What Does Brandt Russo Have in Common With Todd Bentley?

Not much, other than controversy in Lakeland, Fla. Bentley and Russo are both controversial evangelists and they both ran into problems in Polk County.

Brandt Russo is a Charleston, WV-based street evangelist with a passion for the homeless. He’s not homeless tonight — he’s in a Florida jail, according to The Charleston Gazette.

The Gazette reports that Russo was arrested Tuesday at Lakeland’s Ignite Church and charged with trespassing after he tried to hold communion services on church property, said friend and supporter Charessa Wilkinson. Russo was in the Polk County Jail on $500 bond this morning, according to jail records.

Here’s an excerpt from the Gazette story:

An ordained minister, Russo decided to give up his worldly goods, live on the streets and minister to the homeless. Russo decided to settle in West Virginia after visiting the state on a religious tour.

Earlier this month, Russo took his vegetable oil-powered school bus on a trip to different cities he has visited to shoot a documentary film about life on the streets. Wilkinson said Russo decided to go to Lakeland after learning of the plight of about 40 homeless men who are trying to live in a swamp about 100 yards from Ignite Church.

Russo believes leaders of the church — until recently, home of controversial evangelist Todd Bentley — should be doing more to help the homeless men camped right outside their door, Wilkinson said.

Russo, who has been thrown out of or asked to leave several nationally known charismatic churches, is not above using civil disobedience to draw attention to the plight of the homeless.

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13 Responses to “What Does Brandt Russo Have in Common With Todd Bentley?”


  1. 1 really? Aug 28th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    They are controversial in two very different ways. Brandt is nothing like Todd, and they have very different agendas. This is utterly ridiculous. Being persecuted for loving people and for having an affair is nothing close.

  2. 2 Tim Aug 28th, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Thats exactly his point. He said “Not much, other than controversy in Lakeland, Fla.” We all know that Brandt is worlds apart from Todd. Much like Jesus and the other two men on crosses that day were alike in that they had controversy in Jerusalem.

  3. 3 Sharon Russo Aug 28th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    As Brandt’s mother and a God loving Christian, this is so very sad to me. It is so sad to see the judgmental state of the Church today. I really don’t have much to say, other than “let he who is without sin, judgment,etc…..,cast the first stone!” I am really proud of my son, tattoos and all. He taught me much about myself and the level of my own judgment. I had the opportunity to see what kind of Christian I really was when he decided to express himself in the ways he had chosen. I had to look within my heart and see how much judgment still existed even with Jesus’s love in it. The Lord used my son to teach me a great lesson, that “LOVE SEES THROUGH ALL THAT STUFF!” He’s still my boy and he loves Jesus. I’ll be praying for you all, but remember what the Word declares, “God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap!” So go forth and throw your stones, I’d rather love and pray! Sharon Russo

  4. 4 lessmemojesus Aug 29th, 2008 at 1:15 am

    God bless you Sharon! Am praying for your son. His walking out his faith has touched me to my core. I love seeing how God is working!! I pray that my daughter will become a Jesus seeker!!!

  5. 5 JAS Aug 29th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    If you ask most, they would likely say they love Christ but can’t stand Christians.

    This is one you can like.

  6. 6 Ray Aug 30th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Let me first of all state that I was, and am still, not a great supporter of what has been going on at this church.

    That being said I think out of common courtesy Brandt should have asked the church for permission to minister on their property. Did he do that?? If not, he should not have unilaterally taken it upon himself to hold his own meeting on church property. Every church, as every individual, has the right to control what is taught or done within the confines of their property otherwise all sorts of people with their own agendas would be showing up on church properties and other private properties around the country proclaiming their idea of truth.

    Clearly, if he did not ask permission, or if he asked permission and was turned down, he would be wrong on both counts for holding his own service. You may not agree but this is the way it has to be.

    How would you like someone taking over your backyard without your permission. This same argument holds true for church property.

    So the BIG question is, did he show wisdom and ask for permission from the church to do his “”own thing”??

  7. 7 charles Aug 30th, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Why is there so much confusion in the church today? Will Jesus find faith in Him when he returns. Wow. We really need to pray for the body of Christ.

  8. 8 Father Rick Sep 7th, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    If people would do a little homework, you would quickly find out that Brandt was arrested for refusal to remove his illegally parked vehicle– which he was leaving overnight. This is not the first time he has done such, but has quite a rap sheet for doing similar things.

    Brandt was also breaking into the church building to use the showers/facilities and was caught doing so by a female parishioner who accidentally walked in on him as he was getting dressed.

    Additionally, Ignited Church has supported several homeless ministries in Lakeland for many years. As someone who formerly pastored a church in Lakeland, I know this personally.

    Kinda changes one’s view of the situation, when one finds out that Brandt hasn’t exactly been truthful in the situation.

