Divisive evangelist resigns from leadership position
An Abbotsford-based faith healer who has polarized North American evangelicals has agreed to step down as the head of Fresh Fire Ministries after it was discovered he had an “unhealthy relationship on an emotional level” with a female staff member.
The announcement about Todd Bentley, a 32-year-old Gibsons native, came Friday from the ministry’s board of directors.
In stepping down, Bentley will also refrain from all public ministries, including his meetings in south Florida which have attracted about 300,000 people to a church and baseball stadium since April.
“In the meantime, he’s going to get himself refreshed,” said Ken Greter, International Missions Director for Fresh Fire Ministries. A 38-city stadium tour of American cities has been postponed. Greter, who is also a member of the board of directors, said Fresh Fire Ministries will be notifying ministries in the fall if and when a tour will occur.
Bentley is spending time with friends in California and was unavailable for comment Sunday. Greter said when he spoke with Bentley on Saturday, the faith healer was in a “good frame of reference.”
Greter said the board started discussing Bentley’s leadership role within the past 10 days.
Just last week it was announced that Bentley had filed for separation from his wife.
Under Canadian law, separation is a first step in divorce proceedings and takes nine months.
According to Lynne Breidenbach, until recently Bentley’s formal spokesperson in Florida, Bentley and his wife have been in marriage counseling for several months.
However, in another report [t]he Rev. Stephen Strader, pastor of Ignited Church, said Tuesday that he was informed three weeks ago that Bentley and his wife had been undergoing marriage counseling for a few years.