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Lakeland revival: A post-Bentley analysis

When I first wrote this blog, I believe my perspective was off.  I joined the crowd rushing to judgment of not only Todd Bentley, but the Lakeland Revival.  So, I apologize for not spending more time praying about it before posting.  Call me a flip-flopper, but I’ve modified my vie…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
When I first wrote this blog, I believe my perspective was off.  I joined the crowd rushing to judgment of not only Todd Bentley, but the Lakeland Revival.  So, I apologize for not spending more time praying about it before posting.  Call me a flip-flopper, but I’ve modified my views and edited the blog.  I still believe we followers of Jesus made many mistakes in our zeal and therefore have much to learn, but I also don’t want to miss God and all he has been doing as I review this.  He has been working through the Lakeland Revival.  So, if you read the blog yesterday, please give it another look today and see if we don’t come closer to the truth with this effort.  I appreciate all the blog comments that helped me to modify my perspective. They appear below. I have left the original blog intact as it appeared yesterday if you’d like to compare the two.
 
They recently closed the doors on Todd Bentley’s involvement with the Lakeland revival after  Bentley’s announcement that his marriage was on the rocks. It was the kind of ignominious end that many critics had predicted.
 

If you look at the comments on the blog I wrote about the Lakeland revival, you can see that people had strong opinions.  Many focused their criticisms on Bentley himself.  His flaws were an offense to them.  And, while you can’t fault the hunger for God that many who traveled to Lakeland had, Bentley himself said and did things that were beyond the pale.  His theology and methods were at times wacky and his character couldn’t support the worldwide attention. 

In the wake of this announcement, it’s important that we take a closer look at what happened and ask what can be learned. And in doing so, it’s important to take stock of the many thousands of lives that were impacted.
 
I had a number of friends who went down to Lakeland to check it out.  They reported good fruit. One of them reported witnessing a dramatic healing. Another experienced what he termed “holy rain” – water inexplicably appearing on him. Others were greatly encouraged and are now growing by leaps and bounds spiritually because of what they experienced.
 
Still, there was excess.  And to be fair, revivals are often that way – when you make pots on a pottery wheel, a lot of excess clay is going to fly off the wheel.  God doesn’t order up tidy ceremonies when he’s dealing with affairs of the heart. He often seems to be more concerned with our healing than he is with our theology.
 
With all the positive testimonies, it’s a shame to see it come to such an abrupt end.  We do well to learn from what happened. My initial opinion was more strongly focused around Bentley’s flaws, but since then I’ve moderated my perspective with the understanding that God doesn’t have servants who have fixed their sin issue, so he uses the flawed servants who are available and hungry.  I’ll take a closer look at that issue in tomorrow’s blog.
 
Whatever else he was, Bentley was hungry and available.  The issue is not, “Did God show up and change lives through what Bentley ignited in Lakeland?”  The answer to that question is “yes.”  You can look at the many testimonies of people who have commented on this or other blogs, or you can talk to those whom you may know personally and you’ll see that their lives have been changed.  I’ve talked to four sets of friends who have been down there and all of them say, “God is in it and it impacted me.  I met God there.”  All of them say that the revival is much bigger than Bentley and to dismiss the revival because of his involvement is to miss the point.  If you’re a critic, I invite you to talk to some of the people whose lives have been impacted before you dismiss the whole thing.
 
Any criticism of Bentley’s involvement with the Lakeland revival should be focused along the lines of “What can we learn from this so as to better steward something comparable in the future?” To do otherwise is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Initially in answering this question, I quoted liberally from Charisma Magazine editor, J. Lee Grady’s recent column in which he made these three points:
1. Among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow. I blame this lack of discernment, partly, on raw zeal for God. We’re spiritual hungry-which can be a good thing. But sometimes, hungry people will eat anything.
 
2. When Bentley announced to the world that the same angel that ushered in the 1950s healing revival had come to Lakeland, the entire audience should have run for the exits.
 

Why didn’t anyone correct this error from the pulpit? Godly leaders are supposed to protect the sheep from heresy, not spoon feed deception to them.
 
3. God TV told people that “any criticism of Todd Bentley is demonic.”  The network’s hosts also warned listeners that if they listened to criticism of Bentley, they could lose their healings. This is cultic manipulation at its worst. The Bible tells us that the
Bereans were noble believers because they studied the Scriptures daily
“to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11, NASB). Yet in the
case of Lakeland, honest intellectual inquiry was viewed as a sign of
weakness. 
Just because we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit does not mean we check our brains at the church door.

Grady is right. More accountability would have kept people from discounting the way God has been moving in people’s lives in Lakeland.  And the efforts at bringing accountability and covering may have been half-steps.  Still, we must be careful in reviewing what God has clearly not been doing (the points Grady makes) to simultaneously not discount what he has been doing.  The revival has been quick and it’s been messy, but it’s also been fruitful.
 
In summary, let me suggest that anyone who wants to join the legions who are ready to bring correction to Todd Bentley in their review of the Lakeland Revival (and in writing this blog, I am in that number) be prepared to also consider the good fruit that he has produced there. To do otherwise is to risk missing God.
 
Tomorrow’s blog takes this a step further – How God feels about our criticism.
 
Read Grady’s blog in it’s entirety here.  Read more about Bentley’s recent announcement here.

