The Acceleration Of The New Apostolic Reformation’s Influence In South Africa

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has infiltrated churches in South Africa at an alarming rate.  While not all churches have morphed into full blown NAR churches, many accept and teach some of the doctrines and practices found in the NAR.   Ways to identify whether a church has fallen for the aberrant teachings of the NAR, is to examine their statements and associations, and to listen to their sermons.  It does not take long before certain catch phrases will alert you to the fact that a church has fallen for the lies of the NAR.  In this post we look at a family of churches, which include South African churches, and show without a doubt that this group has espoused certain teachings of the NAR.

To be clear – this is not judging the salvation of those currently caught up in the teachings of the NAR.  There are saved individuals and individuals who are saved in NAR or NAR influenced churches.  God knows those who are his, and like myself and thousands of other believers who have come out of the NAR or charismania, our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes, and that the truth will set them free.  Many who have bought into these false doctrines are passionate for God and may have good intentions, but have failed to exercise discernment.  It’s not loving to watch brothers and sisters in Christ being “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” and remain silent.  

Church of the Nations (COTN) is an “international family of churches relating through love and commitment to see the Kingdom of God extended on earth.”
They embrace values such as:  “Apostolic alignment… Accountability (being under authority releases authority)…The principle of spiritual Fathers and Sons.”
An international Apostolic council protects and watches over the various churches.  They are responsible for overseeing doctrine, as well as “casting corporate vision.”
COTN have churches in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Oceana and South America.  There are various church clusters within COTN, and “Apostolic cluster leaders personally relate into COTN directly through a member of the Apostolic Council. This Council has no direct government into any local church except through its cluster leadership.”  Not every church within COTN might subscribe to the false doctrines of the NAR, but nevertheless remain under the authority of the Apostolic council, and their corporate vision.

COTN describe their relationship with the body of Christ in part as follows: “The leaders of COTN will continue to build relationships into the wider body of Christ. This will happen through the Apostolic Council relating to apostolic streams, gatherings and other ministries…”

If you happen to be a NAR denialist like Dr Michael Brown, then simply ignore the term NAR and compare the statements from COTN in this article to what scripture teaches.  Do the leaders of this movement believe and teach the false doctrines of dominion/kingdom now theology?  For example, does scripture instruct us to change culture and transform nations by discipling literal nations?  Has God clearly outlined a “seven mountain mandate” for the church?  Does God speak directly to current day apostolic leaders and give them annual words regarding His latest strategy or supernatural moves?  If apostolic leaders claim to have such important words from God, then surely scripture is insufficient in that it has left ordinary believers in the dark unless current day apostles hear correctly? Do COTN leaders associate with false prophets?  These questions will be answered in this article.  

What do COTN envision?
“We envision the world learning about, accepting and focusing on Jesus and His Kingdom on earth. We see authentic Christianity as coming under the loving Lordship of Jesus Christ and being joined to a community of believers who are learning to live a new life in a new way. We want each and every person given to us to live a self-governed life while fulfilling their God-given destiny within a community of believers.

The Great Commission was given by Jesus as an apostolic mandate to disciple nations. This was based on God’s original purpose stated in Genesis when He gave man a dominion and a domestic mandate. Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, not the gospel of the church.

So we see local churches reaching their destiny when aligned to an apostolic vision. This allows Jesus to fulfill His promise when He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”

Those who are familiar with the aberrant teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation would have to read no further to know that catch phrases in bold indicate that we are dealing with a movement heavily influenced by the NAR.

The true apostolic vision from God is clear; it’s called scripture.  When building a house, an architect is brought in to design the plans. This blueprint for the structure must be implemented by the builder. The builder does not use his imagination, vision, or feelings to decide how the structure should look. In similar fashion, God has given a blueprint to build his church – not only has he supplied the plans, but He is also the builder.  The blueprint is called scripture, and the foundation is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” Eph 2:20. The prophets wrote most of the Old testament, and the apostles brought us the New Testament – inspired and infallible teachings they heard directly from Christ, as well as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-14)  This foundation has been laid, it is complete, and the blueprint does not need any corrections. This is why Jude wrote:
“I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” Jude 3.

We don’t need any new revelations or annual words from God to be build a local church: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 3:16-17

EXAMINING WHAT COTN ENVISION :

COTN: “international family of churches relating through love and commitment to see the Kingdom of God extended on earth.”
On the surface, this sounds biblical, but when the “kingdom of God” is associated with the seven mountain mandate or discipling literal nations, we are dealing with NAR doctrines.  As we will see, this is indeed the case in this instance.

COTN: “We see authentic Christianity as coming under the loving Lordship of Jesus Christ and being joined to a community of believers who are learning to live a new life in a new way.”
Once again, not problematic on the surface; it all depends what they mean by “a new way.”  If by “new way” COTN mean the pattern laid out in scripture, applicable to the church through the ages and relevant today, then I agree.  If by “new way” they mean believers are dependent on new shifts taking place, new methodology, new revelation being given, then I disagree.

COTN: “We want each and every person given to us to live a self-governed life while fulfilling their God-given destiny within a community of believers.”
Believers live a life submitted to God, and community does play a role. However, when that community of believers is governed by leaders who hear from God on their behalf, the community are in effect being governed not by God, but by their leaders.  Does this destiny include NAR teachings such as shifting atmospheres, transforming culture, or experiencing God’s favor due to God supposedly declaring 2018 is a year of acceleration?  We shall find out shortly.

COTN: “The Great Commission was given by Jesus as an apostolic mandate to disciple nations.”
We are called to preach the gospel and be witnesses for Christ in all nations.  There is no apostolic mandate to disciple literal nations, simply an instruction to make disciples of people from all nations.

When COTN say “disciple nations” they mean literal nations.  John Scholtz is one of the leaders on the COTN “apostolic council.”  On 19 February 2017, he delivered a message entitled “Making Disciples of the Nations” in Port Elizabeth.  In the message, Scholtz laments the fact that the gospel of salvation replaced the gospel of the kingdom.  This false dichotomy of two gospels is being promulgated by those who teach dominion/kingdom now theology.  There is only ONE gospel, and it includes salvation and discipleship – both possible because of what Christ has done. 

