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Todd Bentley: Is Divorce and Remarriage Sin?

March 15, 2009

I’ve done a study on the subject of divorce and remarriage in scripture, but I hold no “credentials.” I found a study on the Greek and Hebrew behind the scriptures on divorce that draws the same conclusions that I came to with my primitive language skills.

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Divorce, the Law, and Jesus

by Walter L. Callison

Divorce and remarriage are topics of much debate. The purpose of the following article is to invite the reader to reassess the church’s attitude toward remarriage. Read more…

Todd Bentley’s Video Statement

March 11, 2009

This is the first in a series of videos Rick Joyner and Todd Bentley plan to share with the greater Body of Christ about aspects of Todd’s restoration process. Todd is attempting to be transparent about his issues and the process he is undergoing. The heart behind this, I think, is to try to help the 50% of the church that has been through divorce.

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Todd Bentley Begins Restoration Process

March 9, 2009

This was posted on Todd’s Facebook page today:

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. Testimonies of healings and miracles from it are now virtually all over the world. 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.

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. 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.

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 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.

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. 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, 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. We’re all here because He had mercy on us, and we know we still need it. However, we also know that true repentance and restoration 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 ofthe marriage. I realize thatmy silence and decisions have caused many of you to feel hurt, confused, and offended. The reason for the silence was for my needof healing, creating a restoration process under a team of qualified leaders, much needed rest after the Lakeland Outpouring, repentance, and the divorce process.

I have now relocated to Fort Mill, South Carolina and have entered intomy restoration and healingprocess under Rick Joyner, Jack Deere, and Bill Johnson.I am confident of this one thing—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 ahusband, and ultimately to fulfillGod’s call on my life.

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. 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. 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, 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.

Let the howling begin.

One thing I want to point out is that God is the God of mercy.

Many in the Body of Christ want to hold Todd to a standard that they themselves would never live under.  Todd’s marriage was on the rocks for years, and he tried to save it.  He truly believed that God told him to marry Shonnah.  But there comes a time when you don’t have anything left and you say, “I’m done.  I’m done God.  I don’t care what the consequences are, I’m done.  I can’t do this anymore.”

I know.  I said those same words the day I left.

Over 50% of the church in the US is divorced.  Somewhere between 20 and 40% of the clergy are divorced.  I know of two leaders with world-wide effective ministries who have been married for over 30 years to their second wife.

Divorce is a horrible thing.  I would not wish it on anyone.  But which is worse, to live a lie for the sake of ministry or to be honest and leave?  Charles Stanley lived a lie for years.  He and his wife were separated.  She never attended the church he pastored.  He is now divorced and still pastoring.  He said God called him to ministry, not marriage.

David, the man after God’s own heart, had an affair with his friend’s wife, got her pregnant, had the man murdered and then married the woman.  When God confronted him about his sin, He didn’t tell David that his marriage was illegal and to send Bathsheba away.  He didn’t tell David he was no longer worthy to be king and to resign.  God did not even tell Nathan to impose the death penalty for adultery on them both.  God, for whatever reason, had mercy.  He judged them and the child died.  David pleaded for mercy, but accepted the judgment when the child did die.

Personally, I think Todd is guilty of gross stupidity, but graceful is not a word I would ever associate with Todd Bentley.  He crashed and burned in a spectacular way, the same way he has lived the rest of his public life.  I don’t think he is capable of doing anything in a corner in secret.

I believe what Todd and Jessa have said about their relationship.  I agree the timing wasn’t the brightest thing they ever did.

To me, there are a couple of different types of adultery.  There is physical sex, which may or may not have any meaning.  Sexual adultery doesn’t have to have any emotional attachment whatsoever to it.  It just is.

Then there is emotional adultery in which the affections of a married individual are enticed away from their spouse by another person.  I believe within Christian circles this is far more common than is realized.

I don’t think Todd is guilty of either of these.  By all accounts that I have heard, Shonnah had departed for Canada before Todd and Jessa connected.

You know, in the Bible, all a man had to do to divorce his wife was give her a certificate of divorce and it was OVER.  If you want to consider dating while waiting for a divorce to be finalized adultery, I will concede you have a valid point.

So the real question in this is how is the body of Christ going to respond to the whole divorce and remarriage issue?  It is a daily reality in all our churches.  Do you treat the people in your church who are divorced and remarried the same way you thing about Todd Bentley?  Some of them DID have affairs.  Some of them DID leave their spouses for the person they are married to now.  Do you threat them they way you are advocating Todd and Jessa be treated?

Revival Alliance Statement on Todd Bentley

November 2, 2008
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PUBLIC STATEMENT ON TODD BENTLEY FROM REVIVAL ALLIANCE

Dear friends, several years ago, six leadership couples came together formed a relationally based, non-denominational network called Revival Alliance.

