Jesus warned us that anyone claiming to be a prophet or a teacher we need to examine in the light of the Scriptures to see whether they are true or false. Todd Bentley and his practices need to be examined with the Word of God and if they don't pass the test of Scripture, then he needs to be rejected by the true Body of Christ. Just because there are many "wonderful works" going on doesn't mean that he is a true prophet of God.
1)We have already noted that that there is a huge difference between the Bible definition of revival, as happened on the day of Pentecost, with the Holy Spirit bringing conviction of sin, in fulfilment of John. 16:8, and what is going on at Lakeland, where there is no conviction of sin at all.
2) We have also noted that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, warned us that "the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many, but the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Mt.7:13-14) Therefore when Todd Bentley, on the few occasions when he speaks about ‘being saved,’ makes the way to salvation wide, and gives the impression that it is easy to enter, and when he refuses to preach obedience to the commands of Jesus, but his message confirms people in their worldly lifestyles, we may be certain that it is not of God.
3) In addition, we have mentioned the lack of Biblical teaching at Lakeland, the extreme heretical views of William Branham, which Bentley accepts, including his claim of communication with the dead, in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Bible, (Deut.!8:10-12, Is. 8:19-20); and his claims of being taken up into the third heaven on demand, which we have shown to be contrary to Scripture.
We will now look at some further deviations from the Bible.
4) Simon, the Sorcerer, was a man who originally did many signs and wonders and miracles, (which certainly didn't prove he was of God). After his supposed 'conversion', he saw that the Apostles had great power and could impart the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, and he desired the same power also. Simon sought to pay money, expecting the gift of the Holy Spirit in return! Todd Bentley is making people do the same thing today. He asks people to pay money and to expect a return of miracles and of the Spirit. Just as Peter rebuked Simon, we should do the same.
5) The Bible says: "Preach the word; be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they will they accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings; And they will turn away from listening to the truth, and turn to myths."(2Tim.4:2) Patrick Ersig comments, " It doesn't say, preach about miracles, preach about angels, preach about extra-scriptural revelations, but that is what Bentley does. Sharp, plain, pure, preaching of the Word of God should be the primary mark of a work of God. Then it says to reprove and rebuke. Where is the reproving and rebuking in this "revival", of calling out sin and proclaiming the judgment of God upon an apostate church? Where is the exhorting, the spurring on to love and holiness, the sound scriptural exhortation with sound doctrine and clear Biblical exegesis? It's not in Lakeland! Nor is it in Todd's ministry! "
6) The Apostle Paul warned the people at Ephesus that after his departure, men would arise who would lead people astray. "Remember," he said, "how for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." (Acts 20:29-31) Those who are true leaders will warn people of false teaching, their hearts will be burdened with the sins of the world and the dangers that lie in wait for God’s people, so they will plead with tears. None of these godly factors are at Lakeland, only the negative one of people being led astray.
7) We have also noted that the "spirit" that Todd Bentley is operating under, causes manifestations that do not appear anywhere in the Bible. We have been made aware of many manifestations that have long been associated with pagan and heathen religions but are found nowhere in Scripture. "The ‘gospel’ that Todd preaches," says Patrick Ersig, "is a gospel of seeking after signs and wonders. Angel feathers, gold dust, diamonds falling, seeing female angels, are found nowhere in Scripture. Seeking after miracles and not after the face and heart and burden of God is a deadly delusion that will lead one straight into accepting "another spirit". (2 Cor. 11:4) There are many spirits in the world, which is why we are called both to test the spirits, and to test those who purport to be prophets and teachers by their doctrine. Their doctrine must be solid and sound, but Todd's is a concoction of New Age, Spiritism and occultic thinking."
8) Peter Horrobin points out that "in the Scriptures an anointing is for service, so the idea of a mass impartation as an experience to be clamoured for, as T.B. offers, is foreign to Scripture, and is demonic, for the occult world knows all about anointing, transference and impartation. The enemy clones his followers into ‘sameness’ through such deceptive impartations, so as to make them all do the same things. This is the foundation of many cults and false religions. On the other hand, God releases each of His children into the uniqueness of their gifting, and anoints them specifically for their individual destiny…There is no Biblical foundation for transferable anointings and mass impartations."
9) Todd claims that his healing anointing comes from an angel, the same angel who was involved in the ministry of William Branham, who claimed that it was the same angel who appeared to Moses, but there is no record in all of Scripture of an angel giving somebody an anointing. No angels were involved in the healing ministries of the apostles, and the angel of the Lord who appeared to Moses does not appear after Pentecost, for such a one is no longer necessary, as God Himself came in human form in Christ. The Holy Spirit is the only One who anoints God's ministers. If the anointing is from an angel, we can know it is not from God.
