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Assessing the Lakeland critics

I got a number of emails this morning asking me what I thought of the Lakeland revival. One had a Youtube link showing Todd Bentley ministering to a group of hysterical people. Another one included a 16-page paper criticizing Bentley. It was thoroughly footnoted and said: “The…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I got a number of emails this morning asking me what I thought of the Lakeland revival. One had a Youtube link showing Todd Bentley ministering to a group of hysterical people. Another one included a 16-page paper criticizing Bentley. It was thoroughly footnoted and said: “These demonic manifestations are called the ‘anointing of the Holy Ghost.’ This one will lead people to kiss the mouth of hell.”

As far as I can tell, the main critiques you hear are: 

  • his tattoos,
  • a fascination with angels,
  • many unsubstantiated claims of miracles,
  • his overly dramatic style, and
  • his biker background
I looked on the web and found a plethora of websites debunking what’s going on in Lakeland. One called The Heresy Hunter topped the list. The first comment to his blog (from “George the Genius”) began like this: “Any revival that has the involvement of sexual perverts, such as Paul Cain and Bob Jones, is from the pits of hell and not from God!”

Strong words. I’d sure want to know I was right before I said something that inflammatory.

I talked to the Lord about this and he pointed me to some principles about criticism from Scripture. He’s pretty emphatic about it. Check out Romans 2:1 “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself…” 

Some people are qualified to criticize and hold accountable and others are clearly not. How do we tell the difference? Here are eight tests which you can apply to debunk the debunkers.
No Scripture
“Every word of God is flawless…” (Proverbs 30:5-6)
Human beings will have opinions, but Scripture gives us an unchanging standard to which we can appeal. Critics need to have a good look at what God says first before sounding off. Don’t trust critics whose opinions don’t square with Scripture.

No fruit 
Everybody’s a critic, so who do we listen to? Critics need to have earned the right to speak because of the fruit in their lives. The Pharisees had a lot of opinions, but their fruit wasn’t very good. They were “white-washed sepulchers.” John 15:1-16 is a great passage about fruit.

No proximity
A dispute arose in Acts 15. Paul didn’t try to resolve it by letter. He had to travel to Jerusalem talk to James and the elders. Though they had a relationship, they needed to sort out their disagreement in person – it gave them a chance to pray together among other things. Lobbing critiques from afar may be interesting to watch on “Firing Line,” but it’s not something Christians should be practicing. We need to get up close to people to hold them accountable. We need to be able to ask them questions and see their eyes when they answer.

No relationship

 Paul railed on the Galatians, calling them “foolish.” But he also had a long history of relationship with them. (Galatians 3-4)  Before we criticize another person we need to know something of their hearts. You can’t know a person’s heart without connecting with them periodically. So, ask the question: Does the person leveling the criticism have any kind of relationship with the person they are criticizing?

No context
What’s really going on with the situation being criticized? If you look at the events leading up to it does it look more plausible? Anybody who has been misquoted or had a quote taken out of context knows how this feels. The Pharisees were forever taking Jesus out of context. (Matthew 15:1-11)

No humility

The story of the men Jesus confronts who were going to throw stones at the woman caught in adultery shows that we can all be wrong. (John 8:7) It takes an arrogant, unaccountable person to devote a website to criticizing other people. What’s going on in such a person’s life?  They could be engaging in long-distance hypocrisy.  Such graceless people have little in common with Jesus, who came to set men free, not join the “accuser of the brethren.”

No time frame
When did the situation being criticized occur? David (2 Sam. 11), Paul (1 Tim. 1:12-17), and Moses (Ex. 2:11-14) were all murderers. Trot out a Youtube moment of those sorry spots in their lives and you could debunk them pretty well. One reason Paul had to spend so long in Arabia before starting his missionary career was to put some time between his former life and his new life.

No research
Unsubstantiated opinions are a dime a dozen. What we need to know is that those leveling criticism have taken the time to really look into the matter. Jesus was forever challenging the Pharisees on this score, telling them, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)

In the end, Jesus is probably more interested in the quality of our love than in our ability to guard the truth. Romans 15:7 captures this emphasis well, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” I’d start there, and once I’d done a good job of that, I’d move on to figuring out how to bring correctives to the body of Christ.

For more information on the Lakeland revival, its critics, and their critics, go here.

Comments (37)

  • Hi Seth,
    When I read your comments I found them to be written from someone who has an advantage over others. You can see from a perspective others cannot. Moses stood on the mount and watched a battle going on in the valley and realized that while he held his staff high the Hebrews would maintain a dominant edge in the battle. The people fighting in the valley did not know this. They did not know that every time Moses’ arm got tired that they would start to lose lives on their team. I have a pedigree dog and we found out that the reason she was chewing on herself was the type of dog food she was eating. We changed her diet and the biting stopped. I have been a christian for over 30 years and have seen the body of Christ chew on itself sometimes with a viciousness that equals insanity. And all in the name of God. Thank you for posting your perspective for the whole world to view.

