Friday, July 02, 2010

Todd Bentley nibbles the Morningstar ordination cheese

[Originally posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, Feb 22, 2010]

Todd Bentley took another step towards being a full time evangelist again on Sunday [February 21].

He wrote on Twitter:

IamToddBentley: Excited about USA ordination today.
1 day ago from Twitterrific

What does this mean? That he has been ordained again in the United States. Of course, nothing prevented Bentley from doing anything that he cared to. But in the eyes of the authorities, you have to be formally commissioned--or ordained--by a denomination or pastoral licensing authority to do certain jobs that touch on being recognzied by the state in a legal way, like conduct marriage ceremonies. (Todd Bentley: "I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kick the bride. :) )

He's been ordained before. As Christian apologist Bud Press reported, Todd Bentley had claimed in his autobiography to be ordained by one group in Canada, which wasn't true. A second group, the World Ministry Fellowship, had given Bentley ordination in the United States, but withdrew it, following the collapse of Lakeland, on moral grounds.

The current line by Rick Joyner is that Todd is being released to do local ministry. Not so, I would say, but in order to maintain the illusion, Todd Bentley needs to be able to do weddings, conduct funerals, or do minor legal chores that a pastor could be asked to do.

So, step forward Morningstar Ministries. At the Sunday morning service, a group of officials and ministers called Todd Bentley forward and formally inducted him into their denomination. And Morningstar is a low-level denomination too, giving formal accreditation to small, low-level house churches across North America. A friend of mine attends one.

You can see the service for yourself for the next couple of days anyways. The ordination starts at just after 1:06 of the Feb. 21 service, which will presumably remain available on the Internet unitl next Sunday, we hope.

This solves a problem for Bentley. Never again will he be given the "left foot of disfellowship", as he was by the World Ministry Fellowship. Todd Bentley will only have his ordination taken away if Rick Joyner thinks it appropriate to do so. I had thought that the idea of the restoration process was that Bentley would be allowed back into ministry if a "council of elders" representing the wider church approved. Could Joyner not find one? Would no one buy in? It certainly would give more credibility to the restotation process if, speaking hypothetically, he had become a Assemblies of God minister and they had ordained him. Perhaps this explains the very quiet visit that Todd Bentley made to C. Peter Wagner's group, the Revival Alliance a while back. Perhaps Todd realized that the group that Wagner is involved with--which would up humiliating themselves in the last days of Lakeland at that oridnation service that wasn't an ordination--could either re-ordain him, or needed to give their consent to another ordination. Wagner's groups silence implies that they chose not to play along, so enter Morningstar.

I'm going to have a look at the online video of the service, and if I have any comments on that, I will put them on as an update to this post.

But for now, here are some things that jump out at me.

As a Canadian, it is a little sad that Bentley is only ordained in the United States. Yes, we may have dodged a bullet--nay a fusillade of them--but Bentley pleaded for years that Canada badly needed revival and that he felt called to help with it. (Bentley been telling the truth? Really? I am shocked, shocked, Rick Blaine to see ilegal gambling in your cafe. )

As I noted above, Bentley being ordained makes a nice part of the cover story that his ministry is local. If he is made to be busy christening babies and burying the dead, say, it also gives Joyner a reason to say to Bentley's critics, "How could you possibly object to this?"

This is an ill omen for Todd Bentley too, if he cares to see it. Morningstar ordaining the evangelist implies that Rick Joyner owns him lock, stock and barrel. His ministry is staffed by Morninstar interns. He has access to the Internet only through Morningstar. I'lll bet that Morningstar could be giving Bentley a salary. And now Joyner has a hammerlock on his ordination papers.

If Bentley starts to believe that Rick Joyner, his ministry, or his church is flawed or heretical, Todd will be very had pressed to escape. It's not the healthiest situation for him--being so tied to Joyner.

A few days ago, Bentley wrote on Twitter that he felt sorry for a little mouse that was stuck on some mousetrap paper in his house. The little mouse couldn't be released without dying, he feared.

Was Todd Bentley feeling sympathy...or empathy?

UPDATE: I saw nothing out of the ordinary, but I can mention that the Morningstar ordination will be permanently online at Todd Bentley's website as part of this video sermon. The "ordaining part" starts shortly after the 66 minute mark.