10) T.B. claims that he summons angels, but this teaching is the teaching of the occult Kabbala, not the Bible. The Bible nowhere warrants summoning angels.
11) " Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you evildoers. (Mt.7:22-23) Just because somebody calls Jesus "Lord," prophesies, casts out demons, does many wonderful works, (which includes healing people), does not mean they are of God! Signs and wonders is no proof of being genuine or not. The only way we can tell is by: a) the doctrine of the teacher (2 John) b) the fruit of their life (Mt. 7) c) discerning of the spirit they operate under. (1 Cor 12) On all three scores, Todd Bentley fails the test.
12) In Is. 57:15 God says that He dwells in the high and lofty place and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit. "This is the man to whom I will look," says the Almighty God, "he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and who trembles at my word." (Is.66:2) "God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," stated the apostle Paul, (Gal.6:14), yet Bentley glories in visions, in revelations in ‘miracles,’ in himself, as he struts about the stage, full of pomp and pride, the very opposite of a contrite and humble spirit. And as for trembling at the word of God, he is a million miles away from having any idea what that means.
13) One of the great marks of the Early Church, a period of genuine revival, was the fear of God that came upon them. "And fear came upon every soul." "And great fear came upon the whole Church."(Acts.2:43 & 5:11), as it had been prophesied: "Salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land."( Ps.85;9) Such a fear is conspicuously absent at Lakeland. Even Robert Ricciardelli, who is an "apostle" of the International Coalition of Apostles, has stated: "The biggest thing about Lakeland is the lack of the fear of our awesome God, and consequently, a lack of repentance and humility. They have exchanged the truth for a lie."
14) Jesus said it would be the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the humble, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the broken hearted, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted who would have God’s blessing and inherit His kingdom, but such things are never mentioned at Lakeland. In fact, the picture there is of those who are the exact opposite. What greater proof do we need that this is not of God?
15) T.B. is always saying "Fire, Fire," as if it is a directive from God, but the New Testament does not warrant such a use of the word. Even though John the Baptist prophesied that the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire, the only fire mentioned by Jesus and the apostles is the fire of judgment, (especially the writer of the letter to the Hebrews saying that our God is a consuming fire), apart from the saying of Jesus that he had come to bring fire on the earth, which can be related to causing division among people or causing persecution. Peter also refers to fire as persecution. So Bentley is entirely unbiblical in this, if he thinks it is something good, for he may be, unknowingly, bringing the fire of judgment upon himself and others.
16) T.B. tells people to get drunk with the spirit, but the Bible says "Don’t get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit," implying that being filled with the Spirit is the opposite of drunkenness. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self control, so it is a contradiction of His work to say that He could cause anyone to be drunk, i.e. not fully in control of himself. Moreover, God says, "I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of the land……and I will dash them one against the other….says the Lord. I will not spare or have pity or have compassion, that I should not destroy them." (Jer.13:13-14) God sending drunkenness, therefore, is a mark of His displeasure and an indication of His judgement. Again we are seeing the Lord’s judgement on His apostate Church.
17) Film has been shown of T.B. saying, "There is a glory moving into the room, a drunken glory, a heavy glory, a shekinah glory." Then he started prancing and jumping around. This is plainly contradictory to the Bible, for when the glory of God appeared to Moses, even he, who spoke to God face to face, hid himself in a cleft of the rocks. When the glory of God came down at the dedication of the temple, the priests could not stand to minister, but had to leave. When the glory of God came down in 1904, on the pulpit at Rhos in Wales, R.B Jones, one of the holiest of men, fled into the vestry. How dare Bentley talk about the glory of our great and holy God in such a way. Whatever he has at Lakeland is certainly not the glory of God. Nobody with any understanding of the true God would speak as Bentley does.
18) Bentley claims that the Lord told him to get his body tattooed, when the Bible clearly states that we are not to put marks on our bodies, (Lev.19:28), and that our bodies do not belong to us but are to be kept pure and clean as temples of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 6:19)
19) Where in the Bible does it condone kicking the heads and bodies of sick people with boots, or head butting a man with abdominal pain, or stamping on people, or banging a woman’s crippled feet on the floor, so they can be healed?
20) In the Bible, before the Lord comes, the way has to be prepared, as Isaiah forecast, as John the Baptist confirmed, and as the 120 in the upper room proved, and as so many have proved since then in every time of revival. God does not come, unless through prayer and sacrifice and lives attuned to His will, but such conditions did not exist at Lakeland. If we want to return to the Lord, then we have to remove our abominations from his presence. We need to break up our fallow ground, and circumcise our hearts to the Lord and put away all sin, lest His wrath go forth like fire, because of the evil of our doings. (Jer.4:1-4) Nothing like that has ever existed at Lakeland. Whatever it is, it is not of the Lord.
