Excerpts from Pastor Gary Osborne's report on
Todd Bentley's "Revival" in Lakeland, Florida (Part 1)
See also Part 4: Music and Mass Hypnotism
Discernment Group - June 19, 2008
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Emphasis added in bold letters
IntroductionA couple of weeks ago I began to receive phone calls and emails asking me if I knew anything about a “revival” that was going on in Lakeland, Florida. Since that town is less than an hour away from me I decided it was important to find out what was happening in my own “back yard"....” In fact, the services were being broadcast live on God TV. Therefore, after watching several services, I decided to attend a couple myself....
There is no doubt in my mind that the “Lakeland Outpouring,” as it is now being called, is nothing more than a recycling of previous movements that stretch back decades. Whether it was meetings held by people like William Branham, Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, Steve Hill, or any of the so-called Kansas City Prophets, the spirit and basic doctrine are the same. There’s a common thread of specific heresies that go back a long way. That’s why I call it recycled revival....
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE LAST DAYS
2 Thess. 2:1-3 – “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first.”
Note that Paul did not say Christ will not come unless a great worldwide revival comes first. He said “apostasy” which is a falling away. So Paul lines right up with Jesus on what we should be looking for in these Last Days. Paul also tells us in I Timothy chapter 4 “the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” Again I’d like to point out that no where in this or any other passage does Paul tell us to expect an end times revival that will bring in millions or billions and Christianize the world.
Peter echoes this same thing when he states that “false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed” (II Pet. 2:1-2).
It should be obvious to any student of the Scriptures that the last days will be perilous times (II Tim. 3), and Christians must pray for discernment. This is in compliance with I John 4:1, an extremely important Scripture for our discussion.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Part 1: The Practice of "Revival"
WHAT I OBSERVED IN THE SERVICES
The first night I personally attended was Thursday, May 8th. Mr. Todd Bentley and his crew were now holding services in the Lakeland Civic Center, which can seat approximately 7,000 people. The doors opened at 6:00 PM to the blowing of a shofar from people waiting to get in. The first thing I noticed as I took a seat in the very back of the auditorium was that the music being played was the loudest I have ever encountered in any “Christian” service I have ever attended....
There was a lot of “cheerleading” from the stage as microphone checks were being done. ... The phrase “stir yourselves up” was used repeatedly, as was the concept of a “transferable anointing.” A woman led in prayer for the service and said, “sound waves carry your [God] presence and anointing” and then told the people to “roar like a lion!” At that request, people everywhere shouted at the top of their lungs and blew the shofars. This same lady was jerking and twitching in a similar way to what has happened in meetings in Toronto and Brownsville in the past. She went on to tell the people to look at one another and say, “You are pregnant – with the Holy Spirit and fire!” There was also much talk of “birthing” and “signs and wonders.”...
People were swaying and dancing to the music constantly. The worship leader, if you could call him that, sang a song whose lyrics include the following:
“I am Free to Run, I am Free to Run”
“I am Free to Dance, I am Free to Dance”
And boy how the people responded to that. There were people dancing everywhere. And by dancing I’m talking some of the same stuff you’d see at a secular concert....
There was a very sensual spirit in the meeting. Much inappropriate dress as well. ... People were still standing everywhere, but the music was now slower and more hypnotic. The same songs were being played over and over and over. People seemed to be in a trance all around me. If the worship leader said, “raise your hands” everyone did so immediately. If he said, “drop to your knees” they did so immediately. In my humble opinion what I observed that night was nothing more than mass hypnotism. The music had the people mesmerized. ... I didn’t know one song they sang the entire night....
At about 8:30 PM... the music leader says, “I’m feeling drunk.” He then tells the people to say to God, “Intoxicate me, Lord” – “Inebriate me, Lord.” I am disgusted at this point. We will deal with the so-called “drunk in the Spirit” phenomenon later....Now the people are getting truly wild and the leader says, “Scream!!!” and the people let out a yell .... Finally the worship leader falls to the floor himself, but the back up singers continue....
THE SECOND SERVICE
....Things stayed calm until the MC came out and once again pumped up the audience with a countdown to going live on TV. As soon as that happened the people were the same as before – shouting, jumping, dancing, etc.
Two men, one looking like the bearded guy from ZZ Top, give each other a high-five near the back of the auditorium and both “fall under the power” immediately. The music is going fast and furious and the same emotions and actions that were in the first meeting are in this one as well. There also continues to be much talk of angels in the songs.
After almost an hour and a half of singing the MC comes back to the center of the stage and declares, “I feel the ‘sauce’ tonight.” He then introduces Todd Bentley who comes out wearing a t-shirt that reads, “Jesus Gave Me My Tattoos.” He tells everyone that he “felt like the Holy Spirit was massaging his body” tonight. He then talks about the transferable anointing that comes in like a mist. He claims that God told him he could “feel the anointing just like Moses did” in the book of Exodus! Of course God never told Moses that he could “feel” the anointing. God did say He would “show” Moses His glory, but He never mentioned “feeling” the glory. Yet Bentley continues to emphasize feelings.... He then invites people to come to the altar and screams, “Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire!” which is a trademark signature of his.
There’s a real restlessness in the arena. In fact, I’ve never seen more people coming and going, moving from seat to seat to seat, than I have at these meetings...
Suddenly, Bentley says there is “great authority” in the building tonight and he says that people can decree whatever they want, but to be careful what they ask for. It’s obvious that he’s heavily influenced by “Word of Faith” teaching and believes that God has abdicated His throne and given us authority to do anything we want, or better yet have anything we pronounce. In fact, he himself says “I speak creation. I speak new hearts, new livers into existence tonight.”
....he commands tumors to fall off bodies and for cripples to get out of wheelchairs. He continues to declare all types of healings. I watch as several people gather around one wheel-chair bound woman and pray for her. They exhort her to rise, but she cannot.
People now begin to come forward to share their testimonies of healing. Everything is carried out just as it would be in a Benny Hinn or Earnest Angley type service. There are claims of everything from headaches cured to resurrections from the dead, but everything is carefully shared on a first name only basis.... But what this effectively does is keep anyone from verifying any of the claims. One severely handicapped girl (physically and mentally) was brought forward in a wheelchair and was lifted out of the wheelchair by Todd and another man and dragged several feet before Todd let her go so she could be “slain in the Spirit.” It was a travesty....
A THIRD MEETING
....On Saturday, May 17th... some extreme manifestations took place. One young eleven year old girl was brought up and Todd asked her if she would like to feel the “manifest presence of Jesus” and she sheepishly said yes (clearly not understanding what he was talking about). He took her by the hand and blew on her. Nothing happened. He then told her to close her eyes and repeat after him. “Jesus, fill me with your presence” he said. He placed his hand on her head and was clearly exerting some pressure in an attempt to make her fall down. She still didn’t collapse so he focused his attention on her cousin (who he wrongly called her mother – so much for his prophet status) and blew on her. She went straight down as the little girl watched. He then blew on her one more time but she never went down so he turned away.
As Todd went over to the other side of the stage he began to laugh in a deep, scary way. ...After speaking with [a] person, who was very hyped, he laid hands on her and gave his trademark yell, “Bam!” She went right down. From there he began to laugh more, and the audience went right along with him. He talked about drinking from the river. He instructed everyone to put their head back and open their mouth and drink. More scary laughter occurs as he blows down another 9-year-old girl. He then tells the girl’s mother that he is “drunk in the Holy Ghost” and as his head is shaking strangely he mentions that “it’s [meaning the anointing] leaking out of my eyes.” More laughter and more “bams” occur...
Todd then shouts “Fire!” and tells the people to say, “Come Holy Ghost, get me.” This continues for several minutes. He tells Jesus to “get them all.” Others on stage are laughing uncontrollably and staggering around, not even able to talk without slurring their words. The laughter from Todd is very much like Rodney Howard-Browne. As he continues to shake Todd asks the people to stand and make a barrel. So they clasp their hands together and act like they are holding a huge rain barrel in their arms. Then he shouts for them to tip this imaginary barrel up as their head is tipped back and “Drink!!!!” He shouts it again, “Drink!!!!”....
The next man up to be interviewed is Pontus and he’s clearly led a rough life. His arms are filled with tattoos and to be honest he speaks as if he’s drunk. Todd comments on one of his nice tattoos and shows the man a similar one on his arm. This man is eventually “slain” as well. Todd continues to laugh in an almost demonic way. ... Another lady is brought forward and the man holding the microphone for her says she’s been “bellied up to the bar here drinking quite a bit tonight.” She is of course an easy mark for being slain. Her husband then receives a “big fat drink of the Holy Ghost” as well. Todd goes on to say he’s “feeling drunk” and then he begins to shake his head to the left and right violently and shouts “ohhhhhhhhhh...!” It’s a truly frightening moment as he seems to be controlled by a spirit and my mind immediately went to the story in Mark’s Gospel of the young boy who was often tossed about by demonic spirits attempting to kill him (Mark 9:22).
Todd then asks God to fill everyone with that “drunken, drunken holy glory” that he supposedly is experiencing. He tells people not to get to close to the edge of the stage lest they fall off. More “bams” and laughter occur....
"Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink." (Isaiah 29:9)
Read the entire article (with links to Parts 2 and 3) here: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/06/lakelands-recycled-revival.html
© 2008 by Discernment Group
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