Apostolic Bullshit

You have probably already read about the sad situation concerning Todd Bentley’s marriage.  If not, Brother Maynard wrote a comprehensive post covering the whole situation.  I would like to take a look at the involvement of the “apostles” in this ongoing trainwreck.  Aside from the headlines and the summary paragraph, all of the following are direct quotes from Peter Wagner.

Wait a Minute, We’re the Leaders

That was then: “A serious public problem had been growing in the body of Christ revolving around concerns about Lakeland from respected leaders. Even “schism” had been mentioned frequently. Something was called for to set things in order, and this is the stated role of apostles. We stand together when a crisis such as this one comes along.”

This is now: “My thinking was that I did not want to deal with doctrinal issues with any one but fellow apostles.”

Getting in on the Action

That was then: “Bob Jones prophesied that on June 22 the outpouring would increase so much that it would appear that the revival would really begin at that time. Of course no one knew that June 23, the day after June 22, would be the date of Todd’s apostolic alignment which could well be the event to release increased spiritual power.”

This is now: “I was receiving a quantity of email correspondence from other apostles who were interested. I opened the door for those who desired to accompany us on the platform. I did not allow prophets, evangelists pastors, or teachers to join the group-apostles only.”

Like Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship

That was then: “A few of us met with Todd personally before the service, and we found him to be a wonderful individual. Doris and I had never met him before. I explained to him what the ceremony would be like, and he agreed.  We were on the same page! In fact, we like each other!”

This is now: “Some have thought that Todd is aligned with me, which is not the case. He is not a member of ICA. We are barely aquainted.”

It Was Them, Not Me

That was then: “My name is Peter Wagner and I have served the body of Christ in apostolic ministry for many years, and currently I preside over the International Coalition of Apostles which brings together over 500 recognized apostles. I have the honor of being assigned to preside over this momentous occasion.

This is a ceremony celebrating the formal apostolic alignment of Todd Bentley.

This commissioning represents a powerful spiritual transaction taking place in the invisible world. With this in mind, I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to Todd Bentley:

· Your power will increase.
· Your authority will increase.
· Your favor will increase.
· Your influence will increase.
· Your revelation will increase.”

This is now: “Ché Ahn was in charge of this.  I want to make it clear that I did not commission Todd as some wrongly think. I didn’t lay on hands, I didn’t anoint with oil, in fact I moved to the back and neither my wife, Doris, nor I prayed or prophesied.”

False Apostles and False Authority

Here’s a clue, if one’s perspective of apostleship is all about governing, networking, and authority, it is false, unbiblical, and flat out wrong.  This concept of alignment is simply a rehashed version of former abusive teachings on spiritual covering and the discipleship movement.

If this situation ultimately contributes to the breakdown of the contrived false teaching about apostles that is widespread within the body of Christ at this time, that will be a good thing.

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36 thoughts on “Apostolic Bullshit

  1. Brilliant Grace. I did not have the time to do the linking back and forth between what had been said and what was said the other day. Thanks for your time and hard work.

    If I had not had any self control I would have thrown my computer across the room the other day as I read Wagner’s newsletter.

  2. “Apostolic Bullshit”

    I’m sorry, I’m not quite sure how you feel about this. Can you be a little more clear? (wink)

    ” This concept of alignment is simply a rehashed version of former abusive teachings on spiritual covering and the discipleship movement.”

    There it is! The beliefs Wagner was using to deal with the situation was freakin me out when I first read this. This point is why.

  3. Hey Grace, I came down pretty hard on you when you first commented on Lakeland and Todd’s ministry a while back, so I feel I awe you an apology — not that I think I was wrong in my original statements per se, but that you were perceiving something wrong in the hype and the hoopla that now in hindsight I wish I had seen. I believe in revival and believe that a lot of the apostolic leaders that some have criticized really are following after God with sincere hearts, but after this whole Lakeland fallout I’m starting to question some of my assumptions regarding the Church structurally and just what revival is supposed to look like. I recently started reading “Pagan Christianity” which is further challenging some of my preconceptions. :)

    Anyway, I do appreciate that you are a voice for authentic faith and holiness over hype, and I pray that whatever comes out of this mess, God can use it to bring purity and conviction to the Church and usher in a more sustainable revival atmosphere.

