Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Florida revival - 'real deal' or demonic deception?

Like some of you have probably seen, I've seen some articles online about the 'Lakeland Revival' happening in Florida. Prior to this, I'd not really heard of Todd Bentley. Some of the articles I'd read are not very flattering, but on the other hand if this IS a 'move of God' and people are really being healed, then I didn't want to write against it. Mostly what I've done is to pray for discernment and that if it is a demonic deception, that God make that clear to me and more importantly to those of His children that are in the middle of it. I live on the other side of the country from where this 'revival' is going on, and I don't have; so except for reading a few articles I've mostly ignored it.

Since one of the main topics of this blog is spiritual warfare, and discernment and demonic activity very much relate to spiritual warfare, I decided to post what I've come up with. My answer to the question posed in the title is: demonic deception. Over a year ago, close to 2 years ago perhaps, I subscribed to the email list for 'Extreme Prophetic' with Patricia King. I'd seen some of her video's on her website and some of them had some good info. (She's more lately turned almost exclusively to the 'glory' and manifestations of this 'glory' -- and the word that came to mind when I prayed for discernment about that was 'sorcery'; but otherwise I'll leave it at that.)

On May 20 I received an email from XPMedia with the title:
Revival is for YOU and it is for NOW! Grab Hold of the Spirit of Revival and Bring it to Your Region!
I thought that was kind of interesting and sort of creepy & scary at the same time. So, I sent an email quoting part of the email as follows:
On Tue, May 20, 2008 at 8:52 AM, EXTREME PROPHETIC - XPMEDIA <patriciakinginjesus...> wrote:
<In addition to the powerful presence of God, and all the miracles, there are two things that really jump out about the revival going on in Lakeland. The first is that the Spirit of Revival moving there is so impartable. Everyone who comes back from Lakeland feels the Lord has told them to give it away, give it away, give it away! The second thing that jumps out is that it seems to be God's plan for this to be a revival that spreads!>
I have a question, if we have the Holy Spirit, why do we need a 'Spirit of Revival' ?? Is this one of the gifts of the Spirit? The fact that this 'spirit' is 'so impartable' makes my discernment antennae go up. Are they 'giving it away' with or without the gospel being preached? Is it for believers only, or are non-believers receiving this 'spirit' too?

I am in prayer about it, and hope it's for real, but there's a creepiness about it that gives me pause.

Here's the response I received, from Ruth Ripley at xpmedia:

Well, the spirit of revival is just an igniting of our spirits to get out there and do the “stuff”………it’s not like a 'real spirit' whereas the HOLY SPIRIT is actually real.

How's that for a non-response?

The following article is what finally convinced me that this 'move' is a demonic deception, below is a pivotal quote from an article: Todd Bentley Imports Anti-Christ Spirit
Based on the Holy Bible, Todd Bentley could not be imparting the Holy Spirit of GOD, since one human cannot impart the Holy Spirit to another, nor anoint one with the Holy Spirit. It shows in the Holy Bible, however, that one can impart demons. In Revelation 16:

12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

As I thought and thought about why on earth Todd Bentley would blow on people when he does this impartation…this verse soon came to mind. What on earth is in Todd Bentley that he not only wants to touch you to give it to you, but needs to blow it on you, too? My guess is that unclean spirits have possessed Todd Bentley and are spreading themselves among the willing. What on earth could all of those convulsions be about. Does Todd Bentley want us to believe that when the Holy Spirit manifests, He makes you shake your head from side to side, swing your arms wildly and fall backwards seemingly unconscious? [Might I also mention the uncontrollable laughter, twitching; literally behaving like an animal and making strange, guttural sounds?]

In addition, here some more good articles here: click on 'what's new' and then the link for The Florida 'Revival'.

The ones I'd recommend are 'Warning about watching 'revival' videos' by Joseph Urban; as well as 'Most 'contagious' anointing' by Andrew Strom.

Addition to post Wed May 28, 2008

Apparently Todd Bentley claims to have visitations from 'angels'; most notably one called Emma O and another one related to the Florida Revival is called Winds of Change .
The most important question would be: are these angels of God? Or demonic spirits? I haven't done a thorough study of the Bible in relation to angels, but from what I've gathered they are NOT called upon by us to increase our finances or to do healing. If, in response to a prayer to our Heavenly Father, He sends an angel on an assignment, or to communicate a message, that's all well and good.