Comments (50)

  • Sean Smith June WR 07

    “But among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to
    swallow and follow.”J. Lee Gradyeditor of Charisma.

    wow -and so I believe a test has come! =) My first thought is- what is the true and real question in all thishow do
    we truly see and hear with kingdom ears and eyes! It’s almost surprising how unmoved I am by this article! I have
    come to Love the few moments I’ve had when scripture becomes know-longer theory but reality. Tangible reality that
    I can grasp with two hands! Scripture like my children shall know my voice….Praise God! Intimacy with the Father is
    the only place where we will find rest, truth, and answers.

    I thank God that His work, and what He is doing in this time, is bigger than one man! This was never about Todd
    Bentley, and I’ve personally witnessed him be the first one to say it on many occasions. I believe anyone who traveled
    to Lakeland for Todd alone or for the mere experience received their reward in full. And those who sought out God-
    found Him!

    I believe this will give many people who doubt the Revival and Todd, because of the offense that’s taken place, a
    platform to speak from and continue to cause confusion for many! J. Lee Grady said, “I still believe that God desires
    to visit our nation in supernatural power. I know He wants to heal multitudes, and I will continue praying for a healing
    revival to sweep across the United States. But we must contend for the genuine, not an imitation. True revival will be
    accompanied by brokenness, humility, reverence and repentance—not the arrogance, showmanship and empty hype
    that often was on display in Lakeland.”

    I believe that God is visiting our nation in supernatural power, and He doesn’t just want to heal multitudes, He is
    healing multitudes. Thank God one broken marriage can’t stop what the Lord is doing, and that this hope doesn’t rest
    on Todd or lakeland. The truth is most of what I find the church calling deception isn’t really the deception- It’s
    much more strategic than that! And much of the “words” that people give for the sake of “good,” is really for
    themselves. (my opinion of course)

    There is truly an arena of confusion and I fear it’s only going to increase. But I thank God for what I believe he has
    revealed to me, and this thing that has begun is only going to increase, and I’m not talking about what begun in
    lakeland-this is far bigger and we are in the 11th hour!

    The Lord is offending the Churchpraise God =) “Help us Lord!!”

    I agree with Wendy and Rory Alec from God TV saying, “GOD TV is anxious that our viewers and partners will first of
    all respond to these unfortunate circumstances with an attitude of Christ-like maturity and pray fervently for Todd,
    Shonnah and their children as a family who are precious to the Lord. While we have learned today that immorality was
    not an issue, no doubt the enemy has exploited vulnerabilities in their marriage.

    Much love to all…Thanks for the blog Seth!

    Sean Smith

    http://www.seansmith.theworldrace.net

  • I think all of emotions I have upon reading this blog and like Jen above says it I simply love Jesus is my first response but the my spirit doesnt seem to let me go at that. I have already been aware of the shortcomings of Todd Bentley. But truthfully I find more offensiveness of this blog than I ever did from Todd. If this is a way that will push more people away from church and God it will be more through this blog than Todd bentley because hes just a person like the rest of us with his faults his sin etc… And what will happen is that churches will go back to playing it safe and putting God back in this box of safe church. Either the scriptures are true or they are not.Either we serve a God of healings resurrections and life or we dont.. And you forget about the thousands of people who went to florida because they were hungry for God because their churches were leaving them unfullied. Todd challenged the people and the Word. Do i think he was with out error,no absolutely not. I think he is young raw and immature but again I know the God I serve is way bigger than this. I believe what Romans 8:28 say that God will bring good out of ALL to those who love them. So many people I know lives have been changed radically and there has been a depth in their faith that has risen up..So in dismissing Todd becareful not to dismiss God in this also. If there is a large number of people who are bitter about the revival the sad thing its that it will be more fueled by comments like you. They will be questioning the life changes that transpired in their life now. Perhaps made to question if they are truly different or made to feel embarrassed or ashamed that they went to the revival or believed that God could be all scriptures stated or all Todd challenged in us.I will not be ashamed of the Gospel.Instead this bloger is basicaly saying see what a bunch of idiots you. Todd is just a man, but instead of this blog encouraging us to pray for Todd and his family that they be restored and all that is not of God to be removed and for him to be made whole again in Christ because just imagine with the passion he has what a testimony He could be of Christ Jesus.
    Its almost as if this blogger was saying see I told you and feeling good about it.. What I have to say about this blog is Shame on you.

  • This is a sad day to read such news. I was a supporter of Lakeland initially, but then began to be disturbed at a lot of what I was seeing and the doctrine that was clearly astray from the word of God. I studied carefully many views and was particularly struck by the Reach Out Trust website that was the most balanced I had read. I began to urge friends to check it out carefully rather than just swallow it all. I would have loved it to have all been true and absolutely of God, that was my preferred answer. But in the end my conscience and the stirrings in my spirit wouldn’t let me.

    It is a sad day for the Bentleys and, whatever you think of the recent events in Lakeland, they need our prayers not our condemnation.

    But the dodgy doctrine that was spoken from the platform there was not unique. There are a number of leaders with the same views or even worse. This is not a day to think it is all over and done, it is a day to wake us up and return us to the word of God, to listening to the voice of Jesus afresh and letting His voice be louder than other’s opinions.

    I have been drawn back to the story in 1 Kings 19 about Elijah. God told him to stand in His presence while He passed by. There was a powerful wind. “But the Lord was not in the wind.” There was an earthquake. “But the Lord was not in the earthquake.” There was a fire. “But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a the soft whisper of a voice.”

    Then, and only then, did Elijah come out and stand on the mountain before God.

    He knew to wait. He knew God was not in the noise and the disruption and the distraction. He was waiting for the still small voice he knew so well. When he heard that, he moved out and listened to Him in obedience to His command.

    I believe revival is coming, but true revival will be from waiting for that still small voice and only acting when He says so.

