Are the fires in Redding a sign of God’s judgement on Bethel?

By Rick Becker  28 July 2018

The Carr fire that has caused devastation in California, has weaved it’s way into Redding, home of Bethel church.  Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and at the time of this writing two lives have been lost.  This tragedy comes shortly after the horrific fires in Greece that took the lives of at least sixty people.  Across the world, other tragedies are taking place in the form of other natural disasters, wars, disease, and starvation.  The Carr fire has captured the attention of those familiar with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) due to one of the chief proponents of NAR false doctrines being Bethel church.  In this brief post, I would like to address the speculation concerning the reason for the fire.

Naturally, many who have been a victim of the aberrant teachings and practices of Bethel church are wondering whether the fire is God’s judgement on Bethel church.  For the answer, we need to look to scripture.  The cause for calamity being assigned to sin is nothing new.  Job was the unfortunate victim of such false counsel, and in the end his counsellors were proven wrong.  The misconception that we should escape tragedy due to our level of righteousness (or correct doctrine) is one that ignores scripture, and reality itself.  In fact God  “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” Matthew 5:45
To assume that a tragedy is in direct proportion to our sin is to fall back under the law!  If God were to punish (by wildfire) cities, states and countries that had sinned, or that had churches in them that taught false doctrine the whole earth would be on fire.  In attributing sin as the cause of suffering, we are in fact coming to the same rash, and faulty conclusion NAR teachers espouse – we are sick due to lack of faith, we are poor due to not tithing, we are suffering due to lack of spiritual warfare or failure to decree, declare and shift atmospheres etc.

In Luke chapter 13, Jesus addresses this very issue of calamity being proportional to sin, or what people deserve:There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Luke 13:1-4

It seems as if those who were speaking to Jesus, were attempting to get a reason as to why these tragedies occurred.  This is the same question many are asking regarding the Carr fire.  Jesus does not entertain their suspicions, but instead asked them to examine their own hearts.  He dispels the notion that these tragedies are proportional to any level of wickedness on the individuals part. Jesus makes three things patently clear:

Suffering is no indication of how sinful we are.
Speculation as to the reasons for tragedies is a mistake on our part.
Similar tragedies could befall anyone.

A wildfire and it’s aftermath are not going to persuade those who have bought into the lies of Bethel, that their doctrine is false.  If Bethel’s buildings were reduced to ashes, they have the dollars to rent another, and their new $96 million campus has already been approved.  Scripture warns that imposters like Johnson and Vallotton will grow in their delusion: “while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” 2 Timothy 3:13.  They have rejected truth, and been given over to a delusion. Only God can open the eyes of those caught up in deception, and our task is to contend for the faith, and pray for those who have been blinded by an angel of light.
Mark my words, Bethel will have many “testimonies” in due course.  Comments on social media from Bethel fans, reveal that their state of delusion has not diminished, as they still believe they can decree, declare and take authority over the fires. Here are a few examples:


We all suffer the effects of living in a fallen world and in earthly tents.  Despite our desire for justice and wholeness is this present age, God tells us to look to the future, where he will wipe away all our tears and bring complete restoration.  Despite our desire for the wicked to receive compensation in this age, God tells us to leave that up to Him, as He alone is holy and just, and will reward and punish those according to His righteous judgement.  Lets not make the same mistake as those in the NAR and attribute our prosperity and comfort to our level of obedience or spirituality.  Let us instead, examine our own hearts:Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139: 23-24

 As believers, we should do what we can to offer assistance to victims of the fire – all victims!  As believers, we should ask God for mercy, pray for rain, pray for those affected.  As believers, we should pray that in the midst of this suffering, the only real hope in this world, and the world to come is proclaimed – the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

45 thoughts on “Are the fires in Redding a sign of God’s judgement on Bethel?

  1. Suffering is His Love for us to draw us into a relationship with Him dependency upon Him no matter what my outward situation is trying to dictate to me resting in Him so that He can transform me into His image. As He is perfecting us for Him a bride awaiting her Bridegroom holding fast in faith knowing He is in control and His love for us is perfecting us to persevere hold fast and be readyinwardly He is coming back for overcomers the greates Love story ever told. The outcome for us in suffering is to know the power of the Cross a provision by Him His love for us so we can endure come Lord Jesus Come Quickly !!!!

