What’s been happening with Lakeland and Todd B while I’ve Been Away?

I’ve been ‘retreating’ for the last few days, reading books that have my head ready to explode. I check in to what’s happening with the clean up in Lakeland and with the Todd supporters, those who scolded us all – all of us who expressed concerns about Lakeland – and apparently a lot has happened. And now I just want to explode in general.

Dutch Sheets has come out with a letter of repentance for being a supporter and for his part in not speaking up about what he knew (though he apparently did?).

Bill Johnson (who once defended Todd as a great family man that he’d observed his marriage first hand and saw that ‘it was good’ as he ripped on someone from his pulpit who emailed him to ask how he could support Todd B) has now backtracked and assures us we all misunderstood what he meant back then and he was really concerned too and it’s really John Arnott’s mess to clean up. Bill, I promise you I will never purchase or read another book that you’ve written or you’ve endorsed. You need some time away to reflect my brother.

John Arnott has disclosed his own concern for Todd. It seems to have been forgotten that real love confronts, it doesn’t enable. John, I know you read my blog (um, no, and neither does Bill) so can I just tell you how much you’ve hurt the body of Christ and how much we need you to step up now and actually admit to being duped and to make a commitment to engage with people who aren’t teaching heresy and get back to a radical middle? Oh, and John’s also revealed that Todd has, apparently during and since Lakeland, been doing some heavy drinking.

And suddenly all kinds of people always had all kind of problems with Lakeland they were just waiting for “the Lord to release them” to speak up. Shudder.

I’ve been reflecting on some of my issues with Lakeland. Here are some of my observations.

What’s my problem with Lakeland?

1. The Lies.
*Thousands upon thousands healed and not one medically verified.
*30+ raised from the dead. Todd knew that some of the ‘claimed’ resurrections had been proven to be fake reports, lies and exaggerations and yet he went on claiming them anyway. There have been 0, zero, nada, actual resurrections (I once was dead but now I live…) from Lakeland.

2. The hype.
*Some crazy stuff going down there that you’d have to see to believe. People often worked up with stories, visions, words and promises. One night Todd B claimed that God told him 1000 people were supposed to give $1000 each in the offering and they’d get a big ol’ blessing for it. That’s a million dollars for those who aren’t good at math.

3. The dismissal of truth with spiritual sounding phrases and slogans.
* Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
– We could just as easily say a little leaven leavens the whole bunch or one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.
*Why kind of fruit do you have?
-With this is usually an accusation of jealousy.
-“You can’t criticize Todd until you have 100s of healing in your own ministry.”
– This is an incredibly insane line of reasoning and falls into pragmatism, if it works it’s good, which the church has historically opposed.
*Trust God to lead us more than the devil to deceive us.
– Jesus actually says the opposite. So does Paul.
*Touch not the Lord’s anointed.
– Are you mad?

4. The false teaching.
*Visiting Paul’s cabin in heaven.
*Emma, the sex changed angel. By this I mean that in his stories she’s a she-angel that sort of looks like Kathryn Khulman (sp?) but in his new book she’s a he-angel ‘cause he got all theologized. He/She still sprinkles gold dust on folks at church meetings…
*You’ll get an anointing based on your offering. This was claimed more than once in more than one location.

5. The idea that getting someone to fill out a card makes them a follower of Jesus.

6. The idea that passion for God involves 2 hours of singing songs.

7. The anger displayed on the platform.

8. Singing short phrases over and over and over and over for 2 hours easily produces a hypnotic state.

9. People with questions or criticism are automatically bad guys when the Bible teaches us to question and critique one another and those who come claiming to bring truth.
*The Bereans would not have faired well in this climate. They would certainly not have been called “noble minded”.
*We who criticize Todd’s teaching and actions are called Pharisees and that label means you don’t have to answer our questions or consider our criticisms.

10. Leaders who have promoted the meetings and promoted Todd without reading any of his online teaching, watching more than one service from Lakeland, failing to find answers to the questions that occurred to them.

11. God is treated like a trick pony who performs on command.
* Todd said, “How many know that if God’s not moving you move God?” Excuse me?

12. Behaviour that communicates false things about God.
*You can’t knee a stage 4 colon cancer victim and say God told you to unless he’s healed. He wasn’t. How we treat people, how we speak and behave reveals what we believe about the character of God.

13. Establishing a connection with the fallen as a good thing: Paul Cain, Bob Jones, William Branham, etc.

This is just a start of my list but you can see, I’ve got some problems.

I’m going to stop writing about Lakeland after this. My hope is that people will hold leaders accountable, myself included, and that this won’t go away quietly until we’ve learned all we can from it.

I got an email today about a pastor in Australia who’s been claiming to be fighting cancer for the past two years, even appearing on stage to lead worship at an event with an oxygen tube in his nose, only to have it revealed that he’s never had cancer. What is up with that? And we think Evolution in schools is our biggest problem?


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in Church, God, Lakeland, Leadership, Life, Lists, Rant, religion, revival. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to What’s been happening with Lakeland and Todd B while I’ve Been Away?

  1. Yves says:

    Great post Brian.

    And (on a completely unrelated topic…) have I ever mentioned that I owe you a night out with me and chinese food???

    I promise, I won’t drop kick you while we’re waiting for our order…. or knee you in the stomach….

    Hope you’re doing well my friend.

  2. brianmpei says:

    I’m doing well Yves and I’m hungry for Chinese food! I’ll come to S’side if I have to!

  3. Chad says:

    The grossest thing about that pastor in Australia is he wrote a song called “Healer” that was all about God being there for him in his “suffering,” a song that touched thousands of people around the world. We sang it in our church last weekend for the first time, but now that the truth is out we won’t be singing it again.

    The whole story made me think of Lakeland because it’s the same thing: someone resorting to hype and emotional manipulation to produce some kind of quasi-spiritual reaction. It’s sad and sickening, but if we’re honest a lot of us folks who call ourselves pastors or church leaders have done the same thing at different times on a smaller scale. It would be nice if we could all just trust God to be as big as he actually is and remember he doesn’t need a hype man or a marketing strategy.

  4. brianmpei says:

    Chad, I agree with you. If we’re honest we’ve all slipped into hype and manipulation at one time or another (and dishonesty). I think the key is whether we stay there, whether we admit it and whether we move on, say ‘sorry’ and do our best not to go back there.

    I’ve never heard the song and I’m glad I haven’t.

  5. Shoot – I saw that pastor on youtube – he was faking it???

    Honestly . . .

  6. brianmpei says:

    Sorry Sparrow but yep, faking. He is getting counselling now though, so good for him.

  7. Phill says:

    I went to Lakeland and it was flaky and the teaching was incredibly weak and off. It was a strange package. Having said that I did experience God in the worship in a real and powerful way. He satisfies the hungry and gives drink to the thirsty. A very close friend who had to wear hearing aids for nearly 10 years after medication for his liver took his hearing, could hear again and hasn’t needed hearing aids for nearly 4 months. This is completely true, for whatever it is worth. Was it Todd B, no it was Jesus. For whatever reason He chose to heal some, in spite of the packaging. My friend is a pastor and has been for over 30 years and He has been healed by His savior, but it did happen in Lakeland. Grace is a strange wonderful, awesome thing; I thank the Father for it. Having said that, yes we need to keep leaders and each other accountable. We also need to recognize we are all broken vessels. David sent a loyal servant to be killed so he could take his wife. Abraham lied twice and it almost cost him his wives fidelity and more. The Bible is full of stories of broken vessels that were used by God for a season or a life time in site of their sin. Doesn’t make us right and it doesn’t mean we don’t speak into it. It does mean we give grace and never forget that anyone of us can fall at anytime. “We are ALL broken vessels, living by His grace alone” With Love for the Body of which I am part, in whom I need and love.

  8. brianmpei says:

    Hey Phil, I read about your friend over on Dan’s blog. I’m happy to hear that his hearing has stayed healed (that’s a lot of “h’s”). And I completely agree with you, Jesus heals. I see it happening often and have experienced it in my own body without leaving for Lakeland or even Toronto.

    I have tremendous pity for Todd B, I think in all of this he is suffering from mental illness and was used as a pawn by others who TRULY need to be held accountable and most likely won’t be. I grieve for his wife and children who probably still don’t understand why Daddy just came back from Hawaii with the woman he had the ’emotional affair’ with but didn’t come home to them.

    I also know that my need for grace is no less, and probably even more, than Todd Bs. I killed Jesus, after all.

    The New Testament gives us a glimpse into leaders who create a false impression of God and His truth by their words and actions. Peter, when snubbing the Gentiles for the Jewish believers, was confronted publicly by Paul and Paul even ‘spread the word’ about the situation by including it in his next letter to be circulated among the churches. I’m no Paul, for certain, other than competing for the position of ‘chief of sinners’, but the principle is for all of us. Grace doesn’t close our eyes and our mouths. It leads us to speak the truth in love and confront publicly leaders who sin publicly, even publishing the truth about what they’ve done.

    I’m thrilled for your friend, I pray that many more will be healed who turn to God through Jesus with hearts hungry for Him.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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