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 The bringers of false and strange fire

 

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Faith healing vs. the Law: Doctor wants legislation appealed that protects parents who rely on faith healing, not medicine

By William McCall THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: November 29, 2008 OREGON CITY, Ore.

When Dr. Seth Asser saw row after row of flat headstones marking children’s graves in a small cemetery not far from the end of the historic Oregon Trail, he knew many of these early deaths should not have happened.

The children’s parents relied on faith healing, instead of doctors.

The pediatrician published a landmark study concluding many of the deaths could have been prevented if the children had received medical care.

“What struck me was the fact that it was obvious from the expressions on the headstones that the children were loved,” Asser said. “So it was especially troublesome they were not afforded the care that most parents would give their children.”

His study 10 years ago brought attention to the issue, and yet today three criminal cases — two in Oregon and one in Wisconsin — have revived concerns about exemptions that most states grant to parents who rely on faith healing instead of doctors to treat sick children.

Faith healing has deep roots in American history, and yet it may seem surprising that in the 21st century, children still die because parents choose not to seek medical help from physicians.

State laws across the nation exempt members of religious groups from prosecution if they choose faith healing over science. Asser and a colleague, Rita Swan, have been trying to get states to repeal such laws, arguing that safety should always come first, no matter what the parents believe.

“We can’t legislate good parenting, but at least we shouldn’t have laws allowing bad parenting,” said Swan, who now heads the advocacy group Children’s Healthcare.

But Swan and Asser have been lonely voices, partly because tragedies are rare and partly because legislators are loath to challenge parental rights, especially when they are intertwined with the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

“There hasn’t been a groundswell of organized advocacy to get the laws changed,” said Shawn Francis Peters, a University of Wisconsin professor and an author of a book on faith healing. “I do think there’s broad public sentiment to do it, but that doesn’t get things through the meat grinder of legislation.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 30 states have specific exemption laws on the books.

What does federal law say? According to HHS, nothing in the amendments to the original 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, can “be construed as establishing a federal requirement that a parent or legal guardian provide any medical service or treatment that is against the religious beliefs of the parent or legal guardian.”

Five states have repealed exemption laws, Swan said: Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska and North Carolina.

Some states have revised their laws, including Oregon in 1999. After a stormy debate in the Oregon Legislature, then-Gov. John Kitzhaber, a doctor, signed a compromise bill into law that eliminated the Oregon spiritual-healing exemption in some manslaughter and criminal-mistreatment cases.

Many of the exemption laws were enacted in the 1970s, promoted by two top advisers to former President Nixon — Bob Haldeman and John Erlichman — and an influential senator, Charles Percy of Illinois, who practiced Christian Science.

The religion, founded by Mary Baker Eddy just after the Civil War, embraces a form of faith healing its adherents say is unique and different from the way it is practiced by some fundamentalists.

The Church of Christ, Scientist, emphasizes that it does not prevent any members from seeking medical care, and it is quick to distance itself from other religious groups that demand prayer be the only method for healing.

“One of the mistakes people make is lumping all these groups together,” said Stephen Lyons, a Boston lawyer who has defended Christian Scientists.

Church leaders also deny their lobbying efforts with state lawmakers across the country have kept the laws on the books, even though Peters and a fellow author on faith healing, Boston College historian Alan Rogers, say that the effort is intense and largely successful.

“It’s remarkable,” Rogers said. “Without exception, it has been the push of the Christian Science church.”

Two pending criminal cases expected to test Oregon’s revised law are against parents belonging to the Followers of Christ Church, the same religious sect that owns the cemetery visited by Asser in 2001.

Jeffrey Dean Beagley, 50, and his 46-year-old wife, Marci Rae Beagley, have been charged with failing to provide adequate medical care, in violation of their duties as parents.

Their 16-year-old son, Neil, died in June from complications of a urinary-tract blockage that triggered heart failure. Doctors said a simple procedure could have saved his life.

In the other Oregon case, Carl Brent Worthington and his wife, Raylene, have pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in the death of their 15-month-old daughter, Ava, who died at home from bacterial pneumonia and a blood infection, conditions the state medical examiner said were treatable.

The Beagleys and the Worthingtons have refused to talk to reporters, and their attorneys have declined to comment, along with prosecutors.