  • Seth,
    A brilliant response…thoughtful, Biblical, and humility filled. It applies to so many situations, too, not just Lakeland…and it is preachable.

    Regarding Lakeland, Allsion says that the meetings themselves are so much NOT about Todd B. but rather the atmoshpere around the hall…dare we say the Spirit… that she was able to get past Todd’s persona and style.

    Best to all in Gainesville,
    Steve J.

  • The critics are expected and actually help the cause of what the Holy Spirit is doing in Lakeland… of course you have some flesh mixed in with what the Spirit is doing for and with these people; Paul says, “ I prophesy in part” The religious spirit always hates the activity of Holy Spirit when He is on the move, it is the most biblical thing going on down there! Great blog, Seth.

  • great thoughts…I totally agree with Steve J…a humility-filled, biblical response.

    i find it funny, rather Holy Spirit inspired that my reading in QT was this today:

    “I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth my myself, who foils the sign of false prophets & makes fools of diviners…” Is. 44:24-25.

    Along with the other verses you supplied, I think this passage in Isaiah gives every critic some perspective about false prophets. Many times we hear the test the spirits verse or the beware of false prophets verse, but we don’t often hear anyone say, “Hey wait, isn’t that God’s job?”

    Thanks for always pointing us back to TRUTH.

  • Last I heard it wasn’t my job to separate the wheat and the tares – and isn’t the world glad of that? I seem to believe that we serve a God who knows the hearts of the people who go there seeking Him. I believe He’ll meet them and do right by them.

  • Don’t trust critics whose opinions don’t square with Scripture.

    What about don’t trust prophets whose prophesies or impartations do not align with scripture?

    As far as I can tell, the main critiques you hear are:

    his tattoos,
    a fascination with angels,
    many unsubstantiated claims of miracles,
    his overly dramatic style, and
    his biker background

    No, you have missed the main points, and it is fascinating you highlight the far lesser issues which very few people are that concerned about.

    You miss his numerous false prophecies completely. You miss his heretical false teaching completely. You miss out his financial manipulation, selling the Holy Spirit completely. You miss his heretical views about angels – not just his facination with them. You miss out his Latter Rain background and the antichrist nature of the Manifest Sons and Joel’s Army. You miss his lies and contradictions and covering up completely. I have many proven documented lies on record from Lakeland)

    When did the situation being criticized occur

    NOW. You talk about honoring the Bible but have you ever tested the spirits as the Bible commands, and not associating with unrepentent false prophets and teachers?

    I have asked this before of people, but how can anything GOOD be imparted and tangibly transferred from Todd Bentley when he evidently does not have this in the first place to transfer? He cannot prophesy truthfully, and he and his own are not healed (eg Bob Jones kidneys). Their spirits lead them into more and more error and more and more lies. It is not the Holy Spirit of truth being imparted The fruit is evident at Lakeland but you just do not want to see it – as it is bad fruit from lying prophets motivated by lying spirits and greed and lust for power.

    BTW, do you know what Latter Rain is and what Todd is really prophesying?

    Did you know Wendy Alec predicted that Jesus would show up last night, coming in the clouds and set foot on stage in a 1-1 divine visitation in Lakeland?

  • Miriam,

    As Ronald Reagan would say, “There you go again.” Here this blog is talking about the need for Christians to prioritize love over judgment, especially for those who don’t know one another. In that regard, I love your use of the word “completely.” I’ll stop there.

  • Seth, thanks for this blog. You don’t know me at all but I was surfing trying to find something more balanced on the Lakeland stuff. The critics were starting to worry me and I wondered if I am wrong to think this is a move of God. But you are so right about the judgement stuff.

    I am in England. Our curate went to Lakeland and got “zapped” and the fruit of it I can see is a brokenness before God, a massively increased hunger for Him, a desire for holiness, and people are being healed and zapped when he prays for them now.

    If Todd Bentley is off course in anything he believes or practices, I have no doubt that our great God is capable of convicting him and leading him to repentance. Anyone who lifts the name of Jesus as high as he does can’t be on the side of the enemy although that doesn’t of course make him flawless, any more than I am myself. So many salvations, healings and such Jesus-centred worship. Don’t think the enemy would be too chuffed with that if he were behind it!

    Todd’s not a prophet, he’s an evangelist who moves in signs and wonders. Yes, he makes mistakes, but so do I. His are a bit more public than mine. I guess I would also be verbally flayed if my errors were as public as his are. My response is to pray for him, for God’s hand and blessing to be on his life, to ask God for His Kingdom to come and only His. For His will to be done and only His.

    Thanks again for your very helpful thoughts.
    Blessings, Carol xx

  • Carol,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I hope that people will look at the quality of the fruit coming out of Lakeland. I keep hearing good reports.

    seth

  • I agree with the format of your article and appreciate the questions it raises.

