Monday, July 14, 2008

Dembski Questions Famed Healing Ministry

By Rick Pearcey

William A. Dembski of Intelligent Design fame questions the healing ministry of Todd Bentley down in Lakeland, Fla.

Such questioning is legitimate, Biblical, humane, and necessary. Humaness, worldview, and discipleship are cut from the single cloth of truth.

We await a reply to Dembski's question: "Faith and Healing -- Where's the Evidence?"

Meanwhile, one way to test the validity of an organization is to examine its methods. Not just the PR methods evidenced on websites with glossy pictures, wondrous bios, and a Herculean list of accomplishments and books, columns, etc., "by" the latest version of "renegade-turned-modern-day-St. Paul."

No, sadly, not the methods on display for public view, but the ones kept "in the basement," as it were. That's where, so often, in the dark, the real work is done.

In this regard, and in liberating contrast, the Lord's work is meant to be done the Lord's way, across the board, and with application to the nuts and bolts of organizations put forward as "Christian ministries."

This was a central concern of Francis Schaeffer, as seen in chapter 13 of the beloved True Spirituality. It is also the concern of chapter 13 of Nancy Pearcey's book Total Truth. The Lord's work is meant to be done in the light.

To follow truth is to embrace beauty. To fake it, "nuance" it, and spin it for "the sake of the Gospel" (i.e., fundraising, etc.) is to demean people and take the Lord's name in vain.

Dances with deception set forth in the service of Celebriantity and its hard-charging gods are a disaster, no matter how much noise is made about "worldview" or "reforming manners," no matter how much access to Big Media or the White House is gained, and so on.

You know the song and dance. It's underlined in hundreds of thousands of "Dear Friend" appeal letters strategically underlined in blue and signed by machines. One might be tempted to conclude that some evangelical marketers think Christians are idiots waiting to be led around by their noses.

"Test everything," says the real Apostle Paul (1 Thess. 5:21). "Testing everything" is key to embracing love and avoiding the cruelty and ugliness of a truncated Christianity and inhumane "ministry."

One more thing: If this isn't fixed, it matters little who wins the election. Politics follows culture. Methods matter. It's a warning and a promise.

* Update: See discussion at Dembski's site, here. "Dembski Questions Famed Healing Ministry" is referenced at response No. 44.

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (articles).

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