In a third case, in Wisconsin, Leilani and Dale Neumann face reckless homicide charges in the death of their 11-year-old daughter due to complications from diabetes.

Leilani Neumann has said that the family believes in the Bible and that healing comes from God, but she said they do not belong to an organized religion or faith and have nothing against doctors.

The Followers of Christ figured prominently in a state legislative battle over the Oregon exemption that began in 1998 with the discovery of the children’s graves, and the death of an 11-year-old member of the sect from complications caused by diabetes.

The political battle ended with revision of the law, but not its repeal.

“I was there” — for repeal, said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney. And, he notes, so were churches, child health-care advocates, law enforcement and plenty of parents.

What stopped the Legislature from an outright repeal of the law was an effort to protect religious freedom and parental rights and at the same time protect children.

“We tried and tried and tried to figure out a way to speak to, to be sensitive to, and balance all those influences,” Courtney said. “Did we do it? I don’t know.”

“These are extremely sensitive cases nationally,” said Josh Marquis, an Oregon district attorney who has been part of the debate over how to balance those conflicting rights. “It’s where faith meets the law.”

In a 1998 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, Asser and Swan, herself a former Christian Scientist, documented 172 faith-related child deaths in the United States between 1975 and 1995. They found that 140 of the children died from conditions for which survival rates with medical care exceeded 90 percent.

Asser notes that no government agencies systematically collect data, and reliance on faith healing is not a category listed on a death certificate.

Before federal medical privacy laws were tightened, he was able to talk to medical examiners about cases, but that has become more difficult.

Asser has tracked a handful of cases that have gotten media attention in the past decade, including deaths in Philadelphia, Massachusetts and California. But he still learns about many of the deaths only through concerned friends or family members who contact him or Swan.

And death is not the only troubling outcome when children avoid doctors because of their parents’ religious beliefs.

Beth Young, a professor at the University of Central Florida, says her hip dysplasia, which could have been easily corrected when she was an infant, went unnoticed and untreated by her Christian Scientist parents. Young finally went to a doctor in her 20s to find out why it was such a struggle to walk and climb stairs.

She learned her hip joints were deteriorating — but that it was too late for a surgical fix.

“It’s not going to get any better,” Young said in an interview. “I think about that every day. If my parents knew how simple the treatment was, I don’t think they would have ignored it. So I do feel cheated.”

She added: “I can remember times when I would pray and pray and pray, and I would think that maybe I’m healed now, and then I would go check, and I’d go walk in front of a mirror or something, and then I would discover, no I’m not.”

Lyons, the Boston lawyer, has drawn national attention for defending parents in faith healing cases.

He successfuly represented David and Ginger Twitchell, Christian Science parents in Boston who were acquitted of manslaughter charges in the 1986 death of their 2-year-old son from a congenital defect that caused the bowel to twist and become obstructed.

The landmark case caused enough concern to persuade Massachusetts lawmakers to abolish the religious exemption, said Jetta Bernier, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children.

But even when such exemptions are abolished or revised, prosecutions can be difficult so long as parents show they are sincere in their religious beliefs, legal experts say.

“The status quo is very difficult to upset,” said Jesse Choper, the Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2008/nov/29/faith-vs-the-law-doctor-wants-legislation-appealed/living/

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Some Thoughts about Faith Healing

 

Stephen Barrett, M.D. 

The notion that prayer, divine intervention or the ministrations of an individual healer can cure illness has been popular throughout history. Miraculous recoveries have been attributed to a myriad of techniques commonly lumped together as “faith healing. During the past forty years, several investigators have studied this subject closely and written about their findings.

Louis Rose, a British psychiatrist, investigated hundreds of alleged faith-healing cures. As his interest became well known, he received communications from healers and patients throughout the world. He sent each correspondent a questionnaire and sought corroborating information from physicians. In Faith Healing [Penguin Books 1971], he concluded, “I have been unsuccessful. After nearly twenty years of work I have yet to find one ‘miracle cure’; and without that (or, alternatively, massive statistics which others must provide) I cannot be convinced of the efficacy of what is commonly termed faith healing.” [1]

During the early 1970s, Minnesota surgeon William Nolen, M.D., attended a service conducted by Katherine Kuhlman, the leading evangelical healer of that period. After noting the names of 25 people who had been “miraculously healed,” he was able to perform follow-up interviews and examinations. Among other things, he discovered that one woman who had been announced as cured of “lung cancer” actually had Hodgkin’s disease — which was unaffected by the experience. Another woman with cancer of the spine had discarded her brace and followed Ms. Kuhlman’s enthusiastic command to run across the stage. The following day her backbone collapsed, and four months later she died. Overall, not one person with organic disease had been helped. Dr. Nolen reported his findings, which included observations of several other healers, in Healing: A Doctor in Search of a Miracle , a book that I heartily recommend [2].