    If the “Lakeland Revival” and Todd Bentley’s spiritual validity were absolutely clear cut we wouldn’t have all of the questions floating around that we do.

    Questions need to be asked without calling the “questioner” or the “questioned” an anti Christ.

    I will say that I do not agree with the doctrine and claims that Todd Bentley and associates like Bob Jones are proclaiming (I type far too slow to give a detailed explanation in a reasonable amount of time). That said; I also do not believe people in this movement are intentionally trying to deceive and manipulate anyone for our enemy.

    I really don’t care about his tattoos, biker image or his “over the top” stage personna. On the other hand I have a hard time picturing Todd and the apostle Paul sitting around the third heaven in a cabin having a chat. I also am a little confused about claiming a healing when your real teeth are traded for gold ones.

    I believe the Lord can work through this situation as God is not limited by us or anyone else. I also believe there are false claims of healing happening as well as real healings.

    If this thing is not of God it will be made evident. The question is will people be able to step back from the opinions they are spouting now and embrace and recognize the truth?

    For me, when I see a “Lakeland Revival” Museum and Gift Shop I will have a pretty good idea where this thing has went. Especially when the monthly specials are different “impartation’s” at a special “suggested donation”.

    When I watch video of Todd Bentley and read what he’s written and transcripts of what he’s said over the years I do see inconsistency’s. Does this mean everything he’s said is a lie? Of course not. On the other hand; when you attribute your statements to the Living God you had better make sure you’re telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    I get the feeling (being honest here, I’m not claiming a “word from God”) that Todd and some involved in the current radical Charismatic movement have found themselves caught in a “current” that they can’t get out of. Suppose you’re somewhere that a noted speaker says that if you come forward you will receive a certain gift since “God told him” it would happen tonight. You go forward because you earnestly desire greater gifts from God. Once you are there you realize you didn’t receive what you were told would come over you. Now you have a few choices: 1) speak out and let people know that you didn’t receive the impartation you thought everyone else did. 2) figure you didn’t get the impartation because of you lack of faith, so claim it even though it didn’t happen. 3) act like you received it so all of the other people around you won’t think less of you.

    I suspect a little of #2 and #3 have happened over the years and to go back and do the first option now would call into question the real things that are going on.

    One of the bad parts about the Internet is that you really can’t catch my tone of voice or my mannerisms when I write this. I believe the only limits on God are those He has chosen to operate under. I want to see revival; real, lasting revival based around Jesus Christ. I am not a Penticostal or Charismatic, if you are part of the body of Christ I really don’t care what your denomination is.

    I would really like it if I had to post another response telling people how wrong my thinking was on this issue. I’m a husband and a dad, I know how to say I’m wrong.

    Let me close with this; a seemingly boring truth is infinitely more valuable than a fantastic lie.

  • Loved this blog Seth. I think the points you’ve made are helpful in all situations, not just in dealing with the Lakeland Revival. Man, what I do know is that these days a critical spirit, a desire to always be “right,” and an inability to deal with unknowns and mysteries is just all over the place. I’m sure I don’t want that to be me. So Lord, reveal any of these issues in my heart. Let me walk in humility and complete trust in You. Amen. Thanks again for the blog Seth. That’s great stuff.

  • Thanks, Ashley. The Lord gave it to me the other day while I was on a run. So, he gets the credit!

  • Seth, I am glad that someone finally is using Scripture in context as it pertains to the character of God. I agree with your gerneral comments and tenents to look for. However, I would like to offer some constructive criticism concerning your response in light of the revival.

    Concerning Scripture, I think you are right when you point us to scripture: “Every word of God is flawless…” (Proverbs 30:5-6) Also, scripture does give us an unchanging standard to which we can appeal. To take this further I would argue that God has perfectly revealed His perfection, character, and power in His word. In light of God’s revelation to us, it seems that the most powerful way to experience Him willbe through His revelation to us through His word. Nothing else will reveal God to us moreso that that which He has already chosen to reveal Himself through. Therefore, the word of His power as well as the power of His word (Heb. 1:3) in addition to the sufficient grace (2 Cor. 12:9), which is sufficient for all of our needs is enough. No man, no revival, no healing, miracle, or anything is comparable to the excellencey of the knowledge of Christ Jesus (Phil 4:8). The Scriptures teach us that all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16) unto good works (3:17). Thus all things must as you say be measured against Scripture.

    Now concerning the revival, I have researched it and watched it throughout the previous nights. I have to honestly say that I am skeptical due the a few things. Todd Bentely talks alot about Scripture but has yet to quote verbatim or read directly from the Word of God in a contextual manner. Now, you may disagree that Scripture has to be read in context, but I would argue that it has order to it since it reflects an ordered God. However, I have to witness the Scriptures being elevated as the supreme authority for life, doctrine, and Godliness. For these things seem to be consistent with the whole witness of Scripture.

