From the desk of Steve Shultz:
Here is a great report by both Chuck Pierce and C. Peter Wagner on some thoughts, new oversight, and a fresh commissioning of the Florida Outpouring and healing revival that is getting worldwide attention!
Chuck Pierce offers some great insights here, as does C. Peter Wagner, who led and then writes up the report on this event. Peter Wagner's report includes who all participated in the full team effort to bless and help Todd Bentley be commissioned into a fully functional, commissioned and accountable worldwide healing revival.
Read it and learn from it, as I have, and AM still doing. This is great stuff.
Here are some great resources from the wisdom found in Chuck Pierce's writings, by the way.
"Let Me Share Some Things with You [Concerning Lakeland, Florida, and Other Revivals Breaking Out]"
"FLORIDA OUTPOURING receives endorsements and oversight. Includes Chuck Pierce, C. Peter Wagner, Che Ahn, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, John Arnott, and MANY MORE"
We have had several people write with great concerns about the current move of God that has been stirring in Lakeland, Atlanta, Dallas and other areas of our nation. Let me share some things with you. I actually believe this letter would be worth reading as you continue praying for us in Africa.
We have made our way into Northern Nigeria. Continue to pray for us. Life here is what you may have imagined in Africa: tin roofs, raining, hazy mountains in the distance and bugs buzzing. When we got five miles from the Compound in the rural area of Kafanchan at the Throne Room Trust Ministry, International Prayer Village, you could feel the tangible Presence of His Spirit. I love being here, even though the surroundings are not what I am normally accustomed to; the food is different, and well, yes, there are many different creatures. The main issue is this: in the midst of this environment, I am not afraid of being infected by malaria or getting dysentery because I am in a different land. The people here are some of the most gracious in all the world.
I see that some individuals view "moves of God" this way: they see all the dangers, they are afraid that they will have a demon transferred to them, they analyze every move and shake and scrutinize doctrinally everything that is happening. This may be the only way that some can process their relationship with the Lord and the Body of Christ. I know that many would not like to be here in northern Nigeria in this rural area, nor would they like to be wearing the kingly, African traditional clothing that I am wearing this evening. Some of us are more adventurous than others. Some need to fully test the water before they swim. Personally, I have found that there is great joy in watching God's people express themselves, work through their issues, learn to discern both good and evil and continually mature in Him.
Advancing the Body of Christ
I was just in Zambia. We saw a great reconciliation of the nation and people with the ex-President. This man had a great reproach from his terms in office. However, God in His grace chose to bring him forth, humble him and forgive him, and use him to change a nation. From a political standpoint, many would have wished he would have stayed estranged from the Body. However, I chose to go with the Spirit of God above political party divisions and reconcile him back into God's Kingdom plan.
We at Glory of Zion International have chosen to number ourselves in intercession with what is happening in Lakeland and other places throughout the world. Some have written asking me to reject Todd Bentley. Glory of Zion International does not have a philosophy or mindset to reject anyone. We watch, pray, and then try to communicate what the Lord is saying to help the overall Body of Christ advance.
I have seen others get offended because key leaders commissioned Todd as a modern day evangelist. We at Glory of Zion have no problems with this new commissioning. Please know that we are living in an age where the apostolic gift in the Body has come into a new position and era of authority. I was very excited to read Peter Wagner's report (below) on the commissioning service in Lakeland. I admire Ch? Ahn, Bill Johnson, and John Arnott. I can now rest in the LORD, knowing that if things get out of sync, this team can help Todd make adjustments so the Spirit can keep moving.
We will continue to pray that the Lord raises up even more evangelists all over the world who can reach the harvest fields today. Yes, they may look different than Billy Graham, and they may have experienced some unusual happenings that perhaps will be more easily communicated as time goes on and we all grow in the Lord. But, overall, they are stirring the Body of Christ, leading people to the Lord, and doing the works of Jesus!
Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones
Let me share with you a personal experience. When Pam and I were in the Baptist Church in the early '80s, we were in a "move of God." The Fullness Movement had touched the Baptist Church in the late '70s, led by Jim Hylton, Ras Robinson, Jack Taylor and others. We had had some incredible meetings at our church. Many had gotten saved, gotten right with the Lord and filled with the Spirit of God. I loved this time. Pam and I both reminisce over it and call it "the Glory Days."
Then James Robison had his annual meeting and invited John Wimber to minister. Many of you remember our story of Pam's barrenness. You can read about it in two or three of the books that we have written. We were told by all of our leadership how this "move" had gotten way out of hand, and now that John Wimber (who had no Baptist roots), was invading James Robison's meeting, we should all stay away from these gatherings. (You should know that John Wimber and Peter Wagner helped revive signs and wonders in the '80s.) Well, I heard God very clearly tell Pam and me to go in January, 1984, to the James Robison meeting where John Wimber was speaking. While we were there, the Spirit of God fell on my wife and sovereignly filled her. His power knocked the clots out of her uterus and He dramatically healed her. When the Spirit of God fell on Pam she said, "You were right! There are demons everywhere, but I AM HEALED!"