C. Eugene Emery, Jr., a science writer for the Providence Journal, has looked closely at the work of Reverend Ralph DiOrio, a Roman Catholic priest whose healing services attract people by the thousands. In 1987 Emery attended one of DiOrio’s services and recorded the names of nine people who had been blessed during the service and nine others who had been proclaimed cured. DiOrio’s organization provided ten more cases that supposedly provided irrefutable proof of the priest’s ability to cure. During a six-month investigation, Emery found no evidence that any of these 28 individuals had been helped [3].

The most comprehensive examination of contemporary “healers” is James Randi’s The Faith Healers [4]. The book describes how many of the leading evangelistic healers have enriched themselves with the help of deception and fraud. Some of Randi’s evidence came from former associates of the evangelists who got disgusted with what they had observed.

Randi’s most noteworthy experience was the unmasking of Peter Popoff, an evangelist who would call out the names of people in the audience and describe their ailments. Popoff said he received this information from God, but it was actually obtained by confederates who mingled with the audience before each performance. Pertinent data would be given to Popoff’s wife, who would broadcast it from backstage to a tiny receiver in Popoff’s ear. After recording one of Mrs. Popoff’s radio transmissions, Randi exposed the deception on the Johnny Carson Show. First he played a videotape showing Popoff interacting with someone in the audience. Then he replayed the tape with Mrs. Popoff’s voice audible to illustrate how Popoff used the information.

Randi also exposed the techniques used by evangelist W.V. Grant, who calls out people in the audience by name and describes their ailments. Grant obtains this information from letters people send him and by mingling with the audience before his show. To help his memory, he uses crib sheets and gets hand signals from associates who also use crib sheets. After one performance, Randi was able to retrieve a complete set from the trash Grant left behind! Following another performance, Randi found that some members of the audience had given false information about themselves, their ailments, and their medical care. For example, after “Dr. Jesus” had “put a new heart” into a man supposedly awaiting open-heart surgery, Randi found that the details (including the doctor and hospital named by Grant) could not be corroborated.

Grant’s subjects typically are “slain in the spirit” and fall backward into the arms of his assistants. In 1986 I observed from a few feet away what happened when he encountered an elderly woman who did not wish to fall backward when he touched her forehead. Grant pushed his fingers into her neck so hard that she could not remain standing. I also watched him “lengthen” the leg of a man who limped up to the stage, supposedly because one of his legs was shorter than the other. The audience may have been impressed with this feat, but I was not. Before the show began, I noted that the man was one of Grant’s assistants and walked normally.

Intercessory Prayer

In 1988, two investigators reported that their thorough search of the scientific literature had located only three controlled examinations of the effects of prayer by third parties on people who were unaware of the prayers [5]. Of these, one (the Byrd study described below) claimed benefit but was poorly designed, whereas the others found no benefit and were well designed [6,7]. Surprised by the small number of published studies, Witmer and Zimmerman asked 38 journal editors whether they had ever received but rejected a manuscript on the subject of intercessory prayer. They also asked the editors to ask their readers whether they knew of any such study, published or unpublished. No editor or reader responded affirmatively. Since that time four more studies have been published, two showing no benefit and two claiming a positive result.

The Byrd study, involving patients in the coronary care unit at San Francisco General Hospital, compared 192 patients who were prayed for by Christians located outside the hospital with 201 patients who served as controls [8]. The published report stated that the prayed-for group had fewer complications. However, the author’s tabulation was not valid because he scored interrelated complications separately and therefore gave them too much weight. The average length of hospital stay, which was not subject to this type of scoring error, was identical for the treatment and control groups [5,9].

