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.

0 thoughts on “Peter and Doris Wagner on Todd Bentley

  1. Peter,

    I’m pleased that the Wagner’s have sent you their statements and these match those posted by even hostile bloggers.

    Given the scrutiny that these statements will receive, I very much doubt that Peter Wagner would have written what he did about Todd’s extra-marital relationships unless he knew it to be accurate. Otherwise he too is likely to be exposed as a deceiver in due course.

    But many people have noted that the statements by Wagner, particularly the most recent one, put a strong spin on his involvement with Todd, even to the extent of rewriting history.

    I too look forward to seeing what comes out of this and would be particularly interested to know what the 24 issues are.

  2. Sidefall, you contradict yourself by claiming that Peter Wagner will be careful to be accurate and then that he has “put a strong spin …, even to the extent of rewriting history”. I suspect that the truth is somewhere in between: he is writing what appears to be true from his perspective and limited knowledge, but may not be the full story.

    Did you see A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland by Dutch Sheets? This was referred to by Peter Wagner as summarising the 24 issues.

  3. Peter –

    Sidefall, you contradict yourself by claiming that Peter Wagner will be careful to be accurate and then that he has “put a strong spin …, even to the extent of rewriting history”.

    Refers to two separate issues. It’s perfectly possible for CPW to be accurate his portrayal of Todd Bentley – and there are good legal reasons why he’d want to be as accurate as possible – whilst mis-characterising his own involvement in Bentley’s ministry.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that it happened that way, but basic comprehension is a helpful starting point.

  4. Incidentally – Dutch Sheets’ statement is a fairly strong mea culpa, though it hints at a fairly significant problem. He praises those ‘raised legitimate concerns’ whilst criticising ‘heresy hunters and revival police’. The division between the two is somewhat self made – the more so as he admits that he didn’t listen to the first group of people to start with. I think that this springs out of a wrong perception of how discernment works.

  5. In branding Bentley as a “liar and deceiver’, isn’t CPW doing exactly what he complained about the so called “heresy hunters” doing earlier on?

    Looks like hypocrisy and spin-meistering to me.

  6. Chris, I too had some problems with Dutch Sheets’ approach. I think one of the things that needs to be learned is how to discern such matters properly, to steer the right path between listening to the “heresy hunters” who really want to tear down any work of the Holy Spirit and taking the “touch not the Lord’s anointed” approach of rejecting all criticism.

    AJ, I share your concern, and this is exactly why I questioned the genuineness of these words. However, they may have been intended in the sense “people are now calling Todd a liar and deceiver” rather than as Peter Wagner’s own assessment.

  7. Seems the wagners have missed the statement made by rick joyner – at the request of Todd. When I emailed them about the “JERKY” way peter was speaking about Todd- here is the response I got-

    He is on the run and we are trying to catch him to
    offer some hope and healing to him. Mrs. Jerk (Doris)

    Doris M. Wagner
    Executive Vice President
    Global Harvest Ministries

    Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:56 PM


    Has he (Todd Bentley) refused to repent and be corrected??? Why is he one of your (losers!) You can use tough love, with out being a jerk verbally….again, my question is….Has he refused to repent?

  8. Tanya, thanks for your interesting information! I suspect that the Wagners are not as much in the loop here as they would like to be and don’t know everything that is going on, maybe not even everything that has been published. Well, they have a link to my blog as well as your e-mail.

    I don’t blame Todd for going “on the run” if even his “friends” have this attitude of trying to “catch him”. He needs some space and then to find “hope and healing” from those, like Bill Johnson, whom he trusts, and who he has accepted as having an authority over him which the Wagners say they do not have.

    Thanks also for your other encouraging comments.

  9. I don’t blame him for running either, he has been crucified 1000x over, sometimes I would love to say to people, please commit your life to Jesus, then listen for HIS voice and seek HIM, and stay away from the “body” or you will get all messed up. But I guess that wouldn’t be too nice, would it? lol Thanks, I will be keeping up with your blog now that i found you.

