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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Todd Bentley's sock puppet will now field questions from the press?

Readers who remember my post last Friday on beleaguered Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley may be interested to know that, in a surreal turn of events, he has responded  to the criticism levied by the governing board of his ministry last week. In a second-hand way.

The details come in a story in today's Lakeland Ledger, the newspaper in the city where Mr. Bentley held his revival earlier this year. Reporter Cary McMullen, who has done a lot of great coverage on Mr. Bentley's recent work in Florida, decided to report on the board's public complaints about Mr. Bentley's conduct.

Pastor Stephen Strader (of Ignited Church, host of the revival meetings) was asked for comment and  passed on some alleged comments from Mr. Bentley about the statement by the ministry. Mr. Bentley, vacationing in California, reportedly made some specific denials of items in the statement, but did, allegedly, confirm that he is shacked up with his former intern while still being married to his wife.

What is odd about all this is that there is nothing preventing Mr. Bentley from telling Pastor Strader that he would be happy to answer questions himself--just pass on his number. Certainly, being honest and upfront would be part of a process of adopting the appropriate moral character to resume ministry, but Mr. Bentley sees no need for that yet. He could have even issued his own statement, or found a reporter willing to lob softball questions at him. If it is so urgent to reply to the criticism, I am sure he could find a sympathetic reporter.

Mr. Bentley has reportedly said that he is not able to return home to Canada to see his wife and kids due to visa issues. Actually, the issue is access to the United States. American charismatic Christians like to stay close to home to attend meetings and conferences--complete with collection plates and groaning book tables full of things to buy--and Americans have most of the money in this wing of Christianity. So, in order to make a better living, you move to where the money is. It appears that Mr. Bentley, who bought residential property in Florida this summer and rented an office for his ministry, might have been thinking along these lines when his revival imploded.

It looks like a donnybrook may be in store if Mr. Bentley and his board start to snipe at each other. But Mr. Bentley may have an ace up his sleeve. Fresh Fire Ministries needs him more than Mr. Bentley needs them. The evangelist (his books, his DVDs and tapes) is the ministry's main source of revenue. Mr. Bentley, however, may have a alternative ready to go. 

When Mr. Bentley first published his autobiography, it was self-published under the imprint of Sound of Fire Productions, a private company on Vancouver Island, where his father and stepmother live. Mr. Bentley has always been careful to keep Sound Of Fire viable and separate from Fresh Fire. At meetings and conferences featuring Mr. Bentley, Sound of Fire materials and Fresh Fire materials were kept strictly separate, with separate sales staff and separate cash registers. If you have a look at the Sound of Fire website, linked above, you will note that it includes video teachings, an online bookstore and such. It could easily be turned quickly into a new charity for Mr. Bentley, if it comes to that.

A new chaity could force the parents of Mr. Bentley's wife, Valerie and Earl Andres (who both currently work for Fresh Fire) to find new work. Mrs. Andres, who no doubt remembers "doing Timmy runs (trips to Tim Horton's)" and working in a room of Todd Bentley's house as his first employee hoping that he would be able to pay her, would, I am sure, be chagrined to see this happen.

UPDATE: Mr. Bentley has now spoken to a reporter to the U.S. charismatic magazine Charisma, but Charisma has "buried the lede" in the story by not highlighting the fact that their reporter is the first to speak to Bentley in months. An obvious question would be "Have you filed for divorce, since you are now in a relationship with another woman?", but I don't know if it was put to him.

I may have more to add after a careful read of what he has to say.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on December 2, 2008 in Religion | Permalink


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Dear Rick,

We also have to remember that all we read in the newspapers NOT are true! I doubt that ALL of this is true. I do NOT doubt that some of it is true. I am not defending Bentley, just tired of all people calling themselves Christians and write about things the dont know 100% for sure.

Posted by: Pontus J. Back | 2008-12-03 5:29:59 AM

Mr. Back,

Before you wrote your post did you contact the Lakeland Ledger reporter, Stephen Strader, and Todd Bentley to get their side of the story?

If you didn't that means you are 100% guessing.

Posted by: Jack | 2008-12-03 10:21:39 AM

Dear Rick

Todd Bentley is a classical wolf in sheep's clothing who needs to be exposed and destroyed.

We cannot have preachers preying on the sheep instead of praying for them!

