Recently there has been a discussion on one of the blogs I read about Todd Bentley. Bentley has been holding “revival” services in Lakeland, Florida since April. Some are calling it the “Florida Outpouring” and making claims of all kinds of healings. So far Bentley has been unable to provide proof that any healings have occurred. Well, after the reading the comments of that blog I begin thinking about revival.
Really, I’m not a fan of revival meetings, although I’ve attended quite a few myself and by some wonderful preachers including Billy Graham. So, why I am I not a fan of revival meetings? For starters true revival begins in the heart not in a meeting. True revival begins with genuine repentance, soul searching and prayer. I think sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and make a well intended commitment. Somehow after the services are over and time has passed nothing really changes.
Another thing that bothers me about revival meetings is the way we equate statics with the success of the meeting. Many times I have heard someone discuss a revival meeting and one of the first things they say is how many people got saved or made other comments to the Lord. Salvation is a great thing and I do rejoice every time I hear of a new believer. My evangelism professor taught that the way to measure the true success of an evangelistic meeting was by the long term effect.
Many times those leading revival meeting rely too heavily on emotions and not the Bible. One of the best presentations of the Gospel I have seen was this year at one of the Passion Regional conferences. The Gospel was presented in silence and in a dark arena. The message was projected on video screens. The presentation used reverse type (white on black) to present the Gospel. While emotions may play a part in presenting a sermon they should never become a substitute for God’s word.
Finally, one of the biggest problems I see with some revivals especially Bentley is sensationalism. It seems some become more concerned with putting on a good show rather than preaching a Biblically solid message. In Bentley’s case he seems to make a big show out of healing. Yes, I believe God can heal people but I’m not comfortable with those who make a show out of it. From what I have read in the Bible Jesus did not make a show out of healing people. In fact he had a tendency to so quietly and then commands them not to tell.
Revival is not the same thing as evangelism. For many churchs a yearly event like revival meetings may be their primary means of evangelism. Evangelism involves or at least should involve much more than bringing someone to an event. Sharing the Gospel with others should become a part of our daily lives.
Only time will tell if the meetings in Lakeland is a true revival. As for the supposed healings who knows. It would help if Bentley or someone would provide documented proof of at least one healing.