By Marsha West
August 30, 2008
Holy Spirit is on the move. He’s working in the minds and mouths of the
false prophets. BAM! They’ve fallen and they can’t get up.
On June 23rd God moved a mountain -- figuratively speaking -- and the
Charismatic church has been in chaos ever since. That day several of the
New Apostolic Reformation leaders met in Lakeland, Florida for Todd
Bentley’s "apostolic alignment commissioning service." What happened was
mind-blowing. I’m not talking about miraculous signs and wonders. There
was no gold dust, no oil soaked hands, no angels with shimmering clothes
and bright blue eyes hovering on stage. There was none of that -- but
there was a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on!
Such notables as
Wagner, leader of the International Coalition of Apostles, his wife,
Doris, Ché Ahn,
John Arnott, Bill Johnson,
Rick Joyner and several others came to the 10,000-seat tent to
support what Todd Bentley and Fresh Fire were doing and to commission
him as an evangelist. There was only one problem. The leaders failed to
put Bentley through a proper vetting process to find out if he was
deserving of their high honor. Turns out he wasn’t. Now they have egg on
their collective faces and everyone knows it.
As a result, many in the Charismatic church are furious with them -- but
it’s too late. The damage is already done and cannot be undone. What’s
worse, thousands of people believed there was a “revival” going on and
traveled from all over the globe to be a part of it. Some went hoping to
be healed. They weren’t. Now they realize they were duped and have
fallen into despair. People are wondering if they are even saved! (For
those who doubt their salvation, remember that anyone who comes to faith
in the real Jesus Christ is saved.)
This article is not about false prophet Todd Bentley; it’s about the
esteemed leaders and role models who helped create the Lakeland
Before I proceed, let’s unpack the “latter rain” movement. Without
getting too far afield, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement holds
that God is restoring the lost offices of church governance, namely the
offices of Prophet and Apostle. The founder of the movement is C. Peter
Wagner. (More on Wagner in a moment.) The Prophets and Apostles are said
to be given:
"…power and authority by God to lead by serving, as described in the
biblical letter of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians. As such, they
believe in the 5-fold offices of the Church first popularized in
Charismatic groups; of which the prophet and apostle has been absent
from the Church for the last 2000 years, and are now being restored."
People in this movement believe that the Apostles and Prophets have
authority over the Church. Even though they hold a high office, the
“apostles” and “prophets” don’t see eye to eye on everything. It has now
come to light that some of the "apostles" were concerned about the
possible dangers of commissioning Todd Bentley and warned other
"apostles" but they were rebuffed – and they’re not taking it lying
down. They wrote letters to apologize for the bad judgment of those who
disagreed with them, thus bringing outsiders into the squabble. The
letters are posted on their websites for the entire world to read.
Returning to the Lakeland disaster, according to The Voice Magazine:
"Discerning Christians recognized the tell tale signs of a disaster in
the making at the Lakeland Revival. We’ve seen these sorts of tragedies
occur time and time again in the Body of Christ over the decades. We all
hoped to see a different outcome here, but the fruit of Bentley’s
personal life reveals he was not ready for the level of public ministry
he received and that he should never have been commissioned in an
internationally televised ‘apostolic alignment commissioning service.’
Stepping down is an appropriate move in the right direction. Our concern
is not only for the Bentleys, but the thousands of people around the
world who are questioning everything they saw on God TV from the
meetings at the Lakeland Revival. A lot of healing is going to be needed
in the days ahead and many questions answered." 
We are already receiving answers to our questions. Charismatic pastor
said the following in his official statement on Lakeland, which he deems
an apology: (All Dutch Sheets’ quotes are from his apology )
"But looking past some of the immediate and positive results, I, like
many, also looked ahead to the possible fruit from questionable doctrine
and experiences, exaggeration and hype, youthful pride, character issues
and the frightening potential of a 32 year ‘young’ man leading a
movement that could shape the future of the Church.
