ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: LAKELAND REVISITED
Felicitations and Blessings!
Before we begin today, let me say that I've marveled at some of the response to K-E XXXIII. With a one-paragraph reference to Todd Bentley and the religious reaction to his personal problems, some folks have taken personal offense. Some simply reacted with a How dare you call me religious attitude, and even a few longtime subscribers decided to unsubscribe from the Coffee Breaks. I feel badly for people who react like this.
Let's be clear. In no way do we condone or support the alleged sins, nor do we believe in mushy-gushy, sloppy Agape that whitewashes everything saying it'll all be OK. It's not!
At the same time, there is no place in God's economy which
gives us the right to pass judgment on the man or to speak evil of him.
Neither is there any place in God's Word which permits Christians to speak evil
of the ministry Todd has engaged in or to demonize and call "demonic"
the miracles, the signs and wonders that took place with
Whewww!! Didn't mean to get off to such a tough start like that, but some of God's people are in serious danger with their attacks on people in ministry, and it is incumbent upon me to call their attention to this error lest they suffer severe judgment!
So! Pull up a chair, set a spell, pour yourself a good, strong cup of today's Double-Roasted French, maybe even sneak a "vitamin" or two -- Shhhhh.....don't tell Della I said that -- and let's get started.
This may not seem like it has anything to do with
My father was a friend to A. A. Allen and spoke highly of his ministry. When the Assemblies of God (of which Dad was a part) accepted a police report that Allen had been arrested for DUI and subsequently paid the fine rather than contest the arrest, they disassociated themselves with him and removed his ordination papers. Dad was shocked. I can still see his reaction in my memory today. When the news of the Assemblies' decision to disassociate from Allen reached Dad, his reaction and comment to me was, "This was wrong! Brother Allen is not a drinker. This simply cannot be!"
In fact John Torell, who was A. A. Allen's associate and traveling companion for the last six years of his life wrote, "Bro. Allen drove from the motel in Knoxville, to the auditorium each night, accompanied by Bro. Rogers, and one or two others of the team. Since Allen did not eat before the service, he stopped at a local cafe on the way, to have a glass of milk.
This particular evening in question, he remarked to Rogers, "Rog, that milk tasted funny". . .
Allen was then "ticketed" for DUI, and given a citation and allowed to proceed. He went to the auditorium , conducted the meetings, and in the following days newspaper, the headlines screamed, "Evangelist Allen arrested for drunk driving"
Allen and Rogers both told me this story. . . and that Allen simply "paid the ticket" and went on, rather than interrupt the schedule of meetings. They both felt that the goal of the "vendetta" was to "stop the Allen meetings." When the denomination demanded that Allen "stop his ministry", he refused, and "went independent." That meant an end to the large "tithe" they had been receiving, so they continued to attempt to "blackball" the Allen ministry. Torell's entire report is available at (http://www.eaec.org/TruthAboutAAAllen.htm).
Despite the Washington Post's (6-20-1970) lurid report of Allen's death "due to acute alcoholism and liver failure," the San Francisco Medical Examiner's report stated (and noted on the death certificate) that A. A. Allen died of a heart attack.
Why am I bringing this up, now? Because it is illustrative of a feeding frenzy demonically driven to rip apart and destroy those who minister in the realm of the miraculous. I can think of no prominent miracle-preaching evangelist in the past 50 or 60 years who has not been ridiculed and attacked, and whose miracles of healing and deliverance have not been questioned and supposedly disproven.
The same is true of the ministry of William Branham whose phenomenal prophetic accuracy and operation in the Gift of Knowledge has rarely been seen in modern times. The miracles that accompanied his ministry were nothing less than stunning! Though I never had the opportunity to be in any of his meetings in person, I have seen several films and heard recordings of his services.
Yet much has been written to discredit Branham's ministry in the years since his death in an auto accident. The same is true of others who have followed in the footsteps of Branham, Allen, Coe and Oral Roberts. Mention these names in religious circles and see if you don't get some negative comment or raised eyebrow. What gets left out in the process is that these men of God were just that: men -- fallible human beings whom God trusted and commissioned to preach and to demonstrate His power and authority.
Did they fail? Did they have faults and shortcomings? Did they miss it in some instances with their doctrinal understanding? Probably. So what? Why is it that folks want to focus on the shortcomings and personal failures of those in ministry?
The answer is simple. Satan's purpose is to divide and conquer. His objective is to discredit people in ministry, and especially those who display the miraculous. If a man or woman by faith walks into the dimension of healing, creative miracles, deliverance from evil spirits, raising the dead and other signs and wonders, he or she is an immediate threat to Satan's hold over people. If there is any place of failing in them, if there is any succumbing to the flesh in any area, you can be sure Satan will pounce on it and make every effort to bring them down and discredit any miracles or deliverances that have been a part of their ministry.
It is a sad and unfortunate truth that people in ministry fail. I am celebrating my Year of Jubilee in ministry this year -- my fiftieth year of preaching the Gospel. Have I failed? Have I fallen flat more than once? Have I preached error? Have I missed it? I wish I could say NO, but the fact is I have failed -- and in a few instances, my failures have been very public.
