What do YOU think about the Lakeland, Florida Healing Revival?

Now lasting over 50 consecutive days, Lakeland, Florida is once again the topic of both the revival hungry and the skeptic–and everyone in between.

With what began as a five day meeting with Canadian Evangelist, Todd Bentley, Auburn, FL’s Ignited Church has jumped into the international spotlight. Web-casting and live satellite coverage on GodTV have given immediate international attention to the mixture of traditional revivalism and unusual phenomena. If you’ve witnessed it you are either supportive, cautious, confused or in opposition.

I have studied revival movements closely and have noticed that there has never been a 100% God, 0% human revival. Gordon Anderson rightly noted that a “mighty rushing wind kicks up a lot of dust.” The Lakeland revival is no diferent. No one can deny that God is not at least 1% involved there, but deeply concerning doctrinal issues along with sensationalism have raised the eyebrows of many–myself included.

So at what “God” percentage do we condone or condemn a revival movement? I propose that God is certainly at work in Lakeland but the movement is too young to either totally endorse it OR to totally write it off.

My reason for keeping my opinions on hold is that God uses imperfect people. The only perfect person ever used of God is God Himself, Jesus. Even the “Super-Apostles”–Peter and Paul–both evidenced faults in their latter years: Peter with false doctrine (Gal 2:11-16) and Paul’s broken relationship with Barnabas and John Mark. The good news is that both issues were reconciled after some time and/or correction; the “God percentage” was in a state of increase. This principle does not, however, excuse long term resistance to correction and/or arrogance.

My present judgment of the Lakeland revival follows suit. Though I have distinct theological concerns over issues there, I feel my present responsiblity is to pray that Todd Bentley (and the leadership) grows and learns; that they would know God’s grace and correction so that they can continuously decrease, thus allowing God to increase. This, by the way, is my prayer for our own ministry as well.

In conclusion, I do not think there is any specific “God percentage” (i.e. God 50% and human 50%) upon which we can base our judgment at this infancy stage of a potential revival, but rather we look for growth, deveolpment and doctrinal improvement. Are things getting better or worse over a certain period of time?

I pray that Todd Bentley quickly distances himself from the more alarming doctrines (such as guidance by “Emma” and others) and transparently yields himself to some needed restraint in the promotion of extra-biblical experiences and sensationalism. These issues are critical, but none are too hard for our great and gracious God to handle.

Please join me in praying for Todd Bentley.

What do you think? Let me know.

Posted on May 30, 2008, in Divine Healing, Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Very enlightening and informative Tim! I agree “100%” with your analysis of the current “potential” revival taking place in Lakeland. I would only offer this in addition; the thing that really troubles me about every “new” move of God is the many Christians that go running to it seeking an “impartation” and wanting so badly to take “it” back home with them! What is the purpose of such a move of God in the first place? It is not so that other Christians can copy it, no it is for the thousands that will be saved because of it! If you are hungry for more of God, go outside and experience Him! Remember He is not in the “earthquake, or the fire, but He is in the gentle whisper”. Thanks Tim…keep it up! T. James

  2. Hi Tim!

    Ken and I went to Lakeland – part to see it for ourselves, and part to “get some”. (and WOW did we “get”!!!)

    It is, without a doubt, a move of God. I don’t think it’s too early to “endorse” it.

    The signs and wonders and miracles that you can see on TV are quite real – we’ve seen people getting up out of wheelchairs, the blind suddenly seeing, all sorts of things. Not only that, I was healed of gall bladder trouble… so I really do know first-hand.

    Will God use imperfect people? Well sure. Is He able to work through imperfect people? Absolutely. (Heck, he’s worked through ME!) Are there any perfect people? Just Jesus. So it’s no wonder that Todd Bentley’s an imperfect guy…

    Some of the theological points that Todd Bentley makes aren’t ones that I’d make – but quite honestly, Tim, a whole (and I do mean a WHOLE) lot of what you read on the internet either just isn’t true, or was taken so far out of context that the twisting is obvious. When I’ve researched some of the more astonishing claims, I’ve found that they’ve taken one sentence that Todd really did say, but then they’ve twisted it around to make it say something he didn’t really intend, and THEN they apply a bunch of “biblical” filters to it that aren’t exactly biblical. So carry a large sack of salt and research the source material.

    You can read some of our thoughts about it on my blog. If you get a chance to go yourself, I highly recommend it!

    Hope all is well with you guys! We’re praying for you!!

  3. Good thoughts. I’ve heard about it a lot. You seem to know more about him than I do too : ) I read an MSNBC report on it yesterday, and I wondered why the “weird” miracles were promoted so up front … and what came to my mind was rather how you teach about miracles (I’m serious), with a calm, logical explanation and biblical clarity. Basically, I think that a lot of people aren’t freaked out by miracles, but by the miracle worker.

  4. Well I must say that I agree with Tim on this one. There is the potential for a true revival and there is a bit of waiting it out. I for one am not a person to believe everything from a reporters/newscasters view – they’re biased for sure. But do I agree with Tim that although God can use the imperfect person of Todd Bentley as a vessel to do amazing things, I don’t believe all of Todd’s doctrinal beliefs. Just because God heals through someone, doesn’t mean “their” beliefs are as valid as biblical doctrine. He also has to be careful with that fact that he does work with a lot of other ministers that share in some similar views, like “Emma.” But I do believe God can steer Todd back in the right direction. Like Tim said, even the “Super-Apostle” Peter had his bout with false doctrine. The point is that after some time it was corrected by God. If it can happen with someone who walked with Jesus, how much more can it happen with us. Obviously God is using him to reach many, but the danger is just that – “many” follow & accept all of his teachings as true doctrine.
    And those who “take it back” with them, also take back the teachings & books & DVDs… I’m not saying God can’t do the unusual, God spoke through a donkey! That is certainly unusual; there’s no way to do an analysis on Works God will do and not do. Most people don’t dig into the Word and pray on it and ask God what is true.
    I don’t undermine that God has healed you Kathi & I myself have been used too, but God gave us His word & Holy Spirit for a reason. It’s up to Todd to “test” (1 John 4:1) what he believes.

  5. The information that you have given here is very down to earth, and needless to say, practical. I believe that in a revival setting, such as the one in Lakeland, it is very easy to let the our own emotions get in the way of our spiritual discernment. I have recently been made aware of the revival in Lakeland, and although I do not want to be quick to condemn this revival all together, I will say we need to first examen the teaching, and motivation of the revival in order to decipher what is God and what is man. I must say that because of the outcome of other such revivals, I am very skeptical in reference to the going ons in Lakeland. I pray that this is a sovereign move of God. I will certainly be in prayer that their flesh will not get in the way of the incredible work God can do.

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