  10. Its easy to see why Bentley is on the run. He’s not running from man but from God. His sin is condemning him and he cannot stand the guilt of it all.

    Thanks Peter Wagner for being forthcoming in your letters. Things will get clearer in time.

  11. Gene, if he is running from God because of his sin he is running in quite the wrong direction. But then how do you know that he is running from God? How do you presume to know his heart?

    In fact Todd has already expressed a measure of repentance in the statement from him which Rick Joyner released and I quoted:

    He wants to make a clear statement about it, acknowledging his responsibility in this and the mistakes he made …

    This is of course only a start, and the context shows that Todd realises this. But it is evidence that he is not running from God because of guilt.

    On the other hand, I would expect him to run from people like you who are only prepared to believe and write the worst about him.

  12. Leave Todd Bentley alone already! What if this was your child? He is God’s child. Rick, Dutch and all the other false men of GOd, you need to repent for all the stuff youre printing. Proverbs 6:16 states the 6 no 7 things GOd hates. Adultery and Drunkeness is not on this list….. But this website is. Go save souls, feed the hungry….

    shame on you so called Christians, that’s all I have to say

  13. Peter, you have blogged on exactly what I was discussing last night with a friend. I was reading statements from “Dutch Sheets” and Wagner’s strongly worded letter. That same day, a friend had emailed me a link to Rick Joyner’s position, and I immediately determined that either Joyner or Wagner must be wrong, because they are saying different things. This whole mess is bad enough, but these different reports are making it even worse.

    Joyner says that he spoke with Bentley and had it confirmed that no immorality and nothing inappropriate had being going on with Bentley. Wagner says that the extend of Bentley’s sins went BEYOND “hugging, touching and kissing”. Is this the new charismatic doctrine on fidelity? That going beyond “first base”, as the Americans put it, does not constitute marital unfaithfulness? I can only assume that Joyner knows nothing is these allegations of kissing etc. But it appears that someone is lying here, or at least misinformed.

    I note “Dutch Sheets” says what I have being saying for a long time: that the charismatic church has every gift apart from the most important one: discernment.

  14. “F Hull” — I am a little shocked at your post. Are you suggesting that God delights in drunkness and adultery? Or that he is indifferent to it? God hates all sin, and I expect sins like adultery, where the covenant of marrige is broken, and lives are shattered emotionally, must hurt Him very deeply. Who cares what one particular verse says? As Christians we must let the whole word of God instruct our lives, not proof text here and there with the odd verse. Jesus died for our sins, including Bentley’s. There is no question of that. We are all deserving of God’s wrath, but for the grace of God displayed through the Cross. But this is no excuse for “greasy grace” … the Church’s task is to display the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers…right not I see very little wisdom, and lots of foolishness.

  15. Alastair, thanks for your comments. As I see it the only real inconsistency between Rick Joyner’s and Peter Wagner’s statements is over whether Todd has ever actually committed adultery. Todd as reported by Rick denies it. Peter suggests that he has, several years ago, but this might be a question of exactly where one draws the line. I would suggest that Todd went too far and sinned (and repented of this and was restored to ministry, again several years ago), but did not go as far as adultery as defined in the dictionary, i.e. “Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse.” I am reminded of Bill Clinton’s definitions. On that basis there is no inconsistency between the accounts.

    By the way, apparently Dutch Sheets is the real name of a pastor.

    On F Hull’s point, I think he or she is reminding us that in God’s sight the things mentioned in Proverbs 6:19, which I have seen a lot of on this blog and others, are just as much detestable sins in God’s sight as the ones we usually list like adultery and drunkenness. See also Paul’s list of the most significant sins in Galatians 5:19-21.

  16. Peter, perhaps I have misunderstood Wagner’s post. When he says “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”, I assumed he was referring to incidents which have led up to the present crisis in his marriage.

    Peter, if I may gently push back on your definition of adultery, should we not be using Jesus’ definition of the word, rather than the English definition? The sermon on the mount cleary redefines adultery, along with many other sins, back to to the intents of the heart, not specific actions. According to the definition you presented, oral sex or sexual touching would not be classed as adultery. I can’t think of one Christian wife who would agree to that definition.