When the Lakeland revival broke out Todd Bentley and the revival meetings were coming under much criticism. At the suggestion of Peter Wagner, three of the members of the Revival Alliance team went to Lakeland because the Alliance as a whole wanted to express support for the Lakeland Outpouring and to commission Todd as a revivalistic evangelist. Having been powerfully touched in the Toronto outpouring, and seeing the opposition that came from leaders in the church because of that movement, we wanted to stand with Todd and deflect some of the personal assaults that were coming against him. Many of the attacks were coming from well-respected Christian leaders, people that we still hold in high esteem. Yet the mandate from the Lord was clear. And we stood with Todd and the Fresh Fire Ministries team to both endorse and support this move of God.

Rory and Wendy Alec of God TV also took tremendous risk in airing the revival prime time and broadcasting it to over 200 nations around the world. Their heart is to capture and release the move of God, no matter where it happens, or who God uses as His instrument. This unparalleled media attention gave unusual advertisement for the outpouring. But it also put their whole team in an unusual, high-level position of receiving both praise and criticism.

The impact of the Lakeland Outpouring has been amazing, and it still continues. The record of conversions and miracles of healing is extraordinarily great in number. And the spreading of the revival to nation after nation has also been very significant. The God TV broadcast stirred up the hunger in people from around the world to go to Lakeland and receive from God, but then bring it home to their local churches. Impartation seems to be one of the unusual markers of a genuine move of God. Revival fires began to spread around the world as a result of the impartation received at Lakeland. But as great as the fruit has been, so have the devastation and fallout from Todd’s personal failure.

While there must be no toleration or whitewashing of sin, there must also be no allowances for ungodly judgments in the name of Jesus. Hatred often masquerades as a passion for holiness. And while the church has had its share of tragic failures of leaders in recent days and equally tragic reactions, we must get this one right. It is possible to promote holiness and accountability in the spirit of grace.

The quickness to condemn and abandon a fallen comrade has caused us as much concern as has the actual sin of our friend. Some want to humiliate and expose Todd before the world. And then there are others who want to point to the obvious anointing on Todd’s life as the sign of God’s approval of Todd’s behavior. Neither is acceptable to us. There must be deep repentance and thorough restoration.

The restoration process must be firm but loving, while holding to the Kingdom standards of both holiness and grace. The initial goal is not to get Todd preaching again. It is to get him healed from the issues of the heart that have brought devastation to his family, and such shame and failure to him. His gift will always function when given an opportunity. We just want it to come from a place of personal victory and triumph this next time.

Since the announcement of Todd’s leaving his wife, Revival Alliance has been working to help restore our fallen brother. Sin is disastrous on any level, but it is well known that “to whom much is given, much is required.” Gross sin from someone on Todd’s level of influence is devastating. Even so, God is ready to heal and restore.

Todd recently spent three days in Redding, California, with Bill Johnson dealing with the issues of his personal life. Following that, he went to Morningstar Ministries in Charlotte, North Carolina, to be with Rick Joyner for the same reason. Rick, along with the Morningstar leadership team, has offered to help in his restoration. With great confidence, Revival Alliance recommends this as the appropriate process for Todd’s healing and restoration. Todd will be moving to Morningstar Ministries to live for a season. Rick Joyner’s wisdom, along with the strength of the Morningstar community of believers, will be a great support to Todd as he deals with the heart issues that brought about his failures. A council of three has also been formed to give oversight to the restoration process. Rick Joyner, Jack Deere, and Bill Johnson will give oversight as needed.

We appreciate the prayers and support of countless numbers of believers who have continued to support Fresh Fire Ministries. We also appreciate the prayer support of so many for the Revival Alliance. We are also very thankful for Rick Joyner and his whole team that will be working to bring about a complete healing to our friend, Todd Bentley.

It should also be noted that effort is being made to ensure that Shonnah (Todd’s wife) and children are also cared for and given opportunity to receive ministry and help. As you may imagine, they have suffered great hurt from this failure.

There are many in Fresh Fire Ministries who also need help. Efforts are being made to serve them as best as possible. John Arnott recently invited the Fresh Fire Ministries associates to Toronto for their Signs and Wonders Conference to receive personal ministry and encouragement. These kinds of efforts will continue.

Bill Johnson, John Arnott, and Rick Joyner have each spent time with the Fresh Fire Ministries board, and will continue to assist them as needed through this tragic season.

Fresh Fire Ministries will continue their crusades and conference schedule around the world. They are a group of ministers with much integrity and a great heart for the lost. Pray for them as they maneuver through the challenging season ahead, while serving the church at large.

