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A Lakeland Update - From C. Peter Wagner
October 29, 2008
This is an update on the aftermath of the Lakeland Outpouring.
As most of you know, a day or so after I went to Lakeland and helped align Todd Bentley with Revival Alliance on June 23, the veil of secrecy over a number of serious, hidden sins began to come off. God has now shaken what could be shaken in Todd's life. On August 12 he announced that he was leaving his wife of nine years, and it had been revealed that he had been directing his attentions toward another woman. This is now history, but many have been asking for an update.
I have delayed sending you this email until I had an official statement from Todd's apostolic alignment, John Arnott, Ché Ahn, and Bill Johnson of Revival Alliance.
Here is their statement, issued October 23, 2008, four months after the alignment:
Public Statement On Todd Bentley From Revival Alliance
Dear friends, several years ago, six leadership couples came together formed a relationally based, non-denominational network called Revival Alliance.
When the Lakeland revival broke out Todd Bentley and the revival meetings were coming under much criticism. At the suggestion of Peter Wagner, three of the members of the Revival Alliance team went to Lakeland because the Alliance as a whole wanted to express support for the Lakeland Outpouring and to commission Todd as a revivalistic evangelist. Having been powerfully touched in the Toronto outpouring, and seeing the opposition that came from leaders in the church because of that movement, we wanted to stand with Todd and deflect some of the personal assaults that were coming against him. Many of the attacks were coming from well-respected Christian leaders, people that we still hold in high esteem. Yet the mandate from the Lord was clear. And we stood with Todd and the Fresh Fire Ministries team to both endorse and support this move of God.
Rory and Wendy Alec of God TV also took tremendous risk in airing the revival prime time and broadcasting it to over 200 nations around the world. Their heart is to capture and release the move of God, no matter where it happens, or who God uses as His instrument. This unparalleled media attention gave unusual advertisement for the outpouring. But it also put their whole team in an unusual, high-level position of receiving both praise and criticism.
The impact of the Lakeland Outpouring has been amazing, and it still continues. The record of conversions and miracles of healing is extraordinarily great in number. And the spreading of the revival to nation after nation has also been very significant. The God TV broadcast stirred up the hunger in people from around the world to go to Lakeland and receive from God, but then bring it home to their local churches. Impartation seems to be one of the unusual markers of a genuine move of God. Revival fires began to spread around the world as a result of the impartation received at Lakeland. But as great as the fruit has been, so have the devastation and fallout from Todd's personal failure.
While there must be no toleration or whitewashing of sin, there must also be no allowances for ungodly judgments in the name of Jesus. Hatred often masquerades as a passion for holiness. And while the church has had its share of tragic failures of leaders in recent days and equally tragic reactions, we must get this one right. It is possible to promote holiness and accountability in the spirit of grace.
The quickness to condemn and abandon a fallen comrade has caused us as much concern as has the actual sin of our friend. Some want to humiliate and expose Todd before the world. And then there are others who want to point to the obvious anointing on Todd's life as the sign of God's approval of Todd's behavior. Neither is acceptable to us. There must be deep repentance and thorough restoration.
The restoration process must be firm but loving, while holding to the Kingdom standards of both holiness and grace. The initial goal is not to get Todd preaching again. It is to get him healed from the issues of the heart that have brought devastation to his family, and such shame and failure to him. His gift will always function when given an opportunity. We just want it to come from a place of personal victory and triumph this next time.