Thursday, August 21, 2008

Todd Bentley's affair? and excessive drinking revealed!

I've withheld my comments on the Todd Bentley scenario this week waiting for more details to come out so as not to be hastily jump to conclusions. The initial statement released by Fresh Fire Ministries last Friday revealed that Todd Bentley had entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with another woman. I highly suspected that it was an actual affair, but didn't comment on it as I did not want to misrepresent the facts. Several sources close to the situation including friends of Bentley as well as both present and former staff members of Fresh Fire have stated that it was indeed an affair- apparently Todd's second in the last three years. In addition to that it has been revealed by John Arnott (pastor of the Toronto Blessing) who is close friends with Todd Bentley and was one of the "apostles" who commissioned him as a revivalist on June 23 that Todd Bentley also has an excessive drinking problem. While I do not rejoice in moral misconduct- it is a blessing to see the truth finally come out about a man that was clearly a false prophet from the beginning.

Now GodTV owes the world an apology for claiming in a commercial repeatedly aired on the network that "any criticism of Todd Bentley is demonic." Furthermore those who operate in the prophetic gift must explain why their prophetic gifting did not reveal to them that there was sin in the camp. While some have already acknowledged their error in endorsing Bentley others in the prophetic camp like Rick Joyner- pastor of Morningstar Fellowship Church in Rock Hill, SC continues to defend Bentley as "a greatly anointed man of God." Answering the question of whether or not Bentley's inevitably pending divorce should disqualify him from ministry, Rick Joyner once again manages to twist scripture out of context saying that "Bentley should not be disqualified on grounds that would disqualify God who himself went through a divorce as stated in Jeremiah 3." I am not saying that I think a divorce disqualifies from ministry. I simply point out the statement to show how scripture is being taken out of context in defense of a fallen leader. I pray to God not, but I would not at all be surprised if trends like the past repeat themselves and Bentley is seen back in action by the end of the year.

The following that Todd Bentley assembled around himself is a clear sign that the body of Christ needs to get into the scriptures and get the scriptures into them. Discernment has never been so lacking. Given the fact that Bentley rarely referenced or even mentioned the Bible, the only reason for him to have such a following is that many "Christians" are consumed with the same sign-seeking mentality that 2000 years ago led the Pharisees to reject Jesus as their Messiah and Lord. Sadly it's getting to the point to where someone might even be able to go on stage with a Ouija Board and use it call down the power of the Holy Spirit- and yet people would still follow them.

There is some serious clean up that needs to be done after yet another path of destruction by a clear false teacher and false prophet in Todd Bentley. In response to what I have seen these past four months, I am committed to being a part of the mission to expose the other false prophets as well praying that God will either lead them into the light of truth that is found in Christ Jesus, or that he would tear down the high places that is their ministry. This includes other members of the Prophetic Movement like Rick Joyner, Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, Patricia King etc. as well as teachers in the Word of Faith Movement like Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, etc. The apostle Paul himself took false doctrine very seriously and dealt with it very visciously. We should respond in the same manner. While false prophets will always be entering into our midst, we can not be complacent like we have over the past 50 years for that has allowed Satan to gain a huge foothold on us. I ask you at the very least to pray for me and the others who seek to expose the false teachers while pronouncing the truth of the Gospel.

Monday, August 4, 2008

"Jesus Junkie turned Christ Follower"

As I write this, I am very grateful that some discernment actually does exist within the body of Christ. Seeing Todd Bentley in action is laughable yet at the same time saddening. It's laughable because such embellished stories are what I would expect to see on a sitcom or Saturday Night Live. It's saddening because a multitude of people in full view of an abundance of evidence to the contrary have been blind and stupid enough to continue to believe that this man and his ministry are indeed of God.

