Thursday, September 25, 2008

There's No Business Like Show Business

A while ago, a commenter asked me to post my views on the Lakeland fiasco. Though not wishing to respond to that request specifically, I do want to broach the broader subject of fleshly inspired antics in ministry. If in doing so, I manage to ruffle your feathers, I hope you'll post a comment and help me see your viewpoint.

The realm of finance is presently teaching us what the realm of ministry has taught us over and over again: people are unwilling to call their superstars on their excesses. Success inexorably excuses excess. Despite red flags, warning sirens, and the inevitable recognition, after the fact of course, that we knew something was fishy, we look the other way if the party in question at least gives the appearance that he or she's getting it done. The Charismatic movement is in disarray because of that unfortunate trait. Are there some simple principles that charismatics could use to assess the actual spirituality vs. fleshly embellishments of ministry, before the result is another boondoggle that embarrasses everyone who cherishes the gift of the Holy Spirit? Yes, I think there are...

  • If Jesus didn't minister that way, neither should we
  • If it was not envisaged in the scriptures, it's not of God
  • Goofiness is not spiritual, it's just goofy
  • Only prestidigitators and illusionists need fanfares and distractions to perform their art
  • No one is all that special
  • Biblically, only the megalomaniacal needed music to set the tone for ministry
  • When they were slain in the Spirit in the Bible, the were buried forthwith
  • When Jesus took off his coat while ministering, he washed feet, not stoked up the crowd

More could be said, suggest a rule or two yourself in the comments if you'd like. The bottom line: if a man or woman ministers outside these guidelines, he or she is fleshly at best and an out and out charlatan at worst. That may sound judgmental, but how many dog and pony shows are we going to be subjected to before we start making the judgments Bible believing, Spirit-filled people should able to easily. Or, are we so far out at sea that we cannot tell the difference between show business and ministry?


  1. AMEN!! I almost left the Charismatic movement because such abuses made me question the reality of the continued Signs of the Holy Spirit! Thankfully, I had some very sound, Biblically-based friends around me. But this post echoes spot-on my sentiments!!

  2. Todd,
    I'm glad you didn't toss out the baby, even if the bathwater was rank! Spirit-filled Christianity is the only kind modeled in the scriptures, and the kind the Apostles were commanded to wait for before going out to win the world. The Devil's subterfuge has been aimed at derailing it ever since. In our day of restoration, he'll use our enthusiasm for the Spirit against us if we give him the opportunity. Our personal, spiritual experience in alignment with the Word produces something in us, that even the Devil can't shake or defeat. It's a shame that so may end up doing his bidding and defaming Christ by not being careful and sticking to the Word.

  3. Bruce Dickey said: Poor Todd Bentley and the folks at Lakeland. I love their Jesus, I love their enthusiasm for the things of God. I saw him last week for the first time, looked him up on YouTube and got me a taste of it. Kicking people with Cancer, well, is that anything like putting mud in a blind man's eyes? Yuck, Jesus did it.

    When I heard some respected brothers from this area had traversed thousands of miles and spent a bunch of money to attend I was sad, but it made me check him out. What I saw reminded me of a redneck Benny Hinn.

    Anyone seen the Canadian Expose on Benny on YouTube? Well, it's not pretty. Todd will no doubt convince many of his miracles just as Benny has, maybe not the skeptical media.

    Should we condemn them? Should we judge them? Yeah, we'd kick them out of our churches and never let them return. But at the same time, maybe we should keep an open mind, just in case they repent and God let's 'em get right.

  4. Anonymous,
    Welcome to the Sound. Interesting perspective, where you from?


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