We are thankful for the honor of being involved in this crisis.

On behalf of Revival Alliance: John Arnott, Ché Ahn, and Bill Johnson
Thursday, October 23, 2008

The heart of God is always redemptive, that is the whole message of the gospels. God wants to redeem His creation, not destroy it. That’s why Jesus came. If God wanted to judge the world and destroy it, He had ample opportunity – just ask Noah.

Unlike other failures in the Body of Christ, Todd Bentley is not being cast into outer darkness to fend for himself. He is surrounded with people who genuinely love and care for him and his family. He is submitting to a restoration process in a loving community of Christians who want to see the deep issues in his life resolved so that he can be truly restored to usefulness in the Kingdom of God.

I believe this whole situation with Todd has exposed something in the body of Christ: the difference between hirelings and fathers. When parts of Todd’s failures became public knowledge, there were a slew of statements given. They fell into two categories, those who loved Todd and those who were engaging in CYA activities.

The CYA crowd were ready to cast Todd off without a second glance. They actually reminded me of the Pharisees reaction to Judas when he came to them and said, “I sinned,” and their response was, “Not our problem.” When Judas hung himself, their only concern was how to spend the money he had thrown them. This group saw Todd as a “problem” and not a person with deep wounds who needs ministry.

The fathers (and mothers) on the other hand, continued to love Todd and extend their hand to him. Not one of these for an instant condone things Todd has done, but he is theirs and they will not disown him. They are committed to walking with Todd through this and ministering to him. They are committed to seeing him freed from the sin that has ensnared him, and seeing him walk in that freedom.

Our Heavenly Father doesn’t cast off His children when they fall. There is only one sin that He has placed beyond His grace, and that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. For everything else that we do, the Blood of Jesus cleanses us from ALL sin. God has made provision for the forgiveness of everything we do that violates love, but He has given the Body fathers to help us find the roots of our sinful behaviors so those roots can be destroyed and the sin eradicated from our lives.

Social Justice

October 25, 2008

My objection to Obama has to do with the fact that government is the worst instrument for any kind of social services there is. By it’s very nature, bureaucracy grows to consume all available resources. In the vast majority of programs that the government oversees, the bulk of the funding is eaten up by the infrastructure, rather than being used to aid people. All government does is suck up resources and provides zero value.

The church was designed by God to be the primary instrument of charity and social justice in the world. We in America have surrendered our God-given responsibility to the government, and it’s time to take it back.

Social change in this nation did not come about through the government. It came through the people of God. That has always been the case.

Slavery was an issue take up by people like Charles Finney. Oberlin College was founded to train ministers during the Second Great Awakening. It was the first institution of higher education in this nation to admit African Americans and women without segregation.

The Civil Rights Movement was not a government program. The face of that movement was a Pastor, not a politician. Dr. Martin Luther King was the head, not of a political party, but the leader of a profound revival that changed the social fabric of this nation.

The Kingdom of God is all about the superiority of the Kingdom of Heaven to the kingdoms of this world. Our call is outlined in the Lord’s prayer. Give us this day our daily bread and Let thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Living in the Kingdom is all about receiving the provision of the Kingdom (Give us this day our daily bread) and releasing it into the earth (On earth as it is in heaven).

But what is our daily bread?

Jesus said in John 4 that his bread was to do the will of the Father. Our daily bread is the same. It is in doing the will of the Father.

In the Old Testament, one of the promises in Deuteronomy that God made to Moses was that there would be no poor among God’s people. Poverty is a curse. It is a work of satan. Satan comes to steal, to kill and destroy because he is destruction. Jesus came to give life and that more abundantly. He also came to destroy the works of the devil. Poverty is a work of the devil that the church needs to destroy in our midst.

Sickness is a work of the devil. Disease and sickness are demonic. Jesus healed the sick and commanded his followers to heal the sick; therefore sickness can never be God’s will or Jesus would have been working to thwart His Father’s will. There is no record of Jesus saying, “Oh, I can’t heal you because my Father is working out character issues in your life and you need to be sick for my Father’s glory.” Jesus didn’t come to manage sickness. He came to destroy it and we need to follow in His footsteps.

Think about what the Bible says about heaven. Is there racism there? No. Is there cancer there? No. Is there poverty there? No. is there abortion there? No.

True social justice does not come about through governments. Oppression comes from government. True social justice is the Kingdom of God being brought to earth by sold out disciples of Jesus Christ who will settle for nothing less than ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

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I found the lyrics to a Larry Norman song that I thought was rather appropriate. It was written in 1972. I miss Larry.

