First of all, a friend of mine recently stated "If something claims to be a revival and is not grounded in the preaching of repentance and does not produce deep, lasting change in the lives of believers, don't call it a revival."
He knows what he is talking about.
Holiness must not only be the emphasis of true revival it must be the lifestyle of those leading the revival. Anything else is (completely) a sham, and God will not be mocked. Bank on it.
A few weeks ago, if you mentioned ANY misgivings about the revival (or any other similar so-called move of God) you would likely be to be rebuked with "touch not God's anointed." It makes little difference that applying that scripture to criticism of a man's bad doctrine reveals a serious deficiency in bible understanding- and we've heard it a hundred times. How refreshing (and disturbing at the same time) to hear C. Peter Wagner, in a letter written August 12, 2008 state:
Let's not sweep this under the rug with a "touch not God's anointed" as has been done with so many similar issues in our morally soft charismatic environment.
I'm not a fan of Peter Wagner's "Great Transfer of Wealth" doctrine, or his New Apostolic Reformation, but his credibility just rose a few points in my estimation.
Please, listen to me kids- C. Peter Wagner has given notice- its time to stop sweeping things under the rug with "touch not God's anointed."
I prophesy that we will next hear statements about Balaam's Ass and Sampson. Oh wait that has already happened.
Balaam's Ass is right up there with "Touch not mine Anointed." Once the moral failings have become so blatant that they can not longer be ignored, the appeal to Balaam's Ass is made.
Quoting one blogger:
"In the Bible, God uses even donkeys to do his work. He can (and has) use adulterers. King David, called a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and killed the other party’s husband. God restored him. Even though my opinion of Todd’s ministry is that most of it is “snake oil”, God knows whether or not Todd was being used to really heal. And if he was really being used, God can restore Todd Bentley too."
To that, I can add that even if he wasn't really being used, God can restore Todd Bentley. Duh!
One other poster responded "Oh and I sure wish people would quit insulting Balaam’s jackass by the unnecessary and incorrect association." Selah!
Let's all agree that if we won't praise God, He can make the rocks cry out. And if there is no true prophet in the Land, he can prophecy through an ass. But please, it is never God's best desire to use the immoral in ministry. (For the record, asses are amoral). Witness the scriptures stating qualifications of church leaders in 1 Timothy 3:2-13 and Ephesians 5:3-6. What God thinks is important we should too.
A critical difference is this: Balaam's Ass never laid hands or hooves on anyone. If you accept that Todd's anointing was a contagious anointing - "Come and get some" - then consider this: If impartation can take place then so can defilement. This is EXACTLY why the Word of God tells us to not "lay hands on any man suddenly (neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure)" Again, it is not appropriate for a minister with hidden sins to minister in the name of God. When you appeal to Balaam's Ass you make an ass of yourself.
David and Sampson - The End Result
Well, What about King David? Allow me to tell you a little story. I know a (former) pastor who preached for several months a series of messages based on Mike Bickle's book (King David a man) "After God's Own Heart." A year or two later is was revealed that this pastor had been having an affair during the time he delivered those messages. In fact, one of his last sermons before his deeds were brought to light was about extending grace to sinners. I would suggest that rather than bringing the pure Word of God he was bringing a tainted message with a hidden (evil) agenda.
Another Blogger stated "remember David (God’s anointed one in the line of Jesus) and Bathsheba."
I feel like God quickened to me this morning - before I read that blog comment- that many would appeal to the example of King David but few would recall the devastating results: the murder of Uriah the Hittite (Bathsheba's husband), the death of David and Bathsheba's bastard son, and the disgrace and subsequent death of David's son Absolom.
Of David, the prophet Nathan said it best:
You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.
This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'
Later, after David's son Absolom had sex in public with ten of David's wives (and this following one of David's sons Amnon raping his sister Tamar; Absolom killed Amnon two year's later) he was eventually killed by Joab and his armor-bearers.
Most will point to King David as an example of how God can use us in our imperfection. David, of course, never had the Spirit of God within him, it rested on him at times. Excuse me for being simplistic, but he was not a born-again Christian. An often-overlooked point of the story of the life of David was that his life was an example of things we must avoid.
So what's the point of a statement like "He can use adulterers" in defense of Todd Bentley and the Lakeland revival? I suppose the desire of the Lakeland apologists is to prove that God was moving in signs and wonders in the midst of immorality and doctrinal error. On the other hand, some believe that "The attribution for the healings and miracles is the grace of God and his mercy for hurting people" (George Wood). So we prove nothing either way by appealing to the example of David.
Chuck "buy my anointing oil, please" Pierce appeals to the example of Sampson. "He had a Nazarite vow on his life, yet he had many character flaws. His character flaws did not stop God from using him. I think this is the biggest misunderstanding that the Body has when it comes to the anointing."
No Chuck, the biggest misunderstanding that the Body has when it comes to the anointing is not seeing what the end result for Sampson was. And the second biggest misunderstanding is that the anointing is something we can handle carelessly or profanely. For an illustration of that, check out the example of Abihu and Nadab in Leviticus 10. Oh, the end result there is critical to note, too.
In the coming days we will hear much of Balaam's Ass, of David, and Sampson, but very little of Abihu and Nadad, little of Absolom, or Tamara and Amnon. I must remind the Lakelandites that the true biblical application of "Reaping and Sowing" has nothing to do with "Sowing into the revival" and has everything to do with the chain of events that are set into motion when we sin.
Proverbs 2 has a message that stands today : Wisdom and discretion will deliver you from the strange woman, even from the stranger that flatters with her words ("unhealthy relationship on an emotional level"?), from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignores the covenant she made before God. For her house leads down to death, and her paths to the spirits of the dead.
Dr. Michael Brown has a sobering message call "Aharit" based on the Hebrew word meaning the "end result" and taken from this passage. This was recorded many years ago, during the Brownsville revival, I believe. Rather than continuing to appeal to David, or Sampson, please take the time to listen to this message. It will change your life - if you will let the Word speak to you. Once you've taken the time to listen to this word in due season, we can discuss your defense of the Lakeland revival. Somehow, I'm guessing you won't want to anymore.
I am deeply saddened that it "took a woman" to bring this so-called revival down. (How would you like to be her right now?) Even Charismatics understand that when immorality is revealed, it probaby is wise to step aside for a while when it is made public. (Even better to repent!) But the true root of my sadness is that so many in the body of Christ could not recognize the bigger issues: aberrant and heretical doctrine, hype & exaggeration, even lies. As Lee Grady recently stated "among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow. The message was clear: “This is God. Don’t question.”