Monday, August 25, 2008

I Did Not Want To Be Right

Peter Wagner's newest letter on Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival has just been published. You can google it elsewhere. I'm too saddened by the whole tone of it that I don't even want it here. (The heresy police already have it up - if you can't find it email me and I will forward it.)

Unfortunately, I was right when I told you what they would eventually say about the Apostolic involvement at Lakeland in this post: (Only please don't imagine that I am gleeful. My heart is broken and I say it with tears in my eyes. I did not want to be right.)


To Mr. Wagner and to the people around him,

Please read the following paragraph taken from Mr. Wagner's letter of August 25th and tell me where the heart of a father is to be found:

Closer to the Lakeland I situation, I have a private list of no fewer than 18 high-profile Christian leaders starting from the 1970s until Bentley for whom I took risks. For each one of them I took serious criticisms and in some cases personal hits even much more serious than I have received in this current case because I endorsed or partnered with or provided alignment for them. Some were typified as "crazy!" However, I can pretty much discern winners, although not always. My track record for the 18 is 72% emerged as real winners (you would know most of them), 17% ended up losers (including Bentley), and 11% indecisive. I'm sorry for the losers, but they prove I am not perfect. The point I am making is that I am no stranger to taking risks and living with the fallout. (emphasis mine)

This paragraph made my heart hurt and my eyes tear up. Todd is not a loser. The story is not written yet. But even if it ended here the cross ensures that he is no loser. You all have said over and over that the Apostolic gifting that you hold allows you to "Father" the church. Fathers don't call their kids losers no matter what they go through. Fathers are patient and believe the best. They don't gloss over sin but neither do they declare their sons losers.

And don't get me started on the rest of the letter. Simply read it and then review the videos of the night that Todd was commissioned. You can't re-write history like this. Please stop this.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read that today and this whole thing just makes me say a really big UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I like the low light and simple life as a believer with faith to move mountains and hope to see miracles and love to change lives.
Time to move on and keep our focus on the only ONE-Jesus!
et

Katherine Gunn said...

I read the letter... I tried to watch the video again - got a little farther than last time, but it just makes me sick. There is so much deception and hmm... it makes me feel sick.

The letter - hmm . . . what I see is self-promotion and self-protection - image, image, image - protect the image. The 4 minutes of the video I did watch - it is so familiar, everybody wants on the celebrity bandwagon - prophesy, give a word, don't let the others outdo you. I know that sounds pretty cynical, and maybe it is. But it makes me very sad, too. This is the crap I grew up in and it damaged me and my family in ways I'm still uncovering with the help of God. And this is part of what makes American Christianity a joke among many. Sigh.

Bill Kinnon said...

After reading his full letter, I want to scream. Perhaps C.Peter should take his ability to pick winners to Las Vegas. That town might be the best place for this pompous twit.

Heidi W said...

When I got that today, it was the same paragraph that has been bothering me ever since. I was so saddened, and sick that he would choose those type of words to describe anyone.

That is not a father....

Amy said...

Barb,
I fully agree with you. Although I knew all along that Todd Bentley's actions and "revival" was not of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, he is NOT a loser in our Father's eyes. God loves Him, and genuinely wants Todd to repent and draw near to Him.

Peter Wagner's words in the letter were awful. It does not display a loving father's heart. Sigh...quite honestly, during this entire thing, he has only looked out for himself. I sincerely hope, he too, will come to a place (sigh...even if it means becoming broken) to a place where he repents and draws near to Father, too.

Blessings,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

Tyler Dawn said...

LOSERS?

How dare he call any human being that, simply because they fall short of his standards? Good grief! Is this a God complex talking? Is he simply that callous and that self-centered?

I am appalled and I thought my ability to be appalled by the church was gone....

I have nothing graceful to say.

Don said...

One of the fall-outs of this entire situation is the exposing of the need for true, father-son relationships. There's been a lot of talk, and identificational-repentance-prayer over the past decade, about the need for inter-generational work to continue revival. It's one of Bill Johnson's big themes, which he describes as making one generation's ceiling experience the next generation's floor.

Such inter-generational work demands strong father-son relationships. And not too surprisingly, God's been talking to people all over the world in recent years about Malachi's Elijah-mantle prophetic statement:

"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."

Thinking of these things while reading Wagner's letter, I'm saddened to realize that despite Bill's statement a few months ago about why he supported Todd (in a nutshell, because he'd spent so much time with him), apparently neither Bill, nor any other older pastor/leader, had truly established an accountability relationship with Todd.

