Lakeland Outpouring fallout


Bene passed on the unfortunate news that Todd Bentley has filed for separation from his wife which in Canada is usually the legal prelude to divorce.  Some couples do reconcile before getting a divorce though.   Todd received a huge endorsement from several major players in the charismatic/prophetic/apostolic movement not too long ago.  There was a huge commissioning service  you can see on youtube (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) .  In this service many prophetic words were spoken which seem extremely unlikely now.  Already one of the major players, C. Peter Wagner,  is distancing himself from Bentley.

Bentley’s marital problems are really the latest of several easily discernable blows to the movement.  The Internet and youtube played a prominent role in both the promotion and discernment of the Lakeland Outpouring.  God.TV promoted it and a legion of bloggers and youtube broadcasters combed through the video highlighting false doctrine, inconsistencies, and strange behaviour.  Another blow came when the mainstream media couldn’t find an independently verified miracle connected with the Lakeland Outpouring.

Often Christian organizations construct boards and councils to ensure accountability.  Far too often this mechanism fails because boards can be filled with "yes men."  A board loses a lot of potency when the leader of the organization decides who gets to be on it.   True accountability occurs when there is transparency and openness, when people with concerns can share them without fear of being attacked or sidelined. 

It is telling that some in the "New Apostolic Reformation", those that stress that everyone needs to be properly aligned with God’s apostolic authority and covering, are among those who uncritically endorsed Bentley and the Lakeland Outpouring in public.  It seems as through proper alignment with the apostles amounted to very little in this case. 

I’ve long been critical of the NAR because imposing control through hierarchy is the surest way to undermine true fellowship and accountability.  In his letter to the Corinthians Paul advises "let the prophets speak and the let the others judge."  A key part of this voice is letting people thinking through things on their own.  They shouldn’t be systematically coerced or manipulated in to giving approval to everything that is going on.

One of the more devastating components to this whole mess for me is the involvement of Rick Joyner.  Rick was at the commissioning service and has given Todd and an enthusiastic approval.  You can even find the DVD’s for the recent Bentley impartation service on the MorningStar website.  Mr. Joyner has a lot of favour in my city and has had considerable influence amongst the charismatic community I’m familiar with.  In my opinion he has written some very compelling stuff.  TheHeresy.com used to be primarily a clearinghouse for Rick Joyner’s stuff.  I started becoming less sure of Joyner after his reaction to 9/11.  Eventually I converted this website to a blog and most of his stuff is gone.  The ministry he is affiliated with, MorningStar, has progressively become more and more commercial following the same path that several other charismatic ministries have taken.

This should be a wake up call.  Only God knows Todd Bentley’s heart is but my guess would be that he is a sincere gifted Christian.  The way things are setup with the money, the hype, the cult of personality I don’t know how anyone can survive it without compromise.  I don’t think I could handle it if the superstars of the Christian world stood on a stage and publicly proclaimed me to be God’s "living epistle" to the world.  What a total mind job! 

I think a lot of this comes down to money.  We start selling a few T-shirts and hats to "support the ministry" and we find ourselves tangled in a web of marketing, hype, manipulation and commercialism.  We have to return to simplicity and give up the quest for money in ministry.  We cannot serve two masters.

  1. #1 by Bene D on August 12, 2008 - 12:40 pm

    God does know Bentley’s heart and if Bentley belongs to Jesus Christ, God will move heaven and earth to teach him that Jesus is everything. I was thinking about II Corinthians today.

    God loves us enough to give us wake-up calls, and for that mercy I am profoundly grateful.

    Nicely said LT. Thank you.

  2. #2 by scotty d on August 13, 2008 - 3:33 pm

    Maybe I’m too cynical, but this story is unfortunately so predictable. Also, I think Rick at one time had some very perceptive “revelations” about the world and the church, but now I have a hard time taking anything he says seriously.

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