Thinking Out Loud

February 16, 2010

Confronting Todd Bentley

Todd Bentley announced his separation from his wife, Shonnah, in August 2008,  and resigned from the Board of Fresh Fire. A statement released by the remaining Board members said ‘Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff’, and that he will ‘refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life’. ~Wikipedia entry on Todd Bentley

Several months ago, this blog crossed paths with the blog, Bene Diction Blogs On (BDBO) because of my personal history with the individual behind the Ponzi scheme that affected several of the staff at Crossroads Christian Communications.

For awhile, I had BDBO on the blogroll here, but was reminded by a reader that just as many bloggers won’t post anonymous comments, so also is it difficult when a blog host is an unknown commodity.   I shared a number of off-blog e-mails with Bene at the time, but if I’ve ever actually known who Bene is, the name now escapes me.   I have no idea who I’m dealing with when we correspond.

Not so anonymous however are a series of copyrighted posts on BDBO by reporterRick Hiebert.

Rick has been following the career of charismatic (in more ways than one) evangelist and faith-healer Todd Bentley.   Rick’s posts are lengthy, and I don’t read them all, but a recent one led me to the website Confronting Todd Bentley, which in turn led me to a series of videos posted on YouTube.

The videos consisted of a number of scriptural rebukes made during one of Bentley’s meetings at Morningstar in Charlotte, NC.    Yes, this interrupted the meeting, and yes, that’s not the ideal way to bring confrontation; but given what these men have come to learn, they could not be silent.   Because of this, many more of Bentley’s followers have an opportunity to hear the other side of the story online.

But will they?   Probably not.   In Pentecostal and Charismatic circles, the person who occupies the stage, who holds the microphone, whose name is on the marquee; that person owns all the marbles and  commands all the respect.  “Touch not the Lord’s anointed;” is an oft-repeated phrase in this particular church culture.    Even in small, rural churches, the Pentecostal minister can be revered in a way that rivals Catholicism’s papacy.

So it was no surprise that the many rebukes against Todd did nothing to sway the people in the audience.    The website also carries the text of a pamphlet the protesters distributed that day.    Even if only half of their allegations are true,  all of this raises the question of Bentley’s mentor, author Rick Joyner.

Joyner purchased the former Heritage Village (PTL Club) property in Charlotte once operated by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.    A number of apologetics ministries such as Apologetics Index find theological problems with his various writings.   But his endorsement of a “restored” Todd Bentley certainly clouds his credibility further.

In a recent, lengthy “Special Bulletin” from Morningstar Ministries, Rick Joyner gives reasons why he felt it was right to release Bentley back into limited “Local Church” ministry prior to the end of the restoration process.   Much of his argument makes a razor sharp distinction which separates the qualifications for “being an elder” from the manifestations of  “having a ministry.”

The oldest post by Hiebert at BDBO is 19 months ago (BDBO posts are sadly undated) and is a reprint from a publication, The Report Magazine supposedly dated April 30th, 2001.   If this dating is correct, Hiebert has been following Bentley’s career for a long, long time.

In the Bible we’re instructed to worship God with the Spirit and with understanding.   Our faith is at times emotional, and there are things in the realm of the Kingdom of God that — as the Apostle Paul, a superb intellectual said so clearly — are seen by the world as foolishness.   But our faith also has to be grounded in the Word of God and our lives have to maintain an internal cohesiveness to give credibility to the work of Christ in our lives.

My personal belief is that Todd Bentley represents the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements at their worst.   Like the ones who disrupted Bentley’s recent North Carolina meetings, I find there are times when one simply cannot be silent.

You’re invited to follow Rick Hiebert’s writings at BDBO, and can also find some of the earlier posts at The Shotgun Blog at WesternStandard.ca You may also wish to read a recent article (with video link) wherein Bentley’s current wife, Jessa, claims to have communicated with the deceased, in particular one Oral Roberts.

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8 Comments »

  1. I grieve over us, the Body of Christ. We don’t need to hear ANY side of the story. Discerning of spirits is supernatural. We have not earnestly prayed for the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits — free for the asking. It would save us a lot of heartache….especially as it gets harder and harder to know the ‘source’ via natural means.

