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Social media and satellite television now enable Christians around the world to follow spiritual events as never before. Probably the most notable example to date is the Lakeland Revival of 2008. So it's only appropriate that we now have Lakeland, a documentary about the controversial, dynamic event led by pierced, tattooed Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley.

Director Roy Peterson, whose experience includes working on The 700 Club, traveled with his crew from England to track the Lakeland Revival shortly after its fame began to spread. Narrating the film with a slightly skeptical tone, he seeks to discern whether or not he's witnessing a genuine movement of God, a true revival of Christianity in America.

Peterson follows the strange twists and turns of Bentley's career in two years. First we see Bentley as a wildly successful healer revered by eclectic crowds of thousands in person and millions more through live television. He claims X-ray vision to see illnesses when he touches someone. His followers dance exuberantly to loud rock music, squirm on the ground, giggle uncontrollably, babble incoherently, and smash furniture. We're told the BBC, ABC News, and, of course, Geraldo Rivera have checked in on the event.

Then we see Bentley embark on what promises to be a blockbuster revival tour, even as he is beset by rumors of alcohol abuse and marital infidelity. A small crowd turns out for an event in South Carolina on 8-8-08, and just like that, the revival ends. Virtually disappearing for one year, Bentley divorces his wife and marries a former intern. He eventually submits to a restoration process and steps away momentarily from preaching. After apologizing for disappointing his followers, Bentley faces a bumpy return six months ...

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September 2011

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