminds him a lot of the crash and burn of Todd Bentley.

But whose fault is it? Anyone who offered Driscoll and Bentley a pulpit. And I read between the lines that Yoder seems, to me anyway, to be as annoyed with their friends and hangers on as his is with Driscoll and Bentley themselves.

Yoder writes: [Emphasis added is mine}

I want to make two big points in this piece.

1. Sexual immorality and verbal/emotional abuse are equally serious sins in the New Testament. Yet evangelicals by and large have made sexual immorality the big sin, while giving a pass on swearing at people up one side down the other and emotionally abusing them with hurtful words and fits of anger. Paul puts these sins on the same level in Galatians and 1 Corinthians. Sexual immorality is not more serious than verbal abuse.

2. The people who promoted Bentley and made him a star later got off the Bentley ship (excepting Rick Joyner). But to my knowledge, none of them made any public confession that they were part of the problem. They should have asked forgiveness. They should have owned the fact that they gave Bentley a stage. They erred in judgment for promoting Bentley in the first place, exposing him to the Church. This was wrong and they should have come clean with it.

This pattern is repeating itself. The people who promoted Driscoll and made him a star are getting off the Driscoll wagon, but I’ve not seen any admissions or repentance for promoting him in the first place. They knew of his temper problems, his profanity, his harshness in dealing with people, and looked the other way. Why aren’t we seeing confessions by John Piper, Matt Chandler, Rick Warren, and the other people who gave Driscoll a platform? This was a major error in judgment and they were part of the problem.

It’s not too late for those who offered Bentley and Driscoll platforms to make public admissions and ask forgiveness.

Wow. Well, I’m not an expert on Driscoll, but I flatter myself that with my 13 year back story with Bentley, I may be a little helpful here.

Yoder raises a salient question. How careful do you need to be before allowing someone to “promote” himself in your church?

I was not surprised when some of the character issues shown in my Report magazine coverage of Bentley came to full bloom and helped The Lakeland Revival to collapse. But I did not expect that people were obliged to have sought out what I had written in a small Western Canadian newsmagazine that had since gone out of business. When Bentley had repeated his “misleading” in a Charisma magazine feature, I did a follow up story about his tendency to prevaricate.

But how fair would it be to expect most people to act on that?

If Bentley announced plans to come to my church, which would be very unlikely, I’d be obliged to give a heads-up. This would not necessarily disqualify Bentley, but it would advise them to be watchful.

This is why Yoder’s stance unnerves me a bit. Perhaps the state of the Church is such that we should assume that preachers will sin or be heretical, especially after one strike at the plate.

But Christians defer to thinking the best of people, and work off of word of mouth. Maybe we are too flip and casual in such matters and Yoder is correct to point that out.

That said, anticipating that people will err and sin is very strict.

Posted in General | 2 Comments

Scriptures for ’71

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

Do you recall my post on the “Good News for British Columbia” booklet? Well, I have a small update.

When I was out on errands this afternoon, I found another copy of the booklet. As you may recall, this was a “Good News Bible” Gospel of Mark issued in 1971 to tie in with the 100th anniversary of B.C. joining Canada. Now copies are thin on the ground and hard to find.

This new copy to me, however, has a blurb on the back cover which explicitly makes the tie to marking the 100 years.

I’d like to reproduce the blurb in full below, in case you are curious.

It reads:

SCRIPTURES FOR ’71
BRITISH COLUMBIA CENTENNIAL

One hundred years ago, our Province joined the Confederation and became part of the great Dominion of Canada. In this Centennial Year we have reason to give thought to the Scriptures. For they have been the foundation upon which our freedoms have been built. Our freedom and prosperity are worthy of our thanksgiving to God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life.

The familiar “Beautiful British Columbia” is certainly appropriate, for wherever we look we see nature, the handiwork of God, arrayed in magnificent splendor. For this we thank God.

Many years ago in another land and to another people and appeal was made that is applicable for us in our Centennial celebrations: “When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which he has given you. Beware that you forget not the Lord your God.” Deut 8:10-11 What God has done for us in love demands our thanksgiving.

