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