Scholtz concedes that the church has not managed to disciple a nation, and for that reason he believes: “the church has never accomplished what it was called to do.”
Scholtz therefore believes that the church has been called to disciple literal nations, whereas scripture teaches the church must preach the gospel in all nations, and that people of all nations will be saved (Revelation 7:9)  Scholtz has fallen for the lies of dominion theology of the NAR and other movements that fall under the NAR – Manifest Sons of God, Joel’s army, Latter Rain etc. Scriptures teaches that prior to our Lords return the world will be marked by godlessness not godliness (2 Timothy 3) and a falling away, not revival (2 Thess 2)

On Sunday, May 3rd, 2015, Scholtz preached a message entitled “Encounters with God.” In the message he said “if we don’t disciple the world, the world will disciple the church, somebody’s going to win that battle and we are going to win it and….the task of transforming the world takes on an enormity”

We are not called to disciple or transform the world, this is NAR/dominion theology language, and cannot be supported by scripture.

Unfortunately members of Harvest Christian Church (John Scholtz was senior pastor for many years) can access these kinds of teachings from their own library.  Apart from authors which teach false doctrines such as the word of faith heresy and prosperity gospel (Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, John Bevere), the Harvest library carries a host of NAR books by none other than the founder of the NAR – the late Peter Wagner.  They include:  “Territorial spirits: insights on strategic-level spiritual warfare from nineteen Christian leaders” and “Warfare prayer : how to seek God’s power and protection in the battle to build his kingdom” – a NAR strategy to take dominion!
Bill Johnson’s book “When Heaven Invades Earth” is also available.  This book has been described as “a modern day heresy.”  The other Bill Johnson book available: “When heaven invades earth : a practical guide to a life of miracles” has been summed up as follows: The popularity of books like this evidence how far contemporary Christianity has drifted from Scripture. We have wafted a long ways from the most fundamental and essential truths of the Christian faith, such as the doctrine of God, man, Christ, and salvation. Sadly, the book, When Heaven Invades Earth, is a stark reminder.

COTN: “This was based on God’s original purpose stated in Genesis when He gave man a dominion and a domestic mandate. Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, not the gospel of the church.”

Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel, not dominion theology.  The Jews were hoping that Jesus would bring dominion to earth and change their government, but Jesus disappointed them: “my kingdom is not of this world.”  The NAR however demand visible change by transforming and dominating the kingdoms of this world – transformation in arts & culture, government, media, education, religion, family, and business (the seven mountain mandate).  This seven mountain mandate has become the gospel of NAR churches, and in their haste to increase their sheep have allowed goats into the flock by offering the world a cross free Christianity.

COTN: “So we see local churches reaching their destiny when aligned to an apostolic vision. This allows Jesus to fulfill His promise when He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”

The apostolic vision was in fact presented by real apostles and recorded in scripture. Local churches reach their destiny by teaching and obeying scripture, not by aligning with the vision of current day apostles who receive extra biblical instructions directly from God.  In many places today, this destiny includes sufferings, imprisonment and martyrdom, a far cry from the American dream that has conveniently become the NAR envisioned destiny.  We don’t “allow” Jesus to build his church; He is building it without the permission or help of any apostolic council.  The not so subtle message in this statement means that without an apostolic vision, local churches will fail.  This is a way for the leadership to elevate themselves above mere members, and stamp their authority on the flock. I cannot recall Jesus saying – ‘I will build my church but I will need contemporary apostles to hear my words which I will give exclusively to them on an annual basis.’

NAR ASSOCIATIONS:

One of the leaders on the “apostolic council” is Tony Fitzgerald.  Knowing what he teaches, and who he associates with will help us evaluate COTN in terms of being influenced by the NAR.  Tony Fitzgerald is no stranger to the apostolic move.  In 2002 Fitzgerald attended an ICAL gathering in Dallas, “taking part in the forums and discussions included: Cindy Jacobs, Bill Hamon, Alan Langstaff, David Cartledge, John Eckhart, Ted Haggard and Bart Pierce”

In 2009 he “had the privilege of participating at the International Coalition of Apostles. I spoke on a panel dealing with Apostolic Mission to the Nations…In preparation for the panel, Peter Wagner in his report highlighted a prophecy by Chuck Pierce given in 1986.”
In other words, Fitzgerald is more than familiar with the New Apostolic Reformation.  The late Peter Wagner is the founder of the NAR, and Chuck Pierce is one of the false prophets in the movement. For a host of articles on Wagner, click here.

In 2013, Fitzgerald was at another ICAL conference, which included false NAR prophets  Lance Wallnau and Dutch Sheets – both taught at this conference.

NAR BELIEFS:

Perhaps you have noticed that the main players in the NAR such as Bethel church, refuse to accept reality.  The reality is that this world is in a mess, and it’s not getting any better.  In the light of their beliefs, they are forced to construct their own narrative of reality.  Only good news will do, and in many cases facts are exaggerated to suit their agenda.  Contrary to scripture that teaches of a departure from the faith and increasing wickedness on earth during the last days, the NAR believe in a mass revival (a billion soul harvest) and growing influence of the church over the world.  While the visible church has certainly made their presence felt through the establishment of mega churches and countless meetings in packed out stadiums, the falling away continues at a rate second to none as false doctrines dominate the industrial evangelical complex. So what exactly does Fitzgerald believe? Has he fallen for the NAR narrative that portrays a world dying to know Christ, resulting in an influx of converts and a growth in the number of believers on earth?

