Monday, May 26, 2008

JUST IN: Stephen Strader's Official Statement Concerning Lakeland

Ignited Church (Assembly of God) Pastor Stephen Strader has just responded to my Open Letter.

I am unable at the moment to post my commentary on Pastor Strader's response to my letter but it will be coming shortly. Until then, feel free to comment with your thoughts. And subscribe by e-mail or feed to make sure you get updates on this important issue. Pastor Strader asked for prayer and I believe we should all oblige him. Pray for him. Pray for Todd Bentley. And pray or continue to pray for all involved and the thousands of people who are being led into deception by way of the "Florida Outpouring".

Below is Pastor Strader's Official Response. Following his reponse is the letter I sent him.


I'm very sorry... I just don't have the time to answer all of your questions or concerns...

I guarantee that if you had three A/G pastors in a room, somebody would be in disagreement with something one of the other two is doing.

This is NOT about the A/G or Todd or me... this is a God thing... I don't "own it" nor can I "control it"

I think the mistakes of the A/G is that...

[+-] Expand/Collapse Post

...they "threw out the baby with the bath water" when they renounced the "latter rain" outpouring. I think they made "blanket statements" that condemned the whole bunch because of a few "bad apples"...

None of us wants to make that same mistake again.

The A/G made those statements "years" after the movement was started... today is only day 55... do you understand that WE don't even understand what is happening???

Todd and I have discussed many doctrinal "adjustments" that he has made over his ten years of ministry -- just like any man of God -- he is constantly adjusting...

as of TODAY -- Todd has said or done nothing that is in direct conflict with any A/G doctrine. He has had "guests" on the platform that would not be acceptable, but "those guests" are just "guests" and Todd and myself are leading this as best we can.

Have you ever watched Fox News have a "panel debate" over a "speech" given by the President??? Those speeches have been "thought out" worked on by specialists... lawyers... politicians... etc... EVERYTHING we are doing on that stage is PURE SPONTANEOUS... it's like trying to "ride a bull"...

There are been many mistakes... we make adjustments and get back on the bull the next day... PLEASE -- PRAY FOR US -- this is NOT the time to "dissect" this or "analyze this"... We need your prayers and encouragement.

Do you remember when the hurricane hit New Orleans? You had people DEMANDING to know "why" there were people in the super dome not being cared for... they wanted answers... that wasn't the time to ask "why"... it was TIME TO GET THEM HELP...

We need HELP... not questions...

Stephen Strader


Pastor Stephen Strader,

I am in the process of determining the Assemblies of God current position concerning previous Official Statements and their official view of Todd Bentley. Out of 5 letters I have sent (to Dr. George Wood, Terry Raburn, Steve Hill, John Kilpatrick and AG Public Relations Director Keith Surface) I have only received a response from Pastor John Kilpatrick. But I am not satisfied with his statement as it answers no questions concerning Todd Bentley's doctrine and what the Assemblies of God congregations should do with it. (i.e., ignore it, condemn it, or support it)

I've been in church all of my life. Every minister I have ever known took such a high view of doctrine and their ministry/pulpit responsibilities that they would never allow ANYONE to preach from their pulpit without first finding out what they believe. Yet (as one of our commenters believed) John Kilpatrick, at least, was "reverse-duped" and tricked into speaking at Todd Bentley's pulpit without knowing HIS doctrine.

Pastor Kilpatrick issued this statement in response to my e-mail about the Lakeland Revival:

I, John Kilpatrick, went down to Todd Bentley’s meetings, the Florida Outpouring, and gave my blessing to revival. I made it clear that I didn’t know Todd, his doctrinal belief nor who he is affiliated with, if anyone. To me, doctrine is very important. It always has been and it always will be. It is the infrastructure that a move of God runs on. You can not separate a man from his doctrine.

The purpose of my going to Lakeland was to bless what God was doing. I continue to champion and pray that it stands the test of time.

John A. Kilpatrick

My concern is, how could Pastor Kilpatrick, a man who claims to holds doctrine so highly, (and I believe he does) do something like stand in front of possibly millions of people to bless Todd Bentley and the "Florida Outpouring" as a man and move of God?

