Crazy Preacher Todd Bentley Refused Entry to the UK

If you follow the lunatic fringes of Pentecostal-evangelicalism, you’ve heard of Todd Bentley. A former child molester, Bentley is a YouTube star for screaming on stage, claiming to cure cancer, and claiming to cure that cancer by bashing old ladies’ heads on stage.

An evangelist preacher who has claimed he can cure people of their illnesses by hitting and kicking them has been banned from entering the UK by the Home Office.

Todd Bentley, a controversial revivalist healer based in the United States, had been due to hold a series of gatherings in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the next few weeks. But the Home Office said Bentley, a Canadian citizen, was subject to an exclusion order and would not be permitted entry to the country.

“We can confirm that Mr Bentley has been excluded from the UK. The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they are not conducive to the public good. Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who might seek to undermine our society,” the Home Office said.

Bentley, a 36-year-old former drug addict who at the age of 13 sexually assaulted a minor, reacted angrily to the decision, writing on his church’s Facebook page: “What about all the other celebrities, musicians and others with a more colorful past than me that are permitted into the UK for shows … Is this really about my past and fear of potential violence or Freedom of Religion and attack on Faith, God & Healing?” [via Revivalist preacher Todd Bentley refused entry to UK | World news | The Guardian]

So, kudos to our brothers and sisters in Great Britain for showing some common sense.

Do Theology Before — Not After — Your Decision

Todd Littleton thinks. That’s right, he thinks.

One of the things that most bugs me about the way that my coreligionists talk about the activity of God is that they almost alway see that activity ex post facto. That is, they make a decision, or something happens to them, and then they say something like, “The Lord’s hand was really in that.”

Todd Littleton pretty much calls bullshit on that in a great post about thinking theologically before and in the midst of decisions, not just after. He uses his family’s choices of where to live as the example that drives the post. Here’s a snippet:

Theology done in prospect takes Divine possibility into account first, not last. For instance, it did not specifically occur to us when we turned down Tyler a house might possibly await.

In the course of God-talk, theology in prospect calls attention to what God might do, the way God might act. Our church owns a bit of property. We have batted around the idea of selling a small parcel. During a recent discussion, Cary contended that from his perspective we might be putting an end to possibility if we sell. Who knows what growth might occur, what ministry might make use of the land, or other act where we might consider the Spirit leading.

Imagine these two sorts of conversations occurring around the same event. We Evangelicals tend to be schooled in both. We know when to employ retrospect. And, we know when to suggest prospect. It is when these two collide that we face the interpretive battle. Whose interpretation? Whose meaning? And, how could God-talk divide us.

What we need is a good dose of deconstruction. But, too many immediately consider this destruction. Religious pundits spout accusations of relativizing the truth. They spend much more time assessing the cultural implications often associated with postmodernism than the deeper philosophical turn that helps through the maze created when well meaning people face God-talk over the same event requiring a decision as retrospect or prospect.

He goes on to write that this kind of consideration of God-talk inevitably leads to ambiguity, paradox, and even conflict. But, he argues, that’s inherent to being a Christian.

Read the rest of Todd’s post: God-talk In Conflict or, When Retrospect and Prospect Collide | The Edge of the Inside.

Is Opposing GLBT Behavior “Hate”?

In the wake of the Chik-fil-A silliness, the word “hate” got thrown around a lot. Was it a hateful act to eat at CFA on August 1? Was it hateful for the mayors of Chicago and Boston to say that the chain is not welcome in their towns? And, of course, was it hateful for the CEO of that chain to make statements about his company’s stance on same sex marriage?

At HuffPo, David Duran is convinced that the way many Christians treat gays is, in fact, hate:

I use the word “hate” and get a lot of criticism for it, but, I only call it like I feel it. This isn’t just about same-sex marriage anymore. It’s about Christians not being Christians. Going out of your way to eat a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich in the name of the First Amendment is a false truth to everyone and to yourself. Do you realize how hurtful that was for us on the other side of the battle? Was eating a sandwich so important to you that you had to hurt your friends, your family members, just to prove a point? All that was accomplished that day was the creation of even more hostility between the LGBT community and the faith-based community.

But Duran is missing something. I’ve talked to some fellow Christians who ate at CFA on August 1, and here’s the thing: They don’t know any gay people. They don’t have gay friends, and they don’t have gay family members.

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Spend Two Days with Rob Bell

Who’s WINNING Now?

Via his website, Rob Bell has announced his next venture: For $500, you can spend two days talking and surfing with him.

Steve Horswill-Johnson attended a private version of this same gathering, and he reports,

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