Justin Peters and Todd Bentley, mano a mano

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

It was second time lucky for evangelist Todd Bentley as he appeared on the *second* episode of Miracles Decoded last week. I’m working on an indepth post on that, but for now there’s another fuss about Todd Bentley.

Todd Friel is the host of the theologically conservative radio program Wretched Radio [and the accompanying TV show Wretched TV]. Evangelist Justin Peters, who tends to be cessationist in his theology and suffers from cerebral palsy, has been occasionally featured on the Wretched shows. [He protests, however, that God can heal today. However He usually doesn't--"it is much more the exception than the rule. He does it, but it is not common."]

Peters snuck into a recent meeting held by Todd Bentley and had a friend videotape his encounter with Bentley. It’s on YouTube here.

Bentley doesn’t know Peters by sight, so Peters was able to get access to the mike. Peters cites Matthew 7 talking about “workers of iniquity.”

Peters: “This man is a worker of iniquity.”

Bentley: “Which man?”

Peters: “You.”

Bentley is quick on his feet, and does a bit of a buck and wing. He doesn’t directly reply to what Peters says but argues that the passage Peters cites applies to people who don’t know the Lord “in intimacy.” That would apply to Bentley, Peters would have likely said to Bentley, if he wasn’t being pulled away from the mike. (at 1:10)

Bentley didn’t pray for Peters. At 0:25 he says “I’m not giving you my anointing because I have nothing to give.”

Peters has since said that he was taken away by police, but that’s not on the video.

Friel’s programs will no doubt draw attention to Peters calling Bentley out. At the end of the Wreched Radio broadcast which I heard on June 9, he played the audio of the video and commented that Bentley never really addressed the question of whether Bentley himself was “a worker of iniquity”.

Of course, we never expected that he would, did we?

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Tonight! Todd Bentley on History TV Canada! Or perhaps not!

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

Canadian-born evangelist Todd Bentley will appear on the History TV Canada program “Miracles Decoded” June 1. Unless something happens as happened last night, May 25, when the episode Bentley was on was pulled from being broadcast, perhaps at the last second.

My Mom, who loves Canada’s equivalent of the “History Channel”, tipped me off about the program. [For American readers, History TV Canada is available across the country, and is the equivalent of being on nationwide TV up here.]

So, I was looking forward to watching the program on May 25 at 10 PM Pacific Time. Sometimes, however, Canadian networks mean 10 PM Eastern Time in such contests, so I had the channel on at 7 PM just in case. I was recording.

An episode of Pawn Stars was on, and then came the first commercial break, about 10 minutes in.

History TV Canada aired this promo ad for Miracles Decoded at 10 PM my time:

False History TV Canada ad for Todd Bentley show

As you see, Todd Bentley is all over this ad. Please note that the episode with Todd Bentley was certainly planned to be the first episode of this new series. [The ad had been airing heavily on History TV Canada over the previous few days]. It uses GOD TV footage of the Lakeland Revival.

Starting at 0:28, the announcer says (emphasis mine) “Miracles Decoded! Series Premiere, tonight at 10, on History!

Came 10 PM, however another episode of Miracles Decoded aired as the “premiere episode” with a magical “Black Madonna” icon, an exorcist shaman from Mexico, and snake-handling churchgoers from Kentucky. No Todd Bentley at all, although towards the very end of the show–which reaired starting at 3 PM Pacific the next day) they had brief footage of Todd Bentley with a voiceover that he would appear on the next episode. Which will air June 1.

As I write right now, I have History TV Canada on. They’ve showed an ad for the next Miracles Decoded featuring footage of the “obscure” Todd Bentley.

Let’s look forward to that, but in the meantime, look at History TV Canada’s gaffe.

For some reason, Todd Bentley could not appear on History TV Canada On May 25. Perhaps they needed a release for certain footage that they had planned to use. Perhaps they needed to reedit the section of the program about Todd Bentley.

