Before I begin posting about Exponential…I feel a need to address something I have been questioned about a BUNCH over the last few days. It is concerning the “revival” that is taking place at a local church in Lakeland. The questions started last week while I was at Exponential, have continued through dozens of emails a day and now have begun showing up in the comment section of my blog.
I’ll go on record as saying this…I have not been to the church or the “revival” meetings. I do not feel comfortable in commenting right now on whether it is real or fake. At some point before the week is out I will attend one of the meetings…take a few days to reflect…discern what I see and experience with Scripture…and then let my congregation know my take on it Sunday.
I am comfortable enough to say that I have some questions as to the validity of it. There are several reasons for this…the main one of which is that the Assemblies of God in Florida (of which the church in question is a part of) is not endorsing it…Southeastern University is not endorsing it (I respect their leadership very much)…and very few people in Lakeland or Polk County are even aware that it is going on…or are affected by it. The majority of the attendance has been from people flying in from other parts of the world desperately trying to relive what happened at Brownsville and Toronto. Those in Lakeland…or from Lakeland…are also skeptical of the church sponsoring the event. This is not a new church…just a new name. It is the remnants and leadership of a former hyper-Charismatic mega-church that came crashing down amid scandal. This will not have been the first time the church or its leaders has used “signs of wonder and healing” to hype itself on the national and international Pentecostal stage. Most folks in Lakeland are looking at the “revival”…and the hype from the church sponsoring it…as “same song second verse”.
Even though I am Southern Baptist I still believe that the “gifts of Spirit” are alive and well today…in certain situations. It is certainly not a Biblical issue that is causing me to question the validity of the “revival”…it is the issue of integrity within the church’s leadership that is causing me to question it. As I stated above…I will attend…and discern…and talk to my church about it.