BOOK REVIEW: THE POWER OF COMMUNION – BENI JOHNSON

By Rick Becker   20 March 2019

The title of the book serves as bait to attract a generation obsessed with signs and wonders. The false premise that believers can access “miracles through the body & blood of Jesus” will deceive those too lazy to study the word of God, and gullible enough to believe every story in this book. It will become clear that Beni Johnson’s book is not a result of rightly dividing the word. Charles Spurgeon said “discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” In this book, there’s very little “right,” very little “almost right” and a great deal of wrong. In true New Apostolic Reformation fashion, Johnson veers off the map (scripture) and into the forbidden territories of charismatic myths, dominionism, mysticism, the new age, and other errors.

 

All quotes are from The Power of Communion. Destiny Image, Inc. Kindle Edition.

The NAR terminology and overuse of certain biblical terms in this book is a give away of what to expect. Here follows a list of the words followed by the number of times they occur:  Atmosphere – 5, Shift – 7, Expectation – 7, Suddenly – 11, Prophetic – 15, Release – 18, Tool – 19, Miracle – 19, Declare – 20, Encounter – 24, Presence – 25, Testimony – 26, Heal/healing – 85, Power – 94.

Some of the errors in each chapter are highlighted below:

CHAPTER 1.  WONDER WORKING POWER

Beni starts off by describing her own church background. Her parents were leaders in their church, and Beni was exposed to people encountering God.
Beni:  “People began to come up, and right away they started to manifest physically. They were crying and rolling around on the ground, encountering the Holy Spirit in new ways.”

She confesses that she “had no idea what was going on”, but “knew it was from the Lord.” (p.9) “New ways” really means ways that are not found in scripture, so the “knowing” that Beni experienced was based solely upon emotions.

Beni:  “On Sunday, April 9, 2017, our church body ended a corporate fast. My husband preached a wonderful sermon on the impact of Communion, and at the end of the service we took Communion as a congregation. We prayed together, applied the blood of Jesus to our families and communities, and celebrated what Jesus did for all mankind.” (pp.12-13)
Israel had to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to their doorposts to protect them from God’s judgement. This act is used to justify the modern and unbiblical practice of “pleading” or “applying” the blood of Jesus for protection or deliverance. The continual sacrifices under the law came to an end once Christ shed his blood (Hebrews 7:27).  His blood is effective in redeeming individuals, and delivering them from God’s judgement. Those who attempt to reapply the blood over others or communities, are partaking in a futile and unbiblical exercise.

Beni:  “Any time we are entering a season of prayer for an individual or an issue, we are co-laboring with God. When I use Communion during these seasons of prayer, I joyfully get to do my part in declaring Heaven over their lives.”  (p.14).
The Apostle Paul when addressing division in the Corinthian church, referred to himself and Apollos as “God’s fellow workers” – 1 Cor 3:9. This does not mean they were equal to God.  Verse 6-7 makes this clear:I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” This is an important distinction to make, as Bill Johnson believes Jesus came to model life for us. As far as miracles are concerned, Bill believes that whatever miracles Jesus performed, we should be able to do and even improve upon. This is based on a faulty interpretation of John 14:12. Only God can decree and declare things into existence, but delusions of grandeur have caused those who have bought into NAR teachings to believe their declarations contain power and are causative.

Beni:  “When I take Communion, I take it as a prophetic act, applying it to any situation that is weighing on my heart. A prophetic act is a Holy Spirit-inspired physical action that disrupts the atmosphere. Sometimes, I’ll feel as though God wants me to do something tangible to activate something that I’m praying into. During those moments, I simply ask the Holy Spirit, “What should I do about this?” Then, I’ll feel prompted to—for example—take my shofar into the prayer house that we have at Bethel or go to a specific place to take Communion. In completing the prophetic act, we are releasing something into the atmosphere that helps the answer to our prayer to break through.”  (pp.17-18)

In this article, Beni states that there is something miraculous about the sound of a Shofar:We discovered there is a sound in the Shofar that breaks things and releases things in the spirit realm.”
This discovery has come two thousand years too late for the apostle Paul. Provoked in his spirit due to all the idols in Athens, Paul could have used the sound of a Shofar to break and release things in the atmosphere. All that Beni actually discovered is the new age – something she unashamedly promotes.

Beni’s version of communion is far removed from the biblical description. Jesus made no mention of prophetic acts that disrupt the atmosphere:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
1 Cor 11:23-26.

The book is littered with testimonies/stories –  approximately 30 in the book.

A young woman who had been sick for seven months texted Beni and asked for help. After asking a few questions, Beni discovered that the young woman’s boyfriend had been married to a witch. Beni came to the conclusion that the young woman had been cursed, and advised her to take communion daily and “apply the blood of Jesus over her own life and send every curse meant to harm her back to where it came from.That evening, the woman felt better She then prophesied to her body, and by the morning was completely healed. The story does not end there; it seems as if the curse was reversed: “A few days later, she told me that her boyfriend’s ex-wife—the very woman who had been cursing her—had come down with the exact same symptoms that she’d been experiencing for the past seven months.” (pp.23-24)

Beni correctly states that communion is exclusively for those who are born again (p.168), and since she advised the lady to take communion, one must conclude Beni considered her to be a believer. But how can a believer be cursed by a witch in the first place? Christ became a curse for us, and every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling within. Sending curses back to their source are practices found in Voodoo magic and witchcraft, not Christianity. 

CHAPTER 2.  THE POWER OF THE BLOOD

Beni:  “We’ve heard of wonderful testimonies surrounding Communion—people being healed, couples who were dealing with infertility taking Communion every day and getting pregnant, and of people falling out in the middle of taking Communion. They had an encounter with the Lord that was so powerful while they participated in the sacrament  that their bodies could no longer stand up.” (p.27)

How many times is communion necessary in order for a woman to fall pregnant? At what point will she access the miracle working power? Throughout the book, it seems as if communion has become a vain repetition, with communion itself being the object of faith.

Beni:  “The blood of Jesus paid for everything. It washed us white as snow, so we could enter the presence of the Lord without an intermediary and without fear. The blood of Jesus gave us freedom and authority. Hell has been defeated for all eternity. And now we get to boldly release Heaven on earth.” (p.41)
This is a steak and arsenic sentence  – food & poison, truth & error.  How do believers “release Heaven on earth?”  Where is this concept taught in scripture?

Beni shares a short testimony by Henry Gruver, a “powerful intercessor” who made a trip to Wales in order to “pray and release the kingdom.” I won’t even bother repeating the tall story Gruver recounts about reclaiming an entire mountaintop for kingdom purposes, but I want to quote from an article by Gruver (Beni provides the link at the end of the chapter). Gruver says he was walking along the Wye river, when he heard teenage girls screaming. When he got to the area where he thought the screams were coming from, there was no one there. At that point, God gave Gruver a vision; he saw Roman soldiers capturing young girls from villages Some were abused before being killed.

The Lord said to Gruver: “This happened back in the third century, and their innocent blood is still crying from the ground.” Gruver asked God what he should do, and God told him to “remit those sins.” God told Gruver this act would take back the “stronghold,”  free the ground and the entire creation in that area, so Gruver obeyed and forgave the sins of the Romans. Gruver writes: “What do you do after you have remitted the sins that were committed in an area? Then it is time to release the goodness of the Lord over the land, and over those who are currently living there.”
If you find this story confusing, that’s because it is. Gruver’s story can only come from one of two sources – his imagination or deceiving spirits. But that’s clearly not a problem for Beni and Bethel, who revel in any far out story containing a supernatural element.  Although Beni does not quote this particular incident in the book, she endorses Gruver’s teachings and affirms her belief in this kind of practice (geographical ownership)  in Chapter 6.

CHAPTER 3.  SOZO FOR ALL MANKIND

Testimonies can be encouraging and have their place if they align with scripture, but they are not a conclusive means to establish sound doctrine. Scripture is the only infallible source a believer can rely on. Not so in the NAR – testimonies (usually exaggerated and unverifiable) seem to carry more weight than scripture. After a discussion with a cessationist in a coffee shop, Beni writes “When I started sharing what God had done in my life, the gentleman didn’t have anything to say. People can argue with theology, but your testimony is your most powerful tool.”  (p.53)
But what if your experiences have deceived you? Beni believes that a believer can be cursed by a witch, and that the cursed believer should simply “apply the blood” and return the curse to the sender. Is Beni’s own testimony that her prophetic acts can wake up angels, a powerful tool, or a powerful deception?

Beni:  “We deny the power of the cross when we deny the power of God healing today.” (p.54)
If Beni understood the power of the cross, she would realise that believers cannot be cursed! The issue of healing will be addressed below.

Beni:  “Every Saturday morning, we host the Healing Rooms at Bethel. People come for prayer for all sorts of physical, emotional, or spiritual ailments. The first place they go, after they arrive, is into our large sanctuary that is transformed into an encounter room. There, they can worship, sit quietly, or walk around while intercessory dancers, artists, and musicians fill the atmosphere with hope and expectancy. There is such a sweet presence of God there.” (p.55)
When special effects in the form of smoke and glitter are purported to be God’s presence at Bethel, it’s safe to conclude that the sweet presence at Bethel’s healing rooms is not from God. These encounter rooms are the perfect place to schedule a Sozo course for the needy.  Bethel & co have hijacked the word sōzō (save, deliver, heal) to describe their inner healing and deliverance course. Bethel describes their Sozo course as follows: “Sozo ministry is a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry aimed to get to the root of things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With a healed connection, you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called.”  Bethel’s Sozo course is steeped in mysticism, the occult, and therapies that will lead their victims into greater deception and turmoil.

Beni:  “When we take Communion and declare total health over our bodies, we are aligning ourselves up with what the body of Christ did for us. If we believe what the Bible says, that “by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5), then there has to be something important in the act of partaking in His body during Communion. His body suffered so that our bodies wouldn’t have to. When we take the bread, we are testifying that He is the healer, that we don’t have to walk in sickness, that what Jesus did on the cross changed everything.” (p.56)

Healing does not always refer to physical healing, and the context of Isaiah is primarily spiritual healing (from sin): But he was pierced for our transgressionshe was crushed for our iniquitiesupon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” Isaiah 53:5

While the effects of sin such as disease are included in the atonement, physical healing is not guaranteed during our earthly life. When Peter quotes from Isaiah 53, he does not equate Christ’s work on the cross with guaranteed physical healing; in fact the context excludes diseases: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25

Our physical healing will be complete when we receive our resurrection bodies. God may graciously heal some according to his will. Paul had ample opportunity to use the illnesses of Timothy, Trophimus, and Epaphroditus, as an example of 3 believers who failed to exercise their faith, declare their healing, or miss the “power” that’s in communion. 

The chapter ends with more testimonies of how the “healing power of communion” supposedly facilitated a miracle. 

CHAPTER 4.  CONQUERING THROUGH PEACE

In this chapter, Beni recounts her battle with cancer. One of the stories involves Judy Franklin. Franklin is one of the authors of  “The Physics Of Heaven”  – a book that explores “the mysteries of God hidden in sound, light, vibrations, frequencies, energy, and quantum physics.” (Bill and Beni Johnson contributed with chapters). The book has nothing to do with heaven, and everything to do with the new age – it’s heresy!

Beni speaks about finding peace daily during her battle with cancer. The peace she was looking for, was a peace she had previously experienced  “in Heaven.” (p.74)
She had this experience at a retreat with Judy, who apparently is “highly anointed in taking people on heavenly encounters. She leads people in encounters with the Lord in which they get to experience Heaven with Him. It’s a powerful gift.” (p.74) 
It’s a gift the bible does not mention. But Judy is special it seems, as God takes her on trips to Heaven, explains scriptures to her, and gives her new revelations.
This is an excerpt from Judy’s Chapter in “The Physics of Heaven” :
“The next thing the Lord told me was that soon He would release a sound from heaven that will literally change the structure of how we think. This new sound will transform us like the transformation spoken of in Romans 12. Our minds will be renewed so that we think like Him and are no longer conformed to this world but conformed to the will of God. Bringing heaven to earth is our mandate, and to do that we need to think more like heaven.”

Judy’s mandate is not from Heaven;  it’s from an angel of light. Beni recounts how Judy facilitated a heavenly encounter: “she had us all lie on the floor, and she began to take us on a journey to Heaven. I was lying on the floor, my head underneath a chair, visualizing Jesus. Almost immediately I went into a vision. In it, I saw my two grandmothers who had passed on.” (pp.74-75)

The trip to heaven, was all in the mind or a demonic encounter. Visualization is NOT a technique taught in scripture – it is employed in Eastern Religions, mysticism, the new age, and Shamanism. It’s a bridge between the physical and spirit world. Using the imagination to achieve a form of spiritual enlightenment or altered consciousness is an invitation to deceiving spirits, and an angel of light. Beni’s guided tour into the heavenlies was an experience that produced something she “had never felt before.” She realised that what she was feeling was “heavens peace.”
According to scripture, the peace of God surpasses all understanding, but we should never abandon our understanding of scripture in order to “feel peace.” Prayer, not visualization, is the means through which we obtain peace.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7
The Chapter includes an example of what some would classify as a “word of knowledge” 
 – “Soon after I got the diagnosis, I received a word from a friend. He saw the word “benefit” and heard, “Beni is fit for the next season.” (p.81)

CHAPTER 5.  THE FIGHT TO REMEMBER

According to scripture, the last days will be characterized by times of difficulty, depravity, deception, and a departure from the faith (2 Tim 3:1-7;1 Tim 4:1). This biblical view does not fit in with the Bethel’s postmillennial eschatology. Their solution is simple: Ignore scripture, and let stories determine truth.
Beni:  “Bill spoke about the power of testimonies recently. At Bethel, sharing testimonies is a big part of our culture. We have a two-hour senior staff meeting each week where we spend 90 percent of the time sharing about what the Lord is doing all over the earth. It’s amazing to hear about the miracles. The world is truly getting better all of the time.” (p.95)

There is power in the gospel (Rom 1:16), not in the testimonies of men and women. But Bethel believes testimonies are powerful due to their domino effect on faith. Beni tells the story of their son Eric who had been “releasing the power” of the testimony. Some youngsters that had been diagnosed with autism had experienced “miraculous transformations.” Eric shared the testimony of this powerful healing from autism about ten times, and each time there was another healing related to autism. Beni gives the reason for these successive healings: “The testimony increases the faith in the room, and the faith in the room grabs ahold of what was paid for 2,000 years ago.” (p.96)
That’s pure word of faith heresy, which means that at the end of the day, healing depends upon ourselves and a force called faith, not God.

