I regret that this blog has gone back to just one subject this week. I have been very busy and have not had time to write except to keep my readers up to date on this story – which does seem to attract readers here and hopefully provide some balance to the very negative perspectives I have found in some places.
Several writers in comments here and on other blogs have been asking questions about the role of the the four “apostles” who prayed for Todd Bentley, on stage at Lakeland, on 23rd June. These four are Bill Johnson, Che Ahn, John Arnott and Peter Wagner. Some comments have implied that these four have acted irresponsibly, or predicted that they will now abandon Todd. Others like Mark B claim to be asking questions when in fact these questions have been answered – if they had bothered to look for the answers. In fact, from the evidence I quote below, it is clear that all four are acting very responsibly, as expected of senior Christian leaders, are standing by their man while not condoning his sin, and are looking towards his restoration to ministry.
I have already quoted Trevor Baker about Bill Johnson’s current position and plan to meet with Todd next week:
Todd has withdrawn from public ministry while he seeks counsel and help from those he is accountable to. A meeting with Bill Johnson is planned when he returns from Australia. This will take place on 30-31 August. Do pray for the Holy Spirit to give clear counsel during this time.
Today I found a link to John Arnott’s response to the current situation. John notes that Todd’s “behavior is wrong before the Lord”, then writes:
Be assured that nothing is being ‘swept under the carpet,’ but we are bringing it out into the light of God’s truth in mercy so that we can interrupt Satan’s plan to use this to discredit Jesus Christ by destroying the lives of Todd, his family and his friends. …
I am aware that the devil wants to tempt some people to say, “I told you so.” Do not allow yourself to become his instrument by using the sword of truth without mercy in this way. Before you cast a stone, remember that you are not without sin yourself. This is how pride can gain a subtle hold in your heart. What you sow now, you will reap in the future.
Had you lived during the reign of King David would you have judged him for his moral failure? While he was in sin, God saw David’s heart and knew that he could be corrected and redeemed. His sin and God’s judgment on it as well as God’s redemption of the situation are recorded in Scripture for everyone to read. …
May I enlist your prayers for Todd and Shonnah and their children at this time, that God, the Great Reverser, will miraculously turn this situation around?
Meanwhile Dan Curant has posted (unfortunately without giving his source, but I assume this is genuine) a letter from Doris Wagner, wife of Peter, going into the ins and outs of this situation. This is well worth reading. Here is Peter and Doris’ general perspective on Todd’s ministry:
We felt as though there was a legitimate anointing on Todd’s life. We knew he was an imperfect person but our honest desire was to sort out and save the good. The other charge against us is that we stupidly could not recognize that these miracles were being done under the power of a satanic spirit and that we were totally lacking in discernment. My answer to that is, there probably was some of the flesh at work on some occasions, and people operating with a higher level of discernment may have picked up on some things we could not. I seriously question whether a satanic spirit got away with all of the good. My conclusion is that it was mixed and we wanted to help sort out the good.
It seems that Peter Wagner was reluctant to get involved with Todd, but did so precisely because he saw that Todd needed a higher level of oversight and accountability. Indeed the reasons for this started to come out soon after the 23rd June ceremony. And it is clear that he and the other three are taking very seriously the responsibility they accepted on that day, but within the limitations of busy interrnational ministry schedules. Doris writes:
Todd now has the opportunity to address some character flaws and get them healed and corrected in order to carry the anointing God has given him. …
Be assured that Todd’s overseers, Che, John and Bill along with Peter are hard at work. Please give us some time. Peter is in Singapore and goes on to Indonesia for a few days and will not be back until next week. Che is ministering in Korea. Bill and John have killer schedules all summer long. We are working as best and as fast as we can, but there are constraints that slow us a little. Things like thousands of miles and schedules that cannot be changed, and when it is day here it is night in Asia.
I am very optimistic. I see a door of opportunity swung wide open. I see a wonderful, merciful God reaching out. What many are calling a rotten mess I see as a splendid chance for one of the church’s finest hours. The mess was there festering for a while anyway, now let’s fix it. Is Todd’s situation a strange thing? The breakup of the family is one of the most common societal problems we face today. How many other couples contemplating family breakup could be encouraged to get help if this is a successful rehabilitation?
Todd now has some fathers by his side to help in time of need and to avoid shipwreck if he chooses to accept that help. He now has some authority in his life, and parameters are comforting to kids. He is deeply loved by many who are in a position to help spiritually, emotionally and mentally. He is a place of protection he did not have the luxury of before June 23.
So let’s all continue to pray for Todd, as well as for Shonnah and the children, for repentance, acceptance of help, and over time full restoration. And let’s pray for these four “fathers” as they facilitate this process.