The Great American Novel – Larry Norman

I was born and raised an orphan
In a land that once was free
In a land that poured its love out on the moon
And I grew up in the shadows
Of your silos filled with grain
But you never helped to fill my empty spoon

And when I was ten you murdered law
With courtroom politics
And you learned to make a lie sound just like truth
But I know you better now
And I don’t fall for all your tricks
And you’ve lost the one advantage of my youth

You kill a black man at midnight
Just for talking to your daughter
Then you make his wife your mistress
And you leave her without water
And the sheet you wear upon your face
Is the sheet your children sleep on
At every meal you say a prayer
You don’t believe but still you keep on

And your money says in God we trust
But it’s against the law to pray in school
You say we beat the Russians to the moon
And I say you starved your children to do it

You are far across the ocean
But the war is not your own
And while you’re winning theirs
You’re gonna lose the one at home
Do you really think the only way
To bring about the peace
Is to sacrifice your children
And kill all your enemies

The politicians all make speeches
While the news men all take note
And they exagerate the issues
As they shove them down our throats
Is it really up to them
Whether this country sinks or floats
Well i wonder who would lead us
If none of us would vote

Well my phone is tapped and my lips are chapped
From whispering through the fence
You know every move i make
Or is that just coincidence
Will you try to make my way of life
A little less like jail
If i promise to make tapes and slides
And send them through the mail

And your money says in God we trust
But it’s against the law to pray in school
You say we beat the russians to the moon
And i say you starved your children to do it
You say all men are equal all men are brothers
Then why are the rich more equal than others
Don’t ask me for the answer i’ve only got one
That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son

Great Florida Outpouring

August 30, 2008

I received this today from Patricia King’s Extreme Prophetic. I am posting it here to encourage those who are walking to a different drum and refusing to become vultures that are picking the flesh of the wounded in the Body right now.

Dear Friends,

Just the other day, a friend sent me this prophetic word from respected prophetess Dr. Sharon Stone of CI-Europe. It is such an encouragement in the light of many things that have recently transpired. May it encourage you today as it did me. You will notice that she received this word from the Lord on June 22/08 – one day before Todd Bentley was blessed by the Revival Alliance.

Patrica King

June 22, 2008
Dr. Sharon Stone
Belfast, Northern Ireland

As I left my hotel this morning, My spirit was pulled to the building across the street. And I began to prophesy. The building turned out to be the BBC.

Media Revivals have just begun. You have not seen anything yet. Major cities and obscure villages will be a part of My demonstrations in the earth. This is an updating across nations, living rooms and those on the internet. The experiential truths will be the topic of conversations in government buildings, business offices and university campuses. The sick being healed, those in bondage being delivered and the dead raised will infuse believers with faith to do the works of believers. Hope will arise in those needing My miraculous power.

Rory and Wendy Alex have gone through this gate in 2008, now many will follow. Rory and Wendy the Lord says you did not make a mistake, regardless of the criticisms that will come at by the end of the summer.

God says to His church, I have used the most offensive means to break religious taboos. I will allow men to fail that the nations will look to me not man alone. Do not be a part of vultures that eat upon something once it is dead. If your feet get dirty I will wash them, but you will have seen me.

This September 2008 let my cleansing winds blows over My global church. Encourage yourselves, I am bringing My Revival of Spirit and Truth.

Dr. Sharon Stone
Christian International Europe

Todd Bentley – Chad Taylor

August 28, 2008
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I received this in my email from Chad Taylor of Consuming Fire Ministries. All I can say is, AMEN.

WHY I AM STILL A FRIEND OF TODD BENTLEY’S
Chad Taylor
Aug 26, 2008

WHY I AM STILL A FRIEND OF TODD BENTLEY’S
By Chad Taylor

MY DISCLAIMER: To all the so called apostles and prophets releasing their letter’s and essays on the claims of moral failure of Todd Bentley in a abortive attempt to save face you may want to stop reading now. This is not written for you. Even if you do read this most likely you will never heed it because you have already taken the posture of judge and jury. If you did read any further I may become your enemy too lining your linear notes for upcoming sermons and treatises for “morality” and “unity”.

Is it so easy to forget that in the trenches and fox holes of rabid ridicule and persecution that the greatest testimonies are made? Like Paul who suffered extreme judgment from his peers he emerged from the pit and prison of past failure and present persecution with this testimony, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge…” (2 Tim 4:16-17).

The house of cards that we currently call “apostolic and prophetic” is quickly imploding as the unsaved world watches in utter amazement. The Jesus of the Bible who flung Himself in the line of fire as stones of judgment were about to be hurled; who later stated boldly to that day’s “revival alliances” and networks of ambitious and ostentatious, “Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you…” You may want to stop reading now.

