All That Glitters. . .
Gold Fillings and Truth Decay Toronto

by G. Richard Fisher

“If we quit giving you new revelations, we’re dead.”1

“I’m sick and tired of hearing about streets of gold [in heaven]. I don’t need gold in heaven, I’ve got to have it now.”2

Charismatic extremists keep reinventing God. Rodney Howard-Browne painted God as the divine comedian always ready to give His people belly laughs and hysteria.3

John Wimber pictured God as a sumo wrestler poised to knock His people around at a moment’s notice.

Then there was the bunch from Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Fla., who recast God as a raging river ready to knock people off their feet, dribble them like a human basketball, and sweep them into trance states and memory loss.4 The field got crowded with competing claims.

Faith healer Benny Hinn also recently resurrected the old fire theme and claims this really is of God.5 So now its “God the fireman” — a celestial pyrotechnician, if you will.

At the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (formerly the Toronto Airport Vineyard church), at least for awhile, God was a heavenly zoo keeper who delighted in hearing the barks, grunts, roaring, crowing and howling of His people, or so we were told.6 In his book, The Father’s Blessing, Toronto pastor John Arnott devoted a whole chapter to animal noises and manifestations. He called it, “The Prophetic: Animal Sounds And Insights.” How anyone could be straight-faced and shameless about these things is a mystery to me.

But the old scenarios get routine and threadbare and new drawing cards are needed. Some believe that John Arnott and the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship leadership may have invented the latest draw in an attempt to bring waning crowds back to Canada and reestablish it as the undisputed Mecca and pilgrimage spot for sign-seekers and thrill-chasers. With Pensacola, Smithton (Mo.), and other “power centers” springing up, the competition is fierce.

Now Toronto has announced “the latest move of God.” It has to do with claims that God is giving some fortunate people new gold fillings and gold crowns by miraculous means. However, the new “gold rush” is not so new, as we will see. It is an old scenario and has been linked to heresy, con artists and false teaching in the past. It is heartless for anyone to be involved with such tacky claims.

IS IT WORTH THE TRIP?

Think of it. Wouldn’t you travel a few hundred miles to get a free dental plan? Wouldn’t it be worth the trip even if there was a 50/50 chance that it could happen to you? How far would you go to get free dental assistance? This certainly is a notch above Atlantic City or Las Vegas — a more lucrative return with better odds.

Of course, don’t struggle with the fact that God could do for you what He wants, where you are, when He wants, because He is omnipotent and omniscient. Somehow you have to believe that God really only works mightily in “power centers” and that the outlandish claims are always true. Then again, just the idea of free dental work can really grab you. In the end, however, the cost of travel and the purchase of “revival” paraphernalia can be an expensive bottom line.

In a powerful sermon on God’s providence, Charles Spurgeon compassionately lays out the implications of God’s omnipresence and providence, which is a great antidote to the idea that we must have “power centers.” He says:

“...wherever you are, the eye of God will be upon you — as much upon you as if there were not another person in the whole world. If there were only one, you might think how much God would look upon that one; but he looks on each one of us as if there were no other created being, and nothing else in the whole world. His eye is fixed upon us at every hour, and at every moment. ... You cannot banish me from my Lord. Send me to the snows of Siberia or Lapland, I shall have the eyes of God there; send me to Australia, and let me toil at the gold diggings, there will he visit me.”

Spurgeon presses on powerfully:

“If you send me to the utmost verge of the round globe, I shall still have the eye of God upon me. Put me in the desert where there is not one single blade of grass growing, and his presence shall cheer me. Or let me go to sea, amid the howlings of the tempest and the shrieking wind, where the mad waves lift up their hands to the skies as if they would pluck the stars from their cloudy thrones, and I shall have the eye of God there. Let me sink, and let my gurgling voice be heard among the waves — let my body lie down in the caverns of the sea, and the eye of God shall be on every bone, and in the day of the resurrection shall my every atom be tracked in its wanderings. Yes, the eye of God is everywhere; Providence is universal.”7

THE OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Arnott and his Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship have issued a press release and “official statement” with the caption, “GOLD TEETH!”8 It seems that God has reemerged at Toronto as the cosmic dentist — a mystical Dr. Midas — a celestial tooth fairy, a heavenly Goldfinger, who fills teeth and sprinkles a little gold dust besides. What will God think of next? God is being recast as literally the “God of glitter.”

The old adage “all that glitters is not gold” reminds us that what we see may not be what we get. In other words, judge by more than first appearances. First John 4 reminds us to evaluate all religious claims, as does many other portions of Scripture.

SPURIOUS REASONINGS

“Power center” promoters sometimes refer to John 20:30 in a misguided effort to try to “baptize” the bizarre. Although the Apostle John says, “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book,” many of them are written in the other books of the Bible. As well, we do not expect that God would work out of keeping with His character, His will or His Scriptures. So we need to confront and refute any appeal for nonsense and silliness based on John 20:30.

The “official statement” gives no biblical reason why God would supernaturally give His people gold fillings and gold crowns (on their teeth) and this is what is being claimed. In fact, Scripture is significantly absent from the press release. There is not even an attempt to justify the claims from the Word in the statement.

The “official statement” asks the question: “Why would God fill people’s teeth with gold?” Then the statement moves into pure speculation: “Perhaps because He loves them and delights in blessing His children. Perhaps it is a sign and a wonder to expose the skepticism still in so many of us. Perhaps His glory and presence are drawing very near” (emphasis added). The report adds that God has thrown in the sprinkling of gold dust.

We already know from Scripture that God loves and blesses His children. We already know that skepticism can only be conquered when we bow in faith to God’s holy Word (Romans 10:17). We already know that God’s presence has come near in Jesus (John 1). We already know that “Christ in us” is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Do we need more?

PERHAPS, PERHAPS, PERHAPS

In its “official statement,” the Toronto Fellowship says perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Yet perhaps it is none of those things that are suggested as possibilities. Perhaps it is a swindle or trick. Perhaps many of those people already had gold fillings or gold crowns. Perhaps the yellow lights were on the stage that night. The statement admits: “In a few cases, dentists were able to show from their records that the gold was put in their mouths previously by the dentist and not by God. These people had apparently forgotten that this work had been done.”

When PFO phoned the Toronto church, another perhaps was given. The secretary assured us that this was happening all over the world and she had witnessed it in Mexico. It was asked if it happened to her personally and she replied, “No.” When asked why God would do this, she offered that it was probably “the extravagance of God.” Another perhaps. When asked if there are external verifications of these things, her answer was, “Not yet.” We moved onto the question as to why God would just not give new teeth or new enamel. The immediate answer was, “We don’t want to get into deep theological discussions here. It is just cool to think of God doing it.” So much for that.

What about lying signs and wonders Paul warned against? (2 Thessalonians 2:9) Would it be wrong to ask that and think — perhaps? (1 Thessalonians 5:21) What about over-anxious followers who want to stretch the truth just a little for effect? Perhaps?

Of all the recorded miracles in Scripture, no dental miracle comes to mind. The New Testament records no miraculous dental interventions. There are no miracles of gold dust either. The only gold connected to Jesus was that which was given by the Wise Men at His birth.

Modern dentistry only dates to the 18th century. The ancients did extractions and used herbs and other less wholesome things to apply to toothaches.9 We are not told why dental miracles are noticeably absent from Scriptures. There are no examples of anyone seeking them. Acts records only a few miracles a year in the life of the early Church and none of them are dental. Jesus may have done them but that would be pure speculation which violates Scripture (Deuteronomy 29:29).

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, not gold dust. Arnott is out on a golden limb on this one and may have to back off quickly.

We were assured in our phone conversation to Toronto that there were pictures on the Internet of these “miracles” (which some humorously call “tooth pics”). I laughed out loud to see a proof text over the pictures — “Open your mouth and I will fill it” — from Psalm 81:10. What a terrible distortion of God’s Word.

