Sarah Palin, my kind of Republican

I don’t often comment on American politics. I suppose I tend to leave that to Americans, but that doesn’t stop Canadians like Kevin Sam giving their opinions. But I have made some exceptions for Obama, here and here, so partly for the sake of balance I will give some initial reactions to the surprise nomination of Sarah Palin as Republican candidate for Vice-President. In fact it was such a surprise that it seems Jim West confused her with Michael Palin!

From what I have read, including this BBC report and some others and this Wikipedia profile, Sarah Palin sounds like the kind of person I could support, if I could stomach Republican policies in general, especially on social issues like health care and on Iraq.

One piece of information which may be new: in 2002 Palin was defeated in the race for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska by Loren Leman who is the brother of Better Bibles blogger Wayne Leman.

It seems that Palin is a good Christian. At least this is how she is portrayed by the conservative World Magazine. This article says that she attends Wasilla Bible Church, which is non-denominational and evangelical. David Ker among others suggests that her denomination is Assemblies of God, but the evidence for this in fact suggests only that when she was a junior high student (so perhaps before the Bible Church opened in 1977 when she was 13) she attended Wasilla Assembly of God, and that when in the state capital Juneau she attends Juneau Christian Center which appears to be Assemblies of God. This all seems consistent with what was written at the Christianity Today politics blog. So, while she has not rejected her Pentecostal upbringing, her current preference is slightly different.

Palin is not at all the stereotypical conservative Christian woman. She has not stayed at home to manage her home and home school her five children (well spaced over 19 years), but has built her own career. Yet she chose to give birth to her Down’s Syndrome son earlier this year, rather than have an abortion because of his condition. She likes hunting and fishing, not typical feminine pursuits. Given her background in small town Alaska, where guns may be necessary protection from marauding moose and polar bears, I can almost forgive her membership of the National Rifle Association; but she will need to realise that policies which work in Wasilla (population under 6,000 when she was mayor, homicide rate zero in 2005) are not necessarily appropriate in Washington DC (population 588,000, homicide rate 169 in 2006 even after dropping by half since the early 1990s).

The interesting issue is why 72-year-old John McCain picked 44-year-old Palin as his running mate. The consensus seems to be that this was political expediency, picking a young and unusual outsider to balance an old Washington insider, to mirror the Obama-Biden ticket. That certainly makes a lot of sense for McCain, and explains his surprising choice. However, I think it is a good choice – or perhaps not, because it increases the chance of a Republican victory which could have all sorts of other serious repercussions for world peace, and for the health and welfare of poor Americans.

But anyone who votes for the McCain-Palin ticket has to reckon with the real chance that Palin will become President and Commander-in-Chief of US forces, a chance that is enhanced by McCain’s age. So they should not vote this way unless they think that Palin could be an appropriate President.

So this brings me back to the question which I first raised in comments on John Hobbins’ blog (note that there is already more than one page of comments on this post including at least three by me) and then again at Complegalitarian: is a woman Vice-President acceptable to conservative Christians, who are mostly at least in theory complementarian? If not, McCain might find himself losing a substantial number of votes just because he has a woman on his ticket.

Now some complementarians limit women to submissive roles only in the church and in the family. But others teach that women should never be in positions of authority over men even in the secular realm, and so would certainly not accept a woman as President or Commander-in-Chief. Among these is the well-known Bible teacher John Piper, who, in the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood which he co-authored with Wayne Grudem, on pp.17-19 of this PDF file, wrote:

Mature femininity does not express itself in the same way toward every man. A mature woman who is married, for example, does not welcome the same kind of strength and leadership from other men that she welcomes from her husband. But she will affirm and receive and nurture the strength and leadership of men in some form in all her relationships with men. This is true even though she may find herself in roles that put some men in a subordinate role to her. Without passing any judgment on the appropriateness of any of these roles one thinks of the following possible instances:

  • Prime Minister and her counsellors and advisors.
  • Principal and the teachers in her school.
  • College teacher and her students.
  • Bus driver and her passengers.
  • Bookstore manager and her clerks and stock help.
  • Staff doctor and her interns.
  • Lawyer and her aides.
  • Judge and the court personnel.
  • Police officer and citizens in her precinct.
  • Legislator and her assistants.
  • T.V. newscaster and her editors.
  • Counsellor and her clients.

