On Sunday Jesse began by speaking about his experience of the worship in the Lakeland, Florida meetings, about which I have also shared my perspective. Today he continues his report of events on the evening he attended:
“After worship, Stephen Strader, pastor of Ignited Church in Lakeland, whose father, Karl, had previously been the pastor of Carpenter’s Home Church, stood up and gave some testimonies, as well as some background on the revival for those of us attending for the first time. He explained how the revival was a melting pot of a bunch of different backgrounds. ‘It’s former rain and latter rain,’ he explained, adding that it consisted of folks from the Jesus Movement, charismatic folks, Pentecostal folks, and even some Quakers and Shakers—all together seeking the Lord. He said the message was a “whole gospel,” not one in which certain parts were cut out. What he seemed to be referring to were people who did not agree in the presence of modern-day healing and some of the other things that were emphasized throughout the night.
Strader stated that this series of meetings is now in its forty-fifth day. It started back on April 2nd when he invited Todd Bentley to come for a series of five meetings or so. Todd ‘made himself at home’ and decided to stay. People had come from at least ten or twelve different countries. There were testimonies of eight people who have been raised from the dead.
Of course, this struck me as amazing, and I waited to hear some explanation. There was a story told of a three-year-old girl named Jaden, who died. The family had begun to make funeral preparations. Lily, a schoolteacher who was part of these meetings, prayed with her class for God to work a miracle. Jaden was an organ donor, and died on Monday. On Tuesday a match was found for someone to accept her organ donation, and on Wednesday her body was in transit to the surgery room for the organs to be removed. On the way there, she coughed and sat up. After telling the story, Strader exclaimed, “Funeral cancelled!” Another story was told about a child who had flat-lined during dialysis. Her testimony was that she had an out-of-body experience, and was sent back down to the earth just before being pronounced dead and sat up praising God.
On the issue of excess and judging the legitimacy of the revival, Strader made the comment, ‘Todd [Bentley] and I know that not everything that’s happening here is of God. There’s a whole lot of flesh going on here as well.’ He then warned the group that if they saw anyone acting out in the flesh they would kick them out. Of course, he said, the surest sign of someone in the flesh was someone refusing to participate, writing off everything as demonic. He encouraged the group using the parable of the tares—that God alone can judge, and at the appropriate time he will separate the wheat from the tares.
I was somewhat disappointed to find out that Todd Bentley, the man who has been primarily leading the meetings, was not present. He was in California. In his place, Keith Miller from Stand Firm World Ministries, was addressing the group. He encouraged us to push to a new depth of faith and belief in God for great things. On one occasion he told an individual to stand up, named the cancer they were suffering, it proved to be an accurate word of knowledge, and then he prayed for that cancer to be healed right then and there. His message seemed to be a bit wild, a mix of different texts being read, interrupted by people coming up on stage, ‘throwing’ the Holy Spirit to hit people in the back, calling out various ailments and praying for a surge of power to heal. You can watch on God TV to get a feel for yourself of the flavor.”
Continued in part 3 . . .