Hearing the Fathers' Voices

The following is The Ministry Report posted on Friday, August 22 by Marcus Yoars on Ministry Today's website.To read the numerous comments from readers that followed Yoar's blog go to http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/blog/2008/08/hearing-fathers-voices.html.

I wish this blog post addressed something else besides Todd Bentley's marital problems or, for that matter, anything to do with the Lakeland Outpouring. In fact, I'd planned on posting one of those carefree "it's Friday so lighten up" posts with chuckle-links galore. But the truth is, what we're going through as the charismatic movement right now is no laughing matter, and neither is it something to ignore in hopes that it goes away with time. It's time for us to roll up our sleeves, commit to sticking through this as family and deal with the raw issues.

We need the fathers' voices to be heard. Obviously we need to hear the Father's voice the loudest. But God has also appointed specific leaders to shepherd an entire movement, and those are the leaders we need to hear from now more than ever. We don't just need a rallying cry or a clarion call, we need heart-to-heart dialogue on what just happened, what it means and where we go from here.

After a brief silence, the fathers are beginning to speak. Below are links to some of the public statements released this past week. (There are obviously others speaking, but these are leaders I felt needed to be highlighted given their proximity to the situation or the depth of their words.) I've highlighted a few quotes from each person, but I encourage you to read through their statements in full. Don't just assume you know what will be said given who it's coming from, but instead undestand that every leader is trying to display the heart of God throughout this time. As has been reiterated throughout the charismatic body so often for so long, let's not toss the baby out with the bathwater.

From John Arnott:

  • “I am aware that the devil wants to tempt some people to say, ‘I told you so.’ Do not allow yourself to become his instrument by using the sword of truth without mercy in this way.”
  • “Be slow to speak out publicly and to judge prematurely. It is time to treat these people with grace, like you would like to be treated when you fall or make a mistake. Be assured that nothing is being ‘swept under the carpet,’ but we are bringing it out into the light of God’s truth in mercy so that we can interrupt Satan’s plan to use this to discredit Jesus Christ by destroying the lives of Todd, his family and his friends.”
From Bill Johnson (I strongly encourage you to watch the accompanying video on this link to get the full scope of Bill's response):

  • “While I will never blame Todd’s opponents for Todd’s bad choices (Todd alone is responsible for them) their opposition had a greater effect than any of his critics will likely own up to in this lifetime.”
  • “The ripple effects of Todd’s decisions have been astronomical. I’ve not seen anything like it in my lifetime. I’m sure there has been, but I’ve certainly not been this close to it.”
  • “This is the way it is for the kingdom: Everything is for advancement. Everything. While it looks like sometimes you’re taking three steps backward, if heart is kept clean and we stay accountable and we learn how to maneuver through this minefield, we can come out on the other side of this thing so much stronger than before.”

From Che Ahn:

  • “It is not surprising that the enemy would use this incident and anything he can find to impugn the work of God to cause us and all involved to question the Lakeland revival. Every revival that I have experienced or studied had its controversy, and the Lakeland revival, to say the least, has had its share.”
  • “I have every confidence that God began the ‘Outpouring,’ and the ‘cat is already out of the bag.’ Thousands upon thousands in our nation and many others have already received the impartation to cause it to continue and grow.”

From Rick Joyner:

  • “ What makes [Todd] capable of such extraordinary faith also makes him prone to extraordinary blunders. … Like it or not, that is often the nature of those who accomplish some of the greatest spiritual exploits—they also make some of the biggest bloopers. Hearing about these problems did not surprise me at all. Since I have now heard about more details, I’m still not shocked. These are problems, and they need to be fixed, which includes repenting and turning around, but if we want the victories and breakthroughs we all hope and pray for, they usually come through people with the same kind of nature.
  • “One thing that would help them and the body of Christ, possibly more than anything else, is to see some real Christian charity expressed in this situation and some righteous judges stand up, which is the duty of true elders in the church.”
  • “This is a real opportunity for the church to show some maturity and Christian love. This does not mean compromise, but it does mean addressing this situation in an almost opposite way that we have tended to do in the past.”

From Dutch Sheets:

  • “When something has the potential of setting precedent, birthing a movement and being reproduced as a prototype, we are no longer simply endorsing good brothers, good intentions and miracles. Doctrine and foundations will be built on these events. Teachings and paradigms for future ministries will be formed—in short, the next generation of the church and the move of God in the earth could be greatly impacted.”
  • “We leaders in the Church have become no different than the world around us in our standards for measuring success and greatness. This has contributed to the body of Christ giving millions of dollars to undeserving individuals; it has allowed people living in sin to become influential leaders—even to lead movement, allowing them influence all the way to the White House. Through our lack of discernment we built their stages and gave them their platforms. We have been gullible beyond words—gullible leaders producing gullible sheep.”
  • “I don’t believe anyone is expecting perfection from us—I know I’m not. We’re far too human for that. But we are expected to have enough humility to look the world and those who follow us in the eye when we miss it and say, ‘We were wrong and we are sorry.’ Our careless accountability has caused the body of Christ to be spiritually raped and abused. It has produced disillusionment and brought immeasurable reproach to our God and cynicism to His message. Concerning Lakeland, what was called the “greatest revival since Azusa Street” has become possibly one of the greatest reproaches. We, the leaders of the charismatic church, are responsible.”
  • “Our procedures and standards of accountability are incredibly inadequate. We have provided camaraderie, not biblical accountability.”
From Don Finto:
  • “We are again experiencing the disappointment and even disillusionment that comes when perceived servants of God fail. This is a dangerous time for us.”
  • “Lord, have mercy upon us! Turn our propensity for judgment into mercy and intercession. May the disappointment and disillusionment that is ours through the sin of another, work in us a radical pursuit of You, Lord, Your Presence and Your gifts!

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