    Discernment is still absolutely essential. It is not time to put it on the shelf simply because the noise and hype and “fire” of Lakeland seems to have ended. All the more, we need to keep our ears open. Not to pick on particular people or criticise individuals, but to ensure that the voice we listen to is the voice of the Lord Jesus Himself and not the opinions of other people.

    Jesus, let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done.

  • I`m sorry to hear that Tod Bently is wacky and that his theology and methods are off course. May God Bless! But I need to tell you,my wife and I with our daughter were at the Lakeland revivail two days. Tod Bentley was no were in sight and I barely remember hearing his name. So I`m sorry to hear you trash the whole Lakeland revival for his name sake. The speakers and worship leaders and all that took place will we were there,was a very spiritual experience for us. It was a wonderful time of joining people from around the world,praising and honoring our lord.Harold

  • For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
    (2 Timothy 4:3 ESV)

    It is SO heartbreaking to see so many who CALL themselves Christians so easily taking in be false and heretical teaching….may this wake-up the true Christians in the church to challenge those around them in the TRUTH…that the false may be identified & made to understand the Gospel that they may truly REPENT & put their FAITH in the Blood of Jesus Christ, that He shed for SIN.

    A respected and well-know evangelist was very recently preaching the Gospel on the street in front of a Todd Bentley event in California; follow the link below (scroll down) and listen/watch the responses of those lines up to attend this event….as they mock the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

    http://thelawmanchronicles.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html

    May our Lord WAKE-UP the true Church of Jesus Christ & light a fire within us for TRUTH that is revealed in Scripture and fir the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Glenn.

    http://www.repentanceforgrace.com

  • My dear brethren…I seek only to see Christ in my sister or brother, nothing else. If along, the way to looking for Christ, I see flesh, sin, or other things, I will pray for that one. Beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder – I choose to see the beauty of Jesus Christ in my brethren. For it is what my eyes focus on, which tells me what I see… How often have we said “…open the eyes of my heart, Lord…” Yes, he will as we look for him in each other, reveal prayer needs, and we need to acknowledge our sins, repent, and be ambassadors in Christ’s reconciliation.

  • I normally agree with every word you write, but I can’t say I’m on board with this blog. As far as I know, they have not closed the doors on the revival meetings in Lakeland. Only Todd has pulled back, which was announced almost a month ago. And we should be supporting this decision as he obviously needs to be fully focused on his family now. And we all know this isn’t about Mr. Todd Bentley. Secondly, his marriage is not over – they haven’t filed for divorce and called it quits. They are admitting to having problems that need their full attention to bring restoration and reconciliation. And I would hope people would be moved to pray for this family. The enemy obviously wants to destroy the Kingdom that was built up through this revival. I am not defending every word that was spoken in Lakeland, but I can attest that God was fully moving in this revival and that His presence overshadowed those meetings. In my opinion, discernment was not discouraged, but encouraged. This was not a scandal; it was a move of God – which often looks scandalous to the eyes of religion.

    I pray that no one feels spiritually shipwrecked or burnt because of Todd’s marital issues. Our God is way bigger than that! C’mon church, let’s band together and pray for one another. I’m not saying to check our minds at the door, but as always, our unity and prayers for one another is absolutely critical in this moment.

  • Seth, I thank you for this blog. It sheds light on a very dark situation. I read all of these comments, and certianly some (and only some) of them are very correct; however, it was still darkness. God glorified Himself b/c there were a lot of innocent people there to protect.

    Kathy, I actually studied Todd and his ministry and sent out many emails to equip the body of Christ, I felt, in his negetivity and actions, to put it politely.

    To comment on your comment, “But truthfully I find more offensiveness of this blog than I ever did from Todd. If this is a way that will push more people away from church and God it will be more through this blog than Todd bentley because hes just a person like the rest of us with his faults his sin etc..”

    I have to strongly disagree. I see it as a form of redemption for the church. It is exposing the truth, and perhaps… just perhaps… the innocent will see this as truth!

    Also… “hes just a person like the rest of us with his faults his sin” The Scriptures say, “The saying is true and irrefutable:If any man [eagerly] seeks the office of bishop (superintendent, overseer), he desires an excellent task (work).Now a bishop (superintendent, overseer) must give no grounds for accusation but must be above reproach.” WELL… I’m pretty sure that this does not include idolatry.

    Yes, many great things happened and in the name of Jesus; however, many things that were not of Jesus was happening too. You cannot mix darkness with light.

    Great idea to pray for Todd. 100% agree! I have been doing this for several weeks now.

    Seth, I love the quote, “I’m now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the anti-Christ when he shows up because they have no discernment.” Ouch. Hopefully we’ll learn our lesson this time and apply the necessary caution when an imposter shows up.”

    How true are the Scriptures… “Many false prophets will come in my name and even perform miracle, signs and wonders” (Mt 24) How does that work? In the name of Jesus and not be of Jesus… The mystery of the Godpel.

    I’m afraid that this is just the beginning. come Lord Jesus, COME!

  • Hello,

    I am a former FYM, and Seth, I am dissapointed that such a wise, discerning individual, would even consider posting Lee Grady’s blog entry. It is one of the most idiotic, deceptive, hypocritical pieces of writing I’ve ever heard. This may sound harsh, but I’m calling it out for what it is. This trash journalism passes itself off as the safe, Scriptutral, thinking man’s refuge, and thus is tailor made to deceive (though I’m sure the author was well meaning) and prefers a stale, stagnant academia to Todd’s legitimate, supernatural fruit. (I’m not necessarily condoning Todd’s behavior, but he is separated, and, as I understand it, plans to return to his wife. But even if, and I emphasize the word if, he is in sin, all of the following still applies). I’ll expose this Pharasaical hogwash for what it is, line by line:

    1) From the first week of the Lakeland revival, many discerning Christians raised questions about Bentley’s beliefs and practices. They felt uneasy when he said he talked to an angel in his hotel room.

    Why do we erupt in skepticism over Todd’s claiming to interact with the supernatural, yet use far less caution with frutiless churches as long as they use the oh-so-holy line, “We stick to the Scriptures”? Newsflash: not everyone who waves around the “I’m Doctrinally Sound” flag is doctrinally sound. Yes, we must be anchored in the Scriptures, but for heaven’s sake, read the Bible! If someone became a Christian reading the Bible cover to cover, had never met another Christian, and had never been to a church, then heard that church existed, what do you think they would expect? Would they expect a three worship songs, a three point sermon, and then lunch? They would expect the miraculous! Look at Jesus’ meetings! Todd’s meetings look far more Biblical than the vast majority of mainline denominational meetings! They have FRUIT. Legitimate, obvious fruit! When will we wake up and stop condemning biblical ministry because we weigh it against a viciously flawed, traditional, modern view of church and Christianity? CHRISTIANITY IS SUPERNATURAL!
    I am not againt intellectual inquiry. I celebrate it. But how intellectual is it to denoince a ministry that fites the ACTUAL biblical model for ministry better than 90% of the ministries out there! Have we gone mad? How dare we, I repeat, how dare we sit back and point fingers at Todd when we have not inspired half the decisions for Christ that this man has? Mr. Grady has a has a blog. Good for him. God bless him, but what has he done?

    2) They sensed something amiss when he wore a T-shirt with a skeleton on it.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Last time I checked God made skeletons. If skeletons are demonic I guess we should condemn anyone with a bone structure. I have a confession to make: I have something worse than a skeleton T-shirt. I have the real deal beneath my skin! I guess I’m demonic. How dare we question mountains of fruit, healings, changed lives, and salvations over a T-SHIRT! THE HYPOCRISY! THE MIND-NUMBING IDIOCY! Mr. Grady can denounce Todd the moment he has 10% of Todd’s fruit.

    3) They wondered why a man of God would cover himself with tattoos.

    Again, you’ve got to be kidding me. If anything, Todd’s tattoos help shake off the church’s stale religiosity. Which meeting should we attend? A meeting with legit healing and deliverance occuring, or a fruitless meeting with a “Scripturally sound” man who has to strip nude before a committee to prove he has no “demon tattoos”? (I’m not referring to Mr. Grady, this is hypothetical).

    4) Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study.

    Those “quiet Bible studies” better lead to demonstrations of God’s power and changed lives or something is missing! Let’s see, who has that kind of fruit on his resume… Oh yeah, Todd Bentley.
    It’s time for us to stop listening to this stuffy, overly religious junk that leads so many people astray! Maybe with less “reviews” like this more people’s lives would be changed. It is better to go for it and make a few mistakes along the way than to sit back, do nothing, and pat yourself on the back because you know a few Scriptures.

    5) When Bentley announced to the world that the same angel that ushered in the 1950s healing revival had come to Lakeland, the entire audience should have run for the exits.

    You’ve got to be joking. Why does this claim seem so outlandish? Sure, we have to be careful and cautious, but the Bible is a blatantly supernatural text, is it really so hard to believe that this angel could have been there? I mean, is it more Christian to believe that this angel is not ative at all? Any reasoning Christian would believe that this angel is still active, so why do we hail someone who spots his involvement as crazy?! Yes, it is time to grow up, and the first step is to wad up this article and burn it.

    To test for reading comprehension, I have included a small, multiple choice quiz:

    Who should you trust?
    A) Someone who claims to talk to an angel in his bedroom and has millions of decisions for Christ to back up his claim
    B) A pastor who sounds articulate and knowledgable, yet has minimal fruit in his life.

    If you people want a legit analasysis what happened, wait for Rick Joyner to comment. He has fruit in his life and is deeply committed to the Scriptures. Also, we need to be praying for Todd, not condemning him.

    P.S. I have nothing against Mr. Grady himself, just his ideas, and I have confronted them harshly because I believe they are leading people astray.

  • Just to clarify my last entry, my examples often included hypothetical pastors, etc., and were not intended to represent Seth or Mr. Grady. And, as I said, I am definitely not condoning sin, if that is what’s happening.

  • Sorry to take up all of the comment space, but I wanted to apologize profusely for my comment’s extremely caustic delivery. I personally attacked Mr. Grady (and it probably looked like I was attacking Seth, though I was not) and his integrity in a moment of frustration. I am not changing my opinion and believe 100% everything I wrote, but I do sincerely apologize for the way in which I said it.

  • Zach, I understand your frustration, but let me shed a different light for you. First, let me introduce myself. I am one of hte most radical people for Jesus you can or will ever meet. I am a freak for the supernatural and am extremely involved in deliverence ministry. Saying that, I prayed and researched this weeks ago, and this is what I came up with:

    Manifesting demons as a “Spirit filled believer” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtSK9TyduR4&feature=related “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.” (1 Cor 10:21)
    Live worship of angels http://youtube.com/watch?v=8uoT12vvj-k “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.” (Col 2:18)
    Transferring angels http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwhtQ8xaOKQ&feature=related “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Cor 11: 13-14)
    Physically abusing people http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUTCWLoD4-4 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23)
    Exalting Satan and voodoo demons http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uFz33_ahdU “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor 6:14)
    Jesus Himself showed up at the meeting http://youtube.com/watch?v=GNGPjFYdgJw&feature=related “‘If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it..” (Matt 24: 23)

    And sooo much more….
    DOES THIS LINE UP WITH SCRIPTURE!? NO!

    The bad far surpasses the good.

    If you want to talk about lining up with Scripture, research BOTH sides then compare!

  • Jen, I appreciate your comments but I believe you are missing what i am feeling. What is revival.. Its not Todd Bentley . Its not Lakeland Florida. Its Gods people hungering for His presence. Thats why there was revival in Florida, because we are a country starving to see and draw close to the presence of God.We are hungry for Him. Should todd have been removed from the leadership concerning the revival yes i believe so, but i dont for one minute that he planned and plotted to lead our country in a false doctrine , deception etc etc.. Even Jesus told Peter get behind me satan.He is young raw and imature . yes.. does he have a passion for Christ yes. Does scripture tell us to discern yes.. Does Jesus warn of false prophets yes.. Did he say there would be miracles etc by false prophets yes, but im pretty sure Satan and his powers will stop short of lifting the name of Jesus high and bringing others to Christ.. What i am trying to say is dont miss what God is doing in peoples lives. Forget todd and look for Jesus in this. It seems to many people are looking to Todd and yes now todd is removed but i pray that God will restore correct all that is not of God . And one other thing as you read through the gospels it seems Jesus preaches way more on the hypocrasy of the Pharisees and sadduces. Even the elite will be fooled. hmm I dont know of one time that Todd called himself the Christ.. Just put this all in prospective .

  • I live in a sheltered world and really haven’t heard or read much on lakeland….but reading all the comments it amazes me that we are “one body”….how the dickins do we advance the kingdom when we can’t decide if Todd Bently really saw an angel. I do believe angels are amoung us, I do have a tattoo, and although I personally don’t like skeletons, they are a very trendy item….I’ll tell you one thing though, if i was that ONEperson that got healed through those meetings, I wouldn’t care what the man was saying, wearing or doing, I would know my GOD showed up.
    Leave the man alone and get on with bigger issues. If other churches “allowed” God to show up,people wouldn’t have to rush to Forida to be in HIS presence.

  • For starters, Jen, I have nothing against you as a person, and I bet you have an awesome heart, which is more than I can say for myself a lot of the time. Thank you for your comment, but it is riddled with deceptive, crazy thought patterns, and that kind of thinking will hurt you. Your argument is full of gaping holes and you’ve shot yourself in the foot with a hand cannon by citing YouTube. Researching for a week on YouTube (and on the internet of all things) has about as much credibility as using the National Inquirer as a voting guide. You say that I should weigh both sides, and I agree with you, but I have done that, wrestling with Scripture over these issues for three years. I did not arrive at my conclusions by sitting in a dark room with YouTube. I also watched the videos you posted, though a few have been taken down.

    First off, you say that Todd cannot be a Christian and yet manifest demons, citing 1 Cor 10:21 (which is about the Lord’s supper and food sacrificed to idols, and has nothing to do with demon possession). Let me get this straight. You’re saying that someone cannot be a Christian and manifest demons, and you’re in the deliverance ministry…? What exactly do you do in your deliverance sessions? Talk about the weather? If your ministry is confronting and expelling demonic influence and yet you’ve never seen a believer manifest a demon, then, no offense, but you’re not doing your job. What do you plan to do when you have a tormented, oppressed Christian, and they manifest a demon? Are you going to immediately disregard their faith, saying, “I’m sorry, I have bad news. The situation is worse than I thought. Not only are you addicted to pornography, your’e not a Christian.” The degree to which you theologically limit demonic activity in Christians is the degree to which you invalidate your own ministry. I say it again: the more you theologically limit demonic activity in Christians, the more useless a deliverance ministry becomes. I regret to say you may be in the wrong ministry.

    Also, I heard the message you’re citing quite a while ago, before Lakeland, and, at the time of the afformentioned story, Todd was a new believer. Since when did new Christians attaining freedom from demons become a bad thing?

    On to another point. You start your email by saying, “I’m a freak for the supernatural,” and the claim that Jesus cannot show up at a meeting? What, exactly, is your goal? To keep him out? While in that video Todd specifically said that he was not talking about Jesus physically manifesting himself nor about the second coming, I am unashamed to say that I believe that Jesus could visit a meeting in a manifested form (I seem to remember a certain meeting on the Damascus road where He pulled a similar stunt…). Once again, you have taken a Scripture (Mat 24:23) completely out of context. This verse has nothing to do with Jesus showing up in a meeting. Are you trying to tell me that a meeting is Scripturally sound until Jesus shows up? That you’ll be walking along with a buddy after a service and say, “Man, that meeting sure was going good until Jesus showed up! Must be the devil. Jesus better not come to the next one. I’m leavin’ this devil church!”

    Also, the “presence of Jesus” is a charismatic buzzword, but are we to limit this to a goosbump on the arm? If we believe in the presence of Jesus so figuratevily, why can we not believe in it litteraly? Jesus still appears to people today, in the flesh. What exactly do you plan to do if he visits you? Rebuke Him for violating Scripture?

    And if you counter by saying, “I’m not talking about Jesus coming to a meeting in the flesh, I’m talking about him coming outside of the flesh!”… Yes, kudos. The omnipresent Lord does, in fact, come to His own meetings.

    To summarize… You are into the supernatural and into deliverance ministry… But demons can essentially do nothing beyond poking Christians in the shoulder (I am exaggerating of course), and church meetings are A OK until the Lord shows up?

    Well, unfortunately at the moment I don’t have time to pull out Scripture after Scripture to correct these crazy accusations, because it’s 2 AM and I’d like to go to bed. Perhaps I’ll pull out the ol’ Good Book tomorrow and give a more detailed defense.

  • OK folks, I see that I’ve missed some important points in my original blog. I’m not sure how kosher this is in the blogosphere, but I’m going to modify my blog to bring in the perspective that God has been working in spite of we humans and our flaws.

    Feel free to add additional comments after reading the revised blog.

  • Okay, I was gonna comment yesterday but decided against it and I’m glad I didn’t, but I am also glad that people are respectfully discussing this & for hte most part not attacking each other. I LOVE LOVE LOVE what Zack is saying but at 2 am he must’ve been a little tired because he was ripping poor Jen to shreds.

    I LOVE Jesus. I am a Spirit filled believer who is involved in deliverance ministry and we were fresh fire partners for a few years. God worked it out that I had the money for the trip and my husband encouraged me to go because I have so many questions about healing and God and what is His will. SO my husband watched four of our kids and I took the fifth and a friend (who attended the supernatural training center in Abbotsford the year before) and off we went. Guys can I say that I experienced GOD in such incredible ways. There were moments of such intense worship on the beach, driving the car to the event center alone, it was like Jesus and I had this amazing command fellowship togehter and I saw people receive healings. What else I saw that wasn’t ‘evident’ in the webcasts were the hundreds of ministry prayer workers who were working the alters and praying people THROUGH to their miracles. It wasn’t “todd gave a word and he got healed” it was people responding in their need to a God who was present (HE inhabits the praises of His people and the nights I was there THOUSANDS of people were worshipping our creator!) and as they reached out to God in their need it was as if Jesus himself would say, “Your faith has made you whole” or “be it unto you according to your faith” … I SAW a little boy with spina bifida (from birth) hobbling around with his crutches go up to those prayer people (nowhere near Todd) and these women prayed and prayed and prayed and when I saw them go to take off his braces – I can’t begin to explain the fear and anger I felt (Me who in my village has the gift of faith and believes God is a miracle worker) but here I found my faith empty and lacking and I was angry thinking, “Don’t DO THIS to that innocent little boy!” thinking if his hopes are up & it doesn’t happen, how will he go on the rest of his life thinking how God failed him?! and do you know what I saw? I saw women who had ACTIVE and ENDURING FAITH in an active and enduring God!They began to walk wiht him (feebly, hobbly, awfully) but they kept walking and praying and the more they ‘tarried’ and walked & prayed the more upright he began to walk and his face was glowing and he was weeping and praising God and everyone on that entire section of hte auditorium who could see was worshipping and praising God and rejoicing and clapping. He later was on the stage testifying and walking. I saw him the next day without his braces – he wasn’t 100% but he said he had never been able to support his weight and walk unassisted before. He felt amazing.

    I witnessed something I hadn’t seen in my neck of the woods – FAITH, REAL FAITH in action and I could feel in my heart a God who loved it.

    And while I was there Todd began a teaching on 30 reasons people don’t get their healings. It was completely biblically accurate. And it gave me a hunger for the word of God I haven’t felt since becoming a new believer twelve years ago.

    And Seth the only thing I was going to comment on from your original blog was your quoting of the fruit in your friends lives, and later quoting from that guy ‘the poison’ that was coming from the revival.

    Glad you were yet again a wonderful example of a humble, submitted, loving MAN of God.

    Blessings,
    Laura

  • it was like Jesus and I had this amazing command fellowship togehter and I saw people receive healings

    OOPS! This was supposed to say “amazing COMMUNION fellowship” together with Jesus

  • In these situations I am always reminded of Noah and his sons. I think our response should be to cover Todd and keep him in our prayers. The world watches in quiet contempt as we once again drag down a leader into the mud and wonder why we can’t live the very things we preach. God help us.

  • Amen Kathy!

    Zach… chill dude… your zeal is not glorifying God! Yes, I used youtube. It is a resource given to us today. When I watch the man in question here speak out of his own mouth the things I wrote a bout, the YES, I would say that is a pretty credible resource. DUH!

    Jesus shows up at every meeting I’m at! His glory fills the earth, but our dear brother Todd was saying that Jesus was showing up in the flesh… only on the clouds, my brother!

    NO! I firmly believe that you cannot “manifest” demons and be filled with the Spirit. Greater is HE WHO IS IN ME!

    There is soooo much your comment covered that I will not entertain nor feed your bad attitude!

    Fact… I am a Spirit-filled Christian who loves Christ with ALL of her heart!!

    By that, when I have a bad check in my spirit from the Holy Spirit and I do the research and find the TRUTH to back up that check, NOTHING you write nor say can change that! I have my confirmation from God not man.

    Now… I think you need to check your spirit and line it with God’s, because you are being very mean!

    If you want to discuss this, contact Seth, and he can give you my personal email.

  • Seth, thank you for clarifying your blog. I think it is very appropriate…

    And to whom it may concern, you have NO idea the amount of prayers I have lifted up for this man, the revival and now his marriage!

    I don’t just set back and “make comments.” I am a prayer warrior! I care about the body of Christ and THE CHURCH!

  • Seth
    Thanks for taking the time to pray and seek God in this. And I pray as the days pass God will reveal to you His heart in all of this and yes to learn and be reminded not to be led astray but also as Christians are not called out to correct and teach up our fellow Christian brother and to keep our eyes on Christ. I definetly believe this is what Fresh fire board has done in removing Todd for the time from his intineray and may we pray that he comes out restored and matured to continue to light fires for Christ through his ministry.

  • You are very right about my bad attitude. Yesterday was a big mistake, and I made the same mistake twice my caustic, rude delivery. I attacked you as a person and I apologize. That does not change my correction of downright bad ideas and deceptive theology, however, and doesn’t change anything that I wrote. I would email this to you personally but I believe that these things will benefit people reading and defend Todd:

    You say that Todd says Jesus was coming in the flesh, yet early on in that video he says, “I’m not talking about a physical, in the flesh manifestation of Jesus.” My point about YouTube is that you have selected from videos geared towards bringing Todd down. I’m assuming that you did not personally visit any of his meetings. We have got to stop scarfing down information from sources with such evil, critical intent, and instead examine what these “critics” have done to warrant having such an opinion (I’m not talking about you, here, but YouTube’s anonymous naysayers).

    I have been to Todd’s meetings in person (and have met him in person) and that is where I’m drawing my conclusions. Two were conference meetings and not geared towards evangelism, but his one evangelistic meeting was one of the most touching, effective, miracle-filled meetings I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.

    While I don’t want to rant or be rude again, I will say please, please realize that you are prepared to denounce a wonderful man of God who by HIs grace has touched thousands, if not millions, of lives, and you are prepared to throw this away because you have a “check in your spirit” (though you did add some research to back it up). We have to be more discerning! A “check in your spirit” is a very low level revelation, if it is a revelation at all. Far too many people are willing to declare their impressions as the 100% opinion of God, and this is very, very dangerous. We cannot falsely represent him like that. Unless I hear from God in a very clear way, I am very careful to say, “I feel like God says this,” or, “I feel like God wants me to do this.” Todd, though God, has touched many, and we have no right to denounce him until we have even 10% of his fruit.

  • Zach, I appreciate and accept your apology. It should have stopped there though. You are true to say that people may learn from these comments. They may learn how to be and how not to be.

    I am glad that you have met and even stand by Todd. If you read my other comment (the last one before this one), I fervently pray for Todd. I really really do! And, this is all I am going to say about it.

    As I told someone recently, God is bigger than both me and Todd, and He can do whatever He wants. It is in HIS hands, so to continue to blog-comment on this issue is wasting time.

    May the Lord be with Todd and us!

    Peace…

  • Seth –
    You have plenty of comments and opinions here, I will not add mine. I only write to encourage you. Thank you man of God for being real here, for taking risks, for speaking up, for being willing to get messy. Thank you for shepherding the flock, for caring, for loving. Thank for your humility, your leadership, your wisdom and for sure your discernment! The time is now, the battle is here!

  • Interesting discussion and interesting editting, Seth. In my mind, whether or not Todd himself is “worthy”(and I have no opinion- God has used less likely voices), we have to recognize that the hordes of people flocking to Lakeland are yet another sign from God as to the deep hunger that exists in our broken world. Either way- there is a Call to get a lot bigger and louder and urgent about introducing others to our God becuase clearly, they are prepared to respond. Just a thought.

    Thanks for putting this out there, Seth. And for all you do in the way of engaging others.

  • i agree with the re-work dad…not everything is so black and white. i love you and thanks for always making it okay for me to be wrong too (by admitting ways you may have erred). I love you papa!

  • Who said it’s come to an abrupt end. The Lakeland Revival is about an open heaven – a “come experience Me in a deeper way” and take it back to where you came from. Fires have been ignited all over the world. It’s not about Todd Bentley – it’s about God’s Presence. This is a wonderful opportunity for the Body of Christ to respond maturely – and as God responds to each of us – in love. It is important to remember that there is nothing any of us can do to make God love us anymore, and there is nothing any of us can do to make Him loves us any less. What a great opportunity we have to stand in the gap on behalf of Todd and his wife and children, crying out for God’s blessing and healing. I have been blessed richly through the Outpouring in Lakeland. And I agree, we humans tend to mess up. But this is a God thing. And by the way the outpouring began in Ignited Church, Lakeland and those meetings are continuing and haven’t stopped. I’m sure we all agree that we have a big God – full of love, forgiveness, and compassion.

  • you guys are so rediculous. this whole bs situation is so far down the road of bs that only a society with thousands of years of ignorance and stupidity could ever think this up. Just accept that we don’t have the ability to understand. God wants you to think for yourselves. Baaah, sheep. Think natural. Peace. Understanding. Love.

  • Is it possible that many of the people who were so blessed “because of the revival” were actually blessed simply because THEY WERE HUNGRY?

    If they had gotten hungry enough for God back home in their own backyard, would God not have blessed them there?

    Or are we really trying to say that there is a “special annointing” over the building down in Lakeland? Try to find that in Scripture.

    The Bible says that those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled”. There are no stipulations as to the time or place.

    And notice the text says “righteousness”. We don’t hunger for an emotion, or an experience, but for God himself, WHO IS our salvation and our righteousness.

    And we don’t have to “feel” God (crying, laughing, slain in the spirit, etc…) for Him to be our Everything and to be full of Him.

    So I guess my point is this:

    I think God has worked in many people who have gone to the revivial, but it is not necessarily because of anything that is actually happening there. It is because they went hungry and expected something?

    If they would have taken that same hunger for God to any church in the nation, would God have denied them what they sincerely desired to have?

  • I met a homeless met last night who said, “I’m chipped up cup watering Gods seeds”.

    He said that we don’t use the pretty cup nestled on the shelf. We use the chipped up cup to water our garden. He figured it was the same w/ God.

    Anyway, I’m struggling with this story and it has brought even more doubt to what I experienced at Lakeland. I’m just trying to truly believe and appreciate God’s use of chipped up cups.

  • For Justin..can someone help? I can’t find it, the scripture to say that God chooses the weak to confound the wise.

    Not to confuse you further Justin. I’ve heard this taught from the pulpit and the elaboration to say: what the world would throw away, God raises up and uses. The reasoning is that His glory would shine even brighter when it comes directly from God. If God chooses people who would have had no previous knowledge or exposure to the things of God and all of a sudden, that person through say a simple prayer, recieved the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit…well miracles could happen. And they would seem all the more miraculous! That is God’s way.

  • I must say that I was a little dissapointed in your first draft. I was immediately reminded of what you had written about other critics in a previous blog.

    “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.”

    I appreciate that you took the time to rewrite this, and the humility that I have seen in you that allows you to stand corrected without shame.

  • Lakeland is still another example of the MOST DANGEROUS BELIEF in the Church: the Jezebel spirit says that you can do great things for God, AND be sexually immoral. See Revelations chapters 2 and 18.

  • SO, SO SAD that we do not learn our lessons.
    Todd Bentley Sinned and so did David .But what is our lesson?
    Yes David sinned and we could go on and on, but if we look we would know that David was sitting and looking in the wrong direction.
    What direction are we looking?

    That is where we have gone wrong. I have so longed for revival and then realized it is our Lord Jesus Christ is whom I should be longing for.
    What is our focus?
    Could it be we have been self centered about wanting God to show up and not for His Glory and others sakes.
    We can become so easily decieved.
    May God open our eyes to look for him and not angels ,manifestations and the like. Seek first the Kingdom of God.
    Holy Spirit is Holy. Flesh is not.
    You can enjoy Gods Stuff or you can enjoy Him. What about suffering for Him?
    Changing into his likeness?
    David repented and that is what God desires.
    Repentence.
    I know that people who love Jesus get stuff at revivals ,but you can serve him in your local church and in your homes. Good old fashioned repentence. Knowing God better each day and seeking change in our lives and hearts and learning to trust in Gods unchanging love is the way. Jesus said I am the WAY the TRUTH and THE LIFE.
    So lets take our eyes of these revivals and just seek Him with all our hearts and then we may see a change in our own lives regardless of if there is revival or not.

  • You don’t have “marriage issues”, when you are whoring on your wife. You have “God issues”! Sexual sins, stealing…or prosperity teaching:(which are synonyms). Love not the world nor the things in the world, if any man love the world…..we’ll make him a TV Star!! What would happen if a whoring preacher went out and Got A Job? Would WORKING kill one of them? God help us!

  • Hmm…Lakeland “Revival” breaks out followed by bizzare manifestations and –I hear– sexual licentiousness in some camps, then, in 2012 onward we start to hear these bizarre stories in Florida of Bible-carrying cannibals who eat the faces of the homeless, or running around naked accosting people, screaming scripture, or people jumping from 2 storey buildings unscathed and attacking the police… most of these under the influence of nothing more than marijuana (if that, it hasn’t been proven) –most showing super-human strength. I may be drawing conclusions prematurely, but there seems something far worse than mere charlatanry going on here.

    And this is the judgement in the last days to a Laodocian church that they should follow such men (1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim 4:3-5).

    And while we are quick to point out the sin of the fallen world while we lift not a finger to reform, we should do well to remember that judgement begins at Home, and we should in every place decry men such as these so-called “brothers”!

  • The overall fruit from this “revival” was negative and was the worst setback for the charismatic movement in its history. What was in each individual’s heart is a different matter; if there were any evidences of positive fruit in the lives of some attendees is was totally in spite of Bentley of the false revival. Undoubtedly people are hungry, but the masses are showing great lack of discernment, a sign of the last days. “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

    The main fruit of this Lakeland “revival” is that discerning Christians have a terrific sign that the Second coming of our Lord and Savior Yeshua is nearer than ever. This is because the number one sign that Yeshua Jesus spoke of, with respect to the end of the age and His return, is that “many shall come in my name and say that I am the Christ (the anointed one)”. Those who are among the remnant, including both attendees of Lakeland and seekers from afar have this humongous most delicious bite of fruit that we can “look up for our redemption draweth nigh”!

  • Mark, thank you for this first-hand report of the freakish para-normal occurrences in North-central Florida, since the so-called Lakeland Revival. (Beloved, here we have someone who is not talking “theory” but speaking of the practical outworking of the disaster that was Lakeland. It seems to me there is something far more sinister going on that just mentally disturbed people committing crimes from Mark’s description of what has been going on in that part of the country).

  • PS. Seth, I am very disappointed in your revisionist approach to the aforementioned Lakeland disaster, only because I have so much respect for you. We need people, particularly spiritual leaders, to be more passionate about what went wrong, in order that the fleeced and scarred sheep can be steered correctly (admonished in the Lord), i.e. protected by hindering them from future mystic misadventures and spiritual whipping boys.

    • Ian, thanks for your respect. And I appreciate the dialogue around what is true and what is deception. We often discover more by dialogue then we do in isolation.

      That said, I stand by my comment, ” God doesn’t have servants who have fixed there sin issue, so he uses the flawed servants who are hungry and available….whatever else Bentley was, he was hungry and available.”

  • Seth, I appreciate the humility to re-post the blog with some changes. It saddens me that we as a Body can’t all come to agreement, but I certainly understand the high emotion. My time in Lakeland was amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat. God is on the move and will use silly things like you and me to accomplish His will. Thanks for your heart to tackle big subjects like this!

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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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