21) A testimony from Hawaii tells of a pastor who had been to Lakeland for the "impartation," who now stands in the pulpit but cannot say a complete sentence without laughing or bending over or making queer noises. Compare this with the Lord Jesus Christ, who, when He spoke at Nazareth, "All wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth." (Lk.4:22) As Derek Prince wrote, "the most important thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is holy. That is the essence of His character. Anything that is blatantly irreverent and unholy is nothing to do with Him."
22) "Seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord, that He may have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."(Is.55:6-7) But at Lakeland there is no mention of seeking the Lord, of calling on the Lord for mercy, of forsaking wicked things or unrighteous thoughts, nor of the pardon of God for sins against Him. Furthermore, there is no preaching against sin, no preaching of repentance, no preaching on the Cross, on holiness or brokenness. In fact there is no proper preaching or teaching at all of the great doctrines of the Bible.
By way of contrast, Doug Perry talks of people who have genuinely repented because they realised how selfish and frivolous their lives had been. They renounced the past, and got serious with God, and are now living in the fear of the Lord and are 100% in the ministry that God has called them to do. Lakeland is a million miles away from that. "People laughing, giggling, screaming and falling down, but not out of conviction of sin. Nobody’s heart is broken. Nobody is realising the frivolousness of their lives. Nobody is renouncing sin. They look just like the world, only louder and worse."
B. Answering Objections.
1) We shouldn’t bother about all the unusual happenings at Lakeland, for all revivals have been messy.
Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma magazine, wrote "Revival is messy. As much as we would
love for it to come in a neat and orderly package, history teaches us that outbreaks of the Holy Spirit are often accompanied by holy chaos. There may be conversions and healings in one corner and demonic manifestations in the other. In seasons of revival you can have miracles and mayhem.."
Now it is true that in some, but not all, revivals, unusual things have taken place, and sometimes things have got out of hand, but this has only been at the fringes, not at the very heart and centre of what is happening. Andrew Strom comments that "at Lakeland there is unbiblical teaching and demonic deception right at the core of what is being preached and imparted, so that it is not just a "messy" revival, but a deadly counterfeit, and it is not a later aberration, as with true revivals, but it has been there right from the beginning " "True revivals," he continues, "always have pure preaching of Repentance, Holiness and the Cross at the centre of the messages. They bring deep conviction and the Fear of the Lord. The problem at Lakeland has been that there has been a weird unbiblical 'anointing' at the very centre right from the start. The manner of the meetings, the irreverence, the lack of right preaching, the stress on impartation, angels being said to be heading up the whole movement, doing the healings, speaking to the leaders, etc. all point to the "messiness", or worse, as endemic."
Let us remind ourselves of how this messiness happens. It is when, as Jessie Penn Lewis and Evan Roberts showed us, people are not discerning, do not test the spirits, and do not understand the difference between soul and spirit; when they become passive in mind and body, and open themselves up to demonic spirits; when they seek an experience without the Cross; and all that is exactly what has been happening at Lakeland. That is why there is such a huge difference between even the messiest revival and what is going on at Lakeland. There were some excesses during the 1904-6 Awakening in Wales, but 40 years later, Evan Roberts lamented that fear and reverence had lost their throne, and that neither the pains of death nor the judgement day gripped and arrested hearts as they once did, i.e. during the awakening. What a wonderful summary that is of what it must have been like when the Spirit was poured out, and what an incredibly different picture to what is happening at Lakeland.
2) But what about all the healings that take place?
We have already noted that signs and wonders are not necessarily a sign of God working or even what He approves of, for wonder workers are called evildoers. Witch doctors and faith healers can heal people. We should also remember that signs and wonders are meant to follow the preaching of repentance and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. They are never to be the main attraction. Signs follow those who believe, not to validate a particular believer.
Peter Horrobin, in a very perceptive article, that faces the reality of mixtures of good and bad in the Church, affirms that "the primary sources of mixture inside the Body of Christ are: the world in the church, undiscerning and unhealed leaders, false prophecies, ignorance of the enemy’s devices, and lying signs and wonders, (supernatural occurrences that have their source in the power of Satan and not the power of God). Satan has power and he uses it to great effect. Power is a drug which can even seduce Christian leaders. And when there is an unhealed heart, which gets its affirmation and significance through being a person with power, (and Horrobin infers that that is the case with Bentley), then the enemy can have a field day through using demonically inspired soul power to put on a very impressive show. ‘Minor miracles’, which have the saints reeling, such as alleged gold dust and gold fillings are welcomed as being evidence of a visitation of the glory of God. Anyone who has researched even the fringes of occult power knows there are many deceptive things the enemy can do – even healings. No wonder Jesus warned that in the end times "false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect" (Matthew 24:24). We are living in those days.
