Dutch Sheets- A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland

A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland

 August 21, 2008

 It has now been a couple of weeks since I heard about Todd Bentley’s plans for separation and divorce. Like everyone, I have had a variety of emotions including anger, sadness, and grief. Every time I see this scenario repeated, I grieve: for the husband and wife involved; for the family that will be scarred in so many ways; because of the incredible reproach it brings to Christ; and the distortion it gives concerning God’s heart and ways. I am praying for Todd and his family.

I was asked numerous times to write my position on Lakeland while it was happening, but always felt checked by the Lord-the waters were too muddy and emotions too high. I now feel strongly that the Lord wants me to do so. It will be arguably one of the greatest risks of my ministry to date, but one I feel must be taken. Fathers, when given the voice to do so, bear the responsibility of giving correction and wisdom. I hope mine qualifies for the latter. I assure you I have spent many hours praying and thinking through the situation.

The risks are broad: with some of my dearest friends and co-laborers, I risk harming those relationships; with many in the charismatic body of Christ, I risk appearing to be an arrogant, “self-appointed” spokesperson for them; to the “I told you so” crowd, I risk the accusation of “spinning” the situation. (As far as the heresy hunters and revival police-not those who raised legitimate questions about Lakeland, but the attack dogs who make their living and build their ministries criticizing everyone else-I lost respect for them long ago and couldn’t care less what they think.) My purpose and sincere prayer in writing this statement, however, is three-fold: to see healing begin for the body of Christ; to initiate a process that can remove the reproach brought to Christ and the Church; and to do these things while preserving and honoring my current relationships. I pray that these desires, along with my heart, come through loudly. And I hope I’m writing this with true humility-who among us clearly sees all hidden in our own hearts?

Let me also preface this statement by saying that what needs to be said cannot be done quickly or carelessly. I do not want my heart to be missed and am not willing to run that risk for the sake of brevity, so please bear with the length. (Incidentally, I think it will be obvious no one involved in the Lakeland situation has asked me to write this; and for the sake of integrity on my part, none have been consulted concerning what I’m stating.) Read it all Here



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4 responses to “Dutch Sheets- A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland

  1. neophyte

    Love and respect you, Brother Dutch, and agree with much of what you had to say about the situation in Lakeland and the body of Christ in general. But, you know, when all’s said and done I have to admit I feel like a young girl who’s been molested most of her life, and there comes a time when she says, “Enough!”

    Yes, enough. Leave us alone. Please leave His church, His people, His bride, alone. All you “leaders”. All you pharisees, saducees, and teachers of the law. Please take your hands off us and let us be.

    You’ve been telling us all these years that you’re meeting our needs. That we need you. That we can’t do “it” without you. But we’ve been seeing for awhile now what’s really been going on. How we’ve been meeting YOUR needs all this time. Our time, our money, our talents, our families, our homes, our hearts and minds, our LIVES… you’ve stuck your hands where they don’t belong for far too long, and it’s time to say, “ENOUGH!”

    We’re not going back to business as usual. We’re not going to waste another 10, 20, 30 years listening to your sermons and your teachings and your prophecies and your plans. The product isn’t what’s been advertised and we’re done chasing the carrot. We see it for what it is and we forgive you, but we’re done playing the game.

    We’re done gazing up at you from our lowly perches. We’re done saying “How high?” to your “Jump.” We’re done placating your enormous egos and craven need for adulation at our and our families’ expense. For the little scraps we get that fall to the ground from your table. Because, you see, we don’t really need you. At least not the “you” most of us have had all these years. The closest to God, smartest about God, most anointed of God and blessed of God, infallible prophet, priest and king “you”. So, thank you very much, but we’re done pretending the emperor has clothes.

    God must come to our hearts and our homes, brothers and sisters. That’s the simple bottom line. All the failings we see in the body of Christ are a direct result of God not taking His place in hearts and homes.

