Lakeland – Revival or Farce?

A friend recently e-mailed me the video clip below and shared his concern about the events taking place down in Lakeland, Fla.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKA_X1zxOQc

I understand my friend’s concern about people getting caught up in reports of miracles and charismatic services if the Gospel message is being compromised. While I certainly understand concern about focusing on angels and not Jesus, I don’t know if we can look at one part of a sermon and completely judge an entire ministry. Just as sound bites or YouTube clips can be misused in politics, the same thing can happen in discussions about issue of faith. Bentley has a point that many Christians believe in the Jesus of the Bible, but they struggle with believing in Christ’s presence here and now in our world. Many of us struggle with the supernatural. I know that I do. It can be easy to outright dismiss anything that we don’t understand.

At the same time, I am always suspicious of people going some place to here some person to help them in their relationship with God. Mostly, I believe we need to be more abandoned to God right where we are at home. While I believe we need others in Christ’s body, I tend to think that many people go on pilgrimages, visit “anointed” leaders or go to worship/revival gatherings (such as Brownsville, Toronto, Lakeland, etc.) for the wrong reasons. But then, “Who am I to judge someone else’s servant?”

I have known a few godly people who have gone down to Lakeland and claimed to witness real moves of the Holy Spirit. I have also heard things like what you sent that cause me to believe the opposite. I am not sure what to believe other than that real revival starts on my knees more than anything else. Real healing happens as I personally allow God to do a deep work in my soul. And I don’t have to go to Florida for that. All I have to do is have the courage to really trust God and encounter Him at home.

It is our responsibility to test any teaching that comes out of the Lakeland movement by comparing it to Scripture. One thing I do agree with Bentley on is that we can all grow in faith and our ability to experience God’s Spirit work in our lives.

Here are some sites to view to consider what Bentley and others are saying about the ministry taking place in Lakeland. You be the judge. May you learn from it whatever God needs to show you so that you will grow closer in your walk with Jesus.

 http://www.freshfire.ca/  – Main Todd Bentley Web Site

http://www.freshfire.ca/index.php?Id=106&pid=8  – Fresh Fire Ministries Statement of Faith

http://www.freshfire.ca/?Id=1059&pid=993 – Todd Bentley answers his critics

http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/05/29/1075189.aspx – MSNBC news story on Lakeland “Revival”

http://www.christianitymagazine.co.uk/features/florida.aspx – Article by Christianity Today

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6 responses to “Lakeland – Revival or Farce?

  1. “It is our responsibility to test any teaching that comes out of the Lakeland movement by comparing it to Scripture.”

    Or is it? Yes, we should test the spirits AND compare whatever teaching or movement to the Word of God. But it amazes me how not only in America, but all over the world, people think it is their responsibility to judge what’s happening in Lakeland, while they live in the opposite side of the country, or globe.

    I wonder if this is not only a matter of ‘pride’ or at least overestimating or importance and position, but in any case a waste of energy. Would the energy spent on writing, talking, watching youtube clips, etc. not better be spent on reaching the world and building the church wherever you’re at? I wonder….

  2. Good point Ben. I agree with your point. Maybe I should have been more clear. It is our responsibility if we are going to receive from that ministry to test its teaching. Bentley can be seen on TV as well as broadcast over the Web.

    Technology has a way of making the entire world a bit smaller. I do agree that we should be focused on impacting the people around us more than commenting about what others are doing in another city. And I also agree that sometimes we think our opinion is more important than it really is…. that includes me.

    At the same time though, we should judge or test any ministry that is influencing our worldview and personal faith journey. The Lakeland thing has been of interest to me because a number of people that I know have asked me about it or have actually gone down there. So it is a little closer to home than just watching a YouTube clip.

    Godspeed,
    Chaille

  3. Yep. We’ve been thinking about going to Lakeland or sending some of our team out there for exactly this (and only this) reason. The only good argument I could figure for spending time and money on building an opinion about Lakeland is exactly this (as you mentionned) that though geographically far it can be reaching close to home through internet, God TV, etc. and that we have a responsibility towards those close to us who are being influenced by whatever they hear, read or watch, wether it be all-good stories which are most probably wrong since Bentley is just a man like you and mean and I guarantee you there will be faults to be found in him and/or the ministry, or all-bad stories which are often filled with almost demonising overstatements and proud judgment (the proverbial pointing of the finger).

  4. Jesus is Alive and his Love is being poured out.. just receive it ! 🙂

  5. Mark 9:1 AND JESUS said to them, Truly {and} solemnly I say to you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death before they see the kingdom of God come in [its] power.

    Mark 9:7 And a cloud threw a shadow upon them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the [most dearworthy] Beloved One. Be constantly listening to {and} obeying Him!
    Mark 9:8 And looking around, they suddenly no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus only.

    Mark 9:17 And one of the throng replied to Him, Teacher, I brought my son to You, for he has a dumb spirit.
    Mark 9:18 And wherever it lays hold of him [so as to make him its own], it dashes him down {and} convulses him, and he foams [at the mouth] and grinds his teeth, {and} he [falls into a motionless stupor and] is wasting away. And I asked Your disciples to drive it out, and they were not able [to do it].
    Mark 9:19 And He answered them, O unbelieving generation [without any faith]! How long shall I [have to do] with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me.
    Mark 9:33 And they arrived at Capernaum; and when [they were] in the house, He asked them, What were you discussing {and} arguing about on the road?
    Mark 9:34 But they kept still, for on the road they had discussed {and} disputed with one another as to who was the greatest.
    Mark 9:35 And He sat down and called the Twelve [apostles], and He said to them, If anyone desires to be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all.
    Mark 9:36 And He took a little child and put him in the center of their group; and taking him in [His] arms, He said to them,
    Mark 9:37 Whoever in My name {and} for My sake accepts {and} receives {and} welcomes one such child also accepts {and} receives {and} welcomes Me; and whoever so receives Me receives not only Me but Him Who sent Me.
    Mark 9:38 John said to Him, Teacher, we saw a man who does not follow along with us driving out demons in Your name, and we forbade him to do it, because he is not one of our band [of Your disciples].
    Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Do not restrain {or} hinder {or} forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in My name will soon afterward be able to speak evil of Me.
    Mark 9:40 For he who is not against us is for us.
    Mark 9:41 For I tell you truly, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to {and} bear the name of Christ will by no means fail to get his reward.
    Mark 9:42 And whoever causes one of these little ones (these believers) who acknowledge {and} cleave to Me to stumble {and} sin, it would be better (more profitable and wholesome) for him if a [huge] millstone were hung about his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.

    Mark 9:49 For everyone shall be salted with fire.

    Mark 9:50 Salt is good (beneficial), but if salt has lost its saltness, how will you restore [the saltness to] it? Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace {and} live in harmony with one another.

    Now recently, this week with Todd Bentley’s divorce announcement, I was reminded when I was a at week long seminar decades ago and the preacher was preaching great and I admit I started to hero worship the preacher but on the last Friday afternoon session the preacher had preached some falsehood.. and I was drastically horrified, dismayed, as to how this could be, could his whole week’s teaching now also be in error. Next I prayed and asked God how could that be? why did it occur? and God replied to me ” you had taken your eyes of me unto the preacher, and I had to show you what he, the preacher was really like.. many look up to man and not God.. we all need to focus solely on Jesus again and always.. .and even to get back to praying and fasting now too

    http://postedat.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/healing-todd-bentley-florda-lakeland-revival/

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