: online status :

« Tree | Main | Pioneers - to be ordained or not to be ordained? »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

All this is - oh so very sad. For Todd's & Shona's three children, I pray. Thank you Mark for keeping a gracious and balanced blog/update on what will probably be a very sober and tricky time for the charismatic church. The repercussions could be enormous? May God grant us all deep wisdom to learn from this.

good summary and very helpful. when you get time, could you put a link or two in the post? love to see the originals.

great to see you at greenbelt last week.

Thanks Andrew...

Wagners statement came from here... http://pastorburt.lifewithchrist.org/permalink/42895.html

Sheets from here...

I've noticed that we all (not just charismatics) tend to glorify a little too much leaders with an independent spirit (just because they are usually so radical that they can draw a crowd), failing to see how unwise men/women are who are unwilling to listen to others (we are blind to this glaring weakness untill it is too late... and then the independents are left to "independently" fend for themselves and carry all the guilt and shame).

Indeed, in these days of "celebrity worship" it's hard to resist that particular pull just as the Church has failed to resist the pull into consumerism... people rush to be associated with the next big thing, and then rush as fast as they can away when it all goes tits up!...

One of our community went to Florida, & when it turned out that Bentley was not going to appear that night, he said, a good percentage of the "congregation" got up and left... at which point the stewards where told to get to the doors quickly to collect the leaving peoples offerings before they could get out!

Also we (the church) seem to be desperate for success, however we interpret that (church growth, signs and wonders, large networks and empires, etc.) and it seems to me that the Charismatic church in the UK in particular has been yearning for the next big thing since Toronto and I think God TV gave them a glimmer of hope, something to cling to... and there was/is a willingness to check theology at the door in the fear of missing out on what God/The Spirit might be doing.

As a charismatic, I have to say that it was blatently obvious to me from the start that Todd Bentley was a lying heretic. It is beyond my comprehension that so many people, including leaders, were taken in by him.

However, it is also worth noting that most, if not all, of the high-profile charismatic leaders in the USA (including those you mention - Joyner, Arnott, Wagner and Sheets) are themselves false teachers and should be avoided.

This is not the charismatic movement I knew 20 years ago, nor do I wish to be associated with it.

Mark, see what I have written on the same subject on my blog, at http://www.qaya.org/blog/?p=652. I don't want to entirely defend Peter Wagner as I think his public criticism of Todd is based on partial information. But I agree with you that "Good work can be undone by poor accountability". And that is why I defend Wagner's decision to ensure that there was a proper relationship of accountability between Todd and the "apostles" before trying to sort out the mess. It was perhaps a mistake to do this publicly, but maybe that was the only way that Todd would accept it.

Once good accountability was established, the "apostles" went into action, and indeed Wagner made the first public statement on their behalf on 11th August, linked to in my post. Sadly matters seem to have got out of control before they could be resolved, but at least the good accountability is now providing a way in which the situation can be resolved, as Todd meets with Bill Johnson this coming weekend.

It is of course sad that many worldly Christians have turned Todd into a celebrity, and added to the pressures on him. But you can't blame Todd for that any more than you can blame Jesus for the way the crowds made a celebrity of him, and then a few days later deserted him and called for him to be crucified. I don't say this to make a parallel between Jesus and Todd, just to establish the general principle that crowds are fickle.

Thanks for the comment Peter, I've been reading your posts on the sad story... I think we would agree on much - though coming at it from a slightly different angle. It is clear from Wagners statement that he was aware of problems before the "alignment" (which lets be honest was more of a coronation!) but he decided to go against the wisdom of others (including it seems John Kilpatrick) for me the cries of ignorance from the "apostles" just doesn't wash, Strader and Joyner both say that things had been wrong for some considerable time (years if you believe them) and Bentley's "theology" has always been out there for anyone to see (e.g. his love in with Patricia King and Bob Jones, his changing story about the Angel Emma)... so I only partially buy into the idea that this has all come out "because" of the accountability of the "apostles", to be honest I struggle with all of the statements because they focus almost solely on the Marital issue and not on the rest i.e. the theology, the finances, the hype-based methodology, the role of God TV etc. etc... and TBH I think in this age of Global warming it's high time that the Charismatic leadership took a stand against this whole idea of having to fly halfway across the globe to receive the Holy Spirit!

re. the celebrity thing, yes I think Bentley shares much of the "blame" - he IMHO courted the praise and the adulation, I posted my fears of a "messiah complex" before the fan got soiled! He set himself up on the pedestal, it is no surprise that others upheld him there. I was very pleased to read Sheets comments, I think he has hit the nail on the head.

Wagners statement reads awfully like a desperate attempt to squirm out of any responsibility to me... to say nothing of calling Bentley (and others) a "loser"! very strange!