Another study examined what happened to anxiety, depression, and self-esteem in 406 patients who received intercessory prayer or no prayer. The prayer was offered for 15 minutes daily for 12 weeks. The researcher reported improvement in all of the subjects but found no differences between the prayer and no-prayer groups [10]. A study of the effects of intercessory prayer on 40 recovering alcoholics also found no benefit [11]. A 6-month study of 40 advanced AIDS patients exposed to 10 weeks of “distant healing” reported fewer new illnesses, physician visits, and hospitalizations in the “distant healing” group [12].

In 1999, the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine published a better-designed study of nearly a thousand consecutive patients who were newly admitted to the coronary care unit of a hospital in Kansas City. The researchers created a 35-item score sheet that was used to measure what happened to the patients during a 28-day period in which 15 groups of 5 persons (“intercessors”) prayed individually for about half the patients. The intercessors were given the patients’ first names and were asked to pray daily for “a speedy recovery with no complications.” The prayed-for group had a 10-11% reduction in total scores even though their average length of hospital stay was similar to that of the “usual-care” group. The researchers also noted that: (a) some patients had asked hospital clergy to pray for them; (b) many, if not most patients in both groups were probably receiving intercessory and/or direct prayer from family, friends and/or clergy, so that the study was most likely measuring the effects of “supplementary intercessory prayer”; (c) although the difference would be expected to occur by chance alone only 1 in 25 times such an experiment were conducted, chance still remains a possible explanation of the results; and (d) using the scoring method of the San Francisco study yielded no significant difference between the two groups [13].

The researchers concluded that “the result suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care” and that further studies should be done [13]. I disagree. The “10-11% reduction in the score sheet” may be statistically significant but is not clinically significant and probably occurred by chance.

In 2001, Mayo Clinic researchers have found no significant effect of intercessory prayer (prayer by one or more persons on behalf of another) on the medical outcomes of more than 750 patients who were followed for 6 months after discharge from in hospital coronary care unit. The patients were randomized within 24 hours of discharge into a prayed-for group and a control group. The prayer involved at least one session per week for 26 weeks by five randomly assigned individual or group intercessors [14].

Intercessory prayer studies accomplish nothing. “Believers” won’t change their view if further studies are negative, and nonbelievers won’t change theirs if additional studies appear positive. Prayer may help some people feel reassured when they are worried, but to me it makes more sense to spend one’s time and energy on more constructive health-promoting activities. Although luck is still a significant factor, I think it is more sensible to believe that health is more likely to be influenced by prudent living than by magical thinking. Also, if praying for people worked, would strangers praying against them cause them to become sicker? Or, as one of my religious friends put it, “Is God is so stupid that he or she would respond to popularity contests?”

Fraudulent “Spiritual” Advice

Many “psychics” and “healers” offer to help with life’s problems through the mail or by telephone. Some call themselves Sister, Madame, Reverend, Doctor, Father, Prophet, Madame Queen, Reverent Mother, or Reverend Sister. The purported benefits may include better luck, better health, and/or a financial benefit. Some of these individuals attempt to persuade respondents to send money repeatedly for their services. During the 1970s, for example, a “spiritual reader” who operating as “Mother McGown,” “Mother Luther,” and “Mother Alma” guaranteed help within three days for illnesses, loneliness, and other problems. All respondents to her ads received identical mimeographed letters stating: “I have received your letter and found out that I could help you. I have found that you have hoodoo [bad luck] in your home along with sickness and love life problems. As soon as you read this letter, call me immediately.” Those who telephoned were told that their problems would be solved if they sent a specific sum of money, usually $50 (but no personal checks). Follow-up letters would then ask for more money because the problem was worse than it was initially believed to be. The Postal Service took action in response to complaints from victims who had spent money but received no results. It turned out that the perpetrator belonged to a gypsy clan whose female members operated under various names in many states. The scheme was ended when one of them was prosecuted by the Postal Service and sentenced to three years’ probation by a federal judge in Austin, Texas.

Is Anyone Helped?

Is there any evidence that faith healing works? The first step in approaching this question is to specify what should be considered proof that an ailment has been healed by a supernatural method. In my opinion, three criteria must be met: (1) the ailment must be one that normally doesn’t recover without treatment; (2) there must not have been any medical treatment that would be expected to influence the ailment; and (3) both diagnosis and recovery must be demonstrable by detailed medical evidence.