    Concerning ciritics, I think it is only wise for all Christians to be critical in a discerning sense. The Scriptures emplore Christ followers to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Also, in Matt. 24:24 the gospel records, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Mark 13:22 and 2 Peter 2:1 state similar exhortations, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” So then, in light of these Scriptures and the agreement you and I both have concerning Scripture being the standard to measure all things by, I would say that we (Christians) have to take these things just as serious in view of what God has revealed. Not all things done nin Jesus name perse are good, regardless of healings that have and will occur, regardless of the miracles, and great things happening. In fact, if the emphasis strictly remains on the healings, on the mircales, on the ministry in and of itself and does not direct others toward the glory of God and the beauty of Christ, then it is all worthless compared to the truth of gospel. Also, slavation in Christ alone through faith and grace alone is the greatest miracle that has and continues to occur in the lives of those whom God has, is, and will continue to draw to Himself. Everything happening at the revival may be good but remains insignificant in light of God’s gospel that turns rebellious men into Christ followers. If this revival does not call mankind to repent and turn from their sin and to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ (which I have not heard yet) then it seems to be missing the point.

    I will stop here unless you desire to carry on further conversation. I will humbly admit that I come from a more conservative reformed baptist background and have just as many pressupositions and bias toward these things as you or anyone else does. However, we do need to lay our pressuppositions asied and consult Scripture. I believe that God will not and can not reveal anything contrary to what he has already revealed about Himself. To do so would make Him commit some sort of Sovereign suicide. Anything claimed as a word from God or new revelation (which is debatable) must still be measured with and by Scripture. With all that I have mentioned and said I do think that while the revival may be effective for some it is God working through it to bring people to Himself, to the realization of the continual need to pray, to lead these men and women to the glory of the cross in order that they might seek Him more. It has nothing to do with Todd Bentley, nothing to do with the event, with miracles, or anything except God Himself. If people are leaving renewed to serve God and love people then praise be to God. However, if people go there expectating a miracle for the mere simplicity of having a miracle then let them be anathema.

    Grace & Peace
    Benjamin Wall

  • Seth, I am glad that someone finally is using Scripture in context as it pertains to the character of God. I agree with your gerneral comments and tenents to look for. However, I would like to offer some constructive criticism concerning your response in light of the revival.

    Concerning Scripture, I think you are right when you point us to scripture: “Every word of God is flawless…” (Proverbs 30:5-6) Also, scripture does give us an unchanging standard to which we can appeal. To take this further I would argue that God has perfectly revealed His perfection, character, and power in His word. In light of God’s revelation to us, it seems that the most powerful way to experience Him willbe through His revelation to us through His word. Nothing else will reveal God to us moreso that that which He has already chosen to reveal Himself through. Therefore, the word of His power as well as the power of His word (Heb. 1:3) in addition to the sufficient grace (2 Cor. 12:9), which is sufficient for all of our needs is enough. No man, no revival, no healing, miracle, or anything is comparable to the excellencey of the knowledge of Christ Jesus (Phil 4:8). The Scriptures teach us that all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16) unto good works (3:17). Thus all things must as you say be measured against Scripture.

    Now concerning the revival, I have researched it and watched it throughout the previous nights. I have to honestly say that I am skeptical due the a few things. Todd Bentely talks alot about Scripture but has yet to quote verbatim or read directly from the Word of God in a contextual manner. Now, you may disagree that Scripture has to be read in context, but I would argue that it has order to it since it reflects an ordered God. However, I have to witness the Scriptures being elevated as the supreme authority for life, doctrine, and Godliness. For these things seem to be consistent with the whole witness of Scripture.

    Concerning ciritics, I think it is only wise for all Christians to be critical in a discerning sense. The Scriptures emplore Christ followers to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Also, in Matt. 24:24 the gospel records, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Mark 13:22 and 2 Peter 2:1 state similar exhortations, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” So then, in light of these Scriptures and the agreement you and I both have concerning Scripture being the standard to measure all things by, I would say that we (Christians) have to take these things just as serious in view of what God has revealed. Not all things done nin Jesus name perse are good, regardless of healings that have and will occur, regardless of the miracles, and great things happening. In fact, if the emphasis strictly remains on the healings, on the mircales, on the ministry in and of itself and does not direct others toward the glory of God and the beauty of Christ, then it is all worthless compared to the truth of gospel. Also, slavation in Christ alone through faith and grace alone is the greatest miracle that has and continues to occur in the lives of those whom God has, is, and will continue to draw to Himself. Everything happening at the revival may be good but remains insignificant in light of God’s gospel that turns rebellious men into Christ followers. If this revival does not call mankind to repent and turn from their sin and to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ (which I have not heard yet) then it seems to be missing the point.

