Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Todd Bentley

Todd Bentley, an atypical evangelist who drew thousands to a series of summer revivals in Lakeland, plans to divorce his wife amid revelations that he is romantically involved with the nanny of his children, according to his ministry.

Link to the story: Bentley

Faith healer Todd Bentley separates from wife, draws criticism from charismatics

Posted on Aug 19, 2008 | by David Roach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--With controversial faith healer Todd Bentley announcing that he is separating from his wife, charismatic leaders J. Lee Grady and Stephen Strang have reacted by saying someone should have raised questions about Bentley earlier.

Grady, editor of the popular charismatic magazine Charisma, said the way thousands celebrated Bentley despite his moral and theological shortcomings demonstrated a lack of discernment that pervades the charismatic movement.

Link to the story: Bentley

Todd Bentley Remarries
Todd Bentley, who became well-known for leading the Lakeland Outpouring until he stepped down after announcing he was divorcing his wife, Shonnah, has remarried.

Link to the story: Bentley

Todd Bentley's Florida Outpouring "Healings"... Were They Real or Fake?

Here is the link to the article: Healings
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Todd Bentley marries woman whom he had extramarital affair with

Those who have been following the misadventures of Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley may be interested to know that he remarried a few days ago.

Mr. Bentley has married the former Jessa Hasbrook, a former intern for his ministry. Last summer, his internationally famous revival campaign in Lakeland, Florida collapsed when it was revelead that he and Jessa had begun an "emotional affair". Charismatic leaders C. Peter Wagner and Robert Ricciardelli, however, have reported that the affair was apparently sexual. Mr. Ricciardelli, furthermore, has indicated that this affair, whatever type it was, began in January of last year, which would place it well before Mr. Bentley announced that he was separating from his wife Shonnah. This is also well before Mr. Bentley brought Shonnah Bentley and his kids to Lakeland to show them to an international T.V. audience. Shonnah Bentley even preached in a local church to promote her husband's revival.

(Even non-contested divorces in British Columbia take at least two to five months to process. If we work backwards, it appears that Todd and Jessa Bentley could have wound up marrying as quickly as the day after Todd Bentley's divorce paperwork arrived in the mail from Canada. A five month delay until now would place the start of everything back around last November, which, interestingly, was around the same time that Shonnah Bentley and her mom Val Andres, in control of the remnant of the Fresh Fire board, issued the statement on behalf of the board that Todd was committing "adultery", and castigated the evangelist at some length.)

Readers may recall that I reported on The Shotgun last fall that Shonnah Bentley has a lifelong disability after suffering cancer as a teen:

I wrote:

Mr. Bentley must realize that if, he divorces his current wife in favor of a trophy wife, there will be speculation in the minds of some of his Internet and Christian media critics that one of the reasons that he is getting rid of Shonnah is because her disability embarrasses him—and moreover, that his theology does not work with a wife hobbling along at his side.

There are several pictures and videos of Jessa on the Internet now. With all due respect to Shonnah Bentley (as I do not like to make such comparisons in print), the new Jessa Bentley is certainly a "trophy wife" for the evangelist. She is significantly younger than Todd Bentley, pretty, and by all indications, completely able bodied. I do not think that Mr. Bentley was thinking of Jessa's spiritual gifts, skills, training or knowledge, when he asked for her hand. To my knowledge, Jessa has never preached, ministered in faith-healing as Mr. Bentley has, or done anything to indicate that she can significantly help her new husband in his work. (Shonnah Bentley has. Not that it matters to Mr. Bentley now, though.)

Watch for the Christian press, if they are on the ball, to point this out. Hopefully, with side-by-side photos of both Mrs. Bentleys.