In the activities of life, and in this year’s Centennial celebrations may we take time to read th Scriptures and find in them the Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

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MK Safety Net Canada

Christian Week highlights the entry of MK Safety Net into Canada, and the tremendous pro-active work they do  ’immersed in the struggles and pain experienced by survivors.’

“When MKs start talking about their abuse and they are told, ‘Get over it. Stop being bitter. Forgive.’ I think the Church believes God is sovereign, but when we have abuse claims in our ranks, we feel we have to protect God’s reputation by not talking about it or calling it a crime.”

Another issue Bissell identifies is that when abuse happens agencies are not doing enough to notify predators’ home church or child protection agencies in Canada.

Institutional protectionism remains entrenched despite more robust child protection policies. Thoughtful discussion under the article also.

Missionary Kids Safety Net

 

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Crossroads Television System (CTS) re-branding

It appears that Crossroads Television System (CTS) is re-branding itself,  CTS will become YES TV this fall.

Yestv.com was registered by Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. out of Burlington in 1998, and was updated last month according to WHOIS.

While still categorized as a religious broadcaster, Crossroads continues to branch out in it’s programing according to it’s sales blurb at Marketing Magazine.  Clicking on the CTS saleskit link takes you to a Yes TV page. (thanks to Channel Canada forums).

What’s in a name? Don’t know, given this has been registered since /98. It is interesting that Bruce Mann, a former Crossroads employee (1986-2011) started a church in 1997 in his hometown of Brampton called Yes Church, an independent affiliated with Open Bible Faith Fellowship. (OBFF).

The current leader of Yes Church (Mann left the church leadership in 2011 after Crossroads Circle Square Ranches were transferred over to Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship) is Larry Harrington, who is ordained by OBFF.

OBFF is the group which re-ordained Reynold Mainse (son of Crossroads founder David Mainse) recently, even though according to the Ontario Securities Commission, Reynold Mainse hasn’t paid back a penny of the  $247,719.50 owing for his involvement in the Axcess scam. In Canada, you can be ordained, be the director of a charity and be fully delinquent in money owing to the OSC.   You can have your dad publicly brag about your charity directorship and ordination while omitting the fact money is owed.
OBFF is known as the group which kicked out televangelist Peter Youngren for divorcing and re-marrying, but a small matter of being a finder in a ponzi scheme plan is ‘merely a godly man caught in the middle of a very unfortunately set of circumstances.’ Quite the long term payment plan Mainse has.
Mainse cousin David Rutledge, a former Crossroads employee who was also implicated in the Axcess Automation/Axcess Funds ponzi scheme,  preaches regularly at Yes Church.

What does that rabbit trail  above have to do with CTS re-branding itself as Yes TV? Nothing, it’s just a reminder to myself about how small the Crossroads ‘family’ really is.  I find the ‘yes’ brandings interesting.

Posted in 100 Huntley Street, Axcess Funds, General | 11 Comments

Good News for British Columbia, indeed.

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

In the run-up to the B.C. Day long weekend, a bit of obscure history related to sharing the Gospel in the province.

Back in 1971, local Christians wanted to do something unique to celebrate the 100th anniversary of B.C. becoming part of Canada. This now rare booklet was the result.

“Good News for British Columbia” is a Gospel of Mark from the Today’s English Version translation. This is confirmed by several line drawings inside by the late artist Annie Vallotton, whose artwork is intimately associated with the translation. This booklet was commissioned by the B.C. District of the Canadian Bible Society and printed by the American Bible Society in the United States. (1971, you’ll recall was the 100th anniversary of B.C. becoming part of Canada.)

goodnews

I make an educated guess that the booklet was designed to appeal to tourists who came to visit during the various celebratory festivities in 1971, and then afterwards. For those not from B.C., the photo on the booklet cover is of the totem poles in Vancouver’s Stanley Park looking towards the “North Shore.”

It seems like a good idea, as perhaps tourists would see it as a neat keepsake of their visit and then read what was inside. (I wonder why other provinces, who were also celebrating centennials in surrounding years, didn’t think of the idea.)

I’ve found press evidence that B.C. churches liked the idea of the booklet.

