Many Evangelicals and Protestants like to claim the authority of God, but not those which God has given to men through Sacred Scripture and Tradition and has been evidenced by history. The results is that in the name of claiming obedience to God, instead of religion, God is used as an indirect source to deflect criticism onto so that one may do as he pleases.
In one recent example, the notorious ‘evangelist’ with a history of sodomite rape prior to becoming a Christian, Todd Bentley, has now said that ‘God called him’ back to ministry after being dismissed by a variety of Evangelical pastors amid a series of investigations that found him unfit for ministry due to, in his tenure as a ‘pastor’, engaging in continual forms of license and homosexual behavior.
Approximately one year after a team of evangelical leaders declared him “not qualified” for leadership due to “credible” allegations of “ungodly and immoral behavior,” including predatory sexual activity, Fresh Fire USA leader Todd Bentley says he’s now back after hearing from God.
Bentley, who turned 45 last month, said as the coronavirus pandemic raged in parts of the country in the summer of 2020, he was experiencing a time of healing and restoration with angels and communing with God.
“It was last summer in July/ August 2020 that I had a series of angelic encounters, visions and personal encounters with the Lord that were absolutely life-changing. At the same time Jess and I used this time to see healing and incredible restoration in our own lives and marriage. During this awesome season of almost daily personal encounters the Lord spoke to me about my 45th birthday, which took place on January 10, 2021,” Bentley wrote in a recent post on Facebook.
“There are credible accusations of a steady pattern of ungodly and immoral behavior, confirmed by an independent investigator’s interviews dating from 2008 up through 2019, along with other testimonies dating back to 2004. And while we only took into account first-hand reports, there are many other second and third-hand reports repeating the same accusations, often from people in different parts of the country (or, world) who had no connection between them, other than their interaction with Todd,” the statement said.
The Lion of Light Ministries leader said Bentley has a “perverse sexual addiction” that drove him to prey on interns in 2013 and beyond. He alleged that Bentley “has an appetite for a variety of sexual sins, including both homosexual and heterosexual activity” and accused the evangelist of indulging in an open marriage with his wife, Jessa.
Despite his earthly disqualification from ministry, Bentley said God has given him a fresh 25-year mandate “focused on the Harvest and the nations.” (source)
It is very true, and can never, ever be denied that God does indeed speak to people. However, if one is going to make that claim, one must be able to clearly, conclusively back up what one is saying because the consequences can be very serious.
A good example of this is the famous case of St. Juan Diego in Mexico. He was a poor, Aztec peasant who saw the Blessed Virgin and told the local ordinate, Bishop Zumarraga, about it. Bishop Zumarraga asked for proof, and St. Juan said he would ask Our Lady, who told him to pick all the flowers in a particular area, put them in his robe, and bring them to the bishop, and when he did, where the flowers were appeared the beautiful image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which five centuries later has lost none of its luster and still baffles scientists as to how it has been able to be painted in the way that was, as it defies all scientific explanations.
THAT is a case of God speaking to men, and it brought great fruits and still does today. However, when God speaks to men, it is often not in loud voices, or with money, or with power, but in silence, stillness, and solitude.
This is a major problem when it comes to heresies or those inclined to heretical behavior. Loud does not mean Godly, even though so many seem to make this conclusion.
Likewise, being a pastor is supposed to be a sacrifice, not an easy way to fill one’s bank account. However, too often the opposite is true, because it devolves into a sort of cheap entertainment or the placation of one’s views instead of an actual attempt to change them.
People have wondered for years why Christianity, especially Evangelicalism, is in decline, and men such as Bentley are the answer why. They offer a cheap form of religion that is just a way to make easy money, and people eventually see through it and associate this with Christianity, for while men do have problems, the search for the authentic is real. The Evangelical ‘machine’ may be powerful, but it is based on a hollow and ahistorical version of Christianity, and thus cannot survive but will collapse, leading those who are sincere to either a form of historical Protestantism, Catholicism, or possibly and Orthodox Church, and for the others, they often just return to atheism or American neo-pagan heathenry.
It is most likely true that Bentley is not fit for ministry, but the same applies to the armies of ‘pastors’ who create businesses and label them as churches and who peddle cheap things that can barely be called Christianity or religion as a product. The Millennials and Zoomers, proportionately speaking, have realized this and as a result stopped going to church, and it is unlikely they will return unless true religion is brought in its place, but that means getting rid of those who place religion as a business first and instead, to give it to those who care not about men, popularity, money, or show, but doing the will of God because it is the right thing.