Since Bill was shocked about the new revelations of Todd's behavior, it's obvious he didn't have the relationship I'm talking about. And despite Todd's frequent (daily?) phone calls with Bob Jones, in which they discussed in detail the angel called Winds of Change and the importance of June 22 - July 22, apparently Jones's relationship with Todd didn't include any demand for radical transparency.

I'm not judging Bill, Bob or anyone else, as it's possible Todd didn't want to be accountable to anyone at all. But if there *had* been accountability with honesty, we wouldn't have the current state of "confusion and chaos," to quote Wagner.

According to Wagner, it took a call from Strader to Wagner to begin some kind of oversight-accountability for Todd. While this was, ultimately, a Good Thing, it's sad that the leaders who knew Todd best hadn't been able to establish a true father-son relationship with him - and that Strader didn't call them. By his own words, it's clear Wagner himself doesn't represent a father figure for Todd:

"I want it understood that I did not go to Lakeland on June 23 for Todd Bentley. I had never met him personally. I had no knowledge of and little interest in his ministry. I went because I received an apostolic plea to help bring order to the confusion and chaos...."

Wagner saw an "apostolic" job to do in the Body of Christ. He doesn't have a father's heart for Todd, which is evident later in his letter, when he refers to Todd as a "loser" (something a true father would never say of his own son):

"My track record for the 18 [leaders for whom Wagner has taken personal risk] is 72% emerged as real winners (you would know most of them), 17% ended up losers (including Bentley), and 11% indecisive. I’m sorry for the losers, but they prove I am not perfect."

Based on what we've learned about how Todd got into trouble, and how decisions were made to get him out of trouble, I think we need to keep praying for that Malachi 4 scripture to be fulfilled in our generation, because apparently there's still a lot of heart-change needing to be done among leaders in this movement. If they're "apostles," they'd better really have the heart of a father, as Paul exhibited in his letters to the Corinthians:

"We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange — I speak as to my children — open wide your hearts also." (2 Cor 6)

and to Timothy and Titus.

To me, that begins with clearly identifying to whom you are a father, and who are your children. It also means that you will, at some point, begin pouring more of yourself into your identified children, than into your own ministry - so you have the kind of transparent, accountable relationships that will prevent a Todd situation, and more firmly establish that "floor" needed to continue building a revival culture.

Below are the kinds of questions* real spiritual apostle-fathers should be able to ask of their spiritual sons, on a very regular basis. I wonder if Todd ever allowed anyone to ask him these questions?

1. How are you growing in your relationship with Christ?
2. Do you feel emotionally drawn or vulnerable to someone other than your spouse?
3. Have you given adequate priority and time to your spouse and kids?
4. Have you been diligent in areas of agreed-upon personal discipline, such as diet, exercise, prayer, anger control, gossiping?
5. What progress are you making toward your life goals?
6. Have you observed anything in my life that I need to hear about?
7. Have you lied to me in any of your answers?

---------------------
*I'm not the author of this list

Tyler Dawn said...

Don, I think what happened here is why so many people are now taking a good hard look at "accountability" and such displays of control and authority with new eyes. Considering how these people have treated Todd Bentley -- and the other "losers," why on earth should anyone be accountable to them as any kind of father?

Jesus said we have ONE Father, and the bible teaches accountability to no other but Him.

Now, if you are talking about the kind of accountability that someone owes their employer or else you get fired, then fine, people can submit themselves to another human. But this display of contempt and lack of love show exactly why we are not commanded to be accountable to any man.

"Accountability" as it is practised in the church simply drives behavior into secrecy as we try to look good. It has been used for blackmail and spiritual manipulation for too long.

Abram said...

When I read this blog and C Peter's letter, I wanted to throw my laptop through the window, run screaming down the street, and move to the cold, desolate Alaskan tundra for the rest of my life.

How silly it was for me to once think that church was about God and not about politics. I am having a hard time keeping the proverbial baby from flying out the window with the bathwater.

grace said...

Barb,
I hardly know what to say. It seems there are some who would like to keep the focus of this whole debacle on Todd's sexual and other indiscretions. I wonder why?

Katherine Gunn said...

Grace~

I'll bite. I think the reason is to distract people from looking too closely at their own ministries. It is to keep from losing their power positions...