In the June 23, 1971 edition of The (Sunshine Coast) Coast News (as it then was, which you may see here, the local paper for Gibsons reported on the booklet. Please scroll to the bottom of page 5, and the item Scriptural Project.

It reads:

“As a Centennial project churches in Gibsons and Sechelt are joining in a combined effort to distribute Scriptures during the week of June 23rd to July 3>Many householders will be visited and offered one of the special Centennial copies of St. Mark’s Gospel. These copies will carry the title of ‘Good News for British Columbia’.”

Hard to imagine churches doing a mass distribution of Bible portions in this way these days.

I make another guess that the local section of the Canadian Bible Society promoted the booklet a little, as I next saw a reference to it in a 1973 newspaper.

If you scroll to page 18 of this edition of Quesnel’s “Cariboo Observer”, as it then was, you’ll see another mention of the booklet in their March 28, 1973 newspaper. In the “Our Churches” column by Shirley Demers, she notes that the “United Church of Canada (St. Andrews)” was going to be handing out the booklet as part of the “Key ’73″ evangelical push of that year.

I mentioned that the booklet is probably “rare”. Well, I’ve seen it twice, perhaps three times, in 28 years.

I used to go to a Baptist church when I first moved to Vancouver, and I recall that they had a copy or two in their literature. So, when I recently saw another copy in a small thrift store, I made sure to buy it for myself. That is the one pictured above.

Street evangelism is an often thankless task. So, if any readers recalled the booklet, I wanted to take pains to note that I do as well.

Posted in General | 28 Comments

Two of the most scary video soundbites that I have recently heard

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

It takes some doing for Todd Bentley or a friend/supporter of his to leave me a bit gobsmacked by something they say.

Let’s turn a last time to Todd Bentley’s appearance on the History TV Canada program Miracles Decoded June 1, 2 and 4

A couple of soundbites contained in the Todd Bentley segment of that episode of Miracles Decoded are a bit unnerving, to say the least. I’ll try to save the relevant clips on YouTube, but in case they disappear, I’ll type them out.

Todd Bentley says something unnerving at 35:15 of the show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_NG4cbhS4I

He says this:

“I can’t expect people just to accept that what I say and do is real. People need to have evidence and they need to have science. They need to have verification and we’re good with that.”

Frankly Todd, you don’t act like it. I’ll explain…

1. Thanks to the YouTube poster who saved and annotated this clip from the ABC Nightline profile of Todd Bentley during the Lakeland Revival.

Todd lies about praying for a little boy with Spina Bifida
Todd lies about whether he said onstage, and on God TV, that the boy was healed. Moreover, Todd tries to argue that he boy had faith for healing. He had nothing really to do with it if you’re holding him accountable for it.
Shortly after the boy was healed, he still had spina Bifida according to his Mom.

If Todd is “good with” verification, why did he lave it for ABC News to do?

Did he explain what happened to the boy on the Lakeland stage? I’d bet dollars for doughnuts he didn’t.

2. And then there is the noted World magazine article which noted that people that Todd Bentley’s ministry proclaimed were healed died shortly after Lakeland of what they had been healed of.

http://www.worldmag.com/2009/05/heal_or_heel

If you’re “good with” verification, why did World magazine do this and not you, Todd Bentley?

Accountability for what you do doesn’t end once the person leaves your stage.

3. Todd Bentley addressed the question of whether he brought people back from the dead in a May 2010 video distributed by his mentor Rick Joyner.

Unfortunately the video is now behind a subscriber wall, but fortunately I quoted it at some length in this post.

http://ricksmiscellany.blogspot.ca/2010/07/todd-bentley-repents-of-hype-only-to.html

Bentley appears to be quoting some kind of report about the 22 people who came back from the dead as of 2010–down from 31, I note at Lakeland.

We still don’t know who did the report. No names so we can asked this or these doctor(s) directly.

Bentley, as far as I know, has never released this report. He has just quoted it once in this video. Allegedly.

I noted that the only thing the report’s experts were willing to do was commit to possible resuscitations, not resurrections.

