The church at Ephesus – discerning, yet found wanting.

By Rick Becker  30 August  2018

Discernment is not optional, it is vital to the spiritual health of individuals and the church.  Discernment preserves sound doctrine, and sound doctrine enables us to have the correct view of God, self, the church, the world, and Satan.  Described as wolves in sheep’s clothing, false teachers come to steal, kill, and destroy, whereas the good shepherd comes to give life.  Here’s the problem – It’s possible to know who the wolves are, yet neglect the good shepherd.  It’s possible to identify bad doctrine, yet fail to practice the good.  It’s possible to discern the errors of the New Apostolic Reformation and other false teachings yet fail in our spiritual duties towards our families and brothers and sisters in Christ.  It’s possible to erroneously mark and avoid others because they don’t fall within our denomination or because we disagree with them over non essentials of the faith.  If we believe discernment is the epitome of spiritual maturity or guarantees balance in other areas, we are mistaken. The church at Ephesus serves as a reminder that sound doctrine and discernment are no guarantee that we will be useful in the Lord’s service.

Paul’s sorrowful farewell to the elders in Ephesus included a solemn warning:
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” Acts 20:29-31
This text is a reminder that true shepherds not only feed the flock, but warn them of the wolves.  The latter, is condemned by the majority of the visible church. Let’s keep in mind that Paul actually named men and movements that perverted the gospel.  The apostle was moved to tears as he warned the flock about the false teachers who would appear on the scene and deceive by means of their false doctrines. What protects us from unsound doctrine?  Paul gives us the answer in the next verse “And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” Acts 20:32  All teachings must be tested, and compared to the word of God.

Judging from the letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2, the elders at Ephesus seem to have taken Paul’s admonition to heart concerning “men speaking twisted things.”  The seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3 were actual churches in that day, but the messages to those churches are still applicable to churches and all believers today. This was not a congregation that fell for the various winds of doctrine that swept the early church, and the fruits of Paul’s warnings are clearly stated in Revelation 2 : “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
Rev 2:2-3

This must surely be the dream church for those of us who contend for the faith – good works, doctrinally sound and discerning.  Yet something was missing, and is still missing in many churches, ministries, individuals.  At some point, we have probably all fallen short in this regard: But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”  Revelation 2:4-5

Despite their positive aspects and uncompromising stance towards those who had perverted the gospel, the church at Ephesus is rebuked by our Lord. Naturally, we need to ask the following questions:

1. What does it mean to abandon “the love you had at first.”
We know what it does not mean – it does not mean they had failed to discern, neglected labouring for the gospel, or wilted under trials and tribulations. What it does mean is the love they had for God, and in a secondary sense the love they had for one another, fell short of what was expected of them.
Loving God will influence our love for one another:

• “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
1 John 4:20.
• “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,”
Ephesians 1:15
• “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.”
Matthew 22:37-38

When God saves us, there is often a radical transformation in our lives.  Our hierarchy of needs has undergone a revolution.  Self has been slayed and replaced with a new master.  No sacrifice is too great in order to please the Lord, study his word, and share this new found gospel.  We were fervent in our faith, and at times could barely contain the overwhelming joy we experienced as a result of our salvation.  We were motivated by love – love for God, love for fellow believers, and love for the lost.  When this love has been abandoned, we may go through the motions and fool a whole church, but not Christ. We are great pretenders, and quite able to perform our duties in the church while our hearts are hostile toward the people we are serving, or even towards the Lord.

2. What is the solution?

The threefold answer is in the text – “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”

Remember cast your mind back to the time when the love of Christ captured your heart.  Remember your zeal and your willingness to sacrifice everything for his sake. Obedience and joy characterized your faith.  Prayer and the study and memorization of God’s word were a delight. Our love for Christ resulted in a love for the lost, and we shared the gospel unashamedly, and with an urgency.  As time marches on, our hearts can grow dull and we quickly forget our initial response to the One who has captured our heart and transformed our lives. Fervency is replaced with a lacklustre approach to our spiritual walk. 

• Repent – confess this loss of love as sin, and repent in the true sense of the word. The basic definition of repentance is to change one’s mind.  It’s more than simply feeling sorry about something, and then continuing in the same manner. This change of mind is an internal shift that effects the whole person;  it involves our will, and our actions will conform to the change of mind.  True repentance in other words produces fruit.

Return – rekindle the zealousness and fervor of our former days.  Go back to the foundation and examine the motivating factors.  Paul’s last words in his letter to the Ephesians was a prayer that their love would remain pure: “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” Ephesians 6:24
Consider the word of the Lord to Israel through Jeremiah: “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.” Jeremiah 2:2

3. What if we don’t repent?

“If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” Revelation 2:4 – this implies a form of judgement and discipline.  The church would lose its “light” so to speak. It’s testimony and influence would be lost, and that particular church may cease to exist.

While there is a great need for discernment in the visible church, the greater need is that we are motivated by love – love for Christ and love for those caught up in deception.

The church at Ephesus got this right: so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Ephesians 4:14
But possibly failed in this regard:Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15

If we cannot weep for those who have been deceived by false teachers, what is our motivation for warning them?   When our love for Christ is overshadowed by our disdain for false teachers, our balance is off.  If we expose the latest false doctrine with a sense of glee instead of sorrow, we have failed.

