Todd Bentley of Lakeland Revival, Florida Outpouring endorsed by Bill Johnson
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On August 17, 2011, Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California, publicly endorsed the ministry of Todd Bentley. Bentley was the main leader of the Lakeland Revival, also known as the Florida Outpouring or Florida Healing Outpouring that began on April 2, 2008 when he held a series of meetings at Ignited Church, led by Pastor Stephen Strader in Lakeland, Florida. The services were aired nightly on the Internet and through God TV and drew more than 400,000 attendees.
An investigative report regarding the revival was aired by ABC’s Nightline in June 2008. Several days after the airing of the report, Todd Bentley stepped down from the revival. He later admitted to having an affair with one of his Fresh Fire staff members and proceeded to undergo a period of restoration under Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries. Bentley and his wife, Shonnah Bentley, divorced and he later married the woman whom he had the affair with: Jessa Bentley. Due to the number of testimonies that occurred throughout the revival, yet the differences that noticeably set the Florida Outpouring apart from revivals of the past, such as Bentley’s method for praying over people and the lack of regular, nightly altar calls for salvation, the Christian church quickly split over the revival. To this day, many refer to the Lakeland Revival by derogatory names such as the “Fakeland Revival” and view Bentley as a sham. Bill Johnson, however, addressed Bentley’s past failings and has endorsed his ministry saying that Bentley is restored.
Bill Johnson stated in his endorsement that a prophet had prophesied the revival, yet also prophesied it would collapse if Bentley didn’t address personal issues. Johnson said he had worked previously with Bentley. He stated, “Before the Lakeland Revival, I had not only worked with Todd in ministry but also met with him, along with some of the core staff from Fresh Fire Ministry, to help him in the broken areas of his marriage. He was advised to cut back on ministry and get help. He did as was requested.
“Fast forward: I was assured that there was great improvement in the Bentley marriage. Todd started to travel again with great breakthrough anointing. Lakeland actually started fairly soon after his return to travel. The outpouring happened exactly as had been prophesied. Interestingly, after some time in the revival, the same prophet who had prophesied the revival also warned of its collapse if Todd’s personal issues weren’t addressed properly.”
During the time of the revival a number of well known pastors, journalists, evangelists and ministers spoke publicly against what was happening. Benny Hinn issued a video series against the revival. Others who vocalized concerns about the move included Rodney Howard-Browne and writer for Charisma Magazine, J. Lee Grady. Andrew Strom, founder of Revival School, wrote a book about the revival and maintained a regular list where he spoke against the move as a counterfeit, fake revival. Benny Hinn issued a teaching called “Freedom from Deceptive Revival,” where he referred to the move as false and even demonic.
In the message, Benny Hinn specifically stated, “There was a revival recently in Florida that was not a true revival- was not a true revival. It was not a move of God and thousands of people flew from all over the world believing that God is in it. (Fast forward to 3:01 in this Benny Hinn video ) Hinn likened Bentley to a false prophet with signs and wonders that would deceive many. He continued to warn that signs and wonders occur in the demonic realm as well.
J. Lee Grady wrote frequently about the revival and wrote one piece titled “Strange Fire in the House of God” that immediately spoke about angel worship that that took place during Bentley’s ministry. In his article he stated, “During the Lakeland Revival last year in Florida, a man from Germany took the stage and claimed that an angel walked into a restaurant while he was eating a hamburger, took his intestines out and replaced them with a gold substance. Others have testified that angels took them to heaven and operated on them. And many are claiming that angels are dropping feathers, gold dust and precious gems on worshippers.
“I know God can do anything. He can make an iron axe head float, hide a coin in a fish’s mouth and use a little boy’s lunch to feed a multitude. Those were genuine miracles that He can still do today. But we still have to use caution here. There are counterfeits. If we promote a false miracle or a false angel in the Lord’s house, we are participating in strange fire.”
Videos from the revival showing Bentley punching a man with stage four cancer in the stomach as a method of “laying on of hands” for healing went viral causing numerous bloggers and lay people to question Bentley’s teachings, method and ministry.
Additionally, the move would report night after night testimonies of resurrections from the dead but when Nightline interviewed the ministers, no one could verify any of the claims. Todd Bentley has largely been absent from public ministry except for supervised meetings under the heading of Rick Joyner. As Bill Johnson’s endorsement suggests, this is about to change.
Speaking of Bentley’s submission to Rick Joyner, Johnson states, “Rick called me a while back saying that he wanted to start to use Todd in ministry in a safe place. The safe place idea was for Todd’s sake. The perfect setting for this is, of course, Morningstar Ministry. This is where Rick could observe and monitor Todd’s progress, or, on the other hand, see areas that need attention. Rick has told me many times how encouraged he has been with Todd’s personal transformation as well as some positive changes in ministry.
“The next step has been to release Todd to minister with trusted friends who could benefit from and help in the process of Todd’s restoration. This is in process right now, and the fruit has been good. I have now ministered with Todd in both settings, Morningstar and at a conference in Texas. It was good to see Todd in ministry again. He handled himself well and functioned under great anointing, and much more out of “rest.” The fruit of the ministry was very good.
Johnson concluded his statement with his endorsement. “In conclusion, I recommend Todd to you, believing that you will be blessed and encouraged by his ministry. But perhaps even more important is the fact that Todd will be a reminder to us that it is possible to stand after such a great fall. We all live by grace, and only by grace. We desperately need examples of those who have walked in integrity all of their lives. But when there is sin, we need examples of restoration to bring hope to the broken people, many of whom are in our congregations. God will use Todd to be a message of restoration.”
Todd Bentley will be ministering in New York, New York at the City Light Church from August 19-August 21, 2011 and then at the Nampa Civic Center in Boise, Idaho from September 21 to September 24, 2011.
What do you think about Todd Bentley, the Lakeland Revival and Bill Johnson’s endorsement?
Todd Bentley Video list (all videos are in the player to the left)
Nightline investigative report Part 1
Nightline Investigative Report Part 2
Todd Bentley Kicks People in the Face (Holy Ghost face kicking?)
Todd Bentley Hits Old Woman
Todd Bentley Kicks Man with Polio
Todd Bentley Head Butts a Man
Andrew Strom: True and False Revival
Todd Bentley’s wife, Jessa, speaks of dream with Oral Roberts and dancing elephant and golden lion
Todd Bentley speaks about angel named Emma and healing angel, William Branham, John Lake
Rick Joyner and Todd Bentley on repentance and restoration
Bill Johnson Rick Joyner talk Todd Bentley and Restoration