Over the last few weeks we have had a number of requests about information on Todd Bentley and what is happening in Lakeland, FL. Of special concern are his claims that God told him to , kick elderly women in the face, body tackle people, beat a women’s legs on the platform like baseball bats, leg drop pastors and the like. I was very glad to see our friend Bill Randles write My People Love It So… Why There Must Be Yet Another Mystical Revival, and his piece, Todd Bentley – The New Simon Magus. You see, Pastor Bill is ordained in and pastors an Assembly of God church. No one can really say he is opposed to the Pentecostal and Charismatic views, theology and practice. He is however, very opposed to false teachers. The title of his first article, “My People Love It So…” particularly caught my attention because I think it also has application to other issues in the church.
Pastor Randles’ title comes from Jeremiah 5:31 but I will quote it starting with verse 30:
An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?
This is a picture of people run amok. It is also an apt description for the cry-baby boomer generation. Victor Davis Hanson describes how the cry-baby boomer generation solves problems in ,All About Me. Frankly, I am not all that surprised when non-Christians act like non-Christians but Hanson’s analysis is sadly as descriptive of believers as it is non-believers. Something has displaced God as He has revealed Himself and that is our selfish desires. The desire for experience at the expense of sound biblical teaching and holy living and sanctified serving has a spiritually bankrupting effect on people.
Jeremiah bemoans the state of his people but earlier in the chapter points out why they embrace false prophets and follow priests who function on their own authority. They have lost sense of the holiness of God:
‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the LORD ‘Do you not tremble in My presence?
At what point did we decide God owes us? I am not sure. Where do we find that we are guaranteed physical healing, a life free from pain and worry or a world in which sickness, hunger and poverty do not exist? Not in Scripture, at least not until God comes and sets the world aright. When I reflect on these things there is a passage that I often turn to which brings me to tears every time I read it.:
… and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
“Men of whom the world is not worthy.” What drove them? They had a sense of the holiness of God and a deep desire to remain faithful to their calling and pleasing to Him in spite of their situation. Their success was measured in terms of faithfulness in spite of rejection. It wasn’t measured by large attendance. It was a recognition that it is about God and how we can serve Him not about us and what we get out of it. Isaiah knew this and cried out:
Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips;For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
At Passover each year, Messianic Jews sing or recite a song that is a reminder that God owes us nothing. With that in mind they reflect and say if He did one thing, “It would have been enough for us (Da-Yenu).” They progress and build point upon point and after each point remind themselves “It would have been enough for us (Da-Yenu)”:
(It would have been enough for us)
Had he but brought us out of Egypt DA-YENU Had he judged the Egyptians DA-YENU And destroyed their gods DA-YENU Had he slain their firstborn DA-YENU And given us their riches DA-YENU Had he divided the sea to let us pass through DA-YENU But sank our foes into the depths DA-YENU Then supplied our needs for forty years DA-YENU And fed us with manna in the wilderness DA-YENU had he given us the Sabbath to renew our strength DA-YENU And brought us to hear him at Mountain Sinai DA-YENU Giving us his Torah to guide us DA-YENU Planned and built the Tabernacle, his dwelling place DA-YENU Brought us to the land he promised to Israel DA-YENU Consecrated the Temple he permitted to be built DA-YENU Sent Jesus, the “Temple not built with hands” DA-YENU That atonement be made for all our sins. DA-YENU
Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Him alone. It is enough for me and yet He has given so much more.