Todd Bentley Coming to the UK

From the Daily Mail:

An evangelist who kicks followers in the face, claiming his violence will cure them of cancer, is to tour Britain this month – but his proposed visit has provoked outrage and demands that he be banned from entering the country.

Tattooed preacher Todd Bentley, who as a 15-year-old was convicted of a sex attack on a boy aged seven, claims God uses him as an instrument to heal the sick, and is urging the frail to attend his shows.

Bentley rose to widespread prominence during 2008, when he was at the centre of the “Lakeland Revival” at Ignited Church in Florida. I blogged about his claims at the time, and noted endorsements from neo-Pentecostal leaders such as Rick Joyner and C. Peter Wagner (Wagner enthused that “a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry”). Alas, in August 2008 it was announced by Bentley’s Board of Directors that he had “entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff”; further meetings were cancelled, and he has maintained a lower profile since then.

Bentley’s reputation for kicking people in the face derives from an anecdote that he himself related to an audience in 2008, concerning one woman; it is not his regular practice, although the Mail notes that

In one show he treated a man claiming to be suffering from colon cancer by planting his knee hard into the victim’s stomach. The man fell to the floor in agony.

On another occasion, a man was pushed over so forcefully that he lost a tooth.

His visit to the UK is due to begin at Croydon, and the the local MP, Malcolm Wicks (Labour), has predictably called for him to be banned from entering the country. There’s also input from Peter May (whom some may remember from his high-profile opposition to Morris Cerullo in 1992):

Peter May, a prominent Christian GP who served for 25 years on the Church of England’s ruling General Synod, and has investigated spurious faith healers for more than 20 years, said: ‘I’m concerned by Todd Bentley’s methods because a physical injury on any sick person could be very serious…’

However, it should be noted that Bentley previously visited the UK towards the end of last year; there is no evidence that anyone came to harm, although some may perhaps doubt Bentley’s claim that “we had people raised from the dead”.

Last year’s visit began at the Two Locks Church in Cwmbran (the church’s website carries a photo of church’s pastor, Robert King, with Bentley), and then moved on to a leisure centre in Horsham, at the invitation of the Glory Company (“led by Matthew and Pearl Nagy”). According to this group’s website:

On the second night of Todd Bentley’s Horsham debut last December, Todd presented a word from the Lord on a ‘critical spirit’ that he sensed pervading the spiritual atmosphere in the Southeast.

The Mail article comes in the wake of a piece in This is Croydon from mid-July:

Controversial pastor Todd Bentley, who was convicted of a sex attack on a seven-year-old when he was 14, is to hold a three-day event at Croydon Conference Centre, in Surrey Street, in August.

…The healing session was listed on the website of Folly’s End Community Fellowship Trust, which hires out the conference centre, and the church is mentioned on Bentley’s promotional material as a co-host, but pastor Dave Markee said this was a mistake and the church has nothing to do with the event.

In contrast to this not-quite “I know not the man”, a notice since removed from the Folly’s End website had the following:

3 Nights of Healing and Impartation with Todd Bentley

Folly’s End is delighted to have Todd Bentley here in the UK for 3 nights of supernatural healing and impartation.

The last time Todd was in the UK in December 2011, he packed 250 people into a 220 seater, and he prayed for every single person in the venue.

It was beautiful. He was so humble and vulnerable about the past, and so ready to return to ministry. He was in great form, and there were many notable healings and much deliverance. We look forward to seeing what happens this time! Be prepared and expectant! We just know that last time was the breaker for this next visit!

For more information, please go to:

http://www.freshfireusa.com/events/view/539-Croydon-England

A strange mistake – and Markee, like Bentley, enjoys the endorsement of Rick Joyner (Joyner is also a serious player within the US Christian Right, as discussed here). However, Bentley’s website makes it clear that it is indeed again “The Glory Company” that is hosting him in Croydon.

According to Bentley’s website, he will arrive in Croydon following a session in Norway hosted by Unitas Revival Mission and a certain Bjarne Bugge Solvik. Following on from Croydon, he will be at the Portadown Christian Centre (co-hosted by Haven International Ministries), and then at Liverpool (the website of “Together Ministries” is given), and again at Two Locks in Wales. After a return to the USA, he is then heading off to Pakistan.

6 Responses

  1. Flee !

  2. […] in August, I noted opposition to a visit to Britain by controversial faith healer Todd Bentley. Malcolm Wicks, MP for Croydon, […]

  3. […] in August, I noted opposition to a visit to Britain by controversial faith healer Todd Bentley. Malcolm Wicks, MP for Croydon, […]

  4. […] year, Bentley planned a visit to the UK which was cancelled after the Home Secretary banned him from entering the country. […]

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