Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God

 

As I researched Todd Bentley and Bob Jones and the “Lakeland, Florida Revival” over the last several days  it soon became apparent that the supporters of this are completely convinced that there is a legitimate “outpouring” from the Holy Spirit going on. They are vocal. They are adamant. The number one reason that these people become apologists for Todd and this movement, that I have seen, is the signs and wonders performed on stage supposedly by the Holy Spirit through Todd.

They believe that since people are genuinely healed then this is undeniable verification that this is legitimate. I read dozens of comments on various blogs today in which an apologist for Todd would suddenly appear within the discussion proclaiming in a very sincere tone that all of those pointing out Todd’s inconsistencies and lack of Gospel focus and the speaking of heresy are wrong. Why? Because people are healed miraculously through him.

My brethren we are called to ask God for wisdom and look at all ministers and ministries with discernment given to us by Him. Now,  does the presence of signs and wonders prove that God is in something? Is it the marker that tells us all to declare that Todd Bentley is indeed a prophet of God? Please read the following article by John Piper in which he addresses this from The Word of God. – Mike Ratliff

Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God

By John Piper

March 26, 2008

Does God have designs for deceptive signs and wonders? Does he have purposes for heresies?

From the time of Moses to the end of history, this has been and will be an issue. Jesus promised that “false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). These are not little tricks. They are great signs and wonders. Great. But aimed to deceive.

Paul said that “the coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). “Signs and wonders of falsehood” is a literal translation to show that the falseness of the signs and wonders is not that they aren’t real miracles, but that they lie about reality. They are real miracles, and they lead away from Christ.

Similarly, to the end of the history—especially at the end of history—false teaching and heresies will dog the church. “The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4.3-4).

At the other end of history, things have been this way from the time of Moses. And it is Moses who answers our two questions: Does God have designs for deceptive signs and wonders? Does he have purposes for heresies? Here’s the key passage:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, “Let us go after other gods,” which you have not known, “and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

Notice five things:

First, Moses tells us that signs and wonders in the service of heresy really happen. They are not tricks. “If a prophet . . . gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass. . . .” They really do come to pass. It is not smoke and mirrors. These are supernatural, but not in the service of truth.

Second, some miracle workers aim to draw believers away from the true God. “If he says, ‘Let us go after other gods . . .’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet.” In other words, some heresies (“let us go after other gods”) are endorsed with miraculous signs and wonders.

Third, God has a design in these deceptive signs and wonders, and he has purposes for the heresies they support. He mentions one of these designs and purposes: “For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” When temptation happens from man, a test is happening from God. This is God’s design in the deceptive signs and heresies.

Fourth, love for God is what God is testing. “Your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Fifth, I conclude from this that the heart that loves God sees through miraculous deception. Love for God is not based mainly on miraculous power. It is based on seeing through miraculous power to true divine beauty. Therefore, love for God is a powerful protection against heresy, even when it comes with miraculous confirmation.

Understanding these five things from Deuteronomy 13:1-3 helps protect us from deceptive signs and wonders and from heresies. But understanding is not enough. Love for God is both the aim of God’s testing and the means by which his tests are passed. Understanding awakens us to our need to love him. But love for God sees through deceptive signs and wonders to the falsehood they support and flees to Christ. Love for God sees through the heresy and holds fast to him. May God deepen our love to him so that it has this kind of penetrating, protecting power.

© Desiring God

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By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

20 thoughts on “Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God

  1. Bentley’s signs and wonders aren’t even good counterfeits. No one who has been verifiably/visibly crippled from birth has has gotten up and ran as if never cribbled. No one 4 days dead has been risen. The only healings are mostly psychosomatic. It seems to take very little to deceive.

  2. George, as John Piper said, some have the discernment and wisdom to not be deceived. What is most troubling to me about Todd is his obvious association with that which is evil and is constant attempt to appear evil. Also, from what I have read so far, he never preaches the whole Gospel.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. I don’t understand why these men who claim instant healing don’t just go to a doctor and have them examine them. When Jesus healed men, he told them to go to the authorities and have them examine them in order that they may know that he was not a fake.