Let me begin by asking you a question: what percentage of the visible church in your opinion are true believers?  I’m referring to the visible church, not the earth’s population. Keep in mind – millions call themselves “Christians” because they believe in God, but even the devil believes in one God – “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” James 2:19.  Millions within the charismatic and NAR churches point to their gifts as evidence of salvation, yet Jesus said: “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

Tony writes:
” We could be fast approaching the day of the restoration of all things that could usher in the return of the King to His kingdom rule on earth. As I mentioned earlier, we are winning! The prophet Isaiah wrote that the Kingdom of God would know only increase.  A group called World Revival Network from Kansas City, reported on the spread of Christianity the following: By AD 100, 1 out of every 360 people of the world were followers of Jesus  By AD 1000, this had grown to 1 out of every 220.
By 1500, it was 1 out of every 69.  By 1990, the number of followers had risen to 1 out of every 7.  By 2010, It was estimated that with over 7 billion people on the
earth, 2.3 billion of these inhabitants, were followers of Jesus {1out of every 3}.
During the last century there has been great growth intraditionally ‘non-Christian’ areas such as India, China, Africa, and the Middle East pushing the percentage of Christians on the earth towards 1 out of every 2.”

Seriously? – every second person on earth is a believer?  If this were true, we would have to edit scripture:  “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:14

Tony Continues: “2000 years ago, 500 years ago, and 50 years ago there were seismic shifts in Christianity on the earth. Let us draw on treasures old and new and embrace this new shift, as we don’t move on from, but build upon all that has been restored.”

Another NAR catch phrase, but sadly the real shift we are experiencing is a shift towards greater delusion as the NAR continues to dupe millions.  The past two decades we have been hearing about breakthroughs, outpourings, mantles, a new move, and now a new shift, yet nothing changes.

In December 2015 Tony wrote:
“The prophets are prophesying that in this Jewish year of 5776 or what the Israelis call Ayin Vav, is the year where we will see heaven invade earth at an unprecedented level with the most powerful force in the universe… LOVE. Ayin meaning “seeing” and Vav, “the connector”, where we will see the connection made between Heaven and Earth.”

I’m not sure which prophets he is referring to, but do you recall 2017 as being the year that heaven invaded earth through the powerful connector called love?  I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “heaven invading earth” before.  This is Bill Johnson language, and if you are familiar with Johnson’s theology you will know that he is a master at twisting scripture.

On Sunday, April 19th, 2015, Tony delivered a message at Harvest Christian Church. He gave his defintion of kingdom alignment, which included: “living a naturally supernatural life under the kings governmental rule – the church, through fathers and sons knowing that his determination and zeal is fulfilling his original intent, a biblical world view reconciling all things back to himself that is funded through a monetary system that will provoke the world to jealousy regarding the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our God.”

Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world, Jesus wasn’t interested, but the NAR are definitely interested. Unfortunately their method and timing are out.  Christ alone will bring the kingdom in it’s fullness at the end of the age. Prior to that, the world will be in a chaotic state, and the wrath of God will be poured out on the wicked – a fact those in the NAR simply ignore.  The world will be provoked by believers who stand firm in their faith; this provocation will not lead to jealousy on the worlds part due to any “monetary system” in the church, but will lead to persecution.  This world that preaches “tolerance” will be intolerant of believers who reject lies and stand for truth.  Even worse – the majority of the visible church will reject true believers who refuse to bow the knee to a post modern gospel and the lies of the NAR.

It must be patently clear by now to any reasonable person that Tony Fitzgerald has accepted the teachings of the NAR.  He participates in their conferences, and does not warn COTN members of all the false prophets he surrounds himself with.

THE INFLUENCE OF ICAL ON COTN:

The International Coalition of Apostles (ICAL)  – a network of NAR apostles, define an apostle as: “a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church”

Does the apostolic council of COTN fulfil this role?  As we have seen, they cast corporate vision, and the local church apparently need their “apostolic vision” to reach their destiny.  But do they hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches?

CHURCH OF THE NATIONS (COTN) has two influential churches in the Eastern Cape –  Harvest Christian church (Port Elizabeth) and Victory church (Jeffreys Bay)  Louis Els  is the pastor of Victory church. 
Louis Els:
“As an Apostolic Family it is important for us to hear together and agree with what Father is saying so that we can FOCUS on what He has for us and where He wants us to go. Only through hearing and seeing accurately we contribute to the whole effectively in advancing the Kingdom!

Wrong!  The kingdom is advanced (and by that I don’t mean in NAR fashion) by faithfully preaching the gospel: “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

Paul would have been one of the worst apostles if he neglected to tell Timothy that success depended onhearing and seeing accurately.”
Note that it’s important to agree with what Father the apostolic leaders are saying.  What if they are wrong and a member questions their doctrine or vision?  We all know how that usually works out.  This is what happens when the subjective – fresh revelation, replaces the objective – the revelation of God’s word.  Many of us have witnessed or experienced the chain of events following legitimate questions.  The leaders are always going to win this battle because the truth of scripture is not the final arbitrator – the opinion of the leaders is what counts.  Leaders have power, and if you question their word from God you will be called into a meeting where your allegiance to God himself will be questioned.  Many do not even reach the upper echelons of leadership.  Leaders or assistant home and cell group leaders deal with the initial query.  The next step would be area leaders, or leaders who have completed the required leadership courses.  In smaller churches the pastor may have the time to step in, or will step in if the individual or family are influential in any way.  Either way, the leadership will close ranks, and questioning members will be labelled rebellious, divisive, and be accused of quenching the Spirit and operating out of hurts.  These Bereans will not be commended for comparing what is taught to the word of God, but shamed and shunned.

Has Louis Els seen and heard accurately?  Els received a word for 2018:
“THE WORD FOR 2018 IS – TIME OF ACCELERATION
God is saying, “I have brought you and positioned you at this place for this time. Find your space and your place quickly! For I am going to put all of what I’ve spoken in the previous years together and create a momentum that will propel and accelerate the Body of Christ into a position of favor, authority and power, that will give God the glory and produce an amazing harvest.” It is very important that we understand that it is NOT our own power, effort or acceleration that we refer to, but the Divine Enablement, Empowerment, Energizing and Quickening of the Lord! It’s His anointing that enables you. The God of fine design, intelligent progression and process causes an acceleration that supersedes natural laws!
“Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings!” Amos 9:13
So he answered and said to me: “ This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT,’ Says the LORD of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “GRACE, GRACE to it!” Zechariah 4:6-7 NKJV
We are trusting that as we ALIGN with God and His Word, we will see an ACCELERATION in all the Kingdom Mountains, the Church and also in our personal lives, that will give Him Glory. May we continue to Advance His Kingdom together”

If Louis aligned himself with God’s word, he would know that “kingdom mountains” is an NAR construct.  It’s been the “year of acceleration” since 2009 according to some NAR “prophets.”  COTN is a little late in receiving this specific word, but finds itself in the company of a host of false teachers who received the word acceleration -Joel Osteen, Chuck Pierce, James Goll, Cindy Jacobs and many more.

