Charisma editor Lee Grady takes a conservative & cautious look at the Lakeland, Florida Revival.
On May 14, 2008 Charisma’s editor stated “honest questions” & concerns below. Thereafter I give my thoughts and admonition to Grady and Charisma.
Grady: “…But as the noise from Lakeland grows louder and its influence spreads, I’m issuing some words of warning…”
Davis: “What you call ‘noise’ Lee is the roar of the young lions breaking forth in the earth with the zeal of the Lord. They may not speak, dress, act, or maneuver according to the clever dictates of professional men within Christendom, but they possess faith that works by love which casts out fear and throws caution to the wind.”
Grady: “‘Beware of strange fire. The name of Jesus is being lifted up in the Lakeland revival, and three people came to the altar for salvation the night I attended. Larger numbers have come to the front of the auditorium to find Christ every night since then.”
Davis: “If the name of Jesus is being lifted up in Lakeland, we need not worry. If man’s name is being lifted up, let us beware. The two services I attended in Lakeland, Todd was careful to exalt & uplift Jesus. Should his heart, manner of ministry & focus change the glory will leave. God doesn’t share His anointing with carnal & vain men. When God’s glory leaves, the people will as well. As long as both are present, let us rejoice in the risen Christ.”
Grady: “Yet I fear another message is also being preached subtly in Lakeland-a message that cult-watchers would describe as a spiritual counterfeit. Bentley is one of several charismatic ministers who have emphasized angels in the last several years.”
Davis: “Cult-watchers should not be our concern, as they are not discerning themselves. True discernment begins with awakening to that which is good (Hebrews 5:14), not merely hunting that which is evil (see Romans 16:19). When we are enamored with evil, we ourselves become evil. We become what we behold (see 2Corinthians 3:18). Ultimately we attract & attend to what we ourselves are, as our perception leads to our personal detection & projection.”
Davis: “What a man or minister did several years ago, need not have any bearing upon what they believe or do today. Shall we ask what you did several years ago? A person’s past does not have to dictate their future. As for angelic visitations, these are common throughout Scripture. We should seek God, not angels. Yet should the Lord choose to send an angel to answer our prayers, we should not limit the holy one of Israel.”
Grady: “…Paul was adamant that preoccupation with angels can lead to serious deception.”
Davis: “Agreed, heard, understood & acknowledged.”
Grady: “We have no business teaching God’s people to commune with angels or to seek revelations from them. …We need to remember that Mormonism was born out of one man’s encounter with a dark angel who claimed to speak for God.”
Grady: “Beware of bizarre manifestations. …where do we draw the line between legitimate experience and fanatical excess?”
Davis: “Christ never called ‘we’ His disciples to ‘draw lines’ but to love and lift people. Jesus said let the wheat and tares grow together. The Lord Himself can remove the weeds and pluck up that which He has not planted” (see Matthew 13:30; 15:13). To my knowledge Bentley isn’t teaching ‘God’s people to commune with angels,’ neither to seek them.”
Grady: “…Paul called for discipline and order …In other words, Paul was saying that no one under the influence of the Holy Spirit should act out of control.”
Davis: “The apostle Paul said ‘let all things be done decently and in order’ (1Corinthians 14:40). Before trying to harness, discipline, and order a move of God; first let it flow and ‘be done’ before endeavoring to structure and order it. Grady and Charisma can write about revival, but until they can birth and do revival they should not criticize, nor seek to contain it.”
Davis: “People under the influence of the Holy Spirit respond in innumerable fashions. Since where the Holy Spirit there is liberty (2Corinthians 3:17), people can respond to God freely and don’t need Grady’s permission to do so.”
Grady: “In many recent charismatic revivals, ministers have allowed people to behave like epileptics on stage… such behavior feeds carnality and grieves the Spirit.”
Davis: “What feeds carnality and grieves the Spirit is the arrogance of men like Grady who fight a move of the Spirit rather than supporting and birthing one. Casting out demons and healing the sick is not always pretty to the professional eye.”
Grady: “…emotional euphoria doesn’t guarantee a heart change. …When we put bizarre behavior on the platform we imply that it is normative.”
Davis: “Being a Christian critic and unbelieving believer doesn’t produce a heart change either. A heart of unbelief breeds evil and causes people to depart from the living God (see Hebrews 3:12).”
Grady: “Beware of hype and exaggeration.”
Davis: “Beware of embracing an evil heart of unbelief and becoming a Pharisee who knows the Scripture, but not the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).
Grady: “The church is in a backslidden state and our nation has rebelled against God.”
Davis: “Perhaps you and Charisma magazine are as well. Yet if you will rend your hearts and go hard after God with humble desperation, the Lord of life will revive you with the power of the resurrection.”
Grady: “In our longing for a holy visitation, however, we must be careful not to call the first faint breeze of the Spirit a full-fledged revival. If we do that, we are setting people up for disappointment….”
Davis: “Instead of trying to label and name a revival, call out for it in prayer in your own life. I find no disappointment in revival, only in those who try to deny and restrict it.”
Grady: “Some of the language used during the Lakeland Revival has created an almost sideshow atmosphere. People are invited to “Come and get some.” Miracles are supposedly “popping like popcorn.” Organizers tout it as the greatest revival in history.”
Davis: “According to your faith, be it unto you (Matthew 9:29). Better to go to God’s show than Hollywood’s. Better to get ‘some’ of God’s glory than dead religion. If Charisma and Grady don’t like ‘some’ than let them change the name of their magazine to Jesus instead of promoting their ‘some’ and new ‘someone’ on the cover every month.”
Grady: “Let’s stay humble and broken before the Lord ….miracles and crowds alone don’t guarantee a revival. …It was the few disciples who followed Jesus after Calvary who ushered in a true revival-one that was bathed in the fear of God, confirmed by signs and wonders, tempered by persecution and evidenced by thousands of conversions, new churches and the transformation of society. We should expect nothing less.”
Davis: “Thanks for providing the persecution Lee. We’re almost there! Now, please teach us humility and brokenness. Perhaps you can match the commitment of Mormons to go overseas for 2 years to birth a true revival of your own. Until you can win as many souls, birth as many churches, and transform societies be quick to hear and slow to speak. As Jesus said the fruit speaks for itself (see Matthew 7:20). I pray we all keep our hearts and eyes on Jesus. Beware of trying to steady the ark or seeking to straighten the flow of God’s Spirit lest you be swiftly judged (1Samuel 6:6-7; Micah 2:7). If this revival is of men, it will cease and be brought to not (Acts 5:38). If however it is of God, it shall continue unhindered full force with signs and wonders as God confirms His holy Word with power (see Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4).