A great tragedy has come to light this past week. Todd Bentley, the revivalist who has been leading the Lakeland Outpouring meetings, has had a major meltdown and has filed for divorce. This comes at the worst possible time both for the revival and for those who have stood with him.
Back in June, Che Ahn , John Arnott, and I went to Lakeland, Florida, to do a commissioning service for Todd. We felt the need to stand with him. Opposition against him was great, and we could be a great strength to Todd in that time. John and Che especially could be a great asset as they had endured incredible opposition during the Toronto outpouring. Peter Wagner helped to oversee and lead that part of the meeting. Although he had not personally endorsed the revival, he felt it important enough to risk personal criticism from his peers to bring Todd into an apostolic alignment for his own safety.
I did not go to Lakeland and stand on the platform with Todd Bentley because he was perfect in character or because we agreed with every aspect of how he conducted the revival in Lakeland. I went to Lakeland because of his enemies. The relentless criticism and opposition, coupled with the grueling and sometimes unwise schedule, were bound to take their toll on this young man—emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It happened two years ago, and it could happen again. It was my intention to bring a deflection into the mix so that he wouldn't take all the heat by himself. Little did I realize it was too late. He was at the place of burnout again, abandoning his marriage and pulling out of all public ministry. While I will never blame Todd's opponents for Todd's bad choices (Todd alone is responsible for them) their opposition had a greater effect than any of his critics will likely own up to in this lifetime.
Now what? Pray for Todd and Shonnah for complete healing in their marriage and personal lives. Pray for those giving counsel to them that they would use great wisdom.
Please know that while we may not give details of our efforts, we are doing everything possible to help bring healing and order to this tragedy.
Recent response to the above answer:"How in God's name can you endorse Todd Bentley?" This is my response:
Have you spent time with Todd? Do you know him? Have you watched him with his wife? Or have you seen how he treats his kids? Have you spent any time with his staff? Have you been to his ministry? Has he been to yours? Have you laid hands on him and prayed? Has he laid hands on you and prayed? Have you grieved over tragedy together? Have you celebrated victory together? Has he sought your counsel? Has he traveled a great distance just to meet with you privately for advice? Have you ever received his counsel? Have you been in the room when God has showed up on him, and used him in stunning miracles? Have you seen him operate in the word of knowledge or the prophetic? Have you met with his counsel of elders? Have you personally benefited from his gift? Has he benefited from your gift and ministry? Has he ever honored you for who you are in God? Has he partnered with you as a friend? Have you sacrificed for his welfare, or that of his family? Have you sought God with him? Have you ever worshipped the Lord with him?
I didn't think so. I have. And I'll continue to support those who I have walked with in life and ministry. He's my friend. More importantly, God calls him friend. And if you and I were ever friends in that level, and people hated you and turned against you, and started web pages to tear down your ministry, and criticized you to your friends, and wrote against you in Christian magazines, and criticized you on the radio and wrote emails to other conference speakers and authors, I'd still be your friend.
By the way - criticism in the form of a question is not a question. But to respond to your statement, "How in God's name can you endorse Todd Bentley?" It's easy. I do it in God's name.
"Todd is a good friend, but more importantly, he is a friend of God. I've met very few people in my life who are hungrier for God and will take extended periods of time just to seek Him. God has entrusted him with an extraordinary outpouring for a reason—He can trust him to do whatever He says, regardless of the opinions of others. He is bold—amazingly bold. The miracles are legitimate and increasing. The church of America has asked for a great revival. God wonderfully placed this move in a package that few would have expected, just to see if we're as hungry as we say we are."