Saturday, April 09, 2011

Todd Bentley may now travel and minister as he wishes

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, August 20, 2010]

Todd Bentley can minister wherever he choses, says Rick Joyner.

You knew that it was a given that he’d be back on the road, after Todd Bentley announced plans for worldwide missions trips—outside North America, where he would be likely to be asked about his ministry, divorce and various bad things that happened at Lakeland. Bentley, with a new house and his own ministry base, could proceed on his own without Joyner’s approval.

This may be a fait accompli for Joyner. Bentley knows that he can’t wait 5 or 10 years to be “restored”, as the next big revival or two will happen and he will be yesterday’s news. If he wants to be a worldwide evangelist again, he has to go pretty soon, whether Joyner thinks so or not.

We can guess that Joyner is really reluctant to continue with this process and just wants to let Bentley go. Before Monday’s video, the last restoration video that he did was Dec. 14, 2009. Given that the last video was called “We are all in Process”, we can hopefully get some updates on how Bentley’s “process” is coming along.

The latest video was posted Monday August 16.

Bentleys’ restoration was intended to be a three step process. The local ministry, Joyner said, had “spectacular” results. “We were able to verify” that cancer victims were healed, but Joyner offers no further details, at least none that would allow this claim to be independently verified.

At 3:17 of the video, Joyner says:

“…We feel that we’re coming to a time, where it’s time to release him [Bentley] on another level and the next level is where Todd is going to be going outside [the immediate area around the Morningstar headquarters] with those from our ministry team [who] will be accompanying him. And it’s not to watch over him, every little thing he’s doing, he’s a man, not a child, but it’s just to be a watchman and to help, you know, and also to be available to help answer questions to people who may have questions and things like that. But we feel that it is time now to release Todd to other ministries that we want to know him well, we know them well, and there’s real relationship there.”

“During this phase, we’re seeking elders in the church. We’re meeting with, uh, major Christian leaders of international stature, who will, as the final phase, will in council together, determine [that] it’s time now to release Todd into ministry. Now, that’s something where we’re gonna have to trust them, and endure all the intensive questioning and everything else but that’s what we want. We don’t wanna leave a stone unturned, or miss something that cvould later be a trap Todd’s life or anyone else life.”
“Even through the most perfect restoration process, which by the way, every one of us in, you know, and been in, until we have been perfected….We believe these elders of the church are going to bring wisdom and accountability, and challenges, where needed….”

Let’s pause to parse for a moment.

“… And it’s not to watch over him, every little thing he’s doing, he’s a man, not a child…”

I had thought that was due to the fact that he had supposedly no peers to hang out with him at Lakeland that led to his drinking and falling into “adultery” [as his old ministry defined it]. Wouldn’t babysitting him for the time being be something to consider?

“….and also to be available to help answer questions to people who may have questions and things like that…”
Todd Bentley, after many webinars where he fielded questions, is not capable of answering what people might want to know?
I predict that they will be the ones answering questions, not just “helping” Todd with it.

I also bet that they will be on the lookout to stop public rebukes like the one that the Operation Save America folks staged a few months ago.

The “gatekeepers” that will accompany Bentley will also, effectively, stop most local secular press coverage of Bentley as he travels. If they can’t get an interview, or even quotes from Bentley, and are instead are directed to a Joe Bloggs of Morningstar, it’s going to make it harder for an editor wanting to see if Bentley has made amends to do their work. If the editor, say, has a shocking new revelation or local angle on the Bentley story, they might be reduced to “Bentley refused to talk to us”, which leads Christians who don’t give reporters a break to ignore the story.

“But we feel that it is time now to release Todd to other ministries that we want to know him well, we know them well, and there’s real relationship there.”

This is where Joyner gets something back for Morningstar’s grief in doing this. Want access to Bentley? It’s “friends of Morningstar first” And, you will need to become friends with us, even if you approve of Bentley, but not Joyner, to see him work at your church.
Perhaps a variant of the old Hollywood “block booking” system might be used where in order to get the star (Bentley), you will need to give space and time to other Morningstar speakers too.

