Aftertaste: The Lakeland Healing Revival

In my two previous posts on Lakeland and Todd Bentley, I encouraged prayer for the leadership there–particularly Bentley.  I want to continue that call and add another subject to that prayer list: disillusioned people.

Since the apparent fizzling of the media attention and the troubling announcement that Bentley and his wife are separating, there are a whole host of people asking the age-old question, “how could God use someone who didn’t have it all together?”  
The answer is, of course, simple; God only uses imperfect people.  This does not excuse doctrinal error, immorality or lack ethics or compassion; it is simply a fact.  Everyone who has ever been used in a divine way is flawed–except Jesus, of course.
I used to be a harsh critic until realizing that I could not live up to my own standards of perfection.  I chose to become a realist after this revelation.  That guards me from holding people in too high regard while insuring that God gets the glory for His good work in and through us.  
From the beginning of the Lakeland movement I’ve tried to focus on the positive.  I will still choose to do so because there are already enough places to read about the bad.  I certainly did not ever endorse Bentley’s brand of “Neo-Latter Rain” theology or shock value tactics, but I refuse to kick someone while they are down.  Like it or not, God used Todd Bentley in Lakeland and there is fruit.  
Bentley’s family is in a crisis right now and we need to earnestly pray for them. If you were an avid supporter, please do not let your disappointment keep you from praying for restoration. If you were an outspoken critic, please demonstrate your Christlikeness by holding up a weak brother in prayer.
Let’s be part of God’s healing process in Todd Bentley’s family by adding him to our prayer lists and humbly recognize that we too are carrying treasure in earthen vessels.

FIRE BAPTISM? Ouch!!!!!

The last post generated a great question from Diane,  “What about the Baptism of Fire?”

Is there a separate experience for believers known as the “Baptism of Fire” or does it speak of:

1.  the trials believers will inevitably face or 

2.  the tongues of fire on Pentecost?  

There are two references in the scriptures to “baptize with the Holy Spirit AND FIRE” (Matt 3:11, Luk 3;16).  Only John the Baptist uses this combination and it is a prophetic declaration about how people can recognize the Messiah; He will accomplish these acts (whether they are two distinct events or one event marked by two descriptions, phases or facets).  

I think the two possible definitions mentioned above are very plausible, but let me add a third which seems to follow John the Baptist’s flow of thought.  Let’s work through  Luke 3:15-17:  

15   Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ,     

SUMMARY: IS JOHN THE MESSIAH?  

16  John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

SUMMARY: “NO, THE MESSIAH WILL DO THINGS I CANNOT DO; HE WILL BAPTIZE (IMMERSE) IN PEOPLE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE.”  

17  “His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”      

SUMMARY: “THE MESSIAH WILL DIVIDE THOSE WHO ACCEPT HIM (WHEAT) FROM THOSE WHO REJECT HIM (CHAFF);  THE WHEAT WILL EXPERIENCE FAVOR WHILE THE CHAFF WILL EXPERIENCE JUDGMENT FIRES.”  

From this brief analysis, it appears to be a two sided experience for two separate groups of people: those who accept the Messiah and those who reject the Messiah.    

Verse 17 is the key to understanding this concept.  Matthew’s account (3:11-12) verse 12 is almost identical to Luke 3:17; the same two sides to the coin are presented.  Those who accept the Messiah will experience Spirit Baptism; those who reject him will experience fire baptism.  

This seems like the most logical explanation in context.

Fire baptism for me?  No thanks!