Last year as a ministry we spent much time and energy reporting on and exposing the fraudulent so called ‘Miracle Healing Crusades’ conducted by Todd Bentley in Lakeland in Florida and I don’t plan to revisit those God-dishonouring events in this article – a search of our website and those of other faithful watchmen ministries will yield all the information necessary to discover the devilish nature of events in Lakeland. The ‘Miracle Healing Crusade’ came to a shuddering halt when it was discovered that Todd Bentley had ‘entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff’ – at least that’s how the board of Mr Bentley’s then ‘Fresh Fire Ministries’ initially put out the story – subsequent revelations showed how very wide of the mark this first statement was.
Considering these revelations only came out in the middle of August 2008 Mr Bentley hasn’t wasted any time in firstly divorcing his wife Shonnah and then secondly marrying the lady with whom he committed adultery. He has gone through a token period of ‘rehab’ or ‘restoration’, call it what you like, and is now planning to re-launch himself with the help in particular of one of his ‘counsellors’ Rick Joyner under ’Fresh Fire USA’, Fort Mill, South Carolina – where his ‘counsellor’ is based.
These links might be helpful in understanding firstly the background to this particular situation as it unfolded last year and then as it has been reported in recent times –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja21PK8MRak [This Video is now unavailable]
This is how Rick Joyner has announced these new plans on his own ministry website on
[Cecil – I have added my own comments in red]
Todd Bentley Begins Restoration Process
By Rick Joyner
Todd Bentley was used to spark the Lakeland Outpouring, which raised the faith level of much of the body of Christ. [This is a sheer delusional re-writing of history – any true Christian with a modicum of discernment realised that this ‘outpouring’ was not of God but was from a much darker and more sinister source] Testimonies of healings and miracles from it are now virtually all over the world. [Many of the so-called ‘testimonies’ are to the effect that nothing of a healing nature took place and in relation to all the so-called claimed ‘resurrections from the dead’ – not one has ever been substantiated] When Todd’s marriage failed, he abruptly stopped all ministry and virtually disappeared for almost nine months. In the meantime, his divorce was finalized and he has recently remarried. [God’s word teaches that a guilty adulterer who divorces and remarries is continuing to live in a sinful adulterous state – it was biblically legitimate for Shonnah to be divorced from her adulterous husband but anyone who then marries the ‘guilty party’, in this case Todd Bentley, according to scripture has entered into an adulterous relationship – see Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 – John MacArthur in his notes on 19:9 writes ‘Jesus includes the “exception clause” clearly permitting the innocent party in such a divorce to remarry without incurring the stigma of one who ‘commits adultery’]
Todd has taken full responsibility for the failure of his marriage. He and Jessa also admit that their relationship was premature and should not have happened the way it did [only ‘premature’? – it should never ever have been allowed to happen if wedding vows are to mean anything at all and God tells His children to ‘let your yea be yea etc’ (Matthew 5:37) – Todd Bentley, a so-called ‘man of God’, shredded his marriage vows to satisfy his own selfish, sinful desires – in doing so he showed that he is not qualified for the office of ‘elder’ according to God’s standards as set out in 1st Timothy 3 – yes of course there can be genuine repentance and restoration of fellowship with God for those who fall and sin in such a manner but there can be no restoration to office – there is the state of being a “castaway” that Paul referred to in 1st Corinthians 9:27 and that is mentioned in the specific context of someone not being able to “keep under their body and bring it into subjection” – John MacArthur in his notes writes ‘Paul may be especially referring to such fleshly sins that disqualify a man from preaching and leading the church, particularly being blameless and above reproach in the sexual area, since such a sin is a disqualification’ and Pastor MacArthur then cross-references this with notes on Psalm 101:6; Proverbs 6:33; 1st Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6]. Both are adamant that it was not the cause for the failure of his first marriage, nor did they begin their relationship until Todd was convinced that his marriage was over. They have both expressed that it was wrong and premature. They do not want to try and cover this up even though they know many will never accept them for it. Even so, they are married now and are resolved to make the most of their marriage, their lives, and to continue to serve the Lord in the best way that they can. [The ‘best way’ for them to supposedly ‘serve the Lord’ would be to recognise that Todd is now a disqualified “castaway” where his desire for public ministry is concerned]
My position all along has been that I will do my best to comply with Galatians 6:1, “If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (NKJV). To obey this Word, I have always felt that it did not matter what one had done, and that it was my responsibility to help them find the grace of God to return to the place from which they had fallen. I confess that with Todd, I am not just doing this as a duty. From the time I first met him nearly ten years ago, I knew that he had an extraordinary purpose and a gift of faith for the miraculous that would be desperately needed in these times [I defy any true and faithful believer to agree with this statement in the light of for instance the horrendous and ridiculous claims made in ‘public ministry’ by Todd Bentley that whilst he was at a meeting being held by another of his ‘counsellors’, Bill Johnson he was basically ‘beamed up’ into heaven to undergo stomach ‘surgery’ to enable him then to impart God’s ‘truth’ – this can be viewed on http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/3399535/ ] .I consider helping any of God’s children an honor, and helping Todd is a privilege.