The photographs turned out to be gross views of people’s open mouths some with gold crowns on their teeth. There is no telling when, where, or how these pictures were obtained or of when the dental work was done and on whom. They are worthless as “evidence.” I could photograph my mouth and make any claim I wanted to. I could photograph someone’s mouth, anyone’s mouth, and assert claims. Taking pictures of the insides of people’s mouths can be done by anyone, anywhere.

On further reading of the “official statement” we are told that in some cases the fillings have turned from dark amalgam to bright silver. In other words God, we are told, made the fillings shinier than before. Since no one checked before, how would anyone know? There are no before and after pictures. The so-called “dental miracles” are “rapidly spreading,” it is claimed.

Doctor God the dentist (my description), it is asserted, gives the “dental miracles” even while you are watching a Toronto video tape, so the “official statement” claims. Incredible. So for the price of a tape you may luck out and get a mouthful of gold. That would be worth at least a try. It should boost video sales but is somewhat akin to Las Vegas, as we’ve already noted. If as was stated (in the phone inquiry), that God is giving Mexicans gold teeth, they may (given the low standard of living and wages) yank them out and put them to better use. It seems it would be more practical for God just to multiply food. David Hogan, who has been featured at Pensacola, claimed just that for himself, however with no documentation.10

In a letter circulating over the Internet, “Kathy” claims to have been in Toronto and watched modern-day prophet Dutch Sheets minister. She reports: “the wonderful ‘gold dust’ started to show up on people’s hands and in their tears as they worshipped!”

We often have that at our church as well. It happens when the preschoolers get messy with the glitter. I have seen teens with gold glitter in their hair and on their eye lids and face. It was not from a heavenly cosmetician but readily available at a craft store or cosmetics counter. It’s a craze that has been resuscitated not just in “signs and wonders” camps, but in the secular world as well.

According to one newspaper report: “Now, thanks in part to the glam-rock and ‘70s revival, glitter is back. ... Club kids are wearing glitter from their cheeks to shoulders.”11 One proponent of the fad stated, “Wearing glitter is sometimes a spiritual and magical thing for me.” And a Hollywood makeup artist further noted, “It’s playful. It might also relieve a little pre-millenial tension.”12

GOLD DOWN UNDER

The River Christian Church in Australia is a Vineyard Church closely connected to Toronto. They are also claiming through Pastor Ian Turton: “We have been hearing about what God has been doing overseas filling peoples teeth with gold, silver & platinum even braces turning to gold. ... Last Sunday night we asked all present to lay hands on their mouths & we prayed that the Lord would fill the teeth with gold. By Monday night we were amazed as we actually saw fillings change into gold before our eyes. Personally I have 7 gold fillings my wife 2 & others are getting blown away by their fillings changing before their eyes.”

In response, PFO wrote Pastor Turton and asked: “I am trying to determine a genuine move of God. Can you provide any proof or documentation (or before and after photos), dental records, etc. to verify the claims of fillings and braces turning to gold?”

The short answer from Pastor Turton was “no real proof.” He put it this way: “In regards to your request of documentation. All that we can provide are photographs of the actual gold fillings. ... There are no photos of before (we were not anticipating what God would really do at the time). ... I believe Toronto Airport C. F. are publishing findings soon regarding hundreds of testimonies there.” So much for that. No proof, just pudding. The real proof is in Toronto, we are told, but we have already seen that “proof.”

Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship has been in competition with other “revival” centers for some time. This seems to be an obvious and overt scheme to “take the lead” once again. These claims, as we’ll see, are not new and others have tried to launch gold fever and a gold rush before. Not surprisingly, Charisma reported on golden manifestations at Toronto in the magazine’s June (1999) edition.

