A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a man who goes to a church here in town. He was telling me about a trip he and some of the people from his church took to Lakeland, Florida. He told me about this gigantic ‘revival’ that is going on down there and how God is doing amazing things. This was the first I had heard of the Lakeland revival.

There have been a couple of occasions since then where this revival has been brought up, the most recent of which was Angel telling me that Hank Hanegraaff had done a whole report on it. Angel said “We’ve got to find this stuff on the Internet. You’re not going to believe some of the stuff this Pastor is saying.”

So Angel did some searching and found the clip Hanegraaf was using to incriminate (and rightfully so) this Pastor. Hanegraaf’s broadcast about this can be found here. Under “Recent Broadcasts” click the “Questions and Answers” link next to 6/2/2008.

Here it is.

There is a whole slew of this garbage. If this guy is of the Lord then why do I feel like I’m watching Satan himself mock God?

The website for this revival claims that eight people have been raised from the dead. I watched a video where a guy claimed that both of his legs (amputated at the knees) had begun the grow back during the service and that he could now see through his glass eye.

I have watched countless videos of various ‘faith healers’ who bring people up on the stage who claim that they were healed during the service. But why don’t we ever actually see the healing? Why don’t they bring up a woman with a withered arm and let us see God make it whole? Why don’t they ever bring up a burn victim and let us see God make the skin smooth again? Why don’t they ever raise anyone from the dead on stage?

It would be like going to a magic show where the magician sends his beautiful, young assistant into the crowd for the set-up to his first trick. She goes to the back of the auditorium and finds a top hat with a rabbit in it. She then grabs the rabbited top hat and races to the stage claiming that when she first saw the hat it was empty but when the magician waved his wand she actually watched the rabbit appear in the hat. The crowd goes wild. Everyone believes. Magic is real.

Then she runs back stage and brings out a guy who she claims was sawed in half only seconds before but now look at him, he’s completely all together and stuff. Once again the crowd goes totally berserk. Now he’s going to make an airplane disappear or whatever. You get the idea. But here’s the thing, this magician is selling out stadiums every night with these amazing tricks. He’s on the news. He’s on TV. Criss Angel has a tattoo of the guys face on his chest. And to all of this the rest of us offer a thundering “Huh?”

There are many people who think that these signs and wonders will once and for all prove that God does exists and that it will lead many unbelievers to faith in Jesus Christ. But here’s what I know to be true; if God Himself came to earth and walked and talked with us most of us wouldn’t believe. If God Himself came to earth and raised the dead most of us wouldn’t believe. If God Himself came to earth and healed the sick most of us wouldn’t believe. If God Himself came to earth we would murder Him. If He rose from the dead most of us wouldn’t believe. I know all of this because it actually happened. Even the people who walked with Him and talked with Him and touched Him and ate with Him; the vast majority of them didn’t believe. So what is to make us think that a guy kicking people in the face is going to yield different results?

The apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:16 that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It’s the good news of Jesus Christ that will bring people to belief, not miracles, and certainly not assault and battery.

If the Lakeland folks want to see lives changed, here is the message: Jesus Christ is God Himself in human flesh. He came to earth to seek and save that which was lost. He lived a perfect, sinless life obeying all of God’s laws. He was crucified and suffered the punishment for our sin. He died and rose again on the third day. He appeared to many and told them that He is going to prepare a place for us. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God and makes intercession for us.

Without Christ we are without hope. If we repent of our sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we will be saved, saved from the punishment we deserve for our sins. There is no other way to inherit eternal life. When we believe, God imputes Christ’s righteousness to us, and God imputed our wickedness to Christ on the cross. The great exhange.

Did I hear any of that in any of the videos I watched of the Lakeland thing? No.

So why is it that I believe in Christ and so few others do? Is it because I’m a simpleton? Is it because sex, drugs, and Rock-n-Roll just didn’t really hit the spot for me? Is it because I sat down and weighed the pros and cons of Christ verses everything else that might help me sleep at night? No! None of that. I believe because God has granted me belief. God has opened my eyes. God has given me spiritual life. That’s why I believe. It wasn’t anything I did. God showed me His mercy and I’ll never be the same.

Don’t look at the psycho evangelists, look at me. Look at the miracle God has performed in me. I was dead and now I’m alive. Christ did not come to make bad men good. He came to make dead men live.