The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
Could you comment on the revival services happening in Lakeland, Florida?
I don't know anything first hand about it. I have not heard any sermon from it nor read anything directly written by the pastor leading it. Everything I know about it comes through secondhand bloggers, some of whom are balanced and some of whom are quite critical.
So I think I should just tell you to check it out for yourself, because I don't know enough firsthand to comment on it.
Maybe something general I could say, however, is that I'm not as knee-jerk negative about weird revivals as some people are. And I say "weird" because that's the word that has been used to describe some of the kinds of phenomena that are there. I want to test things not by the weirdness of the phenomena—whether people are falling or laughing or whether gold is growing in their teeth. I want to test it by whether or not they preach the truth. That's my number one.
Is this pastor honoring the Bible as his main, glorious source of truth, and is he as excited about what he sees about Jesus in the Bible as what he sees about Jesus in the phenomena in the room. And if I get the impression that the Bible is kind of a pump-priming preliminary to the real stuff, I start to think that something is fishy. Because I've been in meetings like that in which the Bible is used that way, and I don't like it.
So if I had to sit down with the pastor leading it, I would just give him a theology quiz. I wouldn't ask him about whether he thinks it is real. I would just say, "What do you believe about the atonement? How about election? The nature of Christ? What do you believe about the way people get saved? How do you understand works in relation to faith? Give me your doctrine of justification." And if he proved at that point to be off the wall or indifferent, I would write it off! That is, I wouldn't put much stock in it.
The Holy Spirit can work, but you don't base what you chose to do in your church or in your life by what God seems to be doing in the world. You judge it by the Bible. Otherwise you get swept away into all kinds of craziness, because it's not possible without the Bible to separate out what is of God and what is of the flesh in any particular reviving.