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Thanks Mark for some really helpful thoughts re: Florida - especially the Jeremiah quote and although I want to tread carefully as some quite amazing things are happening, I have genuine questions about it all.

I watched 'an evening with Todd' on God TV last Friday and although I deeply question some of his theology, he comes across as quite a genuine guy, just desiring God to heal people. However, it's not just what he says but the atmosphere he preaches into which is highly emotionally charged.

As a professional musician who has spent a great deal of time playing for a multitude of charismatic meetings over the past 15-20 years, I too recognise the phrases 'chosen generation', 'seeding revival' and 'tabernacle-ing', and now weep. I weep for all the lovely dedicated musicians who are sold the line that they will bring in revival if they just play harder, sing harder, shout harder! etc. It's tantamount to black mail and spiritual abuse although so many muso's don't recognise it at the time and just go along with it, because music is seen as the gateway to the Tabernacle. And if revival doesn't come, then somehow 'we didn't worship in the right way enough', or even worse, 'we weren't led in worship the right way'. Music is SO powerful, beautiful and inspiring that played well it can be sublime however, sometimes, it can easily cross over into manipulative abusive playing and behaviour.

What is the role of a musician who wants to serve God in this post-modern generation? Maybe we should just 'hang up our harps?'

blimey, i wasn't even sure you'd notice my comment and now i find it's been turned into a post.

again i generally agree with what you're saying. i find watching the florida stuff uncomfortable but wasn't sure if that was just because i'm a reserved englishman and todd's a loud in-your-face yank, so it's good to have some bible stuff to hold it up against (col 2:18 makes me really question the angel stuff). i really like the jeremiah thing too - the evangelical church has a tendency to preach that we should be living in the promised land now, which doesn't always give much hope to those in the middle of the desert.

but, though, i still think you're being a bit dismissive of the fruit of these things. i wouldn't underestimate the importance of a few thousand christians feeling good for a while, especially if their lives are otherwise filled with despair. it's impossible to quantify the lasting effect of that, and to be honest i feel a bit invalidated that me not committing suicide & still walking with God is not deemed by you to be good enough fruit. is the question you're asking, 'is this God' or 'is this revival'?

Hey Dan, they where good questions so deserved considered responses :) Sorry if I came across as dismissive of your story, that was not my intention. Please accept my utmost apologies. I was trying to make a more general point about where the Toronto blessing led the church... it seems it led into more and more "soaking" not the "going out" of Luke 10, 1 Thessalonians 2 and Matthew 28 etc. But I respect your story and certainly would not wish to invalidate what God has done/is doing in your life.

I do think there is are theological differences between what I've seen of the Florida thing and the Toronto blessing... I guess there are three "options".. 1) is it God led, 2) is it man led and 3) is it led by something/someone else... can God do good things in all scenarios? I believe God can work in all three (see Job for example), sometimes God works in people despite the situation, sometimes God works despite us! Does that mean we should accept all uncritically because it "might" be of God, I think scripture points to another conclusion. There is also the second question you ask... "Is this Revival"? My understanding of Revival is as a work of God bringing shalom and justice because of Gods compassion... I once heard Mark Stibbe talking about the difference between Renewal - something we can bring through prayer, worship, action etc. and Revival, something we have no control over - something only from God... in these terms, no I don't believe this is Revival, can it be Renewal? I guess so, if it pursues God and stays close to the story of God/humanity revealed in God's word... and if "we" don't stay "soaking" in the Tabernacle but if we go with God into the world and work for the kingdom. Interesting, I suppose that they tended to call the Toronto thing a "blessing" not a "Revival"... not sure if that is significant or not?

Whilst I had personal theological differences/concerns (mainly the going to Toronto bit) with Toronto it was largely consistent with my reading of scripture, Bentley is somewhat more outside my hermeneutic... I never had quite the same level of discomfort with the teaching of the Arnotts (stylr aside).

I do have some questions re. the fruit of Toronto, not the personal stories, but the cumulative fruit in terms of where it led the Church out into the world to bring peace, justice, mercy and transformation... mind you many of the people/communities that are really engaging with the world, the poor, the hurting, culture etc seem to be calling themselves "post-charismatics" so perhaps it did have an effect ;) (joke!)

by that definition of renewal v revival i'd have said florida was a revival, seeing as (from what i've heard) it was just meant to be a short conference and suddenly this all kicked off. but to be honest that's just a slightly pointless argument of semantics, and the real issue is, is this of God.
interestingly, i've just spoken to a friend who was saying that todd's been taking people out during the day to pray for people and go into care homes & hospitals etc. she also heard the testimony of someone who'd been and within a day or two of leaving he'd seen 6 people choose to believe in God. another friend was watching it when todd's wife got up to say it wasn't supposed to be about entertainment, but whether or not you're loving your neighbour. so i'm feeling more hopeful about it now.

as for the toronto soaking thing, the whole point of that is to get 'filled up' or (however you want to say it) and to then go out into the world. this is why i don't think you can quantify the fruit of it, as all you ever really hear about is that they have these certain kinds of meetings, but then don't really get to hear how they've come about or what the thinking behind it is or everything that's being taught there, and you certainly don't get to see what the individuals do when they go home and what they do with what they've received. yes there are people who become conference junkies, but there are plenty who do take the message out into the world.

Well, if it is "of God" then I guess in that sense at least it could be said to be "Revival", though the live broadcasting of the events could be somewhat responsible for the global attendance, that and the desperate search for the "new Toronto"... my main reason for raising Stibbe's definition was in reference to the question of "Seeding" or "Worshipping in" Revival, as often mentioned on these platforms.

I understand what you are saying about Fruit being difficult to measure, but the bottom line is that is what we are told to measure things by... and I go back to the Revivals of the previous couple of centuries and the incredible societal reforms and changes that came out of them... I wait to see how either Toronto or Florida (or any of the other Charismatic revivals of the past 50odd years) impact the world outside of the Church (though the Church is hardly in any better place since the early nineties either!). Whilst I watch all I have to go on is Scripture and that is where my real struggles with Bentley arise.

I could have just ignored/dismissed Bentley, it's really not my "style" of Christianity, but chose to reflect and research it, and tbh both have led me to be more sceptical/critical than I thought I would be. Sure God will work in some peoples lives, and that's fantastic, but I still believe we need to reflect and critique the root and the fruit of things like this.

Some of the recent things Bentley has been saying have really begun to bother me... particularly his seeming association of himself/his ministry with Psalm 2! And saying things like “Do you love me… Do you really love me? are you sure? how much do you love me..? This is your opportunity to show me, ‘I love you Todd’” I'm beginning to worry that the guy is developing a Messiah complex!

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