Now we know what it takes to be kicked out of Christian leadership.
This saga involves Todd Bentley, a joke of a preacher who has said in the past that he raised 35 people from the dead (without proof, naturally). He also thinks kicking women in the face is a good way to heal whatever ails them. And one time, he helped a woman grow a new boob just like Jesus commanded.
All of that became irrelevant when, in August, one of Bentley’s colleagues spoke out against him. They were part of a ministry Bentley founded called Fresh Fire USA, and Stephen Powell said Bentley had a “perverse sexual addiction” that included “both homosexual and heterosexual activity.” Powell also said Bentley made “sexual advances” toward his own interns.
Among the accusations for which Powell claimed to have evidence:
… Screenshots of Todd asking a young single online student of his to “send him pictures of herself” on multiple occasions, asking her what she was wearing, on multiple occasions, asking for long hugs when they meet, and numerous other inappropriate and disturbing suggestions and appeals to this young lady who is not his wife.
Testimony of a male intern who claims that Todd offered to pay him $1,000 to allow him to perform oral sex on the male intern…
Testimony of a male intern who claims that Todd offered to pay him $500 to send Todd a video of him masturbating.
… Testimony that Todd made out with his young female assistant whom he is not married to,
Testimony of Todd (or a male leader at Fresh Fire that’s alluded to as Todd) smoking weed with a male intern from 2018 and then offering the male intern sex.
Powell also said Bently watched porn, cursed, and (with his wife) was a swinger.
(That wouldn’t be anyone else’s business if the hypocrisy wasn’t so damning.)
Powell said he compiled a full report of those allegations and shared it with men who helped oversee Bentley, including conspiracy theory-loving pastor Rick Joyner. But Joyner dismissed all those allegations immediately, saying Powell had been operating in a spirit of “witchcraft.”
“When people come to me with pressuring, manipulating, especially threatening if I don’t do something their way, or in their time, I know that’s the devil,” Joyner said. “That’s in Scripture, counterfeit spiritual authority which is called witchcraft. That is not the Holy Spirit. We’ve got to start recognizing what is from the Holy Spirit and what is not.”
Bentley also responded to the allegations in a now-deleted Facebook post, admitting to “having a past” but not admitting any details about what Powell wrote.
“They are gossip, they are swirl, they are speculation, hearsay and they are without any real evidence. As far as let the accusers come forth. Let them name names. Let them meet with me, with Rick. With whoever is on my leadership. I would love to be able to look in the eye of the people making the claims,” he said.
“I do have the things in my past I gotta say … whether they are six months, a year, two years, five, six, seven. Many of the things that I’ve addressed and continue to address in my life to be clean,” he said.
“I am not guilty of the things that I’m being accused of as far as those homosexual acts. Things that are taken out of context in inappropriate text messages or conversations that I had that were not right that I’ve had to own, that go back to 2013,” he said, noting that he didn’t have any sexual affairs or commit adultery.
There you go. Sure, he may have sent some lewd messages and abused his power, but don’t you dare accuse him of being gay!
Yesterday, however, that “leadership panel” issued a statement on Bentley saying he was no longer qualified to run any sort of ministry. Protestants don’t do the whole “excommunication” thing, but this is about as close as you’ll ever see.
Based on our careful review of numerous first-hand reports, some of them dating back to 2004, we state our theological opinion and can say with one voice that, without a doubt, Todd is not qualified to serve in leadership or ministry today.
There are credible accusations of a steady pattern of ungodly and immoral behavior…
We recognize, of course, that we have no legal authority over Todd or his ministry, nor do we seek to have such authority. Rather, as elders in the Body of Christ who have been asked to judge righteously, and in the fear of the Lord, we make our viewpoint public, praying that this will help bring confidence and hope to those who have been sinned against as well as encourage deeper accountability in the Church.
Here’s the problem with this kind of statement. Bentley’s followers will simply write it off, saying those leaders have been brainwashed by the Devil. That’s how these people deal with everything they don’t like. There’s never any accountability when you can blame everything on your fictional enemy.
It’s also hard to take seriously any group of overseers who said nothing critical when Bentley was preaching supernatural lies. They didn’t care about the damage he was doing before the allegations, so it’s hard to pretend they care about it now. (They also said nothing about Rick Joyner.)
Which means Bentley’s greatest trick may be resurrecting himself and turning into a martyr for the only cause he cares about: himself.
(Thanks to Kyle for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)