Reports of events at Lakeland have offered some reasons for thanksgiving and many for concern and sadness over the summer. John Piper offers sobering reflections on the underlying problem that creates such hype "they refused to love the truth". He cites Lee Grady's lament and critique in Charisma magazine. To Grady's credit it's not the first time he's raised questions about it, having written several other columns on it over the summer.
"Discernment is not created in God’s people by brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance. It is created by biblical truth and the application of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds. When that happens, then the brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance will have the strong fiber of the full counsel of God in them. They will be profoundly Christian and not merely religious and emotional and psychological."The problem here is that there are two issues, on the one hand everything that happened that seemed not to accord with sound doctrine,and on other other hand the issues of Todd Bentley's marriage. No doubt there is some interaction between the two problems, but I'm not sure they should be over connected. My problem with Lakeland, back in May, was with doctrine quite apart from anything in his character. His problems in marriage seem to me to compound the problems rather than to expose the doctrinal issues - they were already evident.
It's 'easy' now to call the problems, should have happened a long way back. My first thought in May was to dive for my copy of Sam Storms' "Signs of the Spirit" which modernises Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections.
These events serve as a sober warning to watch our lives and doctrine. Let any service I'm involved in benefit my marriage. Whatever it is that has happened could happen to me. Let any service I'm involved in be saturated with the Word of God. Let us watch our hearts, watch our lives and our doctrine.
More from Phil Whittall on Todd Bentley, calling for some Biblical reality:
- We should let history give a name to what is God is doing.
- This was the first 'revival' in a media age.
- TV inflates and exaggerates.
- What is the deal with the nightly meetings?
- We made it about a man. Again.
- Charismatics want revival the easy way. Still.
- Why can't we have good doctrine and great power?
- Wacky, is well, wacky.
- Sadly, we love being fighting to be right.