It’s Time for Spiritual Fathers

It’s Time for Spiritual Fathers

It’s time for the spiritual fathers to step up and help Todd Bentley, the former leader of the revival that has come to be known as the “Lakeland Outpouring.”In light of the tragic news of the break-up of Bentley’s marriage and some type of breakdown by Bentley himself (close associates are being tight-lipped), I believe his apostolic covering needs to minister not only to him but also to the larger body of Christ.
In June, at the request of Stephen Strader, pastor of Lakeland, Florida’s Ignited Church, Peter Wagner, head of the International Coalition of Apostles, agreed to lead an effort to address some of the concerns other ministers had voiced regarding the outpouring. As a result, Bentley and the revival in Lakeland were put under apostolic covering in what I consider a very healthy stepToo often in the “anything-goes-if-there’s-an-‘anointing’ ” charismatic environment there is no clear line of spiritual authority. But at Wagner’s leading, Bentley submitted to the authority of three mature men of God–John Arnott, Ché Ahn and Bill Johnson–who love him and who agreed to give him and his ministry apostolic oversight.

I know all three of these men personally. Each of them has a stellar reputation and is known for his desire to see revival come to the body of Christ. Each endorsed the Lakeland Outpouring and on June 23 laid hands on Bentley to commission him to lead that revival

About a week ago Wagner issued a statement about the commissioning process, which I believe was needed and very helpful. Little did any of us know that within a matter of days revelations would come out about Bentley. In 20/20 hindsight perhaps we should have seen it coming.




  • -Anyone who is in services 4 to 6 hours a day, 7 days a week for weeks on end is bound to have some type of breakdown.
  • -Anyone who covers himself with tattoos while in the ministry raises questions about his stability.
  • -Anyone who talks about the “Angel of the Healing Revival” that ministered to A.A. Allen and William Branham must have overlooked the fact that Allen and Branham both were discredited with moral shortcomings.
  • -Anyone who baptizes people in the name of the Father, the Son “and BAM” is playing lightly with the Holy Spirit and is bordering on blasphemy.

Many of us who long for revival saw the hungry people coming to Lakeland and witnessed the powerful anointing. We recognize that God can use flawed people (because He uses us!), yet we had major questions about Bentley. But rather than censoring him, we wanted to help correct the problems.

Now is the time for Bentley to be corrected. But it would also be good for Arnott, Ahn and Johnson, as well as other leaders such as Wagner, to issue a statement to the body of Christ to help the tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands who were affected by the outpouring understand what is going on spiritually.

Because all of these men endorsed the revival, it might even be appropriate for them to issue an apology. Some of Bentley’s critics say an apology is necessary.

Perhaps some of the problems would have been prevented if men had spoken into Bentley’s life several months ago. As good as it is to have an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff to help the injured, it is much better to have a fence at the top of the cliff to prevent someone from going over.

The Old Testament is full of the stories of flawed men God used powerfully. He continues to use flawed men and women today. But at the same time I believe God sets a higher standard for leaders in the church, requiring them to live righteous and holy lives. It is not right for the leaders who encourage us to follow God with utmost devotion to fall into divorce and other sins while the mocking world watches.

Strader, the pastor to whom Bentley handed “the baton of the Outpouring” earlier this month and who is continuing the services at his church, said that a television news crew was outside his church Tuesday covering what is happening. Newsmen are usually skeptical of high-profile preachers because they’ve seen them rise and fall in the past.

Strader told me that his church, which seats about 800, was packed with people wanting a touch from God. But he admitted that many have been devastated by the news about Bentley’s marriage, including many of the young staff members who were employed by Bentley’s ministry, Fresh Fire. Bentley, his wife, Shonnah, and their family, also, are clearly in turmoil.

Strader mentioned as we talked that we have to be careful not to shoot our wounded. I was reminded of his comment during my daily Bible reading this morning, which included Galatians 6—a passage that says we need to restore those who fall with a spirit of gentleness so that we don’t fall into the same sin. But he also pointed out that there must be a reason why the story of Ananias and Sapphira is in the Bible as a warning to others.

I invite you to click here to read Wagner’s statement, which was written before Bentley’s pending divorce had become public. And you’re welcome to leave your comments on our blog. Also, click here to read a commentary on this sad story by my colleague Lee Grady.



