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By Marsha West

August 16, 2008

What did Fresh Fire Ministries know and when did they know it? I'm talking about Todd Bentley's marriage, which is in shambles. According to the statement posted on the Fresh Fire website it would appear that the board of directors have known for quite sometime:

"Undoubtedly the pressures and the burden of the Outpouring, which approaches 144 days on August 23rd, have helped to create an atmosphere of fatigue and stress that has exacerbated existing issues in their relationship (emphasis added). We wish to stress however, that the Outpouring is not 'to blame' for the current chain of events and that in effect we have no interest in blaming anyone, but rather we deeply covet your prayers for Todd and Shonnah and for Fresh Fire Ministries during this time."[1]

The Ledger reports that Todd Bentley has filed for separation:

"Todd Bentley, the evangelist who has led the Florida Outpouring revival here in Lakeland since April 2, has filed for separation from his wife and might not return to the revival, according to his former local spokesperson, Lynne Breidenbach."[2]

Todd Bentley is a Canadian and under Canadian law separation is the first step toward divorce. Are we to assume he and his wife are divorcing? "We are hopeful that the outcome will include restoration," says FFM, "but we can make neither promise nor guarantee."

In other words, the outcome looks grim.

The Ledger reported that Todd "might not" return to the revival. So in the midst of a crisis he "might" consider returning to the spotlight? One can't help but wonder why Bentley was up on stage delivering the "impartation" and "healing the sick" when he should have been at home healing the rift with his wife. He has three children who no doubt need Dad's healing balm to sooth their wounds.

The leadership at FFM and God TV must have known something was going on behind the scenes. God TV has been televising the Lakeland Outpouring for months and promoting the "revival" to the hilt. Recently a message from their Board of Directors was posted. In it they pointed out, and rightly so, that:

"[M]arriage is a foundational cornerstone to those families called to ministry and would believe that those who have spiritual oversight for Todd and Shonnah's ministry will recommend a time of sabbatical for the family in order to seek reconciliation within their marriage should these reports be accurate."

The reports are accurate. Now the board of both FFM and God TV must be held accountable for pushing a so-called prophet on the public for four months when they must have suspected that his house was not in order.

Some are speculating that Bentley will not be returning to Lakeland because of a report aired on Nightline in July (see below for the full report):

"In one heart-breaking scene, a 15-year-old boy with spina bifida walks without leg braces in front of Bentley and the crowd. He is later shown stumbling and falling outside the church. The Nightline reporter asked Fresh Fire for three people who can show medical proof they have been healed through Bentley. None could be provided. When The Province earlier asked to speak to someone who had been healed through Bentley in either B.C. or Florida, Fresh Fire was unable to find someone, citing difficulties with outdated contact information and record-keeping problems."[3]

As I said in articles I wrote about the Outpouring ("BAM! BAM! BAM!" said the false prophet and Learn to Discern Good From Evil), Todd Bentley is a fraud. Moreover, he's a false prophet, another wolf in sheep's clothing. Worst of all, he's a liar. And because I'm now repeating it, his supporters will no doubt accuse me of kicking Bentley when he's down (pun intended). But before you dash off an angry email you should know that I have no malice toward the man. My love for the truth is what motivates me to write about him. You should also know that the ridicule some people heap on those of us who speak out against apostasy only buoys our resolve to continue exposing error. If committed Christians cannot summon the courage to stand for the truth, who will?

And here's the truth. Naming names of apostates is biblical. It's not in the least judgmental. Unorthodox teaching that is spreading like cancer in the Body of Christ must be brought to light. Jesus himself called the Pharisees hypocrites. He also said of them, "for ye are like unto whited sepulchers [tombs], which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Mat. 23:27).

The Apostles identified false teaching that was spreading through the early Church. On one occasion Paul said:

"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things" (2 Cor. 11:4-6).

Paul even named names (gasp):

"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus" (1 Tim. 1-16, 17).

On judging others Paul said:

"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:15-16).

True believers have the mind of Christ, hence we are able to discern good from evil.

What does the Word of God say about those who teach a different gospel?

"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness. He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself" (1 Tim 6:3-5).

In commenting on The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis' book about a senior demon's correspondence with his nephew instructing him in the art of tempting humans, Chuck Colson observed:

"It is sobering to realize just how easily, completely, and willingly we can be deceived—about God and about ourselves. It is even more sobering to be reminded that the point of the temptation is to bring the human to a place where he can be totally devoured or absorbed by the ravenous evil spirits. But the great hope of the book lies in the reminder that God is actively working against our spiritual enemy and that His goals for us are very different. As Screwtape spitefully remarks, while the demons consider us "cattle," God wants to make us into "servants" and ultimately into 'sons'" [4]

I fear for Todd Bentley, that ravenous evil spirits have absorbed him. Even so, our loving God desires to make him into a "son."

My prayer for Todd is that he will stop listening to charismatic ministers in the Word of Faith and the Signs and Wonders movements. Those like his idol, alleged prophet Paul Cain. Listen to what Bentley said about Cain when he showed up at the "revival":

"I saw the angel…Paul, when you came out here tonight the angelic activity was released in the stadium…thhe power of God came in and the glory and His majesty and His holiness came in." (Watch the entire video here)

What is concerning about this obvious hero worship is that Cain was "disciplined and disfellowshiped by three church leaders last fall after they determined he had engaged in a pattern of unbiblical behavior that included heavy drinking and homosexuality." [5]

Let's hope Paul Cain isn't one of the men giving him counsel!

Here's how I would counsel Todd Bentley (and anyone else caught up in the Word of Faith and Signs and Wonders movements): Reason from the scriptures with orthodox Christian apologists like Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason Ministries and Ron Rhodes, author of "Angels Among Us: Separating Fact From Fiction." Rhodes has researched the topic thoroughly. In his book he gives a biblical account of these supernatural beings -- and it is fascinating!

For those who doubt that Bentley's view on angels comes from the world of the occult, watch the YouTube videos. He tells story after story of his supposed angel visitations. If what he says about his angelic visitors is true, he has not met God's messengers; his visitors come to him from the dark side! (Anyone who has been exposed to Bentley's unbiblical teaching on angels must read Ron Rhode's book to learn the truth!)

For several months Todd Bentley has been encouraged by charismatic leaders to play fast and loose with the truth. Unfortunately he has duped a large number of undiscerning Christians. At the onset of the Lakeland Outpouring many Church leaders were unwilling to hold him accountable for his bizarre "healing" practices. Now that they've seen the rotten fruit this "revival" has produced, even fellow charismatics are urging him to cease and desist. It's about time!

Now it would seem the ringmaster has left the circus. Perhaps he has returned to Canada to reconcile with his wife.  Send us your thoughts on this article