Response to ABC's Nightline Story on Todd Bentley

Florida Outpouring Essays and Art by LLMartin
Sunny Mondays

Planting Seeds of Doubt:
A Response to ABC’s Night Line Story on Todd Bentley

By LLMartin
July 11,2008

Last night I received an email from an acquaintance. It said he was feeling doubt creaping into his life after hearing the nightline story on Todd Bentley.

After receiving the email, and responding, I decided to do a little investigating. Each night a friend and I get on the cell phone and watch God TV or on the internet, The Outpouring. But she was feeling a very heavy spirit last night and a little discouraged, because she was hoping to hear a little more of Todd’s teaching on healing. He wasn’t on the Outpouring and God TV was covering Rodney Howard Browne instead.

So I went into the ABC site and read Nightline’s entire article on the Outpouring out loud to her. Then I read the first page of viewer input. It was very enlightening and very revealing.

The Bible says that God’s people perish for lack of knowledge. And in this case I am sure that there are a lot of things out there to confuse and lead to doubt. Here is why I think most of the main stream media in the USA do it.

Their Ways Are Not Our Ways

The first thing I think every Christian needs to understand is that those employed in the Secular Media are held to a high standard. That standard is driven by Secular Humanism.

If you want to advance in the secular media and most other secular entrainment fields, you must embrace publically Secular Humanism (SH)and write everything from that view point.

In brief, the Philosophy of Secular Humanism is that : Men are their own Gods and achieve everything by their own power and might. As such people who believe in God are weak losers, prone to abuse and extreme emotionalism, and can’t make a decision for themselves, so they have to be lead like sheep by corruptible men who are greedy,power hungry and take advantage of them.

According to the Media Participants who have adopted the SH Philosophy, they believe that those who say they rely on a God or "Higher Power" have just made God up in their heads. The commonly held belief of those embracing SH is that Christians and other Religeous people made God up because they are either too stupid to take responsibility for themselves or they are emotionally weak with mental illnesses. According to those embracing SH Christians especially have lost their ability to take responsibility for their own actions and/ or face the reality of their lives.

Christians are thus viewed as "weak sheep".

The first sign to a Secular Humanist that a person is a “weak sheep” is that the person says he believes and trusts God.

Because every good Secular Humanist believes there is NO God and they believe the “weak sheep “ just made it up in their heads, that means the "weak sheep can be manipulated and deceived and extremely useful in achieving power".

Now keep in mind that I am not trying to write the quintessential book on secular humanism. You can research it more if you want to. There are tons of books and papers out there about it.

But one other thing you need to know is that Secular Humanists, as a whole, also believe in survival of the fittest and that those in society that are weak only have value if they can be used to attain strength of position. This opens an entirely new can of worms, however we won’t go there because we are talking about The media response to Todd Bentley and the Florida outpouring.

Ok so now you have a little background information.

How the Media Views Religeous People The key thing here is how the media as a whole views ALL Pastors, especially televangelists. Immediately they think that any one evangelist who is raised to prominence is only doing it to manipulate and deceive people and get money from them. The media that embrace the philosophy of Secular Humanism think this way because one views people the way one views themselves. It’s a stereotype promoted by the media because they feel that their job is to save all mankind from a nonexistent God, stupidity, inability to face reality and from becoming prey to these predatory preachers who just want them for their money. The job of secular media is to plant seeds of doubt so as to undermine these preachers.

Who is really in control?

Having said that, I also must say, that actually what they think is themselves being in control, is actually Satan using them to try to destroy the faith of the believers. Satan has propagated yet another venue to do this through the disillusioned media who look down on all weak people, except for their use to make sensational heartwarming stories and sell them to the public.

Christians, they surmise, are as a whole, the weakest and the most vial.

You can see this in action sometimes when a prominent personality in the media meets a Christian and their reaction is either distain or pity.

One more disclaimer. Not all individuals in media believe in this philosophy, but the higher in the networks you go the more you have to face it. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR in the US all embrace this philosophy in reporting news. FOX is a little more old fashioned and conservative, but most of their young journalists have been trained in the philosophy and you can see it evidenced in some of their coverage on occasion.

Because of all of this, the News Media will take any person, and in the name of Good investigative Journalism will spin the story according the Philosophy. Some of them can’t help it, it’s all they know how to do and how they have been trained. Others in the media don’t have a choice they have to do what the editor says.