GOLD FLAKES

Ruth Ward Heflin (author of Revival Glory) of Ashland, Va., has a web site on which she claims seeing in her meetings not only flakes of gold falling out of people’s hair and off their bodies, but oil running out of their hands! And she has pictures to prove it! Her Mount Zion Newsletter proclaims:

“God gifted us this year with the manifestation of gold dust in our meetings. As we are worshipping, gold dust from heaven is seen on us. Some comes through the pours of our skin, some falls directly from heaven on us and some is created in front of our eyes.”13

Any good stage magician could do the same thing. I have seen coins lifted from peoples hair. Perhaps Arnott’s ideas were lifted from Heflin. What they are trying to pass off as an act of creation anyone can produce.

Another thread in this is the cross pollenization of the strange and weird. Heflin has been a speaker at the women’s conferences at Brownsville Assembly in Pensacola and the church there offers her book. The overlap should not be missed.

Those with not-so-short memories will recall that the “gold dust” idea was promoted by Franklin Hall, the father of the Latter Rain Movement,14 and accompanied many other heresies. Hall, in the 1940s, made ridiculous and outlandish claims. He was either an unprincipled charlatan or mentally unbalanced. His writings are like science fiction or the meanderings of a lunatic, depending on how you view them.

In citing Hall’s book, The Return of Immortality, the Apologetics Index web site reports:

“Hall claims that there is an ‘Immortal Substance’ that comes upon the believer who feeds upon it ‘from within Christ’s now body’ — the ‘FIRE-IMMORTAL-PACKED-BODY’ (Emphasis Hall’s). This ‘Immortal Substance’ is claimed to be seen on those who attend Hall’s meetings, as a fine gold and silver, sparkling material that emanates from sometimes visible ‘Immortal Heavenly Objects’ (IHO’s). ‘Unusual Heavenly Objects’ (UHO’s), and ‘Unidentified Flying Objects’ (UFO’s). In Hall’s words, ‘The sparkling shining FINE GOLD and SILVER are seen upon their SKIN, brought about through the faith-power of impartation.’”15

Hall also claimed that he never changed his clothes, which never wrinkled and that he had no body odor. It was one of the perks of deep spirituality and fasting.

CORRUPT ROOTS, CORRUPT FRUITS

Asa Alonzo Allen (1911-1970), was really the grandaddy of Charismatic scams, at least in making them work. He had great skill at thinking up fantastic scenarios. Even though he was arrested for drunk driving in 1955 and divorced his wife in 1967 he kept his following at Miracle Valley, Arizona.

He made claims of raising the dead, turning a hermaphrodite into a man by casting out a female spirit, of having $1 bills change into $20 bills in his pocket and creating a miracle oil that would flow from people’s head and hands.16 There are a parade of current day copy cats who imitate Allen even though he died in a drunken stupor (of cirrhosis of the liver) in a San Francisco hotel. Amazingly he is extolled by top Charismatic leaders today.

Allen would show toads, snakes and spiders in jars and tell his devotees that these were “disease demons.” He was at his best (or worst) when he caused a cross of blood to form on his forehead. He knew the rudiments of chemistry. His act grossed millions a year. The same trick of the cross on the forehead was used by the self-admitted charlatan Marjoe Gortner. Allen’s immediate successor was R.W. Schambach, who has the same flamboyant preaching style and makes undocumented and outlandish claims of miraculous healing.

Shortly after this writer’s conversion to Christianity (and not knowing any better), I took a blind man to a “Schambach Show.” The man was prayed over by Schambach and told he was healed. It was now his job to denounce the “lying symptoms” and claim the healing all the way home. He was told he would be seeing by the time he reached his house. Great show — great effects — but unbeknownst to the vast audience present, the man remained blind.

The Charismatic wing of the Church keeps sinking deeper and deeper into a morass of wild and crazy claims. The most outlandish things are being claimed and defended as visitations from God. Without a scintilla of biblical justification the bizarre is being accepted without questioning or discernment. Surely the above demonstrates clearly to us that what is being touted as revival is a move back into the Dark Ages. The rank-and-file should rise up against this and call their leaders to account.