It is no big deal for a person who is sick with a spirit of infirmity to be healed by the action of a more powerful demon – either by dismissing the spirit of infirmity, (demons casting out demons), or by controlling the lower spirit so that it is inactivated for a season. Such ‘instant healings’ are often proclaimed as miracles. While in such cases, people may claim to be healed, their healing is often at the price of more powerful demonic control in their life, which can take them into yet deeper deception.
Healing, without the discipline of discipleship, leaves people and Churches vulnerable to many deceptive influences. Healing, and not Jesus, becomes their focus. Jesus is not a technique, or a piece of magic, He is a person. When Jesus becomes a power source, outside of a personal relationship in which there is submission, love and obedience, you can be sure that the enemy is on the prowl!
Satan is a master deceiver. He takes advantage of the sins we commit to gain power in our lives and uses the hurt and bruised soul as a generation point for demonic power. If leaders, especially, do not understand how he operates, they will not be in a position to truly care for their people by protecting them from the devices of the enemy. For example, when people are led to believe that certain demonic manifestations are not demonic, but are told they are from God, they are being conditioned to want whatever that manifestation might be. They then think they are receiving God’s blessing! In reality, transference is taking place and what they have received is a spirit, which is causing the external manifestations, and which has been validated by others as a sign that God is at work. Their deception is complete."
Doug Perry points out that a person going to Lakeland could be healed, for if the person has the faith to be healed by Jesus, he will be healed, in spite of all the demonic activity. On the other hand, affirms Perry, a demon can take the spirit of fear away from a person, so he or she can believe for healing, receive the healing and testify to it, so his speaker, Bentley can get the credit for it, and it looks like he is on God’s side; but then later, the spirit of fear can be put back in, and the healing is taken away because he or she didn’t repent, didn’t learn how to live in holiness, didn’t learn how to keep the healing, and didn’t learn how to get rid of the demons.
It should be pointed out that there is no medical evidence of any of the alleged miracle cures, even though Lakeland have been asked to produce it. On the other hand, there is evidence of demonic attacks on those who have been ‘anointed.’ Ricciardelli has worked with Lee Grady in seeking to establish the authenticity of the reports of healing at Lakeland. "The truth is," he writes, "that there are very few being healed." Concerning the ‘resurrections,’ "we have investigated the twenty plus ‘raised from the dead claims…and they cannot be verified," he states. "We have heard of a few people getting well, but a church in North Carolina took 27 people there for a week; none got healed, and most were worse when they got back." Ricciardelli makes the astounding statement :"It is my opinion that it was man orchestrated and demonically influenced from the beginning."
Madame Guyon, who lived over 300 years ago, wrote:"I am deeply grieved that so many in this day, even some good people, allow themselves to be led astray by the enemy. Has not God warned us against false prophets and lying wonders of the last days? The enemy gains great advantage because people love extraordinary manifestations, signs and wonders. I believe the inordinate love of external signs is used of the enemy to draw people away from the Word of God and from the inward way of faith. The signs that come from God encourage you to die to yourself." But that is not happening at Lakeland, in fact, the very opposite of that is promoted.
3) But what about all the people who become Christians at Lakeland?
It is possible that some people have become Christians at Lakeland, for Jesus can be found anywhere, at home, at work, at play, even at the Lakeland meetings, if we are really seeking Him, but that doesn’t mean that he approves of all those places. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean that all the ones who are said to have become Christians, have really done so, or that they will stay the course.
Under normal evangelism, more than 95% of those who make decisions fall away. Millions of Americans claim to have been ‘born again,’ but their lives are the same as non-Christians. They have never become true followers of Jesus Christ. The tragedy is that by making these shallow commitments, they have been immunized against the real thing, and made it much more difficult to bring them to real repentance. So the devil is the only winner.
But we are not talking about a normal evangelistic context, but the hot, humid, extremely loud pop music environment of Lakeland, with its sensualism and show business atmosphere; a) where they have not truly repented, for they are not challenged to do so, b) where they have no conception of sin, for this is not spoken about, c) where they are not convicted of sin, for that is not mentioned, c) where they have no conception of the holiness of God, for that is not mentioned, indeed they think it is all right to use His name as a swearword, for that is what T.B. does, d) where they have accepted a whole mindset which is the opposite of real Christianity, for it is all about getting and not giving, e) where they have had the hands of T.B. put on them, so they have been infected, and can carry that infection to other places! Are these people really Christians, and is this how the Church should grow? It is an insult to our suffering brothers and sisters in the persecuted Church, who are following the narrow way, and who know what real Christianity is, to say that Lakeland produces genuine believers.