Eleven years ago I realized my own stupidity as God awakened to the imbalance of my own faith that resulted from my endorsement and walk becoming heavily dependent upon "The Pensacola Outpouring," which was the counterfeit revival of that time. After seeing a prophecy by Pastor John Kilpatrick proclaim that Hank Hanegraaf's ministry within 90 days would fail and then seeing that that did not take place, it opened my eyes to reading Hanegraaf's Counterfeit Revival which had been published a year prior. While I am constantly reminded of the fact that Kilpatrick did apologize for his prophecy Hanegraaf, I am appalled by the reality that Kilpatrick false prophecy was taken very lightly. That paved the way for tons of false prophecies and false prophets to simply get by with not meeting up to God's standard of a prophet- and allowed room for men like Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, Paul Cain, and Rick Joyner to flourish all the more.

After reading Counterfeit Revival, I realized the imbalance in my faith. It was eyeopening but also disheartening as I pondered the thought of thinking that if these men who claimed to be servants of God had deceived me, how do I know that God himself is not a great deceiver. That led me into a season of 10 months of anger, depression, and disillusionment. At times, I literally wanted to just walk away and forget about my Christian walk altogether. When God finally got my attention to the fact that he was not the one responsible for my deception, my feet became planted in the study of His word. Yet it was a trial because at that time my church was trying to produce its own carbon copy of the Pensacola Outpouring, a carbon copy that would lead to backbiting and superspirituality that would lead to my departure in 1999 and further towards a huge church split in 2003. God has drawn me back to that place and I thank God for a wonderful pastor who preaches the Word in a way I've heard it preached by few. But there are still those people who assert that the "Pensacola Outpouring" was indeed a great move of God.

In 1998 when I first started to express my views after God had awakened me to the deception, I seemed like the idiot in the matter. At that time, the "revival" was at its peak, and so I seemed and I looked stupid for saying the long term effects would bear forth more bad fruit than good. Looking at the state of where it all took place at Brownsville Assembly of God years later, my statement has been validated. A 2006 article by J. Lee Grady in Charisma Magazine pointed out that the church was in tons of debt and very lucky to have even 400 people in attendance on a Sunday morning. It all started coming apart with a split between Brownsville Revival School of Ministry President Michael L. Brown and Senior Pastor John Kilpatrick.

Looking back on at all I laugh at how big of a fool I was then. I was young but I should have known better than to think that signs and wonders were absolutely necessary in order to draw the lost so that they may hear the gospel. If I had a better understanding of scripture, I would have realized then that there is no greater spirit of religion than that which leads us to believe we need any more of a miracle, sign, or wonder than what Christ has already given us in His resurrection from the dead. But like most others who swam in the Brownsville River, I was too caught up in the thought of sustaining myself as I embraced absurdity and obscured reality in a manner of a "quick fix" to keep me from getting real with the brokenness that was present in my life. I was a Jesus Junkie when I needed to be a Christ follower.

While I am aware that for many the issue of whether or not the Pensacola Outpouring was of God is still being debated, I think we need to examine the longterm fruits of the revival more carefully. I contend that even in the midst of the revival there was much bad fruit as people got focused more on escpaing reality than dealing with the problems God was calling them to deal with in their lives. Yet this is never going to be advertised in the midst of a so-called "revival" movement." Years later as we look at the state of the church there and as we consider the multitudes that have fallen out of the back doors of the church as a whole into the kingdom of the cults and false religions- we need to be reminded of the importance of holding steadfast to the word of God- that that is our supreme authority for faith and practice and that the best way to experience God is by living out the principles set forth in His word.

When the body of Christ does that we will experience true revival. We will move from being "Jesus Junkies" to becoming Christ followers. And we will realize the danger of false teachers like Todd Bentley and the other people in the Prophetic Movement and the New Apostolic Reformation Movement both of which he is affiliated with. In reality, they are the Latter Rain heresy of the 1940's invading the church under the guise of a new name. As I have said before, while I was disheartened, depressed, and disillusioned in the midst of realizing how I had been deceived, what made it worse was the fact that I had led others into my deceit with me. I am continually grieved by the fact that some of those that I led into the deceit are still therein entangled. But all I can do is expose the error and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit.