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.
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.
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:
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.
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.”
Yesterday it seems we had something of an impromptu synchroblog going as we offered responses to the
antics ministries of John Crowder and Todd Bentley, with the labels of revival that have been tossed around. My thoughts as well as those of Robbymac, Kingdom Grace, and Bill Kinnon were born of an email conversation we had struck up following the thoughts of others, including Andrew Jones (see my earlier post for additional links). I love the graphic that Rob made up, and even Bill’s pic is a good one — he even looks thoughtful. The image on Grace’s post says a lot, and had me thinking about some years back when we were praying for a pastor for the church plant we were undertaking. A friend of mine on the team was famed for saying he’d even follow a donkey, as long as it was God’s donkey. Good line, but as I looked at the circus image, I was struck by the fact that following God’s donkey is alright, but you have to exercise discernment to make sure you don’t end up following the wrong ass. Just a general observation of course, not a characterization of anyone in particular.
The buzz of the day is around the old hyper-charismatic mess. Steve Knight opines on John Crowder who’s big on “Tokin’ the Ghost.” Yes, sadly, you read that right. I don’t know if it’s Todd Bentley-ish or what. Uh-huh. Here’s a few words to the wise should you get to watching the YouTube videos at the ends of those links. (1) When someone claims to have been through a “dark night of the soul” that ends with “spiritual power”, there’s a 99% likelihood they’ve never read St. John of the Cross. (2) When anyone starts using the phrase “whole new dimension” or “whole new level”, run away. (3) When you’re being told to ignore all that you know and believe only in the transrational “greater reality”, it’s time to exercise some sharp discernment… and use your brain. Seriously, claims of “bi-location” where one person appears in two places at the same time? What’s up with that? Did a simpler explanation never occur to anyone, or is it supposed to be a sign of faith to run to the most outlandish explanation? So I guess they’ve got this “revival” thing going on in Lakeland, FL. My email is abuzz this morning, and I’m thinking of Robbymac’s Post-Charismatic? book (link to Amazon.ca).