Gary McMullen — religion editor for The Ledger, a newspaper based in Lakeland, Florida — has covered the Todd Bentley circus extensively: from the claims of miraculous healings, via the cautious criticism of some Pentacostal leaders, to the announcement that Bentley had filed for separation from his wife.
Then came news that Bentley had an ‘unhealthy relationship‘ with a female staff member during the ‘revival.’ McMullen quotes the Rev. Stephen Strader as saying Bentley kept him “out of the loop for [his] protection”:
Evangelist Had “Unhealthy Relationship”
The Pentecostal revival began April 2 at Ignited Church in Lakeland and services have been held daily since then. Bentley, 32, was invited to lead the revival by the Rev. Stephen Strader, pastor of Ignited, but Bentley proved to be a controversial figure.
Strader said last week when the separation was announced he had been told by Bentley’s organization there was “no third party involved.” On Monday, Strader said Bentley had deliberately kept him “out of the loop.”
“I was told Tuesday night they suspected something. I got the news Saturday morning. Todd told me he kept me out of the loop for my protection,” he said.
Strader said Bentley’s relationship with the staffer was the second time he has jeopardized his marriage.
“Three years ago, he did the exact same thing. He grew out of his relationship to his wife and transferred his affection to another. That’s the biggest frustration with us. The bottom line is that he was traveling too much and not taking care of his wife and family like he should,” he said.
Strader said he did not feel betrayed and that the latest disclosures do not invalidate the revival.
On his blog McMullen comments:
If comments in reaction to my previous blog posts are any indication, this will not change anyone’s mind about Bentley or the validity of Florida Outpouring revival. His supporters are basically quoting Jesus’ admonition, “Judge not, lest you be judged,” while his detractors are saying that this simply shows Bentley was a false spiritual leader, if not outright demonic.
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