On April 12, it was announced that Todd Bentley — the controversial ‘preacher’ behind a so-called ‘revival’ in Florida — had separated from his wife.
In response, Bentley’s Fresh Fire Ministries posted the following comments on its website:
The Lord’s blessings and abundance have been so evident on the ministry during this season of intense activity and we rejoice in seeing and being able to participate in what we believe is only the beginning of a worldwide awakening. It is with considerable sadness then, that we must temper the jubilation we know you all feel with the sobering news that Todd and Shonnah Bentley are presently experiencing significant friction in their relationship and are currently separated. We want to affirm that there has been no sexual immorality on the part of either Todd or Shonnah, nor has there ever been. 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. 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.
– Source: Fresh Fire Ministries, Aug. 12, 2008
Three days later that message was replaced by an apology and ‘Special Prayer Request’ from Fresh Fire Ministries’ board of Directors:
We wish to thank all of our friends and partners for the overwhelming flood of support and compassion we have received as a ministry on behalf of Todd and Shonnah Bentley. The many phone calls and emails of concern from people who genuinely love the Bentleys and Fresh Fire Ministries have been a great encouragement to all of us here during these past few days. In particular, the rallying of support and prayer for Todd and Shonnah by prominent leaders within the Body of Christ has been a beautiful indicator of the maturity and grace the Lord is bringing to his Bride.
We wish to acknowledge, however, that since our last statement from the Fresh Fire Board of Directors, we have discovered new information revealing that Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff. In light of this new information and in consultation with his leaders and advisors, Todd Bentley has agreed to step down from his position on the Board of Directors and to refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life.
On behalf of the Fresh Fire leadership and the Board of Directors we wish to apologize to our friends and partners and to the larger body of Christ and to ask for your forgiveness. We are truly sorry for the pain many of you must feel and so regret that in the midst of great revival, the enemy has found a way into our camp. To those who have stood by us, we wish to thank you for what in many cases has been years of support. Thank you for your financial giving towards the vision of this ministry, and thank you especially for your prayers. For those of our partners, friends and supporters who may be struggling with the recent disclosures and finding continued support of this ministry in conflict with either conscience or conviction, we release and bless you with all our hearts and trust that God will redeem in your hearts the good that He has accomplished in your lives through this ministry. It is our sincerest hope and prayer that the Lord bless you and bring you into your fullest destiny in Him.
– Source: Fresh Fire Ministries, Aug. 12, 2008
Regardless of what one thinks about Bentley’s ‘revival’ — and just so there is no confusion: we think it is an unbiblical, unchristian, an inexcusable display of sensuality vs. Scripture — fact remains that God uses flawed people. If that were not so, there would be no Christian in ministry anywhere.
That said, along with everything else that has been said about this so-called revival, this latest revelation underscores the severe lack of spiritual discernment on the part of Todd Bentley, his staff, the spiritual ‘leaders’ who enabled him, and the the tens of thousands of Christians who keep chasing after false teachers, pretend ‘apostles’ and ‘prophets,’ fake ‘revivals’ and so on.
Mind you, Bentley and his cohorts are people who claim to be visited by angels, talk about their trips to heaven and their conversations with the apostle Paul, and pepper their language with the word ‘prophetic’ — pretending to speak the very words of God into people’s lives and situations.
We have referred to this whole charade — not just Bentley’s show but the entire cast of ‘New Apostolic’ leaders — as a Christian Role-Playing Game that brings nothing but spiritual tragedy.
Our prayer is that these events will act as a wake-up call for many Christians — Todd Bentley included — caught up in chasing after experiences.
Meanwhile we encourage Christians everywhere to examine the fruit: do not attack the person, but rather address his teachings and practices — using the Word of God.
Fresh Fire Ministries public apology: Bentley steps down