If I wanted to demonstrate that I had an effective new treatment method, I would take pains to document the basis for my belief. For example, if I thought I could cure cancer with prayer, I would begin by making certain that patients I worked on actually had cancer. I would obtain their records, talk with their doctors, and have independent physicians examine them to determine their current status. After administering my treatment, I would conduct careful, long-range follow-up studies and report the outcome in detail.

Has any “faith healer” ever sent for the medical records of a client? Or had a client examined by a doctor before and after healing is administered? Or inquired about a client’s health months or years after the healing? Or even kept statistics to indicate what percentage of people with various ailments appear to have been helped? Or compiled data that an independent investigator could verify? As far as I know, no healer has ever done any of these things. On the other hand, many cases have been documented in which people with serious disease have died as a result of abandoning effective medical care after being “healed.”

Thus, as far as I am concerned, there is no reason to believe that faith healing has ever cured anyone of an organic disease. What about functional ailments — in which the symptoms are bodily reactions to tension? Some people who visit “healers” may feel better because the experience causes them to relax or because of a placebo effect. But any benefit of this type should be weighed against the fact that people who are not relieved may conclude that they are “unworthy” and become depressed as a result. Money spent for a fruitless experience with a healer is another negative factor.

Christian Science

A number of religious sects favor prayer over medical care. Christian Science is probably the best known of these groups and is the only form of faith healing that is deductible as a medical expense for federal income tax purposes. Christian Science contends that illness is an illusion caused by faulty beliefs, and that prayer heals by replacing bad thoughts with good ones. Christian Science practitioners work by trying to argue the sick thoughts out of the person’s mind. Consultations can take place in person, by telephone, or even by mail. Individuals may also be able to attain correct beliefs by themselves through prayer or mental concentration. “You can Heal,” a pamphlet of the Christian Science Publishing Society, states that “every student of Christian Science has the God-given ability to heal the sick.” Two weeks of class instruction are required to become a practitioner.

The weekly magazine Christian Science Sentinel publishes several “testimonies” in each issue. To be considered for publication, an account must be “verified” by three individuals who “can vouch for the integrity of the testifier or know of the healing.” During the past few years, believers have claimed that prayer has brought about recovery from anemia, arthritis, blood poisoning, corns, deafness, defective speech, multiple sclerosis, skin rashes, total body paralysis, visual difficulties, and various injuries. Most of these accounts contain little detail, and many of the diagnoses were made without medical consultation.

As far as I know, no systematic, medically supervised study of the outcome of Christian Science healing has ever been performed. However, a recent study suggests that devout Christian Scientists, who rarely consult doctors, pay a high price for avoiding medical care. The study was performed by William F. Simpson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at Emporia State University. Dr. Simpson compared alumni records from Principia College, a Christian Science school in Elsah, Illinois, with records from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and published his findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Even though Christian Science tenets forbid the use of alcohol and tobacco, the death rates among those who had graduated from Principia between 1934 and 1948 were higher than those of their University of Kansas counterparts — 26.2% vs. 20.9% in men, and 11.3% vs. 9.9% in women [15]. A subsequent study comparing the mortality of Christian Scientists and Seventh-day Adventists (who also are admonished to abstain from cigarettes and alcohol) found even greater differences [16].

Rita and Douglas Swan, whose 16-month-old son Matthew died of meningitis under the care of two Christian Science practitioners in 1977, are not surprised by these statistics. Angered by their experience, she founded CHILD, Inc., to work for legal reforms that can protect children from inappropriate treatment by faith healers. She and a colleague collected and reviewed the cases of 172 children who died between 1975 and 1995 when parents withheld medical care because of reliance on religious rituals They concluded

  • 140 of the deaths were from medical conditions for which survival rates with medical care would have exceeded 90%. These included 22 cases of pneumonia in infants under two years of age, 15 cases of meningitis, and 12 cases of insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • 18 more had expected survival rates greater than 50%
  • All but three of the remainder would probably have had some benefit from clinical help. [17]

Information about CHILD can be obtained online or by writing to P.O. Box 2604, Sioux City, IA 51106.

Membership in the Christian Science Church has been declining steadily. The number of practitioners and teachers listed in the Christian Science Journal has fallen from about 5,000 in 1971 to about 1,800 in 1996; and the number of churches has fallen from about 1,800 in 1971 to about 1,100 in 2003..