    These Woffers do the same thing. They are asked to have their victims (notice I said victims instead of patients) checked out by a doctor, and they refuse or ignore them. Benny Hinn has a long track record of refusing doctor’s orders. He wouldn’t want to compromise his money.

  4. hello this is Pastor Scott, the Bible says, we will know them by his Spirit. if we are the children of God. Our spirit. Will bear witness. God bless you for this article

    Pastor Scott,

  5. I have always wondered why there are so many odd yet global and bad Churches in Florida. Benny Hinn and now Bentley I think are both there.

    I wonder if they do it to prey on all the retired money in Florida. The only other choice to believe is that they actually believe their own bad theology but I tend to think these are pretty smart people.

    Just a thought!

    JS

  6. Exposing this deception is much needed and greatly appreciated, and the deception of this hour is only growing. I would like to address one thing in these comments. A twisting of the scripture or using scripture out of context is no less a deception than the obvious heresy. Pastor Scott made a comment that we know ‘them’ because the Spirit will bear witness with our spirit. The verse (Rom 8:16) is saying that the Spirit bears witness with “our” spirit that “we” are children of God. This speaks of our own standing, not others. There are repeated warnings telling us to beware of ‘false’ prophets, (wolves in sheeps clothing, they look like christians!), but none of these warnings tell us to look for a ‘witness’. We will know them by their fruits, the denial of Christ in the flesh, outright blasphemy, and of course, everything will line up with the scriptures. I write this to encourage you Scott, let us have an answer for our faith, and let us speak truth to one another that we all might be built up. In Him, Z. (Ref- Matt 7:15, 2Pet 2, 1John 4.)

  7. Pingback: THE BIBLE SAYS THAT THIS TODD BENTLEY NONSENSE HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE THE TIME OF MOSES! « Jesus Christology

  8. Mike:

    I am EXTREMELY GLAD that you did not oppose the notion that the healings were real because it is impossible to substantiate one way or another. It is far better to point out that even if these healings and miracles are real so what … healings and miracles happen in other religions too. So does things like speaking in tongues … it is a big part of some strands of Hinduism. So when I get the Bentley defenders, I just point out witch doctors, voodoo priests, etc. in other religions, especially the animist and spiritist ones, and the stories from the mission field where missionaries have actually had to pray against and do spiritual battle against these people. Evil spirits are real, and in cultures and areas totally given over to the worship of evil spirits through these false religions they can exert not a little influence into the natural realm, enough to where it can actually emulate a miracle just like pharoah’s magicians were able to bring up frogs and turn the water into blood to emulate what God did through Moses. Using the example of what devil worshipers did in the Bible, the works that they did, with reference to Todd Bentley does make a fuller, more comprehensive Biblical case against the guy, especially in the event that some people come forward with an actual medically confirmed healing testimony.

  9. If you will check out the following web sites it is evident that Todd Bentley and his friends have no integrity
    So what good is a revival if its leader have no integrity?
    None!

    Liars and Perjurers in Revival http://tbtacf.tripod.com/revival.pdf
    Not Innocent” http://crooksag.tripod.com/crooks.pdf
    Todd Bentley http://lionsmouth.tripod.com/todd.pdf
    Third Wave Exposed http://cnt10.tripod.com/thirdwave.pdf
    TACF LAWSUIT http://cnt10c.tripod.com/tblaw.htm
    TORONTO BLESSING http://cnt10c.tripod.com/tb.htm

  10. It is so encouraging to see true brethren take an open stand to expose these heretical and satanic things of our day. One of the videos of Todd Bently over at CRN was one of the most horrific things I have ever seen. There is no doubt, not in the least, that this man is a child of the devil, as all are who do not know our Lord Jesus (1 John 3:10).

    by His grace
    Ryan Richie

  11. caron123,

    Thank you for suggesting the Justin Peters video. I had found his site a few days ago, but never got to see the video because I was at work, then I forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder. I saw it and it’s great.

  12. spadinofamily,

    Don’t forget about Paula White and, for the high Hispanic population, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda (aka “Jesus Christ Man”)

    Keep contending
    Jimmy

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