I am delighted that they are not buying into typical charismatic soft morality, also called "greasy grace" or "don't touch God's anointed" or "mercy must triumph over judgment," phrases that have been used on other similar occasions as convenient religious cop-out excuses.
For those of you not familiar with this longstanding practice, this is when churches "wink at sin" because they somehow think a certain man or woman is so "used of God" that they must get a free pass. Wagner, elsewhere refers to this as "sweeping under the rug."
Somehow church leaders have come to the conclusion that they must protect those who have ripped off the body of Christ- those who live double lives with secret, or in some case, not-so-secret sins. And with Bentley, the coverup started before he was exposed.
For those on Todd Bentley's board who had previous knowledge of his marriage problems and said nothing, it was more than a mistake—it was reckless, foolish, and irresponsible.
It is now common knowledege, having been reported in both the sacred and secular press, that Reverend Bentley is a "liar and deciever," has been in an "emotional relationship" with one of his staff members that "went beyond hugging, kissing and holding hands" and has a drinking problem. While we are grateful that he has been removed (for the time being) from ministry, here's what you will see if you go to the website formerly known as Todd's.
"We want to affirm that there has been no sexual immorality on the part of either Todd or Shonnah, nor has there ever been."
This was posted on 8/12/2008 and remains on the homepage as of 9/3/2008. Rather odd to state that Todd has never been sexually immoral based on his well know status as a convicted (homosexual) child molester. In all fairness, they have at least acknowledged the "other woman" in a later letter but now simply call it and "an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level." If it goes beyond huggging, kissing and holding hands (which is bad enough) and its not sexual, then you must be talking to Bill Clinton.
Earilier in the summer, as some of us sensed that something was drastically wrong, many with self-righteous remove-the-plank-from-your-eye indignation told us to let those who are in relationship with Reverend Bentley handle the situation and "speak into his life."
One of Bentley's close friends in Rick Joyner of Morningstar. Apparently Bentley even told Joyner his marriage was falling apart and Joyner let him keep his scheduled "outpouring" meeting where Todd gave an "impartation" to the congregants.
Here's what Joyner is still saying, without retraction on his website as of today:
I still do not know all of the details of his separation, but I did ask him if there had been any immorality on his part, or if he had affections for someone else that was causing this. He assured me that he had never committed adultery, and that there was no “other woman” that caused his separation.
Joyner goes on to basically blame Todd's wife for the separation (for which Todd filed papers) and to tell us that God is divorced, therefore its ok for Todd to get divorced. So the one who is in close relationship, who can "speak into his life" is either a total bozo, or totally decieved.
Other leaders just try to rationanize it away. Mike Bickle, speaking of the Florida Outpouring back in May, stated "God uses weak and broken vessels of clay so that no one glories or boasts in man."
Please don't ever tell me not to speak up again. In public. IT NEEDS TO BE EXPOSED SO THE BODY OF CHRIST CAN BE HEALED. Squeeze the zit!
As a side note, in my estimation the fact that Todd swore some associates to secrecy concerning his moral failure is more eggregious than the sins being covered. That is an abuse of power (his "kingly anointing") and is the ultimate in arrogance.
If you will watch events as they unfold, you may see more examples of "greasy grace." Those of us who have been around for a while have seen churches "support" fallen pastors with 6-month severance packages (and only prolong the damage), and have seen fallen prophets pick and choose those whom they will be "accountable" to.
Will anything change? Wagner says that "we have a list of 24 serious issues that have emerged from that unpleasant experience (Bentley) which need to be thoroughly discussed with the conclusions circulated in the body of Christ. If you have seen Dutch Sheets' recent "A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland" you will get a glimpse of some of the things that we agree need to become standard operational beliefs and practices, particularly in our charismatically inclined evangelical segment of the church."
The issue of "greasy grace" is one I've been harping on for many years. This website is called "Beyond Grace." I would like to draw your attention to the statement at the bottom of the right hand cloumn of every page on this website:
Why the name "Beyond Grace"?
"In the Christian life, holiness is not optional. Many Christians seem to think about holiness as if it is like something added to a car, such as fancy leather upholstery instead of the normal kind of plastic. But that is not true. Holiness is an essential part of salvation. In Hebrews 12:14 the writer says, Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no man will see the Lord. What salvation do we have that does not bring us to see the Lord? But without holiness, no one will see the Lord. We have in our contemporary Western Christianity a very incomplete picture of salvation. 'If I get saved and born again, and then I want to go on and be holy. I can do it - but it is an option.' I want to tell you that your salvation depends on your being holy. And holiness comes only from the Holy Spirit." -Derek Prince
The extravagance of God (His "surpassing grace" 2 Corinthians 9:14) is so unmeasurable that it takes us "beyond grace". It is this extravagence that allows up to live a life that is holy and pleasing to Him - this is our reasonable act of worship (Romans 12:1).
Thank God for grace.
It's time to move "Beyond Grace."