Five Years On: Todd Bentley and Bob Jones Teaching Manifest Sons of God in 2008 (Birth of the Man-Child)
August 25, 2013 181 Comments
2008 was a banner year for the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR – what I term hyper-charismaticism) – at least until it was revealed that Todd Bentley was having an affair with his nanny and divorcing his wife, the mother of their two children (he and the nanny married later). From April 2nd until about August 11th of that year the so-called Lakeland Revival was headed by Todd Bentley. Bentley was, shall we say, “christened” by a number of NAR “Apostles” including C. Peter Wagner, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, Che Ahn, and others on June 23rd. It’s too bad for these “Apostles” that there wasn’t an NAR “Prophet” who could have foreseen the disaster that was Bentley’s adultery/divorce and subsequent remarriage. Perhaps all the NAR “Prophets” were deep in thought, otherwise busy, traveling, sleeping, etc. at the time (cf. 1 Kings 18:27-28)? But I digress.
The purpose of this article is to revisit some Manifest Sons of God (MSoG) teaching in order to educate those not quite understanding this particular doctrine, its ramifications, and how it fits into the larger scheme of things. Following are two examples from 2008.
On May 28, in a somewhat lengthy monologue, Bentley explicitly spoke of and promoted the MSoG doctrine. Here’s a portion:
Tonight is a crossing over and we have a moment,’ says the Lord, ‘where we can labor and travail until Christ is formed in you…
…I feel if we gave it a big push that we can literally form Christ – Christ in you. I’m talking about a maturing of what God has placed on the inside of your spirit. It’s gonna come out of the birth canal – it’s gonna come out of the womb – because there is a labor and there is a travailing that is going on in the spirit…
…And, we are saying LET THERE BE LIFE. And, there was life—speaking things into existence. I am talking about a creative realm… …Under the anointing you make a declaration and it forms tonight…
…We’re going to go back into travail right now until Christ is formed. God promised a day where heaven and earth must retain Him until the restoration of all things. Heaven will hold back the coming of Jesus Christ until sons and daughters come into maturity. It’s called the Manifestation of the sons of God.
Heaven will hold back the Second Coming… A mature church manifests the glory of God. A mature church manifests the Word of God in truth and power. A mature church walks in holiness and character. A mature church walks in miracle, signs, and wonders.
I’m talking about a maturity tonight – and it’s being formed in you. Let Christ be formed in maturity. Let the full man, let the fullness of God come forth, and let the womb open tonight…and let there be a great birthing…
The birthing, laboring, and travailing language is all part of the “birth of the man-child” doctrine, an important aspect of MSoG, as it’s the culmination of the teaching. According to this teaching, there will be ‘one new, perfect man’ (a perversion of Ephesians 4:13). This is the climax of Bentley’s monologue: “Let Christ be formed in maturity. Let the full man, let the fullness of God come forth, and let the womb open tonight…and let there be a great birthing…” The New Age / New Spirituality calls this the forthcoming “Corporate Christ”. MSoG doctrine is such that this “birth of the man-child” IS the Second Coming. This is paralleled in New Age / New Spirituality teachings (see below).
With the proceedings of Lakeland in full swing, Bob Jones spoke at a conference held at Heritage International Ministries Retreat Center, featuring Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, and Rick Joyner, on August 08th (DVD of this event sold through Rick Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries Media Store, item # TS50, “Todd Bentley Healing and Impartation Service, 08-08-08”). Here’s an excerpt of his monologue:
The New Breed is just simply the body of Christ is gonna grow up…What He’s [God’s] doing now is bringing you to a level of maturity where you grow up…So, what he’s talking about is; the New Breed is this: it’s Romans 1:4 – the spirit of holiness. So, for years I tried to get understanding of what the spirit of holiness is for it’s different than the Holy Spirit [ED: YIKES!].
So, last Saturday, He spoke to me about a New Breed of people. And, He said, ‘I don’t want to get in front of them, I want you to get behind them. They’ll be close to the ages of 25 and 40… this is who the New Breed is.’
…The New Breed will be those that are partaker of the divine nature. As you begin to grow into the likeness of Christ you’re gonna begin to partake of the divine nature. And, once you begin to grow up in that-a-way you’ll continue to mature until you look like Christ all over the world. Jesus was one person. Now get ready for Jesuses [sic - plural of “Jesus”] all over the world. Then, he began to tell me that those who have [sic] partaker of his divine nature shall be a friend with God – John 15:15…
So, that divine nature is a friend. It’s really Paul’s prayer. I believe God is answering Paul’s prayer in Galatians 4:19 ‘I travail for you, I pray for you until Christ be formed in you.’ There are Christians on the earth now that are growing in maturity to where Christ is being formed in you. If Christ is being formed in you then when you speak you’ll speak as Christ did. And, you’ll have also authority in this. Then, in this He was saying ‘this then will be a generation that will do nothing apart from the Father.’ So, I think the main thing you’re getting ready for is a generation for the fathers to come back in. And, I think the first one that’s gonna come back is Papa. For Jesus came back over…2000 years ago, The Holy Spirit came over 100 years ago [ED: apparently a reference to Azuza Street], this last revelation is who your Daddy is. And, I think this is what’s getting ready – is Papa’s getting ready to reveal his family. And, His family, what He lacks in you is what was in His Son. So, there are those who’s gonna begin to shine like the Son. And, that divine nature will have authority over all the works of the enemy…
I’ve been back here 33 years today [ED: Jones is speaking about his own purported death and resuscitation experience]. 33 years ago I stood before the Lord. I looked into His eyes. To be honest with ya, I didn’t want to come back because it had been so hard. But, He asked… He told me,” if you’ll go back you’ll see the greatest wave of all time in evangelism. I’m gonna bring over a billion youth into myself.” Now, these that’s between 25 and 40 are youth leaders. Getting ready for a birthing of youth beyond anything you’ve ever seen before…And, what he’s after now is the 25 to 40’s which are harvesters…So, get ready. Things have changed. The New Breed – let’s get behind them. For they’re gonna bring the youth behind them. It’s a change of times. The torch is being transferred from the old generation to this 25 to 40. This is the New Breed.