So I wanted to share the following passage of scripture that appears to me to relate to this issue.

Col 2:18 Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire {and} declaring you unworthy {and} disqualifying you for the prize, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions [he claims] he has seen, vainly puffed up by his sensuous notions {and} inflated by his unspiritual thoughts {and} fleshly conceit, [From the Amplified Bible ]


Anonymous said...

I would like to share with feelings about the Lakeland Outpouring. My response is long, but I believe, worth reading. It is strictly my opinion, based on my experiences and my understanding and revelation of the scriptures. You may disagree. In the event we don't agree, I say to you, let's agree to disagree then, so there is no strife or division among us.

I have been to the Lakeland Outpouring.......I went and stayed 3 days and received greatly from the Lord through Todd Bentley's ministry. When he first came to the Lakeland area last year (2007), I was there for the entire conference. Although I respect your opinion as a sister in Christ, I cannot discard what I saw, heard, and experienced in Lakeland, both times. My husband, who is a minister, went with me for the 3 days and then went back with a pastor friend of his. Another married couple, frieds of ours, in ministry in Missouri went for 3 days and ended up staying a week. The presence of God is all over that place. The shekinah glory and the kabod weighty presence of God all rolled into one!

My experience was wholly positive. The name of God in the Trinity, the name of the Father, the Son Jesus and Holy Spirit, and ONLY their name is being lifted up. God is receiving the glory for each and every miracle, salvation, deliverance, and breakthrough. Todd does not only operate in the power of God through Holy Spirit, he encourages each of us to do the same. He challenges us to take God at His word and establish the Kingdom, here on earth as it is in heaven. Out of the comfort zone and into the FIRE of Holy Spirit!

The concerns of those opposed, though well-intended, brought to mind a passage of Scripture in Luke verses 1-10 we read that Jesus had just arrived at Capernaum and healed the centurion's servant. Then in verses 11-15, He went on to a town called Nain with his disciples and a throng gathered there as well. Upon entering Nain, Jesus met a funeral procession where He raised a young man from the dead and gave him back to his mother. Verse 16 says, "Profound and reverent fear seized them all, and they began to recognize God and praise and give thanks, saying, A great Prophet has appeared among us! And God has visited His people [in order to help and care for and provide for them]!"

In verse 17, scripture tells us that reports of ALL Jesus was doing were spread far and wide, pretty much like the reports of what is going on in Lakeland today. And though Todd Bentely is not Jesus, the Lord Himself told us we would do greater works. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." John 14:12 The name of Jesus is being lifted up and God is getting the glory. Throngs of people, believer and doubter alike, are pouring in from all over the world to experience the move of God. Then an interesting event is recorded in the passages following that verse.

Luke 7: 18-23...........John the Baptist has already been imprisoned and his disciples visit him and tell him of everything that has been going on and of Jesus' miracles, healings, deliverances, etc. John becomes concerned, why I do not know. He was the one who openly acknowledged Him as Messiah at the River Jordan. John knew who Jesus was yet when Jesus began doing things John did not expect Him to do, or perhaps Jesus' methods were too radical and untraditional for John's sensitivities, or perhaps John just wanted some reassurance that his life's work was not in vain..........all I know is what the scriptures say and what we can infer from Jesus' reply......John convened two of his disciples,
"and sent them to the Lord, saying, Are You He Who is to come, or shall we [continue to] look for another? So the men came to Jesus and said, John the Baptist sent us to You to ask, Are You the One Who is to come, or shall we [continue to] look for another? In that very hour Jesus was healing many [people] of sicknesses and distressing bodily plagues and evil spirits, and to many who were blind He gave a free, gracious, joy-giving gift of] sight. So He replied to them, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news (the Gospel) preached to them. And blessed (happy - with life, joy and satisfaction - in God's favor and salvation, apart from outward conditions--and to be envied) is he who takes no offense in Me and who is not hurt or resentful or annoyed or repelled or made to stumble [whatever may occur]." (AMP)

I heard the same warnings and cautions issued when the Toronto Blessing began to be poured out in 1994 and the strange manifestations of Holy Spirit became publicized. The church was divided.........some said it was God, some said it was not. I say, "by their fruits you will know them". God was glorified, people were healed, restored to joy, rest and health, new zeal for God was found, pastors and leaders from all over the world were energized, and for 10+ years Christians drank from that fountain of refreshing provided by the Lord.

