Burned

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When I read the big news on Tuesday, I planned to keep mum. I didn’t think the failure needed any commentary. But now that the editor of Charisma magazine, Lee Grady, has spoken, I think I need to say a few words.

Please read this.

My first words will be that anyone can pile on the individual discussed in Grady’s piece; I’m not going to. I’m not even going to mention his name. I wrote “Dropping Our Stones” the other day, and I meant what I shared. There’s not a person reading this who is not capable of falling down the same well—or worse.

What I cannot understand is the shock, the awful “Was it all just a trick?” feeling, the taste of ashes in the mouth that so many people will be left with in the aftermath.

When Grady asks the gullibility question, it just sticks in my craw. Why? Because Discernment 101 could have warned ANYONE willing to step back for a second and think. In many ways, this didn’t even require the gift of the discerning of spirits. Yet so few insiders said, “Ya know, there’s something not right here.” Instead, they fell for the “Look over there! There He is!” trick so quickly they got prayer rug burns.

That charismatic civil war? With this latest revelation, the last volley may already have been fired.

Honestly, if I were a leader of a charismatic church or parachurch ministry and I jumped on board this latest “move” with a whoop and a holler, I’d humbly resign, appoint a successor and go out at an opportune time, or take a l-o-n-g sabbatical.

In fact, I think the strongest proponents of this debacle need to suck it up, fall on their swords, and do just that. Time to get out. At least until they can do some deep soul-searching and come out the other side. In other words, if you were Blue in the civil war, time to think Gray. You were in the wrong army, man.

Honestly, if Charisma has even a dozen ads they can rub together for their next issue, they should be ashamed of themselves. And so should the advertisers.

Barking like dogs, laughing hysterically even as the world is dying to hear the Gospel, showing off our gold teeth while we dance around in showers of gold dust and press angel feathers into our Bibles, kicking the dying in the guts in the name of the Lord and calling that healing…is that the legacy? Man, we can be truly proud of that title CHARISMATIC now, can’t we?

In the end, it doesn’t matter that some of us didn’t walk the primrose path, that very wide, follow-the-leader road. The aftermath of this is going to hurt us, too.

Look, I’m not out for blood here. But the legacy of the present charismatic leadership, the current crop of faces on Christian TV and behind the podiums at the Mega-Healing conferences, the oracles in the traveling “prophetic” carnivals, the people pushing the New Apostolic whatever down all of our throats…you rushed in where angels fear to tread, so maybe it’s time for you to exit stage left. The children’s sermon is over. Time to let the adults lead. You know, the people who graduated from Discernment 101 with at least a “D” average.

Then, at some appointed time in the future when you get your heads on straight, come back. We’re willing to forgive because the Lord we serve is greater than your foolishness and mine.


41 thoughts on “Burned

  1. Don Fields

    Dan,

    Grady said, “I know He wants to heal multitudes, and I will continue praying for a healing revival to sweep across the United States.”

    Not being a charismatic I am curious as to why Grady believes that God wants to heal (physically) millions. Are there certain verses or passages in the Bible that are used to support that idea? Is there a greater concern for physical healing and revival than for spiritual healing and revival? That in itself seems to be a problem, even among the more discerning charismatics.

    I am not on the attack, just wondering.

    • Don,

      I’m going to reverse your question: “As a non-charismatic, why are you convinced that God doesn’t want to physically heal millions?”

      I’m pressed for time, so I can’t collect all the verses, but if you get out a concordance and do a check on health words (heal, whole, sick, sickness, healing, and so on), it’s pretty astonishing how much healing, both physical and spiritual goes on in the Bible.

      For most people of Bible times, the greatest sign of oppression in the average person’s life was poor health. For many people today, that is still the case. (Ask me how much illness is threatening my own family.) The most obvious aspect of Jesus’ ministry was His healing ministry. When He says that He came to fulfill Isaiah and give “recovery of sight to the blind,” that was not just the spiritually blind unless someone wants to tell Bartameus that his healing wasn’t physical.

      In fact, I don’t think the Bible EVER makes a distinction between physical and spiritual healing. WE make that distinction, but that’s only because we operate out of a Greek worldview. God made Adam a complete package, body, soul, and spirit. How many times does the Bible tells us that problems in the soul or spirit manifest as problems in the body? Why? Because they are connected. This is why you never get Paul saying, “Now concerning spiritual healing versus physical healing, I do not want you to be ignorant, my brothers….”

