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Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, and Patricia King Practice Astral Projection
By Bob DeWaay
In a bizarre You Tube.com video of "prophet" Patricia King's TV program, fellow "prophet" Bob Jones and revivalist Todd Bentley discuss the practice of visiting "the third heaven". Jones also professes to have taught Bentley and King the practice.1 In the clip from her aptly-titled show, "Extreme Prophetic" (which has been viewed more than 50,000 times), she introduces Jones as a seer: "Many people don't understand seer prophets because they see visions and revelations and supernatural encounters and mystical experiences, and Bob Jones in our day, I think, is one of the champions of the seer realm. In fact, as a prophet he's probably the most accurate prophet in our generation, but he is going to share some insights with us." King evidently has low standards for accuracy. In 1997 Jones prophesied that an earthquake would destroy Los Angeles and that terrorists with nuclear bombs would also attack the city.2 He told Christians to flee, which means he considered the events to be imminent.
The topic of the day for this particular interview, however, was not predictive prophecy but travel to the third heaven. Bentley had previously called King and described traveling into heaven. Here is the account of how he learned this:
Yeah, well the first time that I had met Bob was actually in Grant's Pass, Oregon and we were sitting in a restaurant and I was real hungry and I knew Bob was a real seer prophet and I thought Lord I am going to get an impartation. I've been having all these encounters and all these visions and experiences already soaking, but I thought Lord I need to talk to someone who has been walking in this that's really a senior prophet. So when I met Bob I thought Lord, I am going to get an impartation. I remember talking to Bob in a restaurant about going into the heavens and what it was, and we were talking about the third heaven and going into the immediate abode into that place; the dwelling place of God. I thought—that's awesome, I'm hungry for it too. I wanted more because up into that point, sovereignly God was just visiting me, sovereignly God was just visiting me and I was just waiting in his presence and sovereignly was visiting me. And Bob said to me, He said, we can go right now. And I said what do you mean we can go right now? Like we can just make a decision, right now, and enter into that realm of the spirit? And he said sure we can, don't you have faith boy? (or something like that)—that's what he said to me (laughter). And I remember Bob took my hand and everyone else sitting at the table; I don't know maybe 20-30 of the people were yakking at the table, it was quite noisy, a lot of the other leaders there; and Bob just takes my hand, like this, and he says "Alright, here we go, close your eyes. And I remember closing my eyes and Bob saying "Okay there it is, can you feel it, alright here we go, we are going in, whoa we're going in"; and all of a sudden I felt myself going up. I felt my body being lifted up and it was moving really fast and then he was like "can you smell it? Ah hah, there it is, can you smell it?" That's what he said to me Bob and he said "it's the vanilla and right when Bob said "the vanilla" I said "I smell vanilla" and then we started smelling all these other fragrances of the anointing, and then he said "Let's bring them back with us now".
During the King interview, Jones claimed that he goes up to the third heaven at will and does so every day. He also claims that once one gets past the second heaven, the "hooks" of Satan come out and the angels come to greet such soul travelers. He also claims that he teaches children how to have such experiences and that they are naturals at it.
The key question is whether Christians can validly practice occult astral projection (even if they do not call it that). Paul's description of his experience shows many contrasts with the ones Bentley and Jones claim:
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. (2Corinthians 12:2-4)
1) Paul did not even mention his experience until 14 years later, and he did so reluctantly and only to refute the claims of false teachers who took their stand on false visions and experiences. Paul speaks of himself in the third person because of a desire not to boast or emphasize his experience. He was driven to mention it only because of false apostles who claimed superior experiences.
2) Paul said that he was "caught up," using an aorist passive participle (something that happened at a point in time and caused by another). This was something that happened to Paul that he did not seek. David Garland explains, "This verb suggests that ‘Paul's experience was an involuntary one in which God took the initiative rather than one brought about by preparation or special techniques.' The experience was not something he sought or initiated and therefore was not something that he could repeat whenever he wanted. "3
3) Whatever Paul heard, it was not lawful to speak about. God has chosen what He wants revealed—and what he wants revealed appears in Scripture. Anything further, even if gained by a valid experience like Paul's, is not to be spoken.
4) Jones claims that when he makes his daily trip to heaven he feels wind and is greeted by angels. Paul's experience did not cause him to meet angels, but rather caused him to receive an "angel from Satan" (literal translation of the phrase in 2Corinthians 12:7). According to Garland, there were stories of such visits in Jewish apocalyptic literature and pagan mystery religions: "Paul's account of his journey to heaven differs from the tours of heaven and hell recorded by other apocalyptic and mystical writers of the age. He does not say how he was transported because he does not know. He does not visit a series of heavens. He is not let in on secrets that he can then disclose to others or put in a book to be sealed for a later time. The meaning of what he sees and hears is not interpreted by an angelic tour guide. In the aftermath what he gets instead is an angel from Satan who plagues him with a "thorn" that leads him to a deeper understanding of his ministry."4
The visits to heaven that Bentley and Jones revel in are of the pagan variety. Jones claims that the reason he can go to the third heaven daily is that he has faith for such an experience. The Bible does not teach that if we have enough faith we can do this sort of soul travel akin to pagan astral projection.
The video in question includes teachings that are common in the Word of Faith camp. For example, Bentley said:
Yes Lord. That spirit of faith, that tangible substance; faith is a substance and we are saying "Let it come", that spirit upon each one right now… being released, that energy, that virtue being released into the faith. It's coming alive, it's resurrecting, and it's being imparted right now; a spirit of faith to believe things that you have never been able to believe for; and it becomes easy.
The idea that faith is a "tangible" entity in the universe, a force to tap into, is patently false. Faith must have an object; it is the noun form of the verb "to believe." The object of our faith is God, not the idea of believing that an unbiblical experience will happen. Bob Jones says, "So I have a faith for the supernatural to become a natural in the body of Christ." Such an idea is akin to the New Age understanding of miracles and the supernatural.5Jones also says, "And that they [Christians] are really called; not so much just to have the faith in God, but to have the faith of God." That is yet another heresy from the Word of Faith camp—that faith is a tangible entity God uses, and if we learn to do the same we can have what Kenneth Hagin called "the God kind of faith."
Given the gravity of the heresies and unbiblical experiences that Jones, Bentley, and King promote, it is obvious that Bentley's experience-oriented "revivals" are not based on the gospel of Jesus Christ or repentance and faith. Bentley's definition of faith has nothing to do with having Biblically defined faith in Christ. His grandiose claims are of the sort that Paul warned against in Colossians and 2 Corinthians. May the Lord open peoples' eyes to the dangers they face when they listen to such men.
- Garland, D. E. (2001, c1999). Vol. 29: 2 Corinthians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (511). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
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