I also confess to some selfish ambition in wanting to do this. I had a dream two decades ago in which one of my children had fallen into a sewage ditch and could not get up. My child was being scorned and no one would help him. A man came along who helped my child get up and then cleaned up. In that dream, I felt as if I would give everything that I owned to this man who helped my child. Then I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Jim Bakker is My child. Will you help him?” Since that time, I have been devoted to helping any of God’s children that I could who have committed any trespass, because I knew there were few other things that would bring the Father’s favor. I consider this willingness to at least try to help others this way a major reason for the extraordinary favor that our ministry, my family, and I have received. I love Todd and am glad to help him, but I also know by doing this, I will be doing something that means a great deal to our Father.
When we release someone to minister in the body of Christ, we are releasing him or her to minister to God’s own children, and I personally do not do that with anyone who I would not allow to minister to my own family. For all that was done through Todd, and especially at Lakeland, which touched and helped countless thousands, many were also left confused and hurt by the way it ended. I think Todd is even more sensitive to this than I am. Although in some ways he greatly misses being in ministry and praying for people, he wants to be sure that when he comes back that his life and his ministry are on the most solid ground possible so that he does not cause these kinds of problems again. [Perhaps at this stage it might be useful to remind ourselves that Rick Joyner was one of the conglomerate of self-styled ‘Apostles’ who gathered in Lakeland to ‘commission’ both Todd Bentley and his then-wife Shonnah for the great ‘ministry’ supposedly occurring in Lakeland – a good analysis of this tragic (spiritually speaking) farce can be read on http://letusreason.org/Latrain54.htm ]
Jack Deere and Bill Johnson have agreed to be a part of Todd’s restoration process. I asked them to be a part because I know they will probably see things I don’t, but also because both Todd and I trust them and know they would not sign off on something they did not really believe in. However, both of them are going to be involved in this at a distance, and therefore, I will be the main person responsible.
Being a believer in body ministry, I expect our whole leadership team, and to some degree, our whole local church, to be involved in helping Todd and Jessa. Our staff and all from the church that I have discussed this with are very happy about them being here and want to help them in any way that they can.
In future Bulletins, we will go into more detail about what we’re doing and why, as well as what we think was a cause of some of the failures Todd experienced [Look no further than Matthew 15:18-20 – Todd Bentley needs a spiritual ‘heart transplant’ – am I being presumptuous in saying this – not in the light of the Lord’s words in Matthew 7: 16 & 20 – God’s discerning people “shall know” (be able to positively recognise) “false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves” – that means they are not saved and are not part of the Lord’s sheep]. We will only do this for the sake of helping others avoid the same traps. We know that trust has to be earned and that Todd will have to earn the trust of the body of Christ for future ministry, [God does not sanction any such ‘future ministry’ for such ‘castaways’] which will not be easy, nor should it be. Todd, more than most, does not want to jump back into ministry prematurely, even as much as he misses it in some ways.
I for one have been very encouraged by the expressions of grace and genuine concern so many have expressed toward Todd in this situation. It gives me great hope. As we have been constantly reminded, the Lord had great patience with sinners, but He had none for the self-righteous. [Those who will publicly proclaim that Todd Bentley is now debarred from any future public ministry (not that he can’t be forgiven) are going to be classed as ‘self-righteous’ and not faithful teachers of what God’s Word says on this subject] We’re all here because He had mercy on us, [that’s true but with such mercy and privilege comes responsibility and those in leadership forfeit any right to public preaching or elder role in certain circumstances that are clearly laid out clearly in God’s Word and that is the situation now where Todd Bentley is concerned] and we know we still need it. However, we also know that true repentance and restoration [of ‘relationship with God’ – not of ‘role for God’] can only come if we refuse to compromise the clear biblical standards for morality and integrity.
