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john Arnott on Todd Bentley

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I have just re-read the article about the Lakeland Revival that I wrote two months ago for our most recent edition of Spread the Fire Magazine. It was a glowing report of the wonderful healings happening there. Now it is with sadness and disappointment that I am writing again to our friends and supporters. You may have already heard that Todd Bentley has announced his decision to separate from Shonnah, his wife. I am deeply saddened for the Body of Christ that has been disillusioned yet again. I grieve for all the dedicated Fresh Fire Team, Roy Fields and all the musicians and for Stephen Strader, the pastor of Ignited Church and all his faithful folks who have been serving so diligently. Had any of us known what was just ahead, perhaps we would have been able to intervene before things went into crisis.

We at TACF, Catch the Fire, Partners in Harvest and the Revival Alliance want to stand with Todd and Shonnah and try to offer godly counsel and support. We all want to see the good that has come from this ministry and the Lakeland Revival redeemed.
I have known Todd for several years and have seen God work mightily through him. I went to Lakeland to support what Todd and Fresh Fire were doing there because I believed that God was moving powerfully in the lives of thousands. I also knew Todd would have many critics, just as I had had with the revival in Toronto. I wanted to stand with him and say, “I am here for you. Don’t let anyone discourage what God is doing through you.”
I wanted to be available to Todd if he needed advice. I had no agenda other than to see what was happening in Lakeland continue and to see Todd nurture this revival successfully. I wish I had known that he was struggling in his marriage, but unfortunately, I did not.
I am working now with Bill Johnson and Che Ahn to listen to each person who is close to the situation in order to give godly counsel and confront the presenting issues in God’s love. We are all receiving many phone calls and reading much correspondence about all these matters at the moment. Some of it is quite hopeful and some of it is not. However, I believe that God can break through.
We all want to provide any help we can to preserve the fruit of this outpouring. We are doing this for several reasons. First, we love the Body of Christ and the work God does through times of revival. We care very deeply about the impact of the church’s leaders and role models on the body of Christ and the world. We also care about Todd and Shonnah, the Fresh Fire Ministries staff and all who have been a vital part of the Lakeland Revival. They are our friends.

Todd has chosen to do something that is wrong according to Scripture, and his timing to announce it was equally inappropriate. Everyone is asking, "What happened?" "Why didn't anyone see this coming?" We are making the answers to those questions a matter of prayer, and are as shocked and saddened by what has just happened as you are. Furthermore, it has now come out that there has been some inappropriate behavior, both with excessive drinking and also with a female member of his staff. Please don't jump to conclusions or assume the worst, but this behavior is wrong before the Lord.

Let me encourage you to hold steady to your faith in God and give the redemptive process the time it requires and let's see what God will do. Because I believe in God, I also believe that nothing is impossible with Him. He is able to take the worst situation and turn it into a great blessing. Be slow to speak out publicly and to judge prematurely. It is time to treat these people with grace, like you would like to be treated when you fall or make a mistake. Be assured that nothing is being ‘swept under the carpet,’ but we are bringing it out into the light of God’s truth in mercy so that we can interrupt Satan’s plan to use this to discredit Jesus Christ by destroying the lives of Todd, his family and his friends.
The Holy Spirit, who is perfect, must use imperfect people even in revival. Carol and I always urge Christians to pay close attention to the issues of integrity. The scripture admonishes each one of us, “Watch over your heart with all diligence; for out of it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Christian leaders are held to the high standard of being exemplary in character and all other aspects of our personal lives. When a leader fails, the news spreads so quickly to those outside the body of Christ heaping shame and reproach upon the name of Jesus Christ and the church. The enemy wants to use these failures to undo the work of the Holy Spirit if he can.
To those who were blessed in Lakeland, do not allow the seeds of hope and healing that were sown into you there be uprooted by this leader’s mistakes. It was God who touched you and no one can take that away unless you allow it. Continue to give God the praise and thanks.
I am aware that the devil wants to tempt some people to say, “I told you so.” Do not allow yourself to become his instrument by using the sword of truth without mercy in this way. Before you cast a stone, remember that you are not without sin yourself. This is how pride can gain a subtle hold in your heart. What you sow now, you will reap in the future.
Had you lived during the reign of King David would you have judged him for his moral failure? While he was in sin, God saw David’s heart and knew that he could be corrected and redeemed. His sin and God’s judgment on it as well as God’s redemption of the situation are recorded in Scripture for everyone to read.

My prayer since 1994 has been, “More, Lord! I want more of your love and power.” I want God to send us more revival with all its accompanying blessings. I want to see many more conversions, healings and miracles. More than that, however, I want to see these days led by honorable and trusted leaders who not only have powerful gifts but who are pure in heart and character.

May I enlist your prayers for Todd and Shonnah and their children at this time, that God, the Great Reverser, will miraculously turn this situation around?

Much love to you all in Jesus,

John Arnott
August 17, 2008

Seems to me that John Arnott got duped by a con man, just like the others who rushed to commission and "cover" Todd Bentley.
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