In this letter, Els writes: When God first spoke to us about Acceleration
for 2018, our first response was, “We don’t want to run faster or do more in this busy life,” especially as changes were happening so quickly, both on a personal and global level…”

Why would God repeat a false word spoken by false prophets?  Has God not spoken clearly through Christ: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world”
Hebrews 1:1-2

Are the scripture not complete, is God adding to the blueprint?

Els then asks “So how can we position ourselves for acceleration? Well, in Hebrews 4:1-16, the author shows us how to prevent the enemy (or ourselves) from robbing us during this season of acceleration.”

The book of Hebrews reveals the superiority of Jesus Christ, and the new covenant.
The author had no intention of helping believers position themselves for a season of supernatural acceleration!

Els believes we need to hear what God is saying to have faith, but confuses the issue: Els:  “Hebrews 4:2-3 says that “Some entered into rest because of faith while
others not because of unbelief” (paraphrased). My friends, you need faith to enter into this rest. Faith comes from HEARING, not from what you’ve already heard. Did you get that? Faith comes by hearing, not by what you’ve already heard. Too many people say, “I have heard that before,” but faith doesn’t come from what you’ve heard before.
Faith comes by hearing what God is saying NOW. We need to hear (and keep on hearing) the Word of God to see strong, consistent, and reliable faith at work in our lives.”
Compare this to what Bill Johnson writes in his book When Heaven Invades Earth:
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Notice it does not say, faith comes from having heard. The whole nature of faith implies a relationship with God that is current. The emphasis is on hearing…in the NOW

Els fails to point out that this faith refers to saving faith, not faith to hear from God on a daily or annual basis.  Bill Johnson and others who cannot exegete God’s word correctly, quote Romans 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” and use it to justify a fresh “word from the Lord.”  The context however points to saving faith as the preceding verses indicate: “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” Vs 13-16

MORE NAR BELIEFS:

Another church that is part of COTN is Harvest church in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal.  Included in their “values” are: 

“RISK-TAKING – We are called to be courageous believers that step out in faith to see God’s kingdom released on the earth. Whether we fail or succeed, we celebrate taking bold steps of faith.” – sound familiar?  This is Bethel terminology.  Scripture never instructs believers to take risks, but to obey scripture. Read more here and here about how Bethel’s risk taking has led them into deception.

“SIGNS & WONDERS – Jesus promised that signs would follow believers and that we would do even greater works than he did while on earth. We value and make room for the Holy Spirit to move in power.”

I’m not certain what this particular church believes regarding signs and wonders, but I can tell you what the NAR believe.  The greater works are certainly not what the NAR teach – greater in power.  Bethel have signs that make you wonder, because they are not found in scripture – angel feathers, gold dust, glory clouds…. a far cry from walking on water, raising rotting corpses from the dead, changing water into wine, feeding five thousand etc. I believe this passage refers to the effect and scope of the gospel such as the Gentiles being included in God’s redemptive plan.  These two articles shed further light:

Is it really possible for Christians to do greater works than Jesus?

Doing Greater Works Than Jesus (John 14:12-14)


The NAR teach that the gospel is incomplete without signs and wonders.  Bethel teach that all can prophesy, and their supernatural school teaches students how to be activated in the supernatural – EXCEPT two of the signs clearly mentioned in Mark 16 – picking up serpents, and drinking deadly poison….a little too difficult to fake.  While I believe God is able to perform miracles, and does still heal if it is his will, I don’t believe signs and wonders are common place, or that individuals have the gift of healing.  Bill Johnson on the other hand, believes that any theology that allows for sickness, is a false gospel.  In other words he believes total healing for every sick person is guaranteed in the atonement. Clearly his theology is not working, as I have previously noted – Bill and his wife Beni Johnson wear glasses and both underwent surgery recently.  Without medical intervention the son of Bethel Music CEO Joel Taylor may have died, and Bill’s son Eric is 85 to 90% deaf in both ears.  The healing rooms at Bethel have failed their own “papa.”

We don’t owe the world an encounter with God in the form of signs and wonders, instead, we owe it to God to faithfully preach the gospel:For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-23

MORE NAR ASSOCIATIONS AND INFLUENCES:

Harvest church will also host the “Renaissance Conference” from 27 – 29 June 2018.

The conference is described as follows:Beauty is intrinsic to the very nature of God. Whether you’re in church leadership, the arts, business or politics, God wants to partner with you to release the kingdom in a fresh wayRenaissance is a three-day equipping conference for pastors, leaders and influencers that want to partner with God to see His beauty released in their families, communities and cities.”

Tickets cost R450.00 and the main attraction is Eric Johnson (Bill Johnson’s son) Other speakers include: Bob Hazlett, Julian and Katia Adams.

Eric Johnson has learnt his theology from his father, so what COTN members will be subjected to is pure dominion theology and other false doctrines taught by Bethel.  Eric, 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 2:1-3

Does that sound like people are inherently good?

Eric Johnson was happy to receive a “finger reading” from false prophet Bob Jones.  
Eric apparently “knew that the third finger represented pastor.” Is this how the Apostle Paul confirmed Timothy’s calling – through a finger reading?  Is each of the five fold ministries represented by a finger?  Who came up why this, why is it not in scripture?

 Bob Hazlett is described on his own
website as “a proven prophetic voice. His teaching and prophetic ministry has been featured on GodTV, TBN, Daystar and Bethel TV.  Bob Hazlett is a friend to leaders and a sought-after speaker and author. Strong healing and prophetic gifts follow his ministry.”

