Saturday, August 16, 2008

Missing Todd Bentley

"If you are bleeding - don't swim with the sharks" - Rob Rufus.

Well ... people may becoming gradually aware that Todd Bentley has stepped down from public ministry for the time being. Here is a part of the statement from "Fresh Fire Ministries".

"Todd Bentley has agreed to step down from his position on the Board of Directors and to refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life. On behalf of the Fresh Fire leadership and the Board of Directors we wish to apologize to our friends and partners and to the larger body of Christ and to ask for your forgiveness. We are truly sorry for the pain many of you must feel and so regret that in the midst of great revival, the enemy has found a way into our camp".

Reactions are going to be very typical and expected. Those who were opposed to what was happening in Lakeland from the start will respond in a "Christian" manner and maybe say they will "pray" for Todd Bentley and his wife - but secretly proudly be thinking "I told you so" (such as SGM Refuge - who are using it as an excuse to criticise Metro Church and Danny Phillips). Those who placed too high an emphasis on Todd Bentley's ministry may be devastated and potentially lose faith in the Lakeland Outpouring. Both are wrong.

I am greatly encouraged by "Fresh Fire Ministries" response to something that must have greatly affected them personally. They say they will hold fast to the vision of reaching the nations;

“What God is doing is bigger than one man”, and we now have a golden opportunity as the Body of Christ to pick up the baton and to run with perseverance for His glory ... So whether in our Children’s Home in Africa, in our Supernatural Training Centre in British Columbia, in the revival meetings and outpourings spreading around the globe, or in taking teams to minister compassion and practical assistance to the poor in the far corners of the Earth, we have been and still are committed to bringing love, hope and a demonstration of the saving, healing, delivering power of the Gospel to a world in need".

The work must go on! The world and the lost are still out there and needing salvation - the Gospel in word and power. And my simple response to those who (even if they don't admit it) are judging Todd Bentley - what are YOU doing to spread the Gospel in word and power? When did YOU last pray for the sick? Don't bother leaving comments around here saying "I told you so". I've been in legalistic churches that have devoured charismatic ministries that have fallen and I'm not tolerating it anymore. Todd Bentley and his wife are my brothers and sisters in Christ and families defend each other. Or should do! My prayer is that the Lakeland Outpouring goes on to grow and grow and spread throughout the world as has been prophesied - because it is God who began it and it is God who will see His glory cover the globe.

24 comments:

Nick Cameron said...

When we received the e-mail from God TV with their statement regarding Todd Bentley what struck me most was the fact that Christian marriages are under attack.
The enemy is out to discredit and he is out to ruin solid marriages especially those that God is using! The challenge surely in the midst of this is yes to pray for Shonnah and Todd as well as their children but I want to see the Church praying for Christian marriages more and more. I have seen it time and time again when something wonderful happens and the enemy snatches the opportunity to attack at the heart of relationships! We can't sit back anymore! The number of times I have received e-mails from folks going through really tough times and they ask me about my marriage and how it has survived - it is simply by the grace of God!
I am reading Todd's book at the moment and finding it an inspiring, thrilling and challenging read - we have to stand in the gap and claim back Christian marriages from the thief......

Dan Bowen said...

That's a brilliant point Nick, just because Todd Bentley is going through a point in his life when he requires support and help, does NOT in any sense mean that his ministry is invalidated. We can still receive from his books, his tapes, his CDS etc - because the anointing upon his life was genuine. I still remember Rob Rufus's words - sin doesn't cause God to back off from a revival, law does.

Jim said...

Ouch! :-)

Don said...

It should hardly be a surprise that Todd's marriage would be a place of attack, for any who've watched the sad series of fallen Christian leaders since the 70s. That's one of *many* reasons why Todd has been needing prayer since April.

Some of the good news is that Todd is a young man - not mature, but with time to mature and recover from this (assuming he responds humbly to attempts to help him and Shonnah). This does not have to be the end of his ministry. Jim Bakker, after jail time and true repentance, now has a ministry that is likely much more effective than his previous one.

More good news is that Fresh Fire Ministries appears to be a lot bigger than Todd Bentley, with some quality people on the Board. There are always casualties in a war, but the army keeps fighting.

Nick Cameron said...

Dan - I love what you said about this not making Todd's ministry invalid! That's the difference between God and people! People instantly discredit and judge, God takes a situation and uses it! Let's pray that what the enemy meant for evil even in this that God will turn it on its head and use it for good and for His glory!
God uses the weak things of this world to shame the wise, He takes the frail and weak and in that weakness shows His strength - I seem to recall that Scripture says that in our weakness His power is perfected or shines through (sorry late night mental block) but the point surely is that none of us are perfect, without fault and yet He uses us (in fact He chooses to use us!) - He takes us in all our failures and then His power just shows all the more cos we are weak!
What an awesome God we have innit!?!