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5 responses to “It’s Time for Spiritual Fathers

  1. Mark

    As someone who has been greatly blessed by my association with Toronro Airport Christian Fellowship, I am glad to know that those who appeared on the platform to endorse Todd Bentley will be making a statement to the Bod of Christ and that John Arnott will be the point man. I hope, also, that the need to restore Todd and his wife will not be the only consideration. Great damage has been done to the body of Christ by the way this played out. Those of us with sincere questions about Todd’s theology and sensationalizing of angel encounters, etc were dismissed as being critical and never really got the answers we needed. I must say I was appalled as I read the open letter from Chuck Pierce to Peter Wagner. At the end of his letter he proceeds to try to endorse and coronate yet another “anointed man of God for the hour” namely Dutch Sheets. Nothing against Dutch Sheets but this was highly inappropriate. Must we have someone to follow? Isn’t Jesus enough? I was in Denton, Texas to hear Todd Bentley when Chuck Pierce prophesied that Todd would take this anointing to 38 cities. Last report – that is not going to happen. How should we now interpret Chuck’s prophecy? It just adds more confusion into the body of Christ which is what the currect apostles and prophets seem to be feeding into the body of Christ. Also in Mr. Pierce’s letter to Peter Wagner he tells him ( concerning his endorsement of Tod in Lakeland) “…you chose to establish the order first and then any spiritual discipline could be brought. That makes you look like a father.” Am I the only one disturbed by men who care about how they “look” to others? Perhaps instead of “looking” like fathers we need men who truly ARE fathers. I believe the current men and women in the apostolic/prophetic movement may indeed be true fathers. Before dismissing them we need to hear their heart on what has happened. But we DO need to hear it. I think this is the watershed moment. How they respond now to what has happened and their part in it will reveal a lot. I think we all should wait and read their careful, prayerful report before making that determination. Some important lessons are to be learned but only if we all humble ourselves, throw “damage control” to the wind, and answer the hard questions – not only of critics but of those who are sincere believers.

  2. Mark

    Ok. Now I’m a little more skeptical since I re-visited Chuck Pierce’s website and found that his endorsement of Dutch Sheets to carry the mantle has now been ommitted within the reply made by Doris Wagner.

  3. The Age of Accountability. There is something lacking in the leaderships of the Christian churches today.

  4. Laura K

    Yes, there is a problem with accountability. We are to simply believe these self appointed ministers and prophets and not questions them unless they fall publicly. Then we are mad about it. Oh yes, we try to be holy and say we must forgive and pray for them, but the truth is they have lied to us and stripped us of credibility to the lost, and taken our hard earned money under false pretenses. But we should be mad at ourselves for being dumb sheep and following someone whose voice is not Jesus. Let’s forgive Todd and that bunch of false prophets who said he was going to do so much for God only days before he fell. That is the worst false rophesies I have ever heard, and they are from the greatest prophets we have. That should tell us something right there! The fleecing of the sheep should stop now. Stop lying and saying you are a prophet of God if you are not. Stop sinning and lying to us and to God and saying you are spending your spare time reading the Bible and “soaking” when, in fact, you are commiting adultery and drinking, Yes, we forgive you and pray for you all, just don’t get up on a platform again and try to pull the wool over our eyes. We have caught on to all of you and we won’t play church with you anymore. I, for one, an going to stick with the Bible and Jesus. If a true phophet comes along, I will listen, but ask God if he or she is His.

    I keep hearing people say we should love, pray and forgive our brothers and sisters who have fallen. Wait, since they preach a false gospel and false prophecies, are they truly our brothers and sisters – or wolves coming in to destroy the sheep? I do forgive them and will pray for them if the Holy Spirit leads me, but I will also pray they get their wicked hands off Jesus’ bride.

  5. We at Fresh Fire Ministries are presently in a season of waiting on God. We are in the process of re-defining our government structure with assistance from leaders in Bethel (the church pastored by Bill Johnson in Redding, California) and others affiliated with Morning Star—Rick Joyner’s ministry in South Carolina. In August, Todd verbally stepped down from the FFM Canadian Board of Directors and has recently given written notice of his resignation.


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