This was not about John Wimber. This was not about Baptists. This was not about controversy. This test was ours! The situation was about us following God without fear so He could reward us with an incredible blessing. Pam became pregnant two weeks later and continued to be pregnant for the next 10 years of our lives. We had six wonderful children. I'm so thankful I listened to the Spirit of God and did not let religious fear rule us. There were others with us that were not touched at all by the meetings. As a matter of fact, they did not appreciate at all the way John Wimber ministered. However, in the midst of his ministry, the Spirit of God ministered to us and changed the course of our lives.
I am honored that God brought me into alignment with Peter and Doris Wagner after I embraced the move of God that had been stirred by he and John Wimber. We have now been together for 17 years. During that time, I have continued to get the best God has to offer from the revivals in Argentina, Toronto, the "Laughter Movement," Brownsville, and any other fresh breath of wind that blows. I have many friends who have great cautions over experiential manifestations and extra-Biblical, sensational happenings. I heed those friends' voices and listen carefully. This does not keep me from experiencing what God is doing. I love what Bishop Bill Hamon says, "Eat the meat and spit out the bones and you will find yourself nourished."
From Chaos to Order
Recently, I have been pondering the first several verses of Genesis. In the midst of a wreck and ruined, chaotic, without-form earth, the Spirit of God began to hover. Once the Spirit began to hover, God could speak into the earth realm and pull forth creativity. He did this for six straight days. But notice God's order: He didn't try and set in order the sixth day before the first day. He didn't try to place the fourth day before the second day. Little by little, as the Spirit hovered, order came and man was offered a new position as a result. That is how I view every move of God.
What I would encourage you to do is to keep discerning by the Word and the Spirit, but to be open to see the Lord move in a new way. The disciples could not understand why the Lord would go to Samaria and visit with the woman at the well. However, because of His love and boldness to break a religious standard, a whole city was saved (John 4). The Lord is preparing to save entire cities today.
Thank God that Jesus talked to this woman - a person with a past, a Samaritan, and a woman. He was not afraid of His reputation being marred. Recently, a letter from one of the major Bible churches in Denton went out to leaders in our city on the doctrine of women and how they should have a subservient role in the Body of Christ in public ministry. Prior to this letter going out, I had invited Cindy Jacobs to minister at Glory of Zion on Sunday, July 6. I want you to know that I have been a champion for women ministers throughout the years. I am so very excited to have Cindy with us on July 6th because women are welcome to minister in Denton, Texas. I would never shut the door of ministry for her to come into this city because of man's opinion.
Neither would I, Robert Heidler, or any leader that is aligned with me, shut the door to Keith Miller or Todd Bentley to come to Denton to minister what the Spirit of God is doing in their lives. We consider it a privilege that God has opened the gate for Spirit-led ministry to come into Denton. We are glad that He "needs" to come to Denton just like He "needed" to go to Samaria. You are always welcome to come to Denton. As a matter of fact, you might "need" to come here to gain your next release from the Lord. You can go to Keith Miller's meeting. You can come to our Firstfruits Gathering. You can come be with Cindy Jacobs on Sunday, July 6. You can come to Tuesday Morning Prayer. You are invited to come any time and you will not be rejected as you come into this city.
Keep praying for us. We will be home on Tuesday.
Chuck D. Pierce
Glory of Zion Ministries
P. S. Don't miss Robert Heidler's next message on Sunday morning, July 6, on "The Kingdom River is Rising" (see itinerary below). To know more about Pam's testimony, you can purchase One Thing.
"Peter Wagner's Report of the Lakeland Outpouring"
I am writing from Lakeland where I have just sent a report of Doris' and my experiences here to a group of apostles I have been working with, some in favor of Lakeland and some opposed. I wanted you to have this information as well.
C. Peter Wagner
Global Harvest Ministries
June 24, 2008
As all of you know, what I believe to be God-orchestrated circumstances over the past three weeks or so have brought me mainstream into the Lakeland Outpouring and the controversies surrounding it.
I am writing this from Lakeland, Florida. The night of June 22, Doris and I attended the meeting in the tent along with 10,000 others - the largest crowd yet since meeting in the tent. It was the 82nd day of the Outpouring. Todd Bentley used his speaking time in giving the most detailed testimony so far of the "dark night of the soul" that he experienced for 18 months during 2005-2007. It was a very remarkable and transparent confession of his pride during the ten years previously and details of the wilderness that God took him through to break the pride. He was very clear about his lack of discipline, his emotions out of control, his rejection of God, his dislike of reading Scripture, public meltdown on the platform, memories of childhood rejection, loneliness, sexual abuse, his marriage on the brink of divorce, etc. He was so burnt out that he cried four hours per day for 21 days straight.