Sheila said...

Don, I so agree with you. The good news IS that Todd is yet young. And that grace is available to him...and to me...and to each of us who stumbles and fumbles his or her way through this earthly life.

Tim and I know how it feels to have one's church (and life) *rocked* to the core because someone who we all love has been in the grips of secret bondage. The point is redemption. The goal is freedom from that bondage. The whole reason for the cross is the restoration of people and marriages and families.

May it be so here, Lord Jesus!

Oh, this is heart breaking.

Jennifer Shannon said...

Oh this is so refreshing to see mature Christians reacting in a mature way to the sad news of Todd. It is good to know there are some out there. Bless your hearts and you guys brought up a point I had not thought of. The fact that Todd is young. Many of this stuff that is happening to him happened to others but later in life. I have read the book God's Generals and it amazed me how many started out so well only to fall and mostly because of disobedience or pride. You also made a valid point about the minstry as well. I encourage you all to be praying for him but also pray for those who just want to tear at the wounded ( Todd and his family and the ministry are wounded) and not show any compassion for their brother and sister in Christ. Blessings Shannon

RJW said...

Hi,
Chris directed me here; hope you don't mind. Great blog.
2 cents: God's thing isn't about Todd Bentley's performance or anyone else's. We have this treasure in earthen vessels for a reason. So the weak can show His strength. Why are people surprised when we miss the mark? We all do. Some on a larger platform, that's all. God was doing something through him, and will again. Which leads to why we regard no one after the flesh. We all look the same without grace. What qualifies us to be ministers of reconciliation? Then sin doesn't disqualify us, does it?

jul said...

The first thing I felt when I heard was a deep compassion, almost a sadness for the Bentley's. I feel that it was almost inevitable in some ways knowing the kind of pressure people put on those who stand up and lead. And it is the heavy burden of law that gets dumped on them, and often unknowingly leaders receive it thinking it's from God. A revival never never depends on us to perform well, to pray enough, to never fail or fall into sin, to read the Bible enough, to fast or in any way earn or maintain God's work through our effort or discipline. God's work is dependent on God! He pours out blessings because of Jesus' perfect righteousness, he pours them out on anyone who reaches out in desperate faith knowing their dire need.

So let's pray that God takes this opportunity when the Bentleys may be most vulnerable to guilt, shame, fear, and condemnation to pour out his lavish unmerited grace and mercy on them until they really really understand how much they are loved, not unconditionally, but because Jesus met every condition on their behalf. I know God will do this!

Luke said...

Some good, thoughtful perspectives here:
http://phoenixpreacher.com/cms/?p=3272
.

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks all for the really positive and constructive thoughts. My heart is really filling with hope - the Church traditionally has eaten up and spat out any ministry who does not "match up" to the standards of righteousness that they expect. But I think as we begin to learn about the true wonder of the grace of God, we begin to see that leadership is more than vulnerable to attacks than we are.

And they need our love, not our judgement!

I have more hope for the restoration of men like Todd Bentley and Paul Cain, because they are transparent with their failures. I remember one church leader telling me that moral failure "disqualified a church leader forever from the ministry". This man was one of the proudest men that I know. The church leaders who by God's grace may resist moral failure (that we know about) generally tend to be proud about it.

It's pride that I fear because it's pride that God hates. Let's live in our identity as co-heirs and sons of God. THERE is all the love, and all the acceptance and all the validation we will ever need!

Jesse P. said...

Hey Dan,
Greetings from the other side of the pond. I know I haven't commented on your blog in a while, but I've been reading.

I noticed you mentioned Danny Phillips, and you meant to say Danny Jones, or perhaps, me, Jesse Phillips.

Anyway, thanks for your blogging, and your earnest desire of the spiritual gifts.

lydia joy said...

I am glad to see you posted this Dan! Having had my own difficulties in marriage, and having gone through seperation a time or two, I have to say, Todd really needs our prayers! He certainly doesn't need one single speck of judgement or criticism coming from anyone. I am grateful for everyone's gracious responses on here in regards to Todd. I would hate for anyone to think God's work is illegitimate due to this trial Todd is facing. We can remember David, and his how he fell into sin with Bathsheba and murdered Uriah (and got her pregnant.) And yet at the end of his life God called David a man after his own heart! I think Todd is a man after God's own heart! Anyone, anyone would or could buckle in some way under all the pressure he has been under, all the criticisms and judgement that he has received. That is such intense persecution coming at him and his wife too!! Anyway, I know God is a redeeming God, may he redeem this situation for His greater glory!!
Like Dan said and the others, Todd needs our compassion and he needs grace coming toward him from the greater body as well. We all go through challenges, none of us are free of failing from time to time. I too pray he and Shonnah receive a fresh outpouring of God's rich grace!!!!

janelle said...