    I will stop here unless you desire to carry on further conversation. I will humbly admit that I come from a more conservative reformed baptist background and have just as many pressupositions and bias toward these things as you or anyone else does. However, we do need to lay our pressuppositions asied and consult Scripture. I believe that God will not and can not reveal anything contrary to what he has already revealed about Himself. To do so would make Him commit some sort of Sovereign suicide. Anything claimed as a word from God or new revelation (which is debatable) must still be measured with and by Scripture. With all that I have mentioned and said I do think that while the revival may be effective for some it is God working through it to bring people to Himself, to the realization of the continual need to pray, to lead these men and women to the glory of the cross in order that they might seek Him more. It has nothing to do with Todd Bentley, nothing to do with the event, with miracles, or anything except God Himself. If people are leaving renewed to serve God and love people then praise be to God. However, if people go there expectating a miracle for the mere simplicity of having a miracle then let them be anathema.

    Grace & Peace
    Benjamin Wall

  • Thank you for your post Benjamin.

    I am also a very conservative person when it comes to Christian doctrine. I believe in the working and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit but am very concerned about what I view as the perversion of God’s gifts. There’s an old A.B. Simpson hymn that talks about seeking the Giver rather than the gifts. It’s been about 8 years since I last heard it so I can’t quote it for you. That thought is one of the things that keeps bouncing around my mind about the current happenings in Lakeland.

    I struggle with this subject due to my belief that there are many believers attending and supporting this event out of a whole hearted desire to be closer to Jesus. On the other side I see doctrinal practices that I can’t seem to square with scripture. This makes it, in my mind anyhow, impossible to give the whole “Lakeland revival” topic a completely good or completely bad judgment.

    On the subject of “false prophets”; do you think a majority of the false prophets talked about in new testament scripture have any idea that they’ve been deceived and are spreading a gospel contrary to God’s word? Our enemy is a liar and cannot behave contrary to his nature. Why would he be truthful to those that may end up being his servants?

    I have been convicted recently as I research Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, Paul Cain and Mike Bickle about approaching this topic with anything other than a spirit of humility. If I rail against any of these men (who I may strongly disagree with, but still consider them brothers in Christ) in my own power, with my own “wisdom” and my own agenda; am I not also a servant of my enemy?

    As you stated Benjamin; God’s word is the standard we are given to measure things by. We still are not to measure in pride and arrogance, but in humility and love.

    I believe Satan is using this “revival” to cause division and strife within the church. While we still need to confront error with truth, we need to do it in Christs love and with His leading.

    Let’s use this strife as a call to prayer for unity and healing within the church, as well as protection and restoration for those that have fallen from the narrow path.

  • Thanks for the response. I agree that Christ like love is that which glorfies God most when approaching and holding other believers accountable. Additionally, I believe in the practice Martin Luther poined as ‘harsh benevolence’. Prima facie, it seems as though these words contradict one another but it is no more contradictory than when a father disciplines his child (etc. many more illustrations could be provided, but I chose this one). In light of Scripture, when considering this reveival as well as the leadership behind it, one can not negate the issues related to false claims, man centered proclamation, an overemphasis on gifts rather than the giver, extra-biblical revelation and highly debatable texts that have been historically viewed by 2000 years of church history as Jewish-Gnostic myths, the underemphasis on sufferring unto the glory of God as well as poor paraphrasing of the Word of God. I think these elements require harsh benevolence, which means more than blogging, criticizing, causing further division(s), etc. I think it incorporates gathering God fearing men and women who to corporately rebuke and correct in love with a humble spirit but with a forceful and confident spirit. If one is preaching anything other than the gospel of jesus Christ then he preaches in vain. Of course, people may legitimately be receiving healing, motivation, renewal. Sure the revival is effective for some; however, this is God working in and through it all. Again, it has nothing to do with anything other than God using the foolish things and men of this world to draw men unto Himself. Paul prays in full confidence (from prison) thanking God for those who preach in vain because some were being added to the kingdom through it. But he also recognized the need for true gospel centered churches to work to produce mature and ministering gospel centered men who love and live for Jesus in a manner worthy of the redemption. Now, I too have many issues with this whole thing and come from a conservative reformed background. I too do not want negate the possibility that God is utilizing this for His glory – of course He is – and this is what He has done since the fall of mankind. But again, I think it has more to do with those (as you said) who tune in, attend, and participate in a unified prayer of healing for those who are in need. I agree with Todd when he says that there is undefinable power within us that is due to the resurrection power of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, if the numbers are correct (138 million viewers) then I would never question the power of God moving in His church to delivery liberty over death, sickness, disease, etc. That is amazing! But, it has more to do with 138 million believers in unified intercession than the miracle itself, than the agent chosen to inact the healing, than revival, than Todd’s faith – It has everything to do with God’s authority over these things, which ought to direct us to Him and His glory – not Him in His power (He has already manifested His power via creation). Thus, this is the part that is missing. How are these things, this revival directing people toward the glory of God and His gospel. How is this revival directing people toward local churches to get plugges in? How is this revival elevating and emphasizing the sufficiency of God’s grace (YES EVEN IN SUFFERING AND WEAKNESSES)? How is this revival emphasizing that Scripture is sufficient for revealing God perfectly to us? To me, it is not. I will continue to pray God will draw men unto Himself and that they will experience the greatest miracle and supernatural event known – God Himself coming in the likeness of man to suffer a horrific death – a death of thieves, rapists, murders, pedophiles, etc. in order that He might be humbled to the lowest point in order that His creation may experience His saving grace.