When it was over, God restored everything related to his staff, his marriage, his ministry, and his newly-refined personal character. This was a very remarkable and touching presentation. There was no hint of victimization or wanting a pity party. It was a confession of his own sin and the consequences he paid for disobedience. Doris and I were very touched by this, and we were thankful to God for a window on Todd's character that we didn't expect to be so wide open to us.
Opening Gates For New Seasons of the Movement of God
Let me remind you that Doris and I have been very close to other similar outpourings, especially the John Wimber signs and wonders phenomenon of the late '70s and '80s, as well as the Argentine Revival of the '80s and '90s. We believe we have paid our dues in terms of the ability to discern truth from error and also in receiving severe and often painful criticism for some of the judgments we made in supporting those two movements.
As we observed and participated in the meeting in the tent, we became very nostalgic about Wimber and Argentina, even noting some physical resemblance between Todd and Wimber. His accuracy in words of knowledge reminded us of both John Wimber in the past and Robert Henderson in the present. The worship time was similar to the worship we experience in Freedom Church in Colorado Springs, except on a larger and more exuberant scale. We saw or felt nothing that would cross the lines we have previously experienced in high-profile revival. We have learned that God-driven revival is often messy, tending to pull some out of their religious comfort zones, but at the same time opening gates for new seasons of the movement of God.
All this was in preparation for last night, June 23, when we held a ceremony of apostolic alignment for Todd Bentley. As you will see from the document I will attach, the gist was that Todd would be aligned with Ch? Ahn, Bill Johnson and John Arnott, representing Revival Alliance, who would then commission him as the evangelist to lead the Lakeland Outpouring.
A few of us met with Todd personally before the service, and we found him to be a wonderful individual. Doris and I had never met him before. I explained to him what the ceremony would be like, and he agreed. I thought that it was interesting when he wanted to change one thing I had written in this document, because I could then run a quiet test of his humility and his respect for authority. Keep in mind that this was Todd's ministry and Todd's meeting. However, he had delegated the leadership of the ceremony to me. I suggested that his change was not wise, and he immediately accepted my decision. We were on the same page! In fact, we like each other!
Commissioning Todd Bentley in the Lakeland Outpouring
The scenario was that I took the podium and called around me Todd Bentley, Ch? Ahn, Bill Johnson and John Arnott. I then called to the platform a number of apostles whom I had chosen to stand behind us: Stephen Strader of Lakeland, Florida; Karl Strader of Lakeland, Florida; Jeff Beacham of Sydney, Australia; Rick Joyner of Fort Mill, South Carolina; Doris Wagner of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Sharon Stone of Burton, England; Paco Garcia of Chiclana, Spain; Clarice Fluitt of Monroe, Louisiana; Richard Maiden of Scottsdale, Arizona; Michael Maiden of Phoenix, Arizona; Joshua Fowler of Orlando, Florida; Barry Boucher of Ottawa, Canada; and Wesley Campbell of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Unfortunately, Bishop Bill Hamon had to cancel because of a travel problem. I then read the paper I am attaching and, despite several requests, I even desisted from telling a joke! When I finished, I handed the microphone to Ch? Ahn, and he was in charge.
Ch? Ahn, Bill Johnson and John Arnott laid on hands and anointed Todd Bentley with a special new "Be Revived" oil that Chuck Pierce (who was in Africa) sent for the event. Todd went down under the power of the Spirit and the three prophesied over him, commissioning him as the evangelist to lead the Lakeland Outpouring. Then most of the backup apostles prayed and prophesied as well. The power of the Holy Spirit was so heavy on that event that you could almost have cut it with a knife!
It was quite evident to those present that this was a groundbreaking event. A serious public problem had been growing in the Body of Christ revolving around concerns about Lakeland from respected leaders. Even "schism" had been mentioned frequently. Because of the extensive media coverage through GOD TV, it was much more than a private or a trivial matter. Something was called for to set things in order, and this is the stated role of apostles.
We are now in a place in what I see as the Second Apostolic Age that apostles can agree publicly to bring alignment. The seventeen apostles involved in this event represented three distinct apostolic streams: ICA (10 were ICA members), Revival Alliance, and Morningstar. Even though we are not networked formally, we believe in and support each other and we stand together when a crisis such as this one comes along. I may be wrong, but I cannot recall an event of this nature in the recent history of the Church.