    I really don’t have the time or inclination to read the Todd Bentley stuff, even tho I am curious to know if that is the same Rick Hiebert.

    What I would like to say, though, Paul, is — please don’t paint all Pentecostals and Charismatics with the same brush. Maybe in the circles you have traveled in…but not in mine!

    Comment by kaybee — February 17, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  2. Kaybee,

    Re. Last paragraph: I consider myself very Pentecostal in doctrine inasmuch as I believe in the limitless power of the Holy Spirit and don’t believe that the operation of spiritual gifts ceased after Pentecost.

    However, there’s no denying that there are “excesses” within that particular movement. I’ve had long discussions with Pentecostal pastors on this subject, and over the years they’ve seen a growing divide between conservative Pentecostals (whose services often more resemble mainstream Evangelical churches) and groups which align themselves more with Vineyard-styled “signs and wonders” theology, or the more flamboyant expressions of Pentecostalism seen on some Christian television stations. This story highlights the extremes to be found among the latter group.

    Up until now, I’ve never had any desire to mention Bentley on this blog, but blogging is all about what you’re seeing and feeling on a particular day. When I watched the people who chose to infiltrate and interrupt his meeting — the ethics of which is another debate entirely — and watched the interviews and began to understand the courage of their convictions; and then watched Bentley’s reaction, I found myself moved to make this Tuesday’s blog post.

    So yes, ALL of us need discernment. In many ways, if you’re seeking God for spiritual gifts — notwithstanding that you should just be seeking God, period — I believe it’s THE gift to ask for.

    None of us can judge the servant of another. I don’t know where Bentley’s and Joyner’s hearts are or what their motives are. But as you read Hiebert’s articles and watch the videos, you get that strange sense of, “What is wrong with this picture?”

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — February 17, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  3. Paul, Rick Hiebert does have his own blog.

    You are very welcome to ask if he was an editor of a denominational inhouse.

    I have never asked him, so I don’t know either.

    Comment by Bene D — February 20, 2010 @ 5:43 am

  4. […] maybe I’m reading into this story against the backdrop of the post I wrote last week about Todd Bentley.  (But again, there’s been no inference of infidelity, the grounds for divorce filed are […]

    Pingback by My Day With Tiger Woods and Benny Hinn « Thinking Out Loud — February 20, 2010 @ 6:44 am

  5. Thanks very much for the mention and kind words. I hope that I can clarify a few things.

    I’m not the former editor of the PAOC magazine, The Testimony. Rather I am a former reporter for the conservative Report newsmagazines in Western Canada. (The other Rick Hiebert was sometimes confused with me, and I even wrote a fun newsbrief about it in B.C. Report, as it then was…)

    I was probably the first secular reporter to cover Bentley, starting in 2001, as you note. I was asked to contribute to the Western Standard’s blog, The Shotgun–but not the magazine–when that started up.

    As Lakeland wound down, I felt like I wanted to write on Bentley again–I had been following him closely since my Report stories–so I started doing so on The Shotgun. As Bentley became more of a religion news story and less of a “nine day wonder” news story, I noticed that BDBDO was covering Bentley. I thought it a great idea when Bene Diction suggested that I could write for BDBO–my favourite Canadian blog on religion–on Bentley and related issues and people if I wanted to. He’s been a generous host. (And he gets more hits than my personal blog, due to the fine work that he does, so it helps me too.)

    I byline my posts so that the readers can keep us straight. After all, Bene D should be free to disagree with me if he cares to.

    Thanks

    Comment by Rick Hiebert — February 20, 2010 @ 8:46 am

    • Thanks for writing.