Is Spirituality Helpful?

A 1996 poll of 1,000 adults found that 79% believed that spiritual faith can help people recover from disease [18]. This idea is also popular among physicians. Although many studies have found associations between various measures of religiosity and health, no well-designed study has demonstrated that religious beliefs or prayer actually benefit health [19]. In fact, one well-designed study found just the opposite. The study involved patients whose progress was followed for nine months after discharge from a British hospital. They evaluated the outpatient records and the responses of 189 patients to questionnaires. the researchers concluded that the health status of patients with stronger spiritual beliefs were more than twice as likely to be unimproved or worse [20]. Although some studies have found that churchgoers tend to be healthier and to live longer than nonchurchgoers, church attendance itself is unlikely to be responsible for the difference [21].

Recommendations

Can anything be done about faith healing? Believers don’t see it as a problem, while most nonbelievers don’t see it as a priority issue and have little sympathy for its victims. But a few things might help lower faith healing’s toll on our society:

  • Laws to protect children from medical neglect in the name of healing should be passed and enforced. In states that allow religious exemptions from medical neglect, these exemptions should be revoked. Maybe the practice of faith healing on minors should be illegal.
  • Faith healing should no longer be deductible as a medical expense.
  • Reporters should be encouraged to do follow-up studies of people acclaimed to have been “healed.”
  • “Healers” who use trickery to raise large sums of money should be prosecuted for grand larceny.

References

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/faith.html

Todd Bentley: The Culmination of the False Charismatic Revival
The Charismatic world has been full of the false from its inception. Being a Classical Pentecostal for fifty-six years has given me the privilege and heartache of watching their development. While no great movement of God goes without attacks from within and without, the Pentecostal revival that started in 1906 has touched tens of millions around the world. The Charismatic deception was planned by the enemy, Lucifer, to infiltrate and destroy the Pentecostal churches. It has almost totally accomplished that for which it was intended. It is an unquestionable fact that good, undiscerning, born-again believers have been unwittingly involved.
Three things that were a part of its inception were based on utterly false premises. Doctrines, the established heart of fundamental truth, was ignored and even belittled. It didn’t matter if you were Catholic in doctrine, even Jesus Only, Mormon, or held any other theological position. Every doctrinal idea was accepted as being equal. Bible doctrine was out, but the gifts of a spirit were central. Kathryn Kuhlman was a star to them and embodied the heart of the movement. When the whole Word of God is not supreme, the Holy Spirit is not welcome.

Speaking in an ecstatic tongue or utterance was central stage. This presumed gift was at the heart of the movement and quickly became the door that everyone had to enter. The very idea of ecstatic speech was reduced to a gibberish trick. People were helped along the way by being told to just start forming sounds and they would turn into the gift. “Repeat after me” was a totally acceptable teaching tool. The utterance quickly developed into chants that the crowds did in concert. I literally walked out of such events with an eerie feeling of evil in the air. Please understand that I believe in the real nine gifts of the Holy Ghost, but I do not tolerate the false.

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The third false foundation of this movement was an utter rejection of a separated life. Many of the main movers and shakers hated the holiness heart of the Pentecostal churches. The great truth of sanctification and godly separation from the worldly life has been the rock solid roots of the Pentecostal world. The Holy Ghost will not dwell or manifest His glory in an unclean temple. All of this purity and devotion to Biblical standards was purposely rejected, downplayed, or downright attacked as the situation allowed. Today, the most absurd and godless lifestyle is championed and acceptable throughout the Charismatic world. Look at Todd Bentley, the present star (Spring 2008), with his tattoos and the rings in his face, along with an entire abuse of decency to see how far the purity of life has denigrated.

Those three main characteristics have been allowed and promoted until we now have this ultimate trickster, who claims himself a prophet of God. Todd Bentley is so absurd that the only way he could be accepted is by the thirty (30) plus years of conditioning. He is grotesque and diabolical. His departure from even basic truth and cultural norms leaves the wise despairing at such insanity.