    • God is our father! Why would he use suffering as a means to bring dependency on him. I would not want my kids to suffer to draw closer to me. Our suffering comes from our own stupid mistakes and the mistakes of others. Some of it is just life. I wouldn’t want to be close to a God that wants me to suffer just to be close and dependent on him. Tragic.

      • I hope Marlene sees your comment and responds, in the meantime Mary, could you explain what the following verses mean:
        “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” – 2 Cor 1:5

        “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,”
        Col 1:24

        “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Pet 4:13

        ” Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” Phil 3: 8-10

  2. Oh FFS – I hate Bethel as much as any other sane person in Redding, but trying to make a natural disaster about “God” in any way shape or form is just ignorant and disingenuous at best, and pathetically disgusting at worst. Redding population is >90,000 and Bethel membership is max 10,000. Sorry dude but fuck your ridiculous and pathological OT concept of ‘God’ who would literally drown a world because of who was sleeping with whom. Out of touch with reality much? Also, fires and climate systems follow natural laws and are in no way “supernatural”. Moron.

    • I’ll allow your cussing temporarily just so that others can see your ignorance, and that you are making the very same error I expose in the article – speculation. The whole point of the article was that this natural disaster WAS NOT GOD’S JUDGEMENT on Redding. Perhaps try reading, before you actually comment. By the way, God will judge all wickedness when we stand before him.

  3. Except which part am I speculating about? That fires and natural events follow natural laws? That Bethel population is a minority in Redding regardless of their influence? That it is ignorant and disingenuous (not to mention offensive to survivors and the suffering) to make a natural disaster about God? Or simply that I am expressing my genuine feeling on the matter? (because God forbid people be honest, right?)

    Please, tell me more about myself. Or maybe elaborate a bit more succinctly? 😉

    • You said: “your ridiculous and pathological OT concept of ‘God’ who would literally drown a world because of who was sleeping with whom”
      Yet in the article I make it clear that the fire is NOT punishment on Redding:

      From the article: “It seems as if those who were speaking to Jesus, were attempting to get a reason as to why these tragedies occurred. This is the same question many
      are asking regarding the Carr fire. Jesus does not entertain their suspicions, but instead asked them to examine their own hearts. He dispels the notion that these tragedies are proportional to any level of wickedness on the individuals part. Jesus makes three things patently clear:

      Suffering is no indication of how sinful we are.
      Speculation as to the reasons for tragedies is a mistake on our part.
      Similar tragedies could befall anyone.”

      You talk about offending survivors, how is this offensive: ” As believers, we should do what we can to offer assistance to victims of the fire – all victims! As believers, we should ask God for mercy, pray for rain, pray for those affected.” ?

      I think the problem is not the article, but your own sin and wickedness (like every single one of us, myself included) One day you will stand before a holy God, and the only way you will want to stand before Him, is as a man who has repented of his sin, and placed his faith in Jesus Christ.

      • You need an encounter with a loving FORGIVING father ….. dude your sins are gone …. we are saints, heirs with Christ ….. not wicked!
        Stop telling David he has a sin problem!!!

        • Well, David seems to have a problem with a God who punishes wickedness: “Sorry dude but f**k your ridiculous and pathological OT concept of ‘God’ who would literally drown a world because of who was sleeping with whom.” Perhaps David has forgotten what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah…and I think Noah would disagree with David.

          Those in Christ are naturally forgiven, I understand that, but we still sin, still need to ask forgiveness, still need to die to self, still need to repent when we sin, so in that sense, we have a sin problem, or do you never sin? What would your advice to David be, based on his comments?

          • Our punishment when we sin comes from our own hearts condemning us. When God looks at us he sees Jesus who is sinless so that makes us sinless. I’m. It saying we should deliberately sin and expect no consequences. Our consequences are from natural laws and our shame. If we truly know who we are in Christ than we would forsake sin altogether. It’s legalistic to continually focus on our sins and try to fix it. Jesus already did at the cross. Quit crucifying him again.

          • “It’s legalistic to continually focus on our sins and try to fix it.” – True, but it’s not legalistic to call on sinners to repent of their sin, the law shows us our need for the gospel.

      • Brava sir. Well explained. Most appreciative. I read the article. Wild fire happens a lot in Northern California unfortunately. Regardless how much I despise the leadership in Bethel Church and feel sorry for the misled, they are doing what they can to help out the Salvation Army though (I know, I know, filthy rags, I know) but there are good people totally misled by the Bethel Church founders that are trying to help out the victims of this tragic fire. Well written article sir. Be blessed always.

    • People already know when they are sinning. They don’t need someone to point it out. Repentance is a change of mind. Not a change of behavior. Once the mind changes the behavior follows. Instead of pointing out their sin help the person with their negative self talk and lack of love for themselves.

      • Which people are you referring to – believers, unbelievers? In the case of unbelievers, Jesus pointed out their sin. In the case of believers, Paul’s epistles point out what sin is, and confronts those who are sinning, even instituting church discipline.

  4. is it a need to judge other peoples and using a natural desaster as excuse for it?
    as long we are not able to understand God’s mind correctly we should stay silently and do what we can, pray for the Lord’s mercy and grace.

    he knows whats what to do – we dont need to teach Him.

    May the Lord bless you with all you need.

  5. Some general quotes below, on failure to repent c.f. imminent judgement.

    This info. is not directed specifically to this tragic situation in Redding – the people and property for which we pray urgent protection in Jesus’ name.

    The general point: Where we cannot perhaps say of any *specific* situation – ‘this is the judgement of God’, perhaps, neither can we say for certain any specific situation is not? (a question)… i.e. the possibility does seem to exist, according to the following:

    => John 5:14  Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

    => Rev 2:22  Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

    => Rev 2:16  Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

    => Rev 9:17  And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 
    18  By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 
    19  For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 
    20  And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 
    21  Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. 

    • a ‘balancing’ text:

      => Luke 13:1  There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 
      2  And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 
      3  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 
      4  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 
      5  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 

      • Thank you Stephen, I hear what you are saying, and agree that it is possible, my only question would be why God would strike non Bethelites for the sins of Bethel.

    • They are already saying ” this is the devil trying to quench the spiritual rain was prophesied about recently”. My prayer is that the reality will sit in that they can’t deliver. These super apostles leading the super saints are frauds. People are paying Bethel a lot of money to teach them how to take authority and stop things like this in its tracks. I pray God exposes them.

    • How do we know it is? If it is, why punish a whole city? God is quite capable of destroying buildings or individuals without collateral damage (Ananias and Sapphira)

  6. Can someone explain to me why all of Bethel did not pray for the fire to be halted by God. If not all how about the luminaries like Bill Johnson, Kris Valton? The answer is they would be embarrassed because they are frauds.

    • They did command the wind, clearly in vain..

      This was the prayer on Bethel’s facebook page:
      “Father we thank you for Redding and all who live there. We first pray for protection over everyone who is fighting this fire, and ask You to give them new strategies to contain it and put it out. We ask that You multiply the water in their trucks and airplanes, so it covers much more than it should. We also ask that structures which would normally be fuel for fires to miraculously resist igniting. We also remember the times You’ve altered the weather – when the wind that was causing storms ceased at Your word. Because of that, like Jesus, we command the wind to calm down over the Redding skies so the firefighters and airplanes can do their job, and invite the wind to go find and bring rain clouds to surround this fire with water. We pray for the citizens of Redding (as well as the global community who are praying) to hear “the sound of the abundance of rain” and that all would be overcome with a sense of peace, to pray and think from that place, rather than from fear (1 Kings 18:41). That rain would fall on the righteous and the unrighteous (Mat 5:45). God open your abundant storehouses of heaven and send rain in this season (Deut 28:12). We ask you to make storm clouds and give us showers of rain (Zech 10:1). Father, thank you that the world will see your goodness from this (Rom 8:28). We invite Your healing, hope, and abundant joy and peace to fill every heart. Amen.

