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My visit to the Lakeland Revival – Justin Peters 

 Hello All,

Well, I went to Lakeland, FL to attend the revival services. I was in attendance Monday morning and evening, Tues evening, and Wed. morning. I really did try to go to these services with an open mind, but once there it did not take very long for my mind to begin closing. Todd Bentley does not preach in the morning services. Monday morning the preacher was a 28 year-old lady named Kira Mitchell who is one of Todd’s interns (for lack of a better word). He is apparently mentoring her. She told a great deal of dramatic stories and spoke often about how God speaks to her in dreams, visions, and, on occasion, in an audible voice. Peppered throughout her message were references to the upcoming time where the anointing would begin flowing (to which she referred as “walking in the sauce” which struck me as rather irreverent to say the least) and people would be healed. She called for those with tumors and cysts to come forward because God was telling her that an anointing was there for people such as these. So, many did come forward – particularly women with breast cancer it seemed. She would go person to person down the line and prophesy over him or her (she said to numerous women “You are a daughter of destiny” though she never seemed to elaborate on exactly what that meant) and attempt to slay them in the Spirit. Some went down, some did not. There were people who claimed to be healed of their tumors. Noticeably lacking from those who claimed to be healed, however, were people such as the man who was blind, the woman who was on crutches suffering from crippling arthritis, and the mother with her seven year old little boy who was born without a brain – only a brain stem. None of these poor people were healed.

Then came Monday night. The service began with a solid two hours of “worship.” The music was extremely loud and quite heavy. It was more like a rock concert than worship. People were jumping up and down, speaking in tongues, some were laughing uncontrollably (biblical support for this?), being slain in the Spirit, some lay on the floor twitching and writhing around, some would burst forth in screams. To be fair, the more dramatic manifestations were not the rule but nonetheless did occur with considerable frequency. In short, the worship was highly, highly emotionally charged. Finally, Todd got up to “preach.” Now, I put the word preach in quotes because what I observed of Todd’s messages could not be characterized as preaching by even the loosest definition of the term. He did not read and explain any text of Scripture. He basically performed and told dramatic stories of people being healed. Then came time for the healing to begin. Todd said, ‘If you are sick, I want you to begin doing something that you could not do before. You have to activate your faith by doing something you couldn’t do before. If you’re in a wheelchair, get up out of that wheelchair and start walking. If you couldn’t move your legs, start moving them.’ Well, I’m sitting in the wheelchair section (in my own electric chair) and so people all around me began trying to get out of their wheelchairs. Family members began trying to coax their loved ones out of their chairs and people on crutches stood up trying to walk without them. There was a large man sitting next to me in a wheelchair who was paralyzed from the waist down. He began to try to inch his way to the edge of his seat. His wife and a young lady who I presumed was his daughter encouraged him along. There was another lady standing over him speaking in tongues. Well, this man got to the edge of his seat, slid off, and crumpled to the floor like a rag doll. His wife and daughter kept encouraging him to “just believe.” The other lady kept up her tongues. This went on for a good half hour and the poor man could do nothing. They finally helped him back into his chair. (Probably just didn’t have enough faith, you see.)

A number of people who came in in wheelchairs walked up on stage for Todd to pray over them. Todd would ask them their condition, command them to be healed, and then lay hands on them and yell very loudly into the microphone, “BAM!!” Some would then fall back and lowered to the floor by the ready catchers (one person he even head-butted as he “BAMMED” him). He claimed most, if not all, of these folks healed. Well, these individuals could all walk even though they were in wheelchairs. I watched each one as they came back down the stage and from what I could observe every one of them went back to their wheelchair or stayed on their crutches. I honestly did not see anyone dramatically and unquestionably healed. Some of these individuals I followed and was able to get their names and phone numbers. I will follow up with them in a few weeks to see what if any change in their condition has occurred. There were a few empty chairs that all of the sudden appeared on stage but I did not see anyone actually get out of them.

Larry was another man who made it up on stage but he was not in a wheelchair. Larry, a pastor, has throat cancer with a grim prognosis from his physicians. Larry was very, very weak and feeble. When he spoke his voice was weak and raspy. Bentley claimed his healing and Larry agreed with him. Larry was helped off the stage by a young man and they left the auditorium. I caught up with them out in the hall. There was no discernable change in his condition. I will call Larry in a few weeks to see how he is doing. Please pray for Larry that God would heal him and, if physical healing is not God’s will, that Larry would know sufficient grace and strength made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:7-9).

There were so many people there sick with cancer, in wheelchairs, parents with crippled and sick children, retarded children and the like. I did not witness any miracles that were truly undeniable.

