Todd Bentley, the Canadian evangelist who led the Lakeland Revival and found widespread exposure through God TV, is breaking his silence in the wake of scandal. Well, sort of.
Bentley is speaking out through Rick Joyner, founder of MorningStar Ministries and author of several prophetic books. But he isn’t saying much yet.
Joyner said he has almost daily contact with Bentley, who asked him to post the following statement:
“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.”
Joyner accepted personal responsibility for counseling Todd to wait until he has talked with Johnson before trying to make the “full disclosure” of his mistakes. As Joyner sees it, 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,” Joyner said.
Joyner went on to say that the only thing he has received from the Lord about this matter directly is that “those who rush to judgment will be exposed.” Joyner believes that 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,” Joyner says.
Joyner’s opinion of the Lakeland Outpouring has not changed. In fact, he predicts it will mark a demarcation point for the Church that will have a positive impact on our future. Joyner expressed gratitude to all the people who helped to make the Lakeland Outpouring possible.
“If we handle what is now before us rightly, it can have an even greater impact than the Outpouring did to encourage and strengthen the church for the great tasks before us,” Joyner says.
In a bold statement, Joyner predicted that many who are making statements concerning Bentley’s fall will regret them. But Joyner is suggesting grace be shown to any who have made premature statements, just like he is suggesting grace be given to Bentley.
“There are leaders who are applauding some of these statements, but almost every Christian that has talked to me about them, as well as most of the leaders I have talked to, thought that they were hastily made statements meant to cover their bases which cost these leaders a lot of credibility. I have only read a few, and that was not necessarily my perspective, though it is very obvious with some,” Joyner says.
Joyner did not name names, but could be pointing to Dutch Sheets, who offered a letter of apology and repentance for some of the questionable goings on in Lakeland under Bentley’s leadership. Joyner then suggested the church not write off those who spoke against Bentley, but rather allow people to retract their statements.
“We are told in Galatians 6:7 that we will all reap what we sow, which means that if we want to receive grace, we should give it, and if we want to receive mercy, we should give it,” Joyner says. “There may be some of this in my own writing that I am not able to see because I too am hurt by this situation. Therefore, I am also asking for grace and mercy if this is the case.”
Joyner’s main concern is that some of the worst doctrines and actions taken in church history were the result of people responding out of their wounds rather than by following the Lord. A lot of people are understandably hurting right now, he says. Even so, he adds, those who resist taking action or making statements out of their pain, or under pressure, will be glad they did.
“Again, impatience is not a fruit of the Spirit, and it will never lead us to where the Lord wants to take us. Those who rush to judgment, or are hasty to take action, are not treated kindly in Scripture, and are likely to pay a high and unnecessary price for it,” Joyner warns.
Joyner’s recommended that Bentley allow a panel of those who are considered true elders in the Body of Christ, who could be impartial, to judge this situation, and Joyner says Bentley 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,” Joyner says.
Joyner then pointed to a Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:5. In it, the Apostle Paul said it was to their shame that there were no judges among them, yet they were even called to judge angels.
“The lack of elders, who are also called as judges, is probably still the main cause for much of the shame that continues in the Body of Christ,” Joyner says. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of the Lord’s throne as we are told in Psalm 89:14, and if we are going to walk in His authority there must be a place for due process that is a standard of justice. God obviously cares very deeply about people being treated fairly and that His standards of righteousness are upheld. His seat of authority demands this for a foundation.”
Joyner closed his letter by saying there is one thing we can be sure of—the Judge is on His throne and all of this is going to work out for good for His people. Joyner says he is more encouraged every day at what is unfolding and at the great opportunity this situation is for us.
“The Holy Spirit moved upon the chaos in the beginning and look at the beautiful creation He brought forth! He knows how to do this and seems to love the opportunity that chaos gives Him to show what He can do,” Joyner says. “This, too, will work out for good to everyone who loves Him and is called according to His purpose. We have this as a sure promise from the One who cannot lie.”
Bentley gained worldwide fame for what will go down in Christian history as the Lakeland Outpouring. The revival, however, was as controversial as Bentley and his ministry partners.
Some called Bentley’s doctrine, which includes visitations from an angel named Emma, gold dust and other strange signs and wonders, pure heresy. Others embraced Bentley as an instrument of God to bring revival to the nations.
After news broke in early August that Bentley filed for separation from his wife in the Canadian legal system. Shortly after, Bentley admitted to an “unhealthy relationship with a female staff member” and “excessive drinking.”