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The latest on Lakeland

2008 August 19
by Tim V-B

If any of you have been following the Lakeland Revival and Todd Bentley, whether as a fan, critic, or simply because others are talking about it – we need to pray for Todd and his wife Shonnah.  On August 12th it was announced that the two were separating.  I think his public ministry has ceased for the time being, which was the right thing to do.

As you might expect there is all sorts of analysis and “I told you so“.  Actually, that “I told you so” article is a good read.  I think he’s right.

J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, wrote an extremely good piece asking some hard questions:

Why did so many people flock to Lakeland from around the world to rally behind an evangelist who had serious credibility issues from the beginning?

Why didn’t anyone in Lakeland denounce the favorable comments Bentley made about William Branham?

Why did God TV tell people that “any criticism of Todd Bentley is demonic”?

Why did a group of respected ministers lay hands on Bentley on June 23 and publicly ordain him? Did they know of his personal problems?

Can anything good come out of this?

Over at Cerulean Sanctum (which I linked to the last time I mentioned Todd Bentley) there are some excellent posts about what needs to happen now in the Charismatic camp.  Although I don’t self-identify as a charismatic, it is my background (sort of, don’t ask!) and I certainly believe the charismatic movement has brought to the fore some things that were missing from the Christian scene.  Have a read of the articles yourselves; here (in summary) are a few of the problems and solutions Dan writes about:

From “Cleansing the Charismatic Crackup – Part 1”

Problem: In our rush to regain a proper pneumatology, today’s charismatics abandoned a proper Christology.
Solution: We need to get the focus back on Jesus.

Problems: Too much of the charismatic movement is self-centered. People rush around looking for a spiritual fix for selfish reasons. Too many are obsessed with more power. Too many leaders lack even the most basic humility.

Solution: Get the cross back into the picture.

Problems: Discernment of any kind is sorely lacking at all levels within the movement. Many charismatic teachers craft entire theologies from disconnected or lone passages of Scripture.

Solution: Build a holistic worldview by teaching the Bible from cover to cover, not from topic to topic.

From Part 2

Problems: Too many charismatics are more interested in what they can get than what they can give. Also, we love to talk about taking dominion over the kingdom of darkness, but we forget the primary means by which we cripple the Enemy’s purposes.

Solution: We need to be drilled on the Great Commission.

Problem: The charismatic movement is a cult—of celebrity.

Solution: Time for the old guard, who failed to guard what they were entrusted with, to get off the stage.

Problem: We let the miraculous enthrall us.

Solution: We need to be more discerning and less surprised by the miraculous.

Problem: The charismatic movement is obsessed with novelty.

Solution: We must understand that there is nothing new under the sun.

Problem: We continue to tolerate the aberrations of the past, the worst excesses of the charismatic movement, digging them up repeatedly for each new generation after they were long buried.

Solution: It’s time to grow up and face today. In many cases, the good old days weren’t all that good. Wrong doesn’t get right over time.

These are good solutions even if you are not Charismatic at all. Keep it focussed on Jesus.  Preach the Word.  Keep the gospel the main thing.  You might not end up on God TV, but you will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” from the one who really counts.

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