    Note:
    I can in full confidence state here that yesterday I contacted FreshFireMinistries, and wrote a simple email inviting future converstaion(s) with Todd and their ministry. Thus, I am taking action. I encourage you all to take action.

    Sola Fides
    Benjamin Wall

  • i have been fowllowing this “revival” and listening, When ever you have someone talking and every other word that is spoken is I, I saw this, or I that, it speaks volumes, it really shows that its about the person. This guy does not reflect Jesus but himself, this whole thing is about SELF. were is the true gospel?, were is the humility, and the denying of self. it seems that the Word of God is being replaced by experiences, and feelings, and sences. everyone is running to florida,most of the internet sights iv have seen todd bentlys name is mentioned more that Jesus. thats is pathetic. These “leaders,and speakers make sport of peoples weaknesses,”i watched it on you tube” could care less about people, ill bet you would never see any of them weep with those who weep, there just up on stage having a good old time. at the expence of others desparations.

  • Well I will just give my testimony. While watching a Lakeland meeting, with no particular thought in mind other than to just see what was happening, God’s Holy Spirit came upon in a very powerful way and I was delivered out of a terrible spiritual corner I had backed into. Since that time, one monthe ago, I have entered into an entirely new and refreahing relationship with the Father. One awesome side effect of this, among many, is that I now care for humanity in a very deep way and desire more than ever to just be a witness for Christ in my everyday life. I know the Holy Spirit in me bears witness that Lakeland has the same Holy Spirit. I dislike many things about what goes on there but cannot deny the power that came into my house and set me free that night.

  • First I would like to say thank you seth for being the first site I have come upon that actually aproaches the issues of the Lakeland revival in a unemotional and unprejudiced fashion. What a blessing that itself has been. I to have watched the revival on many occasions and I have to admit I have been blessed imensely. My passion and fire has been flamed and restored to what it was when I was just a new believer. I have a new boldness and hunger to grow closer to Jesus. I feel a joy and peace being restored to my spirit. I have 2 long time friends who went to the revival and the one thing they said when they came back was that there was a overwelming since of Gods presence nothing either had ever experienced before and have come back with a refreshing fire which is rolling over into their church. I guess i believe we serve a big God I like to believe that our God is not a God of trickery and that people genuinely seeking Him whether at the revival or at elsewhere that he will seek the heart and will show up! So I believe what is not of God at the revival or in Todds life that its not necessary for us to take care of or judge but Hes a big enough God and he will take care of it!! What I see through these so called professional critics what they are doing is just pushing those away who are not Christians even farther by their judgemental ways. I had someone say to me who wants to be a Christian and risked being judged and torn into pieces like that no thank you. Now that is of more concern to me that what is and what is not of God at the revival! many blessings to you and thanks again for this site!

  • let us look at the scriipture and see if anyones actions lines up with GODS WORD that we are concerned about. if they do and we are told to test the SPIRIT to see if these actions do line up with GODS WORD AND HIS DOCTRINE and they do then that person is a GOD lead person. if they do not then he is walking in error and must be corrected with kindness and love. if he does not repent in the BIBLE GOD’S WORD they were were asked to leave and not come back till they did. THAT IS WHY WE ALL REALLY NEED TO KNOW THE BIBLE AND WHAT GOD SAYS VERY WELL. TO DO THAT WE MUST READ IT AND NOT JUST ONCE BUT DAILY AND NOT JUST PARTS BUT AS A WHOLE . THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT TOD. IT IS ABOUT THE BODY OF CHRIST AS WELL. WE AS A BODY SHOULD ALL BE ON THE MEAT OF THE WORD BUSY ABOUT OUR ABBA FATHER GOD’S BUISNESS. KNOWING FATHER GOD AND KNOWING WHAT IS PLEASING TO HIM AND WHAT IS NOT PLEASING TO HIM . WE SHOULD ALL WONT TO PLEASE HIM AND LIFT JESUS CHRIST UP HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OUR LORD AND SAVIOR. BY NOW AS MATURE CHRISTIANS A LOT OF US SHOULD KNOW THE DIFFERENCE FROM GOOD AND EVIL AND NOT NEED AN OPINION FROM OTHERS TO TELL US WHAT IS GOOD ARE BAD . SAD TO SAY MOST OF US ARE LIKE SHEEP . I PRAY WE ARE ALWAYS LEAD BY THE TRUE SHEPHARD AND HIS WORD AND OPINION.

  • So the Lakeland Florids revival has collapsed, Todd Bently has been shown for what he is and Fresh Fire Ministries has ceased ministry. Seemly not many people followed the lesson given by the collapse of the ‘Toronto Blessing’ fiasco.