The worldwide elders part is interesting too…

I remember hearing, many months ago, that noted teacher Jack Deere was supposed to be the “bad cop” of those overseeing the Bentley restoration process. He was going to ask the tough questions and such. Isn’t it interesting that we have never heard from him at all in any of the statements or videos from Morningstar that I have seen?

Did Deere decide to wash his hands of all this? Does he think that there are still things that may disqualify Bentley from ministry? Joyner just introduced Deere as the 800 pound gorilla of this whole process and then…nothing. Hmmm…

The worldwide council might be problematic.

If it winds up being made up of obscure “internationally recognized” people, it will be a bad sign. And if people are “internationally recognized” they may have valid reasons to not want to spend the time to do this.

And, sad to say, would they want to risk hitching their cart to Bentley in case he fails again.

It’s hard to come into someone’s life, if you don’t really know them that well, and confront them.

As I know from my own interview with Bentley—wow, was it nine years ago now—he has been adept at not being entirely truthful. “I misled you,” he said, when I confronted him.

Todd Bentley, if he is unrepentant, could lead his questioners on a merry dance, and bluff his way through, getting that coveted
seal of approval from them.

Joyner continues, starting to talk about how co-operative Todd Bentley has been.
Here’s what I think may be a smoking gun. Do pay attention to it.

At 6:48, Joyner says:

“I was warned by just about everybody about Todd’s manipulation and scheming and everything else that he’s gonna do…Honestly, uh, we all have some of that in us, and you see it throughout the Scriptures, the best in the Scriptures have some of that. Unfortunately, and we’re trying to get rid of it, and it’s not right…. I think it was Todd’s absolute profound honesty and straighforwardness that many people took as manipulation. Crazy as it sounds, when he determined ‘I am getting a divorce’, he wasn’t trying to hide anything. He was being clear, he wasn’t trying to manipulate, and scheme…In his opinion, it was the last straw, it wasn’t going to work… Most people would try to paint the best picture. Todd didn’t do that.”

If Todd continues to have a possible problem with “manipulation and scheming”, as Joyner may be alluding to by saying that everyone has a problem here, isn’t caution wise? “And we’re trying to get rid of it” could either apply to everyone, or is a slip to mean that “we’re trying to get rid of it” in Todd specifically. The former is probably the case though.

Joyner is being disingenuous here. First, it is impossible to hide a divorce and remarriage, so Bentley’s being honest with that is no special virtue. Critics took offense, as they believed that divorce and remarriage is not allowed by the Bible. Any manipulation on Todd’s part would come in the “there’s no hope part…that’s all I could have done”. And given that Shonnah Bentley is now silent, Bentley can be freely manipulative, as there is no “other side” to look at. [She even took the stage at Ignited Church to support her husband, so my verdict is there was lots of hope. A woman who was willing to take him back after the “emotional affair” that caused his first “dark night of the soul” in 2005-2006 is truly longsuffering.]

[By the way, Joyner et. al are still working on that statement that allows divorce and remarriage> Todd’s own version, which sat on Joyner’s desk over a year ago for approval, is still being help. Captain Renaud is appropriately shocked.]

“The best of” people in the Scriptures were guilty of “manipulation and scheming”. Really? Can we have some Biblical citations where the Apostles, say, were guilty of it?

Joyner goes on to say that Bentley is more forthright and forthcoming than his accusers are. May we see him be brutally frank with himself, in depth, to his detriment, where it could hurt his ministry, in public, then? We shall see.

Joyner, at 10:27 adds:

“He [Bentley] may fall six, seven more times. If he does, I don’t care how bad it is ….If he falls, I hope to help him back up again.”

And then later, Joyner pulls out his violin. No “manipulation” of emotions here:

“If it [a major moral fall] happened to your children, and this is how God looks at it. Think about how you would feel if one of your children fell, just really made a mess of their life. Think of how grateful you would be to anyone who really got in and helped them to straighten out, and to get their feet back…”

Restoration is a very laudable thing…but when do you reach the point where you say about Bentley that what has happened in the past means that he shouldn’t be ministering anymore and should get a day job?

Rick Joyner may have good intentions…but does he have good discernment and Biblical wisdom to add to his intent?