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Saturday, May 09, 2009

I guess that if you die and go to heaven, that's a "healing" of sorts...

Canadian preacher Todd Bentley will rue the day that he learns that a reporter at the U.S. magazine World has a long memory.

Mr. Bentley, whose claims to take part in spectacular healings were a feature of his revival in Lakeland, Florida last year, will no doubt be dismayed to hear that that two of the people that he claimed at the time to have helped have since died of the grave illnesses that were "healed" at his meetings.

The faith-healing evangelist has had problems with documenting his healings for many years now. When I first wrote on Mr. Bentley for the Report magazine(s) back in 2001, I asked for some proof that he had been able to help heal people through his prayers. All that Fresh Fire Ministries was able to send me were a couple of vague notes. One was from a doctor that noted that his patient "felt better", but nothing indicating that there was anything that would be visible to a third party.

Last year at Lakeland, there were indications that Mr. Bentley was stretching things a bit. Robert Ricciardelli, another charismatic minister, urged Bentley to stop saying that people were being raised from the dead, when they were unable to substantiate any of them. (He repeated his concern on a Seattle christian radio program as the revival was continuing.)

Mr. Bentley's inclination to run with accounts that would help hype the revival once blew up in his face. One enterprising YouTube user, suspecting that Mr. Bentley would say anything from the pulpit to hype his revival without checking out the truth of his statements first, decided to conduct an amusing test that Mr. Bentley fell for, being reeled in like a fish. It’s still on YouTube in two parts. Part one is here. Part two is here. 

Those who watched the ABC News program Nightline on July 9 of last year will recall reporter Jeffrey Kofman trying to pin down Mr. Bentley on the amount of people that he had helped to heal. The exchange starts at 3:33 of the video portion saved here where Mr. Kofman asked for proof that would be conclusive for a third party that the revival had healed someone. Mr. Bentley talked about "thousands" of healings while Mr. Kofman observed "We just want three." ABC News, however, was disappointed, as their staff was unable to substantiate any of the accounts of healing that Mr. Bentley provided.

Which leads me to the latest story in World, which hits newsstands in the U.S. as I write. (Warning to my readers--I'm told that apparently you can only get the full version of the online story the first time that you access it. Blogger P.J. Miller at Sola Dei Gloria, however, has copied most of the relevant details in a blog post here.)

World reporter Warren Cole Smith wrote a critical story on Mr. Bentley last year and recently decided to follow up on a list of 13 people that Mr. Bentley's ministry provided, at the time, of people who had been healed at Lakeland.

Christopher Fogle, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was suffering from cancer when he was at Lakeland. Mr. Smith adds:

Fogle was No. 12 on the list, along with this note: “Healed through the Outpouring and is back to fishing.”

That was on Aug. 8, 2008. There was just one problem. Two weeks earlier, on July 22, Christopher A. Fogle—according to his obituary in the Keokuk (Iowa) Daily Gate City, “left this life . . . after a courageous battle with cancer.”

Mr. Smith carries on with his adept reporting spadework:

When I called Phyllis Mills, of Trinity, N.C., on April 22 [2009], to hear the testimony of her healing, a polite family member said, “Phyllis passed away a few days ago. In fact, we’re on our way to her funeral now.”

Mills, 66 at the time of her death, had lung cancer and was undergoing aggressive treatments when she was, according to the list, “healed at the revival.” Mills “was taking radiation, but was sent home,” according to notes on Bentley’s list, with “no trace of cancer in her body.”

Mr. Smith writes that some of the people on Mr. Bentley's list that he spoke to do feel better. However, they tend to either have no medical proof of the healing, or their recovery may be due to other reasons than their Lakeland visit.

Praying for someone to be healed, I would say, is one of the kindest things that a Christian would do, so I want to encourage it. Even if it only shows caring and offers emotional comfort to the patient, prayer is worth doing. However, we do need to recognize that prayer for the sick should be done with honesty and integrity, recognizing that sometimes people may not be healed. Christians should exhibit Christlike behaviour and character when trying to be kind to the ill.

Playing fast and loose with the facts is not a sign of integrity. Mr. Bentley needs to be honest, even brutally so, if he hopes to truly help the sick through what he does. If he is not honest, the resulting fruit of Mr. Bentley's ministry will definitely be wormy.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on May 9, 2009 in Religion | Permalink


Bentley is NOTHING more then a shameless con man who learned the tricks of this con artist fake healing scheme circuit years ago from other con men in the same con trade.

All of these "healing ministry" types are total and absolute con artists and heretics, they were all warned about in the Bible. The healings done by Jesus and the apostles were done to fulfil specific prophecies about the coming of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the specific examples of healing miracles as done by Jesus and the apostles did not continue after the Bible was finished any more then any of the other miracles done through them continued such as walking on water, drinking any deadly thing, moving mountains, teleportation, speaking in other languages you never learned before, etc. etc. All these were special miracles given to fulfil prophecies. None of any of these con men would dare follow me into an orphanage for children born blind, or to a morgue, or to a leper colony, or a paraplegic center to do healing miracles as done through Jesus and the apostles, why? Because THEY ARE ALL SHAMELESS CON MEN (most are actually secret athiests) who know that their endorphin induced stage tricks only work in a loud trance induced crowd setting upon the naive and desperate, not upon those who are like the Biblical examples.

Posted by: Max | 2009-05-09 11:29:51 AM

i went to one of his revivals in spruce grove outside edmonton. I fail to see why he is so popular. I can't recall any OT prophets saying that God was going to pour out money on people if they gave to the temple either.

Posted by: Sam T | 2009-05-09 1:25:40 PM

With Todd Bentley and his friends including Dutch Sheets, Peter Wagner, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner it’s all about money, nothing else!

Somebody in B.C. Should get Revenue Canada, the Department of Justice and the RCMP to investigate the financial books of Todd Bentley and Fresh Fire Ministry especially considering the following:

In early June, I think on the 6th Todd gave an offering message that was manipulation and borderline witchcraft. He said the Lord told Him that there were 1000 people who were going to give $1000 and if they were obedient, the Lord said they would receive 1000 fold return. I am in almost daily conversation with Stephen Strader, and challenged him that it was not from God. He agreed and talked to Todd. Todd admitted that he worded it wrong, but that it was an idea he had to raise money for the 30,000 seat revival center they want to build. I then asked if he would repent publicly and they said no because the crowd changes every night.” Robert Ricciardelli

The End Times Apostasy http://www.thouartthechrist.info/lakeland/

Not Innocent

Posted by: Walter Kambulow | 2009-05-09 8:11:34 PM

As far as I can tell no one has been forced to follow or believe in this man, so I just cannot muster up any sympathy for believers or followers who feel had. We all get taken in at one time or another if we live long enough, and not necessarily by religious leaders. More often it is a scam of some kind concerning money, and of course let us not overlook politicians.

My question is why is this thus considered news? I do not mean to be insulting but simply fail to see it as news.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-05-09 8:14:49 PM

To Alain, this is most certainly news and I'm grateful to Rick for posting it. Whilst people are not forced to follow Bentley, he is a master of manipulation and has deceived thousands of well-intentioned people. The fact is that there has been a continual stream of PR and spin from Bentley and his supporters claiming that what happening at Lakeland was the "greatest healing outpouring" that the world has ever seen. This is all a lie and needs to be exposed as such.

Posted by: Sceptic | 2009-05-11 1:26:15 AM

Speaking of Todd Bentley you must check out

Profits for Prophets - its all about the money

Ananias and Ananias Prove these men False prophets

Posted by: Brad | 2009-05-20 12:10:29 PM

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