"The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. But the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Mt.7:13-14)
4) Why shouldn’t God use Todd Bentley, for the Bible says that God can use the most unlikely people.
It is true that the twelve disciples were a motley bunch of men, whom we probably would not have chosen, but after three years of training by the Master, and their experience of Pentecost, they were all changed. They became great witnesses to Jesus, they became Bible teachers and devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word . (Acts 2:32, 2:42 & 6:4) T.B. is the exact opposite. He has no emphasis on prayer or the ministry of the Word.
People are here referring to 1 Cor.1:26-29, where Paul says that God chose what is foolish to shame the wise, what is weak to shame the strong, and what is low and despised in the world to bring to nothing the things that are.
The first thing to notice about this passage is that it is emphasizing the Cross, the foolishness and the weakness of the Cross of Christ, but T.B. does not emphasise the Cross. He does not speak about the Cross, by which the world has been crucified to him, and he to the world, for that isn’t true.
He is not poor, but very rich, earning thousands of dollars from his business enterprises, his selling of books and CDs at inflated prices, and getting people to pledge huge amounts of money to him.
He is not weak, but displays his muscles and his strength constantly, as he struts about the stage, delighting in his power over people. If they don’t fall down when he touches them or pushes them, he does it again, to show that he is in charge.
He is not humble, but proud, advertising himself standing pompously beside his large motor bike in black leathers, and on the stage showing off his brawny arms with tattoos on.
The apostle said he went to Corinth in fear and weakness and in much trembling, but there is nothing about T.B. that displays fear or weakness or trembling. On the contrary, everything about him is worldly, proud and occultic, the very opposite of what Paul was referring to here.
5) Times have changed, and God works in different ways now.
The answer to this is simple; God does not change, (Mal.3:6), and therefore, not surprisingly, every revival has the same hallmarks. In answer to the humble, fervent, agonizing, heartfelt, believing prayers of His people, God pours out His Spirit, and people become aware of the awesome presence of a holy God, and of their standing before Him. They are convicted of their sins, and cry out to God for His mercy. When they find it in Christ, they are amazed that God has had mercy on them, and rescued them from sin and from hell, and they dedicate their lives to His service. They love to read the word of God and pray, especially with others, and have an intense longing to see their relatives and friends saved from going to hell. Their priorities change, and nothing in this world is of any value any more, for Jesus becomes all they desire. Lives are radically changed, with hardened sinners being turned into beautiful saints; drug addicts, alcoholics and immoral people are cleaned up and cured. The community is completely changed, with pubs and clubs and brothels closed, drug cartels broken up, etc. Many offer to go into missionary service and other full time Christian work.
Lakeland bears no relation to that in any way, and it is an affront to a Holy God to put Lakeland and revival together in the same sentence.
But if it isn’t revival, is it of God? To answer that, we need to ask some questions.
C. Is it of God?
1) If it is of God, why is the word of God so downgraded at the meetings at Lakeland?
People have watched many meetings, and have noticed that the Bible is not preached from, and only rarely does T.B. even take a Bible to the desk. Nor is this anything new. Three years ago, a person who attended one of his meetings reported that he did not preach from the Bible, and even laughed at it when he made out that he was going to read from it. He just glorified himself and talked about angels and the third heaven.
2) If it is of God, then why is there no reverence, no awe, no mention of sin or repentance, or holiness or brokenness, or the cross as an offence, or discipleship or dedication or anything that is dear to the heart of God?
3) If it is of God, why is there no conviction of sin at Lakeland, when Jesus told us that that would be the mark of the coming of the Holy Spirit?
4) If it is of God, why is there no fear of God at Lakeland, which was the most obvious sign of His presence in the Early Church?
5) If it is of God, why does T.B. not tell the wicked to forsake their way and the unrighteous their thoughts, and return to the Lord, that He may have mercy on them; as the Bible tells us to do?
6) If it is of God, why does it not promote humility, meekness and brokenness, which God says are the qualities in people that He most desires?
7) If it is of God, why is there no love or compassion? Whoever the people are who come to him, sick people, old people, children; he just "bams" them and laughs at them in the most disrespectful way, in a way that Jesus would never do, making parents holding children fall over, laughing at a boy of 14 who said he had just become a Christian, and make him fall backwards down the steps of the platform?
