Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Todd Bentley sadness

Todd Bentley and his wife have seperated.

And so the blogosphere goes into overdrive like vultures around a carcass.

Some of the posts in a thread like this fill me with hope, but most of them, especially early on, fill me with anger. Do not read them if you are easily offended, please. That first page is really quite painful to read.

The "I told you so" movement sweeps into full view, this is an example of many, although ones like this list some useful observations even if I don't agree with everything they say.
  • We’re not to focus on outward appearances
  • We’re to exercise discernment, regardless of the manifestations and preaching taking place from the pulpit
  • There will always be examples like this
  • Pray for Todd Bentley
Todd Bentley is the Christian "Gazza" of my generation. The same people who lifted him up are now dropping him like a stone. Those who always said it would end in tears are proved true, but end up looking callous and smug. It is a tragedy.

This is the saddest video of all I have seen from Lakeland. It was not that long ago at all.

Big questions for those apostles, Peter, John, Bill, Che, Rick etc on the stage that night.

1) Did they know the Bentleys were having relationship troubles?
2) What have done to support it?
3) What are they going to do for them now?

These were the promises over him: what are they going to do for him now?

Many people think that this "commissioning" was just people wanting to get on the stage of the next big thing. That is a harsh accusation, so prove them wrong guys - go to his aid, he needs you. You "stood with him" on the stage in front of hundreds of millions of viewers in tens of countries, now "stand with him" in the gutter.

I have a really heavy heart when I think about this, and my frustration is at both sides of the discussion.

To those who attack Todd - Why is the christian army the only army in the world who shoots our own wounded?

To those who support Todd - Why do we lift people up so high that all that is left to do is to fall?

We have the right to ask questions, really tough, pertinent, timely questions - "Apostles" at that service, ICA, God TV - what are you going to do to help Todd and what are you going to do to help those following him?

We have the right to ask questions about the money, the angels, the use of scripture, the style etc but one by one, by their own merits.

But critics of Todd - what would you like your christian brothers and sisters to do if you fall in some way? This is not the time to kick a man when he is down, it is time to lift truth and light and grace above human failure.

The fallout from this could be really huge, the damage to people's faith huge, the division caused massive. No-one wins.

As I ponder this situation my own response is this:

1) Pray for Todd
2) Pray for the reconciliation of their marriage
3) Pray for the children

And to seek to learn from it. Not getting off on a self righteous "I told you so" and not giving up on the power of God at work in witnessing to the glory of His son Jesus through signs and wonders.

I think we can only really deal with something like this if we:

Look to Jesus,
look to scripture,
look to wise counsel,
and look at our own hearts first.

NB: I have amended the post to be clearer in what I am trying to say based on comments received. I also removed a link to an unverified source, including a whole previous post, in response to Peter Kirk's fair challenge in the comments section regarding only focussing on verified statements, which I take on board now, and for the future.

ADDITION: This link was posted in the comment to an article by the editor of Charisma magazine


Anonymous said...

I'm one of the people who have been uncomfortable with Todd Bentley and his antics.

Do I feel smug? Am I gloating? No.

I feel sad for him, his wife, his kids, the thousands who flocked to hear him.

Primarily though, I feel sad that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ has been sullied. That so called "apostles" who were happy to ride on his coat tails are now treating him like he's a bad smell.

I think there's a lot more to be revealed yet - and it won't be pretty.

And I won't gloat over that either.

Peter Kirk said...

The statement does not say that Todd "has filed for separation from his wife." It says that he and Shonna are separated, without any suggestion of who took the initiative or any mention of any official paperwork. It also says nothing about several months of counselling. Do you have any other source of reliable information? If not, you as an elder should know not to pass on gossip about Christian leaders.

many thousands of concerns look to have been proved true

Really? I have seen only one concern proved to be at all true, that for Todd's marriage. You have absolutely no reason to think that there is any truth to any concerns about "the money, the angels, the use of scripture, the style etc." which are completely separate matters.

After a post which starts so sensitively, why have you joined the army of those who shoot their own wounded and kick a man when he is down?

Blue, with a hint of amber said...

"look to" Peter, as in, have the appearance of.

All of the "something doesn't feel right" about this kind of comments people have made appear to, look to have come to fruition.

I have amended my comment regarding the original story if it is not verified for the reasons you state.

There are that many stories on this it is increasingly difficult to verify it.

Anonymous said...

You ask "Why is the Christian army the only army in the world that shoots its own wounded?"

No one wants to kick a man when he's down.

But, this man is a self-proclaimed evangelist/teacher/movement leader. He has made some outrageous claims about mantles, ministries, angels etc etc.

In the Bible Paul says not many should aim to be teachers because they will be judged more harshly. I think Paul would be the first person to offer someone the "right boot" of fellowship if they preached something contrary or additional to scripture.

Todd Bentley was a disqualified person (due to family situation) who taught error to thousands upon thousands.

The Church waking up to that is not "shooting its own wounded", but dealing biblically with a wolf.

Listen to Mark Driscoll's latest offering on the Mars Hill webiste called "Spiritual Warfare" - he talks about this kind of thing. Bearing in mind he recorded it in February 2008, well before this shenanigans started, its all rather prophetic.

Blue, with a hint of amber said...

I am all for asking the questions and dealing with disagreements. I would certainly ask many questions of the teaching about the things mentioned.

But lots of what I have read is just plain old personal insults hidden within a few theological words.

Paul challenged Peter from scripture on the way he related to the gentiles, and how that had led others astray (Gal 2:11-16).

What I ma saying is that there is no need for all the name calling, the truth will overcome.

Anonymous said...

This heart-breakingly honest piece

was written by the editor of Charisma magazine.