Two months ago, I wrote a post on the so-called revival that was taking place in Florida, called the Lakeland Outpouring. This revival was being conducted under the leadership of Todd Bentley.
Early last week, the organizers of the Lakeland Outpouring announced that Bentley was going to step down because he and his wife were separating. Then last Friday, the Board of Directors of Bentley’s “Fresh Fire Ministries” acknowledged that Bentley had “entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff.” The future of the Lakeland Outpouring is obviously in question, although Bentley has commissioned his interns to continue the revival.
Bentley, and the spectacle in Florida, have come under fire from both the church and the secular media. And the scrutiny was well deserved, as Bentley even claimed to have raised people from the dead during the revival. ABC’s Nightline did a special investigation of it. To their credit, ABC’s analysis was fair, and surprisingly, they did not mock people of faith, instead asking good objective questions seeking proof of the healings Bentley claimed to have been a part of. No objective clinical evidence was ever provided.
Being a cessasionist (that is, someone who believes that the miraculous sign gifts of the Spirit ended with the death of the original apostles), and consequently suspicious of most of what takes place in these sorts of charismatic gatherings, I am far from objective enough to offer a post mortum on the Lakeland Outpouring. But J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma Magazine, IS just such a guy. His thoughtful editorial can be read here. As one who has deep sympathies for charismatic expression, Grady’s comments speak volumes for what was going on in Lakeland and about which many on the outside had their suspicions.
And as it turns out, we were right.