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.