The Evidence of Media Spin

The first evidence of the Secular Humanist Philosophy Spin on the Todd Bentley story is the headline.
First Headline: Controversial Preacher Claims He Has Healing Powers
Second Headline: Controversial Canadian Minister Says He Can Cure the Sick and Weary

Anyone who has watched any part of the Florida Outpouring, knows that neither of these two statements is true. Todd Bentley has never claimed that he has healing powers and he has never claimed that he can cure the sick and weary. He has claimed that Jesus can heal and only Jesus.

Any reasonable person who has watched the outpouring and reads these headlines is going to automatically find ABC‘s story to be highly suspect in the way of accuracy in reporting. ABC overlooked one thing there were to many witnesses to what is actually going on to pull this sort of deception.

Outcome based Reporting: Another part of the Secular Huminist philosophy is that truth is all relevant to the outcome. There is no good or bad, no right or wrong, no truth or lies; its all about the result. In the case of this story: it’s to warn people off the Florida Outpouring and to lead as many people as possible into doubting their own experience.

In the opening of the story ABC exploited what they considered the vulnerable, helpless, and the weak with some and wove that story throughout the coverage as to how victimize the people were for having believed Todd. They of course missed the point.

The next thing the ABC story tried to do, and unsuccessfully I think, is that they tried to show what a low life Todd was, and that his personal history was the perfect setting up for the immoral criminal. But they messed up too when they tried to promote him almost in the same breath as everyman pulling himself up by the bootstraps. The hardest thing for those who follow this secular humanist philosophy is to look the other way when someone successfully turns their life around. It makes him a hero of sorts because he came from such a bad place as a child and now he is a productive loving family man with two healthy children and a good marriage.

Next they tried to discredit Todd by saying he wasn’t properly credentialed and that he wasn’t educated. They messed up on that one too.

Well, not being able to trip up Todd or find fault with him directly, they tried to discredit him by interviewing the towns’ people. People who admitted they were having a positive financial impact by all the economic aspects of all those new people in town for the outpouring.

The frame shop owner hadnt been to the revival and didnt really know what it was all about, yet she voiced a loud opinion about the theatrics. It made me wonder why the economic impact of the revival wasnt a main point of the coverage. The reporter was just trying to use her to promote the stereotype televangelist. It was uninformed opinion and had nothing to do with anything she actually experienced. Any really good editor would have redlined her opinion and just kept what she was actually experiencing in the story.

Now the one that really got to me was the girl in the wheel chair. Talk about victimization. ABC deliberately put that girl on camera to exploit her. She played right into ABC's hands when she accused Bentley of being in it for the money. The girl obviously had issues.The people from the revival probably were trying to give her hope and encouragement.

I don’t think if she had actually gone to the revival and been healed that she would have been included in the story at all. ABC wanted a victim and she obviously was a willing participant in the story.

She pretty much admitted that she was among those people who felt left out, disenfranchised, with low self esteem and not accepted by people. She also hinted that she wanted to be left alone if people wouldn’t accept her. Its such a paradox that She is just the sort of person that would feel at home in Todd Bentley’s ministry whether she was healed or not.

I honestly don’t think that this girl has a very high self-esteem. I don’t think she thinks she can be healed. In fact she may not want to try because she couldn’t bare the failure and what she would perceive as rejection by God.

Truly, healing shouldn’t be the most important thing anyway. What should be the most important thing should be loving this girl and leading her to Christ. It shouldn’t matter whether or not she is healed. She needs Jesus. She needs to be loved!

ABC probably didn’t know enough to see what the girl was reaching out for. If there should be any criticism it might be that those evangelism teams are so focused on winning people that they have forgotten that they need to love people first. By putting that girl on air it fed the fire of criticism against Todd, which is what it was suppose to do; but it also made millions of prayer warriors aware of a daughter of God, who he loves desperately, so they can pray for her.

The Bible says that what Satan makes for evil; God makes for Good. I believe that God will pour his spirit into those young women in answer to her loneliness and the prayers of the righteous. I personally am praying that God will bring people to her that will love her and see all her talents and desires and nurture them.

I’ve seen the media do these sort of stories a lot. And they always follow this pattern when they have an agenda. In this case, it is to discredit Todd Bentley and bring him down. To destroy the faith people have in him. Well people shouldn’t be putting their faith and trust in any man anyway. They should put their faith and trust in God. That’s what Todd and every other pastor that is worth his salt teaches.