    Why don’t people just follow the teaching of Jesus? ‘Repent (i.e. do what God commands you to do) because the Kingdom of God is coming’. Not glamerous enough I suppose!!

    John

  • Todd Bentley and his supporters are not ‘the enemy’. However, the enemy of the Chuch that Jesus Christ is building will use people with ‘footholds’ to deceive, destroy and kill. Unquestionably Todd and the ‘Apostolic Alliance’ and GodTV all have footholds (e.g. pride, love of money, disrespect for the true Holy Spirit of God) and they have been well-used to do a considerable amount of damage to the credibility and witness of the church. ANYONE who calls out to God from their hearts will never be disappointed – whether this occurs at Lakeland or in a closet; so Bentley has no right to claim that these people are the ‘fruits’ of his ministry. The real fruits of HIS ministry are the ones who received the ‘impartation’ from him, and who then carry this around the world in a contination of ‘false revivals’. I live in a small town thousands of kilometers from Lakeland, but right here we have a pastor who travelled to Lakeland and ‘got some’. Now he urges others to ‘come get some’ and sadly the revival meetings are totally devoid of repentance, remorse for sin, awe of God or His Word – and anyone who questions this is accused of ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’. No, my friends, the true fruit of false doctrine, false teaching, false prophecy and false revival is apostacy.

  • Diggory Press owner Rosalind Franklin poses as ‘prophet of God’ whilst awaiting trial in the UK..

    This post from another blog might interest supporters of the self-proclaimed prophet ‘Miriam Franklin’ who has posted above..

    Posted Jan 2009
    It seems the ‘prophetess’ Miriam Franklin is not in fact who she seems… Unfortunately we are witnessing hypocrisy and duplicity on an unbelievable scale I’m afraid…

    For example, the prophetess says..
    “The charlatans a-plenty who do not fear man, God or Beast are out to fleece the vulnerable and undiscerning for every last dime… Then there are the more sinister ones who intentionally prey like vultures – …who disguise themselves as angels of light… Satan knows scripture, (and very well), albeit he twists it for his own ungodly purposes. He is a good counterfeiter, looks, walks and talks almost like a real Christian.”

    But the important question is.. who is the prophetess Miriam Franklin? Is she for real – or is she in fact the epitomy of all that she so loudly denounces?

    I challenge you Miriam to deny that you are in fact Rosalind Miriam Franklin, currently awaiting trial in the UK on multiple charges of deception and fraud in your other persona as the corrupt owner of Diggory Press / Exposure Publishing / Meadow Books / Kingdom Come Publishing and associated businesses – where you also loudly proclaim your ‘Christianity’ whilst at the same time ruthlessly defrauding unsuspecting clients?

    See this link:
    http://color-of-truth.com/DiggoryComplaints3.pdf
    to view the first 20 of over 78 author complaints regarding fraud, deception, theft etc..

    I also challenge you ‘Miriam’ to deny that you are in fact the origin of many of the pseudonymous posts on various internet blogs.. including some above I suspect? Curious researchers should check out the ISP addresses..

    Sorry for the let-down folks, but it seems the brazen hypocrisy and deviousness of this woman knows no bounds.

    Please follow the link above for further details. Thank you.

  • Hi Folks – sorry I didn’t respond sooner to the above post.

    By the way – ‘sleuth-for-truth’ is yet another of Mrs Franklin’s aliases which she uses to attack others online, and the website above has long since been pulled for breaching their T & C’s – specifically defamation and libel.

    Mrs Franklin also set up two more similar websites with multiple misleading pages and a number of false ‘posters’ in a desperate attempt to discredit me in particular – and those of us who are taking her on in Court. They too have been pulled for the same reasons.

    Mrs F recently ‘failed-to-appear’ at a Court appearance in Liverpool, UK, and had judgement awarded against her in the matter of fraud, deception and breach of contract. She has also transferred her businesses into a new company called Author’s Chance Ltd.. so prospective authors, please be aware!

    Details can be seen here: http://checkpoint.ie/roguesgallery.html

    I have no religious axe to grind, and have no opinions about any of the individuals discussed on this blog, but I do have an informed opinion about Mrs Rosalind Miriam Franklin. Put bluntly, in my opinion she is no more of a ‘spiritual authority’ than my goat – and she most certainly has a more cantankerous disposition.. Not to be taken seriously, unless of course you are the unfortunate target of her ‘divinely-inspired’ accusations or judgements..

    Next Court hearing Nov 9th 2009 – please pray for justice to be done!

  • Hi Folks – to keep it succinct, we won the court case in November, but Mrs Rosalind Miriam Franklin not only continues to deny she is ‘Miriam’ the end times prophetess, but is now trying to take on the British Court system..

    It seems someone is adverse to receiving correction.. by anyone!