I believe Todd Bentley is the real deal. God is using a virtually unknown, tattooed, pierced, biker-type who loves Him with all his heart, soul, mind and strength to rock our world, challenge us to think outside the box, kick over some more sacred cows, encourage us to get rid of religious thinking, and do the works of Jesus........the very GREATER works Jesus said we would do in John 14:12.

I remind us all of the scriptures in Matthew 10:7-8 where Jesus Himself said to the 12 disciples, "As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. "

In Luke 10, we see Jesus commissioning the 70, sending them forth to gather the harvest with all power and authority to do the same. Upon their returned, the 70 marveled that the demons were subject to them in the name of Jesus.

Then he told His followers to gather in the Upper Room and wait for the promise of the Father, the precious Holy Spirit, who was released on the earth on the day of Pentecost. Everyone gathered there received and spoke in other tongues, so loudly that they caused a loudly that the people in the plaza below, wondered what was going loud and strange, unusual, maybe even weird, that some of the people below thought "They have had too much wine." Their behaviour was so erratic that Peter felt constrained by Holy Spirit to speak out and explain what was happening. Acts 2

In regards to the named angels, why is that so difficult to understand? We need to remember that Christianity was born out of one young girl's encounter with an angel of light, named Gabrield, who spoke for God! (Luke 1:26-38). Why look at the negativity of angelic activity when there is so much scripture to support its positive aspects? Our history as Christians, in both the OT & the NT, is chock full of angels interacting with human beings and other supernatural encounters. Moses & the burning bush. Jacob wrestling with the angel. The Angel of the Lord in the fiery furnace. The angel that shuts the mouth of the lions for Daniel. Angel appears to Zechariah to announce the birth of John. An angel speaks to Joseph about Mary and the baby she is carrying.

My sister, we serve an Almighty God. The Sovereign Ruler of all that is seen and unseen in our Father. The earth's inhabitants are going to hell in a hand basket while the church sits in the pew reading the Bible or being otherwise involved in church programs. There is a time to read the Bible, there is a time to pray, but there is also a time to take action.........NOW, more than ever, is time to take Jesus at His word, and believe ALL of the Word, not just what is comfortable or what our own limitations allow us to do or not do. It's time to take what we believe to the streets and be witnesses in our neighborhoods, our towns and cities, our states, our nation and the uttermost parts of the earth. As the kingdom of darkness gets darker, our light must shine brighter with the glory and power of God! Jesus said all power and authority have been given to Him, and He, in turn, bestowed it upon us because we are His faithful followers. He gave us that dunamis (power) and that exousia (authority) to destroy the works of the devil.......just as He did. So what if we use less than conventional methods? Who is going to reach the unconventional people, the undesirables, the troublemakers, the rejects? Didn't our own Lord use methods that were considered "strange",
"weird" and "unconventional" when He walked the earth? Did he not make mud pie out of spittle and put it over a man's blind eyes? Did He not wait till Lazarus was good and dead and "ripe" for 3 days before he raised him from the dead? Was the woman with the issue not healed just from touching His garment? When people were delivered from evil spirits by Jesus, didn't some of them thrash about as the demons were leaving? Did He not heal on the Sabbath? The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes wasted no time wrecking his reputation.

I am sure the opponents to the Outpouring and those leery of Todd Bentley mean well, and perhaps their cautions may be well-founded for some people who indeed tend to get overzealous and possibly even carnal. But what is carnal? To some extent, in all of us remains some carnality. Holy Spirit abides in us, yes.........yet the Spirit of the living God remains housed inside a fleshly tabernacle. He is the one who makes us spiritual, and to the extent that we allow Him to manifest Himself through us, we are more spiritual or less spiritual. The only person that I know who was entirely and completely saturated with Holy Spirit 24/7 was the Lord Jesus. The rest of us are a mixture of spirit and carnality, to a greater or lesser degree.