  17. Alastair, I understood that Peter Wagner’s “at least one other female” refers to an incident before the current crisis, “other” than the woman currently involved.

    As for Jesus’ “redefinition” of adultery “in his heart”, as a linguist I cannot accept that the meaning of an English word is redefined by English translations of Jesus’ words. These words should be understood as saying that some other sin is equivalent to and as serious as adultery. In any case what Jesus said has been much mistranslated and misunderstood – it is not at all about “lust” but about coveting someone else’s wife, using the same words as in the Greek of the Tenth Commandment. For Todd’s previous relationship to be moicheia “in his heart” as defined by Jesus the woman would have to be married and Todd would have had to have an actual intention of sexual intercourse. But I think we should allow that Todd was using the word “adultery” in its normal English sense.

    I don’t say this to excuse Todd. What he did several years ago was clearly sinful in God’s sight (but he repented and was forgiven) and very hurtful to his wife. What he has done more recently also seems to be wrong, but I will not say more until what actually happened has been clarified.

  18. The Freshfire statement and the email from Todd’s father, David, state that, at this moment, there is absolutely no suggestion of present or past sexual immorality on the part of either Todd or Shonnah. David says that Todd and Shonnah’s marriage has been in trouble for at least 3 years and they have had counselling at various times. David and Freshfire were encouraging them to sort out but it seems that it hasn’t worked. Probably as a response to pressure and isolation, Todd has formed “an emotional relationship with another team member”. Presumably this means he believes he has “fallen in love”, which would put a stop to efforts to reconcile him with Shonnah and explains why he has (I hear) filed for divorce. I know several Christians who, under perceived inescapable pressure have cracked and sought refuge in the euphoria of illicit relationships. Their pain has made them feel unable to give up the pain-relief of the new relationship and, unable to face their situation, they have woven webs of deceit to try and live with the situation. The results I have seen have been unbeivably tragic.
    The bottom line is that we as a church are not adequately protecting each other and we are losing sheep and ministry gifts entrusted to us. We have thought that, by being really hard on immorality, we discourage it but, actually, it sems that we revert to the law and empower sin. Our approach seems to drive people to internalise it instead of confessing it and dealing with the roots so it doesn’t reoccur.

    We agree with St.Paul that “no good thing dwells in this body of mine”, and wouldn’t pretend that we had any goodness of our own but, if this were true, we wouldn’t be surprised or judge harshly when others messed up. Our hypocrisy is shown up by our words.
    Todd’s choices have now taken him beyond Freshfire’s ability to shield his privacy so they have asked him to step down. At the moment, I haven’t seen any substance to rumours of drunkedness and womanising. Peter Wagner is not one of Todd’s close friends so may be commenting on hearsay. I guess we won’t know what’s true or not until Todd has discussed things with the man who pastors him, Bill Johnson, when he get’s back from holiday. Bill is straight so I expect a reliable statement will be made in due course.
    I agree with Rick Joyner that this is a test case for the church. If we expect revival, then we must expect relatively young Christians to be thrust into prominent ministry in a semi-prepared state as they were in the bible. This kind of situation is therefore likely to occur with frequency and we need to learn how to deal with it to minimise loss to the kingdom and show the world that we have “a better way” and love one another. It may be that, in the long term, Todd’s troubles may bring something precious back into the church and better equip us for what is to come.

  19. Thank you, Duncan. Your insights are helpful, if sometimes speculative. Let’s hope and pray that Todd will face the situation and be prepared to accept necessary pain in order to resolve it. Where can I see this letter from David Bentley?

  20. Hi Peter,

    I happened upon your blog a few days ago when doing research on Al Mohler. I read most of your 6 part blog dealing with the exegesis of Titus 1:6. After reading those posts I was surprised to find so many entries about what is happening in Lakeland. My surprise is only based on the reality that in the US, the combination of charismatic and Bible scholar is quite rare. Gordon Fee, who is the best counter example I can think of, even admits this reality. Any way, I just have a few questions.