And Todd is also a coward in hiding who doesn't want to answers question that are important:

1. Is Todd Bentley an illegal alien having visa problems?
2. Is he afraid to return to Canada because the B.C. Government has some serious questions it want to ask him about “welfare fraud” and other fraud?
3. Where is Todd getting the money to stay in United States since he resigned from Fresh Fire Ministries?
4. How come there has been no accountability for all the money Todd Bentley has collected during the Lakeland Revival?
5. Did Todd send the money to Canada or did he keep it for himself?

Fair questions.

Posted by: Brad | 2008-12-04 12:54:38 AM

It is a fact that Fresh Fire Ministries latest letter about Todd Bentley has only given more consternation to many of his supporters who have to deal with the fact that Todd is even adamant not to repent of his sins and has hardened his heart since He insists on divorcing his faithful wife and continuing in the unholy abominable sexual relationship he is been having with their former nanny . The whole Todd Bentley saga is just too much for many of Todd supporters to handle and many have stopped supporting financial fresh fire ministries.

The Fresh Fires words and phrases like, “Soaking each day ” and the continuous excuses they keep making for Todd by listing his “great accomplishments” and also indicting others for criticizing them too not to mention the misquoting of certain scriptures to suit their purposes or should I say, the careful selection of suitable Biblical references to suit them has cause problems and confusion even to their supporters as it’s evident there is not true repentance from the ministry or Todd by only arrogance and pride.

Even avid deceived supporters like Patricia King is upset with Todd!

From Patricia King, extremeprophetic

Update on Todd Bentley

The Fresh Fire Board of Directors has recently released an update on Todd Bentley. It is very well written and will give you all the information you need on the current status of the situation.

I am personally deeply broken at this time over Todd’s fall and lack of repentance. I cannot even begin to describe my grief. Please continue to pray for Todd, Shonnah, the children, Fresh Fire and the Body of Christ. As you are aware, there are massive ramifications as a result of Todd’s choices — many are affected world-wide.

As a ministry, we have not abandoned Todd. We stand with Todd Bentley in love - we always will…but we do not and will not stand with his unrighteous choices or actions. Sin can never receive endorsement. Exposure of sin without appropriate repentance and discipline results in increased lawlessness.

Please pray for conviction, repentance, healing, and restoration. Pray that we all examine our own hearts, for it is only by God’s grace we stand. There is no room for self-righteousness or pride in this hour. Each of us have issues that we could be judged for so we must not judge another. We must clothe ourselves in mercy and compassion and desire rescue and deliverance for any and all who are trapped in the deception of sin. Let’s fight for one another. Let’s fight for Todd’s freedom. Do not give up.

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE… and then… LOVE.

Patricia King

Posted by: Brad | 2008-12-05 3:29:09 AM

Leaders of Todd Bentley’s Former Ministry Break Silence
Months after the revivalist announced he was divorcing his wife and stepping down from ministry, the board at Fresh Fire Ministries gave their perspectives on Bentley’s current status.

[12.04.08] Leaders of the Canadian ministry evangelist Todd Bentley founded a decade ago say the one-time revivalist is “intent” on divorcing his wife and is yet to begin a restoration process.

In a six-page letter to ministry supporters, the board of Fresh Fire Ministries (FFM) released more details about the circumstances that led to Bentley’s departure in August from the Lakeland, Fla., revival meetings he led for four months.

“Todd Bentley has demonstrated himself unfaithful to his wife by entering into a relationship with another woman while still legally married,” the board said in a statement issued last Friday. “Todd has yet to enter into a clear system of accountability with the leaders he identified that would be involved in such a process.”

The leaders claim Bentley, 32, has no biblical grounds for leaving his wife, Shonnah, and their three children, and that the nature of his relationship with his children’s former nanny is “that of adultery.”

“The legal separation from Shonnah was initiated completely by Todd and he has not seen her or the children since the last week in July,” they stated.

“It also needs to be clarified that Shonnah has in no way initiated this divorce and has no present intention to do so at any time in the future. She is understandably hurt by Todd’s infidelity, but is not asking or pressing for a divorce.”

On Tuesday, Bentley said there had been no sexual immorality between him and the former nanny. He claimed that for two years no “spark or interest” in the former staff member existed, and that the two developed only an emotional relationship several weeks after July 1, when Bentley filed for divorce.

He admitted, however, that the budding relationship was “absolutely” bad timing.