Heaven is not lined with “networks” and “prophetic clubs” that prophesy and prophesy and never come to any knowledge of the truth. Heaven is filled with trophies of grace that are marred and scarred with the sweat of great achievement and in the end, even in failure can claim as Samuel did in the Bible to do more in a few days, weeks or months than those faint hearted facile figures that stand on the sidelines of history never willing to engage and only criticize.

To the doom and gloom prophets who are shouting from the housetops (and YouTube), “I told you so! I was right!” You are left more wanting than them all. Rather than don sackcloth and ashes and discover what is truly apostolic and prophetic you have chosen the shallow guileful path that has no blood, sweat and tears. In the deep ruts of your insecurities and lack of true identity you hurl stones of rhetoric around the world wounding rather than warning.

Like Job’s friends you stand just outside the circle peering in never able or willing to sit down in the dirt with them. Your cowardice and inability to truly love will be your undermining. Oh if we truly had an apostolic voice in the land that cried with Paul! “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren…” (Rom 9:3). Paul the Apostle knew what it meant to stand in the gap. We however have mastered the art of rebuke, arrogance and emulation.

If anything I pray this can be a small diversion from the religious witch hunting that is rampant in the Church today and is targeting my friend and brother Todd Bentley. If we have the liberty to do this to our own flesh and blood then what becomes of the poor pitiful world around us in our dire inability to love unconditionally? The bedraggled, decrepit, dilapidated are already dead in their tracks with their alternative appearances, repulsion of religion and complete utter disdain for our current Christianity. Church, it’s about to pay up as the Great Judge stands at the door of our current crisis and collects His due,

“So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matt 18:31-35).

I am still Todd Bentley’s friend because the Bible says I should be, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov 17:17). Unlike thousands if not millions of Christians that naively follow the ebb and tide of public opinion that can change as suddenly as the weather; God has instructed us to be radically different. Love is not a double barrel shotgun of accusation but rather a mighty shadow that covers a multitude of sin apparent or illusionary.

I am Todd’s Bentley’s friend because it is unpopular to be so now! Jesus loved the disdained and was drawn to the controversial. Even in their apparent sin or demise He stooped in the ground and wrote untold secrets as the religious elite and self proclaimed apostles ranted and raved “according to the law”. What we have now is a mad dash to distance ourselves from the back lash. Jesus never ran, He took the blunt of religious rip tides and plunged into them. He sat in the sinner’s house and allowed the prostitute to wash His feet. That was His world one void of any reputation, ours is a well oiled and organized conference scene with polished music and prophetic crescendos as the masses soak. Jesus preferred the lepers and illegitimate as He spent countless sleepless nights in their presence; we are drawn to meetings and church buildings as the orbit of planet earth careens toward a climatic end.

When it was popular to be Jesus’ friend they heaped upon Him accolades and endorsements and clamored to be in His company. They called Him “King” and cried His praises in the streets. If their had been the internet and modern technology in the First Century it would have been streamed around the world as every camera captured the epic moments unfolding daily. With even more intensity they would rapidly report on His apparent failure and the headlines would read something like this, “JESUS CHRIST IS NOT WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE!” or, “PROMISES TO RAISE HIMSELF FROM THE DEAD IS OBVIOUS FRAUD…” or even, “FALSE REVIVAL HITS JERUSALEM AS THOUSANDS FILL THE STREETS!” The book of Acts would have gone down in flames under our current regime.

I am still Todd Bentley’s friend because he is God’s vessel and like our predecessors David, Jonah, Moses, Peter they will rise to the moment again and make history even in the backdrop of their shortcomings. Friend, if you need something else to forward, blog, gossip and talk about – simply send this letter and then let’s strive to hit the high mark of God’s love and prove to the agnostic and atheist that we are still able to forgive, cover and love just like Jesus did so long ago.

If we spent the energy and time it takes to read the endless articles, long letters from our leaders of “Why, Who and What” we could save our cities and streets from utter depravity and sin. Prophet, quit your rants go find a valley of dry bones and prophesy to them. Apostle, cease and desist from your damage control and go “where Christ has not been preached” and be who you claim to be. We still have a world to win for Jesus. (Rom. 15:20).

TODD BENTLEY I AM STILL YOUR FRIEND!

Chad Taylor – Aug. 26th, 2008

www.consumingfire.com

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat…” – THEODORE ROOSEVELT, (Paris Sorbonne 1910)

Todd Bentley – Don Flinto

August 26, 2008

Don Flinto was pastor of Belmont Church in Nashville, TN for thirty years. I thought his wisdom was refreshing.

Speaking Life

~ Godly Character ~

by Don Finto

We are again experiencing the disappointment and even disillusionment that comes when perceived servants of God fail.