    Here is a first-hand report of the hearing: http://checkpoint.ie/TorquayReport.pdf

    ..and general information relating to the three-year ordeal suffered by Mrs Franklin’s trusting clients (who unfortunately believed her online claims to be ‘an honest, ethical, Christian business’):
    http://checkpoint.ie/roguesgallery.html

    Enquiries to [email protected]

    Thank you.

  • As your thread has been hijacked and gone rather off topic, for a balanced argument here is some info relevant to our ubiquitous mr stephen manning:

    http://www.endtimespropheticwords.net/diggorypress

    As he seems to spend a large proportion of his life
    with seemingly nothing better to do than hectoring RMF online, the above link has some important info regarding his rather shabby and duplicitous character.

    This blog is the same as ‘sleuth for truth’ which was taken down from a couple of sites last year following a complaint, presumably from mr manning. As he would say, judge for yourself folks…

    For the record I am not RMF and have no connection to Diggory press.

  • Just received the details of the post above in my private email. Thanks to whomever sent it in.

    May I ask ‘Father Ted’ to identify him/her self so we can notify the courts that another (5th) defamatory blog has appeared online, and take the required action.

    Meanwhile, Mrs Rosalind ‘Miriam’ Franklin has now posted a ‘donate here’ button on the endtimesprophecy website – despite castigating so may others for doing the same… and she still continues to deny she is the same person who is currently being pursued by bailiffs for non-compliance with court orders.

    She has also been officially blacklisted by all the major publishing industry operators for engaging in fraud and deception…

    Anyway, let’s see if ‘Father Ted’ has the courage of ‘his’ convictions. Pray tell us who you really are ‘Ted’..

    Looking forward to your response..

    Stephen

  • Just tried to follow ‘Father Teds’ link above – and surprise, surprise, it leads nowhere.

    If you have nothing to hide ‘Ted’ please be forthcoming..

    You will note that I, and scores of Mrs Franklin’s defrauded clients post in our own names, and do our best to tell the truth.. Please reciprocate..

    Stephen

  • The thing is… the people who do critique what is going on in lakeland do not necessarily do it from a Pharisee type spirit… It bothers me that other Christians assume this… We are to speak the TRUTH in LOVE… that is a command that requires obedience and great love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. So many come away HURT… This is serious and affects the whole body. Praise God there are people with courage enough to face being called “critical” and “judgmental” and so forth out of concern for the Body and more importantly obedience to God’s Word.

  • The dangerous thing about the Lakeside Reveival is that it is packaged as a form of Hollywood Christianity. Hollywood has shows like friends and desperate housewifes, both these shows are funny, but do we (especially we as Christians) check the message, the content. Joey from friends is so likeable, but he is a male tart who sleeps with anything that moves (female of course)….Hollywood bombards us with messages that go against bible teaching. The lakeside revival is the same….you have to check out the message of the preacher not the image…

    My problem is that after researching Todd,s influences and messages..there are just too many errors, preaching errors, prophetic errors, fleshy errors when compared with the bible…the man is all over the place.

    Compare him with Billy Graham, not perfect, but a man who’s moral, personal, finacial and spiritual life was close to what Gods requires.

    Have we forgot the part of the bible that says a great delusion will cover the earth, a delusion masterminded by the devil, which might even fool the elect…..

    We have to test the spirits, not all are of God….Before you go to lakeside to GET SOME..be sure about what it is you are getting……..Remeber there is a generation of people who do not know God by the word of God but by thier feelings only. Hollywood Christianity..connects with the later…I fear this is what Lakeside is all about.

  • I would agree with the commentator who said you’ve missed most of the real concerns. Bentley’s tattoos and biker background are non-issues, and his “overly dramatic style” is a minor point.

    The main things that many people are concerned about include (1) his unorthodox theology which frequently includes extra-biblical teaching based on his personal angelic visions, (2) his violent methods (I’m sure you’ve seen the YouTube videos), (3) his psychological manipulation of his audience to produce the bizarre manifestations, and yes (4) his unsubstantiated claims of miracles.

    I had an open mind when I first started looking into the events in Lakeland – there is nothing I would like to see more than a real move of God – but the evidence is more than overwhelming that Todd Bentley is a false prophet and teacher who has deceived many sincere Christians.

  • Seth, thanks for this blog – your eight points are right on. Kathy, I believe many will witness to what you write. Like you, my faith and walk with the Lord has been deepened through watching the revival, and I’ve been inspired to pray more, study the Word more, and be bolder in sharing my faith (I had already thought I was a strong Christian, but I now have an even greater enthusiasm). When I read all the judgmentalism, my spirit and the Holy Spirit with me are grieved. When I watch the Lakeland revival, I am refreshed and filled with joy in seeing all the salvations and lives touched, and how this move of God is spreading around the world. The Lord is so good, and will use the weak things of this world who are willing to be used to further His kingdom on earth, even if they are different than me and have been delivered from a rough background of sin (I hate tatoos, piercings, and shouting and screaming, etc., but I have learned to look beyond). Lord bless you all.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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