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ss triple helix - Christmas 2008,  Healing miracles at Lakeland?

Healing miracles at Lakeland?

'Gamaliel principle' effective again

Earlier this year supernatural phenomena were being reported in Lakeland, Florida at 'revival' events organised by Fresh Fire Ministries, and led by Todd Bentley. [1] Respected evangelical R T Kendall, now retired in Florida, was concerned but did not want to ignore a true work of God: [2]

'What complicated things most of all was that people were apparently being healed. At last count there were 37 resurrections from the dead. If only one of them had a coroner's death certificate it would be a very serious matter to say that what was going on there was not of God. The fact that ABC news could find no documentary evidence of a miracle was not enough to sway me one way or the other. I was even prepared – for a while – to overlook the claim that the angel Emma is the secret explanation for the special revelations and miracles. I believe in angels. What if Emma were a part of the 'yuk' factor?' He continued with a critique of what was not happening at the meetings, as well as one of what was, and concluded 'I can only call this “another gospel” as in Galatians 1'.

CMF is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and was consulted informally about an appropriate response. In an open letter on 10 June [3] General Director Joel Edwards referred back to a 1994 EA statement about the 'Toronto Blessing' which ended with Jonathan Edwards' classic tests about a phenomenon:

  • Does it raise people's estimation of Jesus Christ?
  • Does it operate against the interests of Satan?
  • Does it lead to a greater regard for Scripture and truth?
  • Does it result in a greater awareness of and seriousness about the things of God?
  • Does it lead to a greater love for God, for other Christians and for the wider world?

In the event, Todd Bentley stepped down from public ministry and things seem to have gone quiet. CMF, EA and others had been advocating the 'Gamaliel principle'. In Acts 5 we read that because of healing miracles being performed daily through Peter and the apostles, they were broughtbefore the Sanhedrin where Gamaliel recommended a principle which values evidence and accepts a God who does miracles: '…I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.' [4]

  1. Ashworth P. Hype or fact? US outpouring heads for Britain. Church Times 4 July 2008
  2. Kendall R T. Lakeland? Leave It Alone! Sorted magazine, Sep/Oct 2008:8
  3. Edwards J. Florida letter.
  4. Acts 5:38-39
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