This is a dangerous time for us. How will we respond? Will we privately rejoice because we saw flaws and cautions that others did not see? Do we discount those who were healed, who came to faith or who experienced the move of God? Are we to assume that everything was a farce? Was there never any real hunger for God? Was it all sham and hypocrisy?

Years ago when a prominent television evangelist’s moral failure was exposed, another television evangelist was publicly harsh and judgmental in his assessment. The Lord laid on my heart to write that television evangelist a letter. “Brother, be careful. ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:1-2).’” A few weeks later the sexual failure of the man who had done the judging was paraded before the American public. Most of us would affirm the gifting that was in both these men, but their character did not match their gifting.

Character and gifting are different. This is why we can sometimes see extremely gifted-of-God men and women who fail morally.

Remember the mightily gifted Samson whose character never matched the gifting.

Do not forget David, the murderer/adulterer. Was David anointed? Yes. Gifted? Yes. Did he fall? Yes. Was he restored? Yes. Were there consequences of his failure? Yes. Yet God later described him as “a man after my own heart (Acts 13:20).”

Have we considered the fact that Peter lied three times on the night of Jesus’ betrayal, but fifty days later was God’s chosen spokesperson to call the nation to repentance? I wonder if that young servant girl to whom Peter had lied was in the crowd that Pentecost day. If so, how difficult was it for her to hear the gospel through Peter’s flawed, yet restored lips?

Sometimes, when we sin, we are restored to our ministry and destiny. At other times, according to God’s own choosing, we forfeit a portion of our inheritance. This was true of Moses who, in that moment of pride said, “Must we bring you water from this rock (Numbers 20:10)?” Because of his sin, Moses never entered into the land of his inheritance. He was still the leader, but his time was cut short.

It is appropriate for us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1), while at the same time realizing that we are all works-in-progress. We cannot only affirm as gifted those whose walk is perfect, yet “if someone is caught in a sin, [we] who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

May this recent exposure call forth an examination of our own lives! What about our own marriages? Are we loving our husbands/wives? Are we walking in pride? Are we accountable?

Lord have mercy upon us! Turn our propensity for judgment into mercy and intercession. May the disappointment and disillusionment that is ours through the sin of another, work in us a radical pursuit of You, Lord, Your Presence, and Your gifts! May Godly character be worked in all of us! And may we be so open to Your will in our lives that when the fire and glory of God descend upon us, we will not disintegrate, but will be ignited with Holy Spirit power for the glory of God the Father and Jesus our Messiah and soon-returning King!

Don Finto
www.calebcompany.com
Caleb Company, 68 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203

Todd Bentley

August 18, 2008
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Here is a portion of the bulletin Rick Joyner sent out today.

Todd Bentley’s Personal Problems
I did not hear that Todd was going through a personal crisis until the day before our meeting with him here. When I saw him Wednesday night, he immediately wanted to share with me about his personal problems—especially about his recent separation from his wife. Todd did not share this in a way to try and justify himself, but he wanted me to know what was going on with him to give me an out if I did not think he should minister the next day. I greatly appreciated this.

I still do not know all of the details of his separation, but I did ask him if there had been any immorality on his part, or if he had affections for someone else that was causing this. He assured me that he had never committed adultery, and that there was no “other woman” that caused his separation. Some of his leaders who I talked to also confirmed that Todd had not been in any immoral relationship, though they were all grieving over Todd’s marital problems.

The problems Todd and his wife have had getting along have been public knowledge for several years. I don’t know enough of the details to blame anyone, but I know Todd quite well, and being married to him has got to be like being hand-cuffed to a hurricane. Todd is so intense he makes Mike Bickle and Bob Weiner seem laid back. I think he is very much like the Apostle Peter. What makes him capable of such extraordinary faith also makes him prone to extraordinary blunders. Todd is an extreme manifestation of an emerging extreme generation. His wife may deserve to sit at the right hand of the Lord in the kingdom, and anyone who has worked with him should be up there close somewhere too.

Like it or not, that is often the nature of those who accomplish some of the greatest spiritual exploits—they also make some of the biggest bloopers. Hearing about these problems did not surprise me at all. Since I have now heard about more details, I’m still not shocked. These are problems, and they need to be fixed, which includes repenting and turning around, but if we want the victories and breakthroughs we all hope and pray for, they usually come through people with the same kind of nature. Right after Jesus gave Peter one of the greatest commendations in Scripture for the receiving the greatest of all revelations, that Jesus is the Christ, and then gave him the keys to the kingdom, He had to give Peter one of the greatest rebukes in Scripture by calling him Satan! (see Matthew 16:18-23)

However, the Lord did not take the keys back from Peter, even after he later denied the Lord, and even later in his life when the youngest apostle, Paul, had to publicly rebuke him (see Galatians 2:11-15). It seems that most of those who are given these keys to unlock the spiritual doors to the kingdom will also be prone to make major blunders. This type of person is simply not going to do anything small—they will have great victories, and when they have defeats, they will be great too.

