He has been called Todd The Fraud, but he seems to have garnished a hefty nod from Charisma Magazine. Editor J. Lee Grady has given his endorsement. He writes:
Many charismatics are wondering if the protracted meetings will become a phenomenon similar to what happened in Rodney Howard-Browne’s meetings in Lakeland in 1993, at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church in Canada in 1994 and at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola in 1995.
It’s too early to tell if this outbreak is the next Toronto Blessing—which lasted for several years and spread revivalist fervor to dozens of nations. If the crowds in Lakeland keep growing, Strader will have to move the meetings to a larger venue since his building and parking lot are already at full capacity.
Those who can’t visit Lakeland should be encouraged to know that God doesn’t require evangelists to wear three-piece suits or to have impressive theological degrees. He uses nobodies. If anything is obvious from the Lakeland revival, it is that God wants to anoint and empower ordinary people—even those who dropped out of school or got messed up in drugs—to take His radical love to a world that is desperate to see the raw power of God.
My favorite part of the article, and certainly most insightful, is Todd pushing over an elderly woman. Grady wrties:
But his methods are far from polished. When he prayed for people in Lakeland, he usually began by laying his hand on their heads and then yelling, “Bam!”
Often the people fell backward to the floor. After one elderly woman fell, Bentley told the audience: “She doesn’t know why she fell down.” The woman then laughed and said to him in the microphone: “Because you pushed me!” He prayed for her three more times that night, and she said she could hear better.
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. You can learn more about Todd Bentley’s revival services in Lakeland at the Ignited Church Web site, ignitedchurch.com. Last weekend Bentley announced that he has canceled his bookings in April so he can keep the momentum going, at least through early May. Starting Thursday, Apr. 24, the meetings are being moved to Auburndale Life Church in Auburndale, Fla., about 10 miles from Lakeland. www.charismanews.com