On their website: Julian Adams is described as “an author, spiritual advisor, revelatory teacher and leadership consultant in political, business and creative spheres. A world-renowned prophet, Julian has a proven track record in the fulfilment of words released over individuals, communities and nations.”
Adam’s will be speaking at  Victory Church when they host their FAMILY FEST 2018 gathering.
False prophet Shawn Bolz has interviewed Adams on his podcast – Exploring the Prophetic, Bolz and NAR false prophetess Patricia King have both endorsed a book written by Adams -THE KISS OF THE FATHER.  Frequentsee, the name of the ministry  led by Julian and Katia Adams, have in turn interviewed Patricia King.

In one of his blog posts, Adams quotes Bill Johnson: “You reflect the reality you are most aware of,”  and then writes:  “Jesus ministered out of being aware of the unseen reality of his fathers world. If we can understand and learn to be aware of the co-existing reality of heaven, we will be able to shift the atmospheres around us. What heaven looks like is meant to be revealed here on earth.
You can search the scriptures for decades, you will not find any teaching on shifting atmospheres – another NAR construct and Bethel’s speciality.  Earth is only going to look like heaven when Christ returns, don’t these atmosphere shifters read scripture?  Adams has clearly been influenced by Bethel’s ludicrous doctrine.

Katia Adams is “an apostolic teacher who is known for releasing revelation and breakthrough. Katia teaches in theological courses, church conferences and leadership events internationally.”

That word “revelation” really doesn’t impress me, neither does breakthrough.  The only revelation we need is God’s word, and the job of a teacher is to teach the word of God.  How does one “release revelation” anyway?  Who is holding it back?   If it’s new revelation it should be added to scripture, if it’s not new it’s redundant anyway.

On their homepage they state: “You were created to hear God’s voice and live a life of significance. We’re here to help you reimagine your world and transform culture around you.”
Um, no thanks, I’ll stick to Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5
There is no biblical mandate to transform culture, once again another NAR construct.

This specific conference at a COTN church is clearly a NAR affair!.

CONCLUSION

It is clear that COTN have been influenced by the New Apostolic Reformation.  Whether they acknowledge the existence of the NAR is irrelevant as they condone some of the false teachings common to the NAR.  The fact that one of their leaders is in involved with the International Coalition of Apostles and rubs shoulders with false prophets in the NAR should be grave cause for concern to members of COTN.  Furthermore, dominion theology has clearly embedded it’s poison in COTN.  The false doctrines emanating from Bethel are well documented, yet Eric Johnson will be a key speaker at a COTN church.  COTN endeavour  “to build relationships into the wider body of Christ. This will happen through the Apostolic Council relating to apostolic streams, gatherings and other ministries…”
This is part of the problem, there can be no relationship with the polluted streams of the NAR or other ministries and teachers that should be marked and avoided.  How is the apostolic council “overseeing doctrine”  when they give false teachers, false prophets, and false doctrines a voice in their movement?

But shouldn’t those of us who disagree with churches who have been influenced by the NAR just pray, keep quiet and let God sort things out?  No, because : “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
There are many believers (members, leaders and pastors) in COTN churches, my prayer is that they would compare what they believe, teach, and are being taught with scripture.  Ultimately, allegiance to God and his truth as revealed in scripture, must supersede any earthly allegiance.

 

BSSM – soaking, declaring and spinning into delusion

By Rick Becker       31 May  2018

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is a risky business.  Students are “taught” how to heal, and are encouraged to “take risks” which really means to ignore the boundaries clearly laid out in scripture.  BSSM is simply a school of ‘simony’ that is producing thousands of severely deluded ‘revivalists’ who believe that they are a part of a mighty end time army that will usher in the kingdom of God.  Two of our previous posts exposed their false teachings and methodology:

The fruits of Bethel church – ashamed of the gospel, flirting with the occult.
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism.
In this post we continue to expose the delusion in operation at the BSSM.

In 2016, BSSM asked research group  Eido “to conduct a wide scale research report: “objectively discovering and celebrating the corporate testimony of these graduates; as well as providing the information Bethel needs to grow in excellence as they pursue global revival.”  The Eido report was compiled by two statisticians who are former students of the BSSM.  The report is largely complimentary, and claims that as a result of the graduates ministry 50 000 people were healed in 2017 as well as “several dead raisings.”  No medical records were mentioned or made available.  The report does however include some negative observations from graduates.  One of the questions they asked past students was: “What could BSSM have done better to prepare you for life after graduation?”

Two of the answers are telling:

1. “there could be more talks from people who work in the secular world
and can describe what it is like to be a revivalist without using any jargon. I [have] never said ‘bam, take it’ since graduating”

The question is why is there the need to say “bam, take it” in the first place?  What does “bam” actually do, and how does one “take” whatever “bam” produces?  Did Jesus or the apostles resort to a “bam, take it” ministry?  The “bam” probably comes from a false prophet who is endorsed by Bill Johnson – Todd Bentley.
Outside of the Bethel bubble is a real world that needs the gospel, not the tricks and trades of the Bethel machinery.

2. “I think I felt like I was told YOU’RE AN AWESOME AMAZING WORLD CHANGER LEADER and then I got thrown into the real World like a fish out of water. Ministry life and real world life are very different. And I was very disillusioned. I knew I was AMAZING but that didn’t translate into society as a whole.”

Surely the point of any type of christian instruction is to reveal the greatness of God, not self?  Bethelites are under a spiritual delusion.  Outside of their environment are people who are not bamboozled by gold dust, feathers and fog.  Stretching legs may fool some people, but the average person, even if unsaved, still has common sense.   

Students at the BSSM receive lots of encouragement, but is it biblical, or simply an ego building exercise?  More comments from graduates of the BSSM in the Eidos survey: “I was told by a good amount of people during school that I was meant to do great things, but now that I don’t have those voices always reminding me”, said one
struggling graduate. “Not being believed in or seen the way that I was at Bethel. There I felt so big, here I feel so insignificant and unseen” added another.”