  9. 9 a new but close friend Sep 8th, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    are you kidding me? I have known brandt since lakeland, and all of what you say is from the pit of hell. None of these alligations are true, not one.

  10. 10 the nonconformer Sep 15th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 KJV) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.2 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

    Todd Bentley he was ordained by the Revival Alliance, a group made up of prominent charismatic ministers who ordained Bentley the evangelist
    http://www.charismamag.com/cms/news/archives/081208a.php

    but the fact that too many of today’s pastors are ordained, DO have official papers undeniably does not seem to stop 55 percent of the pastors from committing adultery, or 70 percent of the pastors falsely counseling, or practicing divorce and who knows what else?
    gossiping, slandering and I too was really was surprised how many pastors I had personally met at the pastoral fellowships who did did these unacceptable bad things.

    but somehow the preacher who preach one thing themselves too often do the other still too.. I too would rather see a sermon practiced over on merely preached

    Speaking of false prophets, it seems to me that too many of the critics on the net can spot the phones too quickly cause they themselves are phonies… and many others as well..

    WHEN I ENCOUNTER SO MANY bad people who try to abuse me, dominate over me on the net, in churches now too, actually someone they likely do not know and I have rather likely never met ,it says CLEARLY HOW FALSELY THEY THEMSELVES NOW ARE RATHER TO ME.

    and have you all not noticed the void of any Bible references, quotations on the supposedly prominent professing Christian discussions internet sites and is it cause they know they are spiritual phonies, or they really do not know the Bible to be able to discuss it? or what still wrongfully ashamed of it too?

    http://thefocusonthefamily.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/reverend-todd-bentley-versus-republican-mom-sarah-palin/

  11. 11 Andy Feb 24th, 2009 at 10:17 am

    To those who doubt,

    The point your missing is the exact point Brandt might have been trying to make, or one that should be made. The church should not exclude anyone…. ANYONE from their “property”. That was the original point of a church. To be a sanctuary for all those who have need. You may say this is risky, but guess what, God didn’t say it would be safe to do his work. We need to open our doors to all those in need: Addicts, homeless, beaten, scarred. So the fact that this church, which had necessary facilities to help house and take care of those in need, shut their doors, is totally against the point of a church. Church isn’t a 9 to 5 office building or Sunday morning worship service. If you read in acts 2 & 4, the church was a COMMUNITY of people that shared whatever they had so that none had need. So when we look at this from a biblical standpoint, I lift Brandt up for what he did, he is a great, god-loving guy. Of course there are those of you who will look at it from an American legal standpoint and point out all of his flaws against a worldly system. Trust me, I’m sure he loves it, because the one he follows received the same complaints. I hope I have been somewhat clear in discussing my points. I love what Brandt is doing and hope to one day soon, use my life in a similar manner for christ.

    Peace, Love, and Chocolate Milk,
    AnDy B.

  12. 12 karen Feb 11th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Gosh folks. I’m a somewhat new Christian and can’t even fathom the “church” anymore. I thought no one “owned” the chruch or its property. Just God. So if one of God’s people, clearly ministering in the name of Jesus, parks his vehicle on God’s property…what exactly is the problemn? Or do we really still think like the world a lot more than we think we do? My church, my church parking lot, my shower…. This is why the world isn’t compelled by the real Gospel message. They can’t hear it through the hypocrisy. I mean, do you really mean to say that ministering to these very vulnerable people the way Brandt does didn’t trump this church’s “right” to its own property in Kingdom terms?! Quite honestly, all the soup kitchens in the world will not replace one man’s willingness to TOUCH (literally touch and live alongside) the most vulnerable people. One may feed the stomach but I have a feeling that when Brandt looks into someones eyes, who has been beaten down and abandoned, they see real compassion, the love of the Lord and it’s genuine. Doesn’t that buy him a place to park his bus in this Ignited Church’s mind? Sheesh.

  13. 13 nikki Sep 17th, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Brandt is a friend of mine. I’ve known him before he decided to sell all of his stuff and take God’s word to the streets.
    I used to live beside him and it was really funny because one day he came up to talk to me while i was taking jesus trinkets out of a box that my friend was throwing away.
    We had a friendly conversation.
    He’s a really nice and welcoming guy and people who don’t know him and think bad about him should really get to know him first before they judge.
    I was homeless twice before and it would’ve been amazing if brandt would’ve came and talked to me about jesus.
    When your that down and out you think, why would jesus let this happen to me?
    then you start fading away from him and going down hill more.
    I think what brandt is doing is awesome, and I don’t believe that you should judge him by religion or anything.
    God isn’t a religion.
    So if you don’t agree with his religion that’s fine but what it all come’s down to is God.
    Everyone should believe in him.
    If you don’t then you should talk to Brandt! =]





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