When I was reminded of Todd Bentley this morning, I thought that while you can take that particular Canadian out of Canada, you can't take Canada out of that Canadian.
The Alanis Morissette song, Ironic, played through my head as I read Bentley's latest e-mail this morning. You know, the one that goes, "It's like raiyaaaaiiiinn on your wedding day!" :)
I'll explain why. Recall that a week or so ago, Bentley was confronted by some protestors who tried to loudly yell at him, in front of his audience, that he is still sinful and unrighteous.
And then I saw Todd Bentley's latest email teaching that he sent to his e-mail list. He's discussing "King David" in the days before he became King of all Israel. (Recall that Bentley later bragged in one of his restoration videos that he was about "to become a King at Lakeland" before everything went pearshaped for him.)
He notes that "Promotions Invite Difficulty", perhaps leading his readers to think that Todd is about to become even greater than at Lakeland. After all, at Lakeland, none of the critiques of him and his ministry made it inside the meetings themselves. This may mean that "Fort Mill" might be even better than Lakeland, if you follow his train of thought, until it derails.
God didn't want David just to camp in Hebron for a few days. Rather, it was a necessary place to live so that he could grow in maturity for the next leg of his journey. God designed David's pilgrimage to include many difficulties, on purpose. He knew that adversity would prepare him to reign in the kingly anointing from Zion, the city of Jerusalem (Ps. 84:5-7). David didn't get rebellious on this tough road. His heart attitude always wanted to please God and that was the focus that motivated him.
THE PRIESTLY ANOINTING IS FOUNDATIONAL
King David eventually left Hebron and was anointed King over Israel, reigning from Jerusalem (2 Sam. 5:3-7). He walked in the kingly anointing. So David went on and became great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him" (2 Sam 5:10). But before David ever became King, although he wasn't part of the Levitical priesthood like Aaron (Moses' brother) and Zadok (the son of Ahitub), he possessed the heart of a priest. You know, the function of a priest is very much like that of a pastor, and pastors are also called shepherds. So it's not surprising that David's heart (as a priest) would go hand in hand with his role as a shepherd.
He was a true protector over his family's flock of sheep; an excellent shepherd. He didn't flinch when it came to making sure each little sheep was safe. When a prowling lion or bear approached his flock, he laid down his life and fought the intruders (1 Sam. 17:36). He was a hero when no one was watching. He wasn't going to be in Charisma Magazine or interviewed on television! But God saw him from heaven above like a proud Father watching His child. He knew that because David laid down his life for the sheep when no one was looking, he'd do it when they were looking.
"I'll protect you little sheep from the scary wolves if they come into my meeting again and snarl..." might be the subtext here...
Bentley continues, a bit later in his e-mail:
....Today many preachers and ministries are being examined by God because it's judgment time concerning the house of God. How many ministers and preachers are going to be in trouble soon because they wouldn't confront some of the controversial issues in their churches and ministries? Their attitude is: It's good enough! Come on, we don't want to rock the boat. We want to be politically correct and draw in as many people as possible. Just think about how much money they give. We don't want to speak into that situation or become confrontational. We don't want to be a prophetic voice.
Listen! So often what we say and do in church all looks good and it all sounds good, but it's full of compromise. We need to have a message today of conviction that leads to repentance; a message that calls sin for what it is. Yes, we need to walk in love and in wisdom, but if there's something going on in our ministries or churches, if there's something going on in the lives of those that God has put in our care, we have a responsibility to speak up. Then it's off our hands. But Eli's attitude was, Oh, I don't want to do anything about that. We don't want to be like him, doing nothing about immorality, worldliness and prayerlessness. Prayerlessness, apathy and love without passion-all needs to be addressed.
So God came to Eli and judged his house. The apostle Peter spoke about God's judgment coming first to the household of God: For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pt. 4:17). God removed the priestly mantle from Eli and his household: Eli, you're not going to be in the house anymore. I'm about to raise up a faithful priest. I want a man who's going to do what's in My heart and a man that's going to do what's in My mind.