8) If it is of God, then why is T.B. so unchristian? The fruit of the Spirit includes gentleness and self control, but he is violent, jumping on a man who was lying down, kicking a woman in the face, head butting a man who was in great pain, hitting a man so hard that one of his teeth was knocked out, claiming that God told him to do it! If he were truly listening to God, or even knew the Bible, he would know that the voice he hears is not that of God.
9) If it is of the One True God, then why does T.B. claim that he is guided by an angel called Emma, whom the heretic Branham called up, and who is spoken of in Buddhism, in Taoism and in Shintoism as the demon ruler in hell; and those in touch with God have verified that she is not one of the Lord’s angels?
10) If it is of God, then why does T.B. stress believing in angels, rather than Jesus?
11) If it is of God, how is it that in the Bible, the appearance of an angel always causes fear and awe, but with T.B. there is no fear or awe.
12) If it is of God, then how is it that in the Bible, angels are never summoned, they just appear at the command of God, but T.B. claims to summon angels to come and help him.
13) If it is of God, how is it that all the characteristics of Kundalini, the serpent demon, are displayed through T.B.?
14) If it is of God, why does everything there point to the occult; the very loud music pounding away and repeated again and again; the songs, none of which are normal Christian songs, but are songs about angels and not Jesus?
15) If it is of God, then how can he use the name of God as a swear word? He takes the name of God in vain, just as the world does. If anyone ever uses the name of God in that way when speaking to me, I tell them not to blaspheme, and never to speak like that again. T.B. needs to be told the same.
16) If it is of God, how can T.B. claim to get revelation from dead spirits, a practice which God condemns?
17) If it is of God, then why does T.B. tell people to "shut off their minds" to receive what he is offering? Not only is this disobedience, for we are told to love God with our minds, but it is also very dangerous, for it is inviting in evil spirits.
18) If it is of God, then how is it that it was noticed that T.B. could not stand still and could not speak clearly until the demonic doctrine of Bilocation and Levitation was being taught. Then, suddenly his tongue was loosened to speak very clearly the doctrine that the demon wanted him to promote.
19) If it is of God, then why have so many sincere, spirit filled Christians warned people about attending the meetings at Lakeland and wherever the ‘anointings’ have gone, and have even warned about watching videos of them, and that if you do so, you must be spiritually armed to withstand the onslaught of the evil one?
20) If it is of God, why are people suffering demonic attacks after having hands laid on them for the ‘impartation’ from Lakeland, or just by watching programmes from Lakeland on the television or on the Internet, which ended only by calling on the name of Jesus for deliverance, or by being delivered? Doug Perry of Fellowship of the Martyrs wrote that he is getting email and telephone calls almost every day from people needing deliverance from all kinds of demonic oppressions in their homes and churches that were imparted to them from Lakeland.
21) If it is of God, then why are all the suspect people that have been criticized for years because of involvement in deception, in intrigue, in suspect activities, in immorality, in false prophecies and false doctrines, such as Paul Cain, Bob Jones, John Arnott, Rodney Howard Browne, the AOG leaders in the U.S.A. and Australia all now linked with Lakeland?
22) If it is of God, why are all the genuine, spiritual, biblically based Christian leaders all against it, and why are the majority of them Charismatics and Pentecostals? This list includes David Wilkerson, Carter Conlan, Philip Powell of Christian Witness Ministries, (former General Secretary of the Assemblies of God in Australia), Life Action Ministries of Buchanan, Michigan, Let us Reason Ministries, Discernment Ministries, Terry Somerville of Total Change Ministries, James Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries, Doug Perry of Fellowship of the Martyrs, Greg Gordon of Sermon Index, Tom Chacko, Asian Pentecostal Evangelist to Hindus, Michael Oppenheimer, Peter Horrobin of Ellel Ministries, Andrew Strom of Revival School, (whose testimony is the most telling of all as he was in the same organization with Todd Bentley), Stuart Dool of Intercessors for Britain, Clifford Hill, and many others.
23) If it is of God, then why is it that those who accept Lakeland have cold shouldered and rejected those who do not believe it is of God, when in times of revival, it is the opponents of revival who cold shoulder the others? People have been driven out of their congregations because they will not accept the ‘anointing’ that their church leadership insists on them having!
24) If it is of God, how is it that every revival in history has been brought about by people agonizing in prayer over a long period before God answers and pours out His Spirit and brings conviction of sin, whereas at Lakeland there has been no such preparation, and, of course, no such consequence?
25) If it is of God, then it would make people more like Christ, with more of His Spirit and more of His wisdom and more of His graciousness, but it has done the opposite. People who have accepted it have become more gullible, with less wisdom and less discernment. They have also become less gracious, less loving and harder in their hearts. It is all very tragic.
