August 22, 2012
North America's "Punching Preacher" Banned From Entering the U.K.
Controversy surrounding revivalist Todd Bentley resurfaces in Western Europe.
The United Kingdom has denied entry to Canadian "punching preacher" Todd Bentley, banning him from attending several revival meetings in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
After hearing reports that Bentley planned to preach at Portadown Christian Centre in County Armagh next month, U.K. officials said Bentley was "subject to an exclusion order" and would be refused access to the country because his shows are "not conducive to the public good." Bentley, a Canadian citizen with ministry ties to Lakeland, Florida, uses controversial "means of physical force," including choking, kicking and punching, to heal people.
Bentley responded on the website for his church, Fresh Fire USA, stating, "I am deeply saddened by the recent decision of the U.K. government regarding my entry into the country. At this point, we are thankful to God for the support from our friends in the U.K. who truly love Jesus and embrace the supernatural, faith, and healing."
Bentley first made headlines in Lakeland, Florida, in 2008, following a series of revival events that came to be known as the Lakeland Outpouring. Bentley then left Lakeland amid reports that he and his wife were separating. At that time, Bentley said he intended to pursue overseas revivals.