Excerpts from "A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland"
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Excerpts from "A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland"

Posted: 2009-01-27 17:18:03 by: Dutch Sheets


Preface by David Nelson to the following article by Dutch Sheets

After I read the following article by Dutch Sheets I felt that Prophetic Ministry should say something important to the Body of Christ. The Lord has been showing for some time now both to us and to many others that there are serious problems in the Church at large.

We have been saying that each individual Christian must have such a relationship with the Lord that he must know His voice much better now than has been in the past. “They shall all know Me from the least to the greatest.” “My sheep will know my voice and they will follow Me, a stranger they will not follow.”

Yes, there will be some who are spiritual leaders, but each one of us will stand before the Lord by ourselves, not with our spouses or spiritual leaders beside us, and we will answer to the Lord alone as to whether we followed His voice to us or not. But did we value as top priority knowing His voice and were we willing to follow Him wherever He led us?

Even though there are many gifts in the Body all around us, including spiritual leaders, we will be responsible alone to hear the Lord through these gifts and also what the Lord says directly to us. The day that the Lord is bringing us into allows and expects that every person is important to the Body of Christ and is needed, and that we should be careful not to follow others without the Lord speaking in our own spirits also. There will be much deception but there will be much restored truth too. We must know the difference by knowing our God, each for himself.

When Dutch Sheets says in point #3, “How do we fix this mess?”, I think this is a key statement. The Church at large is in a mess. But there is an emerging Bride that is shunning the worldliness that has come into the Church and is pursuing purity, holiness, righteousness, and a restoration of what the Lord has always intended for His Body and which was seen to some extent in the book of Acts.

Yes, there is a return to the Lord sincerely and fervently by some but it is not always easy or popular to answer the Lord’s call to follow Him in our day. It will be by God’s grace that He will make and build a Church after His heart and whoever wants this will need all His grace to hang on and become all that He wants us to be. And as we desire to become what He wants He will give us compassion and love for the Church at large. What to do for them and for us all must be shown by the Lord in His timing. The Lord loves His emerging Bride and His wayward Church and will do what He has planned to bring about His highest glory. Each one of us must hear Him and do our part.

Regarding Dutch Sheets final point #4, I too am sick over the hype in the Church as seen often on TV. We should not mistake hype for anointing. We should reject what we see as false and accept what we see as true. There is much error but there is much truth that we need to embrace also which is coming forth in this day from the Lord. And even though many are cynical about the Church, young and old, for good reason, the “real thing” will arise. “In a day of great darkness the glory of the Lord will arise upon us, and the world will see it.” (Is. 60:1-3)  Yes, a time of cleansing and healing for all of us (as Dutch Sheets has put it), really has already begun. It has been developing and growing for some time now. The Lord is doing something wonderful behind the scenes in each one of our hearts who is wanting to hear Him. It is my heart too (with Dutch Sheets sentiment) to help shape a movement, the fruit of which will last till the coming of Jesus and forever. I too have great expectations for this.

We do not know all that has happened at Lakeland, Florida, but we understand the problems Dutch Sheets is addressing concerning the Church at large and that there is need for change in the Church. We are mainly trying to focus on how to help the Church and not pointing at ministries unless the Lord directs us to.

Excerpts from “A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland” by Dutch Sheets

The Bigger Picture

It may come as a surprise, however, that my real purpose in
writing this is not to only state the above (a statement and appeal regarding the Lakeland, Florida “revival”), as important as I believe
saying it is. My primary purpose, and I believe my assignment
from the Lord, is to identificationally repent on behalf of the
leadership of the charismatic body of Christ (see Nehemiah 1:4-7;
Daniel 9:1-19). In doing so, I do not have a pompous, "no one else
will, so I'll do it" attitude, nor am I arrogant enough to think I have
become the spokesperson for the charismatic church. I want to repent for our sins and weaknesses. I encourage
leaders who find my statements true and appropriate to join me.

Beyond the simple fact of it being appropriate, I firmly believe it is
the only way to begin the process of rebuilding trust with those
asked to follow us and to remove the cynicism of the world we ask
to listen to us. Concerning what I'm about to say,
I don't believe I have a critical spirit, nor do I want to diminish the
sacrifices, faithfulness, and hard work done by so many in ministry.
The fact remains, however, that we have failed the Lord and His
people in many ways-not just with Lakeland but in countless
other situations-and must repent if we are to be trusted in the
future. And as you also know, no repentance is effective if watered
down and couched in excuses, therefore, I intend to be brutally honest:

1) We, the leaders of the charismatic community, have operated in
an extremely low level of discernment. Frankly, we often don't even
try to discern. We assume a person's credibility based on gifts,
charisma, the size of their ministry or church, whether they can
prophesy or work a miracle, etc. (Miracles and signs are intended
to validate God and His message, not the messenger; sometimes
they validate the assignment of an individual, but never the
person's character, lifestyle or spiritual maturity.) We leaders in
the Church have become no different than the world around us in
our standards for measuring success and greatness. This has
contributed to the body of Christ giving millions of dollars to
undeserving individuals; it has allowed people living in sin to
become influential leaders-even to lead movements, allowing
them influence all the way to the White House. Through our lack
of discernment we built their stages and gave them their platforms.
We have been gullible beyond words-gullible leaders producing
gullible sheep. When a spiritual leader we're connected with
violates trust, is exposed for immorality or falls below other
accepted standards of behavior, it does not exonerate us simply
to say we don't condone such behavior. Those we lead trust us to
let them know whom to trust. We have failed them miserably in
this regard. For this lack of discernment, and for employing and
passing on inappropriate standards of judgment, I repent to the
Lord and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.