    1) Most of your reporting on Lakeland has come across to me with a neutral to positive bias. Are you not critical of things going on there or do you simply feel it is irresponsible to criticize such things?

    2) Why is it so hard for healings to be verified? My understanding is that ABC News requested verification for just three healings that have taken place in Lakeland and that the request could not be met. I would be so excited by a healing revival that resulted in healings that could not be denied by the public. The healings that Jesus did certainly fit that category.

    3) There was a back and forth on your blog about whether or not Rick Joyner is a well respected charismatic leader. I think you concluded that he is at least well respected by charismatics. What is your basis for that assessment? I don’t claim to have a feel for the charismatic community as a whole, but my assumption is that Mr. Joyner garners the highest respect from a minority of charismatics and the majority either don’t know who he is or consider him to be rather off the wall. I should note that my defintion of the charismatic community includes all pentecostal denominations. A friend of mine from South Africa has told me that in his home country the Assemblies of God would not be considered charismatic.

    Sorry to bother you with all of this, but these things were really on my mind after reading lots of your blog entries over the past couple of days.

  21. Gary, I do have some criticisms of what was happening at Lakeland. You will find some of it in my posts and comments. I accept that there was quite a lot of hype and that not all claimed healings were genuine. I have also criticised Todd’s involvement with another woman, although in muted terms until we actually know the facts. My aim has been to be neutral, but I perhaps veered towards the positive in reaction to the predominance on blogs of negative comment.

    The problem with verification of healing is with the confidentiality of medical records and the reluctance of doctors to publicly testify to healing, to avoid issues with their peers and no doubt the possibility of legal action if the healing does not last. I would also suggest that Jesus refused to give verifiable signs to those who wanted them for wrong reasons, and the same principle may lie behind the lack of proof available to people like ABC. God wants us to follow him by faith, not because of proof by signs, which will anyway never convince real sceptics, Luke 16:31.

    Perhaps I should have said that Rick Joyner is highly respected among many charismatics. Whether that “many” is a majority probably depends on definitions.

    Chris, thanks for the link. I will comment on Mark’s blog.

  22. So could somebody please tell me how could John Arnott who knew that Todd Bentley was a drunk , an adulterer and womanizer keep supporting him and even be on the board of Fresh Fire Ministries?

    What does it say about John Arnott? He is definitely not a man of integrity but a liar, a thief and a scoundrel

  23. Brad, what makes you think that John Arnott knew anything about this until this month? Please provide some clear evidence that he had good reason to believe any of these things (which may or may not be true) until shortly before he and his fellow board members (that is, if he is a board member, of which I can’t find confirmation either) took action, or else withdraw your baseless charge against a respected Christian leader. Read 1 Timothy 6:19.

  24. As far as verifications for healings go, yes, there is the issue of confidentiality of medical records, BUT, if I were healed supernaturally by God, I could get my medical records and release them. So while my doctor might not be able to publically release my records without my consent, I can go to my doctor’s office and get all my medical records and give them to the press or whomever. I would expect if so many people were miraculously healed, that at least SOME of them would be willing to have their medical records released. For some healings it might not be possible to really tell if the person was miraculously healed, or if he simply got better, but I would think that this would depend on the disease and the prognosis before the healing.

  25. thankyou for this. i am sill confused on how much is prooved but this is grave news indeed. what impact will this have on worldwide credibility of christians especially after the mike gigliomuchy situation aswell?


  26. Rhea, as I understand it medical records like this were made available, but ABC etc rejected these testimonies as not properly medically verified.

    Steve, the sad thing is that most of damage (concerning Todd, I don’t know enough about the other guy to comment) to the worldwide credibility of Christians has been done by Christians, who have made a big splash about an extra-marital friendship which quite frankly most non-Christians would have ignored. In fact I suspect most outsiders tend to sympathise with Todd because they know what it is like to fall under the judgmental criticism of legalistic “Christians”. So the people who have lost credibility are not Todd and his associates but the critics.

