Officials in the United Kingdom are requesting that a purported faith healer who is known for engaging in violent acts on stage, such as kicking the sick in the face, be prohibited from appearing in the country this month.
British Labor MP Malcom Wicks reportedly contacted Home Secretary Theresa May to request that she help to stop Todd Bentley of Lakeland, Florida from coming to the UK.
“[A]pparently, as part of his so-called evangelism, [he] has been known to physically assault those who come to him for help,” he wrote. “I urge you to do all in your power to ban this man from the UK. His visit can do nothing but harm and I would be grateful for any measures you can take.”
Bentley is most known for what was called the “Lakeland Revival” in Florida, which was held at Ignited Church in 2008 at the request of Pastor Stephen Strader. The weeks-long event was attended by over 400,000 people.
However, many had their concerns about Bentley, who is plastered in tattoos, facial piercings and various pieces of jewelry. Reports began circulating that Bentley was becoming violent on stage and claiming that the Lord told him to do it.
“And I’m thinking, why is the power of God not moving? And He said, ‘Because you haven’t kicked that woman in the face,’” he explained during a meeting, which was captured on video. “And there is this old lady worshipping right in front of the platform and the Holy Spirit spoke to me. The gift of faith comes on me. He said, ‘Kick her in the face with your biker boot.’”
“I inched closer and I went bam! And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God,” Bentley stated to the laughing crowd.
The woman he referred to was a senior citizen that was fighting cancer.
In another instance, Bentley spoke of a “Chinese guy” that he “hit so hard that a tooth popped out of his mouth.”
He has also reportedly placed attendees in chokeholds and has boasted of “grounding and pounding” the sick — all in the name of God. At times, he refers to discussions with an angel named Emma.
However, after learning that officials in the UK sought to prevent his arrival, an organizer for the tour claimed that Bentley has never behaved in such a manner.
“I’ve worked with Todd for a long time and I’ve never seen him kick someone,” said Shanee Lemos, remarking that the meetings would be beneficial for England. “Even the terminally ill or people with a few days left to live are encouraged to come along and Todd will attempt to cure them.”
Bentley himself also reportedly chimed in, “UK friends and partners, please do not believe everything you read in the media. It is a true misleading report. … Kicking people in the face is not a practice of our ministry and I do not see this happening in the UK.”
“Our friends in England would do well to avoid Todd Bentley altogether, as well as other fake faith healers and false Christians,” said Bud Press of Christian Research Service. “[They] present a clear and present danger to the physical, mental, and spiritual welfare of men, women, and children worldwide.”
However, some are not only concerned about Bentley’s violent methodology, but also his personal life.
In 2009, Bentley divorced his wife Shonnah after admitting to having an affair with intern Jessa Hasbrook, who also served as a nanny at the Bentley residence.
“Todd admits to being 100 percent responsible for the divorce,” members of the board of directors of Fresh Fire Ministries wrote in a public letter. “With the development of more friction in his marriage relationship, Todd began to make irrational decisions. Alcohol, movies and leisure time spent with a few of the younger, more impressionable members of his staff and road-crew began to replace the hours of soaking in the presence of God in which Todd had engaged during the early days of the Outpouring.”
“We believe that there are currently no Biblical grounds for Todd to leave his wife and children,” the letter continued.
Rick Joyner, Jack Deere and Bill Johnson were appointed to help reconcile the marriage, but all efforts failed. Bentley later married Hasbrook and travels with her today.
He is set to appear at a 400-seat auditorium in London on August 30th, unless British officials put a stop to the meeting.