Erwin McManus is the lead pastor of Mosaic church in Los Angeles. Beni shares a quote from his message at Bethel’s Open Heavens Conference: “..he started to unravel the differences between humans and other creations. And, ultimately, he said, “Faith is what makes us human…. No other species needs hope. Hope is what connects us to the future…. In the same way that bees create hives and ants create colonies, humans create futures….You have the power to create the future, but the moment you lose hope is the moment you’re disconnected from the future.” (pp.96-97)

Ah, nothing like some word of faith heresy thrown in to tickle the ears of wannabe gods. Even a broken clock is right twice a day – not everything false teachers say is going to be incorrect. Beni gets it right:
“One day, I was imagining His suffering, and I realized, “He stayed up on that cross!” Jesus was fully God and fully man. He didn’t have to do anything He didn’t want to do. He could have taken Himself right off of that cross if He’d chosen to, but He stayed.”
(p.102).

“Each time we take Communion, we are testifying to the enormous, radical love of God. We are reminding ourselves that we had a debt that we could never, ever repay and that we were condemned to death; there was nothing we could do about it.”
 (pp.106-107)
While the lure of accessing power and miracles will attract many, the odd truth statement from Beni will unfortunately catch undiscerning folk who will be fooled into a false sense of security. Will they compare the rest of her teachings with scripture? Will they believe all the testimonies?

CHAPTER 6.  RELEASING THE POWER OF COMMUNION

Beni has some strange beliefs and practices. In one of her blog posts she writes about tuning forks bringing healing: “We need to tune our lives to love. When we tune our lives to love it brings healing. One thing about this 528 HZ tuning fork is that science tells us that the sound of this fork brings healing. .”

Here’s another: “A thin place is where heaven and earth are close. It is easier to experience the spiritual realm in these places.” – Beni Johnson, Mystics, Mystical Experiences and Contemplative Prayer.

In 2016 Beni felt as if God wanted her to take communion daily for the two weeks preceding the elections. In this chapter, she suggests that there is something special about the time and place of prayers:

Beni:  “So every day at high noon, I would take my little cup and wafer and remember all that Jesus did for us and all that He was doing in our nation. High noon has become an important time for me to pray. When the sun is at its pinnacle in the sky, everything is exposed. I like to think about the light flushing out anything that’s been hiding in the dark places. It’s a powerful time to intercede for God’s light and truth to expose any hidden things. I was born to pray. When I go up to the high places—a mountaintop or the top of a city building—to pray and worship, I feel as though I’m doing what I was born to do. I’m in my element. I often go with a team of friends to various places to intercede, and in the last few years we’ve added Communion to the arsenal of tools we use during these times.” (pp.109-110)

While Beni states that communion is not a “magic pill” or means for us to get our wishes, Bethel clearly use it for unbiblical practices. Strategies of the “Spiritual Warfare Movement” raise their ugly head: “One of the ways that we can tap into the transformative power of Communion is by taking it into our communities. I have more stories of specific prayer walks in The Happy Intercessor. These walks are a chance for us to take ownership over our land and the atmospheres over our cities.” (p.111)

As an example “of this kind of geographical ownership” Beni shares the story of “Anne Kalvestrand, a powerful intercessor at Bethel.”  BSSM students from the class of 2015 who were of Armenian or Turkish descent travelled to Turkey for the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Holocaust. The students visited the areas where some of the conflicts took place and “poured the Communion elements onto the ground, praying for the trauma of the genocide to leave the land. The Armenian students forgave the Turks and prayed for salvation to come to all of Turkey.” (pp.111-112)
Very often something seems noble, pure, and the intentions righteous, but our task is to compare these kinds of practices to what scripture teaches. Beni goes further and invites a seemingly absent God to be involved in the situation: “When those Turkish and Armenian students stood together and poured out Communion into the war-ravaged soil, they were inviting the reality of the resurrected Christ, the One who is victorious over sin and darkness, into the history of that land.” (p.113)

How does one “Invite” or to use another popular phrase “partner with” the omniscient God who controls history and ensures all his purposes and plans come to pass? We are mere vessels and servants, but in the NAR and Word of Faith movements, people are elevated: “Every time we take Communion, then, we are reminding ourselves that we are Christians—little Christs. When we remind ourselves who we are, we can reveal to the world who He is.” (p.113)

Beni’s next story is about a Roadrunner that kept coming to Bethel’s prayer meetings, which they felt was “significant.” The bird managed to get inside one day as a cleaning team was busy. At some point the bird was spooked and ran into a glass window and died. They were so perplexed by this incident that: “Bill went to the Lord and just asked Him what was going on with this bird. Very clearly, he heard, “What I’m bringing into the House, had better have a way of being released from the House or it will die in the House.” (p.127)
With a complete canon of scripture at their disposal, it seems incredulous that Bethel need omens for guidance. Beni ties this story into the theme of communion by adding:
“I want to encourage you to release the power of Communion from the four walls of the church and into your family, your business, your community, etc.”

So lets ask the question – where is this taught in scripture? Have you released the power of communion into your business? You should according to Andy Mason, the head of “Heaven in Business” –  an initiative of Bethel Church that “won’t stop until we see the fullness of what Christ paid for manifest in our lives, business, communities and nations.”  Beni shares Andy’s testimony in this chapter. Andy had a friend whose one business was lacking growth, and needed a breakthrough.
Andy:  “I felt like we should take Communion, pray and bless the business, believing that Jesus had already paid for everything within his business.
The man dropped Andy off at the station to return home, and within hours the man “discovered that the once-stagnant workplace had suddenly received at least ten requests for quotes from all over the world from huge international companies. They were in business! The owner was so blown away by the presence of the Lord that he couldn’t work for the rest of the day.” (p.118)

Visualization is also taught at Bethel’s Christian School. Beni shares one of the teacher’s stories about how they teach communion to the children. The children write down their sins on paper, and then “With that paper in their hands, the kids move into a soaking time where Tawny invites them to see Jesus on the cross and ask Him to show them what carrying their sin felt like.” (p.125)
After communion they destroy the paper in a “prophetic act” and dance on it to the music of “an old song called, “Stomp on the Devil’s Head.”

Beni:  “There is no area of your life that Communion with God cannot improve. Take these testimonies as your own. The Bible says that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy” (Rev. 19:10). Whatever God has done before, He wants to do again. Grab a hold of them.” (p.127)

How do I grab a hold of someone’s testimony? It’s a pity Beni does not elaborate on Revelation 19:10. How did she miss “the testimony of JESUS” – everything must point to Christ. The angels, prophets, and the apostles testified of Jesus. The scriptures testify of Jesus (John 5:39). There is no need for a road runner to die an untimely death in order to give someone a revelation. Should I infer that Jesus will pay for everything in my business based on a “testimony.” Do I need to soak and visualize Jesus to appreciate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross?

Why should these “testimonies” of “miracles” be repeated in the lives of others – Beni has the answer: “God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So when you hear of a miracle that has happened in someone else’s life, you know that God has just set the legal precedent of what He wants to continue. Testimonies are not just fond memories. They have a lifespan that’s eternal. They continually give God praise.”
(p.95 – quote from Chapter 5 but pertinent at this point)

Where does Beni get her strange teachings from, here’s a clue from Bill Johnson’s Facebook page:

“Anytime you hear a testimony there is a covenant from God to duplicate the miracle” – is NOT taught in scripture!
“We release these testimonies as prophecy “– NOT  taught in scripture

CHAPTER 7.  THE POSTURE OF OUR HEARTS

Throughout the book, there are some statements that are valid, but then are totally ruined by the surrounding context. For example : “Even though I love our free-flowing worship, there is something so beautiful about a formal liturgy.”  I agree wholeheartedly with this, and with Beni’s next comment on what is missing in many communion services –  “a sense of soberness…there needs to be a sense of gravity about what we are getting to participate in.” Unfortunately her observation is ruined by the rest of the paragraph:
“Often, when we focus so much on what divides us, we can miss out on honoring some valuable aspects of different Christian traditions.”
In some cases division is necessary: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them Romans 16:17. One would imagine that a book on communion would at least name the heretical practice of transubstantiation – the belief that the elements change into the actual flesh and blood of Christ. Instead, Beni points to the false religion that practices transubstantiation as an example of how to honor communion: “I think we can learn from the way the Catholic Church honors Communion, teaching the children what it means and making a special event of their first occasion.” (p.132)

Beni tells the story of Damaris Stevens who runs the communion services at Bethel. Understaffed and discouraged, Damaris poured out her heart to God during one service, and heard him say : “You’re thinking about the work and not thinking about the joy in the work”  She paused, looked around the sanctuary, and saw things in a different light – literally! – ” All of a sudden, it felt like the whole room changed to a deeper color as I looked around at people taking Communion. They glowed! Not like a light, but more like their colors became vivid. Like, as they took Communion, they went from analog to high definition. (p.141)

Damaris experienced another “miracle,” she realised that she would run short of the elements during two services, and so she prayed.

“On both occasions, though, something strange happened. Trays of bread and juice would go out to the congregation to be passed along the rows of people, like they were normally. But instead of returning almost empty, trays began to return to her full, as if they hadn’t been touched. “Usually, there is only a little bit of bread and a just a few juices left, if any. But for every service on these two occasions, it was like the bread and juice had been replaced every time someone picked up an element. It felt like a little miracle just for our team to show us that God really cared about what we were doing for the church.” (pp.142-143)

Beni:  “Communion is not a magic pill, and God is not a vending machine. He does not want us to eat a wafer and drink some grape juice every day so that He will grant our wishes.” (p.145)
I agree, but then why teach that we can access miracles through communion and grab a hold of others testimonies? Why teach that communion can “improve” every area of your life? Why teach that God has set a legal precedent he wants to continue after a miracle has taken place? 

CHAPTER 8. DEVELOPING THE HABIT – BILL JOHNSON

Bill:  “An impartation of thankfulness would have the greatest impact on the hearts and minds of people. It would literally change the world as we know it. Thankful people attract breakthrough.” (p.149)
No it won’t Bill – Only the gospel will have an impact on the world – and according to scripture, the world is only getting worse. This same gospel does not teach the law of attraction.

Bill has one section in his chapter with the title “Partaking Worthily.”
This is the text Bill is about to comment on:  “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died
1 Corinthians 11:27-30

Bill:  “Paul gives us a somber warning in verse 27  This is an interesting part of communion. Communion hurts you if you’re not saved, but advances you if you are. The anointing of God doesn’t always have the same effect on people. The presence that brings you peace will sometimes irritate others.” (p.151)
We’ll examine whether Bill’s first sentence is correct. His second sentence is just your typical NAR word salad.

Bill’s explanation of the text:  “He (Paul) is saying there are people in the body of Christ who will go to heaven, but because they did not realize the meaning of what was in their hands, they reduced communion to a religious ritual.  Without realizing it, they removed the tool that God had put in their life to bring divine health. And for that reason, many are weak or sick, and some have even died. Yet presumably, week after week, month after month, the miracle was in their hand but a wrong perspective cancels out the power of that moment.” (pp.153-154)

What Bill gets half right –  the Corinthians were abusing the Lord’s supper, but it was worse than reducing it to a religious ritual: For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?” 1 Cor 11:21-22
What Bill gets wrong – communion is not a tool for divine health, or a miracle in your hand. 
What Bill twists – Bill gives the reader the following impression: There are sick and deceased Corinthians who could have been healed but failed to realize the miracle in their hands – the power of communion. Bill wants us to believe that if we could just change our perspective, we could access the power of communion.The passage gives the cause of the illness, but Bill conveniently ignores this fact.
What the passage really means – some healthy Corinthians fell ill or died because they partook of communion in an unworthy manner: That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” (vs 30) The Corinthians were not weak, sick, or deceased due to a wrong perspective on the benefits of communion, but because of a failure to discern the body (vs 29)  In other words, communion hurt “many” believers in this instance.
What Bill failed to mention – Verse 32:
“But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
The Corinthians were not sick because a witch had cursed them or because a demon of infirmity had attacked their mortal bodies. They were sick or dead because God had brought judgement. In what will be shocking news to any Bethelite who reads this – God used sickness to discipline believers. Matthew Henry’s commentary on verse 32: “The apostle was addressing Christians, and warning them to beware of the temporal judgements with which God chastised his offending servants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: he many times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to bear trouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. The apostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord’s table. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at this holy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, to condemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divine judgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against the irregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at the Lord’s table. Let all look to it, that they do not come together to God’s worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeance on themselves.”

Bill:  “Everybody knows you get a new body in Heaven. There’s no sickness there, there’s no weeping there, there’s no pain, no conflict, no confusion. In Heaven, everything is wonderful. So, it’s important to see that this part of His provision is for now. “By His stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:5). Peter quoted the passage from Isaiah in this way: “by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). Notice it is past tense. It has already been accomplished on our behalf.” (pp.156-157)

As I have pointed out, the context of 1 Peter excludes physical healing in this life. There are many stories of healings and miracles in this book, but not one doctors report confirming any kind of miraculous intervention. The Johnson’s have faced their own set of challenges during which they all had rely on  medical intervention for help. Eric Johnson is 85 to 90% deaf in both ears and relies on a hearing aid. Brian Johnson was medicated and hospitalized after a nervous breakdown. In 2015 Bill Johnson underwent surgery to remove a growth in his intestine. In 2018 Beni required surgery for breast cancer. In each case, medical intervention was needed, Bethel’s own “healing rooms” could not help.

