Is God miraculously transforming dental amalgam fillings into gold? John Arnott, senior pastor at the renowned Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, told ct that "God is up to something new."
Regular participants at TACF, formerly associated with the Vineyard, say attendance has picked up because of miraculous testimonies. TACF is the congregation where in 1994 the controversial Toronto Blessing began, a revival marked by "holy laughter." Millions of Christians have visited since.
Several months ago, TACF produced a 30-minute video, Go for the Gold, in which Arnott announces to the crowd: "If you want God to touch your teeth, stand up and touch your face."
The TACF Web site (www.tacf.org) quotes Psalm 81:10 ("Open wide your mouth, and I will fill it") and declares that "the excitement here is electric." TACF's ministry team now carries flashlights in order to inspect for gold or silver.
Arnott has encouraged congregants to obtain dental verification but admitted the church has yet to document any cases. "We don't need to prove them, but I don't want to be a false witness to God," he says. "This is a miracle you don't have to be sick to get."
In 1996, TACF and the Vineyard Association of Churches severed ties as the Toronto church put increasing focus on unusual manifestations (CT, Jan. 8, 1996, p. 66).
The new claims of miracles have created a fresh round of criticism. Doug Koop, editor of Canada's Christian Week newspaper, accuses TACF of playing "trivial pursuit" and suggests that "shining character matters more than bright teeth." John Stackhouse of Regent College in Vancouver told CT that the church "has reached a new low" that combines "the anti-intellectualism and sectarianism that has plagued the Pentecostal and charismatic movements from their beginnings."
Stackhouse is also disturbed by the nature of the miraculous claims. "Christ didn't offer people shinier prosthetics; he healed them."
Arnott, whose first exposure to gold teeth miracles occurred at South African revivals earlier this year, contends this is another case of "God offending the mind to reveal the heart." He says he is more excited about a recent increase in conversions and wants people to get past these sensational reports "to focus on the One who raised the dead."
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