Would be interesting to have been a fly on the wall, don’t you think?

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Hmm, Parliament talks about abortion

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission

The political issue of abortion may be closed in Stephen Harper’s mind, but the pro-choice side in Parliament is not co-operating, if he thinks that way.

You’re probably familiar with Justin Trudeau’s recent decision that new Liberal candidates must be pro-choice, full stop. John Ivison of the National Post reports on a new private motion by NDP MP Nikki Ashton. At the bottom of his piece, he notes her motion, which intends to have the House formally decide that all women have a “right to choose”.

Ivison concentrates on the political swirl around the issue. What may be of interest is how the pro-life MPS, mostly Tories, will deal with the motion. Will they be allowed to speak and vote against the motion, or will they be “whipped” to vote on the motion to finally put the issue to bed.? Storm clouds, on this issue, on the horizon?

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The “Welcome To Mississauga!” New Testament

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By Rick Hiebert.All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

I come across interesting things in thrift stores, such as this New Testament.

It’s title: The Greatest Is Love.” Published in 1971 by the Canadian Home Bible League, as it then was, it’s interesting for at least two reasons.

I wonder if there is anyone still at the Christian Reformed Church of Clarkson remembers back to 1971 when they were Clarkson Christian Reformed Church and handed out this and other copies of *this* New Testament

I say this, as it was specially commissioned by the church, with a breezy “Welcome to Mississauga!’ blurb on the back inviting them to the church.

It’s directed to people who are new to Canada, as it has pictures of Canada in two page sections throughout. I wonder if any of these specific testaments are distributed domestically still?

I live on the West Coast. I should not have ever seen and acquired this. But I am pleased, after all these years to remember this outreach tool.

As does Jesus.

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Rick Joyner downsizes, Todd Bentley upsizes?

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

Excited e-mail from Todd Bentley on the morning of May 8, as he is starting up his new-to-him revival center with a little conference this weekend, to be broadcast live over the internet.

The location? In Fort Mill S.C. at an address…

“on the same property as Morningstar “. Stay at the Heritage International Ministries Retreat Center

So, is Todd picking up Rick Joyner’s mortgage for this particular piece of proprerty? Is it a part of the old PTL property that Joyner doesn’t need, which would mean that Joyner would be Bentley’s landlord? (Or maybe things have really gone pear-shaped for Joyner and he sold out to someone who will let him him borrow his old facility back?)

Well, at least Bentley isn’t going right to subscriber-only content. But donations will be needed to cover this weekend’s events.

Todd and Jessa had mentioned wanting to have their own kids in addition to Todd’s starter kids, so perhaps this is a model that will allow Todd to do that. Jessa puts her foot down–look you’re not going to be on the road all the time.

UPDATE: This tends to be confirmed by a May 14 e-mail. Part of his latest hand out appeal is a request for money for huge video screens. Bentley’s idea is that he will stay at home and the video screens will be set up in places like India for major crusades overseas. Bentley will stay home and preach at a camera, and the camera will send a signal overseas for the people there to react to.

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“A revival [will] hit your land [Canada] that will be a hundred times more powerful than all historic revivals put together.”

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission

Since April of 2013. Faytene Grasseschi has felt led to boost the idea of a great Canadian revival. One so great that it will spread worldwide until the “return of Jesus”.

It’s a bit of a meme among a certain group of charismatics. But although this idea seems to be something that is widely spoken out loud in an auditorium, finding the tracks of the idea, online, seems to be a bit of a task.

But we need to offer thanks in advance for Canadian evangelist/activist Faytene Grasseschi, who has done a nice jobs of reporting for us as part of a Halifax N.S. sermon that she preached back in April 2013 as part of the Miracles in the Maritimes. conference. [Sermons by her which are not behind subscriber walls are increasingly hard to find.]

