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The Lakeland “Outpouring”: I have gone, and these are my thoughts…

I’m sure some of my friends leaning further into the ‘reformed’ camp will immediately question me for having gone, and I can entirely understand why: a scattering of unBiblical teachings from the ‘pulpit’, a number of examples of overblown claims, and some practices that are questionable at best.  Don’t worry, folks – I’m still with you on those, but please hear me out.

Overall, I was really challenged and blessed there.

You heard me right: I was – generally speaking – challenged and blessed by attending 2 nights of the Lakeland Outpouring.  

Now, what that DOESN’T mean is that I withdrawal ANY of my earlier blogs on the subject (see BE THE REVIVAL, MIRACLE WORKER, SOUND DOCTRINE, CURRENT THOUGHTS, QUENCHING, & AGAINST), though it definitely puts them in a new, broader perspective.  It doesn’t mean, in fact, that I’m even convinced that Todd Bentley has a gift of healing, though I DO suspect he has a strong gift of faith, and the two are sometimes, though not always, related.

Honestly, I went – primarily for two reasons:
1.) My wife is significantly more open & less suspicious (that is not to say she has no discernment – the opposite’s true, but she is far more ‘open’…), and was very interested in attending, and it looked as though it would work out to be a ‘family vacation’ of sorts for us all.  Her family has a history of involvement with the various revivals in this area over the years, so Lakeland was a draw for her.
2.) My brother-n-law, who I’m proud to say is also one of my best friends, is a current member of SonicFlood, who were leading worship both nights, and I wanted to go show him my support.

First, though I can’t speak for the other worship leaders who have been part of Lakeland since it initially broke out, Rick & SonicFlood led a particularly God-honoring, Gospel-saturated, Christ-centered worship set both nights.  In fact, until Lakeland I had hardly HEARD anything by SonicFlood – they weren’t really on my musical radar.  Not only were they technically a great band, but it was a powerful time of worship.

Then came the prayer time.  I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that – at least on the nights I attended – though Todd Bentley was present and involved, it was clearly NOT the ‘Todd Bentley show’, as I had originally feared.  Maybe in that way that cameras of GodTV have actually misrepresented Lakeland, since he is so captivating – he has such a strong presence.  The stage was filled with various volunteers and pastors ministering, speaking, and praying – there was a significant team actively involved, and most of the time I was barely even aware of Bentley.  I was very blessed that even the most extreme cases were welcomed to the stage for prayer, and when some of these individuals stood there in need for a touch from God, my heart broke, and I have not petitioned God with such passion in very long-time.  I was face-to-face with a Holy, and powerful God, begging Him to intercede – to show His power, and in such an atmosphere of faith it was not hard to be convinced that God can do whatever He wills.  Tears well up in my eyes even thinking about it.

Then Todd stood up to ‘teach’.  Teaching is not Todd’s strong-point (everyone I talked to, in fact, emphasized this), and let me just say that I was about 50%/50% – when he was ‘on’ he was dead-on, and I wanted to shout “AMEN!’, but much of the time he was ‘off’, and there was a clear influence of various theologies that I think not Biblical (I’d encourage all of the teachers at this revival to study Carson’s “Exegetical Fallacies”, in fact).  However, and though some may find this sad, others will sigh with relief: many left at the beginning of, or during the ‘teaching’, and many others there had enough discernment to sift it for the good, and even the not-so-good was at-least half-true.  I know it sounds like I’m letting the guy off the hook, I’m not, however I don’t think this “Outpouring” is really about Todd, so it doesn’t concern me quite as much as I thought.  I believe there were, and are, many being touched here, sometimes in spite of him, quite honestly.  Yes, there are some with little or no discernment who may grab hold of and be led astray by some of what he says, but if it weren’t him, they’d find someone else to ‘whisper’ in their ears – without the true guidance of the Spirit any of us would do the same.  However, I came, sincere God-centered worship took place, and God was encountered by many.  

Personally, I am glad I went.  You can proceed to pick your jaw up off the floor now.

Though I still don’t think it’s necessarily Scriptural to chase revivals, I will be praying for Todd more, and criticizing Him far less from now on.

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Filed under: Bible, Charismatic, Continualist, Contraversy, Debate, Doctrine, Emotionalism, Flesh, Gospel, Hermeneutics, Holy Laughter, Holy Spirit, Lakeland Revival, Pentecostalism, Prayer, Revival, Signs of the Spirit, Theology, Tongues, Word of Faith, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. Travis says:

    I have read a few of your posts concerning Lakeland, and as I’m not hardly familiar (or interested) with the events taking place there I’m glad you had an opportunity to experience it.

    I grew up in the sphere of Pentecostalism, came to faith in a Holiness Church and have after ditching it all for stuffy uptight calvinism have happily returned so to speak and adopted the title Charismatic Calvinist.

    I am convinced that whereas there is an abundance of false doctrine, heresy, misinformation, and plain old ignorance running rampant in the church today….even in several so called reformed denominations, there are genuine Christians within all the assorted flavors. Lakeland is no exception.

    I will always be reformed in doctrine, but much prefer at least a mildy charismatic community of believers. Worship like you really believe. Expect the gifts like they haven’t ceased. Use discernment, if you are born of the Spirit…you’ll have a good idea when something isn’t right. But you seem to be doing well already.

    Just my 2c!

  2. Russ Hutto says:

    Great thoughts, Shannon.

  3. Brad says:

    Interesting post. Since the beginning, I have done as much as possible to draw many friends away from wasting their time watching this revival on GodTV. After watching one service, at which Bentley was not present, I was even more set against it. However, I am glad to hear from a reliable source, that it’s not so bad.
    It’s the group of people that “with little or no discernment who may grab hold of and be led astray by some of what he says,” that give any Charismatic believer a bad name.

  4. Tyler says:

    If I had a choice of getting good, solid and Christ-centered teaching I would probably not go to Lakewood, even with all the years of biblical knowledge and the gift of discernment. I may be able to sit in the service like you and see where it’s wrong and where’s it’s okay. Even in writing this I know frome experience that all denominations have error, some more erroneous and damaging than others. In regards to the gifts and manifestations I would err on the side of caution as the Holy Spirit does not cause people to fall down and shake anywhere in the bible. I do know that God can and will be glorified even in the midst of chaos.

    However, like I said above I would rather go to a meeting or church service where I know for sure that Christ will be exalted and proclaimed without all the hub-bub, “holy laughter”, “slayings in the spirit” (of which I participated for years and years, more than I can count) but testing the spirits is what I am all about. If Christ is at the Center of it, if His gospel is being preached and nothing is trumping His earthly ministry, then I am all about it. I have spent too much time in the midst of a “holy” movement or a “spirit” thing.

    1st John 4 admonishes us to test the spirits to see if they are from God and if that spirit tells us to do something that Jesus’ earthly ministry NEVER did then we probably need to go back to scripture and make sure our intentions are correct and so our doctrine too.

    I am all about the Spirit moving on hearts because only through Him and God’s Word will anyone change. I would not want to substitute anything for God’s holy, precious and powerful Word being proclaimed.

    By His grace and for His glory,

    Tyler Nuzum

    P.S. I am an avid fan of Hank Hannegraff and I tend to lean toward his direction when it comes to Todd Bentley, although I might (MIGHT) have more grace than he.

  5. heatlight says:

    Thanks for you note, Tyler – I hope you have read some of my earlier blogs which I linked in this article, for a broader context of what I say here. Blessings…

  6. Tyler says:

    I will have to check out your other articles. Sorry for such a late reply but I thought I had lost where this website was.

    By His grace and for His glory alone,

    Tyler

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