Only God can sift the wheat from the tares. Only God can read and know the intent of a man's heart. Only God truly knows which are spiritual and which are soulish or carnal manifestations. He is not offended at our attempts at getting closer to Him, attempting to do the things Jesus did or attempting to live and do Kingdom realities. He is a LOVING Father.........He is full of mercy and grace and compassion......His heart leaps every time He hears our voice call out to Him. We are the apple of His eye! He rejoices over us with joy! He is pleased with our obedience and our exuberance....even our personal idiosyncrasies bring a smile to His dear face. We are His kids!

I conclude in saying, I am glad Todd Bentley has been raised by God to awaken the church from its stupor and to remind us that the Great Commission, given to each and everyone of us, includes signs and wonders following the preaching of the Word.

My Father God, who loves me with all His heart, who is the Most Powerful Being in all creation, has enough wherewithal in and of Himself to keep me straight and away from strange fire, error, and pride, as long as I continue to walk honestly and truthfully before Him, loving Him and seeking Him with all my heart!

God bless you....

Rev. Margi Spencer
Miami FL is obvious that I wholeheartedly support Todd Bentley, the Lakeland Outpouring, and the current move of God, isn't it?

Cia W said...

Hi Rev Margi,

thanks for the (long) comment. I just want to comment on a few of items you mentioned:

1st - you mentioned "kabod weighty presence of God" and I'll plead ignorance on knowing what kabod is, maybe I'll look it up when I'm done writing. But it's the 'weighty' part that gives me pause, see in Isa 61:3 (ASV translation, but the KJV has similar wording -- (3) to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness And this is the prophecy Jesus told the congregation was fulfilled in their presence. To me, a 'weighty presence' sounds similar to a 'spirit of heaviness' and we are to receive a garment of praise in place of that spirit. And just to add a little plug for EFT - something people commonly remark about after using it is that they 'feel lighter'.

2nd - you wrote "I believe Todd Bentley is the real deal. God is using a virtually unknown, tattooed,pierced,..." I have to admit that I was rather stunned when I found out that Mr. Bentley got all of his tattoos and piercings AFTER he'd been saved. There just seems to be something inherently wrong with that picture. It's a heathen practice. (I do have pierced ears, and wear earrings on occasion, but I have no tattoos, in case it matters.)

3rd - you wrote "I conclude in saying, I am glad Todd Bentley has been raised by God to awaken the church from its stupor and to remind us that the Great Commission, given to each and everyone of us, includes signs and wonders following the preaching of the Word." I could probably write a long article about my opinion of what you call the church's stupor, but I'll pass for now (though I don't totally disagree with the sentiment). However I would ask -- are Todd's 'signs and wonders' following the preaching of the gospel? Or are people searching for the signs and wonders without the gospel being preached? The little bit I've seen on Youtube video's had zero gospel or scripture. I know for me, the Holy Spirit frequently sends me to scripture to answer many of my questions and reveal His love and truth to me.

So I hope you're right, I really prayed about this for weeks before I posted anything. I think there's too much in this movement of seeking the supernatural, and I continue to urge caution and a large helping of discernment and prayer.

Cia W said...

Kabod comes from the hebrew kavod, as in the name Ichabod (from the book of I Samuel (at least I think its I samuel), when Eli died and the Ark was taken by the philistines. The grandchild was named "ichabod" which the NIV translates as "the glory has departed", or more literally, i-chavod (i-kavod, etc.) meaning "no glory" or "without glory". Thus, a scriptural reference for kabod meaning "glory".

the whole "weighty" thing has to do with a translation of "kabod". It literally means "heaviness or weightiness". I know that sometimes when I am in God's presence that I feel heavier in my body. Not as a bad thing, but simply that his tangible presence feels like it has mass or weight to it. (And if you are interested, I have a series of scriptures and understanding about how his presence could have actual weight if you're curious) Hope that helps clear up the uncertainty about it all!

Blessings both!