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ANDREW STROM:  Charisma Editor J. Lee Grady has waded into the Lakeland controversy again this week with another interesting article. He calls it, "An Appeal for Unity in a Divisive Season".

Near the start he makes quite an interesting point about the 'messiness' of Revivals: "Revival is messy. As much as we would love for it to come in a neat and orderly package, history teaches us that outbreaks of the Holy Spirit are often accompanied by holy chaos. There may be conversions and healings in one corner and demonic manifestations in the other. In seasons of revival you can have miracles and mayhem. Holiness and heresy can erupt simultaneously..."

My own comment is that - Yes - Revivals are often messy - but they are messy around the FRINGES - not at the very heart and center of what is happening. As many readers know, I have been studying Revival history for many years and I have a whole chapter on "Manifestations in Revivals" in my new book, 'True & False Revival'. But the fact is, if you have demonic deception right at the center of what is being preached or imparted, then you no longer just have a "messy" revival - you have a deadly counterfeit.

True Revivals always have pure preaching of Repentance, Holiness and the Cross at the center. They bring deep conviction and the Fear of the Lord. There may indeed be weird stuff going on around the fringes, but if it is allowed to take over then a true Revival is finished. (-I give examples of this in my book).

The problem in Lakeland has been that there has been a weird unbiblical 'anointing' at the very center right from the start. And it has been imparted to thousands of people. In fact, Todd Bentley has said that the whole thing is "about impartation" - and they lay hands on everyone. The "angels" factor has also been at the very center from the beginning. Angels are said to be heading up the whole movement - doing the healings, speaking to the leaders, etc. They are not a "side issue". Todd Bentley's angels are at the heart of everything. And if you look at all his past experiences with so-called 'angels', you truly have to doubt the source of a lot of this "power". Did Emma and the "financial" angels sound right to you? If they are "off" then most likely Todd is dealing with false angels all the time.

As I said, we are not dealing with a movement that has problems around the "fringes" here. The problems are right at the heart - ie. they involve the central things that are being preached and imparted to people from the front. And it has been that way from the start - which is what makes this crucially different from a real Revival. I hope, Lee, that you can see what an important distinction this is?

Let me quote the whole end section of Lee Grady's article before commenting further:

J. LEE GRADY: "In recent days, people who were touched in Lakeland have started similar meetings in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C. and other cities. Bentley and his colleagues believe this is the beginning of a worldwide healing revival that will cover the globe.

"But not everyone in the charismatic/Pentecostal community is convinced. Some say this is the last end-time revival while others maintain it is a demonic counterfeit. Cult-watchers and anti-heresy bloggers post Bentley’s comments on YouTube as evidence of a theological scandal. Revival advocates respond by posting documented evidence of healings. It all begins to resemble a childish competition.

"Still others worry that Lakeland represents a questionable mixture of truth and error. Since the initial eruption of the revival, my inbox has been full of messages from charismatic leaders who are concerned about weighty issues as well as trivial ones: Everything from Bentley’s tattoos and body piercings to his claim that he once interviewed the apostle Paul in heaven.

"When I wrote an article in mid-May calling for scrutiny of some aspects of the Lakeland Revival, I was labeled a Pharisee and a “religious policeman.” People who said they had been deeply impacted by the Holy Spirit in Lakeland used spiritual threats and harsh terms to tell me that I had become the enemy.

"I refuse to go on the defensive, and if I need to retract any statement I’ve ever made about this revival I will. But what these nasty exchanges have shown me is that a divisive spirit is certainly at work in our midst—and we need urgent prayer to short-circuit what the devil wants to do.

"When the early church was hit with the issue of Jewish legalism, Paul and Barnabas determined that the answer was to seek the counsel of “the apostles and elders” in Jerusalem (Acts 15:2, NASB). The church was being divided because the legalists were insisting that gentiles be circumcised. But when the elders looked into the matter, the apostle James settled the dispute by issuing this wise ruling:

“Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood” (v. 19-20). In other words, James affirmed the gentiles’ access to salvation and overturned the legalists’ bad doctrine.

"Based on this biblical example, I am appealing to the elders in our movement. We need to hear from them in this hour. In a desperate moment we need older, seasoned veterans to release the counsel of the Lord..

"Today the charismatic movement has become fractured, and opposing camps have formed. On one side there are those in the apostolic camp who tend to emphasize biblical order, proper church government, spiritual warfare and the reformation of society. On the other side are those in the prophetic camp who focus on miracles, healing, mystical experiences and the reclaiming of all the supernatural manifestations of the New Testament.

"Both of these camps are contending for valid, biblical truths. We need the prophetic and the apostolic! We need miracles as much as we need healthy church growth and societal change. Yet if we do not have a holy intervention, we could bite and devour one another—and cancel out our collective impact.

"A biblical council must include the leaders of both of these camps. And leaders must address all of the difficult issues triggered by the Lakeland Revival. Those include:

"1. Biblical guidelines about angels. Some people in the prophetic camp speak of frequent visits to heaven, “third heaven revelations,” and long conversations with angels who use names such as Emma, Promise and Winds of Change. Are these indeed spirits sent from God, or agents of false light?

"2. A proper theology of the dead. Some in the prophetic camp claim they have had conversations with dead Christians—including Paul the apostle. Is this within the bounds of Christian experience, or is it necromancy?

"3. Pastoral guidance about exotic spiritual manifestations. In some circles in our movement, unusual signs and wonders have been reported in church services—including the sudden appearance of gold dust, feathers, gemstones and oil. At the same time, worshipers are vibrating on the floor, jerking uncontrollably and acting intoxicated. How can we protect people from the abuse of manifestations, and from demonic influence, while at the same time leaving room for genuine encounters with God?

"4. Clear guidelines concerning the restoration of fallen ministers. The appearance of one prominent fallen evangelist, Paul Cain, at the Lakeland Revival in May unleashed strong reactions from many sectors of the church. Many people feel unprotected when they sense that church leaders have chosen not to enforce proper discipline for a minister’s unbiblical behavior. In this adulterous generation, how can we draw lines to protect congregations while at the  same time offer healing and grace to a repentant preacher?

"These are some of the crucial questions we face as a movement. May we proceed with a fresh gift of discernment, while at the same time laying hold of all the blessings that revival will bring us." [END QUOTE - Source- ]

ANDREW AGAIN:  After reading those last four points, all I can do is shake my head. Surely, Lee, you can see that if any movement has traits like those four at the center, then it simply HAS to be a dangerous deception? I mean, look at those four things again. Each of them is so serious that they are a major issue in themselves. And yet this movement has all four right at the heart! How can it be anything other than a deadly counterfeit? Is this the kind of revival we want in the Last Days? Is this what we want spreading around the globe?

Your call for major leaders to come together and make a unified statement is admirable - except I have not come across any major leaders (apart from yourself) willing to actually warn of the dangers of this movement. And anyhow, where is the "middle ground" in this debate? I happen to believe this movement to be a deadly deception. Other leaders praise it as being a "great revival". How can there possibly be 'unity' between camps like that?

Brother, the fact is that I believe God is calling YOU YOURSELF to be a "voice" for wisdom, common sense and discernment in these days - and to be totally bold, unafraid and uncompromising about it. Don't go looking for a "committee". You have a voice in the Charismatic community. Speak out! It is impossible to please everyone. Dear brother - please don't straddle the fence. What if this turns out to be one of the great Last Days deceptions and you spent all your time trying to be "moderate" and balanced about it?

Speak boldly, let your voice be heard, make a clear trumpet sound.

The Charismatic community needs you now more than ever, my friend.

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God bless you all.
Andrew Strom.

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