"These things were frightening, very frightening, to others and me. 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. This is why I stopped short of endorsing everything at
Dutch also stopped short of expressing his concerns to the Body of
Christ, even though he claims he had a "check" in his spirit. He decided
to ignore "…the uneasiness, the sickening feeling deep in my spirit
telling me something else was wrong - terribly wrong - in this
Many Charismatic leaders felt something was terribly wrong at Lakeland
as well, but they were not candid about their concerns. Sheets now comes
forward and says he knew something was terribly wrong, yet he tried to
push Bentley’s "showmanship" out of his mind:
"…the ‘bams,’ the head butts and kneeing, along with certain experiences
and doctrines, all in order to embrace the good. Like many of my friends
I tried to be - and believe I was - gracious, accepting, ready to think
‘out of the box’, etc. But try as I may, the uneasiness in my spirit
just wouldn’t leave."
It seems it was more important for Rev. Sheets to "think out of the Box"
than to warn gullible sheep who were flocking to the “revival." Now that
the cat is out of the bag, he owns up to the fact that "mistakes were
made" (which is the understatement of the year) and says there is plenty
of blame to go around in the Charismatic church. Boy, I’ll say.
"Some of my closest friends endorsed and participated in the Lakeland
meetings. … Should they have been more discerning and have listened to
the warnings they received? Obviously. Should those who ‘aligned’ Todd
with spiritual fathers (which was a good thing and positioned him to
receive help if he chooses to accept it) have realized to do so publicly
was a mistake and could be interpreted by those watching in no other way
than as a complete endorsement? Yes, they should have, especially when
the event became a commissioning ceremony, complete with decrees and
prophecies of going to higher levels, predictions of Todd’s increasing
world-wide influence and leading a world-wide revival, emphatic and
prolific endorsements of his character, etc. How could those watching
believe the evening was anything but an aligning, endorsing and
commissioning ceremony? It was. It really doesn’t matter who laid their
hands on Todd - all share responsibility. This was unwise at best, naïve
at least and at its worst, foolish."
Please. The commissioning ceremony was anything but "naïve." To me it
looks as if their motives were self-serving, that the "apostles" wanted
to be in the limelight and what better way than to appear on God TV
and YouTube. Don’t tell me they weren’t thrilled that millions
of people were watching them anoint Todd Bentley as he lay quivering
like a bowl of Jell-O at their feet.
“The shot heard round the world” is a well-known phrase that represents
the start of the American Revolution. The voices of the false prophets
who pretended to speak for God have been heard round the world, thanks
to the ubiquitous video camera. It may not start a revolution. But a
battle is brewing among Charismatics and Pentecostals.
I’ve gotten off point.
Going back to Dutch, he complains that the leaders involved realized
there was a problem:
"Those of us connected to them relationally, ministerially, and as
movements - some even in alignment with them apostolically and as sons
and daughters - would feel minimalized, if not betrayed, by the fact
that they were in essence taking us onto the stage with them? Yes. These
feelings were inevitable, especially when we had such uneasiness and
asked them not to.”
Harsh words. But he was their equal – and they ignored his warning.
"Should there be an acknowledgment of these mistakes to the body of
Christ for the sake of accountability and in order to rebuild trust? I
believe so, and remain hopeful this will happen."
If these men and women are truly God’s people, it will happen. (They
should also acknowledge that the Apostolic movement disregards the
fundamental tenets of the Christian faith. In other words, it is outside
the parameters of orthodoxy.)
As I mentioned earlier, Bill Johnson is one of the “apostles” who
participated in the commissioning ceremony, hence he contributed to the
Lakeland disaster. Bill pastors Bethel Church and is the founder of the
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California. Both his
statement and sermon on Todd Bentley have been posted on his website.
Here’s his reason for going to Lakeland: (All Bill Johnson’s quotes are
from his statement )
"I went to Lakeland because of his enemies. The relentless criticism and
opposition, coupled with the grueling and sometimes unwise schedule,
were bound to take their toll on this young man—emotionally, mentally,
physically, and spiritually. It happened two years ago, and it could
happen again. It was my intention to bring a deflection into the mix so
that he wouldn't take all the heat by himself. Little did I realize it
was too late. He was at the place of burnout again, abandoning his
marriage and pulling out of all public ministry."
Poor Todd. His grueling schedule took a toll on him. He became so
spiritually and emotionally drained that he found solace in the arms of
another woman. It was not the first time this has happened, by the way,
which is what Bill meant by "it happened two years ago." Nonetheless, he
stood by Todd, even counseled the Bentleys through all the turmoil.
Which begs the question: Why didn’t he pass what he knew about Todd’s
private life on the other “apostles” and “prophets”? In John Arnott’s
statement he says he wishes he had known Todd was struggling in his
marriage but he wasn’t told. Peter Wagner wasn’t told either. Yet Bill
indicates they all knew about Todd’s issues: (My remarks in brackets.)
"And it was thought to all of us involved that the
healing had taken place when in fact there were areas [of sin] that just
weren’t dealt with. He just drug it into this great outpouring [that
turned out to be not so great because they ignored his sin]."
I asked this question of Fresh Fire Ministries in my recent article,
Todd Bentley Separates From Wife and Lakeland:
“What did they know and when did they know it?” Now I’ll ask the same
question of the “apostles” who commissioned Bentley: What did they know
and when did they know it?
Johnson calls those who exposed Todd Bentley as a false prophet
"sharks." He also says:
"I’ll never blame the opponents [sharks] of this outpouring for Todd’s
choices [sin]. However, it had a greater effect on the outcome than any
of his critics will likely own up to in this lifetime. History proves
So Bentley’s opponents drove him into an "unhealthy relationship" with a
woman on his staff? But how can that be when so-called sharks weren’t
swimming around Todd Bentley two years ago? He wasn't that popular until
April 2008 when he showed up in Lakeland. (Watch Johnson’s sermon video
here  Note: His "shark" remark is 7 minutes into his speech.)
"Apostle" Bill Johnson was one of the leaders who "prophesied" over Todd
Bentley during the commissioning. Here’s what he said:
"When David wanted Uriah killed, he sent him into battle and then
withdrew from him. As a company of people, we refuse to do that. Many
revivals through history have been cut short of their intention, God's
destiny and intention over individuals, because of jealousies and fears
that get stirred-up in the people of God, and we refuse to do that. We
shape the coarse of history by partnering with you, giving honor where
it's due. You welcome the glory as well as anybody I've ever seen in my
life. I long to learn from you=2 0in that. And I bless you and I pray
with the rest of these, that the measure of glory would increase; that
Moses would no longer be considered the high-water mark, with the glory
shown from his face, but instead the revelation of the goodness of God
would change the face of the church, and He would use your voice; He
would use your grace, your anointing to alter the face of the church
before this world; that the goodness of the Lord will be seen once
again. I pray this over you in Jesus' name."
Jealousies and fears, huh? I find this disturbing on so many levels.
Where to begin… First of all, Bill knew better than anyone that Todd
Bentley had deep character flaws. Secondly, he was aware of concerns
over: doctrinal error… unverifiable stories… the angel “Emma-O,” the
money angel “Winds of Change” and other alleged angelic visitations
(nowhere in Scripture does it say that we should elevate angels, nor did
the apostles point us to angels, our focus is to be on Jesus Christ
alone)… exaggerated healings… unsubstantiated claims that people were
raised from the dead…bizarre and dangerous “healing” practices
(assaulting the sick with leg drops, high kicks, head punches, etc.)…
excessive drinking. Thirdly, Todd had been unfaithful to his wife and
there was a rumor going around that he was at it again! This is the man
the “apostles” and “prophets” hoped to “partner with…to shape the course
of history?” It’s the sort of insanity that goes on in politics -- but
not in the Church of Jesus Christ!
May the Lord restore Todd Bentley and heal him.
Returning to Dutch Sheets' apology:
"With such strong statements of disagreement, what is the affirmation
toward my friends who led, participated in or endorsed this ceremony
(and the meetings in general)? Simply stated, I know their hearts. It is
not a contradiction of my criticisms toward some of their actions to, at
the same time, defend and endorse their hearts and character. It is
completely appropriate - when true - to defend a person’s heart and
integrity while disagreeing with their actions."
