In the last few weeks the question of Todd Bentley and what is called the Lakeland Outpouring has weighed heavy on mind. I don’t think I could comment negatively or positively without putting myself in tension with someone I care about. For those unfamiliar with Todd Bentley he is Canadian charismatic evangelist leading what is considered by many to be healing revival in Lakeland Florida. By most standards he is unorthodox. He is a younger man, covered in tattoos, and his ministry is marked by manifestations like shaking, being drunk in the spirit and laughing. Bentley has been a polarizing force. As such people tend to strongly embrace or strongly reject was going on. Nightline just did a story on Bentley and couldn’t find one independently verified documented miracle.
At this point I haven’t seen a lot that I can embrace. Everything that I’ve been learning in scripture about the nature of the church, salvation and ministry is at odds with what I see at Lakeland. The message that is presented contrasts too heavily with the picture the New Testament paints. The Lakeland message is pretty much summed up with one of Bentley’s catch phrases: "come get some". While healing was a significant part of Jesus’ ministry all the talk of impartation’s, transferable anointings, and healing angels is foreign to scripture. Some have attempted to take some scattered tidbits of scripture and try to make a case for this brand of Christianity but the attempts fail to measure up against the direction and the force of theologically orthodox Christianity. While one could find lots to criticize in Bentley’s brand of revival Christianity the most disturbing is what is missing. I’ve yet to see a proper presentation of the message of the cross, sacrifice or death to self.
Upon some sober reflection I can’t judge Todd Bentley the man (1Cor 4:5). I can tell you that the message he conveys isn’t the gospel I know and believe in.