Todd Bentley


Can you imagine a prophet of the true Jehovah God who is almost totally covered in tattoos which his “god” told him to get? He has rings in his ears and on his chin. As he prays for people, his main words are, “Bam, Bam, Bam.” The results are ecstatic, bodily motions that range from sexual gyrating to insane stupors. This spirit does not make you wise; it makes you unwise.

There is only one thing that ties this false prophet to the kingdom of God. He represents every false doctrine, emotion, and action that I have documented in the false invasion of the Charismatic world. Some of his actions go back before the Charismatic period when it was all called Pentecostal. (Please do not confuse this with Classical Pentecostals.) Mr. Bentley is a kind of culmination of every false doctrine or idea that has plagued the Pentecostal people and their churches.

When Pentecostal churches — Church of God, Pentecostal Holiness, and the Assemblies of God, etc. — were solidly rooted in Holy Scripture, and men like Todd Bentley and the persons he is emanating came along, they were almost totally rejected and exposed. They were usually reduced to a small crowd or totally removed from the organization. That day has changed as the Charismatic world has influenced the formerly great Pentecostal organizations.

We will try to look at key persons and the doctrines they reflected that are now manifest in Todd Bentley. I will not go all the way back to Azusa Street in 1906 because I am not a historian and would need hours of research to do justice to this argument. Let’s start with William Branham, one of the biggest names connected with deception and error. His meetings were attended with great signs and wonders, which he attributed to his angel who gave him his power. He was a Jesus Only proponent that called the trinitarian truth a doctrine of the devil. Todd Bentley is apparently claiming that the same angel, who accompanied William Branham, helps him and performs miracles with him.

The name Todd has given this female angel is Emma. First, there are no female angels in Holy Scripture. Angels were created before men and women, and the female gender has no place in the angelic world. The fact that women are helpmates for man is plainly stated in the Holy Bible. The name Emma is associated with many dark occultic movements and presents its own false realm. A little research will take you into a world of much confusion connected to her name. She certainly has no kinship to the work of Christ and His kingdom. Emma, if she even exists, is a fallen angel or a nephilim spirit.

Evangelist A. A. Allen, who died in the 1950s, also has a place in Todd’s theology. I watched a short segment of Mr. Bentley, where a woman was standing before him showing him the oil in the palms of her hands. He clearly accepted this manifestation as coming from the presence of the anointing in the meeting. Rev. Allen was fairly big during the forties and fifties, but slowly fell into disrepute. He was the first false prophet that I remember hearing about when I was converted to Christ as a young teenager.

While the acceptance of Rev. Allen was very marginal, I do remember some sincere saints in my home church that became quite upset when I plainly stood out against the false signs he represented. I was too young to even open my mouth, but I confess that I had not learned the same. To see Todd Bentley embracing this heresy of sixty to seventy years ago is prophetic of the coming judgment of such departure from Scripture. Satan never gets a free hand from the Creator of this universe and His infallible Word. Truth will triumph.

Paul & Jan Crouch are the two most effective of all false prophets and false prophetesses of this generation. They are not far ahead of Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, and Benny Hinn; but win the prize by the extent of their influence. Gold dust that is claimed by Paul & Jan Crouch is also claimed by Todd Bentley. I personally watched and listened to a video in which Paul explained to Benny Hinn the source of the gold falling on his garments and that of Benny Hinn. Paul claimed that the doorway into the Golden City of New Jerusalem or some part of Heaven had been left ajar. The dust had fallen out of the door and floated down on these two men. Until my Father removes the second heavens between heaven and earth, that’s a long way for gold dust to fall (a few million light years).

Benny Hinn is going to need to upgrade his techniques because Todd Bentley is stealing them. The demonstrations of Mr. Bentley are very similar to Benny Hinn. They both are ready to send fire on people, which they claim is an anointing of God.

Above all of the false prophets, there is none that has gone so far from truth as Rick Joyner. He claims that he goes to Heaven and talks with Apostle Paul. He is best described as a strange astronomical traveler. When Rick met the Apostle Paul on his (apparent) first trip, he started telling the apostle what a delight it was to meet and see him. The great apostle supposedly rebuked Rick Joyner to tell him it was his pleasure, not Rick Joyner’s.

