Photo: Michael Wilson The Ledger
This is my last post on Todd Bentley. I don’t want to spend too much time thinking about him. But there are things I think need to be said, for the cause of Christ.
I came across this yesterday but didn’t address it. Contrary to what Todd Bentley told Stephen Strader, there was another party involved. Fresh Fire Ministries announced that he had an unhealthy emotional relationship with a staff member, and that this had happened before.
My original point, which I didn’t express clearly, was this: Is this-
A. an example of a man who did not appropriate the blessings of the gospel in his battle with sin.
B. the result of a truncated, incomplete understanding of the gospel.
C. the result of a deviant, and therefore false, gospel.
If the first, it doesn’t affect the validity of the ‘revival’.
If the second, it should cause those who partake in the ‘revival’ to gain a fuller understanding of the gospel.
If the third, I hope it will bring people to realize a false gospel was being proclaimed and to forsake it for the true gospel.
The press release from Fresh Fire Ministries places the blame on the Enemy, as though sin was “out there” instead of in our hearts. As a result, there is little personal accountability, just the need for “healing”. This minimizes the sinfulness of his actions- they need healing, not repentance. Perhaps there are some ways in which Todd Bentley has been sinned against in the past that still require the balm of the gospel to bring healing. But his transfer of affection in sinful, and indicates a bigger problem than he admits.
We are not sanctified after encounters with angels (as he seems to claim)- we are sanctified as we appropriate the gospel and put our sin to death in the power of the Spirit. The obsession with miracles and power is remarkably similar to the triumphalism (and sin minimization) of the Corinthians as taught to them by the false apostles. This obsession with miracles reveals at least a truncated understanding of the gospel, and most likely a false gospel.
This is not a continuationist-cessationist argument, but one about the central message of the gospel (regeneration => conversion => justification by faith => adoption => sanctification => glorification). When parts of this are dropped off, you have a truncated gospel. When something is put there in its place, or in addition to them, you have a false gospel. In the NT they authenticate the message and messenger. But in some circles they pretty much are the message. I fear that healing has replaced the core message and people are being summoned to a false gospel that leaves them in their sins and under the wrath of God. This is far more important than Bentley’s marriage problems.
The assessments of R.T. Kendall and Carl Trueman.
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