This last week has seen two sad events in the Christian world. 2 leaders in different parts of the world, 2 moral failures – I know the weakness of man and the propensity of the flesh to sin but this always grieves my heart.
The Lakeland Revival has been on the lips of many Christians over the past few months, I even went down to Lakeland Florida for a couple of nights in the early days to check it out – but more than that to actually experience something of a touch of the manifest presence of God. I have to admit that I didn’t feel much – but I definitely returned from Florida with a greater hunger for the glory realm of God. Although I saw many verifiable miracles – this renewed passion to know God is for me evidence of revival – bringing back to life that which is dead.
As with all ‘moves of God” it stirred up much controversy especially in my homeland of England – so many were questioning whether it was of God or not. Many of the questions of whether the move was of God or not were questions about the platform ministry style of the young man leading the meetings – Todd Bentley. A Canadian ex drug addict, born like me in 1976. Todd had for sure some excesses – however, my thought to this was always – man is man. There are things I don’t care for in Todd’s character – but I’m sure there are many things that people don’t care for in my style or character – after all we are fallen man. Surely the truth of a move of God is not determined by the perfection of the vessels God uses? As I look in my bible God has the unfortunate habit of using vessels that are less than perfect.
So when news came this week that Todd was divorcing his wife due to unwise decisions with regard to drinking and other relationships my heart grieved – but in no way did I think that this news invalidated what has happened in Lakeland – the question people always asked was is this God? not Is Todd perfect.
As I look at revival history and at moves of God where people have been healed, transformed, saved, set free. Always these moves were attended by much attention, increased finances, increased pressures and notoriety, increased glory. And with all of them the human leaders had to contend with exactly the same temptations that are common to man – the gold, the girls and the glory – money, sex and power. We live in an age where these tempations are compounded. Never before have we had the riches that the 21st century offers, never before have we had the ability to broadcast our message over the tv, internet, etc etc and never before have the temptations and ease of access to sexual immorality been greater. Do the fact that these temptations face christian leaders and the fact that some succumb invalidate the move of God. I don’t think so – but I do think it is a sobering warning to press into the sanctifying grace of God in our day and ask for a greater grace for greater change and resistance in our own hearts to sin’s deceptive ways.