Thanks for the reply. I differ from you mostly in that I see nothing fundamentally wrong with Todd's theology, just a few places where he needs a bit more balance. It is also well known, public knowledge before Lakeland, that Todd had a difficult time a few years ago and had to be restored to ministry. I don't know if it was actually public that another woman was involved; the insiders certainly knew, but considered this to be in the past and forgiven.

The new personal issues that arose this year seem to have been revealed clearly to the insiders only after 23rd June. The issue which Strader identified before that date, and the reason why he brought in the "apostles", was nothing to do with these personal matters, but was that "disorder reigned, and many of the Lakeland doctrines as well as practices were being called into question on an international scope", part of the careful description in Wagner's statement of 11th August at http://pastorburt.lifewithchrist.org/permalink/42752.html of why the "apostles" got involved.

Wagner and his fellow "apostles" are still working on these non-marital issues, about which you are rightly concerned. See the last section of his latest statement where he explains what "the Lakeland Outpouring Apostolic Team" is now doing. He is careful to distinguish between the personal and organisational issues, and so should we be.

Wagner the wingnut!! Honestly, while i was not a fan of what was happening at Lakeland i think its pretty horrid how people like Peter C the 'apostle' have been reacting. Yes Todd may have lied and deceived but perhaps like Dutch Sheets has partially done, Wagner should at least accept his own complete inability to discern what was right or wrong in this whole fiasco. Alignment? God's leading? phhhhht

In light of this and the Healer debacle in Australia it has been a sad few weeks for 'Christians,' in ministry and i cannot help but be really disheartened right now

Todd Bentley is an evil man. As a Christian, I CAN NOT believe that there are people as gullible as the ones who would support such an obviously deranged human. I really feel sorry for the Christians who are constantly looking for that "high" just to keep going....REST in the Lord. Go to your own pastors and seek guidance before falling into such obvious lunacy!!!

Peter, we'd certainly disagree on the particulars of Theology... but that's OK.
I think there are five areas that raise concerns for me... 1) the theological issues (e.g. the kingly anointing of Bentley as the only way to open the gates of heaven - more than a "balance" question for me) along with the Gnostic tendencies and more bizzare Bob Jones/KCP stuff 2) the methodological issues e.g. the hype and psychological techniques used (along with the claims, eg. resurrections which Bentley kept saying where documented, but has been unable to provide any) 3) the question of personal/family issues - which we now know about (and (NB) Joyner says that he knew about before June, but perhaps he doesn't talk to Wagner et al.) and all in "ministry" need to heed! 4) the structural issues - e.g. there has been little comment about financial concerns that have been raised and 5) the role of the "apostles" in holding Bentley accountable... which is what most of my post-fall out posts have been about.

I don't want to judge Bentley personally in the way that some seem to want to do (especially the personal issues) - there but for the grace of God go I - but I do want to ask questions that apply to the whole body, about theology, accountability, support etc. I hope this situation will end up as a blessing for the Charismatic church, I feel if it is able to take on board the critique from within, especially that of Dutch Sheets then it may be a bright day for its future... and I hope that Wagner has learned something about the importance of the communion of saints!

As an evangelical Charismatic I am dissapointed by this news. I seriously question the credibility of the so called Prophetic Movement. I also question the credibility of all of the so called 'apostles' or well known leaders involved (the names mentioned above as well as others not mentioned). I think that the whole movement has gone wrong. I use to check out once in a while a church in my area that was openly invovled with this whole florida revival and todd bentley himself. I went with an open mind. Now I will probably never go back to it as well as any churches like it. Sure I'm still a charismatic theologically but not that kind of charismatic.

Travelling to see a MAN in Florida. Desiring the blessing of MAN. Believing in MAN. Whenever I read stuff about some 'outpouring' (I don't even know what that is) or this mega-ministry, I see/read MAN, MAN, MAN rather that CHRIST, CHRIST, CHRIST. WE are getting caught up in ourselves and others rather than our Lord and Saviour. That should be our first warning sign. Secondly, accountability should be at the forefront of any leaders ministry and modeled to those they lead. Novel thought: ask one of them to be an accountability partner? Given how often this happens in the Church and not, accountability should be at the start not worked out later.

'It is of course sad that many worldly Christians have turned Todd into a celebrity, and added to the pressures on him. But you can't blame Todd for that any more than you can blame Jesus for the way the crowds made a celebrity of him...'

That strikes me as more than a little naive, Peter. A simple "no" to GodTV might have made the world of difference.

Hi, Mark.

I am always dissapointed when after an avent such as this many people get on the bandwagon of reaction instead of action to heal and restore the damage done by sin in the camp. We must think of this as the enemy having won a round, pick ourselves up and never forget that it is people involved and not things. Todd needs help his family need help and we have all learned once again never to place so much emphasis on people and names, only Christ an His Kingdom.

Brian, IMHO part of the healing is about learning the lessons - I'm talking mainly about accountability, discernment, use of the media, theological issues not the specific personal marital issues for the Bentley Family.