  27. Peter, I have to strongly disagree with you about other Christians doing the damage to Christianity.

    Simply because non-Christians would have ignored this sin doesn’t mean that we should. Non-Christians are CONSTANTLY ignoring sin…they don’t get it; that’s the whole point.

    I believe that Todd has done far more damage b/c he has yet to publically apologise for his sin, unlike Michael Guglielmucci.

  28. Rhea, as I understand it medical records like this were made available, but ABC etc rejected these testimonies as not properly medically verified.

    Peter – you’ve said this a couple of times. When challenged you’ve just repeated this and/or impugned the motives of your questioners. There does not, however, appear to be any evidence that this is so.

  29. Rhea, I am not saying that Christians should have ignored this sin. But I do think it should have been dealt with primarily by the people with pastoral authority over Todd, with limited public statements, rather than with the over-the-top public accusations which have been going round the blogosphere and have made this into far more of a scandal for outsiders than it otherwise would have been.

    As for Todd not yet apologising, may I remind you of his plea for patience which I posted about. It is not his fault that he has not yet been able to meet with his chief adviser on such matters.

  30. Steve, the sad thing is that most of damage (concerning Todd, I don’t know enough about the other guy to comment) to the worldwide credibility of Christians has been done by Christians, who have made a big splash about an extra-marital friendship which quite frankly most non-Christians would have ignored. In fact I suspect most outsiders tend to sympathise with Todd because they know what it is like to fall under the judgmental criticism of legalistic “Christians”. So the people who have lost credibility are not Todd and his associates but the critics.

    I can’t agree with that Peter.

    So far I have seen the “critics” blamed for:

    1) The end of the Lakeland outpouring
    2) The end of Todd’s marriage
    and now 3) The loss of credibility in this situation

    “Extra marital friendship”? I admire your determination but I think you’re clutching at straws a bit. We don’t know the details, but this is unravelling at an alarming rate, and I don’t want you to end up looking like Bill Clinton’s publicity guy.

    And ironically enough, some of his main supporters, who criticised his critics in the beginning, are now criticising him for the same things his critics criticised him for that they has previously criticised the critics for criticising! I see your point about too much criticism!

    The whole “It is critical christians who are to blame” is an absolute red herring for me. If the actions, ministry, claims and teachings of any ministry are not beyond reproach then people do have the right to ask questions, which they have.

    The loss of credibility to the body of Christ in my view is not because of criticism from Christians, but because of the media focus put on a relatively young and inexperienced man, without due regard for the usual safeguards of accountability, theological correction, teamwork and friendship found in a local church environment. The people who put him there, his ministry, and the local church, knew his past and knew there were weaknesses which ahd been exposed before. The only difference is that this time they have been exposed in front of millions not thousands.

    Now the apostles who annointed him before the body of Christ, and claimed great things for his future, with hindsight admit they did not really know the guy and had misgivings about him, which means they have lost massive credibility as well, and even give the impression of arguing with each other.

    In short, it is a bit of a mess, but it would have been much less of a mess if it hadn’t been beamed into millions of homes as the “next big thing” with millions asked to “sow into the revival” when the foundation was far weaker than any media outlet was willing to admit.

    People did get healed in Lakeland, the worship was wonderful and many Christians have been blessed. But the concept and structure of it appears to have been built on sand. That is what makes the Church lose face.

  31. Chris, I repeated what I said about the medical records because it is the truth, or at least what ABC reported:

    When asked to present evidence of the healings, Bentley promised to give “Nightline” the names and medical records of three followers who would talk openly about his miracles. He never delivered. Instead, his staff gave “Nightline” a binder filled with what he says are inspiring miracles, but with scant hard evidence. It offered incomplete contact information, a few pages of incomplete medical records, and the doctors’ names were crossed out. …

    The husband did provide some of his wife’s medical records from a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, where she went for cancer treatment after being turned away by American hospitals. They, however, insisted on obscuring the clinic’s name and the names of the doctors.

    That is, Todd’s staff gave “Nightline” medical records provided by people who had been healed, and they received some more directly. I presume there are legal reasons why doctors’ names were crossed out; anyway one can hardly expect doctors in cases like this to be prepared to speak to a TV station. However, this was ABC’s response after seeing medical records:

    Not a single claim of Bentley’s healing powers could be independently verified.

