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?