Wednesday morning something interesting happened. The pastor of Ignited Church, Stephen Strader, was preaching. At the end of the service he called for all preachers and evangelists to go into the fellowship hall where he was going to bestow on them “the anointing.” Well, long story short, I found myself in the fellowship hall. Strader came in and said, ‘Ok, I have some instructions for you. I’m about to come to each one of you and lay my hands on you to give you the anointing of this revival so that you can take it to your own church.’ He then admitted that not everything that has been going on at the Lakeland outpouring has been from God. He readily admitted that some people are getting caught up in emotionalism. He said, “I want you to take these next few minutes and pray.Pray, ‘God, if there is anything here You want me to have, give it to me. If there is anything here You do not want me to have, don’t give it to me.’ Now I think that is a fair prayer.” I had to agree with him. It certainly seemed like a fair prayer. But then he said something that really disconcerted me. He said, “Now, when I come up to you to give you the anointing, I want you to stop praying. If you continue to pray while I lay my hands on you, it will hinder the passing of the anointing from me to you. You are not to pray while I’m laying my hands on you and giving you this anointing.” Well, the Scripture that immediately popped into my head was 1 Thess. 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” Why was the pastor of the church telling me to do something clearly against Scripture??

Let’s also look at this logically. When a person prays, he is communicating with the Triune Godhead. This anointing that is about to be given to me is also, supposedly, from the Tiune Godhead. How could these two acts possibly be in contradiction? How could me praying to God hinder me from receiving something from God? Unless, of course, this anointing was not really from God. Needless to say, huge red flags immediately went up with me. Now, I’m not making an accusation against Strader here, I’m just saying that his instruction to stop praying was patently unbiblical at best and, at worst, possibly a doorway to receive something from some kind of spirit but not the Holy Spirit.

Please know that I am not judging the man’s heart, I’m just saying that this was an unwise and potentially exceedingly dangerous directive on his part. Well, Strader went up to each person, layed hands on them, and loudly yelled into the person’s ear “FIF!!,” (this is how I heard it) or, “FIRE!!” Practically everyone fell down, some twitched and jerked, some laughed, some just lay there. Well, when he came up to me, I was steady praying opting to follow the directives of Scripture rather than his. He layed hands on me, yelled “FIF” but I felt nothing other than concern about what was going on around me.

On a positive note, I attended one of their street evangelism training seminars. I was pleasantly surprised that the accompanying handouts were biblically solid – at least in the section that pertained to presenting the Gospel. The attendees were being trained to give people the Good Person Test by going through the 10 commandments. This is good. However, if someone made a ‘decision for Christ,’ then they were also, apparently, asked if they wanted to speak in tongues and so forth. A discussion on tongues is beyond the scope of my purposes here – I’m just telling what I observed.

Bentley struck me as an exceedingly arrogant person. He claims to have regular angelic visitations, was translated to Australia, and has been to Heaven where they actually did surgery on him [Forgive me if I just don’t believe this. Was Paul allowed to tell us what he saw and heard when he was caught up into heaven in 2 Cor. 12:2-4? No. If the man who wrote half of the New Testament was not allowed to speak of what he saw, I seriously doubt anyone else claiming to be able to do so (especially if they have tapes or books to sell)]

Bentley makes Benny Hinn look conservative by comparison (and I wrote my Master’s thesis on Hinn). On Tuesday night, Bentley got up to speak right after the two hours of music and all of the sudden excitedly said, “Is it raining in here? Is it raining in here?” as he held out his arms looking at them as though he was feeling drops of rain. Then the band, without missing a beat, started playing a chorus entitled “Let It Rain” complete with the lyrics against a backdrop of water being projected on the large screens. This was clearly ed. I was amazed that no one seemed to catch on to the obvious stunt. He claims that he has medical proof of these healings and resurrections. Maybe he does, I’m not sure. Friends, may I kindly offer a bit of caution here? Even if all of what Bentley claims is true (and I seriously doubt that it is), that does not in and of itself validate his ministry. The Bible often speaks of false prophets and false teachers who have performed and will perform signs and wonders. In fact, false Christ’s and false prophets will show signs and wonders so compelling that even the elect will almost be deceived (Matt. 24:24 see also Matt. 7:22-23).

Dear friends, after having been to the Lakeland Outpouring in person, I am very concerned about what is going on. Are there people there who are really saved and love the Lord? I have no doubt this is the case. Could some of the healings be real? They could be but I did not personally observe any – and I looked for them. Is Todd Bentley a man of God or a false prophet? Well, all I can say is that I do not believe him to be an honest man, he is a masterful manipulator of people’s emotions, he is actively engaging in activities that are extra-biblical and flat out unbiblical, and he does not preach the Word. What I am about to say is, I freely admit, subjective and by no means in and of itself authoritative in any way, but my spirit was very troubled the entire time I was there – very troubled. I believe that the Lakeland Outpouring is just the latest manifestation of the counterfeit revivals which broke out in Toronto, Brownsville, and Pensacola back in the ’90’s.