Also we shouldn't forget that even though David had a devoted heart toward the Lord, he was involved in a great sin when he lived in Jerusalem (2 Sam. 11). But his heart was different than Eli's because he repented when Nathan the prophet came to him about what he had done (2 Sam. 12). Eli never repented. And because David repented, God wasn't forced to remove his kingly anointing, but he did suffer God-ordained consequences because of what he did (2 Sam. 12:10-11). As I said earlier, God will not be mocked. Christians are accountable for their actions, and Christian leaders even more so, because they have influence with people from all walks of life and they set a standard that people will follow.
It could be possible that Todd Bentley has truly repented. But I fear that it is not plausible that he has repented. I am apprehensive that this e-mail is designed to sway the minds of not so much the critics who would come and yell at him, but rather the great mass of Christians who either don't have a strong opinion about him, or want to be reassured that they can follow their first, charitable impulse and forgive and forget.
Eli and his sons were hypocrites, while Samuel was righteous and heard the voice of the Lord? Well, if you were to think that a particular group of people were hypocrites while Todd heard the voice of the Lord, as exemplified by a rash of mysterious healings at Fort Mill, that would be handy for Mr. Bentley.
David repented of his sin, which we can all be grateful for. But there were consequences of his sin, as the Bible notes. Bentley's implication that all was well, once David's repentance took place, is not quite correct. (And anyone who thinks "Todd Bentley has 'repented!" What's the big deal?" is running the play as designed in practice.)
Bentley, who is the king of chutzpah today, adds:
Ministering in a crusade setting is a different dimension than praying for someone in a counseling room setting, one on one. There is an anointing for the counseling setting and that's good, but there's an anointing called the kingly anointing that God wants to impart so that the masses are touched simultaneously. For instance there might be 60,000 people at one of our crusades and in Jesus name I'll command the blind to see. Then I'll command the deaf to hear. And many, simultaneously, will see and hear instantly! When this happens, it's the corporate anointing. We need more of this!
I believe God wants to release a whole new focus and new level of authority in the body of Christ to advance His kingdom. I see this new level in our ministry here at Fresh Fire. We're being led to pray for thousands at one time in our crusades, commanding different diseases to leave. And many people are healed and delivered all at once! I don't have four hours to cast out a devil. There has to be a level of authority and power in the church where we can see a whole stadium healed at one time! We need this level of anointing! When I go into the nations I can't pray for the sick in a healing line one by one. It doesn't work because there are so many needy people. In the future we might have thousands of people who are crippled at our crusades. We won't be able to lay hands on them all individually.
It could be another Lakeland! Or even better! And only Todd has the anointing to do what needs to be done quickly, unlike those nice, but slow, prayer counsellors that you see in your church...
Todd Bentley is the healing McDonald's! He could borrow one of their signs to erect outside his crusades. "BILLIONS AND BILLIONS HEALED".
Looking at all this, I just see it as the height of irony for Todd--following the public confrontation--to assert, by implication that he has repented, and that he is crucial to the future revival that Joyner hinted at last week.
Whatever you may think of the Fort Mill protestors, who they are and what they said and did at Fort Mill, it all may come from a valid concern. Bentley may say that he is repentant, but most would like some evidence that he has done so, in what Bentley says and does, before they rejoice too. I would respectfully argue that this is lacking.
Bentley, as Joyner did in his recent statement, and as both have them have done in their various videos, is dealing with this question obliquely, hoping that they can get enough of the faithful to buy in.
Bentley won't deal with this frankly after people even felt that they had to yell at him.
It's ironic that Bentley, by implication, hints that his critics at the meeting are more guilty than he is, of the sins that they decried.
Which brings to mind Morissette's hit song again:
It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures
Indeed, Alanis, indeed.