One or more of these roles might stretch appropriate expressions of femininity beyond the breaking point. …

But as I said earlier, there are roles that strain the personhood of man and woman too far to be appropriate, productive and healthy for the overall structure of home and society. Some roles would involve kinds of leadership and expectations of authority and forms of strength as to make it unfitting for a woman to fill the role. …

The God-given sense of responsibility for leadership in a mature man will not generally allow him to flourish long under personal, directive leadership of a female superior. J. I. Packer suggested that “a situation in which a female boss has a male secretary” puts strain on the humanity of both (see note 18). I think this would be true in other situations as well. Some of the more obvious ones would be in military combat settings if women were positioned so as to deploy and command men; or in professional baseball if a woman is made the umpire to call balls and strikes and frequently to settle heated disputes among men. And I would stress that this is not necessarily owing to male egotism, but to a natural and good penchant given by God.

It will be fascinating to see what John Piper and other complementarian leaders have to say about Palin as a candidate Vice-President. Interestingly Al Mohler, who doesn’t allow women to teach in his seminary, predicted Palin’s nomination back in May in an article about her Down’s Syndrome baby, but with no comment on whether she would be suitable. The only specific clearly negative comment I have seen is from Carmon Friedrich, called a “mover-and-shaker in patriarchy” by Molly Aley who quoted him:

Does God not ordain the means as well as the end? Why does she get a pass on the leadership issue and career mother problem just because she has the right views on abortion and helps make McCain more electable? If Christian complementarians/patriarchalists get behind this choice, then they undermine all their arguments for the creation order as the reason for opposing women in other areas of ministry. The Word of God calls the civil magistrate a “minister of God.”

Well, now we can look forward to more mothers telling their daughters, “You can be anything you want to be…even vice president!” How is this woman able to be her husband’s helpmeet and be a proper mother to her little ones with such huge responsibilities in her job?

On the other hand, the World Magazine article I mentioned earlier, despite the magazine’s generally complementarian position, comes close to endorsing Palin. And James Dobson is reportedly elated at the news. So how can these complementarians have this attitude? Perhaps it is that these people have a one track mind about politics: the only thing they care about is a candidate’s position on abortion. But then McCain who is not pro-life will not force through anti-abortion legislation for the sake of his VP, so anyone who votes for these two because she is pro-life is voting irresponsibly. Or perhaps John Hobbins is right on the facts, although wrong on the morality of them, when he writes the following astonishing endorsement of hypocrisy:

Consistency is the hobglobin of small minds. Ordinary people tend to get this instinctively. Eggheads like Piper and Grudem, maybe not.

It’s obvious that many people read P & G’s books without coming to agree with the notion that a woman by definition is unfit to be President of the United States, or drive bus, for goodness’ sake.

Well, let’s wait and see. If leaders like Piper come out against Palin, at least they are being consistent, and they may convince enough of their supporters to make a significant dent in McCain’s vote. If they don’t, they will be shown up as hypocrites. It will be interesting to watch!

Godblogs event in London

Tim Thomas of the evangelical alliance has been posting comments on this blog and at least one other about a get-together for bloggers. He doesn’t give the date, which is in fact 23rd September. This is what he does write:

Great blog! We would like to bring to your attention an event we are hosting….

The Evangelical Alliance, specifically Krish Kandiah, is hosting an informal lunch event for Christian bloggers to network with one another and think through a Christ-like approach to blogging. Please find an invitation attached.

The event will begin at 11am and run through until 2.30pm. There will be a £5 charge for the event, which will cover lunch and resources.

We would be extremely grateful if you could let us know whether you are available to attend by Tuesday 16 September.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards
Alexandra Lilley

Churches In Mission Project Co-ordinator
Tel (direct line): 0207 207 2109

Evangelical Alliance
Whitefield House
186 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4BT

Also he didn’t include the attachment, which would have been difficult in a comment. But I had already received this notice and the attachment by e-mail.

UPDATE: I have now been sent some new artwork from the Evangelical Alliance to replace the not very wonderful version I put together out of the original attachment which was a Word document.

In case the text above is not visible, here it is in black on white:

Time <11am-2.30pm>
Location <Whitefield House, Kennington, London>
Cost <£5 including lunch and resources>
To register <Email by 16 Sept>

This meeting is apparently open to all Christian bloggers. I am not sure yet whether I will be able to attend. If others I know of are attending it might encourage me to do so.

Peter and Doris Wagner on Todd Bentley

Please forgive yet another post about Todd Bentley. In this one I attempt to sort out some possible confusion about what Peter and Doris Wagner, of Global Harvest Ministries, have written about Todd Bentley. There has been some uncertainty about this because they have sent out various statements by e-mail to their mailing list but have not put them on their website. Others have posted them on blogs and other sites, but with no link to the source and no assurance that they are genuine and unedited. At least one of these sites has indeed made some minor edits to the text.

Therefore, as I mentioned in this comment and this one, I wrote this morning to Global Harvest Ministries asking for confirmation that these statements are genuine. In reply I was sent copies of the three recent statements, which I have myself compared (using Microsoft Word’s Compare Documents facility) with various versions found on the Internet.

The earliest of the three statements which I received, entitled “The Lakeland Apostolic Findings”, was written by Peter Wagner and dated 11th August. This statement was published in full a few days later by Pastor Burt, the most reliable source I have found on the Internet for these statements. This statement precedes the revelations about the breakup of Todd’s marriage. It is a preliminary report of an investigation by a team of ten “apostles” into the alleged problems of the Lakeland Outpouring. The largest part of this statement is an account of how Peter got involved with Todd, and how Todd came under the apostolic oversight of Che Ahn, Bill Johnson and John Arnott – but not of Peter, Rick Joyner or the other apostolic leaders present, who did not lay hands on Todd.

The second statement was from Doris Wagner, but included shorter letters from Chuck Pierce and Peter Wagner. This was also published in full in the same post by Pastor Burt; Dan Curant posted the part of this by Doris herself, from which I quoted in a previous post. This statement was an initial response from Doris, in Peter’s absence on an international trip, to the news about Todd’s marriage breakup and taking a break from ministry.

The third statement is a new one yesterday from Peter Wagner. Again Pastor Burt, in a new post, is the best Internet source I have found for this. I read it originally in a version set in a hostile context from Antagoniz, and I was initially sceptical about the genuineness of this. Indeed this version has been edited, but only by the possibly accidental omission of a couple of sentences of little significance, and by the addition of a lot of tendentious underlining with no note that this was not original.

In this new statement Peter revisits a lot of what he wrote in the first one about how he came to be involved with Todd. The reason I was doubtful about the authenticity of the statement was these words, especially in the context given to them by Antagoniz:

Speaking of the public figure going down the tubes, Todd Bentley now carries the label of a liar and a deceiver. I’m sorry to mention it, but I felt personally deceived in the same way when Ted Haggard’s sin was exposed and he was immediately removed from ministry.

But to be fair to Peter, here he is giving his initial reaction, perhaps to inaccurate accounts, and not his considered opinion; and the label “a liar and a deceiver” was not given by Peter but by a hostile public.

Concerning the present situation, this is the main part of what Peter writes:

Since this is an update, I will share some of what I know about what is happening with Bentley, but not all because some things need more verification and it is up to discernment of Revival Alliance what and when this will be revealed. Suffice it to say that there is more than I am going to mention. First of all, Todd has been removed from public ministry until further notice. He has resigned from the ministry he founded, Fresh Fire, so he is no longer a part of that board. It has become clear that he indulged in periodic drunkenness. He has no intention at the moment of reconciling with Shonna, nor does she with him. Their marriage has been torn for years by his emotional attachment with at least one other female whose physical contact went beyond hugging and kissing and holding hands. Enough said-maybe more details will be revealed later-but it was clearly immoral. All of this was skillfully concealed by lying and by swearing close associates who had observed his behavior to secrecy. Stephen Strader, for example, knew nothing of this before June 23. Apparently some of his board members did, but they did not have the ability to deal with it.

I must say I wonder how Peter knows this, considering that he has apparently only met Todd on the one occasion. This seems to conflict with what Rick Joyner has written. The most serious charge relates to Todd regularly lying – although given the massive publicity at Lakeland it would be reasonable for him to ask his staff not to reveal his whereabouts during his time off. There is at least the possibility here that Peter has given too much credence to some of the hostile accounts which have been circulating. Indeed this information needs to be verified.

Peter finishes as follows:

Two separate things are going on. (1) The Revival Alliance is dealing with Todd Bentley and the fallout from his sin that has been and continues to be exposed. (2) I have told you previously about a group of 11 apostles that I have formed into the Lakeland Outpouring Apostolic Team. We no longer need to deal with Lakeland I and Bentley as such. However, we have a list of 24 serious issues that have emerged from that unpleasant experience which need to be thoroughly discussed with the conclusions circulated in the body of Christ. …

It will take time, but our Apostolic Team will get to work on the 24 issues after some of this present dust settles, and we will be back to you!

I look forward to their further report.

Todd Bentley asks for prayer and patience

Todd Bentley has broken his silence about his personal situation with a statement which he has asked Rick Joyner to release. Rick has included this in a longer article which is a follow-up to the one which I posted extracts from last Friday.

Thanks to Dan Curant for the link.

Here is what Todd asked Rick to publish:

Todd Bentley asked me to convey his appreciation for all the prayers, expressions of love, and concern while he tries to navigate through this present situation. He is grieved by the trouble and confusion this has caused, especially to his friends, coworkers, and all who have trusted him. He wants to make a clear statement about it, acknowledging his responsibility in this and the mistakes he made, but he feels that he should first meet with Pastor Bill Johnson, who is out of the country and will not be available for a couple more weeks. He asks that you would continue to pray for him, and he thanks those who are willing to be patient. He wants to do this right and not hastily or superficially.

Rick adds, as part of a longer article:

I would like to accept personal responsibility for counseling Todd to wait until he has talked with Bill before trying to make the “full disclosure” of his mistakes. This needs to be done right and in a way that does not unnecessarily hurt even more people. In just a couple of weeks, things should have calmed down enough for a statement to be made. Impatience is not a fruit of the Spirit, and I have personally never seen anything done under the kind of duress and pressure that some are trying to exert at this time that ended up not being a mistake.

The only thing that I have received from the Lord about this matter directly is that “those who rush to judgment will be exposed.” This entire matter, including the Lakeland Outpouring, is a test. To me, the miracles, healings, salvations, and profoundly changed lives that resulted in people, some that I personally know, make all that is happening now still worth it, many times over.

Reflecting on the sometimes rash statements which others have made. Rick makes an interesting suggestion:

I think we should … maybe have a moratorium to allow everyone a chance to retract what they have written for the last couple of weeks.

This paragraph reveals a bit more about what is happening now:

I recommended to Todd to allow a panel of those who are considered true elders in the body of Christ, who could be impartial, to judge this situation, and he readily agreed. He did not make any demands or suggestions about who should be on the panel. He only said that he felt he should not cross the line and say anything negative about his wife, and that he intends to continue to love her and his children, and take care of them.

I will take Blue, with a hint of amber’s advice and refrain from further comment.

The latest on the former SPCK bookshops

Over a month ago I wrote about the former SPCK bookshops and blogger Dave Walker’s response to a Cease and Desist letter. Since then there has been silence on this matter from Dave Walker, perhaps for legal reasons and perhaps because he was just too busy with the Lambeth Conference and then a holiday to give more time to this.

But there has been plenty of activity from others around the blogosphere, not just from the normal small circle of Christian blogs but from heavyweights like Matt Wardman who are concerned with the implications of what has happened for freedom of speech. Phil Groom’s SPCK/SSG blog has remained the best place to keep up with this matter, and has lots of links to what other people have been writing. Most of the actiivity was in late July, but there has been a steady trickle of new information through August. I salute Phil and also Essex vicar Sam Norton for refusing to comply with the Cease and Desist letters they received – letters which were no more legally enforceable than the paper they weren’t written on, because they were only sent by e-mail.

