canada, canadian search engine, free email, canada news
Faith healer abandons pulpit
Evangelist leaves Florida faithful, marital friction suspected
Glenda Luymes
The Province

An Abbotsford faith healer has mysteriously left the Florida pulpit where he attracted hundreds of thousands of miracle-seeking followers.

Todd Bentley arrived at the Ignited Church in Lakeland, Fla., for a five-day preaching stint in early April. Five days became four months as he began drawing hundreds of people, some from as far away as Europe, to the church each night.

In an interview from Florida in April, Bentley told The Province he planned to stay in the U.S. until the crowds left.

They haven’t, but Bentley has.

A notice posted on the website of Bentley’s Abbotsford-based ministry says he and his wife, Shonnah, are “experiencing significant friction in their relationship and are currently separated.”

Staff at Fresh Fire Ministries did not return calls yesterday.

But Patsy Barnes with the Ignited Church said the healing ministry is continuing — without Bentley.

“I do not know where Todd is,” she said.

A preaching itinerary posted on the Fresh Fire website advertises a “One Night Only Revival Impartation with Todd Bentley” in Spokane, Wash., on Saturday and an Abbotsford conference on Sept. 17. It is unclear whether Bentley will attend either.

Christian bloggers across Canada and the U.S. are questioning Bentley’s authenticity.

Some speculate his abrupt departure from the Florida revival is due to marital problems, while others point to a segment on ABC News’ investigative program, Nightline.

The program, which aired in July, showed footage from the Florida revival. In one heart-breaking scene, a 15-year-old boy with spina bifida walks without leg braces in front of Bentley and the crowd. He is later shown stumbling and falling outside the church.

The Nightline reporter asked Fresh Fire for three people who can show medical proof they have been healed through Bentley. None could be provided.

When The Province earlier asked to speak to someone who had been healed through Bentley in either B.C. or Florida, Fresh Fire was unable to find someone, citing difficulties with outdated contact information and record-keeping problems.

© The Vancouver Province 2008
Thank you Bud for sending the updated information