When I was in Lakeland a few months ago, I was told that Todd had been making a real effort to patch things up and heal their relationship, but in June she had left and refused any contact. Todd has now lost hope that it will be worked out, especially now that she has made it clear that she will not even see him. Todd is obviously frustrated and just wants to resolve this situation that has been so hard for so long.

In marriage, I have learned there are those who admit they have been through times when they wondered if their marriage would make it, and then there are liars. Relationships are hard, and the closer they are, the harder they can be. I tell everyone that I give premarital counseling to that the Lord has ordained their marriage in order to kill both of them! That is true. It is also worth it! The greatest gift He gave to man was marriage and family. However, to have a marriage that is good, both will have to die to themselves. If either one does not make the commitment to lay down their life for their mate and their family, then what was meant to be heaven can be hell.

Family is the foundation of society, and the weaker the family is, the weaker that society will be. The weaker the families are in the church, the weaker the church will be. That is why the family life must be strong of those whom the church accepts as leaders, and there are clear biblical standards for them. If we start compromising the clear biblical standards for morality, integrity, and relationships, we will fall, and we will fail at all that the Lord has called us to. Compromising clear biblical standards can never be on the table—for anyone, regardless of how much power they walk in, how great they can preach, or how they can mobilize people.

We are also living in a society where about half of the people have now been divorced. Many more are refusing to get married because of the problems they have witnessed and the pain they suffered when their parents went through a divorce. The children are always the biggest victims of a divorce, and the meltdown in family is one of the great tragedies and great emergencies of our times. It is therefore understandable that some want to make a big deal out of Todd’s marital problems—it is a big deal.

So, should someone who is divorced be disqualified from ministry or from leadership in the church? How can we disqualify someone from ministry or leadership for something that would disqualify God? In Jeremiah 3, we are told that God gave Israel a certificate of divorce. God is divorced. Nearly half the people in our churches have been divorced. A good many Christians now stay away from the church because they have suffered a divorce, and they feel condemned by the church for it. This is an issue that we need to address for the church, not just Todd.

When God got a divorce, was it His fault? Of course not! He was the most perfect Husband there could ever be, but He had a wayward wife that He finally gave up on. That is what happened, and if you do not believe me, go read it yourself. There is a limit to what even God will put up with and rightly so. There are things that justify divorce. Even so, I think it is because the Lord Himself went through a divorce that He hates divorce so much. Divorce is always a tragedy and usually even more for the children than for the parents.

I am not at all saying this to justify Todd or condemn him. At present, I still do not know enough about his situation to condemn or justify anyone. Unrighteous judges, who are often those who rush to judgment, are also condemned in Scripture. I am writing this to try to keep some from stumbling by jumping to conclusions. We have a brother, a sister, their children, and a ministry that is really hurting right now. I greatly appreciate Todd’s willingness to keep ministering and praying for the healing of those who are afflicted and hurting, but he, his family, and his ministry need much healing right now. One thing that would help them and the body of Christ, possibly more than anything else, is to see some real Christian charity expressed in this situation and some righteous judges stand up, which is the duty of true elders in the church.

It would be one of the great tragedies to the body of Christ in our times to lose a ministry like Todd has. He is called to start much more than the Lakeland Outpouring, and just as the Lord went around destroying the works of the enemy by healing the sick, casting out demons, and demonstrating the power of the kingdom, Todd is doing that. He is taking ground in real power ministry on a level that has not been seen in decades. To lose Todd, and to lose Fresh Fire Ministries, would be a major defeat for the body of Christ. We would survive, and we would still ultimately prevail, but the cost of this defeat would be great.

So what do we do? First, in all things we must keep in mind that “love never fails” (see I Corinthians 13:8). How would the Lord respond to this? How can we see this through His eyes? We already know because He showed us. In II Corinthians 5:14 Paul wrote, “For the love of Christ controls us.” How would we behave if Christ’s love was controlling us? When mankind fell, He did not criticize, gossip about us, or condemn us—He laid down His life for us.

The world will never believe our gospel of redemption and restoration until we learn to redeem and restore. Let’s take a worst case scenario here and say that Todd was guilty of terrible things and is the one at fault in the separation—what should our response be? We are told in Galatians 6:1:

Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.