Paul had the church of Ephesus on his mind after his departure, and instructed Timothy to stay on in Ephesus with this charge:As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrinenor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.  The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,  desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” 1 Timothy 1:3-7

We may be able to distinguish between truth and error, but at the same time fail to discern our own lack of love towards God and others. Some have lost their usefulness as a result of viewing anyone who is not part of their denomination as a lesser believer to some extent – or even an unbeliever.  Their testimony has been tainted with a sectarian spirit.  Sound doctrine must divide those who contend for the faith from those who teach a different gospel and should be marked and avoided (Romans 10:17)  However, it is entirely a different matter when believers squabble over non essentials, and take pride in what they believe is their own infallible understanding of matters difficult to understand, and of the secret things that belong to the Lord our God.  Think of your favourite teacher, one that perhaps helped open your eyes to the deceptive teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation, prosperity gospel, or word of faith heresy. That teacher, alongside you and I, will have parts of our theology corrected when we get to Heaven.

The lesson we should learn from the church at Ephesus is this:  No matter how sound our doctrine is, no matter how discerning we are, and despite our good works, if we have abandoned our love for God, and our neighbour, we will be found wanting.

 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 22:37-40

LIKE JACKALS AMONG RUINS

By Rick Becker    23 August 2018

A study of the old testament prophets reveal a motley crew of individuals, aloof, persecuted, and tormented at times.  Rejected by society and even God’s people, these prophets delivered God’s word – described as a fire and a hammer that shatters rocks. (Jeremiah 23:29)  In stark contrast, false prophets ignored the law and flattered their audience by appeasing wicked hearts who “..say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel” Isaiah 30:10-11.

The thirteenth chapter of Ezekiel describes false prophets as “jackals among ruins.”  These false prophets were shameless liars –They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?”  These imposters were misleading people by  saying “Peace,’ when there is no peace.”
Today the visible church is plagued with it’s own version of Jackals among the ruins – a new breed of narcissistic false prophets.  These smooth talkers
 ignore  the law and gospel.  They appeal to a generation in love with self.  Under the guise of Christianity, they offer those with itching ears a false gospel of dominion, prosperity, comfort, and peace among the nations.  In this post, we examine the false prophet from Bethel – Kris Vallotton.


Kris Vallotton is the Senior Associate Leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California and co-founder of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM).  Kris  “has a passion to use his experience and his prophetic gift to assist world leaders in achieving their goals and accomplishing their mission.”  

EXAMINING VALLOTTON’S CALLING AS A PROPHET.

Jesus appears to Vallotton while he is in the bathtub:

I heard a strange noise, and I opened my eyes just in time to see Jesus walk through the wall and stand in front of me! I sat up in the tub with a sense of awe surging through my being like electricity. I looked up into His face, and I could see the world in His eyes.Then, to my surprise, He began to speak to me. “I have called you to be a prophet to the nations. You will speak before kings and queens. You will influence prime ministers and presidents. I will open doors for you to talk to mayors, governors, ambassadors and government officials all around the world. You will be a father to many nations, and you will guide many nations into prosperity, freedom and peace. I will put My words in your mouth, and the nations will know that there is a God in heaven who loves them, leads them and guides the affairs of men!” The vision lasted for about half an hour as Jesus told me many other things that would happen in my life. I sat there in the tub, speechless, my mind swirling with thoughts, while my heart trembled with some sort of awesome fear, excitement and wonder all mixed up into one tumultuous emotion.Finally, the Lord turned His back toward me to leave the room. Then He suddenly stopped, turned back around and pointed right at me. He said in a serious tone, “History will tell us if you believe Me!” A moment later He was gone.”   – Kris Vallotton, School of the Prophets, Chosen books, 2015, p.23

Notice that the Jesus Vallotton saw was not concerned with the salvation of souls or the spreading of the gospel, but rather the agenda of the New Apostolic Reformation. Vallotton is the hero of this self-aggrandizing encounter, and because he’s so important, he will be sent to important people – kings, queens and prime ministers. Jesus was more concerned about the outcasts of society, and although he could silence the pharisees with a question or parable, he remained silent before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Jesus had no intention to make the kingdoms of this world his own, but to redeem a people from the kingdoms of the world. A people who will be hated, persecuted, ridiculed, and will endure much suffering as aliens and sojourners in this present world. Conditions on earth prior to Christ’s return are the opposite of what Vallotton and other false prophets in the NAR envision. There will be war instead of peace, apostasy and spiritual delusion instead of a massive revival, and wickedness will increase not decrease.  Nations will not experience “prosperity, freedom and peace” – but there will be a man who will claim to have the ability to bring peace on earth and it won’t be Jesus.  The Antichrist or Beast, will display the very things the NAR crave – power and dominion.  If folk at Bethel are fooled by pigeon feathers, poor special effects such as smoke, glitter and gold dust, the Antichrist and his false prophet would probably be invited to host a School of the Prophets at Bethel:The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Vallotton’s “experience and his prophetic gift to assist world leaders in achieving their goals and accomplishing their mission” have failed dismally thus far!

Fortunately for Vallotton, world leaders probably don’t read his blog as his failed prophetic word for Russia in 2016 would warrant a stoning under the old covenant:

• a great reformation flowing through the entire country of Russia
• a spiritual awakening that is unprecedented in modern history
• Every city was filled with joy and prosperity
• two new brands of automobiles emerge with excellence out of Russia
• The righteous reigned in the land and a Jesus movement that will touch the entire world will be birthed in the universities, beginning in Moscow.”

Vallotton will not be too concerned with his failed prophecies, God will simply shrug them off and make a plan – here is an excerpt from this article by Vallotton: 

“Years ago on I had one of those Sunday nights that was just really good; the message went well and I was prophesying over people and they were crying (which was a general sign that it was going well, ha!) I went home on a high and that night lay in bed and heard God laughing and say, “That was a good word YOU gave that lady at the end.” I started to get worried, and apologized to God for getting so caught up in the moment. I went from a high to a quick low. He laughed and said, “Oh that’s okay, I’ll take care of it.” I said, “How are you going to take care of it?!” and He replied, “What kind of a friend would I be if I only ever did what I wanted?”