Phil has recently launched an online petition to save Durham Cathedral Bookshop, once the jewel in the SPCK bookshop chain, from the clutches of SSG. The petition currently has 143 signatures, and could do with more. Please support this petition if you can.


This is not another post about Todd Bentley, but one about one of my posts about Todd. My post Todd Bentley and an angel called Emma has just become the first on this blog to be viewed more than 10,000 times. It has crept past this milestone, just three months after it was first posted, as the number of viewings per week have dropped from 347 in the last full week of July to just 96 last week. This post seems to have attracted much of its traffic in previous months from a Google link on a search for “Todd Bentley”.

In the last week there has been a lot of traffic at this blog relating to Todd Bentley, but the great majority of this has been viewing of my recent posts about Todd, to which the search engines now seem to be linking. The most popular has been Message from Trevor Baker about Todd Bentley, with 781 views in just six days, but seven posts have attracted over 200 views each in the last week.

My second most popular post of all time is Pope Benedict, Bible scholars, and the Antichrist, with 6,595 views, all but a few hundred of which were in a few days in March this year because of a link from a popular site. In third place, perhaps for a bronze medal, is Lakeland revival with Todd Bentley continues with 5,943 views, again mostly from a Google link.

The non-dancers' Bible

The response to TC Robinson’s post on praise and worship postures reminds me of some Bibles I saw on sale last week. This was a batch of I think NLT Life Application Bibles which were being sold cheaply because they were “missing just three verses”, because of a printing error, which turned out to be the last three verses of the Psalms. Now the clearest biblical injunction to dance in worship is in Psalm 150:4. So this edition of the Bible is ideal for those who don’t like dance!

This also reminds me of a story which I heard about an argument between a Baptist and a Pentecostal pastor in a remote part of Russia over whether the Bible teaches dancing in worship. Of course we know that the Pentecostal was correct, that Psalm 150:4 and a few other verses such as 2 Samuel 6:14 teach in favour of dancing in worship. But my friend who told me about this said that the Baptist really could not find any reference to dance in his Bible. I had a look at the Russian Synodal version, which he was probably using, and realised why. Nowhere in the Bible was any word used which clearly means “dance” in modern Russian. When I asked some Russian educated graduates to translate for me the Russian of the first half of Psalm 150:4, Khvalite Yego s timpanom i likami, they were puzzled and could only suggest “Praise Him with tambourine and faces”, understanding likami as the instrumental plural of lik, an archaic word for “face”. It was only with the aid of the glossary in a recent edition of the Russian Bible that I found the real source of this word: liki, a Slavonic word for a choir. So it is hardly surprising that the Baptist pastor was confused.

Bill Johnson and Mark Stibbe on Todd Bentley

Just a quick link to a few more statements about Todd Bentley which I have just come across:

Bill Johnson, one of the “apostles” who commissioned Todd at Lakeland on 23rd June and who is scheduled to meet with Todd next week, writes his latest thoughts on the matter here. I note that he states that Todd “has filed for divorce”, the first time I have seen this information from a reliable source. Here is part of Bill’s statement:

I did not go to Lakeland and stand on the platform with Todd Bentley because he was perfect in character or because we agreed with every aspect of how he conducted the revival in Lakeland. … It was my intention to bring a deflection into the mix so that he wouldn’t take all the heat by himself. Little did I realize it was too late. He was at the place of burnout again, abandoning his marriage and pulling out of all public ministry. While I will never blame Todd’s opponents for Todd’s bad choices (Todd alone is responsible for them) their opposition had a greater effect than any of his critics will likely own up to in this lifetime.

Now what? Pray for Todd and Shonnah for complete healing in their marriage and personal lives. Pray for those giving counsel to them that they would use great wisdom.

Please know that while we may not give details of our efforts, we are doing everything possible to help bring healing and order to this tragedy.

I found this account of the 23rd June commissioning service, with details of who was present and involved and summaries of what they said.