This is a fait accompli presented to Rick Joyner, the U.S. Christian evangelist who has yet to begin "restoring" Mr. Bentley to ministry. Mr. Bentley is saying to Mr. Joyner. "Look, buddy, I'm marrying this woman, and whatever advice you may have to the contrary based on the Bible or your educated wisdom, is beside the point." Very conservative Christians (which include some charismatics) believe that remarriage while one's first spouse in alive is proscribed by the Bible, so it will be interesting to see what kind of arguments that Joyner and Mr. Bentley can advance here. I don't think that arguing something like "I no longer love my first wife, but I love this prettier, able-bodied and younger woman who doesn't have the maturity (spiritually or emotionally) to hold me accountable to God's standards (as a husband and evangelist) in the same way that Shonnah can. So, that's why I married Jessa." will work well for Mr. Bentley. Nevertheless he will try.

Readers of Mr. Bentley's autobiography, Journey Into the Miraculous, will also recall a vision that Mr. Bentley had before his marriage that I've discussed in the Shotgun before. You may recall that he claims in his autobiography that he received a special message from the Lord that he was to marry Shonnah Andres...which he did. He wrote:

“…the Lord had actually shown me an open vision of Shonnah. It was my first open-eyed vision. I was in my living room and my fireplace opened up, kind of like a TV screen, and I saw us embracing in a wheat field that was ready for harvest. We were both weeping and I was wearing a tux and she was wearing a wedding dress. As the vision unfolded, her friend Roswetta (who was now my friend) was talking with me in the living room about Shonnah. I described the open vision to her as it happened. The presence of the Lord fell and we both wept. Roswetta said, ‘I can’t see it but I can feel goose bumps.’ During this vision, I also received an anointing of creativity, poetry and writing. In fact, I even received a three-page prophetic poem that I read at our wedding. I still write prophetic poems for my wife to this day.”

Todd Bentley lied. He lied to get Shonnah Bentley to marry him. Otherwise, if he believed that heard from God, in the same way that he "hears from God" on behalf of people wanting a healing touch or a message from the Lord, he would have moved heaven and earth to stay with his first wife. Sadly, that is the point of view on this that makes the most sense now.

Jessa Bentley--if Todd told you anything about a vision that he had where Jesus told him to marry you, please save yourself some heartbreak and take it with the biggest grain of salt that you can find.

This poses an interesting question for Mr. Bentley's U.S. publisher Destiny Image Publishers. Are there any whoppers in Mr. Bentley's three books? What will happen to Todd's account of his vision about marrying Shonnah in future editions of his autobiography? Will it disappear in the same way that officials who displeased Stalin started disappearing from pictures and photos as they were taken to the Gulag?

Sad, very sad. I wonder what Mr. Bentley can say when he fields inquiries from the press again.

Link to the original article: Bentley
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'A Voice for Sanity'

J. Lee Grady doesn't want your gold. The journalist wants a 'Holy Ghost housecleaning' of the charismatic movement.

Lee Grady didn't wait for an economic recession to battle the prosperity gospel. He has been fighting it for years.

Grady is the editor of Charisma, the magazine that serves as a gathering tent for Pentecostal and charismatic Christians. Its columns and advertisements feature some of the most prominent names in the movement—and some of the most frequent targets of Grady's criticism.

Other evangelicals have long criticized the teaching that God promises his followers wealth and happiness. But few within the movement have made their calls for repentance so public.

"Martin Luther had to say something, or they were going to keep selling indulgences. Now we have that going on in our midst," Grady told Christianity Today in his Orlando office. "If someone says, 'Send your $100 to be saved,' that is selling indulgences, and there are people doing that on Trinity Broadcasting Network." The TV corporation's fundraising appeals have been among Grady's most frequent targets.

"I don't want to lump all of those people and everything they teach under the umbrella of indulgences," Grady says. "But if they're doing manipulative things to get people to open their wallets, and twisting Scripture just like it was done during medieval times, we ought to challenge that. All we know to do is to get on the housetops and shout for reform."

Many within the charismatic movement are hearing Grady's shouts and applauding.

"Lee gives a corrective word to some of the excesses that none of us want to be identified with," says George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. "We've always valued the prophetic word, and part of a prophetic word is correction."

In recent years, Grady has attempted to correct some of the movement's most high-profile names amid both their financial successes and public troubles, including divorces, foreclosures, and investigations.

