There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt lately regarding all the hoopla going on with Todd Bentley’s circus show in Lakeland, Florida. This has brought up some serious questions about whether or not signs and wonders are for today. Well this message by John Piper (from the early 1990′s but rebroadcast now) is very timely and I recommend it to all those who want a serious look into the matter.
Are Signs and Wonders for Today – Part One (Sermon starts approximately 5 minutes in)
Now in case anyone’s wondering, I personally don’t ascribe to the complete and utter cessation of all signs and wonders, and I base this solely on the fact that God can use any sign, wonder or healing at His will. He’s God.
I do not, however, believe what we are seeing from Bentley (or any of those other charlatans on TBN) is genuine. Some of the most godly people I’ve ever known don’t speak in tongues, heal the sick, etc. Yet when I was in the charismatic circles back in the 1990′s, every Tom, Dick, and Harry (and every Julie, Sally, and Sue) had some “gift” or were prophesied to one day possess some gift. Even though so many of their lives in no way reflected true, regenerated followers of Jesus Christ and Biblical Christianity, I was still supposed to believe that God was pouring out His anointing on them. Oh what foolishness I embraced. I am so grateful that gone are the days of “activations” and coaching someone to speak in tongues. “Repeat after me . . .”.
And by the way, I’m still waiting for my “healing ministry” that my former (and recently divorced) female pastor (who now heads the church without her husband) prophesied that I would have. It’s only been a decade and a half and she’s still giving out prophetic words like candy and the sheeple still keep eating it up.
But I digress. When a gift happens, it will just happen. It’s not something anyone can conjure up, force, or make happen (as if God’s our puppet and we’re some pagan witch doctor barking out our orders to the Almighty that He must obey).
And when it happens there won’t be big healing revivals or conventions. That’s not the way it was done by the Apostles and that’s not the way God would do it today. To borrow a favorite verse from Charismatics–no, not “touch not my anointed;” their other favorite verse–”God is the same today, yesterday and forever.” If the Apostles didn’t batter people or market themselves as “healing prophets” (and thus draw attention away from the Savior) then those who God chooses today to heal through will also be humble, not market themselves, and not expect God to act upon their every demand.
So in a nut shell, I believe that God can perform any miracle through anyone He chooses, I just have yet to meet someone who has performed a genuine and legitimate sign or wonder. And every time someone claims to be anointed with these gifts, I do the following:
1) Test the spirit.
2) Watch to see who is really getting the glory.
3) Examine their lives.
This is a very effective way to tell a genuine from a counterfeit and to keep from being deceived and led astray.