DOWN IN THE MOUTH

In the 1970s there were a few “healers” wandering through the Southern States convincing people they had the power to change the silver filings in their mouths into gold crosses embedded in their teeth. The value of having a gold cross in your mouth was never explained. I heard such reports and such urban legends.

The most well-known of the “psychic dentists” was Rev. Willard Fuller of Palatka, Fla. In the 1980s, he was claiming he could turn silver fillings and crowns into gold, cure gum disease and even grow new teeth in the mouths of his followers. No before and after X-rays were ever produced and requests for such evidence were always ignored.

The success of the ruse depends on the fact that most people do not know or remember where fillings are located in their mouths. Also the Fuller literature was so vague and lacking crucial facts and documentation that there was no hope of ever checking it out. Fuller would never supply names or evidence of any kind, just his claims. Critics of Fuller noted that he himself had missing teeth and his remaining ones were stained. He also wore thick eyeglasses.17

An inquiry with a dentist was quick to “reveal” that most fillings are already in a cross shape since that is the contour of the top of most of our back teeth. It also helps the “healer” to have a yellowish bulb in the flashlight used to illumine the mouth of the gullible. Surely people will “swallow” anything. Unfortunately, the scams will continue because first amendment rights cover just about anything.

Satan kept the Church of the Middle Ages in superstitious bondage as the hierarchy touted its claims of visible relics and supernatural interventions. The medieval Church produced all kinds of “aids to faith” in the absence of the Word of God.

Revival paraphernalia abounds, whether it is prayer banners, rams horns, magic vials of oil, prayer cloths or other junk to stimulate the faith of the believer. Remember Paul said, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Even the tangible symbols of the Old Testament, like tabernacle, priests’ dress, and so forth, have been done away. People are too prone to put their faith in objects and make talismans or fetishes out of them.

Philip Schaff details the “endless number of objects transmitted to western Europe” to assist the “faith” of the gullible. People saw “Noah’s beard, the horns of Moses, the stone on which Jacob slept at Bethel, the branch from which Absolom hung, ... milk from Mary’s breasts, the table on which the Last Supper was eaten, the stone of Christ’s sepulcher, Paul’s stake in the flesh, a tooth belonging to St. Lawrence,” to name just a few.18

There were also claims to possess Christ’s tooth and umbilical cord. If there had been cameras then people surely would have seen pictures. No doubt some would have been downloading these “proofs.”

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

Robert Liichow, director of Inner City Discernment Ministry in Detroit, gave to PFO his evaluation of the current “gold rush”:

“...this is nothing ‘new.’ WV Grant (jr.) has made such claims as has Peter Popoff, it is sorta standard charismatic nonsense which probably goes back into the 1950’s healing revival and the various religious con-men involved in that ‘move.’”19

Remember that both Grant and Popoff have been exposed as fakes, frauds and charlatans of the highest degree. Grant has done jail time for his schemes and scams. Popoff is a shameless con man.

Contrast the sign mongering and object seeking with the clear testimony of Jesus: “Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). We need to meditate long and hard on those words.

The Puritan John Trapp reminds us of the impact of those words:

“We see Christ in the flesh by the eyes of the apostles; like as the Israelites saw Canaan by the eyes of the spies; and this is sufficient unto faith, as the evangelist showeth in the next verses.”20

In J.R. Dummelow’s, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, we find this telling statement:

“Thomas in a sense represents the spirit of our age. He will be satisfied with nothing less than the evidence of the senses.”21

Still another reminder comes from the pen of William Kelly:

“It is better still to believe without seeing. And grace would provide for those who in the nature of things could not see that they might hear and live. Hence the writing of this precious book.”22

First Corinthians 5:7 is abundantly clear: “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” The New Geneva Study Bible affirms this clear principle in its footnote: “Again Paul specifies a contrast between the unseen spiritual realm of God’s presence and activity and the present visible world.”23 The verse is very plain.

WHO NEEDS SILVER? WHO NEEDS GOLD?