The beauty of it all is the grace of God. What was it that the apostle Peter wrote? "Above all things, have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins -- forgives and disregards the offenses of others." (I Peter 4:8 Amplified Version)
We likewise read in Proverbs 10:12, "Hatred stirs up contentions, but love covers all transgressions." (Amplified Version)
The grace and mercy of God, and His love for me, have brought correction into my life when I have failed and picked me back up when my screw-ups have laid me out. Though there certainly were brethren -- and especially brethren in ministry -- who roasted me publicly and did everything they could to discredit my labors, the Lord surrounded me (and Della) with people who ministered nothing but love in the midst of God's correction. My own personal failings and subsequent victory over those failings has given me much grace for others in similar situations.
Let's look in that same chapter in Proverbs and consider two other verses as a preface to where we need to take this discussion.
"The wise in heart will accept and obey commandments, but the foolish of lips will fall headlong." (verse plified Version)
"He who heeds instruction and correction is [not only himself] in the way of life, but is a way of life for others. And he who neglects or refuses reproof [not only himself] goes astray, but causes to err and is a path toward ruin for others." (verse 17 Amplified Version)
Back in June of this year during the height of the Lakeland Outpouring, Dr. Peter Wagner (Revival Alliance) received a number of reports from ministers and ministries he respected concerning some questionable things that were taking place in connection with Todd Bentley. Though he did not personally know Todd, some of his fellow-apostles and prophets did. They felt to approach Todd and see if he would be willing to submit to apostolic authority.
Though Todd's ministry, Fresh Fire Ministries, was certainly a well-organized ministry, and he had a number of very well-seasoned brethren (among them, Eli Miller, whom I've met in years past) on his board of directors, he had never personally submitted to what we would refer to as "apostolic authority." Todd agreed to Peter's (and Revival Alliance's) covering and submitted to their counsel.
Within a month, it became clear that there were issues of the flesh that Todd was struggling with and things in his life that needed immediate attention lest he become another in the long list of Satan's victims. No one wanted to see the Lakeland Outpouring become discredited by the Enemy because of Todd's personal failings. Todd's family was out of order, and his personal life behind the scenes in disarray. He was in need of correction.
Peter Wagner, Che Ahn and other apostolic brothers told Todd he needed to step down from Fresh Fire Ministries, that he needed to step out of public ministry altogether and that Lakeland would continue without his involvement. They required of him that he submit to counsel and that he and his wife seek to resolve their issues with each other. Todd agreed, knowing in himself that if he did not submit everything around him would come crashing down.
As it stands today, Todd and Shonna Bentley are undergoing counseling. Where it all lands depends on many factors -- not the least of which is their individual responses to what the Holy Spirit is saying. I believe they will come out of this all the stronger spiritually -- and wiser, to be sure -- as a result of receiving ministry.
In the meantime, despite the controversy, the Lakeland
Outpouring continues. Peter Wagner has labeled the Outpouring like this
(and I agree): the Todd Bentley period is
It is important to realize that just because there were
displays of flesh during
As Rory and Wendy Alec at GOD TV have noted, "Over the past twelve years, but especially since our launch in America, we have in obedience to the Lord searched through the earth for those events and anointings that the Lord has laid on our hearts â� to amplify their message and anointing to the Body of Christ in this crucial endtime hour that we live in. The Lakeland Outpouring with Todd Bentley was one of those events. We received over 45 000 e-mails many, many of these heart rending, powerful testimonies from viewers across the earth of their bodies or their families bodies healed, their lives transformed and their hearts revived. None of us have ever seen such significant fruit in all the years of broadcast.
Todd ministered each day as the revival continued but was
consistently and unrelentingly criticized, maligned, persecuted - the attacks
grew increasingly violent - and the heartbreaking thing was that so much of it
came from the Church. At the same time, Todd was facing a second wave of
attack. This was from the covens, the warlocks - we heard firsthand concerning
some of these assignments. The enemy had heard of the great honoring of the
Lamb and was determined to destroy it - BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE
And the cost was Todd Bentley.
Was it because Todd was vulnerable and certain areas of his life were not surrendered wholly? Yes – like so many of us - in all probability.
Was it because the character of Christ was not yet formed in him in the equivalent measure to his gifting? Yes - like so many of us - in all probability.
Could it be the case that there by the grace of God go YOU
Both Della and Mary Ellen spent a week in
More importantly, however, she saw tens of thousands of people who were there for one purpose: to worship the Lord Jesus Christ and to receive all that He has for them. The spirit of worship in the place was, in Della's words, "like being in the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself." The miracles were real. The healings were real.
To refer to the Lakeland Outpouring -- and particularly,
They don't need for the body of Christ to kill them off because they've been wounded on the front lines of a vicious and ferocious spiritual battle. The "church" has sadly been labeled as the only army that kills its wounded instead of picking them up and ministering to them. This has been the pattern of many throughout the centuries. I don't need to revisit the past other than to point out that what has happened with Todd Bentley is no different than what has happened with other prominent leaders in just the past 25 years.
What should -- and MUST -- differentiate us from the rest of the world is what Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment, that you should love one another; just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another -- if you keep on showing love among yourselves." (John 13:34-35 Amplified Version)
If you want to prosper in the physical, material world, you must first prosper in the spiritual world.
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22) Be blessed!
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