Charisma editor Lee Grady takes a conservative & cautious look at the Lakeland, Florida Revival.
On May 14, 2008 Charisma’s editor stated “honest questions” & concerns below. Thereafter Paul F. Davis an international minister & author of God vs. Religion; Supernatural Fire; & Waves of God gives his thoughts and admonition to Grady and Charisma.
Grady: “…But as the noise from Lakeland grows louder and its influence spreads, I’m issuing some words of warning…”
Davis: “What you call ‘noise’ Lee is the roar of the young lions breaking forth in the earth with the zeal of the Lord. They may not speak, dress, act, or maneuver according to the clever dictates of professional men within Christendom, but they possess faith that works by love which casts out fear and throws caution to the wind.”
Grady: “‘Beware of strange fire. The name of Jesus is being lifted up in the Lakeland revival, and three people came to the altar for salvation the night I attended. Larger numbers have come to the front of the auditorium to find Christ every night since then.”
Davis: “If the name of Jesus is being lifted up in Lakeland, we need not worry. If man’s name is being lifted up, let us beware. The two services I attended in Lakeland, Todd was careful to exalt & uplift Jesus. Should his heart, manner of ministry & focus change the glory will leave. God doesn’t share His anointing with carnal & vain men. When God’s glory leaves, the people will as well. As long as both are present, let us rejoice in the risen Christ.”
Grady: “Yet I fear another message is also being preached subtly in Lakeland—a message that cult-watchers would describe as a spiritual counterfeit. Bentley is one of several charismatic ministers who have emphasized angels in the last several years.”
Davis: “Cult-watchers should not be our concern, as they are not discerning themselves. True discernment begins with awakening to that which is good (Hebrews 5:14), not merely hunting that which is evil (see Romans 16:19). When we are enamored with evil, we ourselves become evil. We become what we behold (see 2Corinthians 3:18). Ultimately we attract & attend to what we ourselves are, as our perception leads to our personal detection & projection.”
Davis: “What a man or minister did several years ago, need not have any bearing upon what they believe or do today. Shall we ask what you did several years ago? A person’s past does not have to dictate their future. As for angelic visitations, these are common throughout Scripture. We should seek God, not angels. Yet should the Lord choose to send an angel to answer our prayers, we should not limit the holy one of Israel.”
Grady: “…Paul was adamant that preoccupation with angels can lead to serious deception.”
Davis: “Agreed, heard, understood & acknowledged.”
Grady: “We have no business teaching God’s people to commune with angels or to seek revelations from them. …We need to remember that Mormonism was born out of one man’s encounter with a dark angel who claimed to speak for God.”
Grady: “Beware of bizarre manifestations. …where do we draw the line between legitimate experience and fanatical excess?”
Davis: “Christ never called ‘we’ His disciples to ‘draw lines’ but to love and lift people. Jesus said let the wheat and tares grow together. The Lord Himself can remove the weeds and pluck up that which He has not planted” (see Matthew 13:30; 15:13). To my knowledge Bentley isn’t teaching ‘God’s people to commune with angels,’ neither to seek them.”
Grady: “…Paul called for discipline and order …In other words, Paul was saying that no one under the influence of the Holy Spirit should act out of control.”
Davis: “The apostle Paul said ‘let all things be done decently and in order’ (1Corinthians 14:40). Before trying to harness, discipline, and order a move of God; first let it flow and ‘be done’ before endeavoring to structure and order it. Grady and Charisma can write about revival, but until they can birth and do revival they should not criticize, nor seek to contain it.”
Davis: “People under the influence of the Holy Spirit respond in innumerable fashions. Since where the Holy Spirit there is liberty (2Corinthians 3:17), people can respond to God freely and don’t need Grady’s permission to do so.”
Grady: “In many recent charismatic revivals, ministers have allowed people to behave like epileptics on stage… such behavior feeds carnality and grieves the Spirit.”
Davis: “What feeds carnality and grieves the Spirit is the arrogance of men like Grady who fight a move of the Spirit rather than supporting and birthing one. Casting out demons and healing the sick is not always pretty to the professional eye.”
Grady: “…emotional euphoria doesn’t guarantee a heart change. …When we put bizarre behavior on the platform we imply that it is normative.”
Davis: “Being a Christian critic and unbelieving believer doesn’t produce a heart change either. A heart of unbelief breeds evil and causes people to depart from the living God (see Hebrews 3:12).”