But as I mentioned, we owe her thanks for passing on what she learned. In the sermon, she explained that her purpose was to encourage he listeners to be hopeful for revival, as she had been feeling led by God to spread the word about upcoming revival, according to several prophecies that she cites.

Continue reading

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Senator Don Meredith and Charles McVety’s California State Christian University

A few years ago,  I wrote about the unaccredited ‘university’ that Charles McVety had in California. The issue of some evangelicals who give themselves or each other fake academic credentials through money grabbing diploma mills, or through bastardizing the practice of granting their buddies honourary degrees.

In the case of Senator Don Meredith, his Masters in Religious Studies from the unaccredited California State Christian University is being questioned by the Senates top Tory Claude Carignan; and rightfully so.

A Conservative senator earmarked as one of the Senate’s top spenders holds a master’s degree from a school whose phone number directs calls to a customer helpline for a website that sells iPads and printers.

Senator Don Meredith, a Toronto-area Pentecostal pastor, has a master’s degree in religious studies from California State Christian University (CSCU) – an unaccredited and unregulated private institution that has shifted addresses at least four times within the last ten years.

It’s an academic claim that has caught the attention of the office of the top Tory in the Senate and triggered a request for Meredith to provide details of his credentials, more than three years after his appointment to the red chamber by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Meredith also belongs to a Canadian Christian Clinical Counsellors Association, Inc., (another McVety offering (business?) out of Calgary - Burlington – incorporated in 2001.

Canadian Christian Theological Seminary (CCTS) is a registered training institution of the CCCCA, which holds letters patented with the Government of Canada. It is recognized and affiliated with Christian International School, Canadian Theological Education Association, Order of Certified Pastoral Counselors, and Canadian College Russia.
CCTS offers theological degrees in a wide variety of genres through the CCCCA. All programs are module structured to fit the student’s schedule.
Many graduate Colleges & Universities accept CCTS credits toward further graduate degrees, including, California Christian University & School of Biblical Theology in Los Angeles and San Francisco, The State University of St. Petersburg (one of the top 10 Universities in the world), The VBCI College of Calgary, Montreal School of Ministry, The Tae Han Theological Seminary of Seoul Korea and Tokyo, Japan, and The Dae Han Theological College of Venice, California.

Inserted:  From Corporations Canada, Canadian Christian Clinical Counsellors Association, Inc. registration.

The Canadian Christian Clinical Counsellors Association, Inc., is connected to The Evangelical Order of Certified Pastoral Counsellors of America and shares the same Burlington address.  (Dr.) Stephen Hambly is a director for both organizations. According to Postmedia News, this honourary degree under question was granted in 2011 by CCTS at Crossroads Christian Communications in Burlington.

 Whats a few degrees between friends?

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More problems for proposed Trinity Western University law school

The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario) and Nova Scotia Barristers Society have voted on whether future graduates of the BC evangelical university which recently received permission from BC to form a law school will be able to practice law in their provinces. The Globe & Mail:

Nova Scotia’s law society has voted to approve accreditation of Trinity Western University law school, but only if it drops the controversial policy prohibiting same-sex intimacy that some say is discriminatory.

Ten members of the council of Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society voted to conditionally accredit, while nine voted against allowing graduates from the faith-based Trinity Western University to practise in the province.

The decision follows that by Ontario’s law society to refuse to accredit the new law school.

The Law Society of New Brunswick will be voting in June.

This is the reaction of the Trinity Western University President:

“We are very disappointed,” said Trinity Western University president Bob Kuhn in a statement.

“These decisions impact all Canadians and people of faith everywhere. They send the chilling message that you cannot hold religious values and also participate fully in public society.”

…But Kuhn told the panel that treating the university’s alumni different from graduates of other schools would be prejudicial.

Kuhn, a long-time lawyer, said he was offended by any suggestion that religious beliefs would prevent students from acting professionally and ethically in their duties as lawyers.

TWU does not receive public funding. The law school, scheduled to open in 2016 would take about 60 students. The school  got into a royal battle in the 1990′s with the BC College of Teachers.

