Todd Bentley interview with Charlotte Observer on what he expects to happen in Charlotte, (Concord).

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Sunday, Jun 22, 2008

Q&A with preacher Todd Bentley

CHARLES CHANDLER

Following is a transcript from a telephone interview conducted by Observer staff writer Charles Chandler with Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley, who is appearing in Concord tonight (Thursday). The interview was scheduled for 30 minutes, but lasted about 26 minutes because of Bentley's tight schedule. The Observer still had questions remaining and asked for 10 more minutes, but was unable to get a second interview. Some questions were expanded so readers can better understand the transcript. Some answers were edited for brevity.

Q: Since the revival in Lakeland, Fla., started in early April, you have altered your schedule dramatically so you could remain there on a nightly basis. Why are you coming to Concord?

A: I made a commitment last fall. I met a pastor whose name is Terry Wise (of Faith Covenant Church). He was the first pastor who approached me about the idea of having an evangelistic meeting. It was in my heart to see a transition. I knew the Lord was speaking to us a whole lot more about moving away from the conferences. When (Wise) approached me, it was like he was the first fruit of where the Lord has begun to move our ministry, which was more and more from just doing a conference and being a guest speaker to what my true anointing is, which I've been operating in in Africa, Mexico and around the world. I'm a crusade evangelist.

So when revival broke out, I knew there were certain commitments I would keep. The ones that are really important to me are the ones that are very focused on seeing revival come and transform cities.

It's going back to the old-time revivalist. Many times, the revivalists of old – Charles Finney and many others – would spend weeks on a campaign and whole cities were overcome by the power of God.

I just felt a real good witness about our ministry there over the years. I know it's right in my spirit. I know it's time.

Q: What are you expecting for Concord and the Charlotte area?

A: I'm expecting that there is going to be a real impartation like is happening here in Lakeland. I know that's what's happening here in Florida is so much bigger than Florida. It's begun here, but the next wave of what God's doing is going to be something that's global. With many revivalists in the past, people have caught the fire and taken it all over the world.

I believe this is going to burn all over. I believe what God is doing here isn't for Lakeland and Todd Bentley. I believe it's for the world.

I expect when we come, this impartation is going to break out. Very hungry people – believers, leaders – are going to receive a real contagious, faithful spirit and begin to run with this. We want to see a fire started in the Charlotte area.

Q: What causes your heart to beat? What really matters to you?

A: What really matters to me is the presence of God, to know that as Moses said `If you're presence does not go with us, I'm not going to go up from here.'

What really matters to me is the presence of God and being led by the Spirit of God. The second is that people have an encounter with that tangible presence of God because I want people to know Jesus Christ in a real way, not a religious way. I want the Holy Spirit to manifest His glory in such a way that people can't deny presence of a living God and they have a true born-again experience.

To me, that's done through the preaching of the word and it's done through the demonstration through the Holy Spirit and power.

And I love people. I have compassion. I love to see people set free who are suffering.

Q: What do you believe are true signs of revival?

A: One of the truest signs of revival is people's passions and hunger for the Lord is renewed. People are drawn to the presence of the Lord. They want to worship. They want to read their Bibles. They want to walk with God in a deeper way. They desire to be holy.

To me a true sign of revival is you know people are getting to closer to Jesus. They desire to get with him and they're hungry. They have a passion. There's an intensity.

Q: How would you describe what is happening in Lakeland?

A: Sovereign. I didn't expect it. It took me by surprise. I would say what's happening here is God has chosen what's happening here in Florida to be the first fruits of this beginning to happen all over the world.

Q: What is the source of your power?

A: The source of my power is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, `He who believes in me will do the works that I did and even greater.' The source of my power is the anointing of the Holy Ghost, and thank God for that. And there are the gifts of the Spirit.

Q: You have claimed that people have been risen from the dead. How many so far?

A: Directly or indirectly, we have received more than 25 stories of reported resurrections. We are verifying as many of those as we can. We're not doctors, we're not reporters. We follow up with a phone call, sometimes a week, sometimes two weeks later, and ask `What really happened?', just to check our facts. Sometimes there are one or two sources. At this point, we are receiving every few days now people claiming they've been to their doctor and they have medical verifications. Many of those verifications are beginning to arrive.