As I noted back then:

Todd Bentley is hoping that you don’t listen carefully, as resuscitation doesn’t mean resurrection.

A Princeton University online dictionary offers a very interesting definition for our purpose:

(n) resuscitation (the act of reviving a person and returning them to consciousness) “although he was apparently drowned, resuscitation was accomplished by artificial respiration”

I’ll bet that these two doctors and their report, commissioned by Todd Bentley and his friends, will never see the light of day.
Doctors X and Y are playing it very safe. I’ll bet dollars for doughnuts that they don’t use the exact phrase “miraculous resuscitations”. I’ll bet it is “resuscitations”.

It could refer to a miracle, but the doctors are playing it safe. “This person was apparently unconscious and is now conscious. We do not know why,” is probably a layman’s explanation of what they are trying to say.

And Todd Bentley takes it and runs with it, swaddling what the doctors were willing to say in “back from the dead” verbiage.

BLOCKQUOTE

Todd Bentley says he is “good with” verification so that you will think that he is. He says it, must be true. But there is evidence he is not.

Release the doctor’s report, Bentley. Unedited, with the names and contact information for the doctors

The second one is where Summer M. Cottam comments on her Mom’s “healing” with a presumed assist by Todd Bentley.

At the 57:00 mark of the show, she says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENo8_qf6o98

“I mean, it doesn’t matter if it is true or not that she was healed by God. No matter what she was healed…however it came about. It can’t be wrong or right.”

Now, back in the days of the Apostles, healings–as part of signs and wonders–were intended to back up the preaching of the Gospel.

If we presume that this is a true healing, Summer has missed the central point of what has happened. And it is completely Todd bentley’s fault. A glaring fault of how he does ministry.

Anyone presumably healed should absolutely walk away from that with several facts. Onlookers too.

1. Jesus (or “God”) must get credit for what happens, especially if it is good. Summer should know that “God” is to be praised. She should know that it is credited to Him, and that it was Him who is responsible.

Bentley does not talk enough about Jesus in his meetings,if those who are blessed in this way can be unclear.

Jesus being presumably responsible for the healing should have been drilled into Summer`s head again and again and again. She could have tried to figure out what happened, as she does here, but she should be able to recite why and how this happened as shared and taught from the front, even if she disagrees with it.

2. A miracle should lead to the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus did something even better for you, and now that we have your grateful attention…

3. A healing being either “wrong or right” addresses what the will of God in this case. Summer should not be led to think of this big question, when Todd Bentley as a non-cessationist charismatic, should properly believe that a healing leads to the preaching of the Gospel.

But when you have a bit of a show on your hands, some things have to be cut for time. Unfortunately.

Posted in General | 17 Comments

Todd Bentley on History Channel Canada

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

(My main post on Todd Bentley’s appearance on History TV Canada June 1, 2 and 4.)

Todd Bentley, the noted faith-healing Canadian evangelist, was featured in a History TV Canada program in early June.

The second episode ever of Miracles Decoded, which featured Bentley along with the late Padre Pio and what the show describes as the “white witches” of Poland.
Not that it wasn’t a useful introduction to faith healing, which aired June 1, 2 and 4 for viewers across all of Canada. It was. But the wrinkle is this specific man who was featured. Todd Bentley, a native British Columbian now living and ministering in the US, who is in some ways is not typical, even of faith healers.

It would help viewers to have Bentley put into context. Once over lightly may mislead. So, what follows is a brief analysis of that episode for those who were unable to see it.

The Reno Outpouring site has pictures of the “History Channel” cameras at Bentley’s visit to the church in 2013. This probably means that Bentley was interviewed at that time for this episode. Others featured in the show may have been interviewed at that time as well. But the various “experts” are filmed on their own.

That doesn’t discount the possibility that a camera was sent down early *this* year to do interviews and re-enactments. So, if I make a reference to “2014″ it is to this obvious follow up work.

Throughout the how, there are references to “now” or “today”, so History Tv Canada was working on the assumption that things would carry on without change up until when the program aired.

I think that most of my readers missed the show, so here is my report on it, in some detail.

Continue reading

Posted in General | 11 Comments