Charismatics in Florida are proving a tad embarrassed over a tattooed and pierced preacher who is claiming to work miracles including raising people from the dead.
Pentecostals typically teach the working of miracles today, long after the end of the miraculous age some 2000 years ago. But one of their own have taken their teaching to an extreme point by claiming that he has raised at least 25 people from the dead. Todd Bentley,a Canadian preacher, has been part of something called the “Florida Outpouring,” a series of charismatic revivals in Lakeland, Florida. Bentley’s claims have even put the Assemblies of God into a cautionary stance because of his claims.
Christianity Today magazine puts it this way:
“While faith healing is a part of the Pentecostal tradition, leaders’ claims that at least 25 people have been raised from the dead have especially raised eyebrows. No dead bodies have been brought into the revival. Rather, reports of the recent death of a loved one—in some cases located long distances away—are relayed to the stage by e-mail or cell phone, and Bentley has led prayers for the person to be revived.”
The magazine then cuts to the heart of what defines a real miracle from fakery:
“Recent news reports have been unable to verify any of the claims of healing, although revival officials say they have been barred from releasing complete information about the identities and conditions of people claiming to be healed due to privacy concerns and laws forbidding the release of medical records.”
Notice that “news reports have been unable to verify any of the claims…” One absolute fact of the miracles done of Jesus, his apostles and those given the power to work miracles was the public verifiable nature of those miracles. What the Lord did was always public and always subject to scrutiny.
Modern day miracles are vague and subject to dispute. Never has one been raised by the dead and never has a man with obvious physical deformaties been suddenly an unquestionably healed. It just hasn’t happened.
The Pentacostals are appropriatly concerned. However, their problem lies in their doctrine that miracles persist today. If they do, then raising the dead would obvioulsy be a part of that work. But since miraculous resureections do not occur, we may conclude that miracles do not work either. They ended when the church came of age (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).
The much ballyhooed Florida Outpouring has run dry because the errant doctrine has become embarrasing even those who promote it.