Bill ends the chapter, with what Bill believes, not what scripture teaches: “I believe that the Lord is going to release unusual miracles of healing in the taking of the bread. He is going to release unusual miracles of deliverance to people and family members, who are maybe a thousand miles away or more by our taking the juice (representing the blood) and pleading the blood of Jesus over their lives. (pp.164)

CONCLUSION.

On the one hand the book states that “Communion is not a magic pill, and God is not a vending machine.” On the other hand the book is full of testimonies that create the impression communion solves certain problems that nothing else will.  It’s difficult to not come to the conclusion that the more you take communion, the better your chances are for whatever breakthrough is needed. Beni shares that she usually takes communion daily, sometimes multiple times a day, and describes it as a “tool” in her “intercessory toolbox.” (p.12)  But that’s not all Beni believes communion is useful for:
“It is a powerful tool, not only for intercession, but also for healing. Take Communion, take it often, and apply the healing power of Jesus to your bodies! (p.55)

Paul does not mention these added bonuses communion apparently offers. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, the “power of communion” would have been activated (to use Bethel terminology) as Christ had already been crucified and resurrected. While Beni does make some true statements, the few nuggets of truth are overshadowed by stories and false teachings.Teachings that don’t belong to Christianity in any way. With this statement, Beni condemns herself  “Jesus died for our sins and our sickness – anything that threatens to steal, kill or destroy our life in Him is not of Him” (p.52) The words steal, kill and destroy can be found in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Many associate the thief in this verse with the devil, but Jesus was in fact referring to the false teachers of his day. It’s abundantly clear that Beni is teaching false doctrines, doctrines that will steal, kill, and destroy. This book, “is not of Him.” 

Taken Captive By False Teachers & False Doctrines – 10 signs

By Rick Becker    7 March 2019

We’re closer to the end. Some would have us believe the greatest revival the world has ever seen is upon us, but scripture teaches the opposite. There will be false anointed ones, a departure from the faith, apostasy, and doctrines of demons will deceive many within the visible church. Those within the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) ignore what scripture teaches, they are hoping to be activated by a super apostle and be a part of a new breed of revivalist that will walk through walls, raise the dead, and conquer the seven spheres of society. These deluded folk have not been activated, but captivated by false teachers and false doctrines: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
Under the guise of fresh revelation, anointings, impartations, new ways to hear God and walk in the supernatural, false teachers of the NAR come to steal, kill, and destroy. But it’s not just the NAR that is leading people into deception, there are other movements and denominations in the visible church that are responsible for seducing people into error. The health and wealth gospel, word of faith heresy, false philosophies, traditions, new age doctrines, and mysticism have captivated millions in the visible church. In this post I offer ten signs that will help identify those who have been captivated by false teachers and false doctrines.

1. The captivated have compromised truth through pragmatism.
Pragmatism evaluates success based on results. If for example a pastor wants to grow his small congregation, the fashionable route for him to take would be a “church growth” seminar or Willowcreek conference. This will give him the methodologies necessary to increase numbers. He will discover that it’s not too difficult to grow a church in this generation. Successful business models are utilized in the church because apparently pagan entrepreneurs know better than Jesus or the authors of scripture.
All the pastor has to do is water down the gospel, focus on topical and motivational messages, create expectation, and exchange biblical terms like sin, judgement and suffering for legacy, shift, presence, and prophetic etc. Dim the lights, and let the contemporary sounds of Bethel or Hillsong bypass the minds while bringing goosebumps to the enthralled congregation and voila! – “church growth.” This probably without one single convert, and certainly without any of the previous members who may be saved, growing in their faith. God has not given the “increase,” a pragmatic approach has, compromise has.
Experience and results should never define our theological persuasions. When we exchange truth with “what works” we have exchanged truth for a lie. Pragmatism causes truth to be relative, and when truth becomes relative, by definition it is no longer truth. When it’s no longer truth – it’s toxic. The fruits of pragmatism in the church are mega churches full of false converts and biblically illiterate believers carried about by every wind of doctrine.

2. The captivated serve a personality.

“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.” Acts 20:29-30.
I have had many conversations with people who have been deceived by a false teacher.  They usually avoid an invitation to compare the teachings of their idol (because that’s really what the false teacher has become) to scripture. Instead, they resort to their first line of defense –  “but do you know pastor X, have you met him/her ?”
Their faith is in a personality instead of the principles of God’s word. These false teachers have crafted an impressive persona. Like the super apostles Paul described in Corinthians, contemporary false teachers disguise themselves as “servants of righteousness.” They come across as individuals who know God intimately, and make sure everyone else is aware of their unique gifts and special relationship with God. Instead of hearing sermons that exegete the word of God, followers are subjected to countless stories and experiences – the pastor of course being the central figure.
In short, they commend themselves – the direct opposite of Paul taught: “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12. The captivated will drive thousands of miles to a stadium event (performance) to receive an “impartation” from their favourite personality, but that’s not all that drives them that far….

3. The captivated fall for false promises.

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” 2 Peter 2:17-19
The captivated are desperate to alleviate the cares of this world, or increase their comforts in this world. Promises of breakthrough, healing, favour, pleasant “suddenlies,” transfers of wealth, supernatural encounters and miracles, entice those with itching ears or troubled souls. Like clouds without water false teachers fail to deliver. They promise their followers an encounter with God, but instead deliver an emotional experience or Kundalini spirit. They peddle their courses on how to hear the voice of God, but all you will hear is your own imagination or a deceiving spirit. The captivated believe they can decree things into existence, access heavenly portals, shift atmospheres, and perform greater miracles than Christ. They believe a Sozo course will bring inner healing, and that “pleading the blood of Jesus” will bring healing, protection, and deliverance. Year in and year out, like a hamster on a wheel, the captivated chase empty promises.  After months, or even years, the island of shipwrecked souls claims another citizen. Disappointed in “God” the “church,” and “Christians,” these shipwrecked souls placed their hope in false promises.

4. The captivated are easily persuaded

Paul was an apostle with a miraculous conversion, and by the time he reached Berea  had chased out an evil spirit from a slave girl, and experienced a real suddenly – unlike the fake suddenlies of the NAR: About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,  and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.” Acts 16:25-26
Paul had some great stories to tell, but he did not rely on stories to convince his listeners, he explained the scriptures: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.  And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,  explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” Acts 17: 1-3

After preaching in Thessalonica, Paul and Silas travelled to Berea and continued preaching in the synagogue. The Berean’s saw it fit to test the doctrine of the great apostle: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11.  This is what every believer should do, compare a teaching to the word of God regardless of who the teacher is. The Bereans were able to do this, because Paul reasoned “from the scriptures.” In other words they were able to go directly to the source. The only infallible source – scripture, is sadly the last place those who are easily persuaded by false teachers visit. They are persuaded by eloquence, stories, signs, and appearances   As a result the captives of these false doctrines grow in false knowledge and experiences without gaining any knowledge of Christ or truth. The false prophets and apostles in the New Apostolic Reformation have perfected the art of the deceivers Paul described in Colossians 2:18: “..going on in detail about visions..” (ESV)…  “intruding into those things which he hath not seen..” (KJV.)  The gobbledygook of NAR mystics, stories of healings and encounters with God by hipster evangelists, and words of knowledge from google assisted prophets are sufficient to dupe the easily persuaded.

5. The captivated chase after supernatural phenomena

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:23-24
Schools of “supernatural ministry” are flourishing around the globe. Like Simon the sorcerer, thousands of youngsters are offering money to receive power and supernatural gifts. So called “glory clouds” have mesmerized people, fooling them into believing that smoke and glitter are the manifest presence of God. Feathers, gold dust, gold fillings, oily palms, spasms as well as demonic manifestations are viewed as signs of “God touching someone.” Anyone who dares question the bizarre manifestations will be accused of having a “religious spirit.”
Superstars in the New Apostolic Reformation have built careers based on their “miracles.” Their exploits are caught on film as they roam public spaces looking for those suffering from what seems to be the greatest ailment on earth – one leg shorter than the other. A warning for those trusting in signs and wonders: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7: 21-23.

God’s word is clear regarding the danger of signs and wonders in the last days: 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.” 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-11

Captivated leaders teach that signs and wonders must always accompany any evangelistic endeavour.  They have this in common with the rich man in Hades (Luke 16)  – both believe something miraculous will convince the lost. The rich man reasoned with Abraham “but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent” Abraham’s answer – “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”  Those who teach that the gospel is not good news unless there is a demonstration of power are blinded to the fact that the power is not in signs and wonders, it’s in the gospel: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom1:16.
The gospel is sufficient and scripture is more sure than any modern day sign or wonder.

 6. The captivated are victims of peddlers.

“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 2:17
“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words” 2 Peter 2:3
While tithing is NOT taught in the new testament (giving cheerfully, not under compulsion, and according to our ability IS taught) it’s become a tool in the hands of unscrupulous teachers, some of whom threaten that if you don’t give your tenth, the rest of your money will be cursed, and you give a foothold to demons. Teaching tithing has become a “get rich quick” scheme, and a great way for false teachers to accumulate wealth and maintain their empires (mega churches) It does not stop at tithing, there’s usually some sort of building fund, missionary fund, social justice cause, and other causes that members are asked to give towards. Another means of raking in the dollars are workshops, conferences, online courses and books. You are going to pay to learn how to: hear God’s voice, shift atmospheres, receive healing, walk in intimacy with God, experience supernatural powers. The captivated spend an awful amount of money in order to gain some sort of advantage or deeper knowledge, they are in a constant state of always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. The captivated and their money are easily parted as they pay for their never ending quest to hear and experience God.

7. The captivated who begin to ask questions are penalized.

You are never going to be in that inner circle, or part of the clique in “church” unless you prove yourself worthy. Under the guise of a “culture of honour” leaders are able to excuse their failures, avoid critique, promote their false doctrines, and maintain a firm grip on their ignorant followers. Once you invest time, and more importantly money, you will climb the food chain relatively fast. Display blind loyalty to the leader, salivate over their unfounded stories and visions, accept their teachings without question, and you will be rewarded. But if you dare to step out of line, you will discover that the “culture of honour” is an excuse to employ a “culture of shame” upon truth seekers. You may even think you are going mad or imagining things, and at first you will lay all the blame on yourself. This just shows how effective the brainwashing and manipulation has been. It’s a common story – those who are in the final stages of exiting a church that teaches false doctrines will tell you how they suddenly lost favour in the eyes of their leaders when they asked legitimate questions. They are asked to step down from positions, they are shamed, ostracized, patronized, and rumours are spread about them. This serves as a warning to potential mutineers by creating a fearful atmosphere.

8. The captivated become pharisaical.

Point 7 demonstrated this fact. Approach a false teacher or one of their followers in sincerity and humility with a scriptural rebuttal concerning their teachings or revelations, and you will probably experience a venomous response. Their first cry will be “don’t judge.” This verse is used out of context when defending false teachers. “Don’t judge” really means don’t judge hypocritically: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5. The same chapter instructs us to beware of false prophets and examine their fruits (7:15-20)  “Judge not” does not mean: never discern, never test all things, or ignore those who bring a different teaching! Those who use this verse to silence critics of false teachers or false teachings, are in fact judging someone for correct judgement. In other words, they are self-righteous and hypocrites – pharisaical. They will preach love and tolerance, but are unloving towards those who are trying to warn them that their souls are in grave danger. They will tolerate false teachers, doctrines of demons and demonic manifestations, but will turn their backs on family or lifelong friends who attempt to reason with them from the scriptures.
Another example of hypocrisy can be found in the area of healing. Bespectacled pastors will tell you the atonement guarantees healing, and that if you are not healed it can only be your fault. Their own healing rooms, Sozo courses and supernatural students cannot heal them. They go for surgery and rely on medication like the rest of us (that’s not to say God does not heal – he does, according to his will.) These teachers who cannot heal themselves or each other, charge for courses on healing. The fake healers who stretch legs in shopping malls will never be found filming a miracle in the ICU wards of hospitals. 

9. The captivated believe they can change this world into a paradise.

“As above so below” has become the mantra of New Apostolic Reformation proponents.
This occultic phrase is used in The Message bible (a perversion of scripture)
Set the world right; Do what’s best – as above, so below.” – The Message
The correct translation: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10.
So what does the phrase “Your kingdom come” really mean? False teachers would reason as follows – there is no poverty or disease in heaven, and therefore there should be no poverty and disease on earth. There is peace in heaven, so there should be peace on earth etc. False teachers will tell you the world is getting better all the time, and Christ is coming back once believers have reclaimed the seven spheres of society. The bible teaches the direct opposite ( 2 Timothy 3:1-9)
Jesus made it clear that his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) it is not external or secular and it will certainly not transform this planet into paradise. When we pray “thy kingdom come” we are asking God to transform us, not the world, we are asking God to conquer the souls of men and women, not the seven spheres of society, and we are anticipating the coming kingdom when Christ will rule and reign on earth after he has brought judgement on the earth (2 Peter 3:7)
Until then, believers will go through many trials and tribulations, they will be mocked, not celebrated, persecuted not praised, and while God still heals some according to his will, many believers will have to endure sickness and disabilities. The captivated want to be settlers in this world, they are not sojourners looking forward to the day when Christ will come and rule, they want to be little gods and take dominion for themselves. They translate the word “kingdom” as dominion and comfort in this present age. They attempt to “set the world right” because their focus is on the temporal instead of the eternal.

