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Charismatic Revivalist Todd Bentley Widening Ministry Despite Scandals and Disqualification

By Sarah Einselen
todd bentley
Last October, Todd Bentley speaks at the Ohio Glory Awakening event. (Photo via Facebook)

A charismatic minister is apparently widening his revival and healing ministry despite having been disqualified because of “a steady pattern of ungodly and immoral behavior.”

Todd Bentley is hosting revival events in Illinois and Florida in January 2023, an event listing shows. A missions trip to Uganda is slated for February and March. Bentley is then planning two weekend revivals — one in April in Lakeland, Florida, and another in May in Memphis.

The events are being put on by Bentley’s ministry, Revival Harvest Ministries, formerly Fresh Fire USA. The revival weekends mirror an event in March 2021 in North Carolina, where Bentley began preaching again after a 17-month break.

Bentley had gone on hiatus after an estranged protégé accused him in 2019 of sexual perversion.

A panel of six charismatic leaders convened to investigate the allegations against Bentley. The panel stated in January 2020 that Bentley was disqualified for leadership or ministry based on “credible accusations of a steady pattern of ungodly and immoral behavior.”

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An investigator reportedly spoke with dozens of people about accusations dating from as early as 2004 and as recently as 2019—the same year the panel began its work, according to a statement from apologist Michael Brown, who assembled the panel.

“Sadly, we see no signs of true, lasting repentance,” the panel stated in 2020. “Instead, we see a steady pattern of compromised behavior, including credible accusations of adultery, sexting (including the exchanging of nude pictures or videos), vulgar language, and substance abuse.”

The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to Brown and all living members of the panel to ask whether any panel members had determined Bentley could be restored to ministry. (One panelist, Bishop Harry Jackson, died in late 2020.) We did not immediately hear back from any panelists.

Bentley reportedly refused to participate in the investigative process. A month after the panel’s statement, he admitted to “inappropriate texting with other adults” in a February 2020 email to supporters. But he also claimed the panel’s findings included “many false accusations” in addition to “the sins I’ve already repented of.”

Two-decade ministry punctuated by controversy

The panel’s determination came months after an estranged protégé of Bentley’s accused him of having “a perverse sexual addiction,” TRR previously reported.

Bentley entered the public eye in 1998 at age 22 when he took the lead at a Canadian ministry, Fresh Fire. He first weathered controversy in 2001 after revelations he had been convicted at 15 years old of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old boy.

The Canadian ministry rose to prominence in the U.S. after thousands attended revivals Bentley hosted in Lakeland, Florida, CBC reported. Then in 2008, Fresh Fire’s board of directors stated Bentley stepped down in the wake of “an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level” with a staffer.

Bentley launched Fresh Fire USA, now Revival Harvest Ministries, in 2009, U.S. tax records show.

Allegations Bentley had “a perverse sexual addiction” surfaced in 2019 when an estranged protégé of Bentley’s, Stephen Powell of Lion of Light Ministries, accused Bentley of preying on interns in his ministry. Powell also alleged Bentley had sexually assaulted girls in Pakistan.

Brown previously stated on Facebook he had been asked to oversee a process where respected leaders could evaluate the allegations “fairly and with due process.” He assembled a panel in September 2019, which brought on a former police investigator to seek statements from roughly 60 people, Brown stated.

The panel evaluated the investigator’s material and in January 2020 announced its determination in a statement on Facebook.

The allegations, which spanned about 15 years, disqualified Bentley “until such time that he has demonstrated true, lasting fruits of repentance,” the panel stated.

The fruits of repentance would have to include “the breaking of these long-term, sinful habits; public acknowledgment of his sin, without equivocation, including asking forgiveness of those he sinned against; and submission to local church leadership until trust had been rebuilt,” the panel’s statement continued. “This would likely take a period of years.”

Bentley announced he was ready to be back in ministry one year later, in a January 2021 supporter email. He cited “almost daily personal encounters” with God as the basis for his return.

TRR did not immediately hear back after we reached out to Bentley to ask whether he had publicly acknowledged the sin and if there were local church leaders he was accountable to.

The nonprofit’s 2019 tax records list Bentley as the organization’s president and his wife, Jessica Bentley, as the director of operations. Only one other board member besides the couple is listed.

UPDATE: Michael Brown responded today (Tuesday) with the following statement:

“First, it was the verdict of the panel that at no point in the future, under any circumstances, should Mr. Bentley lead his own ministry again. Nothing would change that determination, and the opinion of the panel was meant to be final and lasting.

“Second, the panel has no legal or spiritual authority over Mr. Bentley and has nothing to do with restoring him to ministry, nor has Mr. Bentley ever acknowledged the panel’s authority (so, he would not come to the panel requesting restoration). The panel sought to fill a void in the larger charismatic church where unaccountability is often rife, bringing together respected leaders who could investigate charges of sexual impropriety, praying also for Mr. Bentley’s true repentance. The panel has not been consulted or reconstituted since issuing their decision and so, with regard to Mr. Bentley relaunching his ministry, would simply refer back to the statement that was issued.”

Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.



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19 Responses

  1. Guys, there are wolves out there. The point is not to condemn the man, but to point out that there’s no real faith in Jesus, or new birth in these charlatans, so their evil deeds won’t presume to reflect on Jesus, whom they do not believe in. Look at the damage that a false association of belief in Jesus, and these charlatan, false prophets, and the godless politicians they sold our country on, and how that is being used to say belief in Jesus is evil! These guys are intentionally corrupting the faith. For all the article said about Bentley’s secret life, the worst was what he did in so-called “ministry”. His fake rehabilitation is the picture of what’s wrong with organizations like ARC.

    1. Clearly this man is wicked and could be classified as a sociopath. I only throw the label because they all have the same behaviors. Having lived with an abuser for decades my horror was to see my experiences written in books by authors that didn’t live in my house. Is it possible to teach ourselves and the next generation all the red flags and sift out these wolves among the sheep?

      1. Do you mean that your specific situation was written about on a book (or books), or just situations like your in a general sense?

    2. Look up the YT video titled “Todd Bentley’s Wife is Demon Possessed,” and FF to 2:59. You’ll not only see her demon possession, but also Todd’s, as he stands next to her. My own experience with my demon possessed mother, who had become possessed following her use of the Ouija Board, is that demons don’t leave; they DECEIVE.

    1. This is the only comment we have from you. However, we have one other comment with the same email address that used the name “Kathy Swett” and another that failed to give a last name.

    1. I have followed the story of this guy for sometime now. A man that should have never been put on stage due to his background and a total lack of time given for him to work through the kinds of things a son of a gang member would go through. You do not take a new convert with that kind of background including sex crimes as a youth and put him up on a platform. This was stupid beyond stupid.

      The particulars alluded to here but not specifically mentioned in the allegations are that he would take money that was raised for other purposes and see who among his interns was willing to prostitute themselves out. For instance, offering them $1,000 for one sex act. The allegations are that he is bisexual and would do this to both female and male interns. The evidence that these things really happened were enough for others to clearly condemn him.

    2. But . . . but – he has so many tattoos! If tattoo removal becomes a thing – will he remove his tattoos?

      I think there are so-called “ministers” who have an addiction to being in the spotlight. They can’t stay away. And there are people that are addicted to these kind of people. Does anyone disagree with me?

  2. Someone to be avoided at all costs!

    2 Peter 2:1–3 (ESV): “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

    And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.

    And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

  3. This guy is a pervert and sexual deviant and yet he is going to step up the pulpit and tell others how to live their lives. The amazing thing is that there will be a bunch of “sheep” ready to listen to him under the delusion that he is a “Man of God”.

  4. It’s obvious there are many “christian” people that don’t read or know scripture. Just read and know your Bible, it will be very clear who the wolves are.

  5. There is just no giving up with Mr Todd Bentley, regardless of how far this man falls. He seems utterly unstoppable and determined to do what he is being called to do. Unfortunately the body of Christ is all made up of sinners, and all of us need prayer and support, especially those in leading positions such as Todd. Todd’s sins have been been cast as far as from the east to the west thanks to Jesus.

  6. This man was accepted and promoted because he is able to sensationalize ‘church’ thereby grifting tons of $$$.

  7. What is amazing is the large amount of charismatic leaders who endorsed him. What happened to “discerning of spirits” among leaders?

  8. listen he here who has never sinned rasie your hand. I believe People can change. even him. through Christ anything is possible none of us are perfect we’re all (ALL) sinners . stop hating . show some support, espcially if he’s trying to do the right thing . God bless us all.

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