One of the saints in my local church here forwarded a newsletter to me from Terry Somerville. I have taken the part of the newsletter dealing with Lakeland and Todd Bentley and pasted it below this opening comment – worth the time it takes to read it. This man of God always has wisdom to share and a balanced approach to issues in the Church. His web address is listed at the end of his article.
Over the last few months many of you asked for my thoughts on the Lakeland Revival. I hadn’t visited the meetings myself so I released several teachings to help believers test things out. I had heard good and bad reports from ministers I know, and because some of Todd Bentley’s teachings were way off I urged caution.
In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2. Corinthians 13:1
Well, now we know. It has become established that there has been much exaggeration and hype about resurrections etc. (Google “Robert Ricciardelli” to find 1st hand reports.) Apparently Todd was cautioned on this and increased the numbers he reported! This is usually called lying. Now we are hear that Todd and his wife are separating. Dear Lord, help Todd and your church!
So what do we make of the whole Lakeland Revival mess?
1. Trust Jesus, Not Preachers or Meetings
If you have received from the Lord through Lakeland don’t allow your faith to be in crisis over this. You received by trusting Jesus not Todd Bentley or a meeting! I remember some members of my congregation having a faith crisis when Jimmy Swaggart was exposed because they were saved in his meetings. I had to teach them Jimmy does not save. Jesus does!
For from Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
2. Jesus Comes Wherever Two or Three Gather In His Name
God moved for some in Lakeland because Christians gathered in expectant faith! When will we get it? It’s not a special place or person. It’s a special savior! It is faith in Him that brings results. What is different about Lakeland, or any special meetings is that Christians expected God to move. But truly, God will move whenever we have such faith!
I remember planning special meetings at our church for an international revivalist. A huge crowd waited expectantly but he didn’t make it. But, we didn’t need him! Faith and expectancy was so high that Jesus moved in our midst in an amazing way! So why not every week at church? Good question! Could it be our hearts are on something else?
3. Christian – Get Your Own Anointing
Many people travel a long way to “get the anointing and take it home.” There’s some huge problems with this teaching. Yes, anointing can rub off, but God wants to make you a river, not have you sponging off someone elses anointing. This is what a Christian is all about!
Going to a meeting somewhere does not qualify you to receive. It may stir you up and be a time when the Holy Spirit gets to your heart. But it’s faith in the full work of the cross that works, not the meeting ! God wants every Christian to walk in their own anointing, not depend on someone elses. Thats the amazing thing about being a Christian. The cross of Christ accomplished everything we need for life and godliness. Believe it.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
4. Do We Take Home Some Mystical Power Or Use Faith?
Even when some one “brings the revival home” and a church “gets it” it’s not a mystical substance you brought back with you. It doesn’t work that way, it’s mainly about faith. Look at what happens. Someone went to the ‘revival” so everyone expects God to work. Guess what? Jesus was with you wanting to work His power all along, but you didn’t believe it till you experienced it yourself. Now that you’ve seen it, and friends trust you at church, they will receive it too! It’s time for the church to trust Jesus from the beginning, instead of waiting for far away meetings.
When we first heard about the renewal beginning in Toronto we had no money to go. We prayed in faith “Jesus, give everything you are doing to us too.” That night it came without any travel, any contact, any impartation of anointing. It was simple faith. We have Jesus.
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
I John 2:27
4. There Are No Special Places, Just Believers Gathering!
The teaching that we have holy locations, and holy buildings (churches) and that we must make a pilgrimage to them to receive, is actually pagan idolatry mixed with Old Testament temple worship. Of course God may meet you at these places, but God will meet the sincere believer in any setting.
We are not a people of holy buildings, and holy places. We are individually and corporately the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is not waiting for you to go to Florida to meet Him. The reason outpourings happen in certain places is because believers are believing and receiving at that place! When will Christians actually believe they are the temple of God where ever they are?
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
I Corinthians 6:19
5. Listen to Your Listener, Know By Your Knower
Many Christians have said they felt something was wrong in Lakeland, but couldn’t put their finger on it. This is the Holy Spirit bearing witness to your spirit by a lack of peace. When we let the peace of God rule in us it means He is acting as an umpire calling “fair ball, foul ball” If it’s foul ball, test it out. Listen to the umpire even if you don’t understand the call!
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
6. Those Who Say “Don’t Criticize, Accept Without Testing” are WRONG!
Don’t listen to such people. They are deceived! We are explicitly told to test everything. See my article on testing.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
I Thessalonians 5:21
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
I John 4:1
7. Our “Spirit Filled” Church Is A Prisoner Of Consumer Culture
One look at the current crop of Holy Spirit ministry tells us the church is under a terrible stronghold of consumerism. Much prophetic ministry has sold out to trashy sensationalism to get a following, rather than directing the Body Of Christ into fidelity with Jesus. The anointing and blessing of God are treated as a product being marketed. “Come and get it!” Attendance and financial gifts are the price of purchase. Revival has become the “sacred cow” of the church. The one who has it wins! We are serving the IDOLS OF THE LAND
Hearts Are Not Right
Yes we are forgiven and belong to Jesus, but our hearts have not been right! We have been serving success, size, fame, youth, money! It seems every new teaching or event is just more of this! Believers must begin serving Him with holiness of heart. Where is the cry of repentance? Where is the desire for TRUE HOLINESS?
It is time for something different. A Church set free from serving the gods of the pagan nation around us. A return to the complete good news of the gospel. Jesus provided all at the cross! He died for forgiveness and eternal life PLUS everything we need for life and godliness. Don’t seek it from the culture but from Him. Repent and seek Him! It’s full LIFE , and the good news is you qualify now by faith only! It’s not men and meetings and anointings, it’s trusting Jesus completed work and love! Enter in.
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
8. Apostolic Covering Is Not Working
Over the last number of years God has been causing the church to recognize apostolic ministry. Yet the sad truth about the current apostolic trend is they seem to be producing mans hierarchies – an old wineskin! It is not working! Also, the idea that apostles, or any man is a “spiritual covering” or “father” and provides protection is not biblical. Often it has degenerated into mere control and, as we have seen, can end in failure. Hierarchies don’t usually produce the genuine relationships needed in the Body Of Christ.
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Jesus is our total covering. We have only one Father who is in heaven. We need brothers and sisters in Christ, a real body that grows and depends on one another.
A new day is coming in His church, and the troubles with the Lakeland Revival gives us all the more reason for seeking the Lord with profound earnestness. Millions of believers are done with Christendom. (the temple style, hierarchical church since Constantine) We are ready to have our pre-conceived ideas of church exposed and torn down. No more hype and flash from leaders in captivity to our consumer culture! We want the genuine, the Kingdom.
We are looking for the pure DNA of the Lord to be revealed in His people.
We want real loving brotherly relationships with our fellow believers,
We want true elders in the faith to step forward.
We want the gifted ministries to mature the Body of Christ, rather than be mixed with worldly motives.
We want the fullness of what Christ purchased at Calvary to be manifest in us.
We want to be fully empowered in this hour, to preach the good news, cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead and disciple the nations.