    It’s not complicated at all. It’s really very simple. Much simpler than most would have us believe. If God isn’t God of our hearts and homes, what is He God of? And if God isn’t God of our leaders’ hearts and homes, what do they really have to give us? Theory?

    They would have us believe “higher levels mean higher devils”. They would have us feel guilty when they fall as if it’s somehow our fault. (When they’re actually caught red-handed, that is. The rest of the time we do as we’re told and look the other way, pretending not to notice because what good would it do anyway?) If only we prayed more or supported them more. If only we gave more. Yes, somehow it’s all our fault. Just like the molested little girl. (But all of this is neither here nor there. Because it’s a brand new day.)

    Love God, love others as you love yourself. At least that’s what Jesus said it boiled down to. You know, CHRIST Jesus?

    How complicated is that? You need a PhD for that? Even a little child can understand it. How many commandments did God give the people through Moses? This isn’t rocket science, folks. Faith in Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection remits our sins and creates in us a clean, new heart. So that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit of God who IS love. So that we CAN love. Ta-daa. Pretty basic stuff, I think we’d all agree.

    So, please, exalted rulers, please back down and leave us and our families alone. Please know your place. Please TAKE your place. Because you do realize, don’t you, that it’s high time, and then some.

    I’m sure you realize, way deep down inside even, that there’s an awful lot of us out here whose shelves are filled to overflowing with your never-ending, not freely given verbiage, who have the audacity to think we might actually be able to do this thing called love… without you. (Oh my God, how could we, it’s all so horribly complicated!!)

    Please, know your place, take your place. With all due respect.

    One though many of His children


  2. I found Dutch’s communication well thought out and indicative of the type of maturity we desperately need in the body. Perhaps this kind of maturity can help guide the move of God rather than just comment on it after the fact (and this is a genuine hope, NOT a criticism!)

  3. I will praise thee forever. Because thou hast done it

    Pastor B.V.RAMANA,B.Th., WEAVARS COLONY.#59-10-7.E.G.DIST

    Dear. Sister &Brother, Greetings in the name of our Lord &savior Jesus Christ, I am praying for you and your family and brothers & Sisters in U.S.A. Please give our love to your family. You are in hearts and prayers

    I would like to introduce myself: I am a Gospel worker in India. Hope you know very well of our nation of India, having more than one thousand (1000) millions of people, even still 80% of people are living in spiritual darkness, worshipping idols and totally away from the real savior, redeemer and almighty God. Poverty, unemployment, sickness and superstitious life are ruling over our people, where we are working for the Lord and for the kingdom of God.
    In spite of all these evil circumstances, we are pressing to wards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians3:14), to preach the Gospel for the salvation and deliverance of many people in our area (Act 2:38). We are facing lot of problems in India through idol worshippers, (cor 1:5)

    There are some poorest, suffering widows; destitute children and
    handicaps are there in our Church. Kindly remember them in your loving prayers (LUKE 14:12 –14)
    Here, we are very much praying for you, your family and your mi9nistry. I am here with sending the photograph of my church family.
    I am prayerfully looking for your king reply of blessings.
    Thanking you so much.
    Yours ever loving and praying Brother in the Lord’s Ministry.
    (Pastor. B.V.RAMANA, B.Th.,
    “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to you account”Phol 4:17
    “I assure you, when you dit it to one of least of these my brothers and sisters, you
    Our greatest responsible to preach the Gospel to every corner place.
    ICICI BANK .A/C.NO 631501019808. RAJAHMUNDRY.5

  4. Steve

    the above was very moving from he girl, likenning to abuse. You know there might be something in this, though clealry an over reation, but the problem is not Todd, it is are obsession with novel, new, personalities, and sensation, O please let us grow up and let apostles and prophets show they are by what they do not by what they call themselves and who they align with, I suspect if there are apostles and prophets today they are too busy pouring their lives out to have conferences and write books!Probably they are mainly anonymous and working iperhaps in the non english speaking world!

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