I was speaking with a friend that is a leader in the prophetic movement on Facebook and we got on the issue of restoring people to ministry. I believe what happened with Todd Bentley at the end of the Lakeland Revival is an open rebuke to the whole system.
One thing about prophets is they come to upset that man has set up. This is why most prophets are hated. The good news is that Isreal loved its’ dead prophets as well. I wonder how we would treat Smith Wigglesworth and John G. Lake today?
For anyone that is not in the know, Lakeland Revival was a move of God a few years ago. It was full on ministry with miracles and deliverance everywhere. It bought the best out in the Charismatic movement and the worst out in the Pentecostal naysayers. At one point, the Assemblies of God general superintendent took a veiled hit at what was happening.
It ended with Todd Bentley having a moral breakdown and what happened after that is what is a sick fact of American Churches. Our friends up in Canada, you are no better about this.
This is a problem that we have had since at least Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker.
Getting thrown under the bus
Let’s face the facts. When Todd Bentley had some moral issues that includes drinking and an “emotional affair” (that ended his marriage ultimately), leaders were not lining up to help him. No, they was lining up to post condemnations on their websites. Overnight, he became a liability to the charismatic movement and everyone was in full “damage control.”
People only cared about distancing themselves from the Lakeland Revival and making sure it was killed at fast as they get everything packed up. It actually reminded me of the stories of what happened in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1956 with A.A. Allen.
This exposed just how unChrist like the pastoral ministry has become and a complete hypocrisy. It was the prophets and the evangelist reaching out to Todd, not pastors who preach restoring of the person weekly. It was those who call themselves Revivalists (Evangelists with a revival message) that was helping him back up and dusting him off from the fall.
The ones that preach restoring of the soul, pastors, were running as fast as they could; calling Todd Bentley a con artist; and warning people that they want nothing to do with the Lakeland Revival. Many of these pastors were friends of mine. I just lowered my head in shame at what they did.
I am not sure why pastors want to pretend to be spiritual firemen and run to people’s fire but in reality, they don’t. America’s pastors should have been beam lining for Todd to get him dusted off and back in the fight for souls.
What actually happened was the complete opposite. Pentecostal and Charismatic pastors were making Hank Hanegraaff look mild in their proclamation of judgement on the man and the revival. They all agreed Todd Bentley was the anti-Christ. If not, he was the false prophet in Revelation.
That legalistic 2 year thing
People were very slowly starting to lighten up and was demanding his sit out of ministry for two years just like the Assemblies demanded of Jimmy Swaggart. Todd Bentley didn’t go for it and neither did Swaggart. This is for very good reason: it is not biblical and rooted in judgement.
The only clear restoration of a minister we have in the New Testament is Peter. He denied Christ on Good Friday. This has to be the ultimate moral failure. However, in just six weeks, he is the one preaching the gospel in Acts 2.
Why didn’t he sit down and do his two years of punishment for making the rest of us look bad? He needs to sit there, listen to everyone tell him how “bad” he was and his actions hurt the “image” of the movement! Nope. None of that is there.
What Peter had between his denials and his Pentecostal message was one major thing: the Upper Room experience. People with moral failures do not need to “learn” about their failure. They know all about them. What they need is a full on Upper Room encounter like Peter had in Acts 2:1-4.
This is a far more biblical model of restoration that this silly two year of punishment that many want to push. It didn’t work for Swaggart and it didn’t for Todd Bentley. It won’t work because it is not biblical.
Will the Lakeland Revival rebuke take root?
No one knows. There has been no major moral failure since then but I doubt it. In the larger Charismatic movement, I watch pastors do the same thing again with Bishop Eddie Long. I also saw it, on a lesser level, with Benny Hinn.
The problem that no one wants to talk about is that pastors care more about damage control and limiting their pastoral care sessions that actually believing for revival and covering people who God uses in the love of God and intercession.
The quicker that pastors can openly admit this insecurity among them and they are not spiritual firemen; the sooner that the power of their own judgement will be broken off them. Thousands of pastors leave the ministry every year because they carry their own yokes, not the yoke of Christ.
When they see the weight of the one they are carrying, they cry “unfair” when they see someone living in success. The second they can throw a big, ugly and destructive yoke on someone for a sin in their life; they will. If they are going to carry this burden, so is Todd Bentley, darn it!
Where I stand about Todd Bentley
I love the ministry he gives. I do not agree with him on many things and his stories of having Starbucks with Paul are a little unbelievable but it is what it is. He is not a teacher and he should not try and teach. He needs to stay in his lane as an evangelist!