Torben Søndergaard

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Torben Søndergaard is a Danish Christian evangelist, self-proclaimed apostle, and faith healer who believes that autism is caused by demonic possession and can be cured by immersion in water-filled trash cans. His church The Last Reformation also claims able to be able to cure homosexuality and cancer in this way, and can also remove "the Spirit of Reiki Healing" from Reiki practitioners.[1]

Cult warning[edit]

The Last Reformation has been described as a "cult" by former followers, the press[2], other churches.[3], and professionals:

  • A spokesperson from Autism Rights Together has criticised the group as "highly organised, sophisticated and dangerous", and accused them of exploiting vulnerable people and the mentally ill.[2]
  • International Cultic Studies Association has listed Torben Søndergaard and his organization in their news section among other sects and cults [4]
  • Associate Professor Kjetil Aano at VID University of Science warns that the form of "exorcism" Torben Søndergaard practices may be classified as abuse.[5]
  • Lars Johan Danbolt, professor at the Faculty of Theology and Head of Religious Psychological Center states that specifically Torben Søndergaard's method "has little to do with Christianity, but is a show with strong quasi-religious elements."[5]
  • In 2013, the interdenominational and ecumenical Danish church organization "Dialog Center", that worked with monitoring sectarianism in Denmark, tied Torben Søndergaard to the sect Evangelist led by Christian Hedegaard and the cult "Faderhuset"[6].
  • A former follower describes Torben Søndergaard this way:
"I was part of this movement from approximately June 2015 to July 2017. I firmly believe it is a cult. I know Torben personally. I was a “green dot” on the map as a recommended contact. I know what TLR is about in depth. I left the movement because of the false gospel (works based religion), the cult-like behaviour of his followers (including the strange things they do), and Torben’s cult behaviour towards me.... They lean on many oneness Pentecostal heresies in many ways... The TLR signs and wonders is very questionable, none can be medically verified. I recommend people stay away from."[7]

Quackery[edit]

Torben Søndergaard believes in supernatural manifestations such as physical healing, claiming "about 90 percent of all the people, that he or others in his team pray for, are healed".[8] Lack of healing is caused by a lack of faith[9] as in classical [Word of Faith] Christianity.

Despite having such a high success rate in supernatural healing, in 2008, Torben Søndergaard was thrown out of a Danish music festival for "quackery" after supposedly convincing a drunk festivalgoer to remove his arm plaster so that he could be cured with prayer.[10] Søndergaard denied this, calling the expulsion a "regrettable misunderstanding" and explaining how it got mixed up with another incident where he made a young woman remove her arm sling [11].

Threatening others[edit]

In 2006, Torben Søndergaard was accused of threatening an author when he asked critical questions as part of the research for a book called ‘Sects in Denmark’. The author descibes the incident by writing:

"Many who have dared to criticize a charismatic leader have experienced threats and getting warned that God would let them drop dead like Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. This also happened to me when I dared to ask critical questions about the notorious Danish evangelist Torben Søndergaard (cast in the television program "Sick with Jesus") in connection with my research for this book".[12]

Faking miracles[edit]

In one of his videos, Torben Søndergaard shows the word “real” appearing in the sky and says: "A woman prayed for a sign in the heavens and God answered her prayer. Yes, it was a plane (we think – we didn’t actually see it), but for us and everyone there, it didn’t make it any less of a miracle, because it happened right there in that moment…"[13]

While “real” did appear in the sky it was not as presented in the video. Instead, the skywriting was from 2014, when an Australian marketing company, The Works, ran a campaign for Sunbeam, a company selling electric home appliances. Targeting men with the slogan “Real men don’t watch football, real men cook”, they hired a plane to write “Real men cook[14] across the sky. In Torben Søndergaard's video, the words “men cook” are conveniently left out.[15]

What Torben Søndergaard believes[edit]

Søndergaard has a rather strange belief system that is very simplistic and yet confusing. It is probably easiest to categorize with the Oneness Pentecostal sect. The core idea is that Torben Søndergaard is an apostle who are leading the world into the last reformation of the church before the end of the world.

And because nobody else got it right - until now - Søndergaard has created his own little belief system by "taking a little from some different" denomination.[16], for example, baptismal regeneration from the Catholics, speaking in tongues as the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit from the Pentecostals, believer’s baptism as Baptists, and baptism to Jesus Christ not using the Trinitarian formula as Oneness Pentecostals[17][18]

Contrary to almost any other Christian denomination, he teaches that salvation for a Christian is completed through baptism in water not using the Trinitarian formula,[19] as well as through baptism in the Holy Spirit with the manifestation of speaking in tongues, often saying "dadadaadadadaa"[20] [21][22][23][24]. He also teaches that just as Jesus received the Holy Spirit through water baptism, it is through baptism that a Christian receives the Holy Spirit. Søndergaard regards receiving the Holy Spirit as having substituted receiving Jesus.[25]

Unsurprisingly, he teaches that children are better at reading and interpreting the Bible than adults. [26]. This explains how he got these ideas, but none of his followers seems to question this hotchpotch of nonsense.

Visions and receiving a book from God[edit]

Søndergaard claims to receive visions of Heaven and Hell directly from God. According to Torben Søndergaard, God made him time travel back to before he was born as a confirmation[27].

