Dear friends in Christ,
Even before the Lakeland phenomenon broke out, I heard a report about Todd Bentley’s meetings on the Gold Coast that dismayed me somewhat. It had to do with the way he raises money, by telling people that they should “sow” money into his anointing so that they can receive an impartation of it.
I can’t say I was prejudiced against these meetings from the start. In fact I had heard of Todd Bentley and knew he moved to some extent in gifts of healing and miracles for some years. I hadn’t read anything that looked really wrong. I even obtained permission to publish one of his articles on my website some years ago which I thought was helpful. I heard the pastors who organised the meetings on the Gold Coast talk about it and I wasn’t thinking – “Oh what a bad thing that Todd Bentley is coming”.
However, at the present time, I am deeply concerned about these meetings and the fanfare they are attracting. It would be good if what was being taught was consistently Scriptural and the meetings were causing people to fear God, to confess and turn away from their secret sins. But I don’t see that that is what this “revival” is about.
It seems to be about Todd Bentley, angels of finance, the supernatural, boasting about dreams, visions and prophetic experiences, and the impartation of a spirit the nature of which seems highly questionable to me right now. The Bible instructs us to “believe not every spirit, but test the spirits”. It doesn’t seem to me that a lot of testing the spirits is going on at Lakeland.
It seems to me that this revival is first and foremost about “the supernatural”. Its not healthy for “the supernatural” to be the primary emphasis in Christian meetings, since there are supernatural or spiritual phenomena which are NOT of God. Its true that when God is moving it is normal for there to be supernatural things happening at some level. I personally believe healing and deliverance SHOULD follow the preaching of the gospel, and certainly these things have happened many times when I’ve preached. I also believe that churches SHOULD have the operation of revelational gifts of the Spirit. But not every revelation is given by the Holy Spirit – and not every time you feel good does it mean that God was behind it.
If God sends a revival to the church, the FEAR OF THE LORD would have to be a primary theme. If people do not fear God as a result of being in a revival meeting, I question what spirit is operating. These days “the supernatural” is much more commonly in manifestation than in former times, but godliness is much less. I believe we are living in dangerous times.
If you want to know whether a particular movement is inspired by the HOLY Spirit, ask yourself whether it feels holy or unholy. If something looks unholy, and feels unholy, it probably IS unholy. And the Holy Spirit is not behind such things, no matter how supernatural they may be.
Jesus must be the focus, and it must be the same Jesus the Bible testifies of, not “another jesus”. There were “other Jesuses” in the time of Paul the apostle and even in recent times plenty of people talk about having “Jesus” as their new age spirit guide.
Many will rise up acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:5).
Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
The mention of the name of Jesus and the presence of supernatural phenomena does not guarantee the approval of God on a ministry.
In the life of a true prophet I would look for fruits of gentleness (not violence), self-control, the glorification of Jesus Christ and not of men, and so forth.
It bothers me when people talk to others saying “your anointing”, “your power” or when people say “we are going to do it and not even the devil can stop us now”.
The Bible says that power belongs to God. (Psalm 62:11).
“God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.”
Let’s not talk about “our power” and how great we are.
What really bothers me is that so many big names of the charismatic and “apostolic” world have come to endorse the whole Bentley phenomenon. It makes me think that we have now entered into the beginning of a “Great Falling Away” prophesied in Scripture. If you follow men and their ministries, and don’t study God’s Word and God’s ways strongly, you could easily be deceived. You have to love truth more than money, influence, fame or supernatural manifestations to stay on the right side of God in the days ahead.
Thankfully a lot of people can see through this thing, but its obvious now to me that many will be deceived. I wish I could say, “This will just blow over” but I rather suspect it will not, because they have harnessed the power of media, something many true servants of God have been unable to undestand and utilise. Why true servants of God have left the media in the hands of false prophets and charlatans to such a large degree is something I do not understand. Now, more than ever, we should take hold of the TV, the internet and so on, and stand up for what we believe in.