      I could talk on this subject forever, but I’m loaded with work, so it will have to wait till another time.

        • John,

          There’s a balance. Jesus was obviously concerned about people and their lives before death as He was their eternal state. Also obvious: the eternal state mattered more. Still, this does not negate this life, only to frame it within its proper context. Eternity, for all of us, began when we were born.

      • Don Fields

        Dan,

        I haven’t done the concordance study yet, but I will.

        I agree the Isaiah prophesy is pointing to physical healing. But wasn’t that just pointing to the signs of the Messiah? Wasn’t Christ’s main purpose “to seek and to save that which was lost”? He did heal multitudes as the apostles did also, but wasn’t the main purpose for that a sign of the credibility of Christ’s messiahship and the apostles message? I’m not against physical healing and I pray for physical healing, but I’m struggling with the emphasis on it.

        As a dichotomist I do separate the material and immaterial, but that doesn’t mean that spiritual problems don’t manifest themselves physically. In fact, the Bible is clear that sin and the corresponding guilt do manifest themselves in physical problems. I also agree that demonic attacks can be physical.

  2. Your call for the leaders of this debacle to step aside and take a sabbatical is right on … however, based on the evidence of the past 100 years of church leadership, don’t hold your breath.

    Sadly, my spirit tells me for every one Todd Bentley there are 100 more in plain sight, for every Earl & Don Paulk there are 1000 more hidden in their studies.

    If those in ministry not wearing the full armor of God are suffering spiritual warfare more severe than mine, it is amazing to me that we don’t get reports like this on a daily basis.

    Beware, the Lion roars and is hungry for Christian flesh!

    • John,

      I’m not holding my breath. Still, I think the only thing that’s going to fix this mess is for God to blow away the corrupted seed within the charismatic movement and build anew.

  3. Dan,
    I’m not out to defend Grady (well, perhaps I am a little). He’s one of the few folk in the Charismamag world who seems to have practised some discernment. As I said over at Phoenix Preacher,

    As a post-charismatic who once worked closely with one of the “apostles who anointed (redacted), I’ve been inside the belly of the beast and recognize how much garbage is there. Grady has named that garbage numerous times and has called my former apostle-friend to account for his and John Arnott’s promotion of a false Nigerian “healer, TB Joshua. Could Grady have done more regarding (redacted). Perhaps. But then again, I know I can always be attacked in whatever area of life for not doing enough.

    Grady called Bentley into question here and then wrote the two following editorials on The Marks of Genuine Revival. I’m not sure he could have been much more direct considering the environment within which he works.

    All that being said, you’ve been a prophetic voice to the church for a long time, DLE – and that voice rings true and clear in this post. Would that Charismatics hear it.

    NB: I redacted the name from my quote.

    (As an aside, it looks like J. Lee Grady’s Fire In My Bones blog is getting hit pretty hard now as it keeps going down – at least as seen from this node in cyberspace.)

    • Bill,

      Grady’s an odd case. On the one hand, he calls for change; on the other, his magazine helps promote much of the craziness. He tries to play it both ways. I don’t see how that works.

      • I don’t disagree with you, Dan. But I guess I’d rather have a voice like Grady’s inside Charisma than not at all. Actually, now that I think of it, I’d prefer that Grady move on to something more productive and Charisma quickly disappear – but I don’t hold out much hope for that just yet.

  4. Ron

    Dan,
    I appreciate your call for greater discernment, and I totally agree with you and Grady’s assessment of the Lakeland revival. Nevertheless, I think it was a mistake to use the occassion of Todd’s divorce to make the case. Doing so without knowing the reasons for the divorce gives the immpression that any Christian leader having marital difficulty or who’s spouse decides to leave lacks credibility. I take marriage and divorce very seriously, but the way Grady’s article (and your post to some degree) speaks about this failure without separing it from all the other issues associated with Bently seems to give a black eye to all leaders who have marital issues, as if marital failure is an automatic sign of the moral collapse of the leader who now lacks credibility even though we don’t know the reasons. It seems to me that this tragedy is not the sign of something being wrong with Bently or the revival; the revival is discredited for other reasons. The problems with Bently and his wife are another issue, and we should be more careful not to appear to throw thrones at this time just because we understandably take offense with his ministry. I am remined of one of the psalms where David spoke of those enemies who used his moment of weakness to attack him. Not knowing the reasons for the marital problem, it should not be used as an opportunity to address the other issues less those who are in similar marital trials get painted with the same brush and labeled as untrust-worthy. Thanks, Bro’.

