Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lakeland and "Falling Out"

Allison Johnston went to the Lakeland revival as a skeptic. After her first two nights she has posted several posts two of which are worth noting for the purpose of this post. She first confessed and repented of her judgmental spirit before arriving in Lakeland. I admired this since I too would hope that I am being discerning rather than judgmental about these things.

The second post was highlighting a comment she received about the Spirit and Lakeland.
If you are truly walking in His Spirit and are willing to put on your spiritual eyes and not your carnal eyes, He will guide you into all truth. Also see Luke 9:49-50 to read what Jesus said about those who where using Jesus name to force out demons. Above all, do not be guilty of blasphemy. God's ways are not our ways, open up your heart and He will show you the truth.
As I looked at her comment I was struck with both concern about her message but more frightening her judgmental spirit against anyone who chose discernment over blind acceptance. Please do not get me wrong... I desire revival... I hope that Lakeland is the real thing... I want a move of healing in the US America...

So where does this bring us. I think for me, it brings me to Mark 13:22-23 "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time." and it brings me to 1 Thessalonian 5:19-22 "Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil..

Jesus and Paul's attitude about these things is very different than the ideas of Allison's commenter. Jesus and Paul both seem to argue that one needs to use the Spirit to discern whether any power is of God or of satan. Since it would in fact be blasphemous to the Spirit to assume that he could contradict himself it is useful to use the text of the Bible as a good starting place for a look at discerning these things.

When I began to watch Lakeland online I was immediately struck by the "falling out" in the Spirit. This was an instant turn off to me and was addressed as the commenter on Allison's blog continued,
In regard to the "falling out", I have not found, in the Bible, where anyone fell backward. The usually fall forward. But, I will not say anything against it. I have known many who have experienced this. My son, at the age of 15 experienced it. His comment, "mom, I felt closer to God than I ever have, it was beautiful".....can anyone be skeptical of that?"
I personally MUST be skeptical of any manifestation of Spirit that can not be found in the Bible. More importantly examples of falling backward DO occur in the Bible and a quick look at them should point that we do not want to be on the receiving end of falling backward in the biblical sense.

The first reference to falling backward we see in the text is Jacob's "Blessing" of his children. In Genesis 49:17 Jacob points out that the tribe of Dan's actions will be death for those he encounters his metaphor is falling backward to represent the death. Likewise, in Psalms 129:5 and Isaiah 28:13 reference is made to the enemies of the Lord falling backward to be shamed or broken.

Eli is the first example we see Biblically of a person physically falling backward. This Judge, Prophet, and Priest had allowed the ark of the Lord to be used as a totem for the armies in battle. In 1 Samuel 4:18, upon hearing that God had allowed the ark to be captured, Eli fell backward breaking his neck and dying that same day. Eli's death a manifestation of God's righteous judgment against his folly in regards to the ark of the Lord.

Similarly, in John 18:5-6 when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus they fell backward at the very sound of his voice. Although many translations do not include the direction of the fall, it is evident in Greek that it was backward.

Allison's commenter closes out with the following text:
Skeptical, cautious, should not be in our vocabulary when we are approaching the things of God. Faith and trust should be your words. Trust in the Lord, do not lean on your understanding, acknowledge Him in everything you do and He will lead you into truth!
Although her conclusion feels warm and fuzzy; Again, looking at this scripturally does not lead a person to this conclusion. In Philippians 1:9-10 Paul teaches that one manifestation of the love of Christ exuding out from us is that we are discerning: so that the excellence of God is manifested in our midst. In the same vain the writer of Hebrews points out in Hebrews 5:14 that part of our maturity in Christ is using discernment to sift good from evil. The mature Christian SHOULD approach those claiming to have a message from God with caution and skepticism to ensure that their message is inline with scripture or acknowledging that it's message is to deceive the elect.

Now despite the "falling out" I am not writing off Lakeland. I do not believe people falling backward as God heals them is Biblical. I do not think that the disorder of people writhing about on the ground is Biblical. I also think this might be groupthink and although not "produced" by the Spirit in itself is not a negation that the Spirit is doing something in Lakeland.

The "proof is in the pudding" as they say, and that is a question of theology. I have not heard Todd Bently teach and so as of now, I must remain a skeptic until I am able to test his teachings to see if they are excellent in drawing people into Christ.

I was very encouraged by Allison's own conclusion:
It was very easy for me to sit in my living room and watch GodTV and judge what was happening. It was easy to be turned off by tattoos, shouting, shaking, etc...Walking into the tent the first night my walls came down and it was so easy to slip into worship. There was absolutely nothing hindering me from worshiping my Jesus.

If I all do is worship it is more than enough reason to be here. It is the ONLY reason to be here.
She is right, we exist to bring worship to the Lord. She will be blessed just to be present personally in the throne room of heaven.

I am thankful to Allison for her trip. I hope she let's us all know more about the message of the revival.


Caron said...

Please see “A Call for Discernment” by going to http://www.justinpeters.org. Justin is an evangelist and in addition to expository preaching, also holds seminars on the “Word of Faith” movement. He has cerebral palsy and concurs with the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

You can view his brief overview of the Word of Faith movement given at Southwestern Theological Seminary here:


To God be the glory!

Los Angeles

Elysa said...


You might be interested in reading this recent thread at a homeschool forum I'm a part of. One of the main things that Steve Lambert points out is that just because something is not mentioned in the Bible doesn't necessarily mean its UNscriptural (for example, radios used to broadcast God's word are not in the Bible nor are tracts, Christian cds, Christian fiction books, etc. all of which are used greatly by God today.

I also don't know everything about the revival...how much is flesh, how much is God. I do know that I myself have experienced supernatural things that seem foolish or wierd but that I believe were truly of God because of the effect they had on my spiritual walk and on the lives of those around me.

In fact, one time I was prayed for related to healing of my back. I was pregnant and had been experiencing a lot of back pain. A visiting minister from Africa came to our church and as he prayed for me, telling me to focus on Jesus, I began to (as I can only describe as) float backwards and down to the ground. I lay there in total peace and awareness of God's blissful love. He didn't push me down, I didn't force myself down. It was as though the overwhelming presence and love of Jesus was just gently putting me down for a rest.

After a while, with assistance from my husband and a lady at church, I got up and walked to the car.

I think I shared with you in Swaziland about how God used that next bit of time on our way home. Its too complicated to go into all the details but suffice it to say, as I began to pray and worship Him, He gave me words of knowledge and discernment and encouragement for my husband that only a supernatural move of God could have revealed.

I do believe that many times stuff like this is fake or emotionalism. I do believe that many times unorthodox theology is taught. We left a charismatic church because it had turned "name it and claim it" and, in our opinion, left orthodox Christianity behind in its pursuit of wealth, health, power, and miracles.

But I also, because I've experienced it in my own life, believe that many times these supernatural happenings are straight from God. And when they've been from God, they've only made me fall in love with HIM all the more deeply.

Check out this thread if you get the chance:


and pay close attention to post #61. I think the gen'l principle applies.

Bless you, Kevin!


Randy said...

I've never heard of Lakeland and know nothing about them. However, my "spidey-sense" (i.e., my spirit of discernment) has ALWAYS gone off with "preachers" and "churches" who practice this phenomena. I believe you very accurately explained my beliefs on the subject as well: being skeptical is biblical.

On a somewhat funny note, churches who "slay" people "in the Spirit" have to be careful, not only of doctrine, but also of lawsuits.