Grady: “Beware of hype and exaggeration.”
Davis: “Beware of embracing an evil heart of unbelief and becoming a Pharisee who knows the Scripture, but not the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).
Grady: “The church is in a backslidden state and our nation has rebelled against God.”
Davis: “Perhaps you and Charisma magazine are as well. Yet if you will rend your hearts and go hard after God with humble desperation, the Lord of life will revive you with the power of the resurrection.”
Grady: “In our longing for a holy visitation, however, we must be careful not to call the first faint breeze of the Spirit a full-fledged revival. If we do that, we are setting people up for disappointment….”
Davis: “Instead of trying to label and name a revival, call out for it in prayer in your own life. I find no disappointment in revival, only in those who try to deny and restrict it.”
Grady: “Some of the language used during the Lakeland Revival has created an almost sideshow atmosphere. People are invited to “Come and get some.” Miracles are supposedly “popping like popcorn.” Organizers tout it as the greatest revival in history.”
Davis: “According to your faith, be it unto you (Matthew 9:29). Better to go to God’s show than Hollywood’s. Better to get ‘some’ of God’s glory than dead religion. If Charisma and Grady don’t like ‘some’ than let them change the name of their magazine to Jesus instead of promoting their ‘some’ and new ‘someone’ on the cover every month.”
Grady: “Let’s stay humble and broken before the Lord ….miracles and crowds alone don’t guarantee a revival. …It was the few disciples who followed Jesus after Calvary who ushered in a true revival—one that was bathed in the fear of God, confirmed by signs and wonders, tempered by persecution and evidenced by thousands of conversions, new churches and the transformation of society. We should expect nothing less.”
Davis: “Thanks for providing the persecution Lee. We’re almost there! Now, please teach us humility and brokenness. Perhaps you can match the commitment of Mormons to go overseas for 2 years to birth a true revival of your own. Until you can win as many souls, birth as many churches, and transform societies be quick to hear and slow to speak. As Jesus said the fruit speaks for itself (see Matthew 7:20). I pray we all keep our hearts and eyes on Jesus. Beware of trying to steady the ark or seeking to straighten the flow of God’s Spirit lest you be swiftly judged (1Samuel 6:6-7; Micah 2:7). If this revival is of men, it will cease and be brought to not (Acts 5:38). If however it is of God, it shall continue unhindered full force with signs and wonders as God confirms His holy Word with power (see Mark 16:20); Hebrews 2:4).
Paul F Davis is a worldwide minister who moves in the miraculous to touch & transform humanity.
Paul has a unique ability to hear the voice of God, naturally bring forth the supernatural in a playful & heartfelt fashion, unlock & simply explain divine mysteries, impart life changing revelation and usher in powerful manifestation bringing heaven to earth.
Paul has touched over 50 countries of the world. Paul builds dreams, transcends limitations & reconciles nations.
TV Guide and NY Times say Oprah Winfrey’s Empire is Crumbling
TV Guide’s Chloe Tse article dated 05-27-2008 reports tremors in Oprah’s media empire.
According to TV Guide Winfrey’s new-age spiritualism and political persuasion is jeopardizing her marketability in the media, thereby diminishing her status.
Perhaps Winfrey’s longtime reign over the media is coming to an abrupt end. For so long revered as nearly a saint because of her uplifting programming, Oprah is now beginning to receive criticism for her views. It has often been said that one should not talk about their religion and politics. Oprah is defying the odds and daring to do both.
I salute her for her authenticity and boldness to express her individuality. Yet doing so is simultaneously hurting her marketability. Nevertheless on the flip side of that argument, we do well to remember that controversy does sell. Who knows the queen of TV could remake herself into an activist for worthy causes and a voice against social injustice. Nobody can dispute Oprah has done and is doing a lot of good in the world. And with such influence why shouldn’t she let her voice be heard?
The New York Times says Oprah’s choices are gaining skepticism and audiences are tuning out. According to Nielson Media Research, for the third straight year in a row, Oprah is experiencing a decline in audience viewers.
Research shows Oprah’s program has dropped 7% of its viewers this year alone. Oprah’s other projects also seem to be suffering. For example her reality show Oprah’s Big Give debuted this winter with a huge audience and beat every program on television except for American Idol, but also experienced the loss of almost a third of its audience.
