ABC Nightline’s feature last night on Todd Bentley and the Florida Healing Outpouring was hardly favorable. Is anyone surprised? Gnat-straining camel swallowers in the Body of Christ were given much to delight and gloat over. The lost watching world was shown what the devil would want them to see. Todd Bentley was surely disappointed. Obadiah 1:12 came to me early this morning… “Do not gloat over your brother’s day of misfortune.” I’m sure few, if any, among those in the seat of scoffers will be restrained by this verse, or any other, for that matter.
I’ve been to the meetings in Lakeland. It was apparent to me the ABC Nightline folks went there to get the angle they were after and they got it. They missed much as well. They found a precious wheelchair-bound girl on the streets of Lakeland who has had multiple unfortunate encounters with the revival’s street evangelism teams who, no doubt with good intentions, invited (and probably pressured) her to the attend the healing meetings. She shared the pain of people being insensitive to her. I could fully relate as my father-in-law has been wheelchair-bound for nearly 60 years since he contracted polio at age 14. My wife has numerous stories growing up of being in places like the parking lot at Billy Graham Crusades being accosted by people on the way out that told him he’d “get up out of the chair if he only had faith.” This isn’t what the street evangelism teams told the girl in Lakeland, but the effect was the same. I attended the street evangelism training in Lakeland last month and yes, they do need to give people a briefing on sensitivity to the feelings of the infirmed before they send them out.
But, the faithful hitting the streets in Lakeland have something the rest of the church doesn’t, that being… boldness. They are not sent forth with a spirit of timidity, but rather full bold faith in the power of God. Can a person walking in apostolic boldness simultaneously walk in great sensitivity? Yes. But this is a grace that doesn’t typically come initially. Boldness must be tempered by wisdom and discernment. Rather than criticize the street evangelism teams, we need to pray that they walk in wisdom and power, love and compassion.
ABC Nightline could have worked harder to find positive encounters out there on the street – like the lady I heard about when I was there who was planning to commit suicide the day she met a loving couple from the revival in a grocery store parking lot. That lady was baptized in love and hope in that parking lot and gave her life to Jesus Christ.
ABC Nightline found a local shop keeper who viewed the revival negatively. Maybe they should have interviewed the mayor and city council members and got a comment or two on the fact that Todd Bentley, who for 100 days has brought 5000-10,000 people daily to the city, is responsible for bringing millions and millions and millions of dollars into the city’s economy. I’d guess there are mayors all over America who would love to have something like this grace their city. Instead they predictably dug up Bentley’s dark past but neglected to report on his dramatic conversion to Jesus Christ and subsequent dozen years of ministry to the poor, the orphans and hurting worldwide.
ABC Nightline is incapable of any sort of favorable story on anything remotely Christian. I’m not even convinced they are telling the truth when they reported “not one single miracle could be independently verified.” Wow- that went across the airwaves turning the hearts of many against what is happening in Lakeland. But, I can point them to a verifiable miracle. I’ve even seen doctors on the platform in Lakeland standing alongside the healed to testify. Those stewarding the revival apparently need to spoon-feed stories to the media in their media packet but even then, Jesus spoke of a deep-seated societal unbelief, so deep that people won’t even be convinced when the dead are raised right before their eyes. ABC Nightline has a deep-seated disbelief for sure. The light is veiled from their eyes.
But hello, again, getting ABC Nightline to do a favorable story on anything Christian is about as likely as getting the Code Pink gals to do a favorable piece on the Iraq War. ABC and every other main stream media outlet has a distinct and secular (which means godless or without God) agenda. They are the spokespeople for the godless left and are keenly aware that the only thing standing in the way of gay marriage, abortions and decency in broadcasting is THE CHURCH.
I deal with the media here far more than I like because my role in the abortion battle in our state. More times than I can count I’ve found it maddening that the pro-life position is maligned and misrepresented by the media. We hand them facts and stories and testimonies on a silver platter and they don’t even do a story. We got 100 pro-life doctors together for a press conference in ’06 and we had to beg the media to even show up. Yet, Planned Parenthood propaganda gets released and the media parades it across the headlines. Do we not see that these are the same types “reporting” on what is unfolding in Lakeland. They operate in the same denomic spirit. These are the very people who feed the global warming fears with story after story and fully ignore the vast amount of scientific expertise that says its all hoax and false alarm. Are we surprised they found nothing to verify in Lakeland? I’m not.
Many in my world believe an end-time revival is coming that will spread, in part, due to God touching the main stream media. I first grabbed onto these prophecies in the late 80’s when I lived in Kansas City. I still believe them to be true. However, I also know as we more fully enter the end of the age, the world will rage against the people of God. The people of God will be singled out for ridicule and reproach. Jesus said woe to you when men speak well of you. In other words, if they like us, we apparently aren’t much like Him (Jesus). The same hungry and hurting people who liked and flocked to Jesus are the same people who like and flock to Todd Bentley. The same people who feverishly tried to nail Jesus to the tree are the same types trying to nail Bentley today. That’s interesting to note isn’t it?
If you haven’t been to Lakeland to take this all in first hand, here’s one additional important thing ABC Nightline missed. They missed that there is more going on here than one sees on the stage. Most Christians can only imagine what it would be like to stand in such an atmosphere of faith. In this economy, people who buy airline tickets to get closer to where they hear God is moving are desperately hungry people. God always honors that hunger. Being in a tent with 5000-10000 people with that level of hunger places a heavy draw on heaven to visit earth. I’d rather be in that atmosphere any day than among the “Bible Deists” whose only hope for well-being is that their doctor will continue to dish out their antidepressants week after week. I’d rather be in the room with people who bought airline tickets to get a touch from God than sit in all these scoffing churches with people who aren’t hungry enough to drive a couple miles to church more than 2-3 Sunday mornings a month. This ABC Nightline story could have covered the OBVIOUS spiritual hunger in our land. They could have interviewed people who have given up hope on the pharmaceutical and health care industries, people who have no hope but God.
I hope you’ll also read my other posts on Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring. My main focus in all of these is that we ought to be really careful that we are not calling unclean what God has called clean. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2
Revival in Florida – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part one
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part two
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part three
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Angel Emma
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley, Violence and the Kingdom of God
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley, the manifestations of the Spirit or Kundalini?
Todd Bentley, C. Peter Wagner and apostolic alignment at the Florida Healing Outpouring
Florida Revival – Todd Bentley answers his critics, Dr. Gary S. Greig gets healed and provides an independent theological witness
A parody; the doctrine police take a break from straining gnats at the Lakeland Healing Outpouring to take aim at Psalm 23
Florida Healing Outpouring – Is Todd Bentley a New Age Mystic?