A Summary of the Lakeland Revival

Five months ago a series of meetings with evangelist Todd Bentley erupted with the power of God in Lakeland, Florida. Boasting a range of healing miracles not seen in probably two generations or more, the Lakeland Outpouring (as it became known) began to draw attention from Christians and Non-Believers all across the planet. The revival became widespread knowledge due to the connectedness of Todd Bentley to various streams of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements and the daily broadcasts of the meetings on God TV. Bentley’s ministry estimates 300,000 people visited the meetings and 1.2 million watched it through GOD TV or the internet. Probably unlike any revival before it, the Lakeland Outpouring became an international phenomenon.

The quick and sudden impact of the revival caused knee-jerk reactions among many in the body of Christ. The access to information that allowed news of the revival to travel so far also allowed critics to raise their voices to a new level. Todd Bentley has certainly never lacked his critics, but his new rise to prominence caused even Pentecostals and Charismatics that usually side with him to be suspicious. Questions were raised about his ministry style (which included punching people to heal them), his theology (he believed angels and even dead believers would visit him with messages), and his lifestyle (Todd received a number of tattoos during the revival). So, while every revival has critics, even those who you would normally expect to be excited about massive signs and wonders breaking out in the United States were sometimes calling for reform during the outpouring.

The turning point of the revival came in early August. Todd confessed to his board of directors at Fresh Fire Ministries that he had been ensnared in sin. (I’m leaving out unnecessary details because I believe we frequently enter into gossip in the name of journalism.) Todd turned the reigns of the outpouring to Stephen Strader, the pastor of the church where the outpouring began, and stepped down from ministry to begin a restoration process. With the shift in leadership, the size of crowds at the revival shrunk to a more manageable size that allowed it to be housed in Strader’s church building.

Despite everything that happened, I believe the revival was a real outpouring of God’s Spirit. Todd’s critics don’t bother me a bit. It was obvious that most were motivated by jealousy or fear of the supernatural. The Pharisees and Saducees hated Jesus for the very same reasons. Bill Johnson tells us that his grandparents knew Smith Wigglesworth, but not everyone loved Smith Wigglesworth back in his day. It’s only now that we revere him as a prophet to his generation. Todd Bentley is undoubtedly a sincere believer who has pursued Jesus at an extraordinary level despite the weakness of his flesh. The Bible is full of people who have accomplished the purposes of God with their lives and then gone on to sin in a way that seems shocking to us. David is a prime example. However, David’s sin did not disqualify him from God’s mercy and God’s evaluation of David’s life is wholly different than someone who would just look at the facts of David’s life (see Acts 13:36).

I do believe that many of the miracles that happened in Lakeland were real and legitimate. Having never gone, I can’t testify to seeing any amazing miracles firsthand, but a number of people I trust have reported powerful miracles above what is normally seen here in the States. The revival has also opened up a number of other places to begin flowing in an increasing level of powerful demonstrations of the Spirit’s power. Morningstar Ministries, Harvest Rock Church, Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Albany, Oregon are just a few of the places that have been impacted. The fruit of this move has proven its worth, despite the controversies.

In my next post, I hope to issue an appeal to believers who are reading, talking, and blogging about the Lakeland Revival.

For more, balanced views about Lakeland, go here, here, and here.

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

7 responses to “A Summary of the Lakeland Revival”

  1. Stephen says :

    Amen. Couldn’t have said it better. This move of God is not stopping just because Todd allegedly has some personal issues to sort out in his life. Many are taking the fire around the world, and I believe this is only the beginning. Yay!

  2. Hope Miele says :

    I have no doubt that Todd Bentley was a sincere brother in the Lord. I believe the devil hated what he was doing for the kingdom of God. I believe the devil was furious, so he attacked him. The Bible says: For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again……Prov. 24:16 As long as we are living in this evil world temptation will be knocking on our doors, for the devil is seeking whom he may devour.1 Pet. 5:8
    The future of the wicked shall be cut off;[ those who refuse God] but the SALVATION of the righteous is from the LORD.

    Thankyou Todd for your hunger and obiedience to the CALL OF GOD which brought hope for this once dry, and greatly discouraged soul. I knew I needed my passion for God back, but Praise God ! for His fresh oil
    I hope to see you again on God tv with new strength and boldness in our Lord Jesus, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    love, your sister in the Lord
    Hope M. Miele

  3. bryan hamilton says :

    The Lake land Revival situation for me is a mixed bag of peanuts…

    Cons: Another in what seems like a long line of upstanding spiritual leaders falls into sin. He is then systematically dismantled by the press and the body of Christ. God’s name is yet again drug through the mud and brought into disrepute among unbelievers. Honestly it is really disheartening and discouraging to see this and to see it so many times. It make me wonder… “If this is what happens to those who serve God. Is it worth it to even try?”

    Pros: If no one steps up how will the good news ever be preached? How will the kingdom of God ever advance in the Earth? Todd Bentley was courageous and stepped up to the plate. What about all the people whose lives were changed through his act of obedience? Their testimonies are his treasure and spiritual reward at the end of the age.

    I supported Todd’s ministry financially for four years. There were mistakes made at Lake land. Still I am glad there is someone who will to put themselves out there on the line and take the chance. I say this to Todd Bentley. Thank you. Mistakes are part of the game in any area of life. I look forward to when you get back onto your feet and get back into the game. Jesus is at the mercy seat fighting for you right now bro! Don’t give up!

    What happened in Lake land is just a tip of the iceberg of a bigger problem. Todd has held dozens if not hundreds of miracle crusades before this. Some of those crusades had miracles that would blow what happened at Lake land out the water. The question I ask is “Why Now?” I believe that this is from the Lord when I say this…

    There is a spiritual strategy from the enemy that is specifically targeting spiritual leaders. Satan is employing this strategy through the news media and the religious institution of the church. Satan will find a open door or a personal character flaw in an individual. Then he will put a magnifying glass on that individual until he or she cracks. Satan mobilizes through a spirit of judgement, pride, jealousy and competition. To be a leader in America. According to the standard of the media and the religious institution of the church. You have to be perfect and play their game.

    To the media God says this “My judgements are perfect and my vengeance is swift. You have taken the judgement seat and lifted yourselves upon it. You know not whom you judge or what you judge. Yet your light burns bright and only for a moment. I will catch you in your own snares and traps. In the Day of my coming. You will be brought low and the righteous lifted high. Take heed o wicked ones turn and repent. The same measure you use on others will be used on you. Today, you don’t show mercy to those who desperately need it. In the Day of my coming when you desperately need mercy. You will look for it and find none.”

    To the religious institution in the church. God says this “You blind hypocrites! You are so focused on finding heresy and evil in the church. You are so careful to judge and criticize every character flaw. You have forgotten that these are my leaders, my chosen ones. You have crushed them under a heavy burden that I did not intend for them to bear. If you must judge and criticize look at yourselves first! Search and find out that you yourselves are just as in need of mercy. As the leaders you claim to judge! Take heed, turn and repent. Learn mercy and compassion. Judgement starts first with the house of God. If you don’t turn and repent. The punishment for you will be greater because you knew my will and refused to do it.”

  4. Laurie White says :

    I watched the FL Outpouring for about 6 weeks before I decided to travel from MI to FL to “get some”. I can honestly say that I was determined to seek God with my whole heart and as I did, God met my expectations. I was and am totally transformed. I am experiencing a new level, a new walk and a new joy in the Holy Spirit. No one can convince me that what God had planned is not real. Even if I am the only one who was changed, I can attest the the realty of the supernatural outpouring and impartation I experienced. God is Awesome and I am humbled at His continual love for me.

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