Evangelist Todd Bentley Reportedly Files for Separation

Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 5:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 11:01 p.m.

LAKELAND | Evangelist Todd Bentley, who led a Pentecostal revival in Lakeland from a modest beginning to near-historic proportions, has filed for separation from his wife, a former spokesperson said Monday, and will not return to the ongoing revival.

Lynne Breidenbach, a local woman who had been a media liaison for Bentley during the months-long Florida Outpouring Revival, told The Ledger that Bentley announced to his staff Monday afternoon that he and his wife, Shonnah, had separated. The Bentleys have two daughters and a son and are Canadian citizens. Under Canadian law, separation is a preliminary step in divorce proceedings, lasting nine months. Breidenbach, who resigned as revival spokesperson Monday, called the news of the separation “very sad.”

“God uses fallen, flawed people. … This doesn’t invalidate what Todd did,” she said.

The revival began April 2 at Ignited Church in Lakeland. Bentley announced two weeks ago that he would end his regular appearances at the revival on Aug. 23 to resume his traveling evangelistic work, but he was scheduled to lead services next week. The Rev. Stephen Strader, pastor of Ignited Church, said Tuesday that he was informed three weeks ago that Bentley and his wife had been undergoing marriage counseling for a few years.

“Last week, Todd shared with me that his wife had returned to Canada, and he’s following her this week. I’ve been assured by his people that there is no third party involved,” Strader said.

Bentley’s Fresh Fire Ministries Web site indicates that a September appearance by Bentley in England has been postponed. Phone calls to Fresh Fire Ministries in Abbotsford, British Columbia, were not returned Tuesday.

Shonnah Bentley has made few appearances on stage during the revival, which is now in its 133rd consecutive day.

Bentley, 32, announced earlier this month he would establish a U.S. base of operations in Lakeland. Fresh Fire Ministries recently purchased a lot in Oak Landing, a development in Mulberry.

Pentecostals and evangelicals historically have frowned on divorce, citing scriptural prohibitions. Ministers who were divorced usually had to give up their careers, but there have been some notable exceptions in recent years and attitudes appear to be changing.

J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma, a magazine for Pentecostals based in Orlando, said Tuesday the news of Bentley’s marital troubles would likely further polarize those following the revival.

“A large segment of the movement has been skeptical from day one. They’re going to see this as a natural progression. Others who have been following Todd are going to be spiritually shipwrecked. We’ve most definitely seen through this revival a lot of people are not grounded in Scripture, so for them, it won’t be an issue,” he said.

Strader invited Bentley to Lakeland to lead the revival. The twice-daily services were streamed live over the Internet and also televised by God TV, a small Christian network, and attendance grew quickly. Young people were drawn by Bentley’s unorthodox appearance — with tattoos, piercings and a goatee — which resembles a biker rather than a buttoned-down televangelist.

Many traveled to Lakeland from outside Florida and the United States, and the revival changed location three times in search of larger venues. At its peak, the revival drew at least 10,000 people to services at Joker Marchant Stadium in May.

From late June to Aug. 2, the revival took place under two large tents on the grounds of Sun n’ Fun Fly-in that could accommodate up to 10,000 people, but it has now returned to Ignited Church.

Bentley and the Florida Outpouring have been controversial, even among other Pentecostals. Bentley has been criticized for making extravagant claims of miraculous healing and even claimed dozens of people in various locations have been raised from the dead as a result of prayers offered at the Lakeland revival.

Bentley’s flamboyant style seemed borrowed at times from professional wrestling, which Bentley has said he watches. He often exclaims “Bam” as he touches or shoves people to “impart” healing, and in a video circulating on the Internet, he was seen driving his knee into the abdomen of a man who said he had colon cancer, causing the man to fall to his knees.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

4 responses to “Evangelist Todd Bentley Reportedly Files for Separation

  1. Norma & Paul McNab

    Hi, If this report is true we are deeply saddened, BUT Christians are not exempt from life problems and difficulties.

    All ministers and worship leaders need supportive prayers of protection and blessing.

    Thank you Todd and Roy in particular for all your endeavours nd commitment to God and the Salvation of people.

    Be assured of our prayers and love.

    May God continue to Bless you and use you for the extension of

    His Kingdom.

  2. Rev Todd Bentley showed us all this week too he was very normal person after all.. a sinner like all of us too..

    Sadly too many martial relationships today follow a very predictable pattern:
    The marriage partners push their spouse for total commitment

    They try hard get mostly what they want

    They next often even lose interest in the sex

    They next become attracted to someone else

    They start cheating with the someone else

    They become angry and resentful for the guilt they feel

    They begin telling their original partner, spouse that they need time apart

    They mostly blame their old partner, spouse for their behavior…and eventually, after making themselves and everyone around them miserable for an indefinite, but usually, a long period of time, they do end their relationships, marriages.

    Next even the new relationships and marriages will continue to follow this same pattern

    TODD BENTLEY BE OBEDIENT TO GOD AND DO WHATEVER IT TAKES. GOD HATES DIVORCE , ADULTERY AND EVEN HYPOCRITES TOO. AND DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IS NO PERMISSIBLE FOR TWO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS WHILE BOTH OF THEM ARE ALIVE. SO “Todd Bentley” swallow your pride, your own lusts, goals, false desires but now also still be an EXAMPLE TO THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST, love His church, his work, but now also still love your own wife. AND WORK NOT ONLY TO BE A GOOD PREACHER BUT ALSO TO BE A GOOD HUSBAND, AND GOOD FATHER TO YOUR CHILDREN TOO .

    http://postedat.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/todd-bentley-someone-has-to-say-it-to-you/

  3. jade

    God need not use Todd Bentley or Rick Joyner and gang to do His work. In this last day, God will use ‘nobodies’ who are fear Him to do His work!

  4. Jade,

    I agree that God loves to use and will certainly increase the use of “nameless and faceless” worshippers and followers of Christ to proclaim His name and accomplish His plans in the earth.

    But here is the challenge…saying God “need not” or wont use someone who is well known…is counter Biblical precendence. He has shown that throughout history He uses the known and the unknown, the weak and the strong, He is fully able to use any of us that He choses regardless of a maturity or celebrity.

    So I say God use Rick Joyner, a Restored Todd Bentley (see David in the OT) and Franklin Graham, Joe Public, John Smith, Jane Doe and whomever else you wish! Amen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s