I wonder if Todd Bentley is a fan of Jeopardy, the famous TV game show. I'm sure you know the one--where Alex Trebek provides an answer ("This preacher's revival in Lakeland ended ignobly.") and you provide the right question ("Who is...")
What brings this to mind is a video released a few weeks ago by Bentley's old friend, the charismatic evangelist Patricia King, another transplanted British Columbian. Patricia King has her own possible problems with being orthodox, and has had to pull an item off her website and apologize when people feared she was bring Biblically unsound. But in this one particular instance, I think she may be wise.
And I think she making an effort to rebuke her old friend here. She doesn't name the evangelist who she is worried about in this video, but in talking about the importance of "covenants", she uses an example. I think she is talking about Bentley. We have the "answer" in her description and may use it to guess who she is talking about.
The video has been saved in two parts on YouTube. In part one, she begins her talk on the importance of remaining committed in marriage, toughing it out through thick and thin.
Starting at 4:34 of the first part of the video...
...King begins to cite an example of what she believes can happen when the marriage coventant is broken:
"...before long, you just want to give up and go with someone else, and that actually happened with someone I know, in fact, the Lord had told this man to marry this man, He told him in a vision, and from what I understand, it was almost like an audible voice that he was told to marry a certain woman..."
[I'll interrupt King for a moement to remember Todd Bentley's autobiography, Journey Into the Miraculous, You may recall that he claims in his autobiography that he received a special message from the Lord that he was to marry Shonnah Andres...which he did. He wrote:
“…the Lord had actually shown me an open vision of Shonnah. It was my first open-eyed vision. I was in my living room and my fireplace opened up, kind of like a TV screen, and I saw us embracing in a wheat field that was ready for harvest. We were both weeping and I was wearing a tux and she was wearing a wedding dress. As the vision unfolded, her friend Roswetta (who was now my friend) was talking with me in the living room about Shonnah. I described the open vision to her as it happened. The presence of the Lord fell and we both wept. Roswetta said, ‘I can’t see it but I can feel goose bumps.’ During this vision, I also received an anointing of creativity, poetry and writing. In fact, I even received a three-page prophetic poem that I read at our wedding. I still write prophetic poems for my wife to this day.”
I'll go back to where I paused King's remarks...]
Patricia King continues:
...it was almost like an audible voice that he was told to marry a certain woman. And they were happily married and they had children.....They had gotten married by making vows and a covenant with each other before God and before man, in response to this word of the Lord that this man had had. And over the years this marriage got a little more uncomfortable. The wife wasn't on board with the husband and instead of taking time to look after things at home, he looked after his own calling instead, and pursued that calling and got the praises of men and other women and started looking at other women, and started, you know, crossing boundaries on a number of occasions and started being unfaithful witin his marriage. His wife still loved him and he decided 'I want to get a divorce' and his wife said 'No, I don't want one'. He separated from his wife and became involved with another woman and ended up divorcing his wife and marrying this other woman that he had had an affair with. [She becomes indignant] And then [now] he's trying to get into front line ministry with an endorsement on that ministry saying everything's fine. I can be divorced and remarried and have this work and it's not a problem."
I'll pause here. What leads me to think that this is about Bentley is that while there are probably many men who are divorced and returning to ministry, but her talk about "front line ministry" and an "endorsement", combined with the indignation in her voice leads me to think that she has Todd Bentley on her mind, as that is the most public example of something like this. As an old friend, she would be able to comment on Bentley's marriage without qualifying with words like "I have heard" or "it has been reported that".
Also, that "prophetic word" in Bentley's book about his marrying Shonnah is being brought back to haunt him. Especially in charismatic circles, this would be telling. If his word about marrying Shonnah is wrong, can you have faith that Bentley is hearing correctly about your terminal cancer?
I'll go back to right where I left off. King continues:
"When I was praying into it, the spirit of God in me was so grieved over this situation that I cried out for four months, every single day..."
In the fall of 2008, about 4 months after the end of Lakeland, Patricia King released a video series to YouTube and her Internet site about "When Leaders Fail", in which she discussed her friendship with Todd Bentley, and his fall, at some length. A couple days after the end of the series was put on the 'net, she pulled it without an explanation.
She continues: "...the Lord said [to me], 'A standard is being lowered...instead of a standard being raised, a standard is being lowered.'"
King explains that she feels led to say that Malachi Chapter 2 applies directly to whoever she is talking about--which is a passage in which the Lord expreesed his displeasure with the Israelites about their not keeping their promises, including their marriage vows.
King talks about the damage caused by this man's divorce:
"...there's breakdown everywhere. And yet this man wants to be out there preaching to the masses and the multitudes and there's others in the body [of Christ] saying, 'Well, that's fine, it's not a problem.' You know what? It may not be a problem for you, but it is a problem for God. It is a problem for God and He says so right here [she points to her Bible]."
In the second part of this video, King talks about various "curses" that God can cause to happen to individuals and societies when promises aren't kept.
I don't want to comment on King and whether she is orthodox or her stance on divorce is the best. But I do want to point out that a split seems to be happening in this wing of the charismatic movement about Todd Bentley. First, John Paul Jackson expressed his misgivings about Bentley's divorce and remarriage and now Patricia King has made this statment. As Todd Bentley returns to public prominence, I expect that we may see more public figures in the church feeling a need to pick sides.
"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," is often the default stance in a case like this for many Christian leaders. It is nice, and somewhat lauable. But I fear that it is becoming less tenable when it comes to Mr. Bentley.