    Blessings, Jared

  4. I have a large capacity to sympathize with anyone going through marriage woes. Especially with children involved. I can identify with such situations. I am not trying to make light of such issues with the Bentleys. They are no more protected, insulated, immune, exempt, etc. of the everyday struggles common to all men. However, they have been ‘billed’ as having special access to heaven. Special anointment powers. Special destiny. Special favor with God/man. Special spiritual stuff that makes it seem they are more than what they are…

    Not only that, their ministry board/oversight & the extreme prophetic/apostolic types that launched Todd into the super-saint spotlight are culpable. And all the clamor raised about Todd’s special gifting/unction/power as if he were a spiritual guru/celebrity simply a version of Christianize Idol…

    Lakeland the venue. GodTV the media feed. And all the controversy & banter about the event representative of Randy Jackson’s, Paula Abdul’s & Simon Cowell’s thumbs-up/thumbs-down comments…

    The Bentleys were abused. Spiritual abuse. Manipulation. Adulation. Flattery. Hype. Promotion. And ultimately a marriage dissolution…

    Any of the promoters/supporters of the Bentley’s/Lakeland event share in this fiasco. They did not use that golden gift of discernment we are all called to utilize when such events are being billed as the next great move of God…

  5. barb,
    Hopefully this will turn out to be a needed exposure of the error of this kind of presumption.

    brian,
    The mutual reinforcement of the self-delusion and posturing is a breeding ground for error.

    jared,
    I don’t know much, but I do know that leadership bearing the spirit of Christ will be marked by humility and service rather than politics, alignment, and self-promotion.

    Frank’s newest book, Reimagining Church has some really great teaching on the concepts of covering, authority, and leadership.

    joseph,
    I hope and pray that Todd will turn his heart and attention to his marriage and family and that he won’t be moving alone to his new half-million dollar home in Lakeland.

    I believe that Todd already had himself in a precarious position when so many flocked alongside him to reap the windfall of his rise to fame. I would hope that those who were quick to promote and endorse will be equally quick to take responsibility and to repent.

  6. So now that your prophetic voice is being acknowledged will you have your own theme song – like one of the Bent Toadley anointing rats I used to work with.

    When I read Wagner’s new version of the anointing events, I couldn’t believe his flagrant ability to rewrite history. I’m now convinced that he actually believes his own story. The deception is so strong that nonsense is sense to these folk.

    Regarding the title to this post: I will be sending a small packet of soap to you. Please apply liberally to your tongue. :-)

    As Pam said, the C.P.W/Colonel Sanders link is brilliant. Perhaps CPW’s new motto will be “seven different words and vices”.

  7. pam,
    I have plenty more to say on this topic, but so far it just keeps coming out as pffffttttt!!!

    kill,
    Intentional typo?
    As long as I can wash the soap down with a little red wine.
    I have quite a few thoughts stirring about the degree of deception and self-deception involved in all of this. I think the issue with TB just served to highlight the potential destructiveness of this self-proclaimed illuminati of apostles.

    tom and jbo,
    kill/bill is gifted in both wit and wisdom. ;)

  8. Intentional, indeed. It confuses Google which is always fun – and it seemed appropriate in light of my insistence on calling the poor fellow from B.C., Bent Toadley.

    Glad I could provide some levity to a situation that has stopped me from blogging for most of the week.

    Here’s some of the reasons why:
    I have a dear friend with Parkinson’s. I helped him log onto our password protected WiFi via his iPod Touch. I was saddened to see that the two weather bug setups he had on his Touch were for Toronto and Lakeland. He is hoping and praying for a miracle – which will never come from that venue (or any where Bent is ministering).

    One of my closest friends is the music director for the afore-mentioned ship-leaving rat. When I commented to him on Bent a couple of weeks back, I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about. We are close enough friends that it would probably take one of us killing the other to end the friendship – but he too had profound reason to hope that Bent was the real deal – someone he loves dearly needs healing. That healing won’t be forthcoming from that world.

    The travelling band of Colonel Wagner’s Apostles (TTBoCWA), lept at the opportunity of riding the Lakeland Wave – from the front, of course. The beauty of their actions is that they have shown how the Apostolic BS is pure, unadulterated, 100% bull excrement.

    Actually. That’s unfair. To bull excrement. Which can be put to good use as fertilizer. The only thing these folk can fertilize are the tares growing up in the midst of the wheat.

  9. I’ve heard of the Lakeland Fire, but decided a long time ago that these ‘outpourings’ were nothing but distractions from what the Lord has called His church to be doing. Your post aroused my curiousity, so I went to YouTube and watched parts 1-10 of Final Trumpet’s production of “Todd Bentley: Messenger of God?” Time consuming, but extremely interesting. Then I watched his ‘commissioning’ by the ICA. Your adjective fits perfectly. With all of the detailed prophesies given in that little experience by these ‘annointed ones’ (and so conveniently recorded verbatim), maybe the church should resurrect the practice of stoning false prophets. Perhaps then they would be a little more careful before going on record as ‘speaking for God’.

  10. Kill/Bill, (what a hoot!)

    My sentiments on the charismania you mentioned tracks quite closely to yours, however…do you really mean to say that your friends should absolutely not have any hope that the Holy Spirit may work through either of those maniacs/venues? Is your rhetoric hyperbolic? What if your wrong, brother? When does hyperbole shift into blasphemy?

    Tom

  11. Regarding Tom’s post above although not addressed to me:

    I do not believe Todd had any special anointing to perform healings at a prodigous rate. Sorry, I do not believe the extreme prophetic rhetoric that makes Bentley out to be a super-spiritual uber-saint with amazing access to heaven & direct contact with Jesus or Paul or Emma or some other entity. That is more bullshit than the supposed miracles. Sure people’s faith can be activated by putting on a Lakeland carnival, but that carnival atmosphere completely unnecessary to the desired result: the miraculous.

    Todd & Lakeland were billed as the next great outpouring of God. Sorry. That is so much inflated psuedo-spiritual blather it causes waves of nausea to this post-charismatic. Then you get pilgrims going there to receive some type of ‘impartation’ from Todd directly & carry it back to their home churches! Heck, you could sign up for a special session with Todd just to get this ‘thing’…

    Pullleeeze…sheesh…what a pile of bunk! It is this very cheapening of the true miraculous that gets my hackles up. But it does not seem to bother those that want to see only the small benefit from it. Todd is the best representation of the over-hyped signs/wonder poster child that is put up on stage/pedestal & marketed as a real miracle worker! God’s chosen vessel! He’s got the power! Well, no, he does not…

    He’s got promotion. PR. A supporting cast. Extreme prophetic endorsement. Unconventional antics & dress & tats & piercings. But c’mon…real miraculous powers?

    You really believe he does?

    Just because he is unconventional?

    That is the selling point? He is not cut from the same cloth as any ‘squeaky clean’ minister type? It must be of God then?

    The proof is in the pudding. And no, there have been no substantiated healings that stand up to a modicum of investigative scrutiny.

    Why ‘believe’ in something ambiguous simply out of principle? “Sure, something good must have happened there so don’t be so negative.” But when verification is requested nobody wants to put forth the effort?

    You see, it is easier to ‘believe’ in something ambiguous on principle simply because that is one’s theological perspective. No one would want to discredit a supposed healing solely because of being skeptical. However, if a true miracle occurred is it heresy to ask for an honest verification?

    Dispense with the hype & self-promotion. Get rid of the carnival atmosphere. Step down off the stage. Turn off GodTV. Turn out the lights. Get real. Be humble. Pray. Lay on hands. Invoke Jesus’ Name. But do not make it out to be anything than what Jesus made it out to be when He went about doing good…

  12. Tom,

    I’m not saying that at all. In part, I’m saying that deceiving spirits can also induce the supernatural – so when there is prophesy involved, let the prophesy prove the source. If the prophesies fall to the ground, so should the prophets (although I do not really mean literally).

    One of the ICA apostles prophesied that Todd and/or the ‘Lakeland Fire’ was a detonator with wires going to major cities all over the world and God was getting ready to hit the plunger. “BAM!” (to quote Todd’s favorite power word). Okay … let’s see.

    Meanwhile, I am going to continue to look around me in the course of my ordinary everyday life to see where God is working love and restoration and how I can participate in ordinary ways. I may not see the ‘BAM’, but I do see changed lives through practicing the Kingdom principles that Jesus taught us.

    “Love God with your all and love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s it!

  13. Tom.
    God can do whatever He wants when ever He wants using what ever vehicle He so chooses. Look at Balaam’s beast of burden. I just wouldn’t recommend building a theology around talking asses.

    As we Canadians are wont to say, the proof is in the pudding. Bent claimed 30 resurrections and thousands of healings – yet couldn’t produce 1 (ONE) of either for Nightline. I feel very safe in saying that my friend won’t experience healing at the Lakeland venue nor anywhere else Bent might be ministering with Emma and the rest of Bent’s (or is that Branham’s or Bob Jones’) other angelic gang.

    As one who has experienced provable physical healing of severe neck damage and on an earlier occasion immediate and permanent deliverance from cigarettes (25 years ago) – both occurences as the result of the prayer of others – I have no doubt God heals and delivers. So the blasphemy charge may be mildly overstated. Or were you engaging in hyperbole. :-)

  14. Joseph,

    I have no argument with what you write. Full agreement, actually. (Mark that on the calendar!) But, can we ABSOLUTELY say that God is doing NOTHING in these things?

    I”m not “‘believ(ing) in something ambiguous simply out of principle”, rather, out of principle I’m holding back my full, innate sense of condemnation.

    I’m fully persuaded that any local family of Believers has as much (or greater) “anointing” and “impartation” as what could be discovered at Lakeland.

    God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,

    He throws caution to the winds,
    giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
    His right-living, right-giving ways
    never run out, never wear out.

    [II Cor. 9, The Message

    Our sufficiency is in Christ and God is our generous provider in every way.

    Tom

  15. Like rats in a sinking ship – BUT one day these rats will have to give account for the countless lives and ministries they have train wrecked.

    One ministry they have distorted, is that of the Holy Spirit’s.

    Thank you for this post.

  16. I have no argument with what you write. Full agreement, actually. (Mark that on the calendar!) But, can we ABSOLUTELY say that God is doing NOTHING in these things?

    Sorta like God is doing damage control? Showing the world how it should not be done? Teaching us that such things are really not what Jesus would do?

    Is God teaching us anything? Reminding us of anything? Pointing out anything? Having mercy? Being patient? Longsuffering? Gracious?

    I do think God is not prevented from doing anything in the midst of Lakeland or the life of the Bentley’s or those that attend(ed) the event. Certainly He is greater than the hype/hoopla/promotion used to elicit some level of expectation, excitement, hope, faith, curiosity…

    Heck, God can ‘choose’ to use a Hindu holy man, Wiccan High Priestess, Druid, Scientoligist, Christian Scientist, Buddhist, aromatherapist, etc. Heal during a Tony Robbins motivational seminar or an Oprah Winfrey show. Doesn’t confirm or verify their source of power or favor with God or spiritual gifting or divine motivation though.