He knows their hearts? The Bible says, "The heart is deceitful above all
things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer 17:9)
Furthermore, Sheets' states that:
"I think the blunder of that night was huge and very damaging to the
body of Christ, but I also realize that in their hearts, those involved
honestly felt they were doing the right things. Again, while not
defending the action taken, I would defend the character and integrity
of Peter and Doris Wagner as vigorously as anyone I know, and do so with
absolute confidence. There are no two people, and I mean that literally,
who embody the qualities of humility, integrity, holiness (no
compromise!), sacrifice, unselfish kingdom-thinking, the tireless giving
of themselves to Christ’s cause and the body of Christ -and do I need to
add risk-taking? - as much as Peter and Doris Wagner. It remains my
great honor to be associated with them and call them a spiritual father
and mother. And again, while not minimizing or ‘sweeping under the rug’
any wrong decisions, I remain steadfast in my belief that similar
affirmations could be made of others involved - either directly or
indirectly - in the ceremony. And some of them still see their endorsing
of Lakeland as an endorsement of revival generally, not of Todd
Spiritual Father Peter Wagner brought the commissioning ceremony to the
wide screen and used his "apostolic authority" to endorse Todd Bentley,
a man he claims he never met. Now Wagner is back peddling:
"I could easily see that Todd needs deep inner healing and
professional-level deliverance he has not yet had the opportunity to
receive. One of our critics said that we got it backwards and should
have taken him into a back room and ministered to him before the
ceremony. We had the luxury of a few minutes with Todd before the
evening meeting. We had never met the man before. Was I to say ‘Hey,
Todd, you're a mess and need help in the next five minutes?’"
So instead of taking the “mess” into a back room, he commissioned him as
Here is what Peter Wagner said to Todd Bentley when he stepped onto the
stage: (All “prophecies” are from the VodPod video of Todd Bentley’s
"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
New relationships will surface to open the gates to the future."
Wagner admits that he said these words to a man who needs deep inner
healing. And by the way, those in the commissioning group hold that
"professional-level deliverance" means deliverance from demons!
Here are other "prophecies" uttered by those involved in the
"We bless you today, Todd Bentley. You're a friend. You're a man of God.
You're a man of prayer. You're a man of the spirit. You love the
anointing. And I would say that it's not just the Lakeland revival, but
the whole world that goes into revival. And you're leading an amazing
charge. And, multitudes are getting in behind you and saying, ‘Come on.
I'm gonna go with you.’ And so we bless all of that. Thank you, Holy
Spirit, for raising up this young man, to lead such a mighty charge
around the world, and to partner with God TV in all that has happened
here in the last, uh, several months now, three months almost. We bless
it in the name of Jesus, and we stand with you, and we encourage you,
and we honor you."
We honor you? Does John Arnott now regret his prophecy over Bentley? Not
at all. (Read his statement here 8)
"Recognizing that God has chosen you and appointed you to bear much and
lasting fruit in this Lakeland revival, and revival around the world.
Recognizing that He has called you as an Ephesians 4 evangelist and a
revivalist moving in signs and wonders. Knowing that you have
walked in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Jesus in every way,
bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the intimacy and
knowledge of God, we as your brothers and your friends, who
have a deep love for you, Shonnah, your whole family, we just esteem
you. We are here to stand with you, support you. And we are here to
commission you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--in the
power of His name--with special oil from Chuck Pierce. It's called
‘Revival Oil.’ Chuck could not make it, so he sent this Fed-Ex. Special
oil for you. He's in Africa. And so we anoint you and commission you in
Special "Revival oil"? Oh brother. What Todd needs is truth serum! I
watched the "commissioning" on YouTube and got a “check” in my
spirit…. because I knew from all the research I’ve done on Todd Bentley
that these men and women were out of touch with reality. I tested the
spirits by the Word of God, and low and behold, what these so-called
apostles and prophets prophesied over Bentley was not from God! And if
what they prophesied does not come to pass, God himself labels them
false prophets, and he will judge them!
Dr. Clarice Fluitt:
"Hallelujah! For the word of the Lord would say, Behold the vanguard.
Behold the tugboat that is cutting through the ice of religious
traditions--the cruel, hard things. The understanding of the mind of men
will now bow to the reality of the revelation of the finished work of
Calvary. Behold, sayeth God, you have been equipped with cutting power.
You have been equipped to go through those traditions of the mind of
man. Yea, sayeth God, and you are pulling the church into the realm of
glory. Behind you is a great ship that is laden with healing and
deliverance and prosperity. This is the word to you, oh man of God-
arise, kill, and eat. No longer; no longer; no longer will men call
unclean what I have called clean."