Imagine that, God laughing about a false prophecy, and then doing something he’d rather not in order to fix the fruits of Vallotton’s false message. Read a critique of Vallotton’s article here.

Will Vallotton make the world a better place?

Dominionists like Vallotton believe the world will get better.  I
n this article, Vallotton writes:

KV:
“There’s a sense of despair, hopelessness, and a feeling that things are getting worse and worse hanging over the planet…We must be more than optimistic; we must see the world through the eyes of God and have faith for the world to get better.”

One reason for the optimism exuded by Bethelites regarding the state of the world is based on the heretical belief that people are inherently good. Senior pastor of Bethel, Eric Johnson (Bill Johnson’s son) for example believes that “every government, every structure, every system, fundamentally and theologically must start with the concept and idea that people are good, and they mean to do good, even if they’re not saved.  We have to start from that premise.”
In other words Johnson is teaching the Pelagian heresy.
Compare what Johnson teaches to scripture: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-

Has God called Vallotton as a “prophet to the nations?”

If He did, the message would surely be repent, instead of a flattering message promising peace and prosperity. The various nations of this world are not going to turn the world into some kind of Christian utopia, but will grow in wickedness, war with each other, persecute believers, and ultimately experience the wrath of God. The real question we should ask is this – Does God still need prophets?  In Vallotton’s mind the office of the prophet is still functioning:

“Ultimately, we want to see the office of the prophet and prophetess fully restored to the Church in a way that equips and prepares the saints to have a profound, positive impact on every realm of society.  School of the Prophets, p38

The apostles and prophets were instrumental in laying the foundations for the early church.  “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,”
Ephesians 2:19-20
That foundation is complete, as is the canon of scripture.  Any progressive revelation means that scripture is in fact incomplete.  We don’t add to the foundation, but we build on the foundation. The prophets and apostles are still speaking today as their messages are recorded in scripture.  The messages they brought were “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and it is our duty to contend for this faith by exposing those who claim to have fresh revelation and function in the office of a prophet.

Vallotton’s narcissistic imagination:

Vallotton says that he waited for two years, before receiving confirmation of his prophetic calling, in the meantime he read passages of scriptures “having anything to do with prophets and prophecy.”  Narcissists tend to narcigete scripture, and Vallotton’s delusions of grandeur come to the fore in the following paragraph:

“Slowly but surely, something was changing in my spirit. It was as if the vision had somehow sown seeds in the garden of my heart that were growing into some kind of fruitful orchard. I could feel the heavenly vision wrapping its roots around my heart. I envisioned myself like Daniel, serving in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar, guiding the destiny of nations with heavenly visions and prophetic proclamations. There I was, a simple, uneducated man, standing before world leaders, sharing fresh revelation with them straight from the throne room of God. Excitement filled my soul as I imagined presidents stunned by my prophetic words, weeping as they tried to grasp the wisdom from another age.” School of the Prophets, p26.

Someone who did stand before important leaders was the apostle Paul. When the Apostle Paul was called, God described him as “a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” Acts 9:15
This calling came at a price: “For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:16
When Paul stood in chains before King Agrippa, he made it clear that the purpose for God sending him to people was to “open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26:18

Vallotton had the opportunity to stand before an influential leader – Pope Francis.
Now if Vallotton was a true prophet, one would expect him to have given the Pope the same message – “turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.”
Instead, Vallotton came away singing the Pope’s praises, and condemned those who reject unity with Rome and consider the Pope a false prophet.  Vallotton had this to say after his
meeting with the Pope:

KV: “We spent about two hours asking him questions about whatever was on our hearts. His opening comments blessed me. He said, “We must invite the prophets back into the church and welcome them with open arms.” I thought it was interesting that this was his opening comment. Of course, many of the pastors looked over and smiled at me.”

Of course Kris would highlight the fact that his peers consider him a prophet.  In a sense he is a prophet – a false prophet who will probably play an active role in uniting a false church. There are already signs that the toxic streams of Charismania, the NAR, seeker sensitive and other movements will join with the Roman Catholic Church and merge into one false church under the Antichrist.  Consider Vallottons musings:

KV: “In Acts 2, Peter made it clear that in the last days God would pour His Spirit out on EVERYONE! Is it possible that on this 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that God would take the two and make them one again? I mean, could God have raised up Pope Francis with a spirit of reconciliation to tear down the walls of mistrust and unforgiveness that have been erected over five centuries between brothers?”

No discernment, bizarre revelations, and false teachings:

Despite his claims to the prophetic, Vallotton does not have an ounce of discernment as evidenced by his desire to receive the mantle of false teacher and occultist, William Branham.  Perhaps God actually gave Vallotton a piece of Branham’s mystical delusion, as the fruits of his School of Supernatural Ministry are mystical and occultic in nature.  Vallotton is a shameless prosperity teacher, twisting God’s word to come to his conclusions.  In this article, Vallotton claims that God revealed the following in a dream: “I am creating a new operating system that can contain My revelation, for the former wineskin will rip under the weight of My Kingdom. The stagnant mindsets of religious structures must give way to a living organism that can embrace My dreams and empower My people.”

