It is always sad to hear of marriages breaking apart. Todd Bentley's website has announced the following:
Todd and Shonnah Bentley are presently experiencing significant friction in their relationship and are currently separated. We want to affirm that there has been no sexual immorality on the part of either Todd or Shonnah, nor has there ever been.http://www.freshfire.ca/
A local Florida newspaper has also reported:
Bentley announced to his staff Monday afternoon that he and his wife, Shonnah, had separated. The Bentleys have two daughters and a son, and are Canadian citizens. Under Canadian law, separation is a preliminary step in divorce proceedings, lasting nine months.http://www.theledger.com/article/20080812/NEWS/808120347&title=Evangelist_Bentley__Wife_File_for_Separation
So why am I blogging about this?
Is it to gossip or to gloat? No, It is tragic that a life long covenant has been broken, and that children will now be desperately trying to work out why this happened and possibly thinking it is their fault. I blog about this because it is significant in assessing the Lakeland Florida phenomena, especially as many of its defenders claimed we should just look at the fruit.
Look at the fruit:
A number of times on this blog I have explained how Todd Bentley's ministry is not a biblical ministry. I have used scripture to demonstrate this. Many other people around the world have done the same. Yet the response that people often give is, "Well just look at the fruit!" For this very reason it is significant that Todd Bentley has separated from his wife. Bentley has 'enjoyed' this so-called revival for 100 days, and the fruit from being 'drunk in the spirit' so much, is that he has now sadly separated from his wife.
Jesus does indeed warn us that we will know false prophets by their fruit:
Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit... 21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
So, what kind of fruit should a true prophet exhibit?
The New Testament teaches us that leaders are to manage their family well:
1 Timothy 3:4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?And that a loving marriage is a result of being filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit ... 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord... 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, ... 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself... 31 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."Sadly in Todd Bentley's case, there is evidence that his marriage has been so unloving that they now have seperated. This then is evidence that Bentley is not living as someone filled with the Spirit, or as a leader.
But didn't King David have bad fruit too?
Of course, people will refer to King David, and remind us of his sins, but notice the context:
1) David was not leading a revival at the time. In contrast, he was avoiding his duty as King and neglecting to go to war:
ESV 2 Samuel 11:1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful.
2) David was living under the Old Covenant, today under the New Covenant, after Pentecost something is different to David's day. I am not saying that we are saved in a different way, just that the Spirit has been poured out in a different way:
ESV Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Should we only look at fruit?
Having looked at the fruit, it is important to note that this is not the only way we discern false prophets. The Bible teaches us to weigh things up by looking at the doctrine taught, the gospel preached, the Christ proclaimed, and the fruit. Therefore it is incorrect to ignore the first three, and then claim we must only look at the fruit. Without looking at the fruit, there was enough evidence that Bentley was not a prophet of God. However to those who do just want to look at the fruit - here is the fruit: A man who led this phenomena in Lakeland, and who supposedly enjoyed its blessings every day, has just separated from his wife. Very sad, but hopefully this will help people to see that this was not a true prophet.
Finally lets pray for the Bentley family.
If you would like to read John Piper's thoughts on this, check out his blog: