By Rick Becker 7 January 2020
Todd Bentley is the product of a movement that has elevated men, women, and miracles above God. In the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) the supernatural is a vital element. In fact, the value placed on the supernatural is the underlying philosophy that has enabled charlatans, and in this case a sexual predator to thrive in the NAR. The leaders and the movement value power over principle. By power I mean anything they perceive to be a supernatural gift or manifestation. By principle I mean the principles or fundamental truths contained in scripture. In their defense, NAR leaders who commissioned, restored and recommissioned Bentley will claim that anyone can fall into sin or deception. This is true, but they have failed to address two facts:
• They have created a culture that honors men and women above scripture.
• They commissioned a man who was never qualified for ministry.
One of the leading figures in the NAR who played a pivotal role in the life of Bentley is Bill Johnson. In this article, I explore one aspect of Johnson’s contribution to an insidious movement and the culture within. It has enabled ravenous wolves like Bentley to thrive – because dead or alive, the dishonorable are honored.
Dishonoring God by honoring the dishonorable who are alive
Todd Bentley shot to NAR stardom during the “Lakeland revival” during which he kicked and punched people who came forward for prayer. Claims of miracles drew the crowds, and garnered the attention of leaders in the NAR. Leading NAR apostles and prophets could not resist what was deemed to be a supernatural outpouring, and they catapulted Bentley further into the limelight by commissioning this charlatan, an excerpt from Bill Johnson’s prayer over Bentley reveals the philosophy of power above principle :
“We shape the course of history, by partnering with you, giving honor where it’s due.You welcome the glory, as well as any anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. I long to learn from you in that, and I bless you, and I pray with the rest of these, that the measure of glory would increase, that Moses would no longer be considered the high water mark where the glory shone from his face, but instead the revelation of the goodness of God would change the face of the church, and that he would use your voice, he would use your grace, your anointing, to alter the face of the church before this world, that the goodness of the Lord will be seen once again, I pray this over you in Jesus name.”
Bentley was elevated because of his “anointing” and the “glory” that rested on him – power over principle. Shortly thereafter, Bentley’s extramarital affair surfaced, he subsequently divorced his wife and married his mistress. Rick Joyner and Bill Johnson oversaw Bentley’s restoration.
Todd Bentley is restored to ministry.
Many questioned Bentley’s return to the ministry after his “restoration” and in this video, Bill Johnson laments that fact that many abandoned Todd when he was “facing some tough stuff” and then responds to a question he received:
“How in God’s name can you endorse Todd Bentley?”
Not surprisingly, Johnson resorts to power over principle as the main thrust of his defense of Bentley:
Excerpts from Bill’s response: “Have you ever been in the room when God shows up on him, and used him in stunning miracles, have you seen him operate in word of knowledge or the prophetic? … have you personally benefited from his gift?…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.”
Last year new allegations surfaced, and Dr Michael Brown was asked to “oversee a process where these accusations against Todd could be evaluated.” (Dr Brown is a master of obfuscation when it comes to the NAR, and has refused to expose many of his heretical friends)
This is an excerpt from the Statement released by the panel (which include false prophets in the NAR) that investigated Todd Bentley: “Based on our careful review of numerous first-hand reports, some of them dating back to 2004, we state our theological opinion and can say with one voice that, without a doubt, Todd is not qualified to serve in leadership or ministry today. There are credible accusations of a steady pattern of ungodly and immoral behavior, confirmed by an independent investigator’s interviews dating from 2008 up through 2019″
That fact that Todd Bentley was never qualified to serve in the ministry escaped the panel – Bentley failed on multiple counts: “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. “ 1 Timothy 3:2
“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.“ Titus 1:9
Part of the statement from the panel gives us a hint as to why Bentley was recognized in the first place:
“We love Todd and believe that he has been supernaturally gifted by God”
– power over principle.
To date, Bill Johnson has remained conveniently silent in God’s name. I think he’s waiting for the dust to settle and hopefully fly under the radar. He will abdicate responsibility, and hope that people forget his promotion of Bentley as recently as 2018. Alternatively, he may end up re-restoring and re-recommissioning a revived Bentley who is in any case forging ahead with his ministry. One thing Johnson should do, is ask himself why all his prophetic friends failed to discern anything during the past decade.These are prophets who give nations and world leaders prophetic words, prophets who can tell you the name of your fluffy toy when you were three years old. These are prophets who offer “seer courses” claim to “shift atmospheres” and take trips to heaven.