The Prophetic Dimension Accompanying the Commissioning Event
There was a notable prophetic dimension accompanying the event. Around a month ago, Bob Jones prophesied that on June 22 the outpouring would increase so much that it would appear that the revival would really begin at that time. Of course no one knew that June 23, the day after June 22, would be the date of Todd's apostolic alignment which could well be the event to release increased spiritual power. Parenthetically, both June 22 and June 23 broke previous attendance records in the 10,000-seat tent.
There is a great deal more to say, but I will leave it as it is for the moment. My paper, "Lakeland Outpouring Apostolic Alignment," which is below, will fill in many details. Although I am writing this primarily to you who are mentioned above, I will also send it to some others to whom I feel responsible for a report of Todd's alignment and commissioning.
C. Peter Wagner
Global Harvest Ministries
P.S. June 25 was Todd's day off, so Ch? Ahn took the service. Among other things, he used Chuck Pierce's "Be Revived" anointing oil to personally anoint the 1,000 or so pastors as "carriers of fire" to their churches. Forty-seven nations were represented in the meeting. He admonished them to receive it here in Lakeland, Florida, and then give it away!
"LAKELAND OUTPOURING APOSTOLIC ALIGNMENT"
June 23, 2008
A warm welcome to those of you who are present in this tent and to you who are watching through GOD TV. You are about to witness an event which could well have historic implications not only for the Lakeland Outpouring, but also for our nation and for many other nations of the world. Prophets have been telling us for years that God is about to launch an extraordinary spiritual awakening with signs and wonders, and for over two months, Todd Bentley has been leading one of the more obvious fulfillments of those prophecies. This is an exciting place to be right now!
My name is Peter Wagner and I am President of Global Harvest Ministries based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have served the Body of Christ in apostolic ministry for many years, and currently I preside over the International Coalition of Apostles, which brings together over 500 recognized apostles. I have the honor of being assigned to preside over this momentous occasion, and I am humbled as I approach the task with an enormous sense of awe. Holy Spirit, I invite Your presence, Your power, and Your direction.
What is Apostolic Alignment?
This is a ceremony celebrating the formal apostolic alignment of Todd Bentley. My first desire is to lay a Biblical foundation for what we are about to do.
I will begin with a scripture that has been a central text for those of us who are in the stream of the contemporary apostolic/prophetic movement - Ephesians 4:11-12:
"And He Himself (Jesus at His ascension) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry..."
The word "equipping" is a translation of the Greek katartizo which literally means "aligning," as in setting a broken bone or a chiropractic adjustment. It means putting things in order so that the body functions as it was designed to function. This is one of the responsibilities of apostles such as those whom you see on the platform, and that is the reason we are present tonight. For example, Paul wrote to Titus, "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking..." (Titus 1:5).
Biblical, Apostolic Alignment Relationships
Speaking of Paul and Titus, their relationship is a Biblical prototype of apostolic alignment. The same would apply to Paul and Timothy. The apostolic alignment of Timothy and Titus with Paul was a principal factor in allowing God to develop and fulfill His complete destiny in both of their lives.
But, Paul himself was also apostolically aligned. Soon after he was called to join Barnabas and his colleagues in Antioch for the then controversial ministry of planting churches among Gentiles, he traveled to Jerusalem to bring a gift for famine relief and also to align with some of the apostles. I want to use the experience that Paul had on that occasion as the text for the protocol for tonight's alignment and commissioning of Todd Bentley. It is found in Galatians 2:9, which tells the story of one of Paul's visits to Jerusalem:
"...and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised."
Todd is following Paul's example by inviting to the platform three apostolic pillars of today's Church: Ch? Ahn of Pasadena, California; Bill Johnson of Redding, California; and John Arnott of Toronto, Canada - Todd's native land. They represent an apostolic network called Revival Alliance.
Notice that the apostles in Jerusalem "perceived the grace that God had given to Paul." The word "grace" is charis, the root of charisma, meaning "spiritual gift or gifts." In Paul's case, it was the gift mix necessary to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. In Todd's case, it is the gift mix necessary to lead the Lakeland Outpouring.
I have a question for the three apostles: Do you perceive the grace of God given to Todd Bentley as an evangelist to lead the Lakeland Outpouring? (Answer: "I do.")
I have a question for Todd Bentley: Do you recognize the apostolic authority of these three men in your life and ministry, and do you desire to establish an apostolic alignment with them and with Revival Alliance? (Answer: "I do.")
Fellowship and Increase, Increase, Increase
With this affirmation, we will move to a formal commissioning, equivalent to "offering the right hand of fellowship" as the three apostles did to Paul in Jerusalem.
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.
A government will be established to set things in their proper order.
God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error.
New relationships will surface to open gates for the future.
(To Ch? Ahn) Ch?, you may now proceed.
C. Peter Wagner
Global Harvest Ministries