Friday, November 8, 2019

Notes On The Corrupt Ministry Of Todd Bentley

In 2008, Canadian-born evangelist Todd Bentley became a household name in charismatic circles when he aired nightly revival services from Lakeland, Florida, for several months. Bentley was known for shouting, "Bam!" as he smacked people on the head—or kicked them—during prayer for healing. He claimed that an angel had been sent by God to bring a great revival to America that would start in his meetings.

But as quickly as Bentley could say, "Bam!" the so-called Lakeland Revival imploded. The meetings, broadcast by GOD-TV, were shut down after news that Bentley had been carrying on an extramarital affair with a woman who had served as his family's nanny. He later divorced his wife, Shonnah; married the second woman, Jessa; and moved to North Carolina to be quickly restored to ministry by author Rick Joyner.

Immediately after the first fiasco, Joyner provided spiritual oversight for Bentley and eventually became convinced the fallen preacher was ready to go back on the road. Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California, released a 2011 statement saying that he felt Bentley was ready to be back in the pulpit.

Fast-forward to 2019, and another Bentley scandal has erupted. Stephen Powell, who leads Lion of Light Ministries released a public statement saying he has evidence that Bentley has been engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with both men and women over the past few years. Powell, an estranged protégé of Bentley's, says he took his accusations to Rick Joyner and that Joyner didn't do anything to protect the people hurt by Bentley.

"I believe Todd has proven over more than two decades of ministry, moral failures and abuse of others that he cannot be trusted with the care of God's people," said Powell in an Aug. 22 post on Facebook. "I believe Todd is not fit for public ministry. On top of his sexual sins, he has proven to be a compulsive liar, he lacks financial integrity when handling God's money and he is a substance abuser that has drawn many others into these sins with him over the years."

Bentley posted a rambling response to his former associate on Aug. 23. While admitting that he does "have a past," he called Powell's charges gossip and hearsay. "The majority of these accusations are absolutely not true. Not all, but the majority," Bentley said. "However, there are some that are true, some that even are partial truths. Much are exaggerated and are based on personal speculation."

Joyner also posted a video response, saying he completed Bentley's restoration process in 2012 and no longer provides spiritual covering for him. Joyner also accused Powell of "witchcraft" for coming forward with the embarrassing charges.

This ugly scandal, which feels like deja vu all over again, has triggered numerous questions from ministry leaders and people in the pews about how to deal with preachers who fail morally. How long is a restoration process? How long should a fallen leader step out of ministry? Should there be a "three strikes and you're out" rule? Is a leader ever permanently disqualified?

Personally, I blame the system for this current mess. We charismatics are more enamored with "the anointing" than character. We run after healings and miracles, even if they are questionably manufactured. We chase gold dust, feathers, goosebumps and smackdowns instead of holiness, biblical revelation and true repentance. We are addicted to hype.

More than a decade ago some people put Todd Bentley on a pedestal because he claimed to have exotic supernatural powers—and many didn't care that he abandoned one wife for another. Now we are paying for that folly. It remains to be seen whether we will clean up our act this time.


Miklós Quartus said...

You are totally right. The Charistmatic movement has fallen. Todd Bentley as a person showed flawed character and immoral behaviour in the past and as such, should not be allowed to serve as a minister of God. Moreover, he was filled with a false Spirit a.k.a. "kundalini" Hindu spirit which imitates the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. A true believer should seek after the repentance of sins, practice walking according to the path of Jesus Christ daily as shown in the New Testament with meekness and complete holiness, leaving all traces of bad and immoral behaviour behind and condeming his/her old sinful nature. No more sinning in Christ. That is the genuine fruit of the converted, born-again, Christ-follower disciple. We have the same problems with this as you described in Hungary as well. Thankfully, the teachings of Todd Bentley and Rick Joyner have less and less followers nowadays, but there are still a some representations of false Christian doctrines, mainly in the religious Christian system throughout the country.

Miika Tynjälä said...

The charismatic movement's Bible-honoring, Jesus-glorifying, and truly Spirit-filled and Spirit-led individuals and groups will stand these trials, and will come out brighter, stronger, holier, and more anointed. By contrast, the false and half-hearted believers of the charismatic movement will be punished, unless they repent on time. May we continue to pray for true repentance, revival, renewal, and anointing all over the Christendom in these last times before Jesus Christ's Second Coming. And may we pray for Todd Bentley's true and deep repentance, so that he - having preached to so many people - will not end up in hell.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Charismaniacs are no more "Bible-honoring, Jesus-glorifying, and truly Spirit-filled and Spirit-led" than any other Christians. You get the Holy Spirit upon conversion to Christianity and can't get any more "filled" with Him, and we are anointed with Him ONCE at conversion. Todd Bentley is obviously demon-possessed and will not listen to the truth because he loves money more than Christ.