After fasting for 40 days Torben Søndergaard also believes that God revealed a self-help book for him,[28] saying "I will give you one chapter each day".[29]

Baptisms[edit]

Søndergaard endorses wheelie bin baptism if you can't find a rainwater barrel

The Last Reformation holds indoor baptisms in plastic rainwater barrels filled up under a shower.[30] At a 2016 event in Ireland, more than 40 people were baptised on stage in plastic wheelie bins.[31] When the Last Reformation hosts a baptism event, people are approached on the street by Last Reformation followers, asked if they are ill and encouraged to attend events to be baptised.[31]

The Last Reformation's baptism process can involve speaking in tongues.[32]. During the baptisms, exorcism is often performed on the baptized, also on children.[33]

Todd Bentley and Torben Søndergaard[edit]

In 2003, Torben Søndergaard invited the controversial tele-evangelist and faith healer Todd Bentley to Denmark[34]. According to people present, Todd Bentley said:

“In the Bible, in John 5 provides a healing outpouring – the Pool of Bethesda, which means an outpouring of grace. The Bible says that a quantity of sick, blind, lame and crippled came to this place, the pool of Bethesda… "[35][36]

In 2015, Torben Søndergaard quoted this as a prediction of Torben Søndergaard's own work in Denmark:

"10 years ago, a man came from the US to Denmark with a prophetic word to us our country. The word was that Denmark would become known as the Pool of Bethesda. That is a place where the sick could experience salvation and healing. He said that it would not only be one or two places, but it would be all over the country. Yes, no matter where you came in Denmark, there would be people who would ask for one and set one free... Yes, I believe we are seeing the fulfilment of the word that sounded over Denmark.” [35][37]

References[edit]

  1. https://mennoknight.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/toren-sondergaard-and-gospel-plus/
  2. 2.0 2.1 https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/1164689/cult-whose-leader-says-he-can-cast-out-demons-that-cause-autism-spreads-to-britain/
  3. http://gccsatx.com/torben-sondergaard-last-reformation-cult
  4. http://www.icsahome.com/elibrary/pressnews/newsarchive)
  5. 5.0 5.1 https://www.vl.no/nyhet/drev-ut-demoner-pa-norsk-hotell-1.961311
  6. http://www.dialogcentret.dk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1393:guruen-fra-gorlose&catid=102:dnd10
  7. http://www.spiritoferror.org/2017/07/one-to-watch-torben-sondergaard/6865#comment-138688
  8. "110 mennesker døbt og mange helbredt på gaden »". 2012-05-02. https://udfordringen.dk/2012/05/110-mennesker-dobt-og-mange-helbredt-pa-gaden/. 
  9. The Last Reformation (2016-05-30), Kickstart seminar #2 in Ireland - Torben Søndergaard, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6x9e-MnnI8o
  10. http://nordjyske.dk/nyheder/nibe-smed-evangelist-paa-porten/bbad591c-e11f-4e92-907b-42fd34eb04b6/112/1513
  11. http://udfordringen.dk/2008/08/festival-exit-var-en-fejl/
  12. Birger Langkjæer, Sekter i Danmark - Hizb ut-Tahrir, Faderhuset, Scientology, InJiva-behandling, 2006 p. 83.
  13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxhJhCilGRE&feature=youtu.be
  14. https://www.applianceretailer.com.au/2014/09/skywriting/
  15. http://freethinker.co.uk/2018/02/11/dangerous-danish-cult-recruits-world-famous-singer-lou-bega/
  16. Søndergaard, Torben: Freedom from sin, www.torbenSøndergaard.com/reading, p. 12.
  17. Søndergaard, Torben. Freedom from sin. p. 12.
  18. Søndergaard, Torben. Rebaptism and deliverance. p. 6.
  19. Søndergaard, Torben: Freedom from sin, www.torbenSøndergaard.com/reading.
  20. The Last Reformation (2016-05-30), Kickstart seminar #4 in Ireland - Torben Søndergaard
  21. De 3 bud (6:8) - UDLØBET | TV | DR (in Danish)
  22. Hvordan bliver man egentlig frelst? »" (in Danish). 2014-01-30.
  23. The Last Reformation (2016-05-30), Kickstart seminar #3 in Ireland - Torben Søndergaard
  24. "He is moving, he is alive...! »" (in Danish). 2014-12-12.
  25. The Last Reformation (2016-05-30), Kickstart seminar #4 in Ireland - Torben Søndergaard
  26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdzZv-XMXPU
  27. https://thelastreformation.com/i-was-in-heaven/
  28. https://thelastreformation.com/about-us/
  29. https://thelastreformation.com/shop/books/sound-doctrine-2/
  30. https://youtu.be/PpfF_d9GAHk?t=2727
  31. 31.0 31.1 http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/religious-group-claims-can-cure-8030025
  32. Wow! "We got set free and are speaking in tongues" - YouTube
  33. The Last Reformation (2016-02-06), Café talk: Rebaptism - teaching with Torben Sønder
  34. https://www.kristeligt-dagblad.dk/kirke-tro/håb-om-helbredelse-i-herning
  35. 35.0 35.1 http://www.cults.co.nz/_printable.php?listing=sondergaardt
  36. http://udfordringen.dk/2015/01/danmark-kendt-som-betesda-dam/
  37. http://sand.omvendelse.dk/torben-Søndergaard-anbefaler-profetier-af-todd-bentley-5172.htm