So, if anyone has been “caught in any trespass,” those who are “spiritual” must restore them. Those who are truly spiritual approach every situation with that goal—redemption and restoration. This is more than just forgiving them—it is getting them back to the place they were. The next verse says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Already there is some gloating over this situation. Some are trying to use it to promote themselves. Every situation like this is a test for everyone. Some will pass and some will fail, and the nature of everyone will be exposed. Those who truly walk in the Spirit of Christ will be obvious. The Holy Spirit is the Helper, and those who truly walk by the Spirit will be trying to help, because they love Todd, his wife, the church, and most of all, the Lord who already laid down His life for them.

This is a real opportunity for the church to show some maturity and Christian love. This does not mean compromise, but it does mean addressing this situation in an almost opposite way that we have tended to do in the past. We will all reap what we sow, and if we want to reap grace, we must learn to sow grace every chance we get. If we want to receive mercy, we need to learn to sow mercy every chance we get. Here’s a good chance!

So what does this mean for the Lakeland Outpouring? I will address that in a bit more depth in the next Bulletin, but for now, it can continue and it can get even stronger. A well has been opened there that does not have to be shut again. However, it does depend on a lot of decisions made by the church there. We should be praying for them and asking how we can help them because they were used to release something very important to the worldwide body of Christ.

I have already seen a great deal of gloating on the Internet over the problems Todd is having and the obvious satisfaction of certain individuals who are saying, “See, we were right.” You were nothing of the sort.

Todd is having marital problems and that has nothing to do with his tattoos or his angels. If you are saying that his doctrine caused this then Charles Stanley must have false doctrine, too, and be a false teacher, because his wife divorced him and he has refused to step down. Now, my New Testament Professor was a Southern Baptist and his wife left him. As long as he was single, he was not allowed to pastor in the SBC. As soon as he remarried, all was right in the world of the SBC and he was allowed to pastor again. Seems a bit of a triple standard here.

I am not privy to the intimate details of Todd’s marriage, and neither are the of the heresy hunters. My brother is going through hell and I will stand with him and pray for him. He’s my brother and Jesus expects nothing less of me.

Our focus as Christians in this needs to be interceding for a terribly hurt family. Todd, Shonnah, their three children and the ministry family that they have created need healing.

Great Florida Outpouring – USA Today Article

July 27, 2008
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USA Today ran a story on the Florida Outpouring which is a little more balanced than the wonderous Nightline piece. In it they have a little bit different story about names Fresh Fire has provided:

Expecting critics, Bentley’s ministry distributed a list of 15 people it said were cured, and vetted by his ministry, with all but three of their stories “medically verified.”

Yet two phone numbers given out by the ministry were wrong, six people did not return telephone messages and only two of the remainder, when reached by The Associated Press, said they had medical records as proof of their miracle cure. However, one woman would not make her physician available to confirm the findings, and the other’s doctor did not return calls despite the patient’s authorization.

Fast-rising preacher’s ‘healings’ draw ire – USATODAY.com.

The thing that became obvious to me in reading this article is not that people are not being healed, but that they do not want to talk to the news media about it. They do not want their personal information out for all the world to see or to be grilled by hostile media personnel.

CBN (the 700 Club) has had a bit of a different experience.  They have been running reports on the Outpouring since it’s early days. They went to the meetings and have talked to people who were healed. People were willing to talk to them and to provide medical evidence for their stories. You can read all the articles here.

Leaving Wheelchairs Behind

The first night CBN News was here, eight handicapped people were healed and left their wheelchairs behind.

Cancer had put Dara Erickson in a wheelchair. “I had tumors going up and down my spinal column. And it wrapped around my spine and cracked my backbone,” she said.

Her healing came progressively during four days and nights of meetings. “I guess it was the fourth day, I was out of the wheelchair. And I could walk. I felt my legs get stronger and stronger and stronger.”

Caroline Tollefsen-Gonzales can’t stop moving and flexing her right hand. Before the revival, it was shriveled up like a pain-dispensing claw because of a rare syndrome.

Rare Syndrome Healed

“It attacked the joints, the muscles, the bones, the skin. And it was unbearable,” she said.

Caroline sent CBN News a medical report a neurologist wrote last year about Caroline’s right hand, labeling its condition “Permanent Impairment” and writing there was “nearly no range of motion of the fingers with claw-like deformity, and pain from the fingers to the elbow.”

But the first night Caroline came to the meetings, she received a total healing. Flexing her hand by her face, she said, “I have never been able to do this since it started.”

It is, however, a sad statement on the Body of Christ that we are willing to trash a brother due to biased reporting from the secular media, when contradictory information is readily available from reliable, Christian sources.

The Doctrine Police have a lot in common with the X-Files’ Fox Mulder. The poster in his office says, “I want to Believe.” Unfortunately, the Doctrine Police WANT to believe evil of all those who do not agree with them.