Todd Bentley cannot allow any one of the past greats in the false realm to be more famous than him. Read carefully as he really tells a fantasy tale about one of his trips into the same astronomical realm,

“…. I actually saw the Apostle Paul come walking toward me onto the bridge. … He was short, not more than 5’1” or 5’2”. He was bald except for a little crown of hair that came around his head. Looking very Jewish with a short, trimmed, white beard, my first thought was of a monk in a monastery! He actually had jolly cheeks and I thought: Paul you’ve got a little weight on you! I mean he wasn’t fat but he looked a little pudgy! He sat next to me and he took his hand and placed it across my chest not saying anything. But I felt like I was receiving an apostolic blessing from a father. While he touched my chest, Abraham and David appeared out of the cloud of witnesses. Although they were very close (and yet somehow at a distance), they weren’t the main focus. They were simply there as witnesses to an encounter. Next, Paul spoke to me without words spirit to spirit. I never heard one word but I had instant knowledge of what he was saying. He said that David and Abraham are true fathers — ‘These are the apostolic fathers’— and I thought to myself: Why Abraham and David? He answered me by saying that there would be no gospel without Abraham.”

“As I just stated, Paul told me that essentially there would be no gospel and there would be no Israel without Abraham. He said too, that there would be no gospel without David because there would be no divine Son of David in order for the kingdom and His throne to be built upon the throne of David.”

“Next, I was at Paul’s house and he said to eat the Book of Titus! What’s more, several days later I was taken back into heaven to Paul’s house! But this time I didn’t go inside. I stayed outside where I saw a ladder in his back yard like the one described in Genesis 28, Jacob’s ladder. [I’ve come to understand that there are ladders like that in heaven in order to ascend and descend into different realms because heaven has places, geographical places. For example, the first heaven is where we live on the earth; the second heaven is the invisible realm of Ephesians 6:12; and the third heaven where I was with Paul, it’s the Paradise of God.] So I jumped onto the ladder and began to climb up into another realm. I saw around me that it was all clouds so I began to pull those clouds back. As I did, a hole opened up in the heavens. Immediately then, out of heaven, flowed the color green, not just a light; it was like a green liquid and it was pouring onto my eyes! When I asked God about this, He said, ‘You are coming into the throne room; you are beneath the sea of glass; there is a rainbow around the throne. It’s not just above the throne; it’s a circle around the throne, a rainbow, emerald, green in color.’” (Excerpted from http://www.patholliday.com website.)

If this does not show the insanity of this man, I am helpless to teach you the truth.

We could continue to show a connection to the Kansas City Prophets, Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, Paul Cain, or Ruth Heflin. Todd Bentley is a culmination of an endless list of false teachers and prophets/prophetesses. Kathryn Kuhlman started an ecumenical movement, but at least stayed in the broad context of the Judeo-Christian faith. The final end of all of this abuse of truth and the Pentecostal people is to add the occult realm to the mix. Todd Bentley is mixing the entire realm of the underworld with his version of revival.

It’s Time For The Father to Act

I personally believe that the end of what we call the Charismatic movement is at hand. There certainly will follow echoes of all that is happening, but the Father has never allowed the devil to have the last word. The devil and his servants will be put in their proper place. At every point of history from Genesis to Revelation, our Heavenly Father has appeared to put it all in perspective. In the Book of Revelation the great God saw this day coming and announced His plan, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:9-10).

Please notice that this appears to happen right before the Rapture. The religious facade will be accountable to truth. The Remnant Saints, who refuse to bow or bend, will be acknowledged by this unholy mixture. No one that I have ever met can hate you quite like this Charismatic crowd. Their love is giddy sweet when they woo you and as bitter as hell when you reject them. A large number of good saints have testified of the hate and rejection they received when they refused to submit to this error. This is why the Bible-believing saints will be the great company that error will be required to face and to whom they will be required to confess their departure from truth.

The Latter Rain Will Fall

The Book of Joel and the Book of Acts give us the absolute promise that the false revival and noise of the current closing moments of the Charismatic deception is not the end. Here are Peter’s anointed words of what is yet to occur, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke” (Acts 2:17-19).

My friends, rebuild your altar. Get ready for the Holy Spirit to give the final answer to the foolishness of men. His visitation will be sweet but powerful. It will be mighty but orderly. It will be full of emotion but divine. Best of all, He will come for His saints in the midst of His visitation.

http://www.pawcreek.org/articles_pcm/end_times/todd_bentley.htm

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