Apparently, when they "prophesy" in King James English they’re hoping to
convince those listening to them that they are actually speaking for
Almighty God. (Try using this tactic on your kids and you’ll see amazing
What really threw me off in Fluitt's "prophetic utterance" was her use
of the modern term "tugboat" instead of "ship" or "sailing vessel." That
aside, did Todd Bentley pull the church into the realm of glory as the
pretend prophetess said he would? Well, not exactly. In fact, he tried
to pull the church into the realm of the occult – and he would have
succeeded if the "demon of lust" hadn’t gotten him off track.
"Todd, the Lord has made you to be a detonator. I see cables going
around the world to different nations. I see Great Britain being set
ablaze by the power of God. I see even as you go into places that God
says you'll go even with the glory even like William Branham, and the
Lord says you'll carry a portal anointing. And whatever city you go
over, there will be a portal! 'There'll be a portal that will be opened
up,' sayeth the Lord! The Lord says you'll detonate, and BOOM! BOOM!
BOOM! There'll be a release of glory through the nations, says the
Spirit of the Lord!"
Another "prophet" who believes he speaks for God. Yet he cites William
Branham, a “Latter Rain” false prophet who denied the doctrine of
Trinity. He held to a variation of a second century heresy taught by
Sabellius know as Modalistic Monarchianism or Patripassianism. And yet
Fowler--and Bentley—idolize the man. (Bentley acknowledged Branham as
the greatest healing evangelist who ever lived! Read about Branham here
) The false prophet proclaimed himself an angel of Revelation 3:14
and 10:7. He prophesied:
“…by1977 all denominations would be consumed by the World Council of
Churches under the control of the Roman Catholics, that the Rapture
would take place, and that the world would be destroyed. He died in
1965, but many of his followers expected him to be resurrected, some
believing him to be God, others believing him to be virgin-born.
Branham's influence has continued in many churches where his prophecies
are considered to be divinely inspired. His teaching on the power of the
spoken word has been a characteristic of later revivalists.”
Instead of Fowler’s promised "release of glory," God released (BOOM!
BOOM! BOOM!) many of the people who were under the spell of the false
Isaiah 44:24, 25: "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed
thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that
stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by
myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners
mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge
Listen to what Gregory Koukl gleaned from 2 Timothy:
"In Paul’s final warning to the church, he does not counsel them to face
the challenges of the future by embracing new movements of the Spirit.
Instead, he tells them to look backwards, to continue in and guard what
has already been revealed.
“This is Paul’s message throughout his entire letter. ‘Retain the
standard of sound words which you have heard from me’ (1:13).
‘Guard...the treasure which has been entrusted to you’ (1:14). ‘And the
things which you have heard from me...these entrust to faithful
men, who will be able to teach others also’ (2:2).
“Paul warns of a time of moral chaos falling on the world and
theological chaos falling on the church. The antidote for both is the
same: Steady at the helm. Guard what has already been entrusted to you.
Continue in the things which you have already learned.
“Everything we need to be fruitful and productive, to be trained in
righteousness, to be adequately equipped for every good work, has
already been revealed. For Paul, all the old stuff was all the
“New movement of the Spirit? Maybe. And maybe not. I don’t have to
decide. Instead, I’m taking the safe route by heeding Paul’s advice and
focusing on the old movement of the Spirit. And so should
Some good has come out of the “Lakeland Outpouring.” It brought to light
the highly unorthodox beliefs of the NAR. Those who are a part of this
movement should commit 2 Timothy to memory. Another good thing that came
out of it is that the Charismatic church leaders who participated in
Todd Bentley’s coronation ceremony have been exposed as false prophets
The chickens have come home to roost.
Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I
sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them:
they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of
nought, and the deceit of their heart. -- Jer 14:14
2- The Voice
An Apology from Dutch Sheets on behalf of the Charismatic church leaders
to the Body of Christ
Bentley: A letter from Bill…
Todd Bentley’s Apostolic and Prophet Commissioning
8- John Arnott’s August 17, 2008 “Lakeland
and Todd Bentley Update”
The Teachings of "the Prophet" William Branham, By Mike Openheimer
William Branham - Apologetics Index
You, However, Continue, By Gregory Koukl