      I’ve updated the paragraph and deleted the reference to the “other” Rick Hiebert. It didn’t really affect anything else in this post.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — February 20, 2010 @ 10:29 am

  6. I am writing this on october 7 2011 forgive my lack of punctuation. Iwas involved in achurch here in abilene texas..a small church..i remember the creed basicly was “we are not a preaching church but a teaching church”..how i was brough to the church was my boss at the time was heavily involved with this type of ministry and a evangelist by the name of david piper had come to minister for 3 days “the new wine and the glory of god” myself and my cousins attendied this revival meeting…a strange thing appeared on this evangelist..a gliter like substance .called glory dust by those who knew of it at the time…this was roughly around 20002 or 3 i belive…anywaym the second night as the meeting ended this “glory dust” began to fall in one part of the church where the evangelist had been sitting…strange but at that time i never doubted or questioned this type of manifistation..i remember when prayer time came he would call out various sicknesses being healed..like benny hinn does on his tv program since then god has opened my spiritual eyes to see the place where all that leads to..false doctrine.false prophecys..lies all in the name of jesus….fast forward two a year and a half ago roughly ,,i was homeless and the place i went to eat at here one morning had a man teaching a small study to us homeless as we ate breakfast..the man mentioned being slain in the spirit at home and waking up to find a gold nugget on the floor where he lay..i knew where that was going and though i failed to biblicly go to him first i contacted my pastor who forwarded my concern to this mans ..will return to finish

    Comment by calvin — October 7, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    • this is me to finish..i dont understand how to use this…anywaythis mans pastor sent an email or contacted my personal pastor of my concern…as i was at home my pastor called me asking me what the heck was going on..i began to tell him..he rebuked me telling me that “calvin now weve been friends for a long time and you hurt that man(calling him by name)”he loves jesus and you need to apologize to him” i did go and apologize to him for the way i approached it and told him what i thought..i never said that this man didnt love jesus that was a false accusion against me..fast forward to 2 months ago..this homeless ministry had opened a prayer room..when i asked the pastor how he got the idea he said he saw it being done when he went to kansas city…now when this ministry was started i believe it was of gods spirit years ago..it was for the homeless the drunks the alcoholics the unwanted..repentance was preached god was saving souls…ok back on track…when i went into the prayer room to check it out..(it used to be the old sanctuary and man the tears that where shed at that alter and the souls that where under conviction there being saved was awesome i myself was saved in that very room) when i entered the main door to the prayer room..i noticed a flyer and some cards on the table right before entering the prayer room…with the picture of the man who said to us homeless that day that he had this experience waking up after being under the spirit and finding this gold nugget on the floor..his pic and someone elses pic was on there promoting a conference of some kind and prophecy to be given to the people in attendence after each night of the meeting….it made me wonder if any of this is tied to the kansas city prophets and i.h.o.p…im not fault finding..im not a pharysee..im woried that this ministry has begun to promote false movements and prophets …gosh it breaks my heart of course i could be wrong and i remember here about a month ago the pastor tell me when i see him i always feel guilty of what i did in trying to correct ..him saying to me “i used to be that way to your growing” but i wasnt honest in my heart cause i didnt tell him i still believed it was counterfeit…could it be that the kansas city prohets the spirit of that movement and the teachings of that movement the i hop and all that is invading a homeless ministry….guys im no preacher im just a sheep im not asking that you do anything but pray …i even now have a fear as im typing this that god is going to dwestroy me for fighting against this…why should i worry and be concerned after all they love jesus? i am gripped with confusion i know i will not confront these things again with any of the ministers that work at this ministry for the homeless i did that once expressing my concerns as was sternly rebuked for doing so…sometimes i wonder “am i the one whos decieved” am i fighting against what god is doing..i am so torn and mabey i shouldnt be ..im just concerned a spirit not of god is slipping in under the cover of feeding the poor that will bring false fire where there once was the true fire of repentance and conviction..altjhough this is now a primary feeding and clothing ministry and used to be a preaching and feeding ministry and another building close by is where church is on wednsdays and sundays..though they now are separate enties functioning on there own …anyway just keep this in your prayers im so under attack trying to seek out the truth of all this but i have to do it under cover basicly and play like as though im good….so i listen for clues and watch and pray for god to reveal whats going on..and then im confused i get deppressed i dont know why im so broken over this ..any insights or wisdom would be helped and prayers are needed

      Comment by calvin — October 7, 2011 @ 1:55 pm


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