I also found this message from Rev Mark Stibbe of St Andrew’s Chorleywood, along with Trevor Baker one of the main UK links with the Lakeland outpouring. There is little new information here, except for some interesting testimonies. Here is part of what he writes:

The right and Biblical response in this situation is not to sit in judgment over Todd and Shonnah but to pray fervently for them and their three children, for a miracle of restoration and for God to be glorified in that miracle. Compassion not condemnation is called for. …

Just because Todd’s marriage is in trouble, that doesn’t mean we give up our desperate pursuit for revival fire to fall where we live and work! We have always been about pursuing God not Todd! …

I wrote and expressed my concern for Todd many months ago – on Day 40 of the outpouring in fact – because I sensed there were some major issues that he needed to take time out to address. Sadly this warning came to nothing. We must understand that high-profile, charismatic leaders are often wounded, flawed people. We mustn’t put them on a pedestal and idealise their character because of the potency of their charisma.

Rick Joyner on Todd Bentley

Rick Joyner, a highly respected charismatic leader who joined with Peter Wagner, Bill Johnson, John Arnott and Che Ahn in commissioning Todd Bentley at Lakeland in June (but for some reason was omitted from some of the lists of those involved), gives a different take on Todd’s marriage problems in the second half of this article, dated 17th August. I presume that he has Todd’s permission to write what he writes.

Many people have been alleging that Todd left his wife for another woman, and calling this “adultery”. The official statements have only said that they have separated, with nothing said about who initiated this, and that Todd “has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff”.

But according to Rick it was Todd’s wife who initiated the separation:

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.

The problems Todd and his wife have had getting along have been public knowledge for several years. I don’t know enough of the details to blame anyone, but I know Todd quite well, and being married to him has got to be like being hand-cuffed to a hurricane. …

When I was in Lakeland a few months ago, I was told that Todd had been making a real effort to patch things up and heal their relationship, but in June she had left and refused any contact. Todd has now lost hope that it will be worked out, especially now that she has made it clear that she will not even see him. Todd is obviously frustrated and just wants to resolve this situation that has been so hard for so long. …

When God got a divorce, was it His fault? Of course not! He was the most perfect Husband there could ever be, but He had a wayward wife that He finally gave up on.

Now I accept that there is some tension between these different accounts, but agreement on the basic facts. Presumably the “immoral relationship” denied is one involving physical adultery, and so distinguished from “an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level”. Without wanting to justify Todd, for a man who has been deserted by his wife to find emotional solace with another woman, while unhealthy, is a rather different matter from a man deserting his wife for the other woman. It is certainly not “adultery”. I note that Rick’s words are carefully chosen to show that Todd is not denying a non-adulterous relationship with another woman after the separation.

We don’t know what stresses led Shonnah to leave Todd, but “being hand-cuffed to a hurricane” through the daily meetings at Lakeland may be too much for any woman to take, so we should not blame her either.

Perhaps, and I am speculating here, we can now guess the real reason for Todd leaving Lakeland in July and then returning rather quickly: he could have been trying to mend his relationship with Shonnah by returning home, and found himself rebuffed.

So where should we go from here? Rick is more upbeat about Todd being restored to ministry that John Arnott, perhaps because he seems to have a closer personal relationship with Todd. He writes (his own emphasis):

The world will never believe our gospel of redemption and restoration until we learn to redeem and restore. Let’s take a worst case scenario here and say that Todd was guilty of terrible things and is the one at fault in the separation—what should our response be? We are told in Galatians 6:1:

Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.

So, if anyone has been “caught in any trespass,” those who are “spiritual” must restore them. Those who are truly spiritual approach every situation with that goal—redemption and restoration. This is more than just forgiving them—it is getting them back to the place they were. The next verse says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). …

This is a real opportunity for the church to show some maturity and Christian love. This does not mean compromise, but it does mean addressing this situation in an almost opposite way that we have tended to do in the past. We will all reap what we sow, and if we want to reap grace, we must learn to sow grace every chance we get. If we want to receive mercy, we need to learn to sow mercy every chance we get. Here’s a good chance!


Todd Bentley's Apostolic Oversight Team in Action

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.