  7. I think to read this article and ask the question is this gods judgement is just nonsense
    We should be praying for this situation for gods help to stop the fires not judging it
    How would you feel if it was your home town been burnt and your houses destroyed
    Would you still be asking the same question?
    I doubt it

  8. I think people EXPECT you to criticize and then when you don’t- as you did not in this article- they superimpose their own reactions upon what is written without actually reading what you have said. The article was clearly saying that unlike Job’s friends who ascribed sin to Job without having any direct Godly wisdom is just stupid! It was a well thought out article and I appreciated it because I KNOW that Bethel is off and so do your readers but we do not know if God brought a fire upon their strange fire or not.
    By the way- there is only one E in judgment. I made the same mistake for a long time!
    Blessings
    Hollis

  9. Hello Rick, I so appreciate your solid Biblical approach in this article. I am a resident of Redding, a local Pastor who has lived here and served the people of Redding much of my 60yrs of life. The teachings of Bethel have become a hotbed of discussion in Redding and one that honestly troubles me. They of course took no time in attempting to profit form the fire, as well as make everything happening in Redding that is good all because of Bethel. Redding residents have had enough of Bethel and rightfully so, I pray for God to expose the lies and bring truth to the forefront. We as a community have been praying for repentance to befall the city, maybe this is part of it, to God be the glory!

    • Thank you Pastor Burroughs, grateful to hear that there are faithful servants of God in Redding. Believe me, the tentacles of Bethel are worldwide, here in South Africa their teachings have crept into churches across the nation. I have no doubt that God is working in this crisis, his kingdom cannot be undone by disasters or false teachers. I stand with you in prayer, may the Lord use his people in this time and open the eyes of those who need to come to Christ, and those caught up in the NAR delusion. I hope to have a follow up article by tomorrow.

    • Hi thank you for your post. I wish we could find a church down here in the Sacramento area that was not contaminated with Bethel teachings or that plays Bethel or Hillsong music. Do you know of one?

        • Hi Rick, Thank you for responding to my post. Actually Ithough, I was making a reply to Pastor Burroughs post so that he would see my comment.😊
          God Bless you and your brother in your ministry of exposing deception and making Gods people aware of what is really going on in His church. However, didn’t Jesus say in Matt 24:24, that false Christs and false prophets would arise, and perform great signs and wonders to deceive even the elect. He wouldn’t have said that unless it was going to happen, so I am no longer ,alarmed at tthe spirituall garbage that is coming out of alot of so called bible beljeving churches.

          .

          • Hi Rill, correct, there will be signs and wonders through false prophets. Most of what we see in the NAR, and Bethel are simply fake, such as leg stretching and fake “glory clouds.” So imagine when they produce some real signs and wonders (Pharaoh’s magicians performed real miracles by changing their staff’s into serpents and water into blood -Exodus 7) because if they can’t see through the fake, real miracles will have them practically at the feet of their celebrity apostles and prophets.

  10. Do you know of any NT evidence of God corporately punishing (judging) those accused of apostasy? Seems the only instance I can find of relevance is Jesus’ response to a few of the disciples who wanted to call down fire on a town that didn’t roll out the welcome mat for Jesus?:

    Luke 9:53-54,56 NKJV
    [53] But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. [54] And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” [56] For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

    Thanks

  11. I find it interesting that Bethel practices “Strange Fire” in their Church. Some of the comments made by even the fire personnel who are fighting the Carr fire, are that they have never seen such a strange fire.
    Just saying….

  12. “We all suffer the effects of living in a fallen world and in earthly tents. Despite our desire for justice and wholeness is this present age, God tells us to look to the future, where he will wipe away all our tears and bring complete restoration. Despite our desire for the wicked to receive compensation in this age, God tells us to leave that up to Him, as He alone is holy and just, and will reward and punish those according to His righteous judgement.”

    I agree. When Adam and Eve sinned, one of the consequences was the curse put upon the earth. God has allowed natural disasters for His purposes. We don’t know why God allowed the Redding fire, but He did. God is still in control even though He isn’t “directly” judging people in this dispensation.

    BTW: “judgement” is the older spelling; “judgment” is the contemporary spelling; either is correct. 🙂

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