Q: Do you believe there are people who come to Lakeland and make it to the front platform – and a TV appearance -- who claim to be healed, but are not actually healed?

A: Absolutely. I think are people who just want to get up on the platform and have me touch them. I think there are people who just want to get on TV. I think there are people who want to discredit what God is doing. We don't guarantee anything, but I know that many of these people who say they are being healed have been healed.

We have received probably 60,000 testimonies of people claiming healing.

When people are being touched, we're wanting to believe that God is really moving. There is no need for us to move around being skeptical of every report of healing. Our focus isn't just on signs and wonders. Signs and wonders have definitely been a reality. They're validation of the gospel.

Our greatest focus is we've now trained about 5,000 people, harvesters, who are going into the street six days a week. Our focus is on evangelism. We have stories of people giving their lives to Christ everyday and we're working together with bringing the converts into numerous churches in the local area.

It definitely is an outpouring of signs and wonders. It's an outpouring of the presence of God.

Q: You seem like an unusual person to be leading something like this if it's a move of God. We're speaking on Friday the 13th. Do you realize some people think you're scary?

A: I'm very sure they do. They probably felt the same about John the Baptist. He ate wild locusts and honey and came out of the desert screaming, `Repent!' I think, for a lot of the people, it's out of the box. I'm just honored to be a part of what God is doing. I think God is able to use the image. I definitely haven't become the man I'm portrayed as far as image. It's not intentional. I'm just being who I am. I'm not trying to be one way because I want to try to reach a certain demographic. I'm just trying to be comfortable in my own skin.

Q: When did you get your tattoos and body piercings?

A: I got my tattoo when I was a teenager. I've had numerous piercings over the y ears from the time I was 14. Most of the tattoos I have gotten have (before becoming a Christian). People have asked me about that. To me, it's not a spiritual reason. But when I'm asked how can I back up from a theological perspective to justify the fact that I have tattoos, then I'm kind of forced to bring out my personal conviction about what the Bible says about tattoos. That's really the only time I answer it. I don't want it to be this spiritual thing, like I had a vision and God told me to get my tattoos. I love art and, to me, my skin is the canvas. I'm not taking my skin into heaven.

Q: One of your trademarks is saying `Bam!' when you're ministering. What's up with that?

A: I believe God can have fun. I don't want to spiritualize it to much. When I feel the power of God, I say `Bam!' Could I move in the power of God without saying 'Bam!'? Absolutely.

There was one time I was in ministry and I prayed for somebody, and it kind of came out like one of those moans and groans. It was `Bam!' Some body fell under the power and many people have gotten healed. It's just something that's kind of stuck with me. … I don't think it's something that people should run around repeating. I think it's a mannerism I picked up in the spirit. It could be part of my personality or part of the breaker anointing. We could give lots of reasons.

Q: I want to ask you about some of the physical things that have happened when you're ministering before large groups. Some of this is on YouTube, like kicking a woman in the nose with biker books. People hear that and it freaks them out. Really, it sounds violent.

A: Sure, let me answer that this way, the best I can. There have been instances throughout the scripture in the Bible of out-of-the-box stuff, like the leper who wanted to be cleansed but was told to dip in the pool seven times. But yet there was clearly a time where Jesus said to a leper, `Be cleansed.' Another time, the Lord healed a blind eye and said `Receive your sight,' but another time He put some spit in a blind man's eye.

Miracles happened in the Bible in many different times and many different ways.

I want to make it clear, there is not one instance I'm aware of where anybody was hurt and, in every instance, they were actually healed. So I want to draw attention to the fruit. But I also want to say this is an operation of the gift of faith.

It's not something we teach our people. Sometimes when you're dealing with a demon spirit, it's done with great force. Also, for me, it's a simple act of wanting to be obedient.

One I want to make clear is I don't actually feel a need to defend myself because the Holy Spirit will defend the gospel. We don't want to be in the revival on the defense because we just want to stay focused on Jesus.



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