May 18, 2008

Is Lakeland Calling you? DON'T GO!

Yesterday, a German friend emailed who I hadn't heard from since I left Berlin in 2005 asking if she could stay with me as someone gave her money to go to the 'revival' at Lakeland. Here is my reply to her:

What a wonderful surprise to hear from you, my friend. Currently, I am living in California so am unable to help you with your request.

But I also must tell you that I don't trust Todd Bentley. You may not want to hear this but it would be wrong of me not to say something.

Just a few weeks ago, I posted on one of my blogs that I believe Todd is a false prophet (Is Todd Bentley a False Prophet?).

Bentley says he has an angel named Emma that helps him get wealth, he goes to the third heaven every day, and he has the spirit of William Branham, a discredited preacher now deceased - all this should raise a BIG red flag in the heart and mind of the Christian.

Bentley claims that his angel also assisted William Branham in his healing ministry in the 1960s. [Check out background on William Branham who called the Trinity a pagan doctrine.] In fact, Branham always claimed that he could do no healings until his angel showed up. Bentley refers to his angel as "the angel of the Lord" and also waits upon Emma for the signs and wonders to manifest. However, according to Bible scholars, the term "the angel of the Lord" is an Old Testament reference to the pre-incarnate Christ, also called a Theophany. It seems that Emma is really overstepping her bounds to be referred to as "the angel of the Lord."

So I strongly suggest you not go to the Lakeland meetings - I believe the demonic is at work there and it is dangerous for the Christian to partake in 'strange fire'. Please research this but more importantly, read your Bible - not the corrupt modern version - but whatever the German equivalent to the English King James version. The Lord Jesus Christ tells us: "LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU".

Briefly, I left Germany and disassociated myself with Fire ministries, Brownsville, and the charismatic movement in 2005 when I realized I had been deceived and misled (read more about this in the comment section of the link above). Since then I have repented and am now back in the REAL Bible.

The cry of my heart is that the Truth be revealed, the lies be exposed, the deceived wakeup, the sinner repent, the lost get saved and the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified.

Blessings and much love to you,

Cathy

--- end ---

FROM THE LAKELAND LEDGER TODAY




Florida Outpouring: Internet Draws Thousands to Lakeland Revival

By Cary McMullen
Lakeland Ledger
May 18, 2008

source


People are here from states as far away as Texas, Ohio and Maryland, and from Florida locales like Palm Beach, Jacksonville and the Panhandle, according to the license plates in the parking lot. And that does not include people reportedly coming to Lakeland from overseas - Africa, Europe, Australia - to be present at this Pentecostal revival.

It resembles a rock concert. The crowds have listened to an hour of loud, power-chord Christian rock music, singing, "We are the generation who'll stand and fight; in the midst of all the darkness, carry the light."

Tonight, visiting evangelist Todd Bentley says he has been told by a prophet, Bob Jones, that 13 wise virgins would carry the revival forward. So Bentley calls teenagers up to the stage and "anoints" them, touching them and watching many fall backward, a practice Pentecostals call being "slain in the Spirit." It's just the beginning of an hours-long service.

Bentley came to Lakeland at the invitation of Stephen Strader, pastor of Ignited Church, to lead a one-week revival beginning April 2. Every day since then, Bentley has preached, prayed in tongues, relayed prophetic messages and laid hands on people wanting to be healed from a wide range of troubles, from financial difficulty to mental illness to cancer. Leaders say the revival could go on for months.

In future articles, The Ledger will examine some of the controversies and claims of the revival, but if some of what is happening seems surprising to the uninitiated, the revival is following a well-worn path. It is the fourth lengthy Pentecostal revival in the past 15 years, and one occurred in Lakeland at the now-disbanded Carpenter's Home Church, led by Strader's father, Karl Strader.

"This is kind of looked-for and prayed-for in the Pentecostal world," said Vincent Synan, emeritus dean of the School of Divinity at Regent University, a Pentecostal school in Virginia Beach, Va. "Everyone is looking for the next revival. When they hear of it, they want to go."

But there is something different about the Lakeland revival. For one thing, Bentley - 32, a bald, bearded and tattooed Canadian - is drawing a younger and more raucous crowd.

And it could be the first revival ever to be driven by the Internet.

Attendance reached about 10,000 one night recently when the revival was held at Joker Marchant Stadium. Recent crowds have ranged from 3,000 to 7,000 per night, with about 800 in the mornings, although the numbers swell on weekends, Stephen Strader said.

Because of the crowds, revival leaders had to abandon the 700-seat Ignited Church sanctuary for evening services. They have wandered to at least four other venues to accommodate the crowds, most recently at The Lakeland Center.

Revival leaders are expected to announce today that beginning May 26, they will hold evening services on the grounds of Sun 'n Fun Fly-in under a giant inflatable "air dome" that will hold up to 10,000 people. It will be the home of the revival "indefinitely," said Lynne Breidenbach, a spokeswoman for the revival.

"Todd is hiring staff and renting apartments. They're setting up camp to stay for three or four months," Strader said.