TAKING RISKS

This BSSM School Planting article,Developing a Risk-Taking Culture”  reveals Bethel’s disdain for scripture, and their desire to experiment in signs and wonders.   

BSSM: “Developing a supernatural lifestyle requires risk….Set the tone for your school’s culture by communicating that it is okay for your students to fail when they are trying new things.”

I thought BSSM was a school of “supernatural” ministry?  On the day of Pentecost, the disciples “began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Acts 2:3. There was no trial and error, no risk taking involved.  They were not trying something new – God gave a new gift.  The miracle was that they spoke in languages that they had not learned:And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.  And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?” Acts 2:6-8

BSSM: “While teaching on words of knowledge, ask students to get a word of knowledge (e.g. his/her favorite toy growing up, last four digits of his/her phone number, parent’s name, etc.) for the student sitting to their right. Ask students who got the word of knowledge correct to raise their hands. Celebrate their breakthrough! Ask the students who got the word of knowledge wrong to raise their hands. Tell these students to look around the room and notice they are not the only ones who got it wrong. Celebrate their effort and remind them it’s ok they didn’t get it right the first time. Encourage them to keep trying as it will help them develop discernment.”

How is guessing the favorite toy of the person next to you glorify and point to God?  How does it edify the body of Christ?  A necromancer or psychic could name the favorite toy.  Where is the miraculous if we can simply thumb suck names and numbers until we get close?  We covered the topic of supernatural knowledge in this article: The new breed of crafty evangelists.

BSSM: “While teaching students on how to heal the sick, share your personal journey with them on how you grew in understanding healing, the breakthroughs you saw, the disappointments you experienced”

Gifts are taught?  It should be so obvious to anyone who has has a bible that gifts cannot be taught, and that not everyone has the same gift.   “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”
1 Corinthians 12:11.
You don’t have to be a cessationist to know that Bethel blatantly ignores scripture!  If healing can be taught, why have Bill and Beni Johnson required surgery, and why are they still wearing glasses?  Why are the hospitals in Redding still in business?

Sometimes “taking risks” involves baiting people.  This is from the  BSSM School Planting facebook page:

“ACTIVATION // White Board: This is from our friends @ilssm_uk ! Take a whiteboard and have your students write down words of knowledge. Take the whiteboard out on the street and watch as people find themselves on the whiteboard and are touched by the Lord!”


Imagine the apostle Paul and a few youth from the church in Corinth walking through the marketplace holding a parchment with “words of knowledge” written down as a means to give the Corinthians an encounter with God.  I could set up a whiteboard outside my local coffee shop with words that most could identify with – broken relationships, financial difficulties, loneliness, lower back pain, does the name John mean anything to you? etc.  What is miraculous about that?  If someone from the BSSM received a “hit” on one of their words from a passerby, will the passerby hear the message of the gospel, or Bethel’s version of the gospel?

SOAKING
In this article, leaders are given advice on leading a “soaking session.”
BSSM: “Encountering the intimate presence of God is the gateway to the supernatural! When we soak in His presence, we are radically transformed into His likeness. We learn to hear His voice, we learn to see Him, and we are anointed to walk in miracles, signs, and wonders.”

This is far from biblical.  There are no portals or gateways or formulas to experience the supernatural.  The reason BSSM have wandered off into mysticism and other errors is precisely because they refuse to hear and obey His voice: scripture.  What they mean by “we learn to see him” only they will know.  The formula BSSM offer is simple: soak, listen, see, receive an anointing and become a miracle maker.  Try and find that in scripture.

BSSM: “For some, soaking opens up the door to visions, angelic visitations, or out of body experiences. Others have physical manifestations of electricity, heat, weeping, and more. Whether or not we dramatically experience the spirit realm or physical manifestations, we get to receive the greatest gift: His presence. When we stop and spend time with Him, we receive a deposit of His Spirit in our innermost being, renewing and strengthening us to fulfill our destinies.”

In other words, a faith that can be felt takes precedence over a faith that is factual.  This form of contemplative spirituality leads to all forms of deception, especially since Bill Johnson encourages Bethelites to ‘go off the map.’  The Bethel version of destiny, is an awesome world changer who takes dominion, performs miracles, and prospers.  I would encourage you to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and compare the desires and lives of many who paid the ultimate price, to the current new breed of New Apostolic Reformation revivalists who have confused the gospel with a mixture of the American dream and dominion theology.

BSSM: “Today, we want to encourage you with tips on how to lead your students to soak in God’s presence! The fruit of intimacy with Him is a lifestyle full of the supernatural. By creating space for them to encounter greater measures of His Spirit, they will be transformed into revivalists that reveal the King and His kingdom.”

Where does scripture teach the fruit of intimacy with Him is a lifestyle full of the supernatural ?

DECLARING

This article entitled “3 Reasons Why Declarations Shift Atmospheres” is  simply word of faith heresy:
BSSM: “Steve Backlund once said, “Nothing happens in the kingdom unless a declaration is made.”

Steve Buckland has confused himself with God.  Where is this notion clearly taught in scripture, how did the disciples or early church apply it?  By his logic, the disciples declared their own tribulations and martyrdom.  Our declarations are not causitive!  God is the only one who makes declarations.  We bring our supplications to God:
The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

BSSM: “Declarations are powerful because God has placed authority in our words. As His children, we can use this authority to either edify or destroy. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (NASB).

Proverbs 18:21 does not mean that our words have inherent creative powers.  It means our words have effects.  Consider verse 6 :A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.”  

BSSM: “When we embrace and release life-giving truth through our words, we can shift atmospheres and establish cultures that reflect the kingdom.”

Says no biblical text!  “Shifting atmospheres” is New Apostolic Reformation terminology; it’s certainly not a concept taught in scripture.  One would imagine that the apostles would have been only too eager to practice this if it were true; instead they were chased out of cities, persecuted, imprisoned, and martyred.  Shifting atmospheres and establishing cultures were foreign to the early church.  The “atmosphere shifting” specialist at Bethel is Dawna De Silva.  Dawna “is the founder and co-leader with Teresa Liebscher of the International Bethel Sozo Ministry. She and her husband, Stephen De Silva, have ministered from Bethel for the past twenty years as well as preaching, speaking, and authoring books. Dawna’s manual on Shifting Atmospheres has become a sought after tool for daily empowerment.”