    Praise God He heals today. Probably in more unusual ways than we ever give proper credit for. He does so mysteriously at times. Could have been other people in the crowd where Jesus ministered were actually healed without Him ever calling it out or it being recorded. Yes, I do believe that is possible…

    It was not His primary design to use a donkey to proclaim His truth & display His power that rightly represented the kingdom. There are usurpers, deceivers, charlatans, misguided types that will attempt to make something appear more wonderful than it truly is. There is no place in the use of the gifts that justify exaggeration, hyperbole, embellishment, etc. No need to make it out to be what it is not. Are we not to be open, honest, transparent, truthful in our dealings with all men?

    The world has enough ammunition already to aim at those ‘crazy charismatic Christians’ that put on those TV airings. Do we need another Lakeland/YouTube show to really convince them we are totally kooky/goofy/silly? Or controversial? Fake? Bring up divine healing & they laugh at you because they saw it all displayed on GodTV?

    Sure. You measure all the negative vibes that emanated out of Lakeland & if you truly believe any good outweighed it I will quit making any statements about having a good reputation for anyone that chooses to wear the label Christian.

    And we can weep in the midst of the healing(s) that did occur. Tears for God’s goodness & how He is represented. I certainly would not settle for the Lakeland/Bentley model of ministry however. And I do not choose to endorse it as the vehicle to show forth God’s glory even when He shows up to bless the faith of the pilgrim. But yes, God is in the healing business & He will meet the saint where they are at even if they happened to travel to Lakeland…

  17. What I like best – is how God often works in inspite of us.

    When my son is hurting and calling for help, I do not examine the quality of his faith in me before
    comming to his aid, – no way – it is because of my love for him that I come to his aid, his faith has nothing to do with it.

    I praise God – He works inspite of me!!! and in my frailty this is a good thing. That signs and wonders not of my doing but manifestations of His presence and activity – can be seen in my life as I continue to proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand.

    Seems to me though, much of the glory at Lakeland (not that I know much about it) was going to the wrong person.

  18. bill,
    The most pressing need in my family’s life at the moment is for a healing miracle. I can relate to the desperation, although I’m sure I can’t even imagine the degree of desperation for those whose circumstances are dire. The misplaced hope is one of the tragedies of events like this.

    ken,
    I’m sorry if your time was wasted. I may do a bit of a background piece yet on the apostolic aspect of all of this. I agree that this is a distraction (to put it lightly) from the real work of God in our world.

    joseph,
    Well said. It is because of my hunger for true miracles in the lives of all believers that I am so impatient with the circus of hype, exaggeration, and manipulation. Let the false be exposed for what it is.

    tom,
    My response would be that God responds to individuals in spite of the mess.

    mark,
    Exactly. How much longer must we allow the ministry of the holy spirit to be represented in this ridiculous manner.

    paul,
    Almost without exception, everyone that I have read who discerned problems with Todd Bentley’s ministry is praying for the restoration of his marriage and family. I hope that he truly experiences God’s forgiveness, mercy, and love in abundance at this time in his life.

    I also don’t think it is out of line to call out those who attempted to benefit from this fiasco and the role they played in perpetuating the sham.

  19. Grace, mark my words here. The apostolic movement will soon be saying that it is BECAUSE of them putting Bentley under authority that this surfaced so quickly. They will then point to the “facts” that they are the hero’s in this whole thing and that apostolic authority brings things that need to be corrected to light. Their “fatherhood” not only allowed it to be exposed but will then come in and lovingly restore the fallen one. They will spin this whole thing for their advancement. The crazy thing is that people will believe the whole thing and swallow it whole.

    No one will remember that Wagner tried so hard to distance himself from the whole ceremony and it will actually come out of his mouth that it was his “covering” that brought this all about.

    I have heard so much “spin” in my time in the camp that I could almost write the script for them.

  20. Hmm. While I hope what Barbara suggests does not happen, it makes absolution sense in a utterly twisted way. And, umm, pardon me to those claiming the authority of apostleship for raising this biblical concept, but shouldn’t discernment tests put the heart BEFORE the coarse? Wherever in Scripture could we derive the concept of laying hands on anyone in order to see what’s there, instead of only AFTER we’ve seen that things are in order already?

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