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.
I’ve actually been meaning to post this for quite some time now, but I’ve been reminded of it again and am finally getting around to it. I have in my 20-year-old NIV Study Bible on page 1599 a 3″x4″ Post-it Note affixed overtop of the notes on the bottom of the page. It contains three bullet-points referring to a text on that page, with a few brief notes about each one. The note represents advice at-the-ready that I could share with a group for anywhere from 5 minutes perhaps up to full sermon length. It always seemed a good idea to have something at the ready, and it is a bit of advice that I shared with leaders and leaders-in-training and people in ministry training or prophetic ministry. And now here it is on the blog. I say there are three lessons, but really it’s a single lesson in three points, designed to remind us who we are and put us in our place.
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].”
I’ve been thinking lately about this whole “Apostolic Reformation” thing, and the similarities that some of the language bears to authoritarian ideas like the Shepherding Movement. I think in general there’s a tendency to misunderstand the nature of the apostolic ministry, which doesn’t help matters much. I think when our first thoughts of “apostles” is of what and whom they are in charge, we’re missing the boat right out of the gate. To mix metaphors, that is.
In poking around the Internet on the subject, I find that I’m not the first or only one to notice parallels, like one listing of apostolic networks with influences from the Shepherding Movement, with an introduction that states,
I’m wanting to put some thought toward a description of how I see the apostolic gift or office functioning. In thinking about the shepherding movement and the role of the apostle that’s now coming into vogue, I keep hitting on a bunch of negatives… a few themes in a leading order are as follows:
Everybody needs to believe in discipleship, in spiritual growth and maturity. My CLB was a post-discipleship-movement group, so there were a number of people nervous about the word “discipleship,” and a few others here and there who generally meant more by the word than was in the common usage. For the most part, it seems to be commonly assumed that discipleship consists of teaching and mentoring, or giving advice to the less spiritually mature.
Turns out I’m an “APTSE.”
To recap, this is in addition to the prior labels:
- MBTI — INTP Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving (scoring very high on intuitive).
- KTS (Keirsey) — Architect, in the temperament of the rationals.
- Enneagram — Type Five, The Investigator with a “Four-Wing” (The Individualist), or “The Iconoclast.” 5w4’s have a more intuitive than strictly rational approach to knowledge.