The Apostle Peter confessed: “Silver and gold have I none” (Acts 3:6). Even Peter, with all the bad “press” he received in the New Testament writings, would not have anything so carnal as gold for a goal. He later said that our faith (and the trials that accompany) is: “more precious than gold that perishes” (1 Peter 1:7). Peter, in both of these verses, clearly disparages gold. Marvin Vincent suggests that “The comparison is between the approved faith and the gold.”24

The New Testament With English Notes, though a Greek New Testament, provides these English comments: “gold is apt to be worn out and perish, even after it is tried in the fire, and found to be good, whereas your faith approving itself to God shall never perish.”25 It seems clear where the Christian’s focus should be.

The strong implication from the “official report” is that gold is much more important, much more dramatic and much more exciting than simple faith. The Word by comparison is mundane and routine. The Apostle Peter would not agree. Gold does not equip us for living but the Word does (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

The Apostle Paul said: “The things which are seen are temporary, but the things that are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). The extravagance of God has been already shown in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Why do we need more? We don’t! We don’t need or require “signs and wonders,” for “signs and wonders” do not make a believing generation (Matthew 12:39; Luke 10:13-15; 11:29 are but three examples).

The eternal realities and the eternal promises are the real “gold” of the believer. Treasures on earth are not to be our pursuit (Matthew 6:19-21). There may be “extravagance” in heaven but this is earth and we are promised “the sufferings of this present time” (see Romans 8). When I mentioned the claims of the “gold rush” at Toronto to an astute believer, the immediate reply was: “So what!” Bravo.

Commenting on Proverbs 8:10 (“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold”), author Dan and Nancy Dick offer this:

“In the mid-eighteen hundreds, thousands of men and women sold everything they had in order to move westward in the great gold rush. Gold fever took hold and pushed people to extremes. People were willing to kill in order to protect their claims to land in the goldfields. The hale and hearty devoted themselves heart, mind and soul to the pursuit of the golden nuggets. All else was considered loss, and many individuals found themselves in ruin, because they had been blinded by a glitter which led straight to disaster. The attractive glitter of gold, the enticing appeal of wealth has drawn many people toward it, and away from God. Christ said that no one could be the servant of two masters.”26

Gold draws away from God and the Word. This may be the motive of Satan after all.

Recently in Israel, Israeli teens have found that they can literally dance themselves into a trance. Trance parties have been outlawed by the Israeli Government. Emotions can be addictive and destructive. Emotions can be so misleading. They are a good handmaid but a terrible master. Thank God that the Israeli Government is that perceptive. They are obviously more perceptive than some professed Christians when it comes to human emotions and self-deception.

Some reports on the “new” Toronto mania are saying that the professed “gold” is tarnished. Consider a portion of an e-mail letter:

“Hello and thank-you for the website to the TAC live broadcast of the gold teeth phenomenon. As I watched I remembered something my mother had told me about an uncle of mine who is a devout catholic, and how he was praying the rosary everyday on his knees in front of a statue of Mary when suddenly his rosary turned gold. He too thought this was a miracle of God. I think it is the same spirit who filled the gold teeth and it’s NOT the Holy Spirit. I see no scriptural basis for what I saw going on there. Seems like an entertainment show instead. When is the church going to wake up and start taking authority over the demonic spirits that they let rule the services[?] Doesn’t anyone there have discernment[?] I suppose they love not the truth and have been given over to strong delusions. I have just come out of this so called ‘Move of God’. And I believe the only reason my eyes have been open[ed] to the truth is because I cried out to the Lord for truth, His truth. I had to throw out my theology based on experience and get back to sound biblical doctrine.”27

WORSE BY THE DAY

The Charismatic wing of the Church is sinking lower and lower to try to uphold and justify the emotional and the bizarre. They even employ dishonesty — whether knowingly or unknowingly — to back the claims of their “signs and wonders.” Take for example Dick Dewert, president of CJIL-TV, a Canadian Christian television station. Dewert, during a recent fund-raiser, said after prayer that God had worked a miracle in his mouth. “I’ve got a gold tooth I never had before,” he told his viewing audience.28 However, Dewert’s dentist disagrees.

Dr. Jack Sherman, Dewert’s long-time dentist, advised him that there was no divine intervention regarding the gold tooth. For it was Sherman himself, not God, who had placed the gold filing there some 10 years ago. “It was an honest mistake,” Dewert claimed, “I was sincere in what I said. I don’t remember details.”29

Sincerity and a failing memory are inadequate proofs for the miraculous. Illusions such as this help give rise to Christians who are easily ruled and manipulated by emotions, hysteria and experience — no matter where it comes from or where it leads. Who knows what is next: Apparitions of stigmata or even worse?

One video of a Toronto/Pensacola type meeting showed a woman tearing and ripping at her clothes and others trying to stop her from the inevitable. It is awful to have to even report these kinds of things. Thankfully the video panned away to others. Who can even guess the depths and craziness of the human imagination out of control? Head snapping, pogoing, trance states and convulsions are now mainstream. Occultic phenomenon and even necromancy is now acceptable, as has been reported by PFO and other ministries. What is more disconcerting is that it is all in the name of God.

Looking at the word “miracle,” Baker’s Dictionary of Theology gives the composite definition for “miracle,” “wonder” and “sign”:

“Synthesizing the root connotations of these terms, we may define a miracle biblically as an observable phenomenon effected by the direct operation of God’s power, an arresting deviation from the ordinary sequences of nature, a deviation calculated to elicit faith-begetting awe, a divine inbreaking which authenticates a revelational agent.”30

The writers of the Bible are the revelational agents. What could the leadership at Toronto reveal to us that is not already revealed by Jesus and the Word of God? Or would they have us believe they have something better? I think not.

The events at Toronto, no matter how they are viewed, do not meet this definition or even come close. What is happening at Toronto — that is, patching teeth — an ordinary dentist could do. Anyone can purchase gold glitter. We are also being told that the happening of gold in one’s mouth may last only a few weeks. This is a convenient back door showing it never happened at all.

New revelations are not really needed in the light of an all-sufficient Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17). One part of the Christian’s armor in Ephesians 6 is the Word of God, not gold fillings. If the Bible were incomplete, deficient or defective, how would we be able to stand? Our armor would be stripped away.

ALL WE REALLY NEED

The historic and orthodox position regarding the finality and sufficiency of the Scriptures is reflected in the Westminster Confession of Faith which states:

“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”31

This position was so universally held that it is repeated almost word for word in The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.32

G.I. Williamson spells out the impact of the orthodox position:

“Revelation 22:18-19 also teaches the impossibility of addition to the Bible. Some argue that John was merely forbidding any addition to the particular book he was then writing, namely, the book of Revelation. But everyone knows that John was the last surviving apostle, writing the final book. He was conscious of this fact. And then note the peculiar expression he uses in 22:18. The word translated ‘unto’ is not ordinarily translated ‘unto.’ It is the Greek word epi which means ‘on, upon, or above.’ It thus would indicate addition to that which was under it, or to what had gone before. If John wrote the last book, what better way to deny that anything else could be added to the whole Bible, than to deny that anything could be added on top of this book?”33

The gold fever is a hoax, a cheap trick. We have something in Jesus Christ and the Word of God which is far more precious than gold. When we think of Jesus in Gethsemane, then on the scourging block and the cross, all the gold talk and gold fever seems shallow, nonsensical and meaningless. We need to discuss deep theological issues, not dodge them as a way out of accountability.

Adrenalin can be a drug and people can get addicted to emotional highs and mind-altering pandemonium. They can also become mindless servants of unprincipled, manipulative and greedy leadership. They can get hooked on myths and fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Seeking sensations and not the Savior (the true Savior revealed in the Word) is a dead end. All that glitters may be fool’s gold.