    Ron

    • Ron,
      Amen. I appreciate the tenor of your comment. The issue of whether or not Todd Bentley is a false prophet, or whether or not his miracles are bogus, has nothing to do with his marital problems (at least not on the face of it). Now, if his wife wants to expose him as a false prophet and that’s why they split, then a perfect nexus exists. That is not the information we have, so trying to discredit his “ministry” over his marital problems is at best premature and at worst bearing false witness.

      Let it be known, I have not been a supporter of Bentley’s, um, “ministry,” and I take exception, as does Dan, to gold dust, angel feathers, prayer gems and all such like. The credulity of the charismatic community for any crap that comes down the pipe is a source of never ending frustration to me. We’re supposed to be the light of the world and we end up the cesspool, accepting every and any thing that comes down the pike. Maybe that strange feeling is the stench of our surroundings and not the anointing.

      • Ron

        slw,
        Thanks slw, you articulated my point better than I did. I want to guard against prematurely discrediting leaders or bearing false witness (nor do I believe that that is what Dan or Grady was doing). That said, I would stress that Dan and Grady are correct. There is a serious discernment issue within our charismatic churches. I’ve expressed my concern over the Lakeland revival and some of their supporters to several of my pastor friends, including a team that wants to bring a group to one of the meetings, but I’ve been pretty much disregarded. I’m grateful that Dan continues to write about these issues. He continues to remind me that I’m not crazy, nor am I alone. Thanks!

        • Ron,

          The desire for genuine experiences of God, and I believe that desire is a valid one, is going so unmet in people, they’ll latch onto anything that even has a whiff of supernaturalism in it.

          I blame two sources: Those believers who vociferously argued against supernatural experiences of God and those who spent all their time looking for supernatural experiences. They’ve both poisoned the well, though with differing poisons.

      • SLW,

        This is why it’s not about the individual to me. It’s about the sum total of stupidity that creates these spectacular failures within the charismatic movement. It’s the utter lack of caution that afflicts the greatest percentage of the movement. The people who keep propagating this inevitable blow-up need to get out of the way and stop being so stinking careless.

        • Hey Dan,
          Tell me, how much of that leadership’s speedy support came from a sincere desire to be part of what “God was doing,” and how much came from a crass effort to get their mugs in the hot photo ops? Who can sell books or book conferences if he isn’t all wet in the new splash?

    • Ron,

      I posted previously on this issue long before the revelations came out this week. Just check through the discernment and charismatic categories and you’ll find tons of proof that I had doubts long before.

      And no, I’m not going to beat up the unnamed individual I mentioned. I’m more angry at the people around him, especially those who could not wait to ordain him as some sort of New Apostolic Reformation high priest. Those people should have known better. Even then, there’s no reason to believe they would have listened to common sense. As far as I’m concerned, that whole group should show their contrition by getting off the stage.

  5. I agree, we shouldn’t be afraid to call out and reprimand any leader who threw their weight behind this, and even the ones that were passive and didn’t raise obvious doubts publicly. Sheep, every one of them.

    But in the end, every single person, leader or not, new Christian or seasoned saint, has the Bible. They have Jesus revealed. They have Jesus’ desire for his disciples in language a child or an illiterate could understand. “Love one another,” repeated over and over and over again, and a depiction of love as a cross, is pretty clear. 1 Corinthians 13 is pretty clear. The neat thing about Jesus is we don’t need exegetes and scholars and authorities. In the end, Christians refuse correct doctrine, and follow charlatans and Satanic impersonators for one reason: They just can’t bring themselves to believe that Jesus really meant what he said.

    • Nate,

      The sad truth is that a most basic understanding of the Bible would have been sufficient. I think you could even make a case that natural law principles that run parallel to the Bible’s truths would have been enough to case doubt. Yet people didn’t even listen to those. It’s a bit like asking to choose heads or tails in a coin flip but picking the edge every time, thinking that the coin will always land on its edge and stay upright. That’s nuts, yet that’s what so many have done because they wanted nothing more than to see that rare occurrence of a coin on edge.

  6. Andrew

    Dan, your article demonstrates such humility, restraint and genuine concern for God’s reputation and people. Well done! You’ve hit another level, my friend.

  7. Thank you Dan.

    This isn’t about a personal failing of he who shall not be named, that’s a mere tip of a larger picture and I appreciate you acknowledging that.
    I doubt anyone will be exiting stage left.