26) If it is of God, then why are there genuine men and women of God spending hours in prayer, crying over the way the devil has deceived believers and led them astray through Lakeland and its offshoots?
When we see Jesus crying over Jerusalem, we know the answer.
D. Wait and See
There are some people who, in spite of all that we have realized, still think that we should withhold judgment, and wait and see how things turn out. Don’t oppose it, they say, in case it is a move of God.
If it is not of God, it will come to nothing.
We have dealt with whether it is of God in the previous section, so we will now deal with the second part. The reasoning that we should leave something to see if it is of God is not a Christian attitude. It was spoken by Gamaliel, a Jew, who wasn’t sure what to do about Christianity. The Lord Jesus and the apostles never advocated such an attitude, but rebuked error wherever they found it. By the Holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ and the wisdom that comes from above, we are told to test the spirits, to see if they are from God, and the ability to distinguish between spirits is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to us; so we should be able to detect what is right and what is not, and God expects us to use that gift.
We have already mentioned that we do not say wait and see regarding other religions. If we applied it to Mormonism and Islam, both of which are growing faster than Christianity, then we would have to conclude that Mormonism and Islam are right and, therefore, Christianity must be wrong! We could also apply it to the work of the devil, and see if it succeeds! It should be obvious that this whole line of reasoning does not make sense. Being more specific, we would have to say that when we see the evil spirits that are at work at Lakeland and all its offshoots, the ones that are operating in Animism and in Hinduism, we should just leave them alone in their ignorance and slavery to demonic powers! When souls are at stake, it is criminal to sit back and do nothing. Our task is to spread the truth, which, of necessity, includes detecting error and denouncing it, as Jesus and the apostles did.
Why should we sit idly by while people hold their heads and scream in pain as they fall over when hands are laid on them at Lakeland, just the same as when witch doctors touch people; when those who have received the "impartation" are oppressed by evil spirits; when their characters are changed for the worst; when their money is stolen from them by dishonest manipulation; when angels are put in the place of Jesus. We do not need to wait, we can see what is happening now.
It is said that these are early days, so we should not be too hasty. It is not early days, as far as Andrew Strom is concerned, who has known Bentley for years, and who knows this is just the next stage in an ongoing battle to deceive the Church, and lead it astray. It is not early days as far as prophecies about this are concerned. We have already noted one prophecy about these events that was given over two years ago, another was given the previous year and another many years before that. We should be aware of what is going on, and the warnings that have been given.
Lynn Clark of Revival School thought at first that we should be cautious and wait and see, but the more she heard and saw, the more she became convinced that it was not of God, so now she says she cannot keep quiet, and cannot warn people enough. "We can not be silent as to the dangers to the souls involved here. There is no middle ground here, we can not take an attitude of just watch and see - this is a spiritual war against principalities and darkness in high places - for we fight not against flesh and blood - we must speak out against this counterfeit. The true gospel of Jesus Christ has to be restored back to the church, and we must begin to preach the truth."
I now quote from an unknown contributor on the subject: "I sincerely pray that no one who truly knows and understands the inherent danger of this false revival (and our need to clearly expose it), will be sidetracked by anyone seeking to minimize or downplay it under the guise of "tolerance", "understanding", or so-called "Christian love". It is not love to quietly sit by and attempt to reason, rationalize, and explain something away that has the power to destroy lives and ultimately cost people their souls! I won't apologize if that appears a bit harsh to some either, I stand firmly with Paul when he stated "if I yet lived to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ". As he very well knew, the truth always offends people, especially those who don't really desire to live by it, consequently, we must not let the fear of offending others cause us to back down from speaking what's necessary and true. That is why I will continue to take what's happening in Lakeland very seriously, because I truly believe we're in the midst of one of the most powerful spiritual battles the Church has ever faced. I also believe the Lord needs us to stay focused and stand for truth stronger then ever at this time, so by His grace, as much as He enables me, that's exactly what I desire to do. May the Lord help us to be keenly alert and discerning to the many influences that will be sent to dissuade and distract us at this crucial point in time. May He grant us much boldness to not waver one iota as we unashamedly stand for what is true and right in our desire to please Him, and Him alone. And last but not least, may He help us to be ever so careful to keep our sword sharp as we continue to fight the good fight of faith!"
E. The Testing of the Church
Lynn Clark believes that God is allowing all this to happen "to test the hearts of those who are His. Jesus said that He came to bring a sword, and this is starting to be enacted now. The Bride is being purified and being separated from the Apostate Church. It will show up those who have left their first love, and who chase after demons. Today’s Laodicean church has never been so ripe for judgment," she claims, "and God is testing and judging His Church through it" Others agree, and pray that the true Church will pass the test. Those who act selfishly, seeking special experiences, wanting the latest anointing, who do not like being challenged, who do not favour the narrow way of self denial, whose hearts are centred on this life and not on eternity, will fail the test. Those who will repent, who will accept correction, who will seek the Lord with their whole hearts, and give up everything for Him, who will direct their lives according to the Word of God in the Bible and not the word of man, whatever the cost, will become the Remnant Church.