    In other words, that confirms what I wrote:

    medical records like this were made available, but ABC etc rejected these testimonies as not properly medically verified.

  32. Blue, I wrote “extra-marital friendship” as how this will be seen by non-Christians, for whom such a relationship is just normal. Yes, a lot of the problem is with Christians who were quick to build Todd up in the eyes of the world and are now quick to tear him down. See 1 Corinthians 6:6 for what Paul had to say about Christians washing their dirty laundry in front of unbelievers. One thing non-Christians expect is for people to stand by their friends at least in public, and the sad thing is that that hasn’t happened.

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  34. I appreciate Chris’s concerns and , I have to say that, viewed one way the evidence appears to support them. However…
    I’ve seen a small number of people, personally known to me receive healings that seemed to be dramatic in timescale and resulted in permanent and easily visible improvement. Most were healed in quiet small prayer meetings or congregations with no fanfare. All of these people stressed to me that they experienced unusually persistent feelings of doubt and foolishness for a period after being prayed for and that they had to battle before finally winning through. Most of the people I’ve known who have gone for healing seem to understand that their faith is important and experience a “testing” period after their healing. They therefore avoid sceptical people thereafter until at least they are sure that the improvement is a “done deal” and often for much longer. They have said that they do not want to be persuaded out of their healing by sceptics. For this reason, although candid with those they know, they are very wary of giving permission for hostile scrutiny of their records. They “don’t want to know” if their records prove their healing, they just want to keep the relief that they experience. Objectively, they have little to gain and much to lose (including being pilloried on hostile blogs).
    A program a couple of years ago followed a woman for several months who claimed to be healed by Benny Hinn and initially appeared to show a marked improvement. At the end of the period (of relentless questioning of her belief) she was no better than before. This was interpreted as evidence that Hinn was a fraud but seemed to me to also allow the possibility that she lost her healing when she let go of her belief in it.
    An interesting case was a lady I know well who was prayed for at a summer camp and, from initially having been wheelchair-bound for over a year, experience rapid improvement to the point where she was walking with only a stick 5 weeks later. I explained to her that, if she were healed, she should inform the council that she no longer needed the wheelchair-access house that they were specially building for her but she seemed unwilling to lose the house and, surprise surprise, was back in a wheelchair within a month. She said that she had not deliberately relapsed, and I know her to be honest in what she says. However, from the moment she realised that being healed would lose her new house it seemed as if she became uncommitted to being healed and her statements of faith in her healing became unconvincing. We teach new converts the importance of being steadfast through testing and I see no biblical reason why we should expect it to be different with other acts of grace. It may be that the very act of analysing an act of grace can affect it’s veracity.

  35. Thanks, Tim. I have already been invited to this event, which is on 23rd September. I am not sure yet if I am able to attend.

    Duncan, thanks for your helpful comments. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but certainly I don’t think it helps the person who has been healed, but where there is no certainty of 100% lasting healing, to seek publicity. Roger who was partially healed of cancer was prepared to, but perhaps because mainly his healing was so partial and uncertain. I think also of the experience of the formerly blind man in John 9 with sceptics investigating his healing, and the bad results which came from the healed invalid’s testimony in John 5:15-16.

  36. Just in case anyone thinks Dutch Sheets is not a real
    person, here is his biography.

    Dutch Sheets is the Senior Pastor of Freedom Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he has pastored for thirteen years. He has served on the faculty of Christ for the Nations Institute, now serves as an instructor for Destiny Bible School and is a guest lecturer for Wagner Leadership Institute. He serves on many ministry boards and is a best selling author with Regal Books (a division of Gospel Light). He travels across America and other nations challenging believers for passionate prayer and world-changing revival.

  37. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Godblogs event in London

  38. Duncan –

    We teach new converts the importance of being steadfast through testing and I see no biblical reason why we should expect it to be different with other acts of grace. It may be that the very act of analysing an act of grace can affect it’s veracity.

