Ted Haggard, Todd Bentley and Others Dividing the Church
The Charismatic Christian community has been hit hard by the falls of some of its most prominent leaders. It could be proposed that the falls were inevitable to a degree, since we are dealing with man and his sinful nature. The concern is how those fallen leaders have continued to add insult to injury by their actions afterward, and given the world a view that rogue ministers are welcome and anyone who questions them is touching God’s anointed.
Fallen ministers such as Ted Haggard, Paul Cain, Todd Bentley and others have taken the idea that they are above restoration programs, and have quit them, or entered them when they felt like it, or set limits on the length of them. In all the cases, they have restored themselves to ministry in less than 2 years, against the advice of those doing the restoration. Todd Bentley is the exception since he divorced and remarried before he entered his restoration program, but has started his ministry in the USA with the blessing of Rick Joyner, who even sought funds for the ministry.
Had these ministers not been on the world stage, they would have been considered rebellious and not allowed in most Churches within their former sphere, but many of the independent churches today have been manipulated by a verse which says, “Touch not mine anointed (I Chronicles 16:22).” A verse taken out of context used often to make people sit under people in sin, on the hope that if they pray hard enough the person will change. Although we know there is forgiveness by God this does not mean people are required to continue in an atmosphere which is in direct opposition to God, which sin is.
Repeatedly throughout the Bible, people are warned to flee sin. Since God does not change (Hebrews 13:8), it would stand to reason He would not, therefore, want a person sitting under someone in known sin, which rebellion is. There is the word that keeps escaping, rebellion. At the heart of leaving a restoration program is rebellion towards authority, to be specific.
This rebellion shows itself as being above correction, or insinuating those restoring them is wrong in their methodology, time table, or whatever. As stated above, all the leaders mentioned left their respective restoration programs against advice. They started, or restarted ministries, again, against advice. All of which has led to a silent divisiveness in the Body of Christ. It has pitted those with the restoration process leaders against those with the minister.
No one seems to want to speak about the elephant in the room, which is the minister’s sin and behavior, and how it has really affected the body of Christ. Their former churches or ministries may tout numbers and money, but the core issues are not being addressed. They may even be making out the people to be wrong for asking questions In fact, it would seem some churches have blamed the people for being hurt or wounded, and saying it is their fault since they trusted a man to be who he said he was. The tide of compassion is clearly with the minister who sinned instead of with the people who were affected by the sin, when both are in need.
In the case of Todd Bentley, who left his wife for an intern, people were told that by speaking against him or his methods, they were of the Devil. People were supposed to ignore the fact that Todd Bentley was preaching about an angel named Emma, which supposedly told him, not to preach Jesus, because he was already known, but to only promote signs and wonders. A statement considered heresy by Bible. Less than 2 weeks before his fall, some in leadership over Todd, gathered a group of well-known ministers to commission him publically, in an effort to give the Lakeland revival and him credence, because of the fierce opposition against Bentley’s teaching. The clear message to people who disagreed with Bentley or his methods, received was that all signs and wonders were from God, so don’t question it. And they were to ignore the Bible, The Holy Spirit, and their intuition. This is a recipe for spiritual confusion, which came after the announcement, and increased as Bentley seemed to spiral out of control.
Ted Haggard, who was found to have been having sex for 3 years with a male prostitute, continues to be in the lime light with one thing after another. After being forced to leave the church he founded to receive restoration, Haggard asked for money for school, quit the restoration program, did a documentary, sold insurance, and is now in the process of starting a prayer meeting in his home, which he says may turn into a church, if there is strong interest.
Paul Cain, who lost his stage when it was found he was involved in homosexual behavior, was at least honest about his reason for his return to ministry, but not before he pitted two restoration teams against each other. His reason for his return was that he needed income, and preaching was the only skill he had. No “God called me,” but money.
Ted Haggard also admitted that money was a factor in his return to ministry. What these men lost in their fall will probably never be recaptured, but after all the confusion these men have caused, and the lives they have affected by their sin and its aftermath, should they be rewarded monetarily in a pulpit, and be invited to do so. It makes one wonder if these churches and ministries who are inviting them to speak are really interested in these men’s restoration, or are they disregarding their sin because of their “skills” in the pulpit? Perhaps it is compassion, but one would have to ask, when are the people that have been affected by these men’s sins getting theirs? Aren’t they entitled to compassion too?
By ignoring the continuous sin of rebellion of these ministers, it sets a precedent for others that could destroy the very fabric of the Charismatic community. Their rebellion has caused confusion and division, and some might even say a rogue thinking. Inviting and condoning their return to the pulpit is akin to spiritual rape of the flock. The time has come where the effected need to be the concern and not the ministers. It is time for these ministers to stop the rebellion, and get serious about being held accountable for the actions and harm they have caused. If not, as one minister pointed out, “I’m now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the Antichrist when he shows up because they have no discernment.”
Ted Haggard returns to the pulpit in Colorado
The Tragic Scandal of Greasy Grace
Todd Bentley’s Angel Emma
Todd Bentley’s Commissioning Service
Holding Paul Cain’s Feet to the Fire