Vallotton claims that God had a conversation with him regarding Lot’s wife.  Did you know her “ministry” apparently killed her?  Vallotton recalls his conversation with God:

“That’s right,” God said, “So she had an identity apart from Abraham.” Now I was getting it! Lot’s wife was not named because her identity was attached to Lot’s righteousness! “That’s right,” the Lord said, and continued, “Was Lot righteous or
wicked?” “Righteous,” I replied. “What did she turn into when she looked back?” Jesus asked. “Salt,” I said. “What is salt?” God asked. “A preservative,” I said.
“Yes! She lived with a mantle of intercession. She knew that they were
preserving that city.” Finally, I understood that her body turning into a pillar of salt was a
prophetic metaphor for the role that she had played in the city. Because Lot and his wife were the “salt” or “preservative” of Sodom, they were preservation for the city. Then they had a chance to escape judgment when the Lord finally decided to release fire and brimstone. Lot’s wife simply made a bad choice in a time of deliverance. “She could not let go when I did. Her own ministry killed her.” God explained.”
The Supernatural Ways of Royalty – Preserving the Planet.

In his book Fashioned to Reign: Empowering Women to Fulfill Their Divine Destiny, Vallotton suggests that Adam was created as an “intersexed being.”  God supposedly took the woman out of Adam by literally taking the “she” out of the “he.”
This bizarre view is not surprising since Vallotton
teaches that God is both “male and female.”

Vallotton narcigetes scripture:

In a recent article – HOLDING ONTO HOPE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE CARR FIRE,  Vallotton narcigetes Ezekiel 37, and implies that we have powers ascribed to God alone:

KV: “As of posting this on August 3rd, it has burned through 131,896 acres and is 39% contained. It has destroyed over 1,000 homes”

This should really prove to deluded Bethelites that their decrees and declarations failed, but unfortunately Bethelites remain in denial that their methodology and theology lie in ashes.

KV: ” A DARK CLOUD OF GLOOM.  When Ezekiel entered the valley of dry bones, the outlook was bleak; death hung over the battlefield like a thick dark cloud of gloom. (This picture is all too familiar to us in Redding, as a cloud of smoke still lingers over our city.)Then suddenly, God rocked Ezekiel’s world when He asked the prophet a ridiculous question: “Can these bones live?” The great prophet staggered to comprehend the possible outcome of God’s incredible inquiry. Finally, he gathered himself and answered, “You know, Lord.” The rest is history: a mighty army emerged from the valley of dry bones as Ezekiel prophesied life into that graveyard (see Ezekiel 37:1-10). Our city today seems to be in disarray in the wake of the Carr Fire. Loss, chaos, and fear have been pelting us like a plague, and yet once again God’s prophetic people stand in the valley of the shadow of death, and once again God is asking us the same question: “Can these bones live?”
The history of our city and county hang in the balance as we ponder the answer to this profound question; will we inspire mass despair, or will we equip a mighty army of light bearers who transform this deep darkness?

God gave this vision and prophecy to Ezekiel at a time when Israel had been dispersed  They had no homeland, no temple, no king, and the future seemed bleak in the natural realm.  This prophesy was fulfilled when the kingdom of Israel was restored under king David, and is symbolic of the resurrection and the kingdom of God under the rulership of Jesus Christ.  This passage  does not symbolize Redding, and God is certainly not asking the same question to Bethelites.  What can Bethel offer Redding?  In practical terms, Bethel is a distribution center for donations, and  perhaps they could cancel their new $96 million campus and use those funds to rebuild the community.  Spiritually speaking, Bethel would have to repent of their false gospel, close doors, and support the churches in Redding that proclaim the true gospel.

KV: “Just as Ezekiel was called to look at a hopeless situation of death and dismay and have a role in changing the course of history, so must we as believers look at our city and see beyond hopelessness. Here are at least 5 ways that we can make a difference and hold onto hope in the wake of the Carr tragedy: 1. See beyond what’s obvious. When everybody else sees a valley of dry bones, it is incumbent upon us as the prophetic people of God to envision a mighty army. Not only do we need to see beyond, but we have to take action, PROCREATING with God through prophetic declarations. As we see through Ezekiel’s story, prophecy is not just telling the future; oftentimes God calls us to CAUSE the future!

The only sense in which humans can “procreate” is by having children.  Declarations are not going to help in that regard.  So what does Vallotton mean?  Drawing from Ezekiel’s vision, Vallotton suggests that we “procreate” because we are active in causing the future. Is that what the text teaches:  Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
Who is the cause in the passage, Ezekiel or God?  God gets the glory, as God is the cause.  Bethel’s declarations and decrees during the fire failed; what makes Vallotton believe they can now create alongside God?  Which god is this, because it’s not the God of the scriptures that allows humans to be part of the Trinity.  The New Apostolic Reformation version of Jesus has led followers to think they can be like God.

KV: “ Be a bold bearer of hope.  While some in our community are now encountering a dark night of the soul and they feel weak, hungry, and fragile, it is God’s prophetic people who can see past the plots of the enemy and envision the battle plans of the angel armies. This gives us the authority to release declarations of hope in the midst of the fires of destruction, which in turn ensnares principalities, and disarms and imprisons them in their own demonic devices.”

A wildfire is a tragedy. Is Vallotton implying it was a plot of the enemy?  Is God currently in a titanic struggle with the devil over weather patterns.  When did God relinquish his power: The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.  His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.  He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. The mountains quake before him;

the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it.”
Nahum 1:3-5

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!”  Psalm 148:7-8

Conclusion – Kris Vallotton is a false prophet.  Any sane believer willing to look at facts and compare Vallotton’s teachings with scripture, will know that he must be marked and avoided.