    I don’t think you can equate being steadfast with ‘never having any doubts’. Neither can you equate being analysis (in the Berean sense) with ‘unbelief’ (I imagine you are basing your reasoning on a particular reading of Matthew 13).

    Extending your argument; to analyse or show evidences of ones salvation would be the quickest way of losing it.

    The particular examples you pick sound more to me like examples of psychosomatic healing rather than a miracle performed by a living and gracious God.

  39. Peter –

    Chris, for some biblical teaching on how people who are healed can end up in an even worse state if they then do the wrong thing, see John 5:14 and Matthew 12:43-45.

    In neither case is the problem the sort of ‘half-doubts’ that Duncan is talking about (which isn’t even unbelief – but closer to Paul#’s sentiments in Romans 7).

    Whereas he seems to be advocating a sort of mind-over-matter that leaves very little space for grace.

    What’s the point of a grace that does not acknowledge the fact that people are flawed and human? That’s exactly why we need grace.

  40. Thanks Peter, for this most exhaustive source of latest information about Todd Bentley I have found on the Internet. The Spirit has told me 4 things about the Florida outpouring: (1) it was genuine by Todd Bentley; (2) it is God’s last grace proposal for Estonia and hard times will come for Estonia unless her spiritual leaders will receive it’s Spirit; (3) we had similar revival in Tallinn in the late 1970s where people all over the Soviet Union got healed that ended because some of it’s leaders were afraid of the unpredictable way the Holy Spirit works and the same is true for the board of Fresh Fire Ministries and the actual reason of discarding Todd Bentley; (4) the revivals work as waves and although the one of Lakeland is over those with clean hands and pure hearts who received the impartation can later be used by God for preaching, healing and resurrecting in some other places of the Earth.

  41. Thank you, Mihkel. I hope and pray that there will indeed be the needed revival in Estonia, and that the work in Lakeland will continue in some form, not dependent on Todd, in many parts of the world.

  42. Re. Chris E’s comments.
    God likes us hot or cold. If we are lukewarm (on the fence) he seems to send testing (shake the fence) until we choose one way or the other. We know that testing refines our faith. I’ve seen testing shake nominal Christians into choosing what they are really committed to believing, just as it appears to shake nominally healed peopel into choosing what they are really committed to believing. There’s no point shaking the fence if the person isn’t on it so people fully committed in faith to their healing (and, yes, I appreciate that there’s a great mystery about the substance of faith that I only have partial answers to) don’t need testing – there’s nothing to test. The same goes for those firmly committed to believing in their salvation (e.g. when was the last time the enemy tried to give you doubts over the substitution of Christ?). But to those who are just dipping their toes in the pool of Siloam for the first time, God, who loves an opportunity to refine our faith, sends us a mixture of encouragement and challenge to move us on. Some fail and get to have another go later. It’s the normal process of sanctification and we see the same process in ourselves as we, in our early years (hopefully) learn to resist impure thoughts, slander,lying etc.
    The lady I mentioned in the wheelchair had medically attested changes but they were reversed and she ended up worse than before. The problem with (God) keeping human free will sacrosanct so that they alone are responsible is that you don’t just go and steamroller them into being healed if it’s not what they really want. And if relapsing can make people worse (Jesus-demon returns with 7 more) then maybe it would be better for a loving and responsible God to refine someone’s faith to a level that can sustain their healing before healing them. (speculation)

  43. I have read many of the comments posted here and my heart aches for a brother who has so much to give to the body of Christ. My concern is that so many are talking but how many are praying? We must pray for our brothers and sisters and not criticize and judge as the world does. Just remember, “but for the grace of God, there go I”.

  44. I am amazed that people who are prophetic and apostolic can work so closely with the likes of Bentley and Haggard, endorse them and be completely shocked when they fall. I am saddened and wonder about every ones discernment in these types of matters. I must pray for grace for all of us as we try to discern who to follow and who we should align ourselves with in ministry. THe ones who fall and the ones who endorse them, are sadly bunched into one pile in the eyes of the world and the church. Help us all, Lord!

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