Revivalist Todd Bentley  has been barred from the United Kingdom  because of his sometime use of physical violence—-including kicking and punching—-to heal. Bentley, who gained prominence after the “Lakeland Outporing,” a 100-day revival that drew 30,000 attendees a week, describes his style in the above video.

Bentley’s methods are horrifying and compelling, strange enough to blare through all the madness of Honey Boo Boo, “Come at me bro,” and mass violence. But they are hardly representative of, or condoned by, the charismatic movement as a whole. J. Lee Grady, editor of the Pentecostal magazine  Charisma , makes the key criticisms:

Among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow. The message was clear: “This is God. Don’t question.” So before we could all say, “Sheeka Boomba” (as Bentley often prayed from his pulpit), many people went home, prayed for people and shoved them to the floor with reckless abandon, Bentley-style.

I blame this lack of discernment, partly, on raw zeal for God. We’re spiritually hungry—which can be a good thing. But sometimes, hungry people will eat anything. [ . . . ]

I still believe that God desires to visit our nation in supernatural power. I know He wants to heal multitudes, and I will continue praying for a healing revival to sweep across the United States. But we must contend for the genuine, not an imitation. True revival will be accompanied by brokenness, humility, reverence and repentance—not the arrogance, showmanship and empty hype that often was on display in Lakeland.

“Hungy people will eat anything,” and in the midst of a global recession, people are gnawed by more than one kind of hunger.

Articles by Matthew Schmitz


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