Yay Dan! Love your biblical perspective on this. That whole SGMrefuge post was pretty much a joke...as if Danny or Jesse or Metro in general has ANYTHING to do with Lakeland. Anyways, I like what some are saying about it not invalidating his ministry. I still don't know what I think about all that, but I agree that sin cannot stand in the way of what God wants to do! I really am saddened by all of this. To see another well known Christian leader fall is EXACTLY what the devil wants. Isn't it weird how the media jumps all over the Christian leaders, yet political leaders are often excused? Look at Senator Edwards, found to have been having an affair during his presidential run while his wife was sick with cancer! If the media isn't full of double-speakers, than I don't know who is!

rozcc1 said...

In the most unusual way I knew two days before the news of Todd's marriage issues, that what was happening in Lakeland was of God. What happens when people cry out to God has nothing to do with who is behind the pulpit. Todd was a catalyst.

I am in the US more as a missionary, being called of God, while in another nation. I had a check in my spirit about Todd Bentley long before much of this happened, and I had done no research on him or the ministry he had. I knew it was not born out of love for Jesus and an intimacy with the Lord and His Word; where the signs and wonders came out of that love relationship with the Lord.

I watch some people who wholeheartedly support Todd, and I see in them a lack of the character of Jesus. They treat other people with little love or compassion, and are convinced they are of God...One man argued with me that the Bible was not important and was frustrated that I would always tell him to get into the Word. It was all about the demonstrations of power. Jesus said there will be many false prophets and christs who will show signs and wonders. I believe this is a "now" word. It is alive and ongoing. A person can be at one moment in the Spirit of the Lord and the next moment in the flesh, like Peter in whom the Lord rebuked satan soon after He told Peter he had heard from God.

In the office of the prophets, the fruits of the person are very important, because there is an ability to see into the spirit realm. A person not submitted to the Lord's heart can see into the spirit realm and can be accurate. This is why the Word tells us to judge them not only by accuracy but more importantly by what they are producing or demonstrating in their lives. Many popular "prophets" don't even come up to the accuracy level, leave alone the fruits, and there are people who find various excuses for them.

With Todd's "fall" a structure of hierarchy fell, involving those who endorsed him without restraint. Some of these people were sincere ministers who were led by the endorsement of others they respected. Some were not seeing into the spirit at all and had ministries built on the flesh, especially those who violated basic dictates of the Bible that told one to buy the Truth and sell it not. Not only were they charging for conferences but they also started selling the "impartations of anointing" Love of God and love of fellow human beings(with all the respect, compassion, empathy and servanthood that entails) is fundamental. If a life does not show you Jesus, be wary....

rozcc1 said...

I want to add to my last post, that I am not against charging for conferences. As we are told to do everything for the glory of God, we should consult the Lord's heart as to how it should be done.

In loving others, comes respect for them. For example, we can charge reasonable fees and explain how the fees will be used; and give those who do not have the money opportunity to attend. Worldly organizations require transparency in dealings; how much more should those who identify with the Lord be eager to be transparent.

Dan Bowen said...

Jesse!!

You're always warmly welcomed here bro, great to hear from you! Funnily enough I was walking back from work after a night shift in the dull dreary UK rain and thinking about just you - and thinking that I must email you and bounce some ideas and thoughts about Todd and Lakeland off you! You beat me to it!

I did indeed mean Danny Jones - I think I either was half thinking of you or your dad! Either way I wasn't pleased - as Janelle rightly said, I felt it was ridiculous for the SGM-Refuge guy to be so lame in his attempt to link your church with his obvious problems with Lakeland and Todd Bentley. Very disappointing.

It's been a good time last night for me to reflect on my opinion on Lakeland and I think in a sense maybe I have benefited from NOT visiting Lakeland first-hand. I have no doubt that Todd is a remarkable servant of God but as rozcc1 rightly said - we should avoid "man-following".

Even Rob Rufus says time and again that the power of God doesn't follow a MAN, it follows a MESSAGE - THE Message!!

So this dreary Monday morning - I am optimistic! Hurting for Todd, his wife and those personally involved - but optimistic. As Lydia said, "men after God's own heart" - will be remembered!

dave bish said...

I had questions about Lakeland from the first things I heard about it. That opinion isn't changed one way or the other by what has happened recently.

The absence of sin doesn't secure blessing, nor the presence void apparent blessing. Our God is a God of grace. I'm not sure the news of the last week makes a great deal of difference either way to determining whether or not this was a genuine move of God. Jonah was God's man for the biggest revival in history and he wanted the Ninevites to go to hell...

