It usually isn’t long before a false teacher shows his or her true nature and falls hard from ministry. The most recent example of this is the Florida Healing Outpouring’s Todd Bentley.
Bentley, the 32-year old head of Canada-based Fresh Fire Ministries, began his rise to religious and media stardom at what began as a 1-week revival in April 2008 at the Ignited Church of Lakeland, Florida. With his flamboyant personality and pierced and tattooed body calling down healings to the ecstatic throngs that filled the revival to overflowing, Bentley had quite a number of people in the world convinced he was the real deal.
To others who looked past his “Bam! Bam! You’re healed!” rhetoric, Bentley gave off many warning signs of his true nature. For one, he never seemed to preach from the Bible. Two, his supposed miracles of giving people gold teeth and turning glass eyes into working optics, along with his supposed raisings of the dead, could never be substantiated. Three, he seemed focused on money. Four, Bentley was obsessed with angels (demons). And five, the mark of a true revival is repentance before God, not healing, and these meetings were far from God-centered on repentance and salvation.
In August 2008, Bentley was discovered to be having an “unhealthy relationship” with a female staffer, and the adultery left his wife filing for divorce. Bentley is stepping down from Fresh Fire Ministries and cancelling all public meetings, including a 38-city stadium tour of U.S. cities (“Evangelist Bentley Stepping Down” by Allie Martin, OneNewsNow, Aug. 19, 2008, http://www.onenewsnow.com/Church/Default.aspx?id=219700).
Whatever credibility Todd Bentley had (and that was very little) is now gone. The damage he has done to the name of Christianity in the eyes of the unbelieving world is immense. To those who attended the meetings in hopes of getting closer to the Lord, their shattered faith is even worse. He has succeeded in doing what all false teachers come to do, unwittingly or not — to subvert the work of Christ.
Like a fresh fire, Bentley’s “revival” has burned out just as quickly. Maybe he thinks if only he could use some of that supposed divine healing power and go “Bam! Bam! You’re healed!” to his personal life and career. He’ll find that won’t work. His only hope is in repentance to ask Jesus to be his Savior and truly let Him direct his life. I pray that he does.
“He [the Lord] will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” – 1 Corinthians 4:5b (NIV)
For more info on Todd Bentley and the Florida Healing Outpouring, read “An Evaluation of the Florida Healing Outpouring” by Dr. David R. Reagan.
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I get a lot of, “Judge not” being thrown at me for my opinions on the situation. But I have to speak out – because if I can help just one person to avoid the faith-shattering lies – it will be worth it. Good post, nice verse at the end – very fitting for the moment.
I HAD HEARD SO LITTLE ABOUT THIS MAN, UNTIL I SAW A QUESTION ABOUT HIM ON MR. REAGAN WEB SITE.I CALLED A MAN THAT I WAS GOING TO HAVE MEETING WITH HIM AND HIS WIFE. I HAD JUST VISTED A CHURCH IN MY AREA THAT WAS SAYING SOME OF THIS SAME JUNK. AFTER BEING IN HIS CHURCH THE NEXT DAY I WAS SICK AS A DOG. TOLD HIM ABOUT IT . WELL HIS ANSWER WAS SPIRITIAL WARFARE. I CALL IT WITCHCRAFT.THE GUY I CALL SAID OH. THIS GUY IS GREAT, I CAN TELL YOU HE IS THE REAL DEAL. A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER I READ ABOUT THE AFFAIR. I TOLD MY SELF SOME PEOPLE ARE SO DECEIVED AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT. IT IS SAD THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW GOD’S WORD ENOUGHT TO JUDGE ANYTHING. IF IT GOES AGAINT GOD’S WRITTEN WORD… RUN
You say that those who attended the meetings in hopes of getting closer to the Lord had their faith shattered. I think it is important to remember that EVERYONE on Earth is a sinner, including pastors, the people at Lamb & Lion Ministries and yes, myself. What is my point? My point is Christians should not fall into the trap of elevating anyone, including pastors, other Christians, mentors, friends, etc. to be anything more than fellow sinners in need of the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. Don't put anyone on a pedestal in your eyes because you may indeed be setting your faith up for a fall. The only One you should put your total faith and trust in is Jesus Christ Himself. He will never, ever, ever let you down.
I just wish to clarify my previous post that I am in no way defending the person in question. Nor am I criticizing anyone pointing out the errors of his ways. Lamb & Lion does a great job of educating Christians to help them discern if someone is not being true to the teachings of Christ. It is important to have that knowledge and ability so Christians are not duped by false teachings. I thank God for the ministries of Lamb and Lion. Continue to keep us informed. Thank you and God bless!
I agree totally with Lamb&Lion – I have personally, unfortunately, had some brief encounters with people who are followers of Branham. They have a huge church in Vancouver, B.C. and these people are so deceived it is unbelieveable! I cannot go into details.
Thank you Lamb & Lion very much for informing and educating us on this issue. Nowdays bad things travel around the globe very fast so the believers also have to be alert and connected. Some pastors from as far as Finland were already visiting these Florida meetings. Let's pray that this false teaching does not spread any further.
here’s some truth from behind the scenes in Abbotsford. Jessa first of all was an intern in the fall 08 cycle. She never applied for it Todd invited her into the internship. Even after a board member severly opposed it. Later Todd invited her and another intern to live in his house during the internship, and after the internship as a live in nanny.
At the same time the Bellingham, Washington church was being established so fresh fire could get a legal foot hold in America. This is evident by the lack and the sheer refusal to work with the local churches. It was just for the papers not the church.
In January 2009 2 members of the board confronted Todd about Jessa, and that it was wrong and they couldn’t stand by him about it. They where “relieved” of their position for doing so. This shouldn’t be surprising as another member of FFM was faceed with the same threat, after he caught Todd with another woman in England (this is what the dark night of the soul was actually about), the FFM member was forced to either work for FFM outside of North America or be fired. Jessa is woman number 4 that Todd has cheated on Shonnah with.
Todd isn’t 100% to blame just 80% the rest of the blame falls on those board members and pastors that refused to confront Todd on his infidelities. One in particular had the mind set that if Todd does it, it’s okay even if it isn’t for others. Others refused to confront because they didn’t want to loose their jobs (like many have over the years)
Even in Lakeland which I personally think was a two edged work of God, it was a blessing to the locals who have prayed for God to move. And the other edge was a judgement on Todd, in total over the top Todd style. During the highet of revival there was excessive drinking, slasher flicks, and other things I wont get into now with Todd and his inner circle (yes men). There was infighting with the leaders on stage, and the interns where just slaves with ministry badges. Or the fact that all the money collected for the orphans and for sudan never made it to them, it was instead used to pay for the buildings/land for the revival.
Even after Lakeland fell apart, and the news finally became public, Todd never returned home to Abbotsford. He remained in America (illegally) in California, then a breif stop in Reno for their quickey divorce rules. Then it was off to Rick Joyner and his marriage with Jessa
These words are not made up, this is a summary of many conversations I have had with former FFM employees, board members and former interns. I just can’t stand by and see Todd get away with this for a fourth time. A man who has turned his back on his wife and children once again. yet will be received by the masses as THE man of God.