For $49 you can take her 8 week E-course, and learn how to shift atmospheres by taking “dominion over the supernatural environment for the Kingdom of God!”

Dawna is clearly on the masters level, because she is able to take dominion of her neighbourhood.  If a house in her neighbourhood needs paint, Dawna will declare that the house gets painted.  If the house owner cannot afford paint, Dawna will declare that money will come to the owner so that he is compelled to paint his house.  Dawna will declare that a person waters their neglected garden.  Dawna can do this because there is “power in our words.”

You can watch Dawna relate these bizarre examples of declaring and shifting atmospheres in this video

While Dawna cleans up her neighbourhood and shifts atmospheres through her declarations, faithful servants of God preach Christ crucified to the lost.

This is the fruit of Bethel’s teachings – sheer lunacy, and youngsters are actually paying to be taught this heresy.

BSSM: “To be transformed by the renewing of our minds (as Paul writes about in Romans 12), we must intentionally align our thoughts with truth. We can change the way we think by first changing the way we talk! In other words, we can tap into the power of declarations.”

The mouth cannot change the heart – it reflects what is in the heart: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”  Matthew 12:34.  In other words, BSSM teach that power lies not in submitting our will to God, but in declarations.  What are some of these declarations?  We need look no further than Bethel’s “Offering Readings” described as “declarations that we make during the offering time of our weekend services.”  Excerpts from their declarations:

We are believing the Lord for:

Benefits, Sales and commissions, Favorable settlements, Estates and inheritances Interests and income, Rebates and returns, Checks in the mail, Gifts and surprises
Finding money, Heaven opened, Earth invaded, And miracles created, Angelic visitations, Impartations, And divine manifestations, Anointings, giftings and calls
Positions and promotions, Capital to build small businesses that provide services, arts, and culture attracting both young and old. Repentance from poverty, small thinking, and envy. Courage to recognize opportunities and make wealth

I am powerful, And what I believe changes the world
So today I declare God is in a good mood He loves me all the time.”

BSSM: “.. What we speak is actually a meditation upon truth. As Joshua said, when we meditate upon the Word, we are led into prosperity and success (Joshua 1:8). Let’s declare: God’s grace empowers me to do the impossible, as I meditate upon truth I will be led into prosperity and success”

Actually God was speaking to Joshua, and Israel’s success and prosperity were dependent on obedience.  The covenant that we are under does not guarantee the kind of success or prosperity that Bethel & co envision.  Conquering the nations or the seven spheres of society is not a biblical mandate, and neither is health and wealth guaranteed under the new covenant.

BSSM: “Before Gideon tasted the fruit of victory, God called him a valiant warrior! Gideon’s initial response, however, was that of unbelief. As Steve Backlund says, “The future of a nation was trapped in the arguments of Gideon’s mind.” Before Gideon could step into his destiny, he had to believe in his true identity. This eventually led to the mighty deliverance of the Israelites from what seemed to be an impossible situation. Let’s declare: I am a powerful world changer!   The Lord is with me, if He is for me, what can be against me?”

Steve’s got it wrong again.  His word of faith agenda has blinded him to the truth.  Note that it’s all up to us.  God needs our declarations to act, and now apparently God needed Gideon to believe in his own identity.  I wonder if Steve Backlund has done a study on Jonah?  Was the future of Ninevah trapped in Jonah’s mind?  Were God’s purposes thwarted when Jonah fled from his presence in willful disobedience?
Declaring that you are a world changer has as much power as a person declaring that  they are able to fly.  One wonders why the 8000 graduates of the Bethel BSSM have not managed to change Redding, let alone the world.

SPINNING

From the BSSM School Planting facebook page:
“ACTIVATION // Spin the Wheel: Create a spinning “prize” wheel with different activations on each slot: preaching, prophesying, singing, dancing, words of knowledge, etc. Have each student spin the wheel to discover the activation they have to do.”

There is no doubt that God loves his children and places gifts within us to edify the body.  However, to approach what is holy in this frivolous manner is shameful.  Encouraging students to take a risk by prophesying or giving a word of knowledge at the spin of a wheel is a work of the flesh, and a gateway to the occult.  How does this exercise translate in the secular environment?  Well apparently the gospel comes second in evangelistic endeavours, what’s more important to these revivalists is to receive words of knowledge that reveal a strangers “unique identity”
BSSM School Planting Facebook page:

Identifying someone’s unique identity is not the gospel and will not save them.  The good news is that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to redeem a people and deliver them from, slavery, sin, and eternal damnation. This is the message the lost must hear:For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdombut we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-24
Stretching legs, healing aches and pains, gold dust, words of knowledge and all the other tools of the BSSM are not the power of God that leads to salvation.  The power of God unto salvation is found in the very thing BSSM students are not taught – 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

There is no discernment at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.  That does not mean discernment is not taught.  Mike Maeshiro “is a speaker, author and coach whose vision is to increase the spiritual intelligence of the planet. He teaches our Discerning Spirits class here at Bethel and has amazing insights to unlock each person’s potential!

Lets hear from Mike:
“When we discover that we’re spirits and start respecting and honoring the world we actually live in and how it actually works, abundance, success, reward, fulfillment, these things start becoming our experience.”

Should we not repent of our sins, respect and honor and obey God?

A description of Mike from his webpage:
“Mike is highly intuitive. He can sense truth or the absence of it when people express themselves. He can also sense the presence of something that doesn’t belong. Energy vibrates off of the frequency of our voices, Mike can distinguish the nature of that energy. Through years of practice, he has paired his spiritual sensitivity with emotional intelligence helping the average person discover the inner rumblings and understand why their lives have played out the way they have. He has trained up his team to coach according to spiritual vibrations and patterns.”