2) We, the leaders of the charismatic church, spin our involvement
and fail to acknowledge our responsibility when other leaders fall-
all of which stems from our self-preservation and pride. Enough of
the spin-we're no different than Washington, DC. Every time
another embarrassing and disgraceful situation is exposed, the
dancing begins. It seems that no one bears any real responsibility
except the man or woman who actually commits sin. Incredibly,
we even blame "revival" itself-the pressures, attacks, weariness,
the "revival is messy" argument, etc., saying it is responsible for
the failures. This is disgusting. Those of us on boards of fallen
leaders, those who helped give them a voice, put them on TV,
published and endorsed their books (yes, I have), etc., are not
exonerated simply by saying we don't condone the wrong behavior
or that we didn't know. We're supposed to know. I don't believe
anyone is expecting perfection from us-I know I'm not. We're far
too human for that. But we are expected to have enough humility
to look the world and those who follow us in the eye when we miss
it and say, "we were wrong and we are sorry." Our careless
accountability has caused the body of Christ to be spiritually
raped and abused. It has produced disillusionment and brought
immeasurable reproach to our God and cynicism to His message.
Concerning Lakeland, what was called the "greatest revival since
Azusa Street" has become possibly one of the greatest
reproaches. We, the leaders of the charismatic church, are
responsible. For not accepting and acknowledging our
responsibility, for caring more about our own reputation than
Christ's, I repent to God and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.

3) Our procedures and standards of accountability are incredibly
inadequate. We have provided camaraderie, not biblical
accountability. For those on Todd Bentley's board who had
previous knowledge of his marriage problems and said nothing, it
was more than a mistake-it was reckless, foolish, and
irresponsible. For those on the stage the night of his aligning and
commissioning who knew and said nothing-ditto. For those there
who didn't know, my question is, "why didn't you?" You were
trusted to know. That is one of the purposes of public
commissioning and the purpose behind the concept of
endorsement. I'm not trying to point the finger; I'm endeavoring to
get us to be honest about our failures-we have serious credibility
issues. Have I ever laid hands on, commissioned or endorsed
anyone without adequately checking them out? Yes, but you
better believe I'll be more careful next time! And we must not
single out Lakeland. We're all guilty. What about the leader in my
city who ran with some of the leading spiritual fathers in our nation-
sincere and good men, I might add, and not all "charismatic"
leaders-who sang his praises and helped build his stage-all
while he was doing drugs and having sex with other men? But we
shouldn't blame only the high profile cases-what about those of
us who unknowingly have had adulterers on our staffs or appointed
elders that turned out to have compromise in their life? Sounding
familiar yet? This is so epidemic that every member of the body of
Christ stands guilty-what pastor or leader did you follow that
turned out to have sin issues? What ministry did you support that
was unworthy? There is plenty of blame to go around. The big
question becomes not "who do we blame" but "how do we fix this
mess?" Leaders can live in sin-adultery, homosexuality, financial
wrongdoing, drugs, etc.-for years without it being realized. They
can offer completely unacceptable lifestyles for the body of Christ
to follow and still keep their TV programs and lavish lifestyles. In
the name of grace, compassion and forgiveness we have lowered
the standard so much that often there isn't one. We have bought
into the lie that true discipline is "shooting our wounded." We have
made a mockery of biblical restoration, making "ministry"-not
healthy individuals, marriages and families-its ultimate goal. The
fact is, integrity matters. No, we don't need legalistic, pharisaical
standards, but we must have standards. For this lack of biblical
accountability, I repent to God and I ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.

4) We, the leaders of the charismatic church, have built on hype,
sensation, innovation, programs, personality and charisma. This
has produced: shallowness; false movements; novice leaders-
gifted but immature and untested; a deficient understanding of
God's word; the building of man-centered rather than kingdom-
centered churches and ministries; competition rather than
cooperation; humanistic, self-centered Christians who don't
understand sacrifice and commitment; Christians without
discernment; superstar leaders; a perverted and powerless gospel;
prayerless and anemic Christians; a replacement of the fear of the
Lord with the fear of man; and a young generation that is cynical
of it all. We are responsible, not the devil; he takes what we give
him. For this compromise in the way we build, for giving the
Church watered down wine, commercial Christianity, a flashy but
weak Church and hype disguised as anointing, I repent to God and
ask forgiveness of the body of Christ. Galatians 6:1-5 is an
appropriate reference with which to end this statement: "Brethren,
even if a man caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual,
restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to
yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens,
and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is
something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each
one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for
boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.
For each one shall bear his own load." NAS

My passionate prayer is that God honors this repentance - I
believe He led me to do it and therefore, will-and uses it to begin
a process of cleansing and healing for all of us. In order for the
coming great awakening to bear maximum fruit we must have both,
as well as a course correction that sets us on a path of wisdom
leading to life. There is no doubt that past moves of God have been 
aborted, ended prematurely and contained error or heresy that
have wounded, if not destroyed, many. The healing revival of the
40's and 50's, the charismatic movement, discipleship movement
and Jesus movement are all examples. My heart is to help shape
a movement, the fruit of which will last for decades - better yet,
forever. And I have great expectations for us-I am not a cynic.

My passionate prayer is also that Todd Bentley's marriage survives
and thrives.that he turns his heart fully toward Christ and toward
those with whom he is aligned, and allows them, as God leads,
to put him on a path of complete restoration. I thank God for those
who were touched by the Holy Spirit at Lakeland and while
watching it on God TV and the web. May we all move forward into
all God has planned for us in this awesome season of endless

With great hope-Dutch Sheets.



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