[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, Nov. 23, 2009]
On November 17, last Tuesday as I write, evangelist Todd Bentley had another of his "webinars" on his website. This time, one about getting "the anointing" of the Holy Spirit.
You may have a look at the webinar yourself, as it is up on his website. But I noticed that "first things first" applied.
Before the main part of the webinar, Jason Hooper, a Morningstar itinerant minister, did the equivalent of taking an offering over the Internet. (It remains in the version posted at Bentley's website, and begins at the 17:58 mark. Just click on the button at the left of your screen as the video plays.)
Hooper, who has no doubt been set up by Joyner and Bentley to say exactly the right thing here, says something incidental that is perhaps quite interesting.
He begins his offertory talk by leading into a teaching on how you can "sow into an anointing". This teaching, popular in the more extreme fringes of charismatic Christianity, would have the would-be donor go beyond giving because you might like the speaker, or might want to help with what they are doing. No, what they are instead doing, argues the teaching, is getting the right to have some of the person's anointing or gifting for youself. Like Todd's evangelistic gifts? Well If you cross Bentley palm with silver, you'll get some of his gifts of the Holy Spirit for yourself.
It's very shrewd, isn't it? Simony is alive and well?
Anyways, it's when Hooper goes into some of Bentley's recent history to woo you into forking over some cash that he says a couple of interesting things that may reveal more than he intends to.
Starting in the the 20th minute of the video, Hooper begins to argue that Lakeland was not only a reviaval but that it birthed other revivals around the world. Lakeland, he said, worked like a wave and "as it cr--" he almost says crashed, "it" broke like a wave and then went out to sea again.
It's surprising how ephemeral Lakeland was, let alone other revivals spawned by it. It being the Internet Age, why haven't we heard of them?
Hooper continues. At 22 minutes in, he says:
"...When I think of Todd Bentley, what comes to mind is that no one has done more , in the past ten years, at releasing, uncapping the well of the supernatural miracles, healing and overall supernatural lifestyle empowered by the gift of faith and radical love and compassion [than he], whether it be for the widows and the orphans or for the lame...."
"....After Lakeland begin [began] to crash, what happened was that people began to speak death over the wells that had been opened at Lakeland. They began to speak death and accusation, but what we have here is we have an opportunity to redig the wells..."
Hooper ends his talk by saying "it was easy to give in Lakeland" but harder to do so now, when Bnetley really needs it.
So, if you give to Bentley, Hooper argues, Lakeland will be back even greater than before. Such a bargain!
Can we really say that Todd Bentley has been greater that anyone else in ministry the past ten years? No wonder Hooper took this part of the webinar, as it would make Todd Bentley seem swelled headed if he said these things about himself.
Todd Bentley has been better than anyone else in the charismatic movment at mercy ministries? Really?
And can you suggest that he has a heart for "widows and orphans" when he created a widow and orphans, in a defacto way, by divorcing his first wife and declining to raise his kids?
Whe Hooper goes on to talk about "speaking death" over the wells of Lakeland, he is referring to media criticism of Bentley and the revival, as well as print and Internet critiques of what went on.
You may recall that Bentley's critics usually targeted his mistakes, errors and possible heresy. Their work is usually well documented. If Bentley is who he says he was and Lakeland was what Bentley said it was, it should be fairly easy to refute their criticism. Yet Bentley and Joyner have proved unadept at doing so.
This "sowing death" comment taps into a teaching that is circulating in Bentley's circles. Words can not only hurt your feelings, they have the power to actually damage your work an ministry in and of themselves. Thus the "speaking death". Bad things perhaps happened to Bentley and his ministry after people were critrical of him.
Which brings us to Rick Joyner, who has made a mantra of saying how much he "appreciates" even cricial comments in the various Bentley restoration videos. But what does one of his interns, Jason Hooper, teach? That bad people "sowed death" on Todd Bentley by criticizing him. One assumes that Hooper would follow a Morningstar train of thought.
So Rick Joyner might himself not want to "sow death" on Todd Bentley's ministry. It's a solid educated guess that this is the case as Rick Joyner criticized Charisma editor J. Lee Grady as almost being Pharisaical in his self-righteousness when he criticized some of Bentley's errors.
What would this mean? It would mean that not only would Joyner not want Bentley to take a frank look at himself, such critiques and concerns would be treated as the spiritual equivalent of infecting Bentley with the swine flu virus. On his river voyage to restoration Bentley, thanks to Morningstar minions running interference for him, would sail past a series of Potemkin villages where Lakeland was only wonderful and great.
Joyner may "appreciate" the critiques that any public figure in the church should have to be able to deal with by pretending they do not exist in Bentley's case, in the name of sowing "life" and not "death".
It's the Emperor's New Clothes, er. Revival.
This may explain why Jack Deere, who is supposed to be helping with Bentley's restoration process, is nowhere to be seen or heard from as of yet. The Christian writer and speaker was reportedly supposed to be the "tough cop" and ask the "hardest questions" of Bentley. But we do not hear of his point of view.
I guess we don't want to "speak death" over Todd Bentley, do we, Mr. Joyner?