By Charisse Van Horn
On August 17, 2011, Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California, publicly endorsed the ministry of Todd Bentley. Bentley was the main leader of the Lakeland Revival, also known as the Florida Outpouring or Florida Healing Outpouring that began on April 2, 2008 when he held a series of meetings at Ignited Church, led by Pastor Stephen Strader in Lakeland, Florida. The services were aired nightly on the Internet and through God TV and drew more than 400,000 attendees.
An investigative report regarding the revival was aired by ABC’s Nightline in June 2008. Several days after the airing of the report, Todd Bentley stepped down from the revival. He later admitted to having an affair with one of his Fresh Fire staff members and proceeded to undergo a period of restoration under Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries. Bentley and his wife, Shonnah Bentley, divorced and he later married the woman whom he had the affair with: Jessa Bentley. Due to the number of testimonies that occurred throughout the revival, yet the differences that noticeably set the Florida Outpouring apart from revivals of the past, such as Bentley’s method for praying over people and the lack of regular, nightly altar calls for salvation, the Christian church quickly split over the revival. To this day, many refer to the Lakeland Revival by derogatory names such as the “Fakeland Revival” and view Bentley as a sham. Bill Johnson, however, addressed Bentley’s past failings and has endorsed his ministry saying that Bentley is restored. Continue reading.