Haggard, Bentley, Liardon and Company
“Is God’s Word No Longer The Standard?”
by James Jacob Prasch
What do Ted Haggard, Todd Bentley, and Roberts Liardon all have in common?
- All either compromised with false doctrine or preached it even before their public falls from grace.
As we have warned repeatedly, like morally discredited false teachers from Jim Bakker to Paul Cain and Bob Jones, when someone goes off doctrinally it is a symptom that they have gone off morally. And when someone goes off morally, it is almost inevitable they will also go off doctrinally.
- All have an exposed history of homosexuality while claiming to oppose homosexuality.
- All have constructed bogus doctrinal justifications for returning to the ministry.
Such tragic figures always employ the same arguments to justify their return to Christian leadership after publicly discrediting the body of Christ and openly dishonoring the name of Jesus. While I myself have no propensity towards homosexuality, I am not without my own proclivities and can only prayerfully trust Jesus to prevent me from transgressing in a manner no less serious and depraved. As Paul says, “Let he who thinks he stands take care lest he fall”. This consideration should be foremost in all of our minds when we observe the debauchery and hypocrisy of men like Bentley, Haggard, and Liardon.
However, God’s standard remains fixed. In the New Testament someone cannot be in ministry unless they have a good name with those outside of the church where the world cannot bring a discrediting indictment against them. :”(1 Timothy 3:7)”: We are warned specifically that those being in ministry whose witness and testimony to the unsaved world is not good that for such men to remain or return to ministry, or to be in ministry at all, is a snare of the devil that will trap them, according to Paul. And that they will fall into reproach. Yet we repeatedly see the likes of Haggard, Bentley, and Liardon throwing themselves into that trap when in fact they can never have a good reputation with those outside of the church.
In order to justify their rejection of plain teaching of the New Testament, such villains characteristically misinterpret a narrative of the Old Testament where God forgave David for his sin with Bathsheeba. An exegetically distorted misinterpretation of the Old Testament can never negate the unambiguous instruction found in the New Testament. In fact, David was never a member of the clergy. He was not an Aaronic priest and held no Levitical office. He rather had a political office and was from the tribe of Judah, not Levi. It is a false comparison, to say the least, to say that a political figure being restored to leadership in the Old Testament has an equivalency with a member of the clergy being restored to ministry in the New Testament. Moreover, such an argument becomes doubly erroneous by virtue of the fact that David was never restored to leadership because he was never removed from leadership to begin with. The entire argument is absurd.
Yet it is on this exegetically hollow basis and the abject false conclusion derived from it that Colin Dye of the Elim Movement in the UK brings money preacher Roberts Liardon into the ministry at Kensington Temple in London. One can only wonder if the Word of God has any place or meaning to the Elim Movement of Britain and New Zealand whatsoever.
After abandoning his wife and three children and running off with another woman who he has since married in a scenario that Jesus described as “an adulterous marriage” in the Sermon on the Mount, Rick Joyner has sought to rehabilitate criminally convicted homosexual pedophile Todd Bentley back into the ministry along with the woman he ran off with who is now preaching prophetic dreams of dancing elephants and communication with the dead. If Joyner’s actions do not constitute a de facto endorsement of religious whoredom and a sanction of necromancy, it is difficult to imagine what does. Meanwhile, Bentley’s three children languish at home in Canada with his biblically rightful wife while Joyner shamefully applauds the spectacle.
Now Ted Haggard is making his play for an auto-rehabilitation. He and his wife are cashing in on his history of scandal with a book that has seen his wife appearing on the TV talk show circuit speaking to unsaved television talk show personalities as the world witnesses the church’s humiliation upon further humiliation. His wife’s book is the prelude to his strategy for coming back into the ministry after it was revealed that the former President of the National Association of Evangelicals, who was already consorting with doctrinally off-base figures, was involved with paying male prostitutes for unnatural sex and taking dangerous intoxicating drugs recreationally. And then lied through his teeth about it to his church. All of a sudden he is supposedly “restored”.
We have seen the same reprehensible pattern with drunken pervert Paul Cain and sexual predator Bob Jones of the Kansas City false prophets and, not least of all, Jim Bakker.
No one suggests that a fallen brother or sister who truly repents cannot be forgiven and restored to fellowship, but once they no longer can have a good name or reputation with those outside of the church, 1 Timothy teaches clearly that they can no longer be restored to ministry or leadership. Indeed, the book of Proverbs teaches plainly that “a good name” is to be desired above all else. And these pathetic individuals have given themselves a bad name for which, apart from the devil, they can blame no one but their own selves.
If someone in such an unfortunate situation truly repented, they would accept the ramifications of their misdeeds, do all they could to make amends, and abide by the teachings of Scripture that prohibits them from being in further ministry or leadership. Instead, one after another (including Jimmy Swaggart) they march headlong into what St. Paul call’s “Satan’s trap”. And in the eyes of the world bring further reproach to themselves, to the church, and to the name of Christ.
We are forced to conclude either that their repentance is therefore disingenuous and malmotivated or else they are so fundamentally ignorant of God’s Word that they should never have been in the ministry at all to begin with.
Christianity is a faith based on forgiveness. We can forgive, but we cannot expect the world to forget. Satan and the unsaved will always have adequate ammunition based on the past to use against them, against the church, and against the cause of Christ. For sure, not all of the corruption and hypocrisy has been sexually related, although most of it has involved this kind of immorality. Or in the cases of Haggard, Bentley, Liardon, and Paul Cain, even what they themselves admit is unnatural perversion.
The divorce and remarriage scandals of Paula White, Ray Macaulley of South Africa, and Ray Bevin of South Wales and the financial shenanigans of Peter Popov, etc. are no less a public disgrace destroying any semblance of a good name or credibility. Yet these also remain in the ministry, pretending it to be somehow acceptable to God when God in His Word says it is not. The capacity of these people to delude themselves and others can only in some way be the product of a reprobate mind.
For three days running, the Los Angeles Times carried front page stories alleging homosexuality by Paul Crouch of TBN. Crouch vociferously denied the charges, expecting the church and the public to believe that he paid $425,000 in and out-of-court legal settlement with a secrecy clause stipulating that the recipient remain silent about these charges of deviant sexual behavior in a wrongful dismissal suit.
The ultimate indictment however, is not of these malefactors themselves despite their hypocrisy, The indictment is rather of a church willing to tolerate it in abrogation of God’s own divine standards of holiness, sanctification, and qualification for the ministry. The Scriptures decry a willingness by the church to compromise God’s moral standards as arrogance when the church fails to address such situations scripturally and remove such people. :”(1 Corinthians 5:2)”: Moreover, in no uncertain terms we are commanded to retain God’s standards. :”(2 Timothy 1:13)”:
For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. (2 Corinthians 11:4)