"Many unbelievers now associate ministers with wife-swapping, wife-beating, no-fault divorce, gay affairs, and $10,000-a-night hotel rooms," he wrote in a 2008 column. "We need a Holy Ghost housecleaning."
A Troubled Movement

The author of a weekly column titled "Fire in My Bones," Grady doesn't look particularly fiery behind his computer. Dressed in khaki pants and a green button-down shirt, he speaks softly and slowly with a thick Atlantan accent as he explains his love and concern for the movement.

"I've read enough history to know that even in the Pentecostal movement, there's always been a tendency for people who embrace the life of the Holy Spirit to go off on tangents," he says.

But the past few years have been particularly tumultuous for some of the most recognizable names in the movement. Grady has deemed such tumult indicative of "a charismatic meltdown":

* Bishop Thomas Weeks III married Christina Glenn in October 2009, just two years after being charged with assaulting then-wife Juanita Bynum in an Atlanta hotel parking lot.

* The Cathedral at Chapel Hill in Atlanta, one of the most celebrated Pentecostal churches in the United States, sold its property in August 2009. The church's founder, the late Earl Paulk Jr., faced accusations throughout his career of coercing women into having sex and molesting children. In 2007, dna testing revealed that Paulk had fathered a child with his brother's wife.

* Florida megachurch pastor Paula White returned to lead Without Walls International Church in July 2009 after she and husband Randy divorced in October 2007. The church faced foreclosure in November 2008 but renegotiated its loan.

All of us should be trembling," Grady wrote that November. "God requires holiness in his house and truth in the mouths of his servants.

"Let's examine our hearts and our ministries. Let's throw out the wood, hay, and stubble and build on a sure and tested foundation. It is the only way to survive the meltdown."

Grady goes deeper in his calls for reform in his new book, Fire in My Bones: Recovering the Genuine Power of the Holy Spirit in an Age of Compromise, set to release in April 2010.

"We have this genuine, authentic power that God wants to give his church, but we don't want it mixed with other stuff: sexual impurity, theological fuzziness, or racism," Grady says. "The charismatic movement needs to be purged so it can claim the Holy Spirit in our generation."

You can read the rest of the article at this link:

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christ the King

Today is Christ The King Sunday

Here are the scripture readings for today:

First Reading: Daniel 7:13-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 93:1, 1-2, 5
Second Reading: Revelation 1:5-8
Gospel: John 18:33-37
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Theology Podcast- Supplement Your Diet

What you listen to will affect you...if you don't eat good spiritual food with solid doctrine you are going to be weak and sickly. If you only feed yourself a couple times a week how can you expect to grow spiritually? I think you get my point.

A steady diet of the Word of God, both at church and at home, is extremely important. If you expect most pastors today to feed you I think you might be disappointed. Are you getting fed at church with good solid doctrine and theology? If not then you're wasting your time.

I like podcasts to help supplement my diet. I can listen to them on the way to work, on a trip, in the car, as you go to bed, whenever. You can even listen to a podcast while on a jog. There are several I listen to regulary. Here is one that you might try that I'm just starting to listen to. If you're lazy and don't want to think then don't bother.

The podcast is called "Theology Unplugged" and here is its description: "Theology Unplugged is an internet radio show. The uniqueness of TUP is that we speak on theological issues of the day with clarity, honesty and openness. TUP allows the listener to make informed judgments on the most important theological issues today."

Sound interesting? Go to this link and subscribe to the podcast...give it a try and supplement that diet with some good theological discussions.

Let us know what you think.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Satanic Devotional

I did a devotional study using the Satanic Bible. Listen to the study right here:

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Trinitarian Challenge to Non-Trinitarians

Hey- any non-Trinitarians out there (those who deny the doctrine of the Trinity)? If so...why don't you take a look at this link and take Rob Bowman up on his challenge? He is basically challenging any non-Trinitarian to a formal internet debate. All the rules and the proposed format are on the link at the Parchment and Pen Theology Blog. This website gets a lot of traffic so it's a perfect forum to get some air time.

Don't believe in the Trinity? Well if so...let us all know why you don't and see if you can hold your metal against a Trinitarian. After all...if the Trinity is just not there it should be an easy win right?
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