10. The  captivated have been placated.

For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear
the instruction of the Lordwho 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 30:9-11
Not much has changed since the days of Isaiah, there’s a reason people follow contemporary false prophets – they want to hear “smooth things.”  This is why the captivated are so intent on defending their favourite false teacher. They are not just defending a personality, they are defending the message that has tickled their ears. They have bought into various lies – God guarantees wealth and health, they can walk in any supernatural gift they choose etc. They have not been taught the crucified life. They want dominion, power, favour and success. They have been placated by smooth operators, from the blatant health and wealth charlatans to the spiritual mystics who have exchanged sound teachings for nonsensical sayings and encounters with a divine agent.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

 

 

Kris Vallotton’s hero Pope Francis calls for interfaith harmony.

By Rick Becker  6 February 2019

Interfaith harmony and world peace were not on Christ’s agenda when he walked the earth. Yet that is the agenda of some contemporary false christs who litter the visible church and other religions. The Pope met the Grand Imam of Al Azhar in Abu Dhabi this week, where they “launched the Human Fraternity Document calling on people across the globe to unite to bring about inter-faith harmony and spread a vital message of peace.” We are living in times where prophecy is rapidly being fulfilled in front of our eyes. To the deceived, it’s a time of hope in this fallen world. The false prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) assure us that things are going to get better as believers exert influence over the seven spheres of society. The NAR are hoping for a just society, where all can prosper, and unbelievers will be wooed into the kingdom out of envy or encounters with God, but their utopian dream is contrary to what scripture teaches. The Human Fraternity Document has similar goals for a peaceful planet: “The one God to whom we submit our lives wants all, Christian and Muslim, to reject arrogance and to come before him together, so that God can govern our societies according to his will.” To the elect, this is a time of a falling away, false revival, and the merging of polluted streams in preparation for a one world false religion. Instead of warning the church of what is taking place, false prophets in the NAR are encouraging unity with Rome – and Rome in turn is encouraging unity with Islam.

Love and common goals may unite a support group, but they are not the basis for unity among different faiths. What does the living God have in common with idols and false gods?  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Ephesians 4:4-5
As far as ecumenical unity is concerned, any unity that compromises the purity of the gospel and sound doctrine is sinful compromise. Unity in the faith, can never be separated from the teachings of the faith: until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  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: 13-14

It’s human cunning that is busy orchestrating a semblance of unity among Roman Catholicism and Evangelicalism. The Pope is taking this unholy alliance a step further. With one hand he has managed to bamboozle the apostles and prophets of the NAR, and with the other he is drawing in influential Imam’s to unite Roman Catholicism, Evangelicalism and Islam. It’s a crafty and deceitful scheme to suggest that Christians and Muslims submit to the same God.

The Human Fraternity Document is nothing short of a social justice paper, combined with the false notion that various religions serve the same God. Interfaith harmony will produce a false peace, whereas true faith in the one and only living God will produce the opposite: Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36

Who is my brother ?

The document creates the impression that as long as you believe in some form authentic religious teaching and strive for social justice and peace, you are a brother or sister. It’s common to refer to friends  or those with whom we have something in common with as “brother” or “sister” but in a spiritual context, those outside of Christ can never be referred to as a brother:  While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50

Some within the RCC view their Muslim “brothers” as fellow believers. Jesuit Father Tom Michel writes:
“Islam and Christianity are two different religions and have different teachings, and God is able to save both Muslim and Christian if they faithfully follow their respective paths. What it means, though, is that both are directing their attention and service and love toward the same merciful and compassionate God….When Christians hear Muslims being called to prayer, they should be happy, for it is their God who is going to be worshipped and served. When they see good Muslims performing the prayer, fasting in Ramadan, and doing good works like giving to the poor, Christians should praise God for the fact that so many of their Muslim sisters and brothers are doing God’s will.”

Excerpt from the document which pledges to uphold certain principles:
“The firm conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace; to defend the values of mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence…Dialogue among believers means coming together in the vast space of spiritual, human and shared social values and, from here, transmitting the highest moral virtues that religions aim for.”

Whether “Dialogue among believers” means both parties view each other as believers in the same god, or as believers in different gods, is unclear. Everyone is a believer in something – without defining the object of belief, the term is meaningless. Belief in any other God apart from Jesus Christ, is a belief in an invention of men or a scheme of Satan.

The Catechism of the Roman Catholic church serves to muddy the waters even further:  “841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

Further excerpts from the Human Fraternity Document (HFD) that reveal it’s insidious agenda and blatant heresy:

A bright future

HFD: “From our fraternal and open discussions, and from the meeting that expressed profound hope in a bright future for all human beings, the idea of this Document on Human Fraternity was conceived.”

That hope is echoed in this statement: “I will not allow any interpretation of the scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined cities.”  – Kris Vallotton
Vallotton believes the world is getting better all the time, and contrary to scripture
(2 Timothy 3; Matthew 24)  he refuses “to embrace any mindset that celebrates bad news as a sign of the times and a necessary requirement for the return of Jesus.”

Vallotton & co  are in for a surprise:
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

All religions are not equal!

HFD: “The first and most important aim of religions is to believe in God, to honour Him and to invite all men and women to believe that this universe depends on a God who governs it.”

“Truth by definition is exclusive. If truth were all-inclusive, nothing would be false.” – Walter Martin
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Without defining God, and the way of salvation, the HFD might as well be the antichrist’s manifesto.

Many roads lead to Rome, only one road leads to God.

HFD: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.”

This is a Satanic lie, you either believe the HFD, or you believe in the word of God:
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5

Social justice an anchor of salvation?

HFD: “We call upon intellectuals, philosophers, religious figures, artists, media professionals and men and women of culture in every part of the world, to rediscover the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity and coexistence in order to confirm the importance of these values as anchors of salvation for all, and to promote them everywhere.”

Excerpt from the Popes speech during the occasion:

Pope: “According to the biblical account, in order to preserve humanity from destruction, God asked Noah to enter the ark along with his family. Today, we too in the name of God, in order to safeguard peace, need to enter together as one family into an ark which can sail the stormy seas of the world: the ark of fraternity.”

The Pope’s “ark of fraternity” can save no one from the judgement that is coming upon this world. Another “ark” that is not going to save anyone, is the postmillennial bubble of Bethel. The Pope and Kris Vallotton share the vision of a world that relies on humanity to fulfill it’s positive destiny. Vallotton is “opposed to any doctrinal position that pushes the promises of God into a time zone that can’t be obtained in my generation and therefore takes away any responsibility I have to believe God for them in my lifetime.I don’t believe that the last days are a time of judgment.”
Sorry Kris, but despite your belief that “we’re moving towards a happily ever after, rather than a horror flick” scripture teaches otherwise:
 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”  For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Peter 3:3-7

Pope Francis has the adoration of Kris Vallotton.  Vallotton was part of a group that met the Pope in 2016. The group included false teachers Che Ahn, Mike Bickle and Dutch Sheets. I don’t know if Vallotton is aware of the Popes latest interfaith escapades, and quite frankly even if he is, I doubt whether it would change his opinion that the Pope is a Spirit filled believer.

Kris Vallotton’s (KV) praises for the pope were articulated in this article which we will briefly revisit:

KV: “This week I had the privilege of meeting with Pope Francis. It was probably one of the highlights of my life. He was funny, warm and very spiritual. I was invited, along with several other pastors, to a small connect forum with Pope Francis because he has a deep passion for unity among Believers – and I do mean DEEP!”

“Deep” and “spiritual” do not mean born again, and unity among believers is a far cry from unity with false religions, or unity with false teachers. 

 KV: “Pope Francis said, “Theology is a very complicated subject and we should let the theologians argue it out (figure it out). In the meantime, we should love each other and learn to value people who are different than ourselves.” He made it clear that theology shouldn’t divide us. I also think he was making a point that he wasn’t a theologian, in that he said “they” should work it out while “we” love people.”

The word Theology comes from a combination of two Greek words – theos which means ‘God’ and logos which means ‘word.’ The study of God’s word reveals a belief system, which can be organized into various doctrines or teachings. When the Pope says “we should love each other” he is in fact alluding to a doctrine, or teaching. Those who say we should ignore doctrine, are in fact teaching one by making that statement.  Sound doctrine is vital, and is a product of studying the word of God. The same scriptures that command believers to love, also commands them to mark and avoid those who bring a different gospel, in other words in some instances theology should divide. 

KV: “Then Mike stood up and asked the Pope if he believed that Jesus was the “only way” to heaven. (There have been rumors circulating that Pope Francis is a Universalist). The tension instantly rose in the room…the moderator was noticeably shaken. But the Holy Father didn’t blink an eye. He answered, “We might be surprised by who we meet in heaven. BUT the only way into heaven is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way into heaven.” We all breathed a sigh of relief!”

“Mike” is Mike Bickle, the false teacher and leader of the International House of Prayer in Kansas, don’t expect him to have any discernment or dig any deeper into the Pope’s claims. The Pope gave the right answer, as could a horde of demons, but it’s what he did not say that would have revealed the truth. Some heretical beliefs of the Roman Catholic church include purgatory, transubstantiation, Mary as Mediatrix, praying to the dead. None of these heresies seem to be of concern to Vallotton!

KV: “Pope Francis went on to share about his relationship with the Holy Spirit and indicated that he had experienced the baptism in the Spirit. (I don’t think he used those exact words but that was clearly the connotation I left with).”

BUT….the Holy Spirit leads us into truth, and will glorify Christ, so what spirit baptized the Pope causing him to rely on Mary instead of the Holy Spirit?

KV: “I’ve heard so much about the Pope in general, and Pope Francis, in particular. Some think he is the Antichrist, while others call him a false prophet, or the leader of the new world order. When I got saved, my leaders taught me that the Roman Catholic Church was the “mother harlot” in the book of Revelation. About that time, the Holy Spirit decided to fill the Catholics the same way He did us Protestants, and suddenly the Catholic charismatic renewal was born. It became kind of hard to teach that junk after that (though some still do). Especially when the person sitting next to you in the meeting was singing in the Spirit, and is a Catholic! Surprise!!!”

Surprise – experience or manifestations are not the means which we use to determine truth, or determine whether God is the author of something. Scripture is!  Even signs and wonders are not a sign of a true believer: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23

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 Kris, it’s not possible that God would raise up the head of a false religion for any godly purpose. The Spirit of God is reserved for those who have repented, and have been justified through Christ alone. The Ecumenism that Vallotton and the Pope are seeking is simply a unity at the expense of truth.

KV: “Pope Francis, thank you for having the guts to brave the religious system, and reach beyond the borders of tradition to love a group of people (Evangelicals), some of whom refuse to love you back. God bless you! You have become one of my heroes.

Reaching beyond the borders of tradition is one thing, reaching beyond the boundaries of scripture is another. Real love incorporates truth. It’s our love for the lost and deceived that should cause us to speak the truth. There can be no harmony with false gods. There can be no harmony with those who call on the dead. There can be no harmony with those who serve other gods.

Conclusion

Will Kris Vallotton warn his followers that his hero serves a different god? Will Kris Vallotton retract his article? Perhaps not, because there is the distinct possibility that Vallotton, like the Pope, serves “another Jesus.”

 

 

At Boshoff’s Attractive Gospel

By Rick Becker    24 January 2019 (Updated)

At Boshoff is the lead pastor of Christian Revival Church (CRC)  CRC has obviously succeeded in establishing a large movement  –90 churches in South Africa, and 15 in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, this success can only be defined by numbers – which are never an indication of whether the whole counsel of God is being taught, or whether true discipleship is ta king place. A massive movement or megachurch is in fact probably a sign of an attractive gospel instead of the gospel once and for all delivered to the saints. Many are going to follow ear tickling teachers who exploit gullible and biblically illiterate people in order to build their personal empires. These false teachers know exactly how to motivate a crowd; their smooth words comfort the hurting and spur on the ambitious. An attractive gospel ignores the law and gospel.  It captivates those who want to improve themselves and live their dream.

What better way to make your gospel attractive, than to teach the “law of attraction.” This new age teaching is utilized by word of faith teachers. The idea is that negative words and thoughts have negative side effects, but positive words and thoughts can actually create your destiny by attracting good things and people. There’s no place for the sovereignty of God in this philosophy, and one would think that the disciples must have been huge failures considering their trials, sufferings, persecutions, and ultimately martyrdom.

The clip below is a perfect example of what should make any true believer sitting in CRC, jump up, run, and never look back. Here is clear evidence of his prosperity teaching, and new age teaching in the form of the “law of attraction.'”


At Boshoff (AB): “I want to talk this morning on a very powerful law that governs your life, we know that the GOOD LIFE is God’s will for you, for every Christian born again”

The “good life” that Boshoff is referring to, is a successful business, prosperity, favour on all fronts – basically the health and wealth gospel. Paul had a different perspective. The gospel was not a means of earthy comfort or gain, but spiritual gain: “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.” Philippians 3:8
The message of the cross is not attractive to carnal souls looking for a divine agent to help them fulfill their dreams.

AB: “God doesn’t work in years as we want every year to have a new dream and new promise..:”
So then why the annual CRC dreamweek?   

AB: “God has already decided 2000 years ago that every child of God should live the blessed life on planet earth –  “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

A blessed life does not necessarily mean a successful business, financial security or any other earthly comforts. It’s a pity that Boshoff ignores this first part of the verse:“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
The thief in this context was not any negative confession or demonic attack, but the false teachers of the day. The abundant life Jesus referred to is primarily eternal life. Wealth and health are not spiritual barometers. Some believers may enjoy earthly success, others may struggle their whole lives. Some believers may suffer from a lifelong condition, others may enjoy good health.  “I can do all things through Christ” does not mean you can build a successful business etc, it means that whatever circumstance you find yourself in, your trust is in the Lord: I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:12-13

AB: “We know from the bible that we have already been blessed to live this great prosperous life – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”

According to this verse (Ephesians 1:3), God has blessed believers with spiritual, not material blessings. A pastor’s duty is to explain what verses really mean utilizing sound exegesis. This is a great verse which should have been used to expound on the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. Instead, Boshoff is using it as a means to justify the false doctrines he is poisoning his people with.

AB: “God wants you to live the blessed life –Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” Galatians 3:13-14

Yet another wonderful verse that should be used to present the gospel; instead it’s being misused as a paving stone for the vile prosperity gospel. Prosperity teachers make no distinction between the old and new covenants when it comes to material blessings. The blessing of Abraham that applies to believers is justification by faith (Romans 4:11) – not material wealth.

AB: “You have been empowered by God to prosper in life, we know it is our fathers highest desire for each one of us to succeed in life. 3 John 2 – the bible, God says beloved, not just somebody out there, my beloved, my son, my daughter, I wish above all things that you may prosper. Literally translated “succeed in financial matters” especially in what the world is calling a recession.”

It’s God’s desire that we are conformed into the image of his son. If At Boshoff had simply continued with the verse he quoted from Ephesians, he might have discovered God’s highest desire for us:Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6
How did the early Christians “succeed”? Many lost their businesses, their homes, their lives.  How are believers in China succeeding at this present time? Let me show you what “success” in God’s eyes looks like. This is an excerpt from a declaration written by Chinese pastor Wang Yi, just prior to his arrest: “Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family – the authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith; no one can make me change my life; and no one can raise me from the dead.”
Friends, this is how far the visible church and empires like CRC have drifted from the true gospel, choosing mammon over God.

Now for 3 John 2, a verse that has been butchered by prosperity teachers for decades. Boshoff does not give the context; in fact he suggests that God is speaking to his beloved children.  I don’t believe that this can be an oversight, but deliberate deception. Let’s read the opening verses of 3 John:
The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth.I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
God is not speaking to his sons and daughters. John is writing to a personal friend – Gaius. The opening salutation contains John’s prayer for Gauis, a customary form of greeting – not a doctrine that guarantees wealth for all believers. It was going well with Gaius in a spiritual sense – as it goes well with your soul.  For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth  and the apostle is merely expressing his hope through a prayer that Gauis would experience good health and success in other areas, including financial.
The word prosper (εὐοδοῦσθαι – euodousthai) occurs in two other instances:
 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you” Romans 1:10 – clearly not referring to financial prosperity.
“On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” 1 Cor 16:2
The apostle’s hope and prayer is that it would go well in all things for Gaius – don’t we all have that hope for our friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ?  Boshoff believes God’s highest wish above all things is that his children succeed in earthly terms – with finances being Boshoff’s emphasis. What really gave the apostle joy was not the financial prosperity, but the spiritual prosperity of his friends:
For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (vs 3-4)
Instead of dangling a carrot in front of his audience, At Boshoff should be warning them about those who chase after financial prosperity:
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” 1 Timothy 6:6-9

Boshoff then has a brief moment where he throws in some truth – “storms do come that we have no control over, Jesus guaranteed that trials and tribulations will come”  But then he resorts back to false teaching.

AB:” So lets talk about it this morning, why do good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people, why? We’re creating our own future all the time…God doesn’t sit in in heaven with a bunch of blessing and he decides well today I’m blessing this business and I’m withholding blessing from this one.”

No one is good but God, and good things can happen to all people, including the wicked: Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches” Psalm 73:12. Good things happened to the rich man in Luke 16, and he ended up in torment in Hades, whereas Lazarus the beggar who longed for crumbs and was bothered by dogs licking his sores was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.
If we can create our future, we must be gods. If only the apostle Paul knew this law of attraction, it would have saved him tremendous hardship: To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.” 1 Cor 4:11-13.
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and Boshoff simply cannot refrain from using examples related to business.

AB: ” How come so many people falter and fall and still live in defeat, and just don’t live this life that the bible guarantees….I believe it’s very simply, people don’t understand this powerful law. We know there’s the law of seed time and harvest that governs our lives, but I’m going to talk to you this morning on the law of attraction.”

The “law of seed time and harvest” is a construct of prosperity teachers- it’s a scheme that enables them to get rich: “By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” 2 Peter 2:3. Obviously there are many reasons people live in defeat, but Boshoff seems to think the reason is ignorance concerning the law of attraction. Where is the gospel, justification, sanctification, where is Jesus, where is the sovereignty of God in Boshoff’s reasoning?  Boshoff’s gospel is a new age law, and you become the saviour.

AB: ” Whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, you are attracting things into your life all the time, good or bad, wanted and unwanted. All the time you are sending out a force, a power, an energy  that either attracts good things and good people into your life, or that repels good things and good people…The law of attraction really simply says like attracts like, your’e attracting to yourself who you are.”

If this was such an important law, and according to Boshoff the main reason “people falter and fall and still live in defeat,” don’t you think there would be at least one verse in the bible that states elements of this principle such as All the time you are sending out a force, a power, an energy that either attracts good things and good people into your life, or that repels good things and good people.”
The term “law of attraction” is not in scripture, and the first time it was used in print was in 1877 by the Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky. I found this quote by Blavatsky enlightening: “As God creates, so man can create. Given a certain intensity of will, and the shapes created by the mind become subjective. Hallucinations, they are called, although to their creator they are real as any visible object is to any one else. Given a more intense and intelligent concentration of this will, and the form becomes concrete, visible, objective; the man has learned the secret of secrets; he is a MAGICIAN.”
This is what the “law of attraction” boils down to – you become a magician. Other “new thought” writers such as Phineas Quimby built on the term and philosophy, and the “law of attraction” is featured in popular books such as “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, and “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

Boshoff is not preaching the gospel, but a new thought philosophical concept.

 

Now for a summary of the  annual 2018 “DREAMWEEK” conference highlights:

“One touch of God’s glory and your life will never be the same again,that is what Dreamweek is all about.” – At Boshoff

In his book “Live a Yes! Life” Boshoff writes: “God instructed me to raise up an army that will liberate the masses from the kingdom of darkness.”
The opposite is taking place.  Boshoff is fulfilling 2 Timothy 4:3-4: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”  
Dreamweek was all about importing a consortium of ear ticklers to motivate the crowd and feed carnal souls all under the guise of “Christianity.” 

“God has a certain time in his calendar when your dream is going to come to pass”Marcus Lamb.
“If you walk with God you are a dreamer, you have vision, you have inspiration” –
John Bevere.

“Before this year is out God is going to blow your mind – John Hannah
“You are not one of God’s leftovers,you are God’s chosen, child of God,you are one that he is looking to – to lead the way, you are one that God sees greatness within  – “Pastor” Charlotte Gambill (female pastor should say enough)
“You’re not being in the place where you should be, get up, get up, stand up and proclaim I’m going back to where the word of God was” Ray McCauley (If only he would do that and repent of his prosperity gospel)

At Boshoff’s special revelation for the new year:

At Boshoff says 2019 will be a year of glory: “From glory to glory, glory means God’s goodness will be revealed in our world in South Africa, in our church, wherever the name of Jesus is mentioned; we are going to see the glory of God, we are going to see the pain and the suffering in South Africa alleviated, we are going to see poverty eradicated because we’re not going to sit on the sidelines of Christianity we are going to do our part as a move of God, you haven’t seen what I’ve seen a wave of glory, you haven’t seen the wave I’ve seen that is about to break on this church, I’m telling you across the land, a wave that will drive out the forces of darkness and a wave that is going to bring the presence of God, and the miracles of God, and the release of God,and the favour of God, I have seen this wave break upon our church and there will be a glory like we have never imagined, there will be a power like we have never imagined, even if you were told you would not believe it.”

Going from glory to glory is a phrase from 2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Paul is comparing the veiled glory of the old covenant, to the unveiled glory of the new. The gospel is glorious, and responsible for our transformation. It is we who are transformed, not necessarily our bank account or the state of our nation. Special knowledge is one way cult like leaders elevate themselves above their followers. It creates the impression that they have an intimacy with God, and hear directly from him on behalf of their followers. This is a great opportunity for leaders to prime their audience, create expectancy, and the result of course is that no one wants to miss out on what God will be doing in that particular church. No one has apparently seen what At Boshoff has seen, but we have heard it all before, and things just stay the same in the visible church (apart from an increase in delusion and deception) The next clip gives a good indication of what CRC is really about, and it’s not the gospel, it’s the kind of message every South African is hoping for. That’s what false teachers do, they offer a false hope:

 

“I want to tell you next year is going to be a great year in South Africa. Next year is going to be a year of great blessing for South Africa. I will declare it and you can stone me by the end of next year, I declare it, I prophesy that next year will be a turn around for this country not because of my prophesy because that’s what God determined, you are going to see the Rand strengthen, you are going to see the Rand strengthen, you are going to see the Rand strengthen, you are going to see money flow into this country, jobs flow into this country, prosperity flow into this country, people who have left this country are going to come back, and they are going to rebuild South Africa. God bless our country, because God says I’m not finished with this nation, this country will be a blessing to the nations of the world, if you believe it today shout amen in Jesus name.” (14:00- 14:42)

So by his own admission this is a prophecy.  Fortunately for At Boshoff, we are under the new covenant, so we mark and avoid false prophets. South Africans will know that money flowing into South Africa flows directly into the hands of corrupt ANC politicians and greedy opportunists. The Rand will go up and down as usual, and the cookie jar in South Africa has been looted with impunity – things will not get better. With elections in a few months we can count on electoral fraud and subsequent protests (which in this country basically means intimidation and destruction). The ANC have destroyed everything that worked, and for Boshoff to say that this year will be a year of blessing, is a bold statement. But here’s the point – did you notice that the gospel does not feature in this prophecy? It consists of comfort in this world, and I’m reminded of Jeremiah’s words to lying prophets: Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.  They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you” Jeremiah 23:16-17
Is there hope for South Africa? This article addresses the issue.

In conclusion, At Boshoff does not preach the gospel. He will include elements of it (what false teacher does not?) CRC is growing (so is Islam) and that’s not surprising given the nature of Boshoff’s motivational teachings and attractive gospel. Defenders of CRC will maintain that people are “getting saved” at CRC and that is proof enough that God is in their midst. But while Boshoff may lead many in a “sinners prayer”, are they sinners who have felt the weight of the law and their own sin?  Are they sinners who have heard that the gospel may cost them everything? Are they sinners who have repented, or are they sinners looking for a therapeutic gospel to solve their problems? Have they been fooled into thinking that merely reciting the “sinners prayer” can save them?
I am not pronouncing judgement on CRC members, I am exposing the false teachings that they are exposing themselves to. There are true believers caught up in the tentacles of CRC. I know because some of them who have escaped the clutches of CRC have written to us, and we thank the Lord that he opens the eyes of his children to the false teachers and teachings that plague the visible church. Perhaps you are still in CRC, but beginning to question things. You will already be reasoning with yourself, and contemplating what you stand to lose if you walk away. The question you need to ask is this – Are you being faithful to God and his word, or are earthly ties and allegiances to  people and a movement more important? This article will help you with your dilemma.

There is more – In this sermon review, we review a message by At Boshoff titled  “The power of your thoughts.” The review will once again, prove beyond any doubt, that what At Boshoff teaches is NOT the gospel!

 

 

BSSM Evangelism – Activating The Senses & Strange Spirits.

By  Rick Becker    15 November 2018

The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry relies on subjective and unbiblical practices to “evangelize” the lost.  Sadly, it’s a case of the blind leading the blind.  One of the resources from the BSSM is a list of “activations” for evangelism. The fact that this resource even exists and that the “activations” are believed and practiced by thousands, is an indictment on the state of churches in the New Apostolic Reformation. When “evangelism” is based on assumptions, imaginations, and doctrines of demons, it has ceased to be evangelical. When supernatural gifts can be taught, they are no longer supernatural. In this article, we examine the BSSM “activations.”

If you believe what the scriptures teach, then you will know that the BSSM “evangelism activations” should be rejected outright as pure heresy.

Introduction to the seven activations taught by the BSSM School Planting Team:

BSSM: “BEFORE YOU START – Teach your students what to be aware of before they interact with people. Have them assess how are they feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually before entering a room full of people. When they are aware of how they are feeling before interacting with people, they can be aware of when they feel the Holy Spirit moving.”

At the outset, the focus is already on self, and the subjective world of feelings. Christianity by nature is faith based, not feeling based. The Holy Spirit dwells in all believers regardless of how we feel. Can you think of a passage of scripture that instructs us to be aware of how we feel, in order to feel the Holy Spirit moving? 

The task of any evangelist is to preach the gospel, regardless of how they are feeling. The power lies not in us or our ability to feel the Holy Spirit moving, but in the gospel – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

BSSM: “Loving people well is the number one priority when participating in evangelism or outreaches. Remember, it’s not about keeping score and seeing who can
release the most healings. People will remember how you made them feel long after they remember what you did for them. Teach them what real success looks like. While someone being healed or miracles happening are great outcomes, others feeling the love of the Father through your students is real success.”

Once again, feelings are a determining factor in Bethel’s estimation. Evangelism is about spreading the gospel, not making people feel good about themselves. When an unbeliever is confronted with truth in the form of the law and the gospel, they should first of all feel the anguish of being separated from God due to their sins. There is no “good news” unless we acknowledge the bad.  A successful evangelistic outreach should be measured by salvations, not healings or feelings. When I say “salvations,” I mean people who have been born again, not people who have been enticed to recite the sinners prayer or “begin a relationship” with Jesus. A great example of evangelism, is Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost:

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus,delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
Acts 2:22-23

Accusing the crowd of being complicit in the death of Christ is about as far as one could get from a seeker friendly approach to evangelism. Peter was not interested in catering to the felt needs of the crowd, but in proclaiming the truth. What’s interesting about this passage is that some who had witnessed the miracles of Christ, still wanted him crucified. There goes Bill Johnson’s theory that signs and wonders are essential in evangelism. Jesus knew that miracles could capture minds, but not hearts:  Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people” John 2:23-24

Peter continues: 
“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this they felt good about themselves and the amazing destiny God had for them were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:36-38

Note that the people were “cut to the heart” and Peter’s solution was not to tell them they were awesome and worth dying for, but that they needed to repent.

