power and money – when church goes bad

The church has a long record of not being very good with power and money, perhaps that is why Jesus seemed to model a life without much of either.  The recent news from Florida is that Todd Bentley is stepping out of the limelight after admitting to an extramarital relationship with a female member of staff.  This sad news is likely to mean that many who had put a messianic hope in Bentley will lose their faith, and become totally disillusioned with the Chrisitian faith, or at least the charismatic arm of the family.

‘We should have seen this coming’ scream many commentators, or ‘we saw this coming’ which is what they really want to say.  Of course it isnt totally true, nobody knew Todd would have an affair, albeit purely ’emotional’ as Fresh Fire point out.

The truth is that this shouldnt be seen as Todd being the incarnate demon that some try to portray him as – rather he is just a human being, a flawed, weak human being, like the rest of us.  He is subject to the temptations that we all are, and for some time he has been in a position where the temptation to abuse his position must have been huge.  Lots of good people have affairs, and sadly that is unlikely to stop – it is how we come out and deal with these situations that leave a lasting legacy.

But the main point is that these multi million dollar, high profile campaigns are incredibly intense situations.  The sheer amount of money riding on the success of conferences and ministry events is incredible, and builds its own momentum.  You have to promote the ‘big name’ speakers or ministers in order to get the income you need to pay for the event you’ve been putting on.  You need to encourage the TV coverage, the soundbites, the wacky stunts, the feeling of superhumanity in the key attractions… and that takes its own toll.

I am a personal believer in the path of powerlessness, living with less.  I dont agree with the philosophy of needing to do ‘big’ events – each person is dealt with on an individual basis, there are plenty of us, we dont need to rely on one ‘big name’ speaker or minister to pronounce to the multitudes.  These big scale events rely on a level of corporate cognitive dissonance, the mass suspension of disbelief, which is different to belief itself, and even an element of hysteria (although I dont like the last word, as it relates directly and unfairly to women).

Yes I’m sure there is a place for mass gatherings, I count festivals and celebration events in this, but lets not build these as the central point of ministry – they become black holes which suck up into themselves huge amounts of cash and spew out waves of power, both of which can be totally toxic, and can wreck marriages, lives, ministries, fragile faiths, etc.

In one article one of the fresh fire leaders has written, there is a strong urge for people not to be put off from going to one of their big conferences, at which Todd had been scheduled to speak – obviously he wont be speaking there now, but they promise instead another ‘surprise’ speaker.  I’m sure this event is already booked and paid for… the money to pay for it has to come from somewhere!

One thought on “power and money – when church goes bad

  1. Mark 9:1 AND JESUS said to them, Truly {and} solemnly I say to you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death before they see the kingdom of God come in [its] power.

    Mark 9:7 And a cloud threw a shadow upon them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the [most dearworthy] Beloved One. Be constantly listening to {and} obeying Him!
    Mark 9:8 And looking around, they suddenly no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus only.

    Mark 9:17 And one of the throng replied to Him, Teacher, I brought my son to You, for he has a dumb spirit.
    Mark 9:18 And wherever it lays hold of him [so as to make him its own], it dashes him down {and} convulses him, and he foams [at the mouth] and grinds his teeth, {and} he [falls into a motionless stupor and] is wasting away. And I asked Your disciples to drive it out, and they were not able [to do it].
    Mark 9:19 And He answered them, O unbelieving generation [without any faith]! How long shall I [have to do] with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me.
    Mark 9:33 And they arrived at Capernaum; and when [they were] in the house, He asked them, What were you discussing {and} arguing about on the road?
    Mark 9:34 But they kept still, for on the road they had discussed {and} disputed with one another as to who was the greatest.
    Mark 9:35 And He sat down and called the Twelve [apostles], and He said to them, If anyone desires to be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all.
    Mark 9:36 And He took a little child and put him in the center of their group; and taking him in [His] arms, He said to them,
    Mark 9:37 Whoever in My name {and} for My sake accepts {and} receives {and} welcomes one such child also accepts {and} receives {and} welcomes Me; and whoever so receives Me receives not only Me but Him Who sent Me.
    Mark 9:38 John said to Him, Teacher, we saw a man who does not follow along with us driving out demons in Your name, and we forbade him to do it, because he is not one of our band [of Your disciples].
    Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Do not restrain {or} hinder {or} forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in My name will soon afterward be able to speak evil of Me.
    Mark 9:40 For he who is not against us is for us.
    Mark 9:41 For I tell you truly, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to {and} bear the name of Christ will by no means fail to get his reward.
    Mark 9:42 And whoever causes one of these little ones (these believers) who acknowledge {and} cleave to Me to stumble {and} sin, it would be better (more profitable and wholesome) for him if a [huge] millstone were hung about his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.

    Mark 9:49 For everyone shall be salted with fire.

    Mark 9:50 Salt is good (beneficial), but if salt has lost its saltness, how will you restore [the saltness to] it? Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace {and} live in harmony with one another.

    Now recently, this week with Todd Bentley’s divorce announcement, I was reminded when I was a at week long seminar decades ago and the preacher was preaching great and I admit I started to hero worship the preacher but on the last Friday afternoon session the preacher had preached some falsehood.. and I was drastically horrified, dismayed, as to how this could be, could his whole week’s teaching now also be in error. Next I prayed and asked God how could that be? why did it occur? and God replied to me ” you had taken your eyes of me unto the preacher, and I had to show you what he, the preacher was really like.. many look up to man and not God.. we all need to focus solely on Jesus again and always.. .and even to get back to praying and fasting now too


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