Winfrey’s readership of O her magazine, which you would think to have increased with the nonstop promotion of Tolle’s book, suffered a beating and loss of 10% over the last 3 years according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Even Oprah’s favorite and highly promoted books in her book club are suffering harsh criticism. Apparently Oprah either didn’t adequately study the demographics of her viewers, or disregarded her viewers beliefs altogether. Women in the deep south who heavily watch Oprah’s program are typically Christian and many supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton. Hence Oprah has cut her own throat by alienating Christendom with her new age books and shows, while simultaneously disenchanting white women when she endorsed Barak Obama for President.
As a Christian who read “A New Earth” and found it a in meaningful book, I understand both how Oprah feels and religious folks who don’t play around with their faith. Certainly not all Christians can eat the fish and spit out the bones when reading spiritual truths originating from another ideological orbit. Politically Americans aren’t very tolerant or understanding either, as evidenced by the great political divide in our country between Republicans and Democrats.
I commend Oprah for being true to what she believes in and bold enough to share what she thinks will empower people to live better lives. Her intentions and motives are certainly pure. If Oprah were solely money motivated, she would not continue to promote her spiritual and political views. Yet being already established financially, Oprah is embarking upon larger more meaningful missions to change the world. O Ambassadors is just one new endeavor Oprah is partnering with Free the Children to liberate and educate kids worldwide.
Hopefully Oprah who says she is a Christian will not find problems with parents concerned about their children getting sold new-age ideas. I think Oprah is doing a great work and deserves our support. Yet at the same time we who have beliefs of our own should not be any less vocal than Oprah.
Anything worth having in life requires a sacrifice. For Oprah it is a drop in viewer ratings, book sales, and magazine distribution. Nevertheless the rewards of the sacrifice should be sufficient to warrant the losses. Often we must first be willing to lose in order to win.
It cannot be disputed that ultimately we attract what we are. We cannot please everyone and succeed. We are at our best when we are true to ourselves and transparent about it. That Oprah is and that is why we love her.
Beyond touching hearts and putting tears in our eyes, Oprah also makes people think. Now raising eyebrows and making us scratch our heads, Oprah is finding herself as she further evolves. She recently said on her program that she admits to not having enough time to truly enjoy herself. Perhaps as Oprah becomes more present and lets go of the ambition of sustaining her empire, critics will be silenced and her true spirit will emerge in purity untainted from the labels many have tried to presumptuously give her.
Dividing audiences is not always a bad thing as even the Word of God itself divides, while exposing our hearts (see Hebrews 4:12). Although Oprah’s television audience is predominately middle-aged white women who support Senator Hillary Clinton, most Americans are awaking to the reality that we need some color in the White House to truly get real and heal the homeland.
Angry criticism of new-age spiritualism and political disputes though a common message thread on the message boards from her website, Oprah will continue to transcend the accusations and come out on top as she honors the God of truth. Love rejoices in the truth and we should do no less.
Next up for Oprah is OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. featuring programming that will reflect Winfrey’s vision of what she considers empowering programming.
You can’t go wrong when you touch, teach, and transform your audience.
It’s not about being the queen of the media as much as it is about living a meaningful life of purpose to impact humanity.
Paul F Davis – international speaker and author
Paul F. Davis is a world-changing leadership & diversity speaker who has touched over 50 countries & 6 continents building bridges cross-culturally and empowering people throughout the earth to live their dreams!
Paul is the author of 14 books. Paul has appeared on numerous internationally broadcast radio shows from Oprah & Friends to Fox News Radio to talk about conflict resolution, peacemaking, foreign policy, and diplomacy. Playboy Radio host Tiffany Granath calls Paul an “awesome” relational coach and recommends his books on love, dating, and sexuality.
Academically outstanding Davis was trained in transformative mediation & conflict resolution (Hofstra Law School); strategic negotiations (Harvard Business School & U. of Washington); advanced interrogation (Reid & Associates founders of the polygraph); and NLP & Life Coaching (NLP & Coaching Institute of California).
Paul humorously and elegantly transforms individuals and organizations.
Paul’s organization Dream-Maker Inc. builds dreams, transcends limitations, & reconciles nations.
Paul worked at Ground Zero in NYC during 9/11; helped rebuild a home at the tsunami epicenter; comforted victims of genocide in Rwanda; spoke to leaders in East Timor during the war; inspired students & monks in Myanmar; promoted peace & reconciliation in Pakistan; and has been so deep into the bush of rural Africa where villagers had never before seen a white man.
Paul empowers people to love passionately and live fearlessly.
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