Peter Toon reminds us where the real “power center” for the believer is located:

“Heaven is the place and sphere from where the universe is sustained and ruled; heaven is the place and sphere from where salvation goes forth into the world of space and time. For God’s salvation to be a universal and everlasting salvation, the incarnate Son, Jesus the Messiah, returned to heaven where He could be the source of salvation everywhere to all who believe. From heaven through the agency of the Holy Spirit (whom the Father sends to the world in the name and for the sake of the exalted Jesus), the incarnate Son preaches the Word of God, builds up God’s church, and continues universally the divine work that began in the restricted area of Palestine.”34

Endnotes:

1. Benny Hinn, Praise the Lord Show, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Dec. 9, 1990.
2. Benny Hinn, Praise the Lord Show, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Nov. 9, 1990.
3. See The Quarterly Journal, “A Look at Spiritual Pandemonium — The Strange Views of Rodney M. Howard Browne,” Vol. 14, No. 4.
4. See The Quarterly Journal, “The Murky River of Brownsville — The Strange Doctrine and Practice of the Pensacola Revival,” Vol. 17, No. 2.
5. See The Quarterly Journal, “Is Benny Hinn’s ‘Fire’ Anointing Really Just the Emperor’s New Clothes?”, Vol. 19, No. 2.
6. See The Quarterly Journal, “The Animalization of Christianity — Chaos in the Vineyard,” Vol. 15, No. 2.
7. Charles Spurgeon, God’s Providence. Wilmington, Del.: Cross Publishing, n.d., pg. 12.
8. “Official” statement and press release, GOLD TEETH!, March 17, 1999, Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, copy on file.
9. See, The Encyclopedia Americana, New York-Chicago: Americana Corporation, 1952, Vol. 8, pp. 688-694.
10. See The Quarterly Journal, “The Green River of Brownsville,” Vol. 18, No. 4.
11. Chris Jordan, “Stardust Memories,” Asbury Park Press, Apr. 16, 1999, pg. 16.
12. Ibid.
13. Ruth Ward Heflin, Mount Zion Newsletter, January 13, 1999.
14. See The Quarterly Journal, “The Latter Rain Movement — Showering Heresy on the Church for Nearly Fifty Years,” Vol. 15, No. 2.
15. Apologetics Index web site, “An Examination of Kingdom Theology — Part 1/3,”
http://www.apologeticsindex.net/l06.html.
16. Hank Hanegraaff, Counterfeit Revival. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1997, pp. 131-134.
17. James Randi, The Faith Healers. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1987, pg. 216.
18. See further, Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1907, Vol. 5, pg. 846.
19. Personal correspondence from Robert Liichow to G. Richard Fisher. Letter on file.
20. John Trapp, Trapp’s Commentary on The New Testament. Evansville, Ind.: The Sovereign Grace Book Club, 1958, pg. 418.
21. J.R. Dummelow, A Commentary on the Holy Bible. New York: Macmillan Company, 1958, pg. 810.
22. William Kelly, An Exposition of The Gospel of John. Orange, Calif.: Ralph E. Welch Foundation, 1966, pg. 432.
23. The New Geneva Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 5:7, pg. 1834.
24. Marvin Vincent, Word Studies in The New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1946, Vol. 1, pg. 633.
25. The New Testament With English Notes. London: A.J. Valpy, 1831, Vol. 3, pg. 260.
26. Dan and Nancy Dick, Wisdom from the Proverbs. Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour Publishing, 1986, devotional for April 9.
27. E-mail correspondence, name withheld, copy on file.
28. “Tooth truth is that gold was not God’s gift,” Vancouver Sun, Mar. 7, 1999, pg. B3.
29. Ibid.
30. Everett F. Harrison, editor-in-chief, Baker’s Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1960, pg. 356.
31. G.I. Williamson, The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1964, pg. 9.
32. The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, Choteau, Mont.: Gospel Mission Press, 1980, pg. 9.
33. The Westminster Confession of Faith, op. cit., pg. 11.
34. Peter Toon, The Ascension of Our Lord. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984, pg. xiii.

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