Dutch Sheets Speaks On Todd Bentley
I am writing this blog because I believe this leader is doing the right thing. Most of you know who Dutch Sheets is, well he just went even higher in my book. He is a respected leader, author and speaker. I really appreciate what he had to say. I will only share a blurb with you. Feel free to look up the whole statement online. I am only printing a portion.
For the record, my intention is not to keep hashing over this situation but many, many of you have talked to me about it in person because you did not want to publicly post a comment so I know it is still on everyone’s mind. (BTW, you can comment anonymously if you like! 🙂 My intention rather is to show you what I believe we as leaders should take notice of. I think Dutch Sheets puts it as eloquent as anyone that I have heard. I appreciate his candor, integrity, and humility.
The Bigger Picture (by Dutch Sheets)
It may come as a surprise, however, that my real purpose in writing this is
not to only state the above, as important as I believe saying it is. My primary
purpose, and I believe my assignment from the Lord, is to identificationally repent
on behalf of the leadership of the charismatic body of Christ (see Nehemiah 1:4-
7; Daniel 9:1-19). In doing so, I do not have a pompous, “no one else will, so I’ll
do it” attitude, nor am I arrogant enough to think I have become the
spokesperson for the charismatic church. But in the same way that I can identify
with the racism of white predecessors and repent to blacks, Native Americans
and other races, I can represent the leadership of the charismatic body of Christ
and identificationally repent for our sins and weaknesses. I encourage leaders
who find my statements true and appropriate to join me. Beyond the simple fact
of it being appropriate, I firmly believe it is the only way to begin the process of
rebuilding trust with those asked to follow us and to remove the cynicism of the
world we ask to listen to us. As you know, regaining credibility is much more
difficult than attaining credibility.
Concerning what I’m about to say, I don’t believe I have a critical spirit, nor
do I want to diminish the sacrifices, faithfulness, and hard work done by so many
in ministry. The fact remains, however, that we have failed the Lord and His
people in many ways—not just with Lakeland but in countless other situations—
and must repent if we are to be trusted in the future. And as you also know, no
repentance is effective if watered down and couched in excuses, therefore, I
intend to be brutally honest:
1) We, the leaders of the charismatic community, have operated in an
extremely low level of discernment. Frankly, we often don’t even try to
discern. We assume a person’s credibility based on gifts, charisma,
the size of their ministry or church, whether they can prophesy or
work a miracle, etc. (Miracles and signs are intended to validate God
and His message, not the messenger; sometimes they validate the
assignment of an individual, but never the person’s character, lifestyle
or spiritual maturity.) We leaders in the Church have become no
different than the world around us in our standards for measuring
success and greatness. This has contributed to the body of Christ
giving millions of dollars to undeserving individuals; it has allowed
people living in sin to become influential leaders—even to lead
movement, allowing them influence all the way to the White House.
Through our lack of discernment we built their stages and gave them
their platforms. We have been gullible beyond words—gullible
leaders producing gullible sheep.
When a spiritual leader we’re connected with violates trust, is
exposed for immorality or falls below other accepted standards of
behavior, it does not exonerate us simply to say we don’t condone
such behavior. Those we lead trust us to let them know whom to
trust. We have failed them miserably in this regard.
For this lack of discernment, and for employing and passing on
inappropriate standards of judgment, I repent to the Lord and ask
forgiveness of the body of Christ.
2) We, the leaders of the charismatic church, spin our involvement and
fail to acknowledge our responsibility when other leaders fall—all of
which stems from our self-preservation and pride. Enough of the
spin—we’re no different than Washington, DC. Every time another
embarrassing and disgraceful situation is exposed, the dancing
begins. It seems that no one bears any real responsibility except the
man or woman who actually commits sin. Incredibly, we even blame
“revival” itself—the pressures, attacks, weariness, the “revival is
messy” argument, etc., saying it is responsible for the failures. This is
disgusting. Those of us on boards of fallen leaders, those who helped
give them a voice, put them on TV, published and endorsed their
books (yes, I have), etc., are not exonerated simply by saying we
don’t condone the wrong behavior or that we didn’t know. We’re
supposed to know.
I don’t believe anyone is expecting perfection from us—I
know I’m not. We’re far too human for that. But we are expected to
have enough humility to look the world and those who follow us in the
eye when we miss it and say, “we were wrong and we are sorry.”
