Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Todd Bentley’s Lakeland ‘Revival’ Crashes – Following Moral lapses, Evangelist asked to withdraw from public ministry

We urgently wrote the article in the last edition on the so-called ‘revival’ at the Ignite Church Lakeland, US, under the auspices of visiting Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley, because despite its clearly unchristian character, the phenomenon nevertheless continued to gather raving reviews and endorsements - not only from throngs of young gullible Christians, but from many respected Christian leaders as well.
The Lord Jesus however, did give clear guidelines by which to judge such events, “By their fruits ye shall know them” saith the Lord in Mathew 7: 15ff.
For those who are unable to discern spiritual fruits, the Lakeland ‘revival’ is now producing physical ‘fruits’ which meanings should no longer by difficult to interpret. First was the news from Bentley’s Fresh Fire ministries on August 15, that following the discovery of “information revealing that Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff”, he “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”. Furthermore, Bentley had separated from his wife and mother of his 3 children, Shonnah .
Fresh fire Board of Directors were clearly confused, and they are not hiding it. In the same breath, the Board refers, in an August 12 prayer request, to “pressures and the burden of the Outpouring” as possibly exacerbating existing tension among the Bentleys, but hasten to add that the “Outpouring is not ‘to blame.’” Ordinarily, a time of revival, if truly from the Lord, ought to be a time of strengthening, if not physically, but spiritually – and the visible fruits must be in repentance, holiness, righteousness, strengthening of Godly relationships and values, forgiveness, etc!
One of the three pastors in charge of Bentley’s rehabilitation, John Arnott of Toronto Airport Church, further revealed on his website that Bentley had the additional problem of “drinking excessively”. As seen on the video False Anointing by Joseph Chambers (available at our Library), getting drunk is no big deal with these “new wave” ministers, but here, even they find Bentley’s drinking “excessive”!
Unfortunately, while many of the so-called leaders who have been endorsing Bentley and his farce of a revival are now compelled to agree that the bubble has burst, many of his deceived neonate Christians still struggle to find straws to cling at. “Don’t judge others, nobody is perfect, etc” are common phrases emanating from blogsites of Bentley’s devotees. GodTV which had carried the Lakeland meetings live all throughout the over 140 days it lasted, had earlier declared that any criticism of Bentley could only be “demonic”!
The disappointed host pastor at the Ignite Church, Lakeland, Rev. Stephen Strader, while reluctantly divulging that Bentley had actually had a similar marriage-threatening “other-woman” relationship, three years ago, still insists that the developments do not in any way invalidate the revival – which had been based solely on Mr Bentley and his mysterious female ‘angel’, Emma! According to Strader: "Miracles are still happening. God's power is still present in the building."
The Fresh Fire ministries, itself while trying to launder its image with the good humanitarian works they are doing in Uganda and elsewhere, hopes to take the development in its strides and plans to continue with its “major African crusade”
While the ostriches may still continue to hide their heads in the sand, others are highlighting lessons to learn from the entire saga. Lee Grady of Charisma magazine was one level-headed Christian whose constituency/readership was deeply involved and supportive of Bentley. He lamented: "Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs, and wonders than have a quiet Bible study." Adding, "Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It's way past time for us to grow up."
Andrew Strom (www.revivalschool.com), in an open letter addressed alternately to leaders of the controversial prophetic and apostles movement, Rick Joyner and C. Peter Wagner, asked bluntly: “Sir, if your discernment is such that you could get on a stage and openly endorse one of the most deceptive movements in the history of the church, then - with all due respect - should you really be heading up the apostles of the entire Charismatic world? Are you aware that you have greatly endangered God's precious sheep all around the globe?” See more details from Fresh fire website, or at

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