Beni Johnson (Bill’s wife) has responded on Instagram. Excerpt: “Everything that has to be said has been said. It’s disgusting that ministries are using this tragedy to continue to promote themselves and counting to talk about it. There has been an official statement from the panel, that is all that was needed….With losing their income in ministry, can you offer them food and water…If you want to be an elite Christian, follow the whole book. I’ve reached out to them to let them know no matter what while we were still sinners Christ died for us, and everything can turn around if you follow the right process.”
Not everything that has needed to be said was said, hence the reason for this article.
Has Beni reached out to the people Todd abused? Has she asked herself why his first restoration process under her husband failed? Why does she not address the fact that Todd refused to co operate with the panel, and is still heading up his “Secret Place Church.” Bentley may have taken a drop in his income, derived from conning people and teaching for shameful gain, but he is not homeless or starving. If Bentley was truly repentant, he would not be active in any form of ministry.
Has Beni not read 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
How many times will Bentley pull the wool over the eyes of some of the wolves that empowered him?
Pursuing the dishonorable
In their quest for supernatural power or anointings, NAR leaders and their minions turn to men and women they have elevated as a power source. They will travel thousands of miles to receive an impartation, “catch the fire” and experience some sort of manifestation at the hands of the supernaturally gifted. These so called supernaturally gifted individuals in the NAR are dishonorable false teachers who claim to have the ability to release the presence of God, perform miracles, activate gifts, and impart anointings. They revel in the admiration they receive, boast of their visions and encounters, and sell their merchandise without shame. They would have been the envy of Simon the sorcerer.
Bill Johnson’s advice to those who want to increase in a lifestyle of miracles: “Pursue the men and women of God who carry an anointing in their lives for the miraculous. Such an anointing can be transferred to others through the laying on of hands. Occasionally there are ministry times when such an individual is willing to pray for those who desire an increase of anointing. I have traveled extensively in pursuit of MORE.”
Johnson is choosing power over principle, and encourages his followers to follow suit. Not once, does Johnson examine the doctrines of the “anointed apostles and prophets” they pursue. Johnson was mesmerized by the “Toronto blessing” and by his own admission, refused to consider any critique of what was not a blessing, but a great deception: “Someone once brought a book to my office that was critical of the revival that started in Toronto in January of 1994. I refused to read it and threw it away. You might say, “You’re not very open-minded.” You’re right. I am responsible to protect what God has given me.” – Bill Johnson. When Heaven Invades Earth Expanded Edition
Johnson believes he is protecting some kind of power – an impartation he received at Toronto, and is totally oblivious to the fact that as a pastor, he should be protecting the word of God instead of justifying bizarre and demonic manifestations. Power over principle – but in reality, Bill Johnson has neither. He does not value or teach the principles of God, and he has not experienced the power of God in the manner he supposes. Artificial gold dust, gemstones, feathers,smoke and glitter pumped through air vents, Kundalini manifestations, people slain in the spirit, incapacitation, vague and unverifiable healings, and fanciful stories are not the result of God’s power at work.
What the NAR claim to be the power of God, or manifestations of the supernatural from God, are merely man made “signs and wonders,” physiological responses, or demonic manifestations. In reality then, there is no power or principle from God in the NAR. It’s one big sham, a false movement and a delusion sent by God on those who have rejected truth. This is a movement that dishonors God by attributing false signs and wonders to God.
Dishonoring God by honoring the dishonorable who are dead.
It’s not just the living they run to for some kind of supernatural transfer, Bill Johnson believes that by honoring the dead, we can access their anointings. In this instance, we have the unusual situation where Bethel’s apostle contradicts Bethel’s prophet.
You have probably read or heard about “grave soaking” or “grave sucking” being practiced by Bethelites. It’s the practice of lying on the grave of a deceased preacher in order to receive their anointing through some kind of transfer or impartation.
