A Lesson From the Lakeland Revival – Heretic Todd Bentley

by Tim Challies

A couple of weeks ago I invested an hour and a half in watching Lakeland: The Movie, a documentary about Todd Bentley and the Lakeland “Revival.” You may remember that in April of 2008, a preacher and revivalist named Todd Bentley was invited to Ignited Church in Lakeland, Florida. The plan was to have Bentley there for five days of revival services. In the end he stayed for four months. What was meant to be a small, local event soon saw hundreds of thousands of people from 65 countries travel to Florida. Millions more participated through the Internet. Night after night Bentley would hold wild services full of singing, preaching, speaking in tongues, prayer for healing and miracles and, of course, the inevitable collection of money.

The revival was marked by what were said to be great manifestations of the work of the Holy Spirit—speaking in tongues, ecstatic prophecies, miraculous healings and even the claim that somewhere around thirty people had been raised from the dead. Just about every major media outlet covered it at one time or another. Most of them went looking for evidence that miracles had actually happened; not surprisingly, not a single miracle was ever verified.

By August the revival was beginning to slow down a little bit and Bentley decided to leave Lakeland and to take the revival on the road. Teaching that the Holy Spirit could be passed from him to others by the laying on of hands, he would tour the country and take this outpouring of the Spirit with him. But no sooner did he leave Lakeland than the media exploded with reports that Bentley and his wife would be separating. Apparently he had been carrying on an inappropriate relationship with one of the women connected to his ministry. He and his wife soon divorced and shortly afterward he had married this other woman. The revivals and his ministry came to a screeching halt, at least for a time.

This documentary made me both angry and sad. I was outraged to see Bentley’s complete disregard for Scripture, his disregard for what the Bible tells us about the miraculous gifts, about maintaining good order in services, about so much else. What made me sad were the many looks at the people who had followed Bentley. There were many people, well-intentioned, I am sure, who gave up everything they had to follow him. They sold their houses, they walked away from their normal lives, and drove down to Florida where for a time many of them even lived together in a tent city. They looked to Bentley as their leader, the one who would be ushering in an age of revival, of constant miracles and supernatural deeds. They were enraptured by him, entranced by him, as they lived in a charismatic glow of constant prayer, prophecy, speaking in tongues and unusual manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

via A Lesson From the Lakeland Revival | Overflow.

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