Also, how can you, in maintaining an Assemblies of God church, host, sponsor, and support Todd Bentley and his unbiblical (as the Assemblies of God have previously declared) ministry?

In the end there are only three options I can see why Pastors John Kilpatrick and Steve Hill and yourself might stand in front of possibly millions of people to bless Todd Bentley and the "Florida Outpouring"...

(1) You (they) are going against the AoG Position Papers and over 50 years of refusing to support the Latter Rain movement by the Assemblies of God thus accepting the "Latter Rain" doctrines of Todd Bentley.

(2) You (they) do NOT hold doctrine or the issue of another man's "doctrine" nearly as highly as you (they) should (and which Pastor Kilpatrick's response says he does). At least not high enough to check out Todd Bentley's doctrine in advance of hosting, sponsoring, supporting and appearing on stage with him.

(3) You (they) were drugged, kidnapped, led to the revival by force, and forced to host Todd Bentley and to speak and pray on that stage.

I want to believe Pastor Kilpatrick when he says that he holds doctrine in high regard, but I can't when he was thoughtless enough to put himself in front of the world (on satellite camera) to say "This is a move of God..." and "I bless you (Todd) in Jesus' name, that this thing (Todd's revival) would go worldwide" when Todd Bentley's doctrine is so completely unbiblical.

I have also heard you spend a great deal of time on television and internet video defending Todd Bentley and this revival as a move of God. The only problem is that you can't defend that position by scripture.

Pastor Kilpatrick said in his statement to me that doctrine "is the infrastructure that a move of God runs on. You can not separate a man from his doctrine." I agree. But there has been easy-to-find, ample evidence documented about Todd Bentley's doctrines and "Latter Rain" associations for quite some time and they should have alarmed all of you to the truth.

This statement sounds to me like Pastor Kilpatrick is attempting to say that he knew NOTHING of Todd Bentley's doctrine...and that's my point!

And that's why he, yourself, Pastor Steve Hill, Terry Raburn, and Dr. George Wood should now "fess up" to the worldwide members of Assembly of God churches and say:
"I made a mistake. I was duped. (if applicable) I do not support Todd Bentley's ministry. I stand with the Assemblies of God General Council of 1949 and the Resolution 16 Position Papers in taking a bold stand against any of Todd Bentley's "Latter Rain/Joel's Army" doctrines. And I, Steve Hill & John Kilpatrick were wrong to go on his stage, support him, promote him and host him."

And it is time NOW for the Assemblies of God to pull themselves OUT of this unbiblical movement that is claiming to be "of God" yet is mixed and mingled with heresies and heretics, false prophecies and false prophets, false teachings and false teachers, and worst of all, a leader who (by his own words) makes Jesus Christ of less concern than the "the supernatural"... and He says God told him to do it!

Or maybe you, Pastor Strader are a full Todd Bentley/Latter Rain supporter. If so, I believe you should "fess up" to the worldwide members of Assembly of God churches that you have accepted as authentic that which the Assemblies of God has historically called unbiblical. Then the many who still hold dearly the Holy Word of God and the past godly resolutions of the Assemblies of God can have a final word. Until you make a statement, tens of thousands of your members are confused. This revival DOES NOT line up with scripture, its leader DOES NOT line up with scripture, his mentors, BOB JONES, JACK COE, WILLIAM BRANHAM, A.A. ALLEN etc. etc., who DO NOT line up with scripture, and, some of which, the Assemblies of God have in the past refused to associate with, or the Assemblies of God have taken away AG credentials from.

The Assembly of God congregations and pastors MUST know where you stand in relation to Todd Bentley, because he is basically saying "What the AG formerly said is false. These are men of God! These are moves of God! These are the words of God!" etc, etc,

The Assembly of God congregations and pastors MUST know where you stand in relation to Todd Bentley so they can decide whether they will go along with the NEW Assemblies of God, or continue to agree with the OLD Assemblies of God and deem it unbiblical, and get out.

I only have two questions and I would like you to answer them in response to this e-mail...

1. Do you, Stephen Strader agree with and stand behind the official statements of the Assemblies of God General Councils of 1949 and in Resolution 16 at General Council 2000 concerning the Latter Rain movement and End Time Revival, which both condemned the Latter Rain movement and its doctrines as unbiblical?

