You know, I really wanted to leave it alone, but it’s soooo hard… I started out adding this to my Saturday links post, but the line or two of commentary that I wanted to make with it got a little out of hand. Hey, it happens. So I read Stacey Campbell’s apology for the prophecy given to Todd Bentley at his commissioning-alignment hands-on-hands-off I-did-it-no-I-didn’t extravaganza event back in June. Well, she didn’t exactly apologize for the prophecy… what she said was, “I am truly sorry for any confusion my prophecy may have brought to the Body of Christ.” And that’s good insofar as it goes — I think for many who were directly affected by the Lakeland thing, it did cause confusion. For others, not so much. She doesn’t actually say that the prophecy was wrong, but in a sense she stuck to her guns, saying “I believe that it is God’s will for Todd Bentley to walk in the glory of God.”
I called it “Apostolic Fallout” a couple of weeks ago, and a few days after that I asked, “Is Bently Taking the ICA Down With Him?” Before I go further, I want to clarify that this is not really about Lakeland, or Bentley, except insofar as they illustrate symptoms of a larger problem. That’s where we need to focus our deep consideration at the moment. Leadership of the Lakeland revival-thing has been passed back to the local leaders and Bentley has properly been removed from ministry at least for a season. Now is the time to consider some bigger questions.
Even my Wife is Cynical
A friend was telling us about a recent encounter that a mutual acquaintance from our CLB had had — this out of some desire to not let their handling of the coals from the Lakeland fire (or however they put it) fizzle without becoming in some way evangelistic. Our friend thought about a book she picked up about how to stop making God look bad and I characterized it as a drive-by prayer-bombing, but apparently the subject in this case was quite touched and began coming to church. Allowing that God genuinely seems seems used the encounter in this case, I said that I still had a hard time making a pattern of an exception. My wife said that “of course,” this encounter is the one that will be continually touted as a testimonial, ignoring the other “fruitless” encounters (the ones that make God look bad). “Of course,” I replied. “It’s the post-conversion embellishment.” What a phrase, eh? If it resonates, what does that tell you?
Yesterday I began reviewing some of what’s been wrong in the Charismatic movement over time. Although present discussions going on all around are sparked by the Todd Bentley / Lakeland revelations of the recent weeks, this is not my prime concern here except insofar as the issues there fall into a pattern which should have been avoidable based on past experience. In essence, I am suggesting that there are certain weaknesses in the charismatic movement which make it susceptible to the kinds of abuse and excess which have caused the downfall of leaders and confusion or injury to some of the followers in the movement.
As I was wrapping up my post yesterday, I offered the observation that the types of issues could be summarized as falling within three primary concerns:
For numerologically-interpretive charismatics, “6” is the number of man. I just thought you’d want to know that. So evidently it’s time for a cleanup of the charismatic movement where it has been fueled by the ideas of men rather than the will of God and acts of the Holy Spirit. You know what I’m talking about.
Dan Edelen is starting a series ( [) on “Cleansing the Charismatic Crackup,” and I thought I’d interact a little. Part of his posts includes a list of problems and solutions, and this is the part I will take a look at — you’ll still need to read his posts to get the full thrust of his argument. Here’s what he’s got so far:
Problem: In our rush to regain a proper pneumatology, today’s charismatics abandoned a proper Christology.
Solution: We need to get the focus back on Jesus.
Well, what do I say now? Evidently I’ve not yet said “all I have to say about that,” even though I did say that I had. I should have known. Of course, there’s more to the story, as it slowly seeps out, releasing its acrid odour into the air as to waft along on the breeze to assault the senses of a sleepy town like on those days that the prevailing winds are from the general direction of the hog processing plant.
The wind from the blogosphere in the last few days is all about Todd Bentley and the Lakeland …uh, whatever. And amid the fray are a few that are casting a glance at a much broader scope. Are Christians gullible? Lee Grady says so, and
Ed Stetzer backs up the question. I think this may be one of those, “I’m sorry, but if you have to ask…” questions. I almost inadvertently said something about this gullibility last week when I commented on what is one of Ed’s examples in his post.
I wrote about BentleyLand the other day in a post that really seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people, and I mentioned the apostolic collision… collusion? collapse? Wagner called it an “alignment”, so now I know that the job of an apostle is to be some kind of hierarchical spiritual chiropractor. Grace calls Wagner on the reversal of his rhetoric concerning Bentley, who is is now distancing himself from. Little wonder, but as I said, he should have checked the guy out further before endorsifying him. Or whatever it is he says he did now. Turns out a lot more people are having their eyes opened… along the lines of what I wrote. A pro-Lakeland church leader quotes one of the “apostles” in Wagner’s network:
Well, I’ve already written a little about this whole Lakeland Revival mess. But it just wouldn’t go away. Todd Bentley announced he’d be leaving Lakeland later this August, then the date got moved up a couple of times by my count, and still it just won’t go away. Now today there’s more news. I don’t think this is going to go away any time soon. *sigh.* The news isn’t good this time either, as Bentley has filed for separation from his wife Shonnah due to “significant friction in their relationship.”
The board of directors at Bentley’s Fresh Fire Ministries released a statement Tuesday afternoon that praised the “outpouring” in Lakeland led by Bentley, but also acknowledged “an atmosphere of fatigue and stress” that more than 100 daily meetings had created, which “exacerbated existing issues in [Bentley’s marriage].”