    Kinnon, as a wised up walkaway, I could have used your voice over at BDBO – the hyperness, the drama, the shock, emotionalism, freak outs and immaturity has been personally overwhelming.

    I am gaining new appreciation for the damage done – when people leave these movements they need to get as far away as possible to heal.

    • Bene D,

      I have always been more concerned with the larger picture. While that larger picture is comprised of individuals, no one human being is responsible for this mess.

      I so pray for this current crop of charismaniacs to drop out of the limelight, but I think the only way they’ll go is if God removes them one by one, cauterizing the foundations they’ve built so that no more weeds grow up to choke out the fruit.

  8. Kathy

    When I clicked on the link to Charisma and read Grady’s article, I was transported back to 1994 when I was part of the Northwest Revival. I got out (thrown out, actually, by the leadership for having a Jezebel spirit) in 1997, because I dared to question the behavior of the leaders, after being one and seeing the decay from the inside. I have some war stories people wouldn’t believe.

    It took a long time to trust another pastor. I don’t think I’ll ever fully trust church leadership again. I am no longer in a charismatic church even though I believe in the ongoing gifts of the Holy Spirit because I can’t trust that charismatic leaders won’t chase after the newest “experience.”

    I watched a portion of the Bentley spectacle recently on TV and was so saddened to see so many gullible Christians. I know many of those Christians at those meetings will not come back to any church once they leave this movement.

    • Kathy,

      I want more than just about anything for a moratorium on charismatic-ese. I don’t want to hear another self-appointed prophet or apostle use the words/phrases anointing, glory, Jezebel spirit, covering, army, warrior, dominion, mantle, spirit of…, power, or any of a dozen more overused words/phrases that have lost all meaning. Don’t you?

      How is it we’ve created for ourselves such a lexicon of overwrought pronouncements? Those words will speak against us if we don’t watch out.

  9. I wrote a post a few weeks back pretty much saying the same thing as Grady… but pulled it. I don’t know why. I just couldn’t put it out there.

    I pray for Todd. I pray that God humbles him. I pray that the church rises up now and does what is right. What an opportunity.

    I’m afraid I might not see that.

    I’m tired of sobbing for the church but I know it has only begun.

    I lost a close friend of 14 years today for saying what I was seeing when she and friends ran to Lakeland and I finally shared with her what I was seeing. I’m sobbing, because she was decieved and so many were.

    Where is repentance? The path gets narrower… and I sit in my own church thinking of all those I’ve known… running towards the wrong thing… and again I’m tired of sobbing.

    We were warned this would happen… we didn’t read our bibles. We listened to the teachings of men instead of KNOWING the bible. We stopped preaching good solid theology and instead tickled the ears of men with what they wanted to hear. Every month more books with the latest fad in the contemporary “church” come out and studies are done on them… instead of the word. I’m sick. I’m tired.

    I’m NOT shutting up anymore! I’m getting angry. SO ANGRY that people are NOT WAKING UP!

    And I sit here in a heap so grateful that God removed the scales off my eyes!

    MY GOD HELP US! Protect those who are watching this… let them see the truth… let those who won’t give God a look now because we have made your Son out to look like a fool run smack into Your holiness! May those who see clearly have the nerve, have the passion, burn within to DO SOMETHING! May I be one of them!

    God help us. Help me. I’m tired of your bride being powerless and deceived.

  10. Dan,

    I’ve only had time to read few random comments, the ones at the top catching my eye, those regarding healing in the Scriptures.

    Just a few thoughts. The purpose of man in Scripture is to glorify God because we love and worship him. Those who are healed may do this as well as those who must wait until Christ returns for their healing. All believers in Christ are healed in his time, some now, others at his second coming. None will be left out. However, God is also glorified in Scripture through those who suffer patiently by his grace and for his sake, the cross of Christ being our greatest example.

    I have had experiences in my own life, of being healed directly and remarkably, then over time in other areas of my life, and yet I am still growing older, dying, and have new challenges. I anticipate more of the same.

    There can be no serious question of God’s intention, as revealed by Scripture, in the complete, whole restoration of anyone who puts their faith in him. When he chooses to do that in response to their faith is up to him and I willingly rest in that by his grace.

    I very much agree with your understanding of how God relates to the ‘whole man’. Keeping things distinct but not separate can be difficult, but we must keep as close to the Biblical, holistic view of man as possible.

    As for your post, I agree with your assessment and can only feel shame for how we have grieved Christ.

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