Marriage and Ministry:
A Potentially Deadly Combination for the Bentley's and for YOU
I’m REALLY bothered by this one!
Tonight, I received a barrage of seemingly gloating eMail messages from Christians – articles pertaining to Todd Bentley’s marriage including one from his own ministry requesting prayer for him and his wife. OUCH! Apparently, the couple’s marriage is under attack and they are currently separated. One report stated that Bentley himself told his staff “that his marriage is ending.”
I’m of the opinion that Todd’s marital troubles are the result of a demonic bombardment - backlash as a result of his faithfulness to minister non-stop for over 140 days during the recent outpouring from Lakeland. I can’t help but feel that if Christians worldwide had been interceding for Todd – laying down some cover fire rather than harassing him for his questionable ministry style – perhaps his marriage would not be buckling.
Who knows. My humble opinion.
I can’t help but feel that if his godly "covering," including John Arnott, Peter Wagner, Che Ahn, Bill Johnson and others, weren’t so bound and determined to “ride him hard and put him away wet,” maybe Todd and his bride would not have been so debilitated by the ministry. I received similar treatment from the Church world years ago on much less visible scale, but it destroyed my family, too, nonetheless.
I know, I’m venting. But there were an awful lot of spiritual giants laying hands on, defending, and backing Todd. Where was the godly counsel pertaining to his marriage? Where was the correction that might have reduced the onslaught of friendly fire?
Maybe it was there. Maybe Todd didn’t listen.
Again, who knows? I hope they’ll rally around him now when he needs them. Enough of my opinions.
I have a question for YOU, dear friend. Is YOUR marriage under attack? Satan hates good marriages. They represent Jesus and His Bride, that’s why.
All my life, I’ve heard ministers teach, “God first, spouse second, children third, career fourth, and church fifth.” Another supposedly Divine order goes something like this: “God first, family second, church third, work and friends fourth.”
Something’s wrong with BOTH of those, if you ask me. Why? Because if the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives within my and my spouse - and Christ is in her, the hope of glory - to love her more than anything IS putting God first. Come to think of it, that goes for my kids, too.
Then we see “The Church” way down in 5th place on one list and in third on another. If The Church is the people – and NOT the buildings or the manmade organizations - that must include my wife and my kids again. There they go, my family climbing to the top o’ the charts of my heart one more time!
“Career” is fourth on one list and didn’t even make the other. How can we reconcile that when Jesus spent so much time doing His ministry where people worked? Are we not His imitators? With us spending up to 70% of our lives there, imagine what would happen if we were to see our jobs as our ministries, too! I would raise “Career” up to, let’s say, a tie for first place right alongside the wife and kids and The Church.
“…It is wrong to say God doesn’t listen, to say the Almighty isn’t concerned,” (Job 35:13 NLT); because He IS!
Friends, there was a time in my life when I thought God was at the top of my list. He wasn’t; my Pastor was. Serving “The Church” – doing everything I could to produce a good show and make the “service” a pleasurable experience - was, in all honesty, my Christian ministry priority. Like any other spectator event, we had to get and keep “butts in the seats” to meet overhead or we went belly-up. We did.
THE LITTLE WOMAN AND ME
My wife is my most important ministry. She has my permission to correct me if I ever put her in second place – if she so much as FEELS like she’s playing second fiddle.
If I had to make a choice between my ministry and my wife, I’ll take my wife, please! How can I do that? Because I understand that I AM The Church, everywhere I go, everyone I meet, in everything I do. If I truly believe that “Church” is not somewhere I go but something I AM, this is not a problem for me. I don’t depend on asking people for money either. It’s God’s ministry; if He wants it up and running, He will provide the resources. He can close the doors or open them wider whenever He likes! If I am not involved in ministry, I trust the Lord to open another door in secular work, and I will take advantage of every opportunity to minister when I get there. After all, it’s what I’ve done for years before becoming a Workplace Chaplain. Where God guides, He provides!
Is staying single the key? Sure, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul were single. Also, Jesus and Paul mentioned celibacy, Jesus calling it “eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven,” (Matt. 19:12) and Paul speaking of singleness as a “gift from God” (1 Cor. 7:7). Both Jesus and Paul indicate that such a call to singleness allows unmarried men and women to devote greater and more undistracted attention to religious service (see 1 Cor. 7:32–35). There’s no question, that singleness CAN be God’s will for certain people, but we shouldn’t get legalistic about it. In such cases, singleness is expressed not a curse but a divine gift—just as “every good and perfect gift is from above” (Jas. 1:17). In fact, at certain times and in certain situations, singleness is preferable to marriage (1 Cor. 7), though marriage continues to be the norm (Matt. 19:4–6).
When I was single for nearly ten years before I met my wife, and when I served as a Singles Minister in a megachurch, I did a great deal of damage to the Darkside. I believe I’m still on Satan’s hit list because of a different kind of damage being done through the new ministry God has given me as a married man.
If you’re serving in ministry in an Institutional Church, pay attention to the dismal statistics regarding others who serve in that way. If you’re married and serving there, beware. Those related stats for spouses and kids are dismal. If you attend a Traditional Church, be sensitive to your Pastor’s needs. His/her job is under attack and he/she really needs your help.
Pray for the restoration of Todd and Shonnah’s marriage. They have children who need their parents TOGETHER. Multitudes of people are watching who would LOVE to make an even greater mockery of us ALL at their expense.
We ARE a body, don’t forget. When one gets attacked, we ALL get attacked. Even if we believe Todd brought this attack upon himself, let’s resist the urge to eat our wounded, shall we? Say “Cain and Abel” real fast and it sounds an awful lot like “cannibal.” Like those two famous Bible brothers, we, too, often despise others for the way they worship God.
A servant of God