Todd wanted to personally say the following:
It has been a long while since I have spoken publicly and openly. I am sorry for the hurt and confusion that my decisions have caused the body of Christ. It has been a true season of brokenness, hiddenness, and a long process of grieving.
As many of you now know, my previous marriage has endured years of unresolved conflicts. I apologize that it has ended in divorce, and I take full responsibility for my part for the ending of the marriage. I realize that my silence and decisions have caused many of you to feel hurt, confused, and offended. The reason for the silence was for my need of healing, creating a restoration process under a team of qualified leaders, much needed rest after the Lakeland Outpouring, repentance, and the divorce process.
that God is faithful to His promise and my hope is to be fully restored, strengthened, healed, and to learn from all the mistakes I have made along the way.
Thank you friends and partners for your continued prayers, encouragement, and love. I am committed to the work of the Holy Spirit and confident that the good men around me will help me be restored first as a man, as a husband, and ultimately to fulfill God’s call on my life. [I am struck firstly by the total absence of any expression of contrition or regret for the shame he brought upon the name and glory and honour of God and then secondly by the absence of any expression of regret for the hurt inflicted upon Shonnah and the children and his failure to recognise that in the light of the clear teaching of scripture he is still (despite this recent marriage) in an adulterous situation and that there can be no ‘call’ to future public ministry]
Those of you who were touched by the Lakeland Outpouring do not lose your encouragement. What happened there was from God, and Todd is a true servant of God. [Examined under the spotlight of scripture these statements are just plain wrong] He has made some mistakes, and he is trying to get his life back in order, and you can be confident that he will. Throughout the Bible, many of the greatest heroes in it also made some of the worst mistakes. King David, possibly the greatest hero in the Bible after Jesus, made one of the most horrible mistakes, not only committing adultery, but murdering the husband of the woman he committed it with. God knew that was going to happen with David when He called him, and He loved David before, during, and afterward.
One of the remarkable events in the Bible is that the Lord then used Bathsheba to bring forth the heir to the throne, Solomon, and she is part of the genealogy of Jesus. [There is no doubt David committed some very grievous sins demonstrating that even the ‘highest in the land – a King’ can fall foul of Satan’s snares and temptations and our omniscient God used, but clearly would never have approved of, the ‘fruit’ of that sin for His own eternally decreed purposes – However the difference between David and Todd Bentley comes down to a matter already referred to earlier – the matter of ‘the heart’ – David is referred to as someone who “walked in integrity of heart” (1st Kings 9:4 – this does not mean he never sinned but it was not an ongoing pattern of life for him and there was clear evidence of subsequent genuine, Holy Spirit inspired contrition and repentance on his part as expressed in Psalms 32 & 51) and when both the public teaching and personal living of Todd Bentley over many years are examined in the light of God’s truth they expose someone who has not “walked in integrity of heart”] It still stretches me, but we need stretching in the grace of God. At the same time, we must balance it with how God hates divorce, and it is one of the scourges of our times that is tragically hurting many, many people. Marriage is under such an assault now because it is so important. However, legalism will not overcome lawlessness. This situation and similar ones that almost every church and family are now being faced with is one that we need answers for. We cannot run from Him, but must run to Him with our need.
Many of Todd’s friends and former partners have asked if and how they might help to rebuild and establish Fresh Fire USA, [I am reminded by these expressions of the words of Joshua 6:26 “Cursed be the man before the Lord who riseth up and buildeth this city, Jericho” – in August 2008 the ‘walls’ of Fresh Fire Ministries collapsed according to the Sovereign permissive will of God and any attempt to rebuild them will I believe have the ‘curse’ OF God resting on them] which has recently relocated from Abbotsford, BC Canada and is now based at Heritage International Ministries in Fort Mill, SC. Donations can now be made to Fresh Fire USA at the following address:
Fresh Fire USA C/O MorningStar Fellowship Church 375 Star Light Dr. Fort Mill, SC 29715 Make checks out to Fresh Fire USA, or if you would like to donate by credit card to help in rebuilding Fresh Fire USA, call 1-800-542-0278, and tell the operator that you want to make a donation to Fresh Fire USA.
This new ‘ministry’ will only get off the ground if people are gullible and undiscerning enough to give it support – may the Lord reign supreme and prevent any repetition of the dishonour brought in the past to His name by Todd Bentley.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 10th March 2009