Our careless accountability has caused the body of Christ to
be spiritually raped and abused. It has produced disillusionment and
brought immeasurable reproach to our God and cynicism to His
message. Concerning Lakeland, what was called the “greatest
revival since Azusa Street” has become possibly one of the greatest
reproaches. We, the leaders of the charismatic church, are
For not accepting and acknowledging our responsibility, for
caring more about our own reputation than Christ’s, I repent to God
and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.
3) Our procedures and standards of accountability are incredibly
inadequate. We have provided camaraderie, not biblical
accountability. For those on Todd Bentley’s board who had previous
knowledge of his marriage problems and said nothing, it was more
than a mistake—it was reckless, foolish, and irresponsible. For those
on the stage the night of his aligning and commissioning who knew
and said nothing—ditto. For those there who didn’t know, my
question is, “why didn’t you?” You were trusted to know. That is one
of the purposes of public commissioning and the purpose behind the
concept of endorsement. I’m not trying to point the finger; I’m
endeavoring to get us to be honest about our failures—we have
serious credibility issues. Have I ever laid hands on, commissioned or
endorsed anyone without adequately checking them out? Yes, but
you better believe I’ll be more careful next time!
And we must not single out Lakeland. We’re all guilty.
What about the leader in my city who ran with some of the leading
spiritual fathers in our nation—sincere and good men, I might add,
and not all “charismatic” leaders—who sang his praises and helped
build his stage—all while he was doing drugs and having sex with
other men? But we shouldn’t blame only the high profile cases—what
about those of us who unknowingly have had adulterers on our staffs
or appointed elders that turned out to have compromise in their life?
Sounding familiar yet?
This is so epidemic that every member of the body of Christ
stands guilty—what pastor or leader did you follow that turned out to
have sin issues? What ministry did you support that was unworthy?
There is plenty of blame to go around. The big question becomes not
“who do we blame” but “how do we fix this mess?”
Leaders can live in sin—adultery, homosexuality, financial
wrongdoing, drugs, etc.—for years without it being realized. They can
offer completely unacceptable lifestyles for the body of Christ to
follow and still keep their TV programs and lavish lifestyles. In the
name of grace, compassion and forgiveness we have lowered the
standard so much that often there isn’t one. We have bought into the
lie that true discipline is “shooting our wounded.” We have made a
mockery of biblical restoration, making “ministry”—not healthy
individuals, marriages and families—its ultimate goal. The fact is,
integrity matters. No, we don’t need legalistic, pharisaical standards,
but we must have standards.
For this lack of biblical accountability, I repent to God and I ask
forgiveness of the body of Christ.
4) We, the leaders of the charismatic church, have built on hype,
sensation, innovation, programs, personality and charisma. This has
produced: shallowness; false movements; novice leaders—gifted but
immature and untested; a deficient understanding of God’s word; the
building of man-centered rather than kingdom-centered churches and
ministries; competition rather than cooperation; humanistic, selfcentered
Christians who don’t understand sacrifice and commitment;
Christians without discernment; superstar leaders; a perverted and
powerless gospel; prayerless and anemic Christians; a replacement
of the fear of the Lord with the fear of man; and a young generation
that is cynical of it all. We are responsible, not the devil; he takes
what we give him.
For this compromise in the way we build, for giving the
Church watered down wine, commercial Christianity, a flashy but
weak Church and hype disguised as anointing, I repent to God
and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.
Galatians 6:1-5 is an appropriate reference with which to end this
statement: “Brethren, even if a man caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual,
restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you
too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for
boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one
shall bear his own load.” NAS
My passionate prayer is that God honors this repentance—I believe He
led me to do it and therefore, will—and uses it to begin a process of cleansing
and healing for all of us. In order for the coming great awakening to bear
maximum fruit we must have both, as well as a course correction that sets us on
a path of wisdom leading to life. There is no doubt that past moves of God have
been aborted, ended prematurely and contained error or heresy that have
wounded, if not destroyed, many. The healing revival of the 40’s and 50’s, the
charismatic movement, discipleship movement and Jesus movement are all
examples. My heart is to help shape a movement, the fruit of which will last for
decades—better yet, forever. And I have great expectations for us—I am not a
My passionate prayer is also that Todd Bentley’s marriage survives and
thrives…that he turns his heart fully toward Christ and toward those with whom
he is aligned, and allows them, as God leads, to put him on a path of complete
restoration. I thank God for those who were touched by the Holy Spirit at
Lakeland and while watching it on God TV and the web.
May we all move forward into all God has planned for us in this awesome
season of endless possibility.
With great hope—Dutch Sheets