Sunday, April 28, 2013

"We have the right to be stupid [about Todd Bentley]"

Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On December 8 2012

Why does evangelist Todd Bentley, after the disgrace at Lakeland and being banned from entering Britain earlier this year, feel the need to keep going and going and going like the Energizer Bunny?

An e-mail of his from a few days ago shows that if God is trying to show Bentley that he needs to stop what he is doing through painful circumstance—in the same way that you learn not to hit your head with a hammer because it smarts a bit—He is not listening at all.

Todd Bentley seems to be incredibly stubborn. I’ll explain…

On November 30 [2012], Bentley sent out the e-mail Restoration Is Like A Two Edged Sword. Part of his e-mail reads like this: …. But we need to remember that in the process of restoration there is always a divine test. Before Joseph's freedom was restored, and he took the throne in Egypt (second only to Pharaoh), he was taken into a great God-ordained time of testing (Gen: 37-50). Psalms 105:19 says: "Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him." Joseph had the prophetic word of the Lord but until it actually came to pass, this word tested him.

Likewise, many of you have the prophetic word of the Lord concerning areas of restoration coming upon your lives; however, today, the fulfillment has not manifested it's still on its way. Stand your ground in the time of testing, the time of waiting. God will surely come and bring restoration exactly at the perfect moment…..

Yes, Joseph was severely tested, and we may be tested as well. But the danger in looking at the Bible’s history is to assume that anything that happened back then should and will happen to us in the same way.

Joseph had a special role and destiny. How accurate would it be to assume that his example applies to everyone? Would it perhaps be hubris for Bentley to assume that Joseph’s example applies to himself?

Ah, but it has to apply. If it doesn’t apply yo Bentley he either goes back to be the low profile itinerant teacher that he was before Lakeland, or starts asking people if they want fries with their meal.

Bentley should, of course, be free to pursue whatever he wants to do. But if he is being pigheaded in wrongly continuing, there would be collateral damage. Bentley would not be the only person affected.

This brings to mind a couple items from earlier this year—when Bentley was banned from Britain’s immigration authorities from entering their country. Bentley’s latest musings are merely the latest example of his thinking “I *will* be a famous evangelist and no one will stand in my way of doing whatever I want to do when and where I care to do it.”

Back on September 21 [2012}, Bentley sent an e-mail to to his e-list. Intended to connect with Bentley’s supporters, it contains an interview with a lady who went to Lakeland and felt blessed by her experience there. (Her daughter, Sophia, after being “healed” of an incurable disease is now being “mentored” by Bentley and his second wife.).

Her question to Todd Bentley, and his response, is interesting:

... What was it inside of Todd that gave him the drive to overcome the adversity that he went though after Lakeland, because a lot of people would just have given up. There had to be something inside of him that gave him the courage to say, "I am not done" and stand up even after all the controversies. What was the one thing that really drew him to say, "I am not going to give up and I am not going to quit and I will continue to serve God"?

Todd's Response: "A lot of people ask me this question. People always want to know how I kept myself strong, loving the Lord, and continued to pursue my purpose. During the first 6 months after Lakeland, which was a challenging time for me was a battle of depression and discouragement. I felt like Elijah the Prophet, I wanted to give up. It was the constant encouragement of Fathers and a few true friends that kept speaking life into me that kept me going. One blessing in this hardship that I endured, was that in the midst of it all, I fell back in love with Jesus for Jesus again and not for ministry."...

Most people would be reluctantly willing to consider that God has another “purpose” in mind for them after the sorts of things that happened to Todd Bentley. Had Bentley been willing to pursue a regular job for a few years, we could place more credence in his saying that he loves Jesus before ministry.

No one else can possibly do what Todd Bentley does, I guess.

The fact that Todd Bentley is now mostly under the radar and not drawing huge crowds or the sort of attention that he did at Lakeland would imply that many christians are looking at Todd Bentley and saying “I’ll pass”.

But not all. And one response--which threw me for a bit of a loop—to Bentley being banned from entering Britain may show my Bentley will never deliver pizzas for a ,living, as long as he wants to keep evangelizing.

You have to credit blogger The Ugley Vicar for getting right to the nub of the matter. His August 23, 2012 post is entitled “We Have The Right To Be Stupid”.

Britain’s Home Office, as they write, has just decided that Bentley may not enter Britain for a series of evangelistic meetings. This, the blogger decides, is a use of “dictatorial powers” :

"...And what, exactly, have we been saved from? The answer is a tattooed former drug addict who claims God heals via him giving them a punch or a kick."

"Now I am quite happy to say this is bonkers (although I do remember reading about a bloke who was healed after somebody rubbed spit on his eyes - but then the government didn't like that healer either, because he was a threat to the establishment too).

When it came to these shores, I similarly said the Toronto Blessing was bonkers, and I continue to maintain that to this day. (Indeed, I would go further and say it was spiritually damaging in a way far beyond anything likely to be achieved by Mr Bentley.)

But I also think the government is talking rubbish when it gives as a further justification for this ban, "Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who might seek to undermine our society."...

I follow the point they are making. The fact that, knowing all that I do about Bentley, I still watch what he is doing implies that I think that most Christians are grownups and can take care of themselves.

“We have a right to be stupid.” Indeed, you do.

I did ask myself, however, is this person being serious? Is this a “reducto ad absurdum” argument where they are going way over the top to really argue that the British government is really being reasonable?

(And would it be odd for a "Brit" to use a Canadian blogging server?)

But whatever the merits of what the blogger has to argue, they allow me to make a small point. Todd Bentley will always have someone willing to take his side and support him, no matter how unreasonable people, and the powers that may be, are.

With such a base of support, Todd Bentley will be able to keep evangelizing to the end of his days. He should be able to make a living of some sort.