In the late 1990s, the British Columbia College of Teachers blocked Trinity Western from granting teaching degrees in light of its policies related to homosexuality. At the time, students were required to sign an agreement not to engage in activities that were “biblically condemned,” including “homosexual behaviour.”

The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which overturned the college’s decision.

As well TWU made news a few years ago because of a charitable tax scheme involving TWU parents and students.

There is no such thing as a Christian lawyer, which is what I hear TWU attempting to promote. There are lawyers who are Christians. In fact there are many in Canada, all of who went to law schools which did not require signed covenants  promoting institutionalized discrimination. None of those lawyers are any less Christian, are they?

The five page TWU covenant requires students  refrain from, “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” and the covenant promotes ‘healthy sexuality’, which, “according to the Bible, sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman, and within that marriage bond it is God’s intention that it be enjoyed as a means for marital intimacy and procreation.” 

Potential law students in a same-sex marriage need not apply.
While opposition to same sex marriage is a default response in some conservative evangelical corners, it is not the only response of evangelicals.
No doubt there are gay Christians who would be openly willing to abide by an abstention rule, having grown up with that belief.
I wonder how many GLBT students at a school like TWU remain in the closet out of fear. I have as much of a problem with a culture of shame and fear around sexual orientation as I do with blantant discrimination against same sex married couples. And I have little patience with Kuhn’s belief that people of faith are under any kind of chill or attack. Seems to me his comment is a direct insult to every lawyer who is a Christian practicing in Canada.  The chill I feel as a believer is from fellow evangelicals demanding signed covenants and openly demanding the right to discriminate against a minority.

A petition by a BC lawyer has garnered double the number of signatures required to force a general meeting of the BC Law Society within 60 days to review the decision to accredit a law school at TWU.

Trinity Western University is signalling that they will pursue their goals aggressively through the legal system.

Neil Godbout at The Prince George Citizen speaks more eloquently and sufficiently than I have. What would Jesus do? 

All law students are taught that the law must be paramount over personal beliefs or religious values for democracy to exist and justice to be served.

Kuhn is free to demand his students sign the behaviour covenant but law societies across Canada are free to oppose that demand and reject the school’s graduates, on the grounds that they’ve been taught that their religious values are greater than the law and that they condone prejudiced behaviour against homosexuals.

There is a simple resolution to this problem. Trinity Western needs to look no further than the words of Jesus Christ to know how it should proceed.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s,” Jesus told his followers in the book of Matthew, chapter 22, verse 21. It was Christ’s advice for those wanting guidance on what to do when conflict arises between the laws of humanity and God’s commands. It seems clear that Jesus said that in matters of the law, the law takes precedence, so long as it doesn’t interfere with worship. Christians can remain true to both human law and to God’s word without sinning or condoning sinful behaviour.

There is no need for Trinity Western to have its students sign the behavior covenant. Devout Christians wanting a faith-based education could rightly refuse to sign the covenant on the grounds that it is God’s judgment, not the school’s, that is paramount. A written declaration to the school about following Christian behaviour holds no water when the only judge that matters is Christ himself.

Kuhn’s faith in God needs to be matched by some faith in his students. By enrolling in Trinity Western, his students have put their faith (and their time and money) in receiving a post-secondary education at an institution that values the Christian beliefs they already hold more than what is available at other colleges and universities. Kuhn and Trinity Western’s leadership should return the faith placed in them by their students by trusting them to continue to embrace the words and the example set by the Saviour.

Doing so would allow the university and its students to follow both Canadian law and God’s words. It would also allow law societies across Canada to recognize the school’s graduates as competent lawyers who understand the separation of church and state.

Update: Trinity Western U is suing Ontario and Nova Scotia law societies and will be part of the lawsuit in BC which is challenging the schools right to have a law school.

Update: BC lawyers vote against Trinity Western Law School

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