By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
Blogger Jeffrey Yoder is even harder than I can be in the case of Todd Bentley, if that were possible. But I think it a bit much to expect people to predict the future.
In his new post
Yoder notes that the recent enforced sabbatical of Mark Driscoll reminds him a lot of the crash and burn of Todd Bentley.
But whose fault is it? Anyone who offered Driscoll and Bentley a pulpit. And I read between the lines that Yoder seems, to me anyway, to be as annoyed with their friends and hangers on as his is with Driscoll and Bentley themselves.
Yoder writes: [Emphasis added is mine}
I want to make two big points in this piece.
1. Sexual immorality and verbal/emotional abuse are equally serious sins in the New Testament. Yet evangelicals by and large have made sexual immorality the big sin, while giving a pass on swearing at people up one side down the other and emotionally abusing them with hurtful words and fits of anger. Paul puts these sins on the same level in Galatians and 1 Corinthians. Sexual immorality is not more serious than verbal abuse.
2. The people who promoted Bentley and made him a star later got off the Bentley ship (excepting Rick Joyner). But to my knowledge, none of them made any public confession that they were part of the problem. They should have asked forgiveness. They should have owned the fact that they gave Bentley a stage. They erred in judgment for promoting Bentley in the first place, exposing him to the Church. This was wrong and they should have come clean with it.
This pattern is repeating itself. The people who promoted Driscoll and made him a star are getting off the Driscoll wagon, but I’ve not seen any admissions or repentance for promoting him in the first place. They knew of his temper problems, his profanity, his harshness in dealing with people, and looked the other way. Why aren’t we seeing confessions by John Piper, Matt Chandler, Rick Warren, and the other people who gave Driscoll a platform? This was a major error in judgment and they were part of the problem.
It’s not too late for those who offered Bentley and Driscoll platforms to make public admissions and ask forgiveness.
Wow. Well, I’m not an expert on Driscoll, but I flatter myself that with my 13 year back story with Bentley, I may be a little helpful here.
Yoder raises a salient question. How careful do you need to be before allowing someone to “promote” himself in your church?
I was not surprised when some of the character issues shown in my Report magazine coverage of Bentley came to full bloom and helped The Lakeland Revival to collapse. But I did not expect that people were obliged to have sought out what I had written in a small Western Canadian newsmagazine that had since gone out of business. When Bentley had repeated his “misleading” in a Charisma magazine feature, I did a follow up story about his tendency to prevaricate.
But how fair would it be to expect most people to act on that?
If Bentley announced plans to come to my church, which would be very unlikely, I’d be obliged to give a heads-up. This would not necessarily disqualify Bentley, but it would advise them to be watchful.
This is why Yoder’s stance unnerves me a bit. Perhaps the state of the Church is such that we should assume that preachers will sin or be heretical, especially after one strike at the plate.
But Christians defer to thinking the best of people, and work off of word of mouth. Maybe we are too flip and casual in such matters and Yoder is correct to point that out.
That said, anticipating that people will err and sin is very strict.