There are warnings to take from this, that have been sounding for generations to watch marriages, to not elevate people beyond testing, to watch our doctrine etc.

It's always a time for sorrow when any marriage struggles. No place for vitriol or pride, that would be the opposite of how we should respond on any occasion.

Nick Cameron said...

I was reading a well known Christian author this morning and they made a valid point that in the Christian world today people are treated dependent on their struggle! Bear with me for a moment why I try and explain! The author was saying that whether it be sin or a difficult situation there seems to be a response of what is 'acceptable' and what is 'not acceptable' in the Christian world. He went on to state that people will be more sympathetic or understanding if they can sympathise with the difficulty or the sin that is being struggled with. What hit me as I read was that the Jesus I read of in the New Testament was full of compassion - whatever the situation! We are too quick to judge sometimes and I pray that we would indeed learn more of what it means to be a compassionate people - yes for the lost but also for the struggling that sit in the rows of our churches week in / week out - whether it is a marriage issue or something else we need to learn from Jesus who never condemned those whose sin or struggle or temptation was highlighted so publicly - oh for that heart of compassion!

Disciple said...

I think most people here are going to disagree with me, but I'll say this anyway.

I am not missing Todd in the slightest. In fact I'm extremely pleased he is off the scene.

Even before his repeated marital unfaithfulness was revealed, it was clear the man was thoroughly corrupt, preaching heresy and manipulating people.

All he has done (over many years) is to bring lies, false teaching, and occult practices into the church. That's not an anointed ministry in my book. Todd was not doing the work of the Lord, but poisoning the body of Christ.

It's actually a blessing that he's out of the picture now, and I sincerely hope that he doesn't come back in any form that resembles his former self.

Yes, I feel sorry for all his family, as a marriage breakup is a terrible tragedy.

What I am praying for is that Todd will have a major encounter with the Holy Spirit, a Damascus Road experience, and be convicted of his sins (which are many), will publicly apologise and repent, and will go on to preach the true gospel (with real signs following), warning people of the dangers of what he used to get up to. Now that would be a miracle, and a reconciliation with Shonnah would be an added bonus!

James B said...

A Disciple of whom?

"it was clear the man was thoroughly corrupt, preaching heresy and manipulating people".

Where on earth do you produce the evidence to make that statement? And You-Tube rubbish homemade videos DON'T count as evidence in my book.

"All he has done (over many years) is to bring lies, false teaching, and occult practices into the church. That's not an anointed ministry in my book. Todd was not doing the work of the Lord, but poisoning the body of Christ"

Again ... says who? You?

You say you feel sorry for his wife, but think nothing of attacking the character and - it seems to me - the very salvation of her husband. If Todd was so poisoning the body of Christ, then what of the fruit of his ministry, the signs and the wonders that followed his message? What of the conversions? Sounds like you are saying something very similar to the Pharisees who accused Jesus of throwing out demons by the hand of Satan.

Feel free to have your opinion - but how's it going with your reaching out to the lost? Are you praying for the sick and seeing signs and wonders follow you? If not, I would easy up on the judgement if I were you.

Nick Cameron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robbob said...

Disciple:
I urge you to check your motives with the Holy Spirit. By promoting disunity you are allowing the prince of darkness to sit back and rest. He is winning without raising a finger. We all have the ability to turn on or turn off anyone preaching the Gospel. We do not however have the right to judge anyone without bringing on judgment upon ourselves. If you have listened enough to Todd to have come to this conclusion, you must have had the ability to turn away. I stand on the scripture of no matter what the motives, at least the Gospel is being preached. The motives are for God to judge. I urge you to make future comments that unite instead of divide.
I myself have had some reservations about Todd. I still tuned in each and every night I could and felt the manifest presence in my living room because of it. I have had reservations of my own motives as well in the past. Todd IS a child of God, regardless of his mistakes. There is no doubt how serious this mistake is. I also know how strong the attacks of the enemy are when you are doing so much damage to the darkness. I pray for Todd to be restored because of the fact he has reached so many that you or I could not.
I would offer the testimony of a biker gang leader in CA. who went to Lakeland with bitterness in his heart. He went to try to show someone else from his gang who testified of it, how it was a bunch of bunk. He received healing. He now has opened a tent for prayer & healing and has brought this anointing back to his bike gang, you may have heard of Hell's Angels... at there last big meeting/hedonistic party and many came to know Jesus and were also healed. I love Billy Graham and all the squeaky clean pastors in the world today, but Billy never had an open door to such dark areas as Todd has. We will all understand and see the whole mosaic someday soon. I bless you with a prayer for unity. Lord, help us get dressed to be the unified bride that you desire. In Jesus' Holy name, Amen.

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks robbob - that's such an excellent and wise comment!