A group of "senior leaders in the body" of Christ will investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct against revivalist Todd Bentley, according to a statement Michael Brown posted on Facebook this morning.
On Aug. 22, Stephen Powell—founder of Lion of Light Ministries—posted a lengthy Facebook statement accusing Bentley of "sexual perversion" involving male and female interns. Some of the accusations included getting drunk, looking at pornography, using crude speech and offering a male intern money in exchange for sex.
Bentley, founder of Fresh Fire USA, has refuted these allegations, saying some of them are wildly exaggerated while others are entirely false.
In his original post, Powell also accused Morningstar Ministries founder Rick Joyner of overlooking Bentley's sins and not disciplining him properly. Joyner was part of a "healing team" set up in 2008 when Bentley stepped down from ministry due to an affair. Joyner says he no longer has any spiritual authority over Bentley, but Powell contests that by being on Bentley's ministry board, Joyner has a responsibility to deal with accusations against him.
In response to these allegations, Brown says he has been asked to assemble a group of Christian leaders to form a board to investigate the accusations thoroughly with the help of an investigator. He states that while he and these other ministers don't have judicial authority over Bentley, a wide range of pastors have said they will submit to the board's final decision.
This board will also make conclusions regarding how charges against Bentley and his ministry—whether in the past or present—were handled. Brown tells Charisma News that questions the panel will look into include: "Were the charges properly investigated? If the charges were accurate, was Todd properly disciplined? Was he restored properly or prematurely?"
Brown has previously stated his opinion on how the charges were presented. Click here to read his op-ed on the matter.
Read Brown's statement in its entirety below:
Dear friends in the body of Christ,
Last month, a long list of serious charges against evangelist Todd Bentley was posted online, leading to a firestorm of controversy and confusion. In turn, this has unleashed a wave of gossip, slander and innuendo against others in the family of God. Along with this, many are asking the question: Is there any accountability in the church?
In response to this, I have been tasked by a number of senior leaders in the body to assemble a group of trusted and respected men of God who will review the charges against Todd and make a determination, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6. While we do not have judicial authority over Todd's ministry, we do have the support of a wide range of leaders in the body, who will be stating in advance that they will back the decision of the panel. It is our hope that this will set an example of a righteous way to handle disputes and accusations such as these for others in the church, especially in nondenominational circles, where it is often more difficult to establish patterns of accountability.
We will be working with an investigator who will help us vet all charges. The panel of leaders will then review the evidence and make a determination of guilt or innocence in accordance with the facts presented. Based on that determination, conclusions will be made in terms of how the charges against Todd have been handled, whether he should be in ministry and whether others are guilty of falsely accusing him or misrepresenting the facts.
While we are deeply grieved that this has become a public spectacle being played out online for the entire world to see, we believe that God will use all this for His glory and the good of His people. The reputation of Jesus before the church and the world is at stake, and it is imperative that we follow a godly, biblical process in order to set things right.
It is out of jealousy for the Lord's honor and the health of the body that I urge every leader who has posted videos or blogs—etc., etc.—about Todd's situation, either accusing him or defending him or simply airing an opinion, to remove all such material while we give ourselves to this process. Right now, gossip and slander and accusation are flying in every direction, defiling many. In the fear of the Lord, I appeal to my colleagues in Jesus to be circumspect and prayerful, not giving room to the adversary of our souls.
While it is wrong and ungodly to sweep things under the rug, it is also wrong and ungodly to turn serious accusations into an internet show. Following God's order will result in compassionate and righteous outcomes rather than chaos, pain and confusion.
Please pray for the leaders who will be involved in this sacred process, as well as for God's best for Todd Bentley and those against whom he allegedly sinned. (We will be releasing the names of the leaders involved in this procedure shortly.)
May the Lord's will be done, for His glory and for our good, and may healing, righteousness and honor be restored to His church.
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