It does get frustrating when if you raise concerns while the situation was ongoing you are told not to doubt God's action and that any criticism is doing the Devil's work... then when your worst fears come true you are told - we shouldn't raise the problems etc.

yes we need to allow the Bentley's time to work through their personal mess (which we all have to some extent) but we also need to reflect on why it all went wrong... and TBH I think the sex thing is a presenting issue and that there are deeper problems in Christendom (especially in this case in the Charismatic/Pentecostal/Prophetic part of it) notably it's complete adoption of consumerism (God's purpose is to bless *me*) and celebrity culture... I hope that in the future the leaders involved in this sad situation will not be so quick to dismiss the concerned and critical voices as simple nay-sayers nor so hasty in jumping into the reflected glory of a "star"!

Mark, thanks for this. I have found it very informative.

Graham, why should Todd have said "no" to God TV and the chance to get his message to millions? What preacher would turn down the chance to preach to a wider audience? Should a preacher do so? Should Billy Graham have refused to appear on TV etc to avoid becoming a personality? Should your pastor refuse to preach because even being in the pulpit of a small church makes him or her a local celebrity? Should Jesus have refused to preach to the crowds because they were making a celebrity of him?

Peter, I think there is a difference between a pastor ministering to a local "flock" and the whole hyped up coverage of God TV which no doubt was a major factor in both the Celebrity problem of Lakeland and the attendance. I think there is a problem when the "preacher" becomes the draw (inc. Billy Graham IMHO) and when people start talking about "his message" not God's... and especially when he/she is allowed to believe their own hype... and the hype of the TV company, who have done very nicely out of the whole affair!

'Should your pastor refuse to preach because even being in the pulpit of a small church makes him or her a local celebrity?'

Well, I haven't got a pastor, but I think you're missing the point. If it meant my pastor would have to be on stage night after night and be made into a Christian global celebrity, then, yes, I think he probably should turn down the opportunity.

You seem to be implying that a preacher shouldn't, under any circumtances, turn down an opportunity to preach. Yet, taking the example of Jesus that you brought up, I see him doing this repeatedly.

However, my comment was a direct response to your suggesting that Todd can't be blamed for the added pressures of celebrity that were placed on him. My comment should be read in that light, as a response to what I described as you naivete. (It strikes me as analogous to someone going on Big Brother and later complaining about the pressures of fame. Most of us recognise that these things go hand in hand and that you don't get the benefits without the burdens.)

Graham and Mark, I understand your concerns. But let us suppose that Todd's primary concern was to get his message out to as many people as possible. Is that a wrong aim for a preacher? In order to do this he agreed to take nightly meetings, go on God TV etc. Of course he realised or should have done many of the pressures that would result, although they may have wildly exceeded his expectations as did the general worldwide response. Perhaps he should have been a bit more careful. But I don't think it is fair to load him with the primary blame for a problem caused by others just because he didn't anticipate it as well as he might have done. Like Graham's Big Brother contestant, Todd has no right to complain, and he is not doing so. But the Big Brother contestant is not to blame for all the ills of Big Brother.

Really, really good article. More shaking off of bad fruit will happen I think and in some ways the TB episode has done a lot of people a favour. No more will people believe in Celebrity Christianity or Man-God. Perhaps people will even turn back to the simple living that Christ lived and leave the building, guided by (the) Holy Spirit. Thank you God that the TB show never got it's claws fully into the UK, you knew it would have been a disaster.

Peter, I don't really want to apportion blame and I certainly don't want to say anyone bears "primary blame" for the whole celebrity thing... one can blame Charismatic Christendom, Modern culture, The media (inc. God TV), the Fresh Fires trustees, the "Apostles" etc. etc. I think the important thing is to learn the lessons. We have and do use the Media (Radio 4 are making a programme about us at the moment) but we have and do ask probing questions of the media and ourselves and always seek guidance from those to whom we are accountable... we have on several occasions turned down the national media (I was approached by *7* TV companies back when we started and was asked if I was interested in taking part in Channel 4's current series "Make me a Christian")... so it's not that the media is necessarily a bad thing, rather that we need to think very seriously about the effect it has to what we are doing, to us as a community and as individuals.


Simple solution. As a christian you should kill him. In OT god punish people for that kind of sin in that way.

How very mature!

I knew from day one, that this was going to happen sooner or later. How did I know? I knew last year that Todd Bentley had demons in him. And how did I know that? God does not go against His Word. You cannot disobey the Word of God and be in His Will. But this stuff goes on in the church world every single day. Is it any wonder that people laugh at us?

I started in an 'ultra-charismatic' church that took in all the teachings of this kind of apostolic and prophetic movement until I realised that there is something seriously wrong about the doctrines that guide the lives of these 'self-termed' apostles and prophets. I urge our charismatic brethren to seriously re-examine and re-evaluate these teachings. The problem is not that scriptures are not quoted but they are interpreted so loosely and way out of context to suit the personal liking and intentions of those involved in the movement.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons ©