Saturday, December 21, 2013

How Todd Bentley will try to explain the Lakeland aftermath to you

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs on August 30 2013] Following his series of meetings in South Africa--which went from a fairgounds, and then down into presumably smaller churches, Todd Bentley went on vacation for this past summer. Recently, he announced that he would be returning to ministry with some meetings at the Morningstar complex, taking second billing behind Reinhard Bonnke this time. Bonnke seems to be a brave man here. As you will see the Bentley brainstrust has decided that it is much wiser for Bentley not to carry anything that can become a revival by himself? You Don't want to repeats Lakeland's issues, and if someone is also willing to shoulder what happened.... Before he could go to South Africa, and presumably go back to his former goal of having one big revival and then become a world travelling evangelist, keeping one step ahead of people who could test that fruit of what he was doing, Lakeland had to be "cleaned up". So, Rory and Wendy Alec--who had garnered thousands if not millions of viewers to their GOD TV channel as it provided gavel-to-gavel coverage--stepped in to help. Bentley flew to Jerusalem to be interviewed on their channel on January 20, 2013. GOD TV now has the interview behind a subscriber wall--or they have pulled it all together. Fortunately, though, two YouTube users saved it--or the final edited version-- and posted it to YouTube. I will be quoting fairly extensively, however, in case it disappears again. Why turn to this? Expect Bentley to fob off questions with "I've already explained this before...." Or he'll reuse the same talking points. [Not everything here is new to the Alecs. Back in September 2012, they had a private talk with Bentley and the GOD TV board. and only some of what they talked about is shown in this re-interview on GOD TV television.] My Time notations are cued to this YouTube file above. But if that disappears, here's another YouTube file, which I am guessing is much the same. "What on earth happened at Lakeland" says Rory Alec. Indeed. Bentley borrows from Dickens by saying it was "the best and worst of times". The best being the "miracles" and the "souls that were saved." [Of course, as World magazine followed up and found out that people Bentley's ministry said has been healed had a dismaying tendency of dying of what they had been "healed" of.] He never got to the "worst " as Wendy interrupted him, noting that the first 90 days of the revival--some of which coincidentally was not broadcast on GOD TV, if I recall correctly. We can also remember the documentary about the Lakeland revival. The film maker making that was told something to the effect that the Lakeland revival was best when it had just started, before the GOD TV cameras showed up. You may be familiar with Bentley's 2005 "dark night of the soul" when he pulled himself out of ministry for over a year. Well, Bentley begins this interview by saying that he was separated from his wife for "eighteen months" of "challenges in our marriage"which he did not mention at that time. Time for Bentley to clean up the street after the circus elephants have been by. As Lakeland began, Bentley says, he had been working on his marriage for "about a year." again, and had been separated for "about six months." and his marriage counsellor came to Lakeland to help the pair stay together. Bentley admits that due to "pride" he did not think he would succumb to the problems that others had historically faced. "I'm not going to fall victim to some of these things and lo and behold I did," he says."When I came into Lakeland, there was still cracks in my foundation." With the onset of "revival" Bentley says that he realized that his marriage was not on a "real foundation" again. [Wendy Alec's question of why Bentley just didn't walk away from Lakeland until he knew that he knew that his marriage was okay and would stay that way is very relevant here.} Bentley adds that he had thought about separating again in order not to "lose" what was happening at Lakeland and get back together with his wife Shonnah after the revival finished. Bail on the revival, as someone else can do it. Save your marriage. Seems like a no brainer. {Bentley will go on and on on this subject. It seems this is what he thinks most upsets people, and if he can make it go away...) "I did not have sex with Jessa at Lakeland" says Bentley, "I got involved in a relationship that was pre-mature." [Are you reminded of Bill Clinton right now?]. This was during yet another new separation between Shonnah and Todd of "about seven weeks" that Rory Alec pipes up and says "We [at GOD TV] didn't know about"--just Todd, and his intimate advisors.  Jessa stepped in to console "as a friend' and events proceeded from there. "She's and attractive lady and I had noticed that she was an attractive lady [previously]," Bentley said. *was* bold. and prideful at times." And then something "shifted', Bentley says and he fell under a "deception". Things continued to happen, as God is gracious, though Bentley himself was in a dire strait. He was on auto-pilot. However, in order to not depress GOD TV viewers, GOD goes to Lakeland highlights from 13:02 to 16:45--with much theatrics, enjoy the show. Shortly after the 18 minute mark, Todd says that he was under a lot of pressure to keep things going In August 2008. "Even if it got worse [for me], how could I get out now?" Bentley says. "I got trapped!" {It's always appropriate timing to do the right thing.] He'd filed for ' separation" a 12 month process. Not always being "emotionally fit" to minister, he brought in other speakers towards the end. [And he couldn't have done this long before when he realized that his marriage was not safe? Well only if you are determined to get whatever you want...] "I clung to her [Jessa] prematurely, emotionally. It shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't have happened the way it happened..." Bentley says. He then goes on to deny an affair. "It was not a plan to leave my wife Shonnah." [Uh Todd, you've just said seconds earlier that you had filed for divorce. Most people would define that as leaving.] They reiterate that Shonnah, through her current pastor, has forgiven Bentley. [Which may be so, but she has her kids interests to consider. And Val Andres, who ran Fresh Fire for Todd for many years, is Shonnah's mom. So there is an incentive to "play ball" possibly.] Rory Alec is playing ball, talking about people "who were insane with jealousy, crucifying you over and over again" leading Wendy to interrupt and say that "in April May, June", she knows "in the Spirit" that "the revival was clean....It was really clean! It was!" [Well, it would have to be.  If Not GOD TV dropped the ball, lacks discernment, etc.] Bentley was "crucified" over and over again? Please.... Todd says he walked away. "I knew I was in error. I knew I was in sin." He then turns to being persecuted, and claims to have had threats on his life. [Proof?] He almost says that he went too far in "challenging the media" but not quite. "After five years, I have a lot of things to say to a generation of what not to do," he said. "People [in general] can still preach the gospel. You are not disqualified." Bentley, saying that he realized that Lakeland, if not his full ministry, was done, says that he decided that he should marry Jessa as quickly as possible, as "that's all I had left." "I'm a man. It wasn't about me" Bentley says, adding the he had had plans to totally step out of what was going on at Lakeland. [Far too late, perhaps.] 29 minutes in, Wendy Alec chimes in with the opinion that Todd Bentley experienced the greatest amount of "persecution" and "violent assault" that she has ever seen in ministry. [???] "Take Todd down at any cost!" Bentley goes on (in minute 32] to say that his last marriage counsellor recommended that he and Shonnah divorce due to their "hardness of hearts". [They are unnamed and Bentley offers no proof this is so.]. He told himself "I can't live the rest of my life without something that's real [ie, a relationship] !" As Bill Johnson was involved in trying to solve Shonnah and Todd's issues back in 2005, Todd turned to Johnson again after Lakeland.  Rick Joyner was starting to phone him. He was in the midst of another serious burnout. "I didn't walk away with millions! I didn't walk away with he mailing list!...millions gone!' {Which raises an interesting point. According to Revenue Canada's records on Transform International, Bentley's old Canadian ministry renamed from Fresh Fire, millions of dollars were raised during Lakeland. The latest tax return for the ministry shows that it is dormant, basically. What happened to the money. Was It all spent? I can't follow it. Transform International based in Abbotsford B.C...] "The pain for me" he says at the 39 minute mark "is that none of the famous preachers called!" [Unless he was in relationship with them in some way, why would they?]. Only one evangelist sent him an "offering". Then Rick Joyner called with an offer that his church would support Bentley while Bentley got his life together. This started in February 2009. Bentley then goes on to attribute some of his problems to often praying when he had needs, and not to seek The Lord himself. He feels that his marriage, life and ministry are on a much better foundation now. No more skeletons in his closet. He fielded a series of "you're going to hell" letters, comments on Twitter. "You wouldn't do this if this were your son or daughter," Bentley remembers thinking. But then, after the 46 minute mark, he says "I'm not a victim" and attributes a lot of the anger that he feels he fielded to a sense of disappointment amongst Christians who want real revival and get frustrated when revivals "implode". Oh, and there was also "jealousy". Other churches of like mind "took bullets for me" he adds. Did you set a precedent for other Christians who want to give up on their marriages, Rory Alec asks in the 52nd minute. Bentley doesn't directly address the question, but says that he believes that being "open, real, Candid and vulnerable" will help people to avoid repeating his mistakes [such as not directly addressing the question "will people bail on their marriages because you did."] Rather, because he knows how bad divorce is, he feels he has a special anointing and call to pray for troubled marriages, so that what happened to him won't happen to them. [I'm reminded of Paul's reference to people who sin so that grace may abound.] And now, says Rory Alec on TV, it is time to bring Lakeland and its aftermath "to closure", and then they planned to go into a time of prayer "for forgiveness" in a general sense as well. And if you need incentive to forgive Todd, let's run some more old Lakeland highlights from the GOD TV video files. After the highlight, the Alecs returned with a question about Bob Jones, who evidently prayed for Bentley at a public meeting during his "restoration process." [In beginning to answer this, Bentley alludes to Rick Joyner having" some unspecified "theological concerns" about Bentley--quick reference, a sentence clause that isn't gone into, which I guess are fine now. Wandering towards an answer, he explains that he deliberately paces himself and gets rest now. He's done everything that he's ever wanted to do in ministry so he feels fine with stepping to one side. Back to Bob Jones and Todd. "Bob was mad at me," Bentley says in the 1:03 minute. "Bob was like, "It was aborted and I warned you!'" Apparently Todd didn't heed what Bob Jones was talking to him about. Eventually, in January 2010, Jones--who attends the Morningstar church, felt led to "break a curse" that was on Bentley and Morningstar. Criticism of them had the power to destroy them both. Saying anything bad "releases power to the enemy" Bentley said. "If you don't bless your enemies, there's a reverse." Presumably, Bentley quotes Jones as saying, "Lakeland was supposed to be the preview of the 'coming' attractions. It wasn't supposed to be the main thing." [For good or ill?] "God is not done with Bentley," Jones adds. Bentley wants to preach and do charitable works worldwide and believes in the great end-time revival idea that will allow Jesus to return in those circles. In case you didn't get it yet, Wendy Alec says after the 1:16 mark that God told her "I am going to restore Todd Bentley." Well that's settled then. He then apologizes to the GOD TV viewers. "I'm asking for you to forgive me." He adds that he will suffer from the consequences of his sin, and adds "that there is a price for revival." Rory Alec then steps up and forgives Todd in behalf of all the GOD TV's viewers. Wendy: "We forgive you for aborting the Lakeland Revival." One the greatest revivals ever, she adds. Forgive us if you thought we at GOD TV were "irresponsible" Rory adds later.  "We had fine intentions. We followed the spirit of Go by putting Lakeland on.....Forgive us if we caused you to stumble." After a musical interlude, Wendy after the 1:32 mark, speaks as GOD TV's director of programming to her Internet critics. "I forgive you, I forgive you in the name of Jesus, for calling me a false prophet...!" she says. And then it ends. Has Todd Bentley changed. I don't know. But forcing Bentley to take days off, and use other preachers, [Hello Reinhard Bonnke!] will help to prevent embarrassing things from happening where people can see. The blatantly obvious things anyway.