So I've been working my bird dogs, and spent a few weeks on the political blogs. Interesting times there are..
On the apologetic front, it seems that C. Peter Wagner has outsourced his Todd Bentley restoration project to Rick Joyner and his review of the state of the prophetic church to Dutch Sheets. Concerning the review, I'd like to really study that situation before making any comment.
Arnott, Ahn and Johnson were originally charged with Bentley's discipline. Of Joyner, they state:
Rick Joyner’s wisdom, along with the strength of the Morningstar community of believers, will be a great support to Todd as he deals with the heart issues that brought about his failures.
Rick Joyner, as you may recall, is the one who came to Bentley's defense AFTER things started falling apart in Lakeland. He wrote, on August 8:
I did not hear that Todd was going through a personal crisis until the day before our meeting with him here. When I saw him Wednesday night, he immediately wanted to share with me about his personal problems—especially about his recent separation from his wife. Todd did not share this in a way to try and justify himself, but he wanted me to know what was going on with him to give me an out if I did not think he should minister the next day. I greatly appreciated this.
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. Some of his leaders who I talked to also confirmed that Todd had not been in any immoral relationship, though they were all grieving over Todd’s marital problems.
A few days later, it was revealed that there was another woman; apparently Bentley BS'ed his way through his little heart-to-heart with Rick Joyner.
Most troubling is Joyner's take on divorce, spoken regarding Bentley:
So, should someone who is divorced be disqualified from ministry or from leadership in the church? How can we disqualify someone from ministry or leadership for something that would disqualify God? In Jeremiah 3, we are told that God gave Israel a certificate of divorce. God is divorced. Nearly half the people in our churches have been divorced. A good many Christians now stay away from the church because they have suffered a divorce, and they feel condemned by the church for it. This is an issue that we need to address for the church, not just Todd.
All I can say is "This is the man charged with restoration?"
Quoting Dutch Sheets:
We, the leaders of the charismatic community, have operated in an extremely low level of discernment. Frankly, we often don't even try to discern. We assume a person's credibility based on gifts, charisma, the size of their ministry or church, whether they can prophesy or work a miracle, etc. (Miracles and signs are intended to validate God and His message, not the messenger; sometimes they validate the assignment of an individual, but never the person's character, lifestyle or spiritual maturity.) We leaders in the Church have become no different than the world around us in our standards for measuring success and greatness. This has contributed to the body of Christ giving millions of dollars to undeserving individuals; it has allowed people living in sin to become influential leaders—even to lead movements, allowing them influence all the way to the White House. Through our lack of discernment we built their stages and gave them their platforms. We have been gullible beyond words—gullible leaders producing gullible sheep. When a spiritual leader we're connected with violates trust, is exposed for immorality or falls below other accepted standards of behavior, it does not exonerate us simply
to say we don't condone such behavior.
Certainly Bentley should get help from those he can respond to. I hope he does. I don't care if he ever ministers again, and I suspect God Himself is less concerned with that as opposed to the excessing drinking and inappropraite behaviour. We esteem ourselves too highly when we think that God cannot raise others up as He wills.
Joyner will be working with Jack Deere and Bill Johnson. Joyner and Deere, of course, are already know for their successful work with Paul Cain.
And then there this one last issue that few have raised. A lot of people "sown into revival." About 500K of that money was spent on a residence for Bentley in Lakeland - away from his wife. When will the biblical principle of "restitution" come into play? Talk about an economic stimulus package for the church!
Wagner's Lakeland Update
Joyner on Bentley - August '08