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
Romans 16:17-18

 

 

 

 

The New Apostolic Reformation – A Shelter for the Unqualified

By Stephen Colin   9 August 2018

Bob Dylan, hailed as one of the great song writers of the 20th century penned a song called “Shelter from the Storm” in 1975. The lyrics to the song have been regarded as a poetic masterpiece, which is probably why he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. The third verse in particular uses imagery which is akin to something we see in the visible church today. Dylan writes, “Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved. Everything up to that point had been left unresolved. Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm. Come in, she said I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.”  These lyrics describe something taking place in the the fastest growing movement under the name of “Christianity,” the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation)  The NAR, along with a host of serious issues (articulated in our previous blogs) has become somewhat of a shelter for the unqualified.

What would you do if you discovered that a certain hospital performing heart surgeries , used unqualified people to operate on patients?  I’m sure you would expose the hospital, and warn as many people as possible to avoid them!  The NAR in like manner is a movement which shelters unqualified “apostles, prophets and pastors,” and provides them with a platform to perform deadly surgery on the souls of men and women. I remind you that the “apostles and prophets” in this movement are already unqualified simply because of the fact that the church has “…been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets..” (Eph. 2:20)  This makes it impossible for anyone to hold such offices in the church today. However, the office of Pastor is still functioning in Christ’s church, and many who have proven themselves unqualified for this position have found refuge in the NAR. The question that this article seeks to answer is simply this: why is a movement claiming to represent the true church of Jesus Christ sheltering unqualified individuals?

The Bible is absolutely clear regarding the qualifications for a pastor.  Paul writes to Timothy – “An overseer (a word used interchangeable with elder and pastor), then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
(1 Tim. 3:2-7)
Paul also tells Titus that  “he must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Tit. 1:9)
To sum it up: a pastor must be qualified in two vital areas, Character and Doctrine.

In light of the clear teaching of Scripture regarding who gets to be a pastor, I would like to briefly examine two individuals who have found shelter in the NAR, even though they are unqualified for the position.

1. Todd Bentley
How in the world does this man still have a voice in the visible church?  Answer: The NAR has sheltered him. It is a well-known fact that Todd Bentley committed adultery and got a divorce.  He went on to marry the woman whom he had an affair with providing us all with evidence that this man was unrepentant.  Clearly this is someone who has disqualified himself from ministry (even though it could easily be argued that he was never qualified doctrinally anyway).  Yet, Todd Bentley has been fully restored and is continuing to deceive millions. This didn’t happen by accident.

Two popular “apostles” in this cancerous movement played a major part in restoring this fraud.  Rick Joyner and Bill Johnson paved the way for Bentley to continue preaching his delusional message, accompanied by false signs and wonders, ridiculous claims of raising the dead, and bizarre behavior which has absolutely nothing to do with Biblical Christianity.

A second individual who has found shelter in this unbiblical movement is none other than…
2. Mark Driscoll
In short, this man basically fled church discipline after serious allegations of plagiarism were charged against him. (You can read more about this saga at this here.)
There is no doubt that this has damaged his reputation with those outside the church, disqualifying him from pastoral ministry, yet in the short time of about two years he is already pastoring a new church (The Trinity Church, Scottsdale, Arizona). And guess which crowd he’s running with now? The NAR. They have gladly taken him in and sheltered him from the storm of those “stuffy christians” who have called for repentance. Charisma Mag, the online purporters of NAR theology have recently promoted Driscoll and his new book “Spirit-Filled Jesus.” Not only are they promoting his book, but he will even be speaking at the Charisma Conference!  Sadly, another unqualified “pastor” sheltered by the NAR.

These are just two examples among many! Steven Furtick wrote a book called “Unqualified” in which he demonstrates how unqualified he actually is for pastoral ministry by the way he mishandles God’s precious Word. Therefore, it is no surprise that he too has been embraced by the NAR, evidenced by his more recent associations and conferences like the “Dominion Camp Meeting” where in 2017 he partnered with the “apostle” Rod Parsley, the supreme heretic Jesse Duplantis, and Perry Stone.

I believe that the reason why the NAR is so quick to shelter unqualified ‘pastors’ is simply because this movement is not from God.  This movement has not come about through a serious exegetical study of the Word of God, and has consistently shown a complete lack of discernment.  This movement is a continuation of the “Third wave” Charismatic movement which prepared the way for some of the most destructive false teachers in church history.  This movement not only produces these false teachers, but gladly takes in and shelters those who have been exposed in more doctrinally sound environments.

Coming back to Bob Dylan’s song I think it is fair to say that the NAR’s message to the unqualified is this: “Come in, she said I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.”

Instead of being sheltered by this abhorrent movement these “pastors” should be called to repentance. God is Holy and will not be mocked. The NAR may be able to protect these men from the temporal storm of discerning christians, however who is going to protect them on the day of Judgment when everything will be exposed? Who will be their advocate on that day?

This is a reminder that every single one of us must flee to Christ and throw ourselves at His mercy! Not only did He bleed and die upon the cross to satisfy the wrath of God, but he imputes His perfect righteousness to the account of those who humbly repent of their sin and put all of their trust in the Risen and Returning Christ.  Only with our sins wiped away and the righteousness of God that comes through faith will we be sheltered and able to withstand the storm of God’s righteous Judgement.  As Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:25, “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”

A better song goes like this:

“My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”

Edward Mote (1797-1874)

Bethel’s delusions of grandeur – impervious to the realities of the Carr fire

By Rick Becker   2 August 2018

As the ashes from the Carr fire settle in Redding,  Bethelites remain in denial that their methodology and theology lie in ashes.  Their prophetic ministry failed – hundreds have been “activated” into the prophetic at Bethel, yet none of them foresaw the Carr fire.  Don’t expect them to cancel any of their prophetic courses – all opportunities for shameful gain will continue….their prophets are in it for a profit or self-aggrandizement.  Any rational person would come to the conclusion that Bethel’s ministry had no impact on the Carr fire. Their decrees and declarations could not extinguish a single ember.  The weather did not obey their commands, the dead were not raised, and Bethel has had to be content with doing the not so miraculous by operating as a distribution hub for the Salvation Army.  So what does Bethel do when their talk differs from their walk?  They make assumptions, camouflage their failed teachings, and continue in their deluded state.

In this post, we examine Theresa Dedmon’s article in response to the tragedy titled “Beauty For Ashes”. But first, some background information on Dedmon. From her webpage:I am on pastoral staff at Bethel Church in Redding, California, where I oversee the Creative Arts department for the Church and School of Supernatural Ministry. I instruct on worship expressions and arts events within the church, as well as strategy and coordination for city transformation and outreach.”
Theresa describes her ministry as “equipping and activating people in prophetic and healing ministry as I show them how to step into their supernatural and creative destinies.”

Her own creativity has resulted in her range of stretch pants, and apparently wearing her art “enhances your awareness of God’s presence, and helps you become a walking encounter of Heaven’s message to those around you.”  Let’s not forget her other brand –  tarot   destiny cards.

Some snippets from Theresa’a blog posts:

Her “passion is to empower others to walk in supernatural power and transform the world through creative expressions of God’s presence.”  Well, we know that’s not going to work out, and neither will this: True creativity restores relationship:  relationship with God and others.  Our creative destiny can only be fulfilled to the degree that we are change agents in culture to restore community and connection in relationship.”

Creativity has replaced the gospel?

Mysticism and Bethel go hand in hand – Dedmon writes the following:  Now if I was to interview people about what they love about San Francisco last weekend, it probably wouldn’t be just one thing like the food, diverse people, hills, and architectural design.  It would be the intangible feelings evoked from the many memories that now are attached to their experiences that happened while they were there.  In the same way, the more we create with God in the unseen realm, we will have intangible feelings of God’s presence associated with our experiences as we have created with Him.”

Have you created with God in the unseen realm?  What does this even mean?

On dreaming, Dedmon writes: “We can literally dream our way to our destinyOur dreams can change us, and the world around us…Anything is possible in the Kingdom of God.  What will you build in your life?  Your dreams will determine the answer!”

Who needs God?

You can read Dedmon’s latest article  here.
Theresa Dedmons (TD) words in italics, with my comments below.

TD: “On July 23rd, a car supposedly malfunctioned in the early morning at Whiskeytown Lake, which sparked the Carr Fire in Shasta County, soon began torching my city of Redding, California, and has decimated over 98,000 acres, burned over 818 homes, and has claimed at least 6 lives. The sad news a week later is that only 20 percent of the fire is contained, and continues to burn, threatening more people’s lives.”

In other words, despite efforts of the ground to contain and extinguish parts of the fire, it has run it’s natural course, wreaking havoc in Shasta county.  The declarations and decrees of Bethelites had no impact on the fire.

TD: “On July 20th my husband Kevin and I left Redding to enjoy a relaxing vacation in Tahoe.  We thought all was well back home, when we received the news on the 26th about the Carr fire potentially engulfing Redding.  We began to get texts from our friends saying that the wind would be shifting later that night and the fire could be heading toward Redding.  That Thursday night, we were with our friends, eating an incredible Italian meal, when all of a sudden we got the message that the fire was only a few miles from our house, and that many were being evacuated.  I felt numb. Everything seemed to stop around me, and I felt like I was in slow motion — a dream — a nightmare. We texted our friends, who began sending us frightening videos and accounts on how unpredictable, fast growing and out of control the fire was. As we watched the fire relentlessly invading into Redding’s city limits, we realized that so many of our friends and church members were also in jeopardy of losing their homes. All of a sudden, I knew that we were in for a fight, but not something that could be fought naturally — this had to be confronted in a supernaturally way by bringing Heaven to earth.”

Bill Johnson & co are never going to “bring Heaven to earth.”  Heaven is only going to come to earth when God creates a new earth (Revelation 21)  As time marches on and we draw closer to the second coming of our Lord, we can expect the very opposite of what those in the New Apostolic Reformation teach. Instead of mass revival and a transformed world, scripture predicts a massive falling away and increasing wickedness.  If wars, famines, and earthquakes are merely birth pains, we should not expect man made or natural disasters to decline.

TD: “THE BEST WEAPONS TO USE IN A FIREFIGHT Support:  Immediately we called and texted our friends, and asked them to stand with us. Kevin and I realized that we could not stand alone, but needed the help of those who loved us. I also posted our need for help on social media, so that people in our online community around the world would be praying for our, and our city’s protection. Jesus outlined the benefits of a community of believers coming together in crisis when he promised that: “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Matt 18:19

Kevin and I are so thankful that we have invested in a community that stands together in the good times and hard times to fight for God’s will to be done here on earth.”

I agree that a community coming together during a crisis can only be of great assistance to all concerned.  I do agree that the best thing to do in any crisis is pray!  Lets keep in mind that there are conditions to any prayer we offer to God being answered the way we would like. The most important being:  And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:14
(God’s will on earth according to Bethel are encapsulated in the heretical teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation, word of faith and prosperity gospels.)

TD:Spiritual Armor: Ephesians 6:11 says to “put on God’s complete set of armor, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser.”I began to access my prayer language, quote verses about God’s protection, and began asking for angelic intervention, as I wrestled in the spirit throughout that first night.”

One of the weapons of our armor is prayer, and as I have stated prayer in any situation like this should be our first priority.  I presume by “prayer language” Dedmon is referring to speaking in tongues.  Even those who believe the gift of tongues are still in operation, should know that “not all speak in tongues” (1 Cor 12:30)
I just want to dispel the myth that those who claim to speak in tongues, have superior spiritual abilities than those who don’t.  What were the fruits of Dedmon’s spiritual wrestling? Were they in line with scripture or did they result in Bethel’s deceptive teachings coming to the fore?

TD:Declaration: At midnight, while the fires were raging, and could be seen from our outside deck in Redding, we joined with friends on our phone and declared that the winds would shift and the fire would move away from Redding.  Proverbs 18:21 states that, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”.Our declarations make a difference!  All that night, Kevin and I wrestled in prayer for God’s intervention, as we declared the promises God has given us for our home.”

Proverbs 18v21 does not mean that our words have inherent power; that is an attribute of God, not humans.  It does not mean our words are causative, but that they have an effect: A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.” Proverbs 18:6.
“Declarations make a difference” – says no biblical text.  Has God given you promises for your home?  What does God base this on, and who qualifies?  What about believers around the world currently being persecuted for their faith;  many of their homes are destroyed or taken over by their persecutors. I agree that we can ask God for protection, but I cannot find any guarantee in the New Testament that God guarantees a home, let alone divine protection over it.

TD: Thankfulness: The apostle Paul gives us these specific instructions on how to fight spiritual battles: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6,7).

We began to thank God in advance for my house being saved, we thanked him for the firemen who were risking their lives for me, we thanked God for being in charge of the outcome, and we thanked God for being a Good Father!  A thankful perspective kept my heart from fear and worry, and released faith to believe that God would help us.Just like when Jesus gave thanks when there seemed to not be enough food to feed the multitude, and got supernatural breakthrough, so too, our thankfulness prepares the way for breakthrough.”

Dedmon should pay heed to the verse she quotes, note that it reads: “present your requests” and not “make your declaration before God.”  The outcome of the prayer, does not necessarily include favourable circumstances.  She may have lost her house, and God would still have been in charge.  What God does offer, is His peace, a peace that comes regardless of circumstances.  Consider the plight of the Hebrew Christians:
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” Hebrews 10:33-34

And that of real Apostles:
 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;  when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.” 1 Corinthians 4:11-13

There may be no “breakthrough” in the natural despite any thankfulness on our part.  Being thankful, is not a formula to achieve a breakthrough, and Jesus certainly did not use thankfulness in order to access the supernatural. It’s not surprising however that Bethelites look for formulas and ways to imitate the miraculous that Jesus displayed.  In Bill Johnsons book “Strengthen Yourself in the Lord,” he writes: “Jesus did everything as a man, laying aside His divinity in order to become a model for us”.   Jesus did not perform miracles to show us what we can be mini gods, but to show that he is God:Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31  

TD:Seeing The Victory Through.  When we got up the next morning, the winds had shifted, and the fires were being pushed in the opposite direction.  We got word from many of our friends that their homes had been spared through prayer as well. While we battled and have won through prayer on so many fronts, we have also grieved those who have died or lost their homes or businesses. We are grieve over the loss of our beautiful natural wildlife around Whiskeytown Lake.”

Dedmon makes it sound as if the winds had shifted as a result of their declarations and thankfulness, as does her husband who posted this on his facebook wall:


What about Bethel members who did lose their home? Were they unthankful?  Did they fail to access their prayer language?  Were they short of declarations?  Why were they robbed of a breakthrough?  These are the questions that must be asked when a man centered theology takes stage.  This is the dilemma that word of faith theology and a faulty view of spiritual warfare creates.

TD:Beauty for Ashes.  During this process, the firefighters have shared about how our intercession, cards, and encouraging posters have helped them fight this fire.  After one week, this fire has not conquered the human spirit to fight with weapons on the ground and in the Heavenly realms.  I believe Redding will rise from the ashes and will be crowned with splendorJesus is calling us to, “rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” (Isaiah 61:3,4).”

Bill Johnson does not know, and has never taught his congregation the basics of hermeneutics, and it’s common for his disciples to pluck texts out of context.  Lets examine the text Dedmon quotes: to grant to those who mourn in Zion – to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations
Isaiah 61:3-4.
Practically speaking, this text refers to Israel after coming out of captivity, they would rebuild the cities that had been left to ruin during their exile.  Any symbolic or spiritual application, refers to the church.  Jesus is not calling for the rebuilding of Redding, that task lies at the feet of Redding’s city council.  The church is “crowned with splendor” because of what Christ has done in and through it, not because of anything we can contribute.  How Redding will be “crowned with splendor” is anyone’s guess. I do know that Bethel’s presence in Redding has not decreased crime or disease, and clearly has had no effect on the devastation of the Carr fire.

TD: “All of us have most likely experienced raging fires, like the Carr fire, that has come against us either in our relationships, pursuing our dreams, or feeling secure for our future.  Remember, that support from others, hearing God’s voice, declaring, and giving thanks will be key for your victory. I can hardly wait to share with you stories of victory and breakthrough as we press in for God’s mercy and blessing for protection and restoration. Remember you are Born to Create, and declare life!”

Ah, yes, it’s always about “our dreams” when it comes to an ear tickling gospel that excites the natural man instead of offending him.  Lets walk through Dedmon’s final words:
“Support from others” – community was God’s idea, and it’s heartwarming to witness the kindness being displayed by the folk in Redding.  I have no doubt that real testimonies will come to light, and that the true gospel will fall on ears to hear.
“Hearing God’s voice”  – There is one way to guarantee that voice will be infallible – read scripture aloud.
“Declaring” – Unless you are God, don’t bother, instead make your supplications known to him.
“Giving thanks”  – Amen, but not to unlock a breakthrough: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
key for your victory”  – That would be the realization that God is in charge, and in control. This heretical statement from false apostle Bill Johnson, would make any person in Bethel not under a spiritual delusion flee immediately:

Remember you are Born to Create, and declare life!” – I can’t think of any scripture telling us we were “born to create.”  Declaring life will have no impact, I challenge Dedmon to “declare life” over a burnt stump in the ground and see if that tree grows back at supernatural speed.  Where are we taught to “declare life” in scripture? 

Dedmon and Bethel failed to bring Heaven to earth through their decrees, declarations and commands during this disaster.  There is no indication that Bethel’s prayers for: structures to “miraculously resist igniting”,  water to be “multiplied” in “trucks and airplanes,” or that their commanding the “wind to calm down” came to pass:


The man centered theology of Bethel is clearly visible in the comments on their facebook page, here is one example:

The prayer starts off well – “Lord I surrender the Carr fire..your will be done” and then immediately after,  Bill Johnson’s theology takes over.  There are no wildfires in Heaven, there is also no death in Heaven, yet every Bethelite like the rest of us, will die. The real Apostles were miserable failures in the light of Bill Johnson’s Heaven to earth teaching.

The man centered theology begins – “I decree…I say…I command…”
The ludicrous and blasphemous fruits of the New Apostolic Reformation teachings culminate in the final sentence: “I decree for your will to go into effect starting now and I authorize You to work..”
Fancy that, a mortal giving God permission to finally get His way in a situation.
This individuals commands, decrees, and authorization failed!
Bethel’s declarations and commands have failed!

The results speak for themselves: 115,538 acres burned, 1,018 residences, 12 commerical structures, 435 outbuildings destroyed – 181 residences, 6 commercial structures and 61 outbuildings damaged, 6 fatalites (2 were firefighters)
According to this report, the “Carr is now the seventh most destructive fire in state history and the most destructive ever for Shasta County.”
According to this report the fire  “is so large and hot that it is creating its own localized weather system with variable strong winds, making it difficult for experts to predict which way the blaze will spread.”

The dominionists at Bethel who probably use insect killers in their homes, thought they could take on a wildfire, but they are powerless, their theology has proven to be useless. 

If God has left Bethel “in control” as Bill Johnson claims, they should be sued.
In reality, God is not a white-knuckled deity, pacing up and down some heavenly chamber hoping his charges on earth take risks and finally conquer the world so that he can return.  That’s a weak god, a slightly elevated mortal who needs us to help him accomplish his purposes. We can hope that Bethel’s failure to impact the Carr fire through their supposed supernatural abilities and declarations would open the eyes of many of their followers, but reality is no match for those given over to a delusion by God because they have rejected truth.

Bethel are already capitalising on this tragedy.  Charisma News featured this short article yesterday: “How Bethel Is Meeting the Physical, Spiritual Needs of Its Community”
A short video clip of failed prophet Kris Vallotton saying a few words, is followed by this paragraph: “As Redding residents stream back into their neighborhoods after evacuation notices lifted, many are left with nothing.The Carr Fire in Shasta County, California, has consumed 112,888 acres and is now 30 percent contained. In addition to the mass intercession Bethel conducted in the last few days, the Spirit-filled congregation is now able to meet the physical needs of its community. Donations must be dropped off through the Salvation Army, but the Bethel building is the charity’s distribution center.

We have established that Bethel’s prayers are usually instructions to God, and an exercise in vanity.  “Spirit filled congregation” – which spirit are we talking about, because the Holy Spirit is grieved at Bethel, so it must be another spirit. Note that Bethel is merely distributing the donations from the public.  Bethel are not the only church or organization that are helping in some manner. Behind the scenes and not hogging the limelight are many faithful servants of God, serving the community in practical means, and bringing the true gospel to those in need.

If Bethel can afford to build a new  $96 million campus in north Redding, one would hope they make their own donations as well, even though their profits come from teaching for shameful gain.  While we should be grateful for any practical support from Bethel, lets keep in mind that this is an outreach opportunity for them. People who collect supplies are invited to go to Bethel’s prayer room and receive counselling and prayer.  Victims of the fire, may become victims of Bethel’s dangerous Sozo counselling ministry.  Those who may have lost earthly possessions in the Carr fire, are now exposed to a far greater risk – a spiritual delusion that will have eternal consequences. This is an opportunity for Bethel to introduce their false teachings and methods to vulnerable people, who will sadly be hearing  “another gospel.” 

Conclusion

Unlike Bethel, scripture does not teach that we can command miracles to happen, release God’s presence, or decree, declare, and speak things into existence.  Knowing Bethel’s tendency to tell tall stories, exaggerate, and confuse synthetic gold dust and glitter with the manifest glory of God, I’ll treat their claims of miracles during this disaster with a pinch of salt.  No doubt, prophetic words will resume, and many Bethelites will see this fire as symbolic of new life rising from the ashes in the form of a greater anointing, greater breakthrough, new shift etc.

I believe God is able, and does intervene in tragedies such as this according to His will.  I’m all for his supernatural intervention to spare lives, and my prayer would have been for His protection during this raging fire. I think believers will have testimonies of God’s peace and provision during this tragedy, and I include believers from Bethel who have been temporarily caught up in the false teachings of Bethel.  Those who have suffered loss in any form can cling to God’s assurance that: “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28
As believers we must pray for those who have suffered loss in this tragedy, mourn with them, comfort them, and help them in any way we can.