Todd Bentley Separation Shocks Followers, Apostolic Overseers

by | Aug 13, 2008 | Charisma Archive

Pastors
within the apostolic movement, who commissioned Bentley as an evangelist in
June, express shock over the breakup of
revivalist's mariage.

 
Todd Bentley Separation Shocks Followers,
Apostolic Overseers
[08.13.08] Leaders of the apostolic movement are scrambling for answers
after learning that revival leader Todd Bentley is separating from his wife.
 
California pastor Bill Johnson, who with pastors John Arnott and Ché Ahn
represents Bentley’s apostolic “covering” under a group called the Revival
Alliance, said he was shocked by Bentley’s announcement. “This is an obvious
tragedy, both for Todd and Shonnah and the move of God in Lakeland,” Johnson
said.
 
“They had problems a couple of years ago, and I got involved at that time
to lend support and give counsel to Todd and his staff. In talking with Todd I
was led to believe those issues were now in order. Obviously they
weren't.”
 
During an impromptu meeting Monday, Bentley told the staff of his Fresh
Fire Ministries that he and his wife, Shonnah, were separating. In a statement
released Tuesday, the Fresh Fire board of directors said “an atmosphere of
fatigue and stress” created by the daily meetings Bentley led until recently,
“exacerbated existing issues in [his marriage].” 
 
Bentley did not respond to Charisma’s request for comment.
 
Fresh Fire’s board members stated that the meetings were not to blame for
the breakup of Bentley’s marriage, that the separation was not due to infidelity
by either spouse and that they hoped the marriage would be restored. “We know
that many of you will have questions, for most of which we presently have no
answers,” the board members stated.
 
Bentley has spent most of the last four months away from his home in
Abbottsford, B.C., where his wife and three children reside. Shonnah Bentley has
appeared on the platform with her husband in Lakeland periodically.
 
The news did not come as a total surprise to the top three members of the
Revival Alliance, an apostolic group that Bentley submitted himself to during a
commissioning ceremony on June 23 in Lakeland. “We are all of one heart in that
we want to see their marriage restored, and just as important, see their hearts
get healed from these points of weakness that have been there for years,”
Johnson said.
 
At press time, Johnson said he had still not been able to make contact with
Bentley.
 
C. Peter Wagner, leader of the International Coalition of Apostles,
convened and officiated at the Revival Alliance’s commissioning ceremony in
June. Wagner’s wife, Doris, said he was shocked when he received the news of
Bentley’s separation while he was in Asia conducting a 10-day ministry
trip.
 
Arnott, an alliance member and founding pastor of the Toronto Airport
Christian Fellowship, said he was also surprised when he got word Monday of
Bentley’s separation. “I had hoped that the previous troubles had been resolved
and worked through,” he told Charisma, referring to marital problems he
said the Bentleys had two years ago.
 
Ahn told Charisma the Revival Alliance is “doing all that we can do
to bring correction and counsel to Todd.”
 
Stephen Strader, senior pastor of Ignited Church, where Bentley’s revival
meetings began, told Charisma the separation was for “a period of time
while [the couple] both continue to receive counseling.” Strader said he only
recently discovered the counseling sessions between the two had been ongoing for
the past three years.
 
“The outpouring has put a tremendous strain on their [counseling] process
because the process, for all intents and purposes, was almost suspended because
of the exaggerated distance and the exaggerated seven-days-a-week schedule,”
Strader said.
 
According to Strader, Bentley turned the leadership of the revival meetings
over to him on Aug. 6—more than two weeks before the Aug. 23 date Bentley
previously said would be his last service. Strader said Bentley would officially
depart the revival during tonight’s meeting in Lakeland, when Bentley is
scheduled to thank the crowd and “commission his interns” to continue the
revival. 
 
In their statement, the Fresh Fire board members said the ministry would
focus on “growing the Global Outpourings” that have spread since April via GOD
TV and the Internet.
 
Rory and Wendy Alec, founders of GOD TV, said that even though last Friday
was their network’s final live broadcast of the Lakeland meetings, they believe
the “outpouring” is a genuine move of God. “We believe that it is important to
recognize and defend the authenticity of this outpouring by the testimonies of
the countless thousands who viewed on GOD TV or attended at Lakeland and were
healed, set free and delivered through Jesus Christ,” the Alecs said in a
statement.
 
Patricia King, founder of Extreme Prophetic TV and a close friend of
Bentley's, told Charisma she is praying for wisdom about how to help
people process the news of Bentley’s separation. “I am heart-broken over the
situation,” she said. “I love Todd. I will always love Him. I will carry
Him in my heart and prayers and never let go.
 
“Right now, though, I am in pain, deep pain,” she added, “for the
body [of Christ], for Todd, for his family.”
 
Johnson said the Revival Alliance leaders want to help Bentley heal and
experience restoration. “None of the Revival Alliance members sweeps things
under the carpet and ignore or deny tragedy,” he said. “Neither do we think
great anointing is a replacement for character. We will now work hard to bring
healing and restoration, considering it a privilege to stand with a brother in
trouble, regardless of who is at fault.” —Paul Steven Ghiringhelli

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