TODD BENTLEY…WHO’S TO BLAME?
BY: E. M. ‘ED’ DUPAS
It’s time for another voice to be raised up in the Lakeland/Todd Bentley situation.
I appreciate both sides of the controversy—from critics as well as advocates of the Lakeland outpouring. I feel safe in calling it an outpouring—the word is not judgmental, but descriptive, since both the enemy and the Lord have been involved in outpourings in the past. Both advocates and critics of the Lakeland experience are sincere and passionate in their convictions. The question is, what is driving their convictions, faith or fear?
To preface my observations, let me say that our real enemy is not Satan, but man. How’s that for a controversial statement? Until we understand this, we will continue to misjudge the events in Lakeland and what has happened throughout the world as a result of these events. If you’re still reading this, you may be asking yourself “What does this clown mean, that Satan is not the real enemy?” A fair question. Let me refer you to the words of Jesus…
…But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Matt. 16:23 NASB)
Did you ever really listen to these words… I mean actually HEAR them (as in “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”)? Usually our self-justifying minds receive the verse this way…
“Get behind Me, Peter… for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on Satan’s.”
Am I right? But that is not what Jesus said. He was telling us that the real enemy of God is the carnal mind of men, which is Satan’s greatest tool. Satan desires to accomplish what will please men, not God. With that in mind, let’s turn our attention back to the Lakeland situation…
Why don’t we ask this question: Was the Lakeland outpouring of God or of men? To address this question, let’s consider the subject of healings, since healing seemed to be at the heart of the outpouring. Personally, I don’t believe healings can come from the devil. If you are still reading this, perhaps you are open to another comment from Jesus:
…”How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!” (Mark 3:23-26 NASB, Emphasis added)
The bible makes it clear that sickness, infirmity and ensuing death are the result (wages) of sin, which is of the devil. We ought to agree that to heal the sick is to undo works of the devil. So if Satan EVER heals, he is undoing himself and, according to Jesus, HE IS FINISHED. So where do the healings come from? All healing comes from God, whether natural or supernatural. We all know that. Since Satan does not heal, what do we do with these words from Jesus?
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Matt. 7:22-23 NASB)
For me these words establish that miracles (can) come from drawing on the name of Jesus, apart from a relationship with him. Jesus said “I never knew you.” We may rightly wonder whether Todd Bentley knows Jesus. However, after reading excerpts from his book The Journey into the Miraculous I am convinced that Todd enjoys a far closer relationship with Jesus than I, or than any of his critics, for that matter. I don’t know of another individual today with a hunger to know and to be about the things of the Spirit.
That kind of devotion to God is counter to the will of men, which is to establish earthly kingdoms. Of course most men don’t realize that such kingdoms are ruled by Satan, through carnal (reasoning) minds. Todd’s kind of devotion is an incredible threat to the ‘order’ of earthly kingdoms. It must be stamped out before it is encouraged and imparted to others. If Todd Bentley’s kind of ministry were allowed to become widespread, it might mean saying goodbye to the religious status quo. That would never do, so he must be stopped. And stop him we did, all of us—those of us who railed against him and those of us who didn’t hold up his arms during the battle.
Can we all agree that it was Satan who worked to destroy the marriage of Todd and Shonna? I am certain it was also Satan who convinced Todd to put his ministry ahead of his marriage. There are times when putting one’s ministry first is appropriate, for a season, but not without the spouse’s agreement. It may be that Todd was overcome by “a zeal for God, which is not according to (higher) knowledge.” (Romans 10:2)
I offer these additional words from the Master, as advice to us for the next Lakeland-style outpouring, should there be one:
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court’. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; … If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” (Matt. 5:22-24 NASB)
What Jesus was saying is that the (angry) thoughts we hold against others are capable of destroying them, tantamount to murder. Dare I remind the reader of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of people holding thoughts of resentment and unbelief concerning Lakeland? When was the right to judge given to Christians? Thank goodness the reverse is true—our kind thoughts are capable of blessing others. The two last of the verses above suggest the possibility that Todd Bentley, in bringing himself to the Lord’s altar (as a sacrifice, it turns out), was remiss in not making sure his enemies were in agreement first.
You may have been among critics who targeted Todd Bentley, believing his ungodliness was the cause of his own demise. Firstly, with apologies to Mark Twain, the reports of Todd’s demise are greatly exaggerated. God will have the last word in this. Mr. Bentley will be back, after the Lord restores him and promotes him to another venue. I have no doubt of that. Secondly, that group of critics has set its sights on the wrong object. The real target should have been the Accuser, the evil one who has been targeting both Todd and his opposers. Wounds have been afflicted—upon the Bentley family and also upon those detractors who have lined up against the Lakeland outpouring, though the latter may not see it yet. I can almost see Satan grinning, and I can almost hear God saying “I love it when a plan comes together.”
I will end with one last word from Jesus:
“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7 NASB)
TODD BENTLEY – WHOSE TO BLAME? [E. M. ‘ED’ Dupas] 1