The seven activations:

1. WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE
BSSM: “The best way to start is to ask the Lord to tell you something about someone. When you are interacting with someone, a great question to ask the Lord is, “What is something You love about this person?” Words of knowledge help us connect to what is in God’s heart in a real-time way, connecting us to not just the principles, but the person of God. Colossians 2:3 says “In whom [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

The best way to evangelize the lost is to know what the gospel is. By telling someone that God loves something about their unique personality has nothing to do with evangelism, but the initiation into a “gospel” that revolves around self. Scripture describes our condition prior to being born again- see if you can spot something amazing that God would have “loved about” us: 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 2:1-3
That’s the bad news.  Thank God he intervened:  “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Ephesians 2:4-5

In other words, this is the message the lost need to hear: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

The verse from Colossians is not an encouragement to receive “words of knowledge” for unbelievers, but rather encouragement for believers  For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,  that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:1-3
Students should be proclaiming the mystery which has now been revealed – the gospel. Instead they are taught to delve into mysticism, speculation and apply human reasoning and “activations” in order to reach the lost.

Search the scriptures and see if you can find where this word salad is taught – “Words of knowledge help us connect to what is in God’s heart in a real-time way;  connecting us to not just the principles, but the person of God.”

BSSM: “Below are a few approaches to identify different ways to receive words of knowledge.
Vision-Seeing
These usually appear on the inner screen of our minds. Our image center is the same place where we use our imagination. They can be a single picture like a snapshot or viewed like watching a movie.
Exercise – Close your eyes and picture a beach in Hawaii – see the blue ocean, a palm tree, and a white hammock gently moving in the breeze. Can you envision that? This is the inner screen in your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you a body part that needs healing of someone you will meet this week. Take a minute and write down what He is showing you on a piece of paper.”

“Vision- Seeing” was a very important process developed by the Apostle Paul in order to help the Corinthians become effective in evangelism. Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is, and not taught in scripture. I have an exercise for you – don’t think of a Zebra, don’t imagine what it looks like…..so what image just flashed through your mind? By creating an exercise where students ask the Holy Spirit to show them a body part, the BSSM are using the power of suggestion on their students. Guaranteed, every student will immediately see a body part. Now the student needs to find a match, and if they envisioned a sore back, their chances of success are high. When they do find an individual with back ache, their “vision” will have been confirmed and the student will walk away believing they had “heard from God.”  This is basically an example of “The Texas sharpshooter fallacy.”
Instead of envisioning a swollen liver or a slipped vertebra, students should be taught to rightly divide the word of truth, and pray for boldness and opportunities to preach the gospel.
(For more on the gift of the word of knowledge read here  &  here.)
.
BSSM:Physical Impression – Touch 
These are physical Holy Spirit impressions that are felt on your body. They may feel very slight and be easily missed or they may be very strong in nature. You may sense heat, sympathy pain, electricity, pressure, a breeze or coldness, etc. on a body part.
Exercise – Close your eyes and become aware of your body. Take note of how your body is feeling, any areas of pain, and how you’re feeling emotionally. It may be helpful for students to jot down anything they are feeling. Have your students mingle with each other. Make sure they are aware of any changes that may occur in their bodies or
emotions as they mingle with one another. If they are feeling a change in their body or emotions, have them press into Holy Spirit and give each other words or pray for one another based on the shift they felt.

Now compare Bethel’s activation to this:

“Let your attention wander into your body. Become aware of the physical sensations that arise in your body as a result of the emotion you’ve identified…When you experience physical discomfort, it means that something is unbalanced in your experience — physically, mentally, or spiritually. Your body knows it — every cell in your body knows it. Befriend these sensations and their wisdom, because the pain is actually leading you to wholeness.” – Excerpt from Deepak Chopra’s 7 – step exercise to release emotional turbulence.

Hard to differentiate between the two!  This creepy BSSM activation is supposedly a way to “receive words of knowledge.”  Bill Johnson, Beni Johnson, and Kris Vallotton are not ashamed of their new age and occultic leanings, and it’s tragic to witness these students being schooled in subjective and new age practices.

BSSM: “Audible – Hearing or Knowing
These can come as quick random thoughts. You may be talking to your waitress and all of a sudden you think of a person you know that suffers from insomnia. God is probably giving you insight into a need that your waitress has. You will never know unless you take a risk and ask her. Sometimes the word of knowledge will be an internal knowing. The world calls that ESP. You just know that you know. The Holy Spirit may also speak as a still small voice to your spirit in your language. Or He may speak out loud as if someone was talking out loud.
Exercise – Be still and quiet. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about a specific prayer need for someone who you know. Write that down and be on the lookout throughout the week for the person the word is for.”

God has chosen to use his servants and the proclamation of the gospel through them as the means to save the lost. What he requires is obedience in preaching the gospel, and in his providence he will orchestrate circumstances and work in the hearts of people. There is no need to “take risks” by throwing out random thoughts and hoping they make sense, besides, if this is a “supernatural” school of ministry then all their methodologies reek of flesh. Do I believe God can guide our conversation as we witness – absolutely! But not in the mystical and manufactured way Bethel promote.

BSSM: “Feeling Emotions
You may sense the emotional atmosphere of a region, location or a person. You will feel the emotions or mood of the environment or person in your proximity. God allows you to sense this so you can partner and release what He desires into that environment.
Exercise – Every morning for a week, take note of your emotions in a journal. Several times throughout the day, set reminders to take note of your emotions. If you notice a drastic change in your emotions, go over what has happened throughout your day and see if your emotional change belongs to you or someone else.

Surely if you are a believer, you will know that this is nonsense! Nevertheless, let’s examine a passage that will bring some clarity. We read the account of Paul preaching in Athens in Acts 17, and the closest we get to any mention of an “atmosphere” in a particular region would be this verse: “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols” Acts 17:16
This was indeed a city of idols, to such an extent that the Roman courtier Petronius described Athens his satirical novel Satyricon as follows: “Our region is so full of deities that you may more frequently meet with a god than a man.”  Unlike the NAR teachers, Paul failed to initiate any spiritual warfare and bind the strong man over Athens. All he released into the “atmosphere” were his arguments: “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.” Acts 17:17
Without taking any notes of his emotional changes, Paul did the unthinkable in today’s context, he mentioned repentance and judgement:
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,  because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
Some believed, some mocked, and Paul moved on to Corinth where he failed dismally to release anything positive into the Jewish environment : Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.  And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Acts 18:5-6

Here is a far better exercise – ignore your emotional changes and be faithful in studying and proclaiming the gospel.

BSSM: “Holy Spirit Highlight
A person or body part on a person just seems to be highlighted. The Holy Spirit is supernaturally pointing something or somebody out to you. It is always a great idea to take a risk and talk to that person or ask the person if the body part that stands out to you needs healing.
Exercise – Ask God to highlight something to you and take note of what that looks like to you. It may be a gut intuition, a glowing, feeling energized, or something else. As time goes on, continue to explore with Holy Spirit what this looks like to you, then pay attention when it happens.”

The machinations of the BSSM are no substitute for the workings of the Holy Spirit. The irony is that the very thing Bethelites long for – the working of the Holy Spirit, is the very thing they prevent by dismissing the Holy Spirit inspired word of God. By focusing on methods instead of the message of the gospel, Bethelites are on a never ending rabbit trail in search of their next “encounter.”

2. TREASURE HUNTS
BSSM: “At BSSM, we often send students on Treasure Hunts. Treasure Hunts implement hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit and teaches students to step out in risk. Treasure Hunts start by asking the Holy Spirit for words of knowledge on various topics: location, people’s name, appearance/clothing, what they need prayer for, and anything
unusual (lollipop, three children, lime green door, etc). The students should write these down on their Treasure Maps…It’s important to remind students to honor the people they interact with. When students find a person that fits their treasure map, have them approach the person politely and have the students explain they are on a treasure
hunt and that the person is on their treasure map. This will make the person feel seen and known by the Lord. With love and honor at the forefront, the students then ask if they can pray for the person. The students can either ask the person if there is something specific to pray for, or go off their treasure map, asking about the
various things students have written down to pray for.”

Kevin Dedmon taught this concept at the BSSM for 13 years.
Dedmon’s goal is “to help people know their true identity, and walk in their divine destiny. to bring God’s kingdom in every sphere of society through signs, wonders, miracles, healing and the prophetic.”  Bethelites believe that they have been given dominion on earth, and are eager to out perform the miracles of Christ. So eager in fact, that they are “taking risks” by attempting to walk on water, walk through walls, and raise the dead. 

If the students find someone who identifies with their words of knowledge (“lollipop, three children, lime green door”) and the person agrees to be prayed for, the article has the following instructions:

BSSM: “Ask for the presence of God to come (release His presence on them)
Command the pain to leave (bones to be set, back to be realigned, tumor to shrink, etc) Ask them to test it out – “Do something that you couldn’t do before we prayed. Repeat if necessary. When they are healed: Explain what just happened (God’s goodness revealed, He knows you and cares about you, etc)  Explain the gospel to them Ask them if they would like to know Jesus personally (have a relationship with Him) Have them ask Jesus into their life”

For more information on the unbiblical practice of Treasure Hunting, read Holly Pivec’s article – What are the dangers of ‘Treasure-Hunting’ evangelism?

3. FREE HUGS
BSSM: “With a group of students, make signs that say, “FREE HUGS.” Stand on the streets and offer hugs to people as they pass by. We all have the power to shift atmospheres. Have students become aware of what they can release without speaking, such as releasing love and healing into the atmosphere. Make sure your students honor the people they are ministering to, as well as the businesses they may be standing in front of. Your students should be aware of their impact on an atmosphere and that they can shift atmospheres. These encounters provide opportunities to interact with the person and either get words of knowledge, prophetic words, or to pray for the person.”

“Shifting atmospheres” is a product of Dawna De Silva’s imagination. Dawna is the founder and co-leader with Teresa Liebscher of the International Bethel Sozo Ministry. Dawna believes she is powerful, and writes the following: “Being powerful doesn’t threaten my husbands power, there is room for both of us to be powerful. As a women in ministry I had to settle in my heart that I’m not taking a man’s place, the Kingdom of God is ever expanding, everyone gets to be powerful….” Dawna believes her decrees are powerful enough to get her neighbour to paint his house. This craving for power is not new, the request “Give me this power also” was uttered by Simon the magician, who thought he could  obtain the gift of God with money!” Acts 8:20.

Fill in the blanks: “releasing love and healing into the atmosphere” is taught in the book of _______________ chapter _____________

The remaining four “activations” listed below follow a similar methodology, so I’m not going to comment on them:

4. ROSES FROM FATHER
“This is such a fun activation! Purchase several dozen roses. Have the students go to various locations, such as store parking lots or street corners, and pass out roses to people as they walk by, telling each person it’s a gift from the Father. This can open the door for students to minister to people and release the Father’s love.”

5. STICKY NOTE
“In small groups of three or four, go to different stores around town with a pad of sticky notes. Write encouraging words on the sticky notes and place them inside various books, journals, and magazines, being sure not to damage the books. Make sure your students use honor when they are doing this by not going to the same store
too often and respecting the store owner. We often tell our students that if they go into a store or shop, they should respect the business by purchasing something.”

6. RECEIPT ACRONYM
“At a restaurant, write your server’s name vertically on the back of your receipt. Ask God for a word or phrase for each letter in the person’s name that represents their unique identity. While being sensitive to their work time, quickly share with your server what you felt like God was saying about them as a word of encouragement.”

7. TATTOO INTERPRETATION
“In pairs, go to a busy, public area and look for people with tattoos. Ask them if you can interpret the meaning of their tattoo. Ask the Holy Spirit for His meaning of their tattoo. Share what you hear and encourage the person. A fun take on this outreach is to set up a booth at a street fair. As they share their interpretation, have them keep in
mind to use language that makes the person feel comfortable and that they will understand.”

CONCLUSION

Now that you have read the BSSM activations and exercises, I’d like you to do the Berean exercise and search the scriptures to  “see if these things were so.”

These activations are an invention of Bethel, geared towards an encounter gospel. Bill Johnson believes that we owe the world an encounter with God. In his eyes, this encounter includes signs and wonders;  anything less is an incomplete gospel. Bethel’s quest for power has caused them to ignore the principles of God’s word, and the result is a narcissistic gospel. Note all the emphasis placed on the students. Here’s what’s important to them: Their physical, emotional and spiritual feelings. Their words of knowledge. Their ability to shift atmospheres. Their physical impressions. Their ability to hear from God. 

Evangelism is not about how we feel or taking risks in order to experience something supernatural. Paul had some instructions for a young evangelist by the name of Timothy: “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5
Paul described the “work” Timothy should be doing in the opening verses of the chapter, verses which included a warning about the times we live in:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
2 Timothy 4:1-4

As the saying goes – “What you win them with is what you win them to”

In the case of Bethel’s “evangelism,” people are being won by feelings, experiences, flattery, and supposed messages from God. They are being introduced to a Jesus who thinks they are awesome, and who needs them to partner with him in restoring his kingdom on earth. Bethel’s health, wealth, and dominion gospel will attract many to Jesus. The question is – which Jesus?

 

More articles on Bethel and the BSSM:

BSSM – soaking, declaring, and spinning into delusion

Bethel School of Spritiual Drunkenness

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

The New Breed of Crafty Evangelists

The Fruits of Bethel Church – Ashamed Of The Gospel, Flirting With The Occult

God – Kris Vallotton’s Fixer

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

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Effects of False Teachings

By Rick Becker    4 October 2018

False teachings have serious consequences, not only for those who teach error, but also for their hearers.  The Apostle Paul took false teaching seriously:  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.
If the apostle Paul were alive today he would have been accused of being a heresy hunter, judgemental, divisive, unloving, and would have been rejected by certain well known churches and teachers that are adored by millions.  Paul was however judging righteously when he warned of false teachers.  He was dividing correctly by making a distinction between truth and error, and he was loving in that he presented the truth in order to save those being tossed about by the various winds of doctrine.  It is these winds of doctrine that are systematically poisoning millions within the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  It may take some time for false teachings to have an effect, but when they do, they are destructive.  In this article we explore seven effects of false teachings.