The pastor who was included was just to give the view of an ordained minister with religious credibility and an opposing view. It was a weak attempt and I have a feeling his response wasn’t nearly as negative as they tried to make it seem. In fact from what I read, it sounded like he wasn’t ready to pass judgment.

Now comes the so called icing on the cake: The documentation of the healings and miracles. I don’t think this figure is anywhere near accurate, but I had heard at one point that the healings documented with medical reports were someplace near 10,000 since the beginning of the revival. And that the staff of Fresh Fire doesn’t count them unless they are documented by a doctor’s report or note. I remember a couple of weeks ago that one of the healings was documented by the Stanford Medical Center and after it was announced on TV, a representative from the Hospital there called the Fresh Fire staff and asked that they not give out that sort of information to the public, because they were inundated with phone calls and they were not allowed to give any information to anyone unless the patient signed a release. In the USA you can’t even see your child’s records, your spouse’s records or your parent’s medical records, unless you have guardianship or a court order. I think that one of the reasons that Fresh Fire may have hired a medical Consultant a few weeks ago was to handle these issues of privacy. Here in the USA these privacy acts for medical records started when the AIDS epidemic hit to protect the privacy of AIDS and HIV patients so they wouldn’t be persecuted. Congress enacted the protections to extend over all people equally when it comes to medical records.

Everyone at ABC knows this full well. And most seasoned reporters would, if they really wanted to investigate the claims, and protect the privacy of the people involved have would issued a call for witnesses of any wanting to testify to the healing they received in connection to the revival. ABC’s people could easily have done the leg work; however, they were probably working on a deadline and didn’t really want to be spending time on the story anyway. So they just put a spin on it and made it look like Bentley and his staff was doing a cover up. Actually I think Bentley and his staff were following the law in protecting the rights of the people involved.

In our lives, somewhere, we have been conditioned to believe everything we hear on the news. The truth is often that the news is no more honest than the ones reporting it. It’s all carefully vetted. It’s all carefully spun to provoke a manipulated response and make a sensational controversial story that brings in money for the business. Today we have to dig deep sometimes to get the actual story.

Even the Bible says that Faith comes by hearing. What we listen to, who we give credibility to, those things, as you have discovered, affect what we believe. God must be our credibility, lest we be deceived and fall away. The Bible says we must test the spirit always.

We must test the spirit of ABC, of any Christian Critics of Todd Bentley; we must test the Spirit of Todd Bentley. We are charged as Christians to test every spirit to see if it is from God or from another deceptive source. We are to do this lest we become deceived in the last days.

Here is one last thing about this to give you food for thought. We aren’t to put our faith in Todd Bentley. He is only a man, imperfect and very human. His job is to build our faith in God, not himself. His job is to bring the lost to Christ. The reason God has blessed him is because he was willing to yield to God in every aspect of his life and be a vessel for the move of God.

This of course opens him automatically for criticism and persecution; those in Christianity will be jealous, will misunderstand, those in the Secular world will hate him because of the stereotypes they believe. All of this is part of being a person who doesn’t just believe in Christ, but they believe Christ and obey God’s word.

As a Christian, our charge is to love people,both those who hate us, and those who are in unity with us;because, God wants us to show them his son, by our love of one another. He wants to draw them into a relationship with him through Jesus Christ. He promises he will never leave us or forsake us. That whatever good work he started in us, he will be faithful to complete. He charges us to pray for those who are other Christians that they will not be blinded by things like this news article and thus lose faith, and that we will pray for the unsaved so they will not perish.

My prayer for all who read this is that God will pour out his blessing upon you, that his grace will overflow you. That his wisdom will be in you, that your discernment will come directly from him and knowing his word and that you will have a double portion of favor, faith and stamina from the Lord. And that first you will know Christ Jesus and Him more abundantly.

Last night, I read my prayer partner the entire first page of the responses to the ABC nightline story. It lifted both of our spirits to read reasonable Christian men and woman with true testimonies and insight. Of course there were some who were negative, but after reading this, I think you will understand why they are that way and pray for them in love as well.

The opinions of this essay are strictly those of the author, baised on her own experience as a freelance journalist and a Believer of Christ.

No part of this essay may be used for any purpose unless used in the originial context and unless proper notation is given as credit to the author. All North and South American, World and Electronic Rights are striclty reserved by the author. LLMartin©copyright2008

This pages was last updated with minor editoral changes on 7/12/08