“I would call it an inappropriate relationship, in the sense that it was too soon, too quick, and should’ve never happened the way that it happened,” Bentley said. “Emotionally, she had stepped in to comfort me as a friend would.

“But I never left my wife to be with another woman,” he said. “There was nothing premeditated or inappropriate in my heart. I had never even entertained the idea that I liked this girl. It never went there.”

Claiming to have gone through years of counseling with his wife, Bentley said he is divorcing her over “irreconcilable differences.”

He denied disconnecting from his children and told Charisma he is in constant phone contact with them and plans to see them as soon as he sorts out issues with his visa.

Bentley said FFM let him review the letter before they made it public and that he was unhappy with portions of it. He said he felt the letter implied that the breakup of his marriage could be blamed on his relationship with his former nanny and the pressures of leading daily nonstop revival meetings in Lakeland.

“I have the utmost respect for my team in Canada and we have had a lot of years together,” he said. “[But] I’m not in agreement with my board on this. The point is, [the former nanny] wasn’t the cause. And I don’t want to blame Lakeland. I want to blame a bad marriage.”

Bentley said he is willing to take 100 percent responsibility for his actions and that he readily admits he’s guilty of doing a lot of things wrong over the years. “In a lot of ways, the ministry has been my mistress,” he said. “That did destroy my marriage. That I have to take responsibility for.”
The FFM leaders said they had been on an “emotional rollercoaster” for several months before releasing the statement, seeking to persuade Bentley to abandon his relationship with the former nanny, return to his wife and children, and quickly embrace a process of counseling and accountability.

In the letter, the board thanked leaders of other ministries who have reportedly tried to help implement a process of restoration for Bentley. “But what we have come to realize is that ultimately, the buck stops with the FFM board of directors,” they said. “No one knows Todd better, or has more access to all the facts from both sides than we do.”
MorningStar Ministries’ founder Rick Joyner announced in October that he would be leading a team to help restore Bentley and would be assisted by Revival Alliance member Bill Johnson and Texas pastor Jack Deere, along with pastors John Arnott and Che Ahn serving as advisers.

Bentley said he is still involved at an emotional level with his former nanny and soon plans to move to Joyner’s headquarters in Fort Mill, S.C., to “fully embrace a healing and restoration process.”

Joyner confirmed that the process could begin as early as January. He did not confirm if abandoning his relationship with the nanny was a precondition Bentley would need to agree to before entering a healing process led by Joyner.

Joyner did express disappointment with FFM’s recent statement about Bentley and said he tried to persuade them not to send the letter in its current form.

“There is almost always another side to a story, as there is to many of the things they presented in this letter,” Joyner said. “Sometimes the truth is found somewhere between the two sides, but if we're going to ever get to real healing and reconciliation I don't think this kind of thing helps.”

The FFM board said they decided to send the letter to supporters after spending months of silence “in deference to [the] leaders” involved in trying to lead Bentley through a restoration process. “We struggled for a while with the question of how to satisfy two important obligations—that of honoring Todd, while believing for his restoration, and at the same time, our obligation to be completely honest and open with you.”

Although Bentley experienced a moral failing, the FFM leaders said the Lakeland Revival he led was an authentic move of God. “Through the weakness and failure of man, the enemy seeks to defame and discredit what God has done,” they said. “[But] Lakeland was and is an authentic move of God. God poured Himself out in Florida and through the Internet and television around the world.”

FFM is in the process of restructuring its ministries with assistance from Johnson’s church in Redding, Calif., and Joyner’s ministry in South Carolina.

Their letter also stated that Bentley has officially resigned and that the Abbottsford, B.C.-based FFM is searching for another leader. “We love Todd dearly, [and] it is our deep desire that our brother should be restored,” they said.

“Please let us make it clear, that although what Todd has done is inexcusable, it is not unforgiveable. We do not judge him unworthy of a second, third or even fourth chance.” —Paul Steven Ghiringhelli

Posted by: Brad | 2008-12-05 3:32:21 PM

Miriam Franklin is one of many who has spoken up about Lakeland; the theology, history, personalities and tactics. In dissecting the recent Canadian Fresh Fire Ministries statement about Bentley’s latest affair she said something haunting:

Todd Bentley has opened the gate for more deception. And lying prophets have got worse since Lakeland as they know they can get away with it. Todd Bentley has shown how gullible the ‘church’ are, and how people will defend evil and attack good. He has shown you can say anything, however unbiblical, and blaspheme before millions, and they will still love you and send you money - all in Jesus’ name.

