Todd Bentley may no doubt hope that when it comes to the Internet that his potential audience listens to a mighty wind and not a still small voice.
This morning The Elijah List sent out the text of Rick Joyner's latest statement about the restoration of Todd Bentley. (You may remember that I reported on it last week, not just once, but twice.
Steve Shultz, an Oregon charismatic teacher and writer, has created the biggest charismatic e-list on the Internet, complete with bookstore and other initiatives. Shultz sometimes sends ads to his e-list, which I don't object to. But I mention that in order to point out that Shultz may have been paid by Rick Joyner to spread the word to his subscribers, which are over 100,000 around the world.
(I don't think this was an ad, though, as Shultz has appended his own comment to the statement, which I may comment on later...)
If you hoped to get the word out amongst charismatics, The Elijah List is one way to go, as it has a great deal of Internet reach. It is very loud.
But it is something soft in volume, which has trickled out to the Internet, that I want to broadcast myself.
John Paul Jackson is some ways would be a natural to associate with the folks at The Elijah List. A very charismatic teacher and writer, he has his own ministry. Wikipedia reminds us that Jackson was one of the infamous "Kansas City Prophets", but I don't have a lot of knowledge about how orthodox he may be today.
It would be my guess that Jackson should naturally tend to agree with people like Rick Joyner, but he has chosen, somewhat quietly, to publicly differ with Joyner on one issue--the restoration of Todd Bentley. Jackson's opinion? It may be too quick and it may be misguided.
Sometime in the past few weeks, John Paul Jackson sent out a letter to his supporters. I am guessing thsi was perhaps sometime in January. The apparent full text of his letter has been quoted on a couple blogs now, but I will be reprinting the full text, as I saw it, as a comment for your information.
Jackson favours restoration of ministers, but he argues that when a minister falls that they need to go through five stages of restoration, each of which, if done properly, takes at least a year. (It's been about a year and a half since the collapse of the Lakeland revival.) He writes that "....ministers in the restoration process should be given responsibility slowly, and we should observe how they handle it. Pride was the fall of Satan, and it is the basis for the fall of humankind. Premature promotion will wipe out the brokenness and contrition that invite God to come near and continue the healing."
Jackson goes on to use what I think is sensible Biblical logic. It leads him to decide that Todd Bentley committed adultery.
He writes (I have added emphasis):
We, the Body of Christ, not only fail to distinguish between grace and righteousness, but between forgiveness and restoration. Forgiveness is given the instant there is sorrowful repentance, but restoration only comes with trust and trust is earned. Thus Paul could order the man who was sexually involved with his step mother to be thrown out of the church for the destruction of his flesh (1 Cor. 5) and then after deep sorrow was exhibited Paul ordered the man to be restored to the Body of Christ (2 Cor. 2). Sadly, today we would say Paul lacked grace, and call him legalistic and self-righteous.
So back to the issue of Todd Bentley. Jesus said this, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” Matt. 19:9. The fact is this--Todd has committed adultery. He planned out and premeditated the divorce from Shonnah. He, immediately after Lakeland, went to Hawaii with Jessa, whom he later married. Subsequently, though Todd is from Canada, he went to Reno, Nevada to get as quick a divorce (six weeks residency) to marry Jessa. In Canada it takes over a year to get a divorce.
Divorce is wrong for anyone, it is even more grievous when it occurs in ministers and this is why their judgment is even stricter (James 3:1). I believe Scripture is clear about leadership and divorce therefore Todd Bentley should not be back in ministry for a long while. Further, that Todd did this while the Lakeland meetings were in process only underscores the deep need Todd has for healing on many levels. I do not believe this depth of healing can take place in a few weeks or months. Biblically speaking, Todd’s restoration should be stricter than someone who was not in that position or in ministry.
Wow. It's probably the clearest such statement from anyone in Bentley and Joyner's wing of the church.
Matt Sorger, a former Bentley intern, started writing prophetic words about personal integrity right after Lakeland, without mentioning Bentley's name.
John Arnott's TACF used to issue a magazine, Spread the Fire. As Lakeland was starting to unravel, Spread the Fire readers got a slightly stale-dated magazine praising Bentley and Lakeland. The next issue of the semi-monthly magazine dwelt on the need for integrity by ministers, without naming any names or citing any examples.
Patricia King, an old friend of Bentley's, recorded a series of short videos talking about Bentley and the collapse of the Lakeland revival, trying to address it frankly, but lovingly in the context of when ministers fail. A couple of days after her last video went on the Internet, the entire series was pulled from her site and YouTube, with no explanation.
But, of all these, only Jackson is trying to bell the cat.
He adds that it is time for judgement to begin in the house of God.
I believe that his conclusion is telling as well:
While I trust this answers the questions many of you have asked concerning my view of Todd Bentley’s restoration; the sad truth is – this is not just about Todd Bentley, it is about the Church, the Body of Christ as a whole. Todd is merely a reflection of us. This does not excuse Todd, neither does Todd’s actions excuse the Church. We have not demanded righteousness from our leaders. I agree with the Apostle Peter, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God” 1Pet. 4:17. It is time for the Body of Christ to once again be able to trust those who minister in the Word.
For that to occur, we must take courage and begin to speak up concerning issues such as this. We must lead righteously, love deeply, and give grace and mercy to those who are deeply repentant. We must confront those who scheme, do not want to repent, and in turn demand we follow their agenda. We must return to the word of God and apply it correctly. We must live what we preach once again. If we do not, the world will continue to mock the church and yawn when the prophets speak.
Jackson specializes in the Biblical gift of prophecy. As one of the charismatics who believe that the Biblical gift of prophecy is valid today, he spends much energy developing resources to teach other charismatics about this. But while he believes in the New Testament type of prophecy, I think he may have a bit of an Old Testament prophet in him here, speaking the truth when it may be inconvenient to some people.
I don't endorse everything that Jackson writes or says, but I think he has some wisdom in this particular instance. Will it be heeded?
Todd Bentley has a choice...he can either listen to the chorus of The Elijah List and its friends, or it can heed still, small voices like Jackson's.
I know which voice the Bible would suggest that he listen for.