For everyone who has attended the revival in person, there are many more around the globe who have been watching it streamed live on the Internet. Strader began sending hundreds of e-mail dispatches about the revival during the first week, and soon after Ignited began streaming the services live on Ustream (www.ustream.tv). The site has received 1.2 million visits as of Friday, Breidenbach said. More recently, the services have been broadcast by God TV, a small Christian network.

"We went global in less than two weeks," Strader said.

Synan agreed that in Lakeland, the Internet has added something new to the time-honored tradition of revivals.

"It may be the first revival spread abroad on the Internet. It sounds like a new feature," he said. "This new technology might be the wave of the future for revivals."

Revivals, of course, are commonplace in American Protestant churches, going back at least as far as colonial times. Most last about a week or two. As a rule, they are designed to renew the dedication of the already-faithful and to convert nonbelievers through stirring music and fiery preaching that focuses on the eternal destination of sinners - salvation for believers, damnation for the rest.

The Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles in 1906 that is credited as the birth of the modern Pentecostal movement, however, was the prototype for Pentecostal revivals to follow, including the Florida Outpouring. Its focus was on an immediate, here-and-now encounter with God through ecstatic worship and signs that God, through the Holy Spirit, is present. Those signs include the "gifts" from God, say Pentecostals, of supernatural healing and declarations considered prophetic or predictive of the future.

"These manifestations are very common in American church history - screaming, falling out, shouting, jumping. In frontier America, this very emotional, expressive kind of worship was very common. The Pentecostals added speaking in tongues and healings," Synan said.

Some Pentecostal observers are calling the Lakeland revival the "third wave," following the "Toronto Blessing" that began in January 1994 and overlapped with the Brownsville Revival that began in June 1995 at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola. In both of those revivals, there were daily services for more than two years, and both featured claims of miraculous healing and prophetic messages and worship practices not usually found in most churches, such as speaking in tongues and "holy laughter," in which worship leaders and portions of the crowd are seized with long bouts of hysterical laughter.

In a recent interview, Bentley said although he did not attend the Toronto revival, he has been influenced by it.

"The intimacy, the worship, the love of God - it made Jesus personal," he said. "It had the same kind of manifestations and power. I have a high respect for that renewal, the focus on the father heart of God."

But even before the Toronto revival, there was one in Lakeland.

In March 1993, Karl Strader invited South African evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne to lead a revival at Carpenter's Home. Howard-Browne, now pastor of The River at Tampa Bay, a church in Tampa, is a proponent of holy laughter, and he led 16 weeks of revival services during the following 10 months, with some weeks off.

"It was a terrific revival. We had about 3,000 or 4,000 a night. The radio station would play the services, and that just had people laughing. People thought we were out of our minds," recalled Karl Strader.

It did attract worldwide attention, Stephen Strader said, but it took about six months. Carpenter's Home had a TV broadcast, but it was only one hour a week.

"We didn't have Internet. There was no media coverage, no e-mails," he said.

The Toronto revival began at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church under evangelist Randy Clark just as the Carpenter's Home revival was ending. It drew attention - and ridicule - for some practices that were even more unusual than holy laughter, such as people roaring like lions, barking like dogs or flapping their arms. Eventually, at the request of the Association of Vineyard Churches, the church withdrew from the association and changed its named to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.

The following year, a revival began at Brownsville Assembly of God under visiting evangelist Steve Hill. It too attracted attention well beyond Pensacola and continued nightly for more than four years, but it was a more orderly revival, Synan said.

"They had these manifestations, but they were not central. It was more evangelistic. A lot of people were converted," he said.

By Stephen Strader's own admission, the Florida Outpouring is not orderly.

"If you go to services by Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer or T.D. Jakes, you see folks dressed up in coats and ties. This is not polished. This crowd is bikers, poor people. It's chaotic, it's disorganized, it's sandlot baseball. It's a working man's revival," he said.

Karl Strader said there is a difference in style from his 1993 revival.

"I think there's quite a bit more intensity. The music is not ours. It's too long for some of us. But it's reaching my grandchildren, and they're loving every minute of it," he said.

Synan said every-day revivals begin to wane after about three years, but Stephen Strader uses analogies from sports leagues to natural disasters to imply that the Lakeland revival could be even bigger.

"We feel like this is going to have a lasting impact," he said. "The first two were tidal waves. This is a tsunami."

--- end ---

Ten Things To Do With Apostates

1. TRY THEM -- 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2. REPROVE THEM -- Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

3. REBUKE THEM -- Titus 1:13 ...rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

4. WITHDRAW FROM THEM -- 2 Thessalonians 3:6 ...we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

5. SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM THEM -- 2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

6. TURN AWAY FROM THEM -- 2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

7. MARK THEM AND AVOID THEM -- Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

8. REJECT THEM -- Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject.

9. RECEIVE THEM NOT-- 1 John 1:10-11 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

10. HAVE NO COMPANY WITH THEM -- 2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

--- end ---

READ MORE:
The Covert Strategies of the False Revival


LOOKING BACK
Read various articles on the Brownsville 'Revival' in Pensacola, FL

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