Posted by: Brad | 2008-12-05 8:42:26 PM

Televangelist's $3.6 million jet not tax-exempt, county says

[email protected]
A Kenneth Copeland Ministry jet worth $3.6 million has been denied tax-exempt status by the Tarrant Appraisal District, setting the stage for a battle that could require the minister to reveal his salary if he wants the jet to be tax-free.
Jeffery D. Law, Tarrant chief appraiser, said the jet was denied tax exemption because the ministry failed to disclose salaries of directors as an application requires. Law said the ministry, based in Newark, northwest of Fort Worth, will protest the denial at a hearing Monday morning.
"The application requires that they submit to us a list of salaries," Law said. "They have not given it to us, and as a result we have denied their exemption."
Compensation paid Copeland and other members of his family has been the source of a U.S. senator’s inquiry, but the televangelist has been unwilling to disclose the information publicly.
If the ministry gives the compensation information to the appraisal district, it would be open to public disclosure, Law said.

Posted by: Brad | 2008-12-06 8:25:59 AM

Birds of feather stick together Kenneth Copeland and Oral Roberts Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn Benny Hinn and John Arnott John Arnott and Todd Bentley and the list goes on. They are all wolves in sheep's clothing who need to be exposed demoted and destroyed

1 Samuel 2:27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house?
2:28 'Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?
2:29 'Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?'
2:30 "Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: 'I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.' But now the LORD says: 'Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.
2:31 'Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.
2:32 'And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever.

Posted by: pam | 2008-12-06 11:12:57 AM

2 Tim 2:23

Posted by: Pontus J. Back | 2008-12-06 11:39:03 AM

Dear Back Here is a word from the LORD for you and your friends

PROV 1:23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.
1:24 Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
1:25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
1:27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
1:28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
1:29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the LORD,
1:30 They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
1:31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
1:32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
1:33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil."

1TM 5:20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

2TM 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

TI 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

TI 2:15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

Posted by: brad | 2008-12-06 12:28:48 PM

Todd Bentley has disappeared from public ministry. To a few, it is a welcomed correction in the American Christian movement. However, many so-called leaders continue to fail to admit the great deception that was allowed to rage in the church had any lasting influence affect upon those poor seduced souls that were subjected to this spiritual clown.
Unless delivered, false doctrines, a different gospel and doctrines of demons place permanent spiritual marks on those who participate in them. Deceiving spirits are used by the god of this world to steal souls. The masses that were drawn to this false prophet were simply left in the darkness of their souls with false explanations that Bentley reverted into an emotional experience with another woman and is divorcing his wife. The followers were told by the very same false prophets that arrived in Lakeland and gave him those heady prophecies of his supposedly anointed future, (which never happened) are “restoring him.” Who is restoring them?
Although Bentley’s ministry was thoroughly examined for biblical legitimacy and found to be a gospel filled with demonic influences, most church leaders still tell their congregations that it was just a matter of weakness of his flesh and he fell into sin. People are bound with powerful cult demons that have spiritually blinded them and no one has tried to help them to find freedom from the demons that have captured their souls.
Many, including this writer have related the horror of demonic powers that possessed the victims of crazy revival of Bentley. Seduced people that have been bound by powerful kundalini demons must be set free by driving those demons out through deliverance in the name of Jesus. Once a devil has been invited in, they must be driven out; otherwise, the victim will stay chained by the powers of darkness. How many will land in hell because of this insane deception of this spiritual clown? We will know at the Judgment Seat of Jesus.
Meantime, while the church continues to center upon such things as: Did Todd commit adultery? Is he still living with the jezebel woman that took him away from his family? Is he still drinking? Where is he hiding now? Who is restoring him? Has he repented? Bentley has become a soap opera to entertain the dumbed down minds of the church.
Hardly anyone is concerned about the deadly affect of those captured, blinded, wounded victims who are now being tormented by devils. Many have simply fallen away and no longer attend church while others have gone into deeper deceptions such as being entertained by vulture ministers who are really merchandisers of their souls.
Meanwhile, the most unpopular ministries in America continues to be, freedom giving, devil driving, and deliverance ministers. Sleep on Church, Jesus is coming soon.
pat Holliday

Posted by: Pat Holliday | 2008-12-13 2:29:23 PM

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