There has been a growing gulf in the church, especially since Toronto, and this gulf is going to get deeper and wider, between those who will go along with the deceptions and those who will stand up and speak out against them. For this they will be labelled heretics, formalists and opponents of the Holy Spirit. They will be rejected and even threatened.
Doug Perry goes further by claiming that God has not just allowed Lakeland, but it is a move of destruction by Him, in accordance with Deuteronomy 28, when He said that He would send a strong delusion, and if His people would not obey His voice, then he would send curses, confusion and frustration upon them until they were destroyed and perished quickly.
This ties in with the reference we have already noted in Jeremiah 13, where God said He would fill the inhabitants of the land with drunkenness, and it would be sent to destroy His people. Jeremiah’s predictions of judgment and disaster were all fulfilled quite quickly. God’s warnings need to be taken seriously.
"The only safe place," says Perry, "is the place of repentance, of brokenness at the foot of the Cross, and saying to Jesus, ‘I want only what is from You, what is pure and holy.’"
F. What should we do about it?
We need to make sure we are learning the lessons that God is wanting us to learn from this. I trust that this looking at Lakeland has not only enabled us to see the faults in it, but has also enabled us to be more discriminating regarding what are claimed as revivals or works of God. As Josef Urban has said, "This is no hour to be compromising in, to be playing the harlot with the things of the world, of living a lukewarm life, or dabbling in things with an unholy mixture. This is the time to find deep and true repentance, and to live by pure and simple faith."
a) If you have had hands laid on you from anyone connected with Lakeland, or any of the similar ministries, or have the slightest doubt about anything in that area; then 1) Renounce it in the name of Jesus, 2) Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you for opening yourself up to anything that wasn’t of Him; 3) Ask Him to cleanse you by His blood, and make you really clean and pure; 4) Call upon Him to deliver you from all oppression; 5) Ask Him to enable you to stand firm for Him and His Word, and never be entangled again in anything that is not of Him 6) Ask Him to keep you close to Him, and make you 100% for Him.
b) Also take practical steps so you are not led into temptation. Separate yourself from those who would seek to deceive you. Separate yourself to the Lord in holiness and righteousness. Avoid any place, any television programme or internet site where the devil can get at you. He only needs a toehold to wreak havoc. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. It is time to walk solemnly and seriously before God in holiness of heart and life, seeking the wisdom that is from above. Abide in Christ, and dwell in the presence of His Holy Spirit, and walk in His true anointing, which is the only way to keep ourselves from deception.
c) Don’t open yourself up to anything; it is dangerous; but offer your body to Christ as a living sacrifice. Humble yourself under the Almighty. Seek His face Seek holiness. Seek righteousness. Seek humility.
d) Stand fast in the Lord. Put on the whole armour of God. (You will need it in these days.) Let nothing terrify you. Hold fast to what is good. Be prepared to suffer for standing up for what is right.
e) Pray that all those who have been deceived by the devil in all this will have the truth revealed to them, will realize the error of their ways, will renounce them, and seek cleansing in the blood of Jesus.
f) Warn others of the dangers connected with this phenomenon, and do it all in love, out of genuine concern for their souls. Declare the truth that is in Jesus, and tell people to seek the best, the Lord Jesus Himself, not an occult counterfeit. He is all they need.
g) Make sure you are praying for the right kind of revival, one that elevates Jesus, not angels, one that brings people on their knees or on their faces in conviction of sin before a Holy God.
Doug Perry tells of a young woman who wanted to experience the fear of the Lord. The leadership of their fellowship prayed with her, and since then her heart has been broken and her eyes flooded with tears over the terrible state of the Church of Christ, how damaged and how deceived it is; and how sad and how angry the Lord is about it. She has been in that state for over a year now. This is what God wants all of us to feel like, so ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes so you can see all the pride and deceit of Lakeland and of the whole church in the West. Ask the Lord to give you a real fear of Him, like that young woman in Kansas City, and that He will use you to bring revival and awakening. "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."(Ps.51:17) Pray that God will make you satisfied with nothing less than His best. Say to the Lord, "There is nothing on earth that I desire other than You." (Ps.73:25)
"Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in Thee I find,
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick and lead the blind:
Just and holy is Thy name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am, Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound, make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity." (Charles Wesley)