These doctrines include:
• The overemphasis on identifying, bestowing, or imparting spiritual gifts by the laying on of hands and naming, supposedly by prophecy, specific gifts.
• The problematic teaching that present-day offices of apostles and prophets should govern church ministry at all levels. and "The erroneous teaching that the church is built on the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets"
• "The extreme teaching... of confession of sin to man and deliverance as practiced, which claims prerogatives to human agency which belongs only to Christ"
• The practice of imparting or imposing personal leadings by means of gifts of utterance.
• Wresting and distorting Scripture through interpretations that are in opposition to the primary meaning of biblical passages.
• Kingdom Now or Dominion theology.
• Manifest Sons of God and Joel’s Army
• Spiritualizing Biblical Events and History
• The Prosperity Gospel
• Birthing
• Generational Curses
• Excessive fixation on Satan and demonic spirits
• Excessive Fascination With Physical "Manifestations

[ ] I AGREE with the statements of AGGC (1949 and 2000) concerning the Latter Rain Movement and End-Time Revival.
[ ] I DISAGREE with the statements of AGGC (1949 and 2000) concerning the Latter Rain Movement and End-Time Revival.

2. Do you, Stephen Strader, officially consider Todd Bentley's doctrines and ministry (as documented in his many teachings, videos etc) as straight (II Timothy 2:15), and consistently in line with the Word of God?

[ ] I believe Todd Bentley's doctrines and ministry are BIBLICAL
[ ] I believe Todd Bentley's doctrines and ministry are IN ERROR

Two simple questions. I would be satisfied and would have no further questions for you if I could get you to answer those two simple questions.
And I believe that the entire Assemblies of God denomination deserves to hear those answers so that they may be led out of confusion!

I eagerly await your response. If I do not receive one within 72 hours I will take it upon myself to begin a campaign and will do all I can to get the word out about the contradictions of the National Headquarters from 1948, to 2000, to today, to the AG churches and pastors of the world so they can make an informed, biblical decision about Todd Bentley.

I sincerely hope you decide to clear this question up for me, for all of my readers, and for the world, even though you will be criticized by some. And I sincerely hope you are still willing to "wear that criticism gladly as a sign of fidelity to Christ" like you said you would at General Council in 2000!

In Christ,

Jon Sharp

P.S. This letter and any response I receive from you will be posted at my blog site.
Also archived are the previous articles and letters I have written.

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Anonymous said...

So this mess is all God's fault and His to clean up, talk to Him.

Riiiight. Good answer brother! Stephen let's pray that you hear something extremely loud and clear from God soon. When you do, I pray that He explains what "commercially marketing a false revival with strange fire" means.

Key points in the letter:

"WE don't even understand what is happening" (Well I have to say everyone else with spiritual eyes to see knows exactly what's happening...think pro wrestling hosted by Derren Brown and the scales will fall from your eyes)

Todd and I have discussed many doctrinal "adjustments" (EPIC FAIL sir, and fyi, increasing deception would not be an improvement)

"He has had "guests" on the platform that would not be acceptable" (no, really??)

"There are been many mistakes...We need your prayers...TIME TO GET THEM HELP...We need HELP" (agreed)

Anonymous said...

If this is not of God it will prove to be so, if it is of God then no man will stop it. Paul was careful not to judge the work of Apollos becuase Jesus Christ was being preached. My observation is that Jesus is being preached, as to the other concerns you expressed I think they are left best for God to judge. God Bless

Jon@TheWay said...

So would you have said the same about Jim Jones in the '70's?

"Just let it alone. Let them go to Guyana. If it is not of God it will prove to be so."

Yeah... it "proved to be so" with 950 souls in it's wake!

Souls are souls, and heresy is heresy. Todd may not kill them but preaching his "jesus" he will still send them to hell!

He can NOT be declared doctrinally/biblically straight by ANY scriptural measurement.

Jesse D said...

Anonymous#2, the Gamaliel Approach is not a biblically sound argument and a red herring. We are to use the Holy Spirit and the Word to discern the false. Anyone not doing that and just deferring to God is essentially admitting they know nothing about what it means to be a Christian. This is not even a borderline case here folks. Sorry it just isn't.

Jon@TheWay said...

Link to the above article