Let me conclude by saying that I long to see revival – true revival. I’m just not at all convinced that what we are seeing in Lakeland is. Let us pray for those sick and crippled who are being manipulated. If some are truly being saved, let us rejoice in that but pray that the focus would cease being on signs and wonders. Let us also pray for those who are leading this movement that they would not deceive or be deceived themselves.

Justin Peters

Todd Bentley or Jesus Christ?

by Bud Press, Director

Christian Research Service

May 20, 2008

 

To the Reader: Below is a word-for-word transcript of Todd Bentley’s YouTube video-taped message titled, “Jesus Christ Himself wants to visit you.” As of this writing, the 5 minute-23 second video may be reviewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdwBrB8cCOk .

 

Patricia King, self-proclaimed prophetess and founder of Extreme Prophetic, provides a short introduction to the video, and backs Todd Bentley’s claims to have seen Jesus Christ. Patricia King, herself, is no stranger to conflict and controversy ( http://www.extremeprophetic.com/conflict_home.htm ).

 

The following word-for-word transcript begins at 2:41 into the video, where Todd Bentley states:

 

Just recently, I was in Redding, California, and I had a face-to-face encounter with Jesus. It was real. And I was sitting in this green room in a chair. I was in a chair just like this, and I could feel the presence of the Lord all-around me.

 

You know, we worship and we pray. We can feel the presence of the Lord; we can feel the peace of God. And as I was sitting in the chair, I, I literally saw heaven open. My eyes were open and I saw heaven open, and I saw the Lord step out of heaven–literally step out of heaven. And from the Lord, Himself, He appeared to me, and, and it was as if He came to me into this realm. He appeared to me.

 

I, I remember His face. He had the brownest eyes that I’d ever seen; kinda reminded me of the movie, Bambi. Had these big brown eyes. He had long, brownish-black, curly locks that went down past His shoulders. And I remember His beard. I remember he was wearing and Ephod [see Reference.com], and I was surprised. It wasn’t like the glory, it was just a, a plain Ephod. And it was just humble. And He came in the form of, as I would imaging Jesus with the disciples on the Earth, as the Son of man; wasn’t the King of glory; wasn’t in His resurrection glory. It was, He came to me in the form of a humble servant–the Son of man. I mean, he had sandals on His feet; a real plain Ephod. But it was His eyes. And I saw the Lord. It was His eyes.

 

And from the Lord I saw literally ten rainbows come from the Lord. It was almost like a, a, a TV; like a projection television from the Lord came heaven. And I saw hills and I saw lions and I saw rivers of oil and I saw all kinds of butterflies and giant bumblebees. But, but it was the rainbows. And the brightest color that came from the Lord was pink, which is love and emotions. But ten rainbows. It was blinding. And I could see all of heaven and its glory. It was like Psalms 23. It was the paradise of God. But the Lord appeared to me in this realm.

 

And I remember His eyes, and I looked into His eyes and I thought, Aren’t your eyes supposed to be like fire? He said, “These are my eyes as I was as a man on the Earth. If you were to see me in heaven, I have eyes like fire.” And I, I looked into Him face-to-face, and He looked me in the eyes. He actually put a hand on my shoulders and He said these words: “Peace I give you, not as the world gives.” And I felt this impartation of the literal supernatural peace of God come over me.

 

Jesus is wonderful. Jesus is beautiful. There’s no one like Him. He is the King of glory. He is the Lord, strong and mighty. And we love Him and we worship Him, and we thank Him for His goodness.

 

But may you have a visitation of the Lord. This is your year for Jesus to visit you, if He’s never visited you before.

 

[End of video]

 

Is Todd Bentley telling the truth? Was Todd Bentley’s “face-to-face encounter” with the real Jesus of the Bible or with a counterfeit? Here is what Jesus Christ and the Bible have to say:

 

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him (Matthew 24:23).

 

So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them (Matthew 24:26). 

 

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).

 

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. “They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day (Luke 17:20-24).

 

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:1-3). 

 

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).

 

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

 

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

 

Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows–was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). 

 

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen (Revelation 1:7).

 

So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you (Revelation 3:3).

 

Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame (Revelation 16:15).

 

Todd Bentley claims to have seen Jesus Christ, but it was not the Jesus of the Bible.

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