Friday, May 16, 2008

The Lakeland Revival - My Thoughts

Continuing yesterday's post on the Lakeland Revival, here's my poor two cents.

After watching some of the meetings on the Internet, hearing what others have said and reading what other bloggers have written, I have concluded that I do not like, approve of or agree with: (a) The ministry model used in the meetings, (b) Todd Bentley's personal or ministry style, (3) the doctrine taught about angelic revelations and the content of some of those revelations, and (4) many other incidental practices. I do not like ministry models emphasising one man ministry and featuring hype, cheer-leading and exaggeration. It would be so much better, in my opinion, if an outpouring occurred in a church where the leaders had better theology, better ministry models, and were more protective of sound doctrine and practice. I would also like to see more preaching of the Cross and the Kingdom along side the emphasis on experiences and healings - They should go together as a package deal.

But, you know what, God doesn't ask my approval of stuff like this before He uses people or movements.

I cannot deny that something spiritual and real is happening in Lakeland, as it did in Toronto and Brownsville. I cannot reject this move as satanic or false, even though (like J. Lee Grady in yesterday's post) I have warnings and cautions about its theology and practice. I would class this more as a renewal than a revival. For it to become a true revival I believe the spiritual energy in transformed lives of renewed Christians must be channelled into proclaiming Jesus to sinners outside the church, resulting in mass repentance and conversions. I hope and pray the move continues and that it leads to a true revival. I also hope that some wise authority figures can come in and prune the wild branches on this vine so that better fruit will be produced.

I may write some more later on discernment regarding physical manifestations. For now, I'll just say that physical actions like failing, shaking, etc. should not be used judge the reality of the Spirit's activity. Those things are neutral. In some cases they are physical reactions to the activity of the the Spirit. In others they are learned responses, copying what everyone else is doing. In some cases those activities can be carnal attempts for attention. What matters is changed lives. As an old saying goes, it is not how high you jump that matters but how straight you walk after you hit the ground.

Here's a question for all who don't like the way Todd Bentley leads a renewal movement (myself included) - What if we spent more time and energy praying for God to move mightily in our lives, churches and ministries than we spend criticising another's ministry? If we think to ourselves "if God moved in my church I (We) would do so much better a job shepherding the movement and guarding doctrine and practice;" then let's pray harder for God to move in and with us. Amen, Lord, do it in me, do it in us!

Another nagging question also looms: Could it be true that the fact that I think I am (we are) better than, smarter than, wiser than Todd Bentley is the reason why God is using Todd Bentley to lead this move and not me (us)? After all, He is the one who resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, and who uses the foolish things to confound the wise. And watching what I've seen of this movement I feel totally confounded!

For what it is worth, that's my two cents.