We won’t go into all the issues in Jones’ awful use of Scripture (that was done here). The main reason in putting both Bentley’s and Jones’ MSoG teachings on the same page is to show the reader what to look for in the teachings of others. With this in mind, re-read (or read for the first time) the two previous CrossWise articles (here and here) and look for similarities. Let’s discuss.
But, before doing so, ponder on the words of Alice A. Bailey – occultist, New Ager, the willing vehicle of the channeled writings of “Djwhal Khul”:
…We can produce, and as a [human] race, give birth to, the next kingdom in nature, which Christ called the kingdom of God; this is the kingdom of souls, the kingdom of spiritual lives, and herein, uniquely, Christ emerges… [From Bethlehem to Calvary: The Initiations of Jesus © 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey, Lucis Trust, 4th paperback ed., 1989, Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY, p 259. Emphasis added.]
More explicitly, here’s Barbara Marx Hubbard in her work The Book of Co-Creation: The Revelation, Our Crisis is a Birth [Foundation for Conscious Evolution, Sonoma, CA, 1993 (first edition)] with even more alarming tie-ins to Bentley’s and Jones’ messages above (and others who’ve taught MSoG in hyper-charismaticism). In a section titled The Marriage of Christ and Eve, she begins by referencing the Virgin Birth and the fact that Christ raised Himself from the dead – at least she affirms Jesus Christ’s role in His own resurrection, contrary to Bill Johnson and others who claim it was “the Father by the Spirit” – wondering: “Are we moving beyond sexual reproduction and preprogrammed death?” [p 55].
In order for “Eve” to marry Christ, one’s body must be prepared to transform, to regenerate itself…
If we are approaching a new “normalcy,” normalizing in ourselves what Christ could do, as the next stage in our evolution, then do we have the innate ability, as a proto-universal species, to “become mothers to ourselves,” giving birth to ourselves as fully evolved humans?… [p 56. Emphasis added.]
Marx Hubbard ponders this and other questions until she receives a “revelation” about her own previous “birth experience”, which she records in a journal:
“The benign presence I sensed in my planetary birth experience was the Christ. The light that surrounded the Earth and awakened us was the Christ-light. The light that arose within us was the Christ-light that dwells in every one of us! [p 56. Bold in original]”
She then explains:
The Christ “act” – to do the work that he did – is a new kind of resurrection and transformation at the dawn of the next stage of evolution.
The marriage of Christ and Eve happens at the Second Coming. It is in real time, like his birth. It is an event in history [p 56. Emphasis added.]
Recall the words of many in hyper-charismaticism, such as this one example by Bill Johnson: Jesus is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head [as referenced here]. Also, consider Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO, with his emphasis on the so-called “Bridal Paradigm”, in which Jesus is “love-sick for His Bride”.
Later in this same book Marx Hubbard goes through the Book of Revelation [skipping 6:3-8, though this is covered in an unpublished manuscript of this work, as quoted from here], claiming new revelation from “Higher Voices”. In the following these “Voices” ‘expound’ on Revelation 9:15-16, 18-21, bringing “new revelation”:
The alternative to Armageddon is the Planetary Pentecost. When a critical mass are in the upper room of consciousness on a planetary scale, each will hear from within, in their own language, the mighty words of God. All who are attuned will be radically empowered to be and do as Jesus did. If those people who are not self-centered align their thoughts in perfect faith, that they are whole, created in the image of God, the world can be saved. [p 147. Emphasis in original.]
Obviously, we know that God will not change His Word and save the whole world. But, note the similarities of this to various teachers within hyper-charismaticism. Note the hyper-charismatic call to unity at the expense of sound doctrine. Recall Jones’ (and others) teaching that there will be a “billion souls saved”. Are these actually a billion souls lost to the New Age / New Spirituality “Jesus”?
Reader, I implore you, please read the words of Bentley and Jones then compare to the words of Marx Hubbard and Bailey.
NOTE: The Barbara Marx Hubbard material was reprised in a later book titled The Revelation: A Message of Hope for the New Millennium [Nataraj Publishing, Novato, CA, 1995], with the pagination a bit different from above.