 

1.  SENSUALITY that leads to destruction.

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” 2 Peter 2:1-3

I don’t think I even need to list the church scandals of the past few decades. Pulpits have become a platform for predators of the worst kind. Sexual abuse, affairs, abuse of power and the lust for money in the visible church have made it difficult for unbelievers to make a distinction between the immorality of the world and what takes place in the church. This is how the way of truth is blasphemed.
The word that translates as “sensuality”  is ἀσελγείαις – which means lascivious, and is used in the majority of manuscripts as opposed to the word  ἀπωλείαις – meaning destructive or pernicious. The lasciviousness of these false teachers meant that they satisfied the lusts of their flesh, particularly sexual pleasures. I found Mark Dunagan’s commentary on these verses above helpful:

“The ethics and morality of such men have become a matter of private choice or personal opinion. The key words they use are ‘self-expression’, ‘fulfillment’, rather than purity and obedience. ‘If there is no longer a master to please, then there will only be ourselves to please; and if someone starts speaking a message that flatters people rather than calling them to repentance and faith, and that encourages them to enjoy their darkest and most secret wishes rather than hard discipleship and learning, it will not be surprising that many will follow. Such a message makes no demands other than the ones we want to make on ourselves”

These false teachers avoid the message of the cross and justify the lusts of the flesh.  They avoid messages on sin, God’s wrath, eternal judgement, and death to self. Their ear tickling messages will satisfy the souls who want to fulfil their dreams and appease their carnal appetites. They don’t preach tithing because they want you to prosper – they need your tithe to pay for their new building and opulent lifestyle. They won’t tell you that they got rich from exploiting biblically illiterate people due to their own greed; instead they will tell you that tithing worked for them. They justify their divorces by blaming their spouse, and within months marry that other woman from their own congregation. They are admired and revered as influential voices in the visible church while secretly abusing women in their own congregation. They teach on accountability yet they are accountable to no one. These are sensual and greedy people whose version of god is merely an expression of themselves. And here’s the effect – “many will follow their sensuality.”

2.  SELF is appeased.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”
2 Timothy 4:3

Those who sit under false teachings are not interested in death to self, but in elevating self. They want to satisfy their passions; they want to appease self. And so they listen to those teachers who commend themselves in this regard. These teachers boast of their exploits. Some have cameras following them as they perform their crafty “miracles” in public. Others will let their followers on twitter know all the details of their lives, from their pets names and activities to the latest colour nail varnish they are using. Their followers know more details of their idol’s lives than they do the gospels. One thing is for certain -they are going to let you know “the Lord” told them this or that. This gives credence to their teachings and revelations, and elevates them above the ordinary believer.

Not all of them are blatant motivational speakers and easy to discern as being a fraud.  Some of them talk of mysteries, deep revelations, and the desire to bring in billions of souls for Christ. It is these “apostles” and “prophets” in particular that are luring many into their web of deceit, simply because they come across as passionate, deep, and spiritual. Those who are prepared to “search the scriptures” and compare the teachings of these well known celebrity teachers will find that they twist and narcigete scripture. While it’s easy to identify those who are wallowing in the obvious lusts of the flesh, it is more difficult to spot subtle sins like spiritual pride. Spiritual pride captivates those who have been told that they are an amazing breed who will supersede the works of Christ. Many are swept up in movements such as the New Apostolic Reformation. Their ministry, their stories, their revelations, and their claims of how God has used them are simply a spiritual veneer over rotting flesh. The really tragic part is that many sincere and passionate people who want to do God’s will are deceived by this version of appeasing self.

A W Tozer warned of deception tailored to ensnare the passionate:

“Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness” – The Best of A. W. Tozer, compiled by Warren W. Wiersbe

False teachings are not Christ centered, and as a result the gospel becomes a story about what men and women can do, instead of what Christ has done. The gospel becomes a means to gain, instead of a cross that slays self. Many deceived by these man centered teachings imagine that the atonement guarantees perfect health, financial increase and superpowers. We would be wise to heed the words of Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

3.  SLAVERY instead of freedom.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.   Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”  Galatians 5: 1-6.

Paul is warning the Galatian believers not to fall for the false teachings of the Judaizers. These false teachers were persuasive, but their teachings were based on the law instead of grace. Unfortunately legalism did not end with the early church. Today there are movements and denominations that place a heavy and unnecessary burden on their followers.  Considered by many evangelicals to be a cult, The Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) have a legalistic approach towards dietary laws and keeping the Sabbath. A greater threat however, and possibly influenced by SDA is the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM).  I say greater threat in the sense that I know many folk who have become disillusioned with Charismania, or who have come out of the New Apostolic Reformation, and have somehow get entangled with the HRM.

In this article, Fisher, G. Richard writes the following:
“Many Christians don’t realize that there is a battle being waged between Jewish externals and rituals as a means of spirituality and sanctification and truly biblical means that are internal heart issues…It’s hard to define the HRM because it is so diverse and made up of so many disparate groups and individuals. It’s a moving target. It’s a vast smorgasbord of everything from scholarship, as in the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, to so-called Third Questers, to individuals practicing subjective pop (make-it-up-as-you-go) Judaism. It can even include the medieval mystical Kabbalah, with its esoteric numerology. More often than not there are no distinctions made between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant or between the Bible and the Talmud. This movement can impose legalism with a vengeance or in some instances may simply suggest Jewish practices that they say will give us deeper insight and understanding as well as make us more “authentic” believers.”

Some within the HRM claim to have superior insight and an authentic faith through engaging a Hebrew mindset, keeping certain feasts, using the real names of “G-d” such as Yeshua or YHWH. In reality, it’s just back to another form of slavery. Read about the Dangers of the Hebrew Roots Movement here. While types and shadows in scripture are beneficial, and serve a purpose, they do not make us one bit more spiritual or accelerate our conformity into the image of Christ.

 “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”  Col 2:16-17

4.  SHAKEN in mind concerning end times.

“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2: 2-3

Somehow believers in Thessalonica had got the impression that the end of the world was near – a time of judgement on the earth and the second coming of Christ. How they got that impression is not clear, but Paul suggested three possibilities:
• by a spirit – prophetic word or revelation
• spoken word – teaching
• letter – they had possibly misinterpreted his first letter to them, or there were forged letters doing the rounds.

Whether they had misconstrued Paul’s teachings on the subject or been purposely misled by others, they had fallen for a false teaching and Paul’s warning to them is clear – “Let no one deceive you in any way.”
The result of the false teaching was that they were shaken in mind, meaning that they had lost sound reasoning due to their fear or agitation of what might shortly transpire. They were like a ship being tossed on the high seas. If there is one subject that troubles people, or can cause them to be shaken in the mind, it’s eschatology, and that’s the context of these verses. It’s a subject that still causes much consternation. Natural phenomena such as the blood moons, books such as The Harbinger by false prophet Jonathan Cahn, and the fear-mongering by Jim Bakker in an effort to sell his survival food buckets, have caused many to be shaken in their minds.
While I believe we are in the closing stages of time on earth, I also know that “.. concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”  Matthew 24:36
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul writes concerning the day of the Lord and encourages the believers to : “be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9

We have no need to fear, or to be shaken in our minds regarding the end of the world – in fact the opposite is true:

 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 3:18-20

so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,  who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:7-8

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,  looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”  Titus 2:11-13

“and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  1 Thessalonians 1:10

An eschatology that causes you to fear, feel superior, or divide you from brothers and sisters in Christ needs to be revisited.

5.  STABILITY is lost.

“..just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,  as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.”  2 Peter 3:15-17

Albert Barnes describes the “unstable” as follows: “And unstable – Who have no settled principles and views. The evil here adverted to is that which arises where those undertake to interpret the Bible who have no established principles. They regard nothing as settled. They have no landmarks set up to guide their inquiries.They have no stability in their character, and of course nothing can be regarded as settled in their methods of interpreting the Bible. They are under the control of feeling and emotion, and are liable to embrace one opinion to-day, and another directly opposite to-morrow.”

While the context of the passage from second Peter is about scoffers of the second coming, the methodology of the scoffers are applicable to all false teachers – they twist the scriptures. Many of the well known pastors, “apostles” and “prophets” that people flock after today are ignorant and unstable. They don’t know the basics of exegesis, and as a result are unable to rightly divide the word of truth. These are the men and women who concoct the various winds of teaching that sway the immature and cause them to be “carried away” into error. Despite all the conferences, courses and impartations on offer, followers of these ignorant and unstable teachers are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” They become unstable themselves, as they rely on “revelations” and teachings laced with error. They cannot mature in the faith, and are unable to explain what scripture actually teaches on different subjects.  Scripture is downplayed and new revelations, interpretations and experiences are elevated. The result is a fall from steadfastness

6.  SEPARATION from the body and head.

“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.”  Acts 20:29-30

Those who distort the truth are often narcissists; they speak of themselves more than they do of Christ.  Instead of pointing their followers to Christ, they magnify themselves and their own teachings. They separate their followers from truth, and from true fellowship with other believers. Those of us who warn our friends and family of teachers who twist the truth are often accused of being divisive, but the real dividers are those who draw away disciples by twisting the truth – “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.”
Romans 16:17

It is the “humble” false teacher whose deep “spirituality” and “revelations” beguile many. To the biblically illiterate and naive, they seem to be on the cutting edge of what the “Spirit” is doing and saying, but they are speaking and operating from their flesh:

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
Colossians 2:18 – 19

Many people who come out of Word of Faith, Prosperity and New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) churches can struggle to find a church where sound doctrine is taught. For a time, they may be isolated, which is not ideal but understandable in their situation. It’s common for them to be condemned by those who remain under the “covering” of NAR and other unsound churches. The fact is that those who have come out of those churches have done so because they are connected to the head, and covered by Christ, while the one’s deceived are in danger of being disconnected from the head (if connected at all) and are under a carnal covering.

7.  SHIPWRECK of their faith.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,  holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,  among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Timothy 1:18-20

Paul is warning Timothy about false teachers in Ephesus. These false teachers had “swerved” from a good conscience and sincere faith, and were described as people who were “without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” 1 Timothy 1:7

Hymenaeus is probably the same individual Paul identifies in 2 Timothy 2:15-16, who taught that the resurrection had already happened. Rejecting a “good conscience” caused Hymenaeus and Alexander to swerve from truth, and the result was increasing ungodliness. The word “rejected” implies that they had wilfully thrust away faith and a good conscience. When a good conscience is rejected, the result is a seared conscience : “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.”
1 Timothy 4:1-2

A sure way to shipwreck your faith is to neglect the anchor of God’s word. In doing so, the winds of doctrine will toss you around and like a ship adrift in a stormy sea, you will soon find yourself on the rocks. Hymenaeus and Alexander had rejected the faith in the sense that they were not teaching sound doctrine. When the gospel is replaced with error, the result can only be destructive. This does not mean that those who have shipwrecked their faith are beyond redemption. The hope remains that discipline and God’s chastisement will restore those who are true believers. Although Paul’s words towards Hymenaeus and Alexander seemed harsh,his intentions were clearly remedial: “By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,  among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”  1 Timothy 1:19-20

These are some of the effects of false teachings, more articles related to this topic:

Ten ways to identify false teachings
Ten ways false teachers ensnare people
Invalid reasons for staying in a church you know teaches false doctrine
Ten invalid arguments in defense of false teachers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there hope for South Africa?

By Rick Becker   13 September 2018

South Africa is in dire straits.  Under the The African National Congress (ANC)  billions have been lost through state capture – money that should have been used to uplift the lives of the poor.  Corruption, nepotism, and blatant criminality are synonymous with the ANC.  Instead of uniting a fragile nation, the ANC have chosen to polarize the races even further in order to hide their incompetence and corruption.  At this point in history the nation sits on a powder keg.  Our natural reaction is to be fearful, and that’s not difficult when you live in a lawless land such as ours.  In their desperation to find hope, many are looking to the church for answers.  Unfortunately a false narrative is on offer, and is being propagated by various churches and ministries in South Africa.

The Situation:

Bluntly put – South Africa is in a mess. State-owned Enterprises are bankrupt and government departments are barely functioning. Transport, energy, healthcare, police, defence, water affairs, communications, education etc  have been ruined through mismanagement and corruption. In an effort to steal the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) thunder, the Marxist ANC is implementing land expropriation without compensation – a move that is guaranteed to bring further suffering to the poor. Looting, destruction of property, violent protests and other criminal acts are part of daily life in South Africa. Babies and grandmothers are raped, farmers are tortured and murdered, their wives raped in front of their children. Xenophobic attacks have resulted in foreigners from other African states being burnt alive. Animals are raped and livestock butchered alive as perpetrators hack off chunks of flesh while the animal is writhing in pain. It’s a bleak picture, one that is causing those who have the means to immigrate and escape a country with an average of 57 murders and over 100 rapes per day (keep in mind only 1 in 4 rapes are reported) This is a barbaric land where people of all races are suffering as wickedness increases. The people who thought that the ANC would liberate them and give them a future are beginning to realise that they have been betrayed by Nelson Mandela’s party. The ANC naturally lays the blame squarely at the feet of the “settlers” in an effort to disguise their incompetency, criminality and racism. While the apartheid government believed God was on their side, the ANC government looks to their ancestors for guidance. Superstition and witchcraft are still firmly entrenched in South Africa. South Africa may be the next Zimbabwe or Venezuela, or be colonised by China if nothing changes.