This is an excerpt from Kris Vallotton’s response to the claim that Bethelites practice grave soaking: “It has been an inside joke among our Bethel team for years. I really thought it was funny until some folks took it seriously. I mean if God wanted us to receive some kind of impartation from people who have already passed than certainly we would have some New Testament examples or instruction on it. Furthermore, if you could receive some gift from people after they died, than why did Joseph want Jacob to lay hands on his sons before he passed if they could have just as easily received an impartation at his funeral? I think the Elisha story was never meant to be repeated as there are no other accounts of it in the Bible. The Scriptures need to be the foundation in which we base all of our experiences. We are a radical group of revivalist who want to be on the cutting edge of everything God has for us. But it’s really important that in our zeal for God we don’t become spiritually weird.”
Now for something that is not based on scripture, is spiritually weird, and involves the dead.
The following excerpts are from Bill Johnson’s contribution to book Momentum: What God Starts, Never Ends – by Bill Johnson, Eric Johnson (Chapter 4)
The title of the chapter basically indicates that the NAR have made people mediators of God’s power or anointing, it’s titled “Access Through Honor.”
In his chapter, Bill discusses revivalists of the past. Now I’m sure we have all been encouraged by the biographies of men and women of God that have gone before us. But Bill takes it to another level, it’s nonsensical, and a doctrine of demons. Not to mention that most of the “revivalists” he mentions were complete frauds.
Johnson:“These heroes of the faith made sobering choices to follow God, no matter what. In doing so, they have made it possible for me to access things I’d never have access to on my own. The Lord spoke to me about these revivalists, saying “If you will honor the generals of the past, even those whose lives ended poorly, I will give you access to their anointings.”
Chapter, verse? Surely any believer would know that “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” 2 Peter 1:3. Bill is making up his own theology as usual. That quote alone, should cause any believer to shake their head in disbelief, anger, and run from this cult if they are involved in it. Whether you agree that Johnson’s three examples were false teachers or not, does not alter the fact that what he is saying is idolatrous, and should have cemented his place in a new edition of Kingdom of the Cults had the late Walter Martin still been with us.
Johnson uses the stories of Solomon and Hezekiah as examples of biblical figures who started well, but ended poorly. He points out that God recorded their obedience and disobedience. It’s one thing to learn from descriptive passages of inspired scripture, it’s another to throw deceased false teachers into the mix and think we can gain anything from their “ministry” by accessing an anointing. Johnson believes we should honor generals of the past he admires, and uses three specific examples – John Alexander Dowie, William Branham, Lonnie Frisbee .
Johnson: “We didn’t choose these people. God did. And while he never gave the stamp of approval to any of the sin issues in their lives, He did use them, knowing their weaknesses. Why this surprises us is hard for me to understand, considering that none of us are perfect. God doesn’t approve of any of our sins or weaknesses. Yet He gives us access to realms of the Spirit, to forever set us free. The failure to take advantage of the grace made available is not the fault of the gospel, the style of the preachers, the message, or the day they lived in. It is theirs alone. Yet God is not ashamed to let his Name be associated with such people. He actually recorded for all to see that his only Son would be born through the lineage of deceivers, liars, adulterers, and even a prostitute. We should be thankful. It means that we, too, qualify for grace and are available to be used by God.
If Johnson believes God is not ashamed to let his name be associated with a deceased heretic like William Branham, then the same should go for a living one – Todd Bentley.
Would Todd Bentley’s style – kicking and punching people have been approved by Jesus? And what message? I have never heard expository teaching in a NAR service, narcissism and eisegesis characterize their teachings. That’s if you are fortunate enough to hear any scripture at all, as usually it’s dominated by stories and the exploits of the speaker. The style of the preacher and the message is not “theirs alone.” They should have met the biblical qualifications to teach in the first place. Bill is placing his stamp of approval on heretics because he values power over principle.
We all qualify for grace – because we are all sinners. We don’t all qualify to be teachers of God’s word. Johnson does not seem to know the difference.
Johnson: “of all people, we should be the most accommodating to those whose lives ended poorly God uses imperfect people, not as a testimony of his approval of their lives, but to confirm His word preached by those people (they don’t preach his word) We must adjust to His values or we become dangerously close to dishonoring His work in those who have gone before us. And since there is no one alive to defend them, God will.
By lives ending poorly, Johnson can only be referring to sin and deception. By confirming his word, Johnson is probably referring to signs and wonders, in other words if there are signs and wonders the word must have been true. He ends his sentence with a threat towards those who dare question his heroes of the faith, most of whom are frauds. Johnson believes God will inflict us with some form of spiritual lack:
Johnson:“I personally think that many have gone into spiritual poverty simply because of their careless comments and slander of those who have filled an important place in history. Such careless accusations are not acceptable, even though the person is dead. We must guard ourselves. If I am careless to criticize, I have opened myself up to the same spirit that deceived them.”
Bill Johnson’s logic – by pointing out that his hero in the faith, William Branham was a heretic and fraud who taught the serpent seed doctrine, and the “idea that the zodiac and the Egyptian pyramids are equal to written Scripture”… you will be inflicted with “spiritual poverty.”
Observe what has happened to Johnson, he has failed to discern a heretic like Branham, and gone so far as to ask God for the mantle (anointing) of Branham. He is the one who is deceived, and has opened himself up to doctrines of demons and a spiritual delusion because he values power over principle, and refuses to objectively critique men and movements based on scripture.
Johnson:“I have watched a phenomenon in the things of God. He often puts the very area of spiritual breakthrough we long for most, in the camp of believers we least want to be associated with. It really tests our hunger for more. It is the ultimate test to our prayers that say we’ll pay any price for revival. Considering the value that God places on humility, it shouldn’t surprise us that God would require that of us. After all, Jesus was numbered with two thieves on the cross in His payment for our redemption. In his case it was humiliating. In ours, we have to learn to associate with believers whose lives, for whatever reason, bring embarrassment to us. As the master goes, so goes the servant. All these people, successes and failures, left an inheritance from their victories.”
Is it a coincidence that this Book was written in 2011, just two years after Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner were involved in Bentley’s restoration process? I have no words for the comparison Johnson makes – Jesus being crucified between two thieves, and “believers” associating with other believes who “for whatever reason, bring embarrassment to us.”
Johnson says that if any of the three he mentioned were alive today, he would honor them and ask them to pray for him. He tells the story of meeting the granddaughter of a “revivalist” he does not name. Johnson asked her to pray for him because “she carried a family anointing that could be imparted.” – Where is this taught in scripture?
Johnson: “We must stop the slander and criticisms, even if the details are true. These people should be held in respect for what they did accomplish for God. The kingdom culture celebrates people for who they are without stumbling over who they are not. Such is the culture of heaven. Refuse to participate in the careless conversations of other believers who take pleasure in giving such critiques.”
Johnson uses the stories of biblical figures such as of Solomon and Hezekiah as examples of people who finished poorly, he also mentions the deceivers, liars, adulterers, and even a prostitute in the lineage of Christ. How would we know the facts concerning these individuals who finished poorly unless these facts were spoken about and subsequently recorded in scripture? But now he expects us to avoid critique even if the details are true, of his personal heroes. What about real conversations based on facts? What about preventing the perpetuation of the false teachings taught by some of the frauds he idolizes? What about rebuking those who follow the unsound doctrines of departed false teachers?
Johnson: “And finally, we must honor the Holy Spirit who rested upon them. Even more specifically, we must give honor to the particular kind of anointing they carried. For example, I am told that William Branham had over 10 000 open visions, with 100 percent accuracy in his miracle ministry. This means I must give a place of great value in my heart for this kind of ministry if I want to experience it myself. This usually starts by valuing God’s anointing on others who operate in word of knowledge, specifically through open visions. We must refuse the temptation to compare and critique. Rather, we celebrate. For what we celebrate we will be far more likely to participate in.”
Johnson logic – Ignore details even if they are true, but believe everything you are told. Johnson is teaching the law of attraction, and notice how he continually primes his followers to never question. Scripture instructs us to test all things, and compare what is being taught with scripture. Johnson instructs his minions to refrain from any form of critique, in order to attract the anointing they desire. The Holy Spirit apportions the gifts as he wills, not according to our desires or because we honor individuals with gifts we covet.
Johnson: “Honor comes from the heart. Getting rid of the religious need to tear others down in order to feel better about ourselves will go a long way in helping us tap into spiritual inheritance. What people have accomplished in the generations before us, was always meant to be left for us as an inheritance.”
More brainwashing and sly innuendoes from Johnson. We are instructed to expose false teachers and their teachings, not to feel better about ourselves, but to snatch souls out of the fire. Our spiritual inheritance has been given to us by God, through his Holy Spirit, based on the work of Christ – not the dead.
By honoring the dishonorable, and pursuing power over principle, Bill Johnson has dishonored God, and led thousands into deception.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4