Calling the event "truly historic and a true sign of unity," Todd Bentley, leader of the “Lakeland Outpouring,” commented on his commissioning as an evangelist by leading apostolic ministers earlier this week. The event took place during a special ceremony that was broadcast by God TV.
Charisma Magazine reports that pastors Ché Ahn, Bill Johnson, John Arnott, and Rick Joyner laid hands on the 32-year-old Bentley while Peter Wagner, leader of the International Coalition of Apostles, read a statement about the need for apostolic alignment. Other prominent leaders from the apostolic and prophetic movements stood on the platform to show their support for Bentley and to endorse the revival, which began in early April.
The ceremony was organized after some charismatic leaders raised questions about Bentley’s claims, methods and theology. They asked Wagner to oversee a dialogue, and he responded by organizing Monday evening’s event, with a goal of Bentley having more accountability.
Praying over Bentley from the platform, Wagner declared: “This commissioning represents a powerful spiritual transaction taking place in the invisible world. With this in mind, I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to Todd Bentley, your power will increase, your authority will increase, your favor will increase, your influence will increase, your revelation will increase."
“I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry. A new life force will penetrate this move of God. Government will be established to set things in their proper order. God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error. New relationships will surface to open the gates to the future.”
In a newsletter released earlier this week, Bentley said Wagner was the one who suggested having an official ceremony in which Bentley could be commissioned.
“I am no church historian, but I do not know of any other time in history, since the book of Acts, have so many different apostles and so many different prophets and movements and leaders [been represented],” Bentley said of the capacity crowd. “This is so much bigger than [anything else] ever before. The devil is shaking in his boots because the apostles are gathering and the prophets are gathering.”
Critics have complained that Bentley has used extra-biblical methods, including reported “third heaven” experiences, a claim he has met the apostle Paul, and encounters with angels named “Winds of Change” and “Emma.” There have also been allegations that Bentley has exaggerated claims of healings and resurrections.
Charisma's Paul Steven Ghiringhelli reports that Bentley has recently responded to critics in an open letter posted on his Web site called “Lifting Jesus High: Bringing biblical light to your questions about the Lakeland Outpouring and Todd Bentley”.
In the letter Bentley explains that his supernatural experiences have always brought him closer to Jesus. He denied believing in female angels, stating that he didn’t understand why God chose an angel named Emma, other than that the angel had “mother-like nurturing qualities.”
Regarding his encounter with an angel called “Winds of Change,” Bentley said it shouldn’t come as a surprise to Christians that an angel with such a name could usher in a new move of God.
To counter accusations that accounts of healing are embellished, Bentley declared last night that his team of interns is working 80 hours a week collecting medical records and other proof of healings so that the Lakeland Outpouring becomes “one of the most well-documented revivals in history.”
Charisma reports that nightly meetings will continue in Lakeland indefinitely. Bentley also plans to travel to other U.S. cities for one- or two-night events. “I feel that what’s going to be released tonight is a city-taking, nation-taking anointing,” Bentley declared on Monday. “We’re going to the cities, then the nations. My dream has never been for a mega-ministry, it has been for a movement. I want to be part of a movement.”
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The Florida Outpouring is being broadcast live each night at 7pm on God TV (DirecTV Channel 365) or watch live via the Internet at: http://www.freshfire.ca./
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