False hope is not the solution:

Naturally, many of us are asking the following question – is there hope for South Africa from a biblical perspective?  Yes, say those ministries that are a part of the New Apostolic Reformation, as well as many in charismatic circles. False prophet Angus Buchan is having another “It’s Time” prayer meeting, presumably because the first one failed. There are so many voices in South Africa selling a false narrative (and in doing so a false hope) that it is impossible to name them all.  Instead I’ll offer some suggestions on how to identify the false teachings that many South Africans are falling for, and point out what scripture actually teaches.

Here is a list of seven fallacies or false teachings:

1. The church needs to exercise it’s authority.

This mistaken belief assumes that if the church would simply exercise it’s spiritual authority, the state of the nation will improve. Decrees and declarations are spoken into the wind and spiritual warfare is employed in order to “turn South Africa back to God.”  If strategic level spiritual warfare actually worked, the earth would have been a Christian utopia by now. Satan and his demons have been bound millions of times by intercessors around the globe, yet wickedness is on the increase. One verse that proponents of the spiritual warfare strategy cite is Matthew 18:18: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This verse is actually about church discipline, not binding Satan. The church cannot bind the “strong man” over South Africa, neither can we bind the “spirit of violence, corruption, racism” or any other negative trait.

Watch out for teachers who bind Satan and various spirits such as violence and racism. They may have godly intentions, but their methodology such as spiritual mapping is unbiblical. The church has no authority over the world and cannot bind Satan. Dominion theology has led some to believe that the church can usher in the kingdom of God. This leads us to the second fallacy.

2. The church needs to extend and enforce it’s influence.

While the gospel is salt and light, and any nation that implements biblical principles will have a better society, we are not called to transform the world but to transform people through the gospel and by making disciples. The world has it’s prince, and it’s not Jesus: 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 2:1-3

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” .
1 John 5:19

Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, yet the goal of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is to capture the seven mountains or seven spheres of society. The irony of course is that a movement intent on making the world more “Christian” is in fact contributing to a great apostasy. Those who believe that the church will conquer this world make no distinction between the promises God made Israel and the promises God has given his church. They will usually refer to the old testament, ignore the context, and claim specific covenantal blessings applicable to Israel alone. The second error is that they hope to usher in conditions on earth that will only be realised during the millennial reign of Christ on earth.

Watch out for references to the seven mountains or spheres of society.  Typically, self appointed apostles and prophets will talk about Heaven invading earth. Dreams, visions and prophecies instead of scripture will confirm their messages. Be careful of those who claim that South Africa will “return to the Lord” or be “born again in a day.”

3.  We should repent on behalf of our forefathers and break generational curses over our lives.

We cannot repent for the sins of our ancestors, neither can we repent on behalf of our nation.  This idea stems from certain old testament scriptures that have nothing to do with any nation except the history of Israel under the old covenant. That being said, even the old testament confirms that “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Ezekiel 18:20
If we need to break a generational curse, then Christ’s death on the cross was insufficient to deliver us from all evil. Scripture is clear – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” Galatians 3:13
Thank God that the cross did not accomplish half the task: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

Watch out for meetings advertising days of national repentance where certain races confess the sins of their fathers, or ask forgiveness for the sins of their fathers – also know as identificational repentance. This will supposedly bring forgiveness from God, and in turn His blessing upon our nation. It may bring goosebumps, but God does not require us to repent on behalf of our nation or ancestors.

4.  Revival will change South Africa.

 Some “prophets” are receiving downloads, visions, and blueprints for revival. The hope is that a massive revival will influence the nation. What we are witnessing today is by and large manufactured revival;  in other words it’s not a sovereign act of God – it’s fake. Gold dust, Kundalini manifestations, glory clouds, stretching legs, or being mesmerized by Bethel or Hillsong worship do not constitute revival. Revival begins with an awareness of God’s holiness, and our own sinfulness.  Martyn Lloyd Jones said that revival makes us aware of certain things:

What are these things of which they become so aware? First and foremost, the glory and the holiness of God. Have you ever noticed, as you read your Bibles, the effect on these people as they suddenly realized the presence of God? Like Job, they put their hands on their mouths or like Isaiah they say, “Woe is unto me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.” They have just had a realization of the holiness and of the majesty and the glory of God. That always happens in a revival.” There can be a lot of laughing and lightness, and obvious organization in evangelistic campaigns. Not so in a revival, but rather awe, reverence, holy fear, the consciousness of God in His majesty, His glory, His holiness, His utter purity.”
That is the kind of revival we need, but will we experience it on the scale being promised?  Scriptures teaches that  the opposite will happen in the last days, not revival but deception that may look like a revival to some:
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.”

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4

There have been numerous prophecies over the years to the effect that revival will start in Cape Town and move northwards, influencing the nation, continent and the rest of the world. We are told that we should “claim these prophecies” and walk in obedience in order to see them fulfilled. The prophets have indeed spoken, from Genesis to Revelation, and I don’t see anything regarding South Africa or mass revivals that will transform the world. 

Watch out for claims of revival from ministries that twist the word of God. Take note of who is promoting revival.  You will probably find that they are associated with NAR churches like Bethel, or other churches and ministries that should be marked and avoided. 

5.  Unity is necessary for revival.

Perhaps you have heard this being said, or you have been a part of a large gathering of believers from various churches or denominations. We are told to ignore our doctrinal differences, because if we unite and pray together God will hear our prayers. Those in the NAR/Charismania who advocate unity as a requirement for revival are usually men and women who cannot rightly divide the word of truth, and who wouldn’t know a sheep from a wolf in sheep’s clothing. (in fact many are wolves themselves)  Their “unity” really means “compromise.” They will talk about “unity of the faith” (Eph 4:13) and emphasize unity, without defining the faith. Their “unity” means uniting around their own vision or cause, and not the Gospel.  There can be no true unity when the gospel is not the cause and center.
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.
Philippians 1:27

Watch out for large meetings bragging of unity among churches and movements but with no doctrinal boundaries.  These meetings are usually hosted by “prophets” or “apostles” associated with the New Apostolic Reformation.

6.  Social justice will bring peace and stability to South Africa.

No one can deny that apartheid was evil, and to make matters worse some churches used scripture to justify white supremacy. This abhorrent false teaching could only have served to taint the true gospel.  The land issue is the critical debate at this point in time. People who were forcibly removed from their land or homes during apartheid should be compensated, and no sane person would disagree. Some have been compensated, but the ANC has yet again failed in this regard, and is using the land issue as a red herring to cover up their own incompetency and corruption. The ANC are happy to allow the dangerous rhetoric that all land was stolen, and would gladly rewrite history to avoid having the spotlight shine on their own failures and incompetency in redistributing thousands of hectares owned by the state. If every single injustice of the past were to be rectified, South Africa would be no closer to being a “Christian” nation. The bottom line is this – the problem in the world is not inequality, it’s sin!  The oppressor and the oppressed are equal sinners. Sin does not respect pigmentation or social status.

Jesus and his disciples lived during the time when their nation was under Roman occupation.  One group determined to fight the occupation were known as the Zealots, and it was from this group that Jesus chose what was possibly the first social justice warrior convert of the day – Simon the Zealot. The commission Jesus gave Simon and the other disciples, was to make disciples of all nations (believers from every tribe, tongue and nation)  The social justice movement wants to transform the world, but a functional system of justice does not justify men and women before God, only the gospel achieves that end. Spiritual poverty is far worse than any inequality in the world – For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” Revelation 3:17-18

Watch out for Christian social justice programs that may uplift communities, yet neglect the gospel. The end result is that an individual may be happier, self sufficient, have a sense of self worth, but still be separated from God for eternity.

7.   Staying positive and speaking life into our nation will change things.

Optimism may make you a happier person, but it won’t change the course of the nation.  Those who believe we can speak life into a situation are regurgitating word of faith heresy, and their words have zero effect. These folk tell you to stay away from newspapers or bad reports, and while there is some merit to their argument in that the news will generally depress one, ignoring a problem does not make it go away.  We all probably know or are even related to a victim of crime in South Africa.  We should be weeping and mourning with those who have experienced the wickedness that permeates our society, not isolating ourselves in an effort to protect our own comfort. A prime example of the type of optimism based on faulty exegesis and the tales of false prophets can be found in the words of a local pastor.  His congregation recently hosted an “Apostolic Prophetic Conference” and afterwards the pastor had the following to say:There’s strong prophetic words concerning the future of the country, some people send me words that are negative and you can chose what you want to believe. In 2 Chronicles 20:20 there’s a statement where the word of God comes and he says, and it’s to me so powerful he says “believe in the Lord your God and you will be established” then it goes on and he says “believe his prophets and you will prosper” now who, which prophetic word do we listen to? You’ve got to decide whether the country has a future or not..”

God will decide the future of South Africa! The apostles and prophets died a long time ago, and God made sure that their messages still speak.  Choose to believe scripture – the only peace coming on the earth will be a false peace under the antichrist. The world is headed for greater turmoil, an increase in lawlessness, and a great falling away in the visible church.  Apostasy, not revival is where the visible church is headed.  Which prophetic word should we listen to? We listen to the infallible prophetic word that’s applicable to us! The first duty of a pastor is to give the context of the verse. The pastor conveniently quotes half of a verse, and ignores the rest:  “And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20
Jehoshaphat was referring to the prophetic word of Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, which stated that Judah would have victory over the enemy coalition. In this instance Judah’s prosperity included the spoils of war. Clearly, this text has nothing to do with South Africa.

The pastor continued: “We look at prophets that have a credible ministry, and he says that if we believe the prophetic word we will prosper….So I challenge you, let the word of God establish you, and take the word of the prophet and confess it, because death and life is in the power of the tongue.”
The only prophets with a credible ministry are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel etc, and they were not present at this conference.  If there’s one word I have grown to hate unless the context is given, it’s the word “prosper.”  Without a definition this word can mean anything.  The usual connotation is that word means health, wealth, peace, and comfort – none of which are guaranteed in scripture:

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” 2 Corinthians 4:8-11

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

When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,  strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”  Acts 14:21-22

Watch out for prophets who prophesy smooth things and propagate the lie that your words are causative.  God enables believers to prosper spiritually, despite dire circumstances.

Is there hope for South Africa?  

I don’t know – my own opinion is that it is unlikely given the current government and the current situation on the ground. I’m certainly not buying into the false hope being given by those who teach the fallacies listed above. Things may get much worse, but even if the situation in South Africa is hopeless, believers should remain hopeful.  Not hopeful that a fallen world or secular governments will become more godly, but hopeful because despite any circumstances we should remain unshaken in our faith.
I’m not expecting wickedness to decrease even if the situation in South Africa improves. Scripture gives us a clear indication of what we can expect in the last days: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:1-4
Does this not describe many South Africans?

There are obviously many practical issues that we can take care of to the best of our abilities.  Most South Africans know the day to day risks that we need to navigate, and know that we need to take extra precautions. Ultimately, we should be looking to scripture to find out what our response should be to the situation in our land. Firstly, I think we need to ask this question:

1.  Which citizenship really matters?

We have become far too comfortable in this world.  We are more concerned with our citizenship on earth than our citizenship in Heaven. The cares and pleasures of this world have captivated many believers.  We trust in our policies, find security in our assets, and feel at ease when we have covered all our earthly bases. Then of course it’s time for the things of God, and unfortunately many spend more time in meetings, leadership seminars, church camps, and the latest celebrity teachers bible study than they do in their prayer closet and studying the word of God. Instead of living as aliens and sojourners in this world many believers have exchanged an eternal perspective for an earthly one. The church should of course be pointing us to Christ, and remind us that being conformed into his image and knowing Him should be our priority. Instead, a large portion of the visible church are tickling ears. This is the age of dreaming big and partnering with God who can’t wait to see you succeed and prosper. Job promotions, accelerated finances, increasing favor with the world, and an emphasis on our dreams and destiny have added to or replaced the gospel.  James gives us insight as to what the attitude of believers should be regarding our future: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” –  yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:13-15
A situation like we are facing in South Africa is a reminder that our hope should be in our heavenly citizenship. Our nation may go from bad to worse, and while it certainly effects our lives in various ways, it is a reminder that what really matters cannot be taken away: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35-39

Secondly, we should devote ourselves to two things:

2. Prayer and studying the scriptures.

It goes without saying that these two disciplines are vital for the normal Christian life. Let the difficult times we live in spur us on to draw closer to God. Scripture instructs us to pray: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:1-4

These are the ideal conditions we would like to experience.  To that effect, we should pray for our leaders, pray for the gospel to be preached and heard, pray for wickedness to be exposed, and pray that we remain firm in the hope we have in Christ. We must remember that in this world we will have tribulation.  Believers are being burnt alive in Nigeria.  In various nations around the world believers are being tortured and imprisoned for their faith. What makes us believe we have the right to escape trials and tribulations?  What makes our nation so special that we think we deserve comfort and stability?  Why are we so eager to accept prophetic words that speak of prosperity and peace but ignore the promise of tribulations? We are not suffering or being persecuted for our faith as of yet; we are simply reaping the fruits of a lawless land but it’s a form of tribulation nonetheless. Despite these difficult times, we should be rejoicing in the Lord:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
One of the most comforting passages in scripture reminds us that God is in control of our lives. When the days are dark and life seems unfair, God is masterfully at work :
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28

Directly after Paul’s description of the ungodly in his second letter to Timothy, he reminds Timothy of the sufficiency of scripture:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17
We should know what scripture teaches about God, ourselves, Satan, and this world. If we fall short in this regard, we fall for fallacies.  The level of 
Biblical Illiteracy in the church is astounding, and it’s not surprising that when trials and tribulations come we cannot withstand the storm. Search the scriptures, immerse yourself in God’s word, study it in context, and you will find that your faith will be built up. Don’t fall for the fallacies of men; put your hope and trust in Christ. Scripture addresses all of our concerns.  Let the word of God bring you assurance in difficult times:

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.  But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.  Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7

 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 concerns Israel’s restoration 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

 

 

 

 

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.