I believe in miracles. I believe in healing. I just don’t believe in faith healers. The newest addition to the “name it, claim it…we’re the joy boys…healing on demand” crowd is Todd Bentley, who is a self-proclaimed healer. He has healing services in his Fresh Fire ministry in Lakeland, Florida. Some are calling this a revival. I would call it a sideshow at worst and an imitation of revival at best. When WORLD Magazine asked for a list of those healed, the ministry couldn’t provide one. It took them weeks and dozens of requests to get the names of 13 people.
I’m sorry, but if you’ve got the gift of healing you could heal more than 13 people by just walking the halls of a small county hospital. One person whom they claimed was healed of cancer died two weeks later. So much for Bentley’s power to heal. Several others are dead. I’m sure Bentley thinks it’s due to their lack of faith, not because of his deception to make a buck off of innocent and desperate people.
If I called myself an evangelist and I couldn’t give you more than 13 names of people I had led to Christ, you wouldn’t call me an evangelist. If I called myself a preacher and I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me, you would tell me to reconsider. If I call myself a healer and I can’t produce more than 13 who say they were healed (some are now dead, others refuse to answer questions), you should probably question my claims. Bentley’s supporters say he’s healed hundreds, if not thousands. Really? Where’s the news story? You would think that many people being healed in Lakeland, Florida, would attract some national media attention.
Let’s call this what it is: deception. It’s a psychological play on people’s emotions. Bentley has been exposed as a “preacher” who is addicted to alcohol and has had an “inappropriate relationship” with an employee. He has not “remarried the former employee.” According to the WORLD article, Bentley has said he would refrain from ministry until he received counseling. In November of 2008, his board said he wasn’t submitting to counseling. I say, fool me once, my fault. Fool me twice, and I’m either dumb or naive. How about the best solution is Bentley gets out of the ministry and gets a job where he has to work for his money, rather than milking the crowd.
I believe in healing. I’ve seen people miraculously healed. I’ve also watched people die who had hundreds praying for them. The thing to remember is Jesus healed with a word or a touch, but it took His blood to save us. Why are we more impressed with healing than we are with the power of the blood to save? Healing, at best, is temporary. Salvation is life changing.
Author Michael Brown writes, “God is sovereign. He can and does heal. But our experiences should not shape our theology. Instead, our theology should be the lens through which we evaluate our experiences. And our theology should be based on Scripture” (Israel’s Divine Healer, Zondervan, 1995).
If you want to read an excellent biblical book on healing, pick up Ron Dunn’s Will God Heal Me? You won’t read anything more accurate and biblically sound. (Visit www.rondunn.com. It’s also available through CLC Publications.)