Does this sound biblical or new age?  It’s not surprising that Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton allow such blatant heresy to be taught since they both contributed to book that  can only be described as an abomination – The Physics of Heaven.
Reviews on this new age book masquerading as Christianity:

A Serial Book Review & Theological Interaction: Part 1
BILL JOHNSON: Squandering Our Spiritual Inheritance
The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson

Now for the New Apostolic Reformation agenda raising it’s head:

“Mike’s life mission is to raise the spiritual intelligence of the planet. It is a travesty to watch God’s children suffer lack and oppression because they simply don’t understand the world they live in. Mike seeks to remedy this issue and believes the day is coming where all spheres of society will operate differently because of the knowledge of the truth. From government policy to medical practice, Mike dreams of the day when the people intimately know the Spirit of Truth. They will be free because they love Him.”

That’s not going to happen Mike, the scriptures are clear regarding that state of the world and the visible church prior to the second coming – wickedness and apostasy.

There can be no doubt that we are in the midst of a great delusion in the visible church.  Bethel church and the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry play a part in this great delusion.
 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.”
2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12

What should our response be – pray for and warn those you know who are caught up in this deception.
This article explores the grip of the cult-like New Apostolic Reformation. 

THE BETHELIZATION OF A SOUTH AFRICAN CHURCH

By Rick Becker     17 May 2018

The New Apostolic Reformation is alive and thriving in South Africa.  Should we be concerned?  Yes, because this insidious movement is deceiving thousands.  Should we be surprised?  No, because scriptures warn us of deception in these last days.  Those who refuse to love the truth will be given over to delusion.  Should we keep quiet?  Certainly not.  It is our duty to warn those caught up in this deception.  Bethel church is one of the leading churches in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).  The false doctrines of Bethel church have played a pivotal role in influencing this particular South African church – hence the term “Bethelized.”  In this post we look at how one church has been cloned by Bethel.

John Crumpton is the lead elder of Breakthru Life Church (BLC) in Weltevreden Park, Johannesburg.  Part of the vision of BLC is to “attract and enjoy His Presence.”  Sound familiar?  This is Bill Johnson terminology, and it’s not scriptural.  There is nothing we can do to attract God’s presence.  How does a believer “attract” God when he dwells in them in the first place?  BLC has certainly attracted Bethel, and is hosting New Apostolic Reformation false teachings.

BLC host the annual “Kingdom Come SA” conference. It’s described as an “opportunity for fresh impartation.”
The agenda of course, is in line with the New Apostolic Reformation’s goal of bringing heaven to earth by transforming society, and they are brazen in their
explanation:
“Now is the time for ever-increasing outpourings of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in South Africa with a resultant revival of the saints and a reformation of society. The harvest is ready and it is time for believers to be empowered and step into the field to release Heaven on Earth.”
The 2017 conference speakers included Bill Johnson, alongside Bethel Worship Leader, Sean Feucht and Paul Manwaring.  This years conference saw Eric Johnson, and Banning Liebscher, founder and leader of Jesus Culture take the stage.
Johnson was supposed to speak at this years conference, but “had to understandably take the decision to support his wife, Beni, who faced a major challenge with her health  and made the decision to cancel his planned ministry trips to San Diego, France, Geneva, and South Africa.”

Later this year BLC will be hosting “REVIVAL NIGHT OF FIRE” with Georgian Banov and a “LIMITLESS CONFERENCE” with Kevin & Theresa Dedmon – creator of the infamous “Destiny Cards.”

Courses on offer at BLC include:

1. HOSTING THE PRESENCE By Bill Johnson

“If God’s Presence lives inside of me, how does this impact my life? If I’m supposed to imitate Jesus, can I also walk in miracles and power? If the Holy Spirit is always with me, how do I hear and respond to Him? In this eight-session curriculum Pastor Bill Johnson takes you on an unforgettable journey, answering these questions from Scripture and reveals what it looks like to host God’s Presence in your everyday life.”

2. YOUR FINANCES – GOD’S WAY

This is a course designed to guide you through the biblical steps necessary to walk in financial freedom, and will give you tools to safeguard your future from the pitfalls of financial traps. Father wants you to be in divine health- including your money.”

3. FIRESTARTERS SA 

Developed by Bethel, this course is designed to assist you in becoming a modern-day revivalist; to become a world-changer and history-maker in whatever sphere of influence in society God has placed you, whether in the marketplace, school, neighbourhood, community or home. The goal is to equip, empower and activate newcomers to a revival culture; new believers, as well as those who have never been fully activated in a supernatural Kingdom revival lifestyle. Throughout the course curriculum, the primary focus of Firestarters will be to help you encounter the Fire (passion) of the Father, demonstrated in signs and wonders, miracles, healing and prophetic insights that propel you towards your destiny as a modern-day revivalist.”

In other words – it’s all about you!  Someone in the book of Acts believed himself to be a history- maker: “But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.” Acts 8:9
Our calling and giftings within the body of Christ are not our choice.  Many within the NAR are obsessed with leadership, recognition, leaving a legacy, and receiving honor. Is that any different to what the unregenerate desire?

This is how Bethel describe the Firestarters course: “Firestarters is the fast track to the revival culture and is a place where you will learn how to burn with passion for God as you experience His passion for you. As a class you will learn to walk in your God-given identity and purpose, and experience the power to heal, prophesy, and live a victorious life.”

Sounds like the kind of course Simon the sorcerer would have signed up for:
 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 8:18 – 19
What the apostles rejected, is accepted within NAR circles – receiving money for activations, impartations, and so called supernatural powers.
The supernatural works recorded in the book of Acts were genuine;  the so called miracles flaunted daily by NAR workers are largely fake.  Simon coveted the real gift whereas today’s breed of  “revivalists” are learning to operate in the flesh and the counterfeit.  Peter’s reply to Simon serves as a stern warning to those who profit from selling the supernatural:

But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.  Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.” Acts 8:20-22

Firestarters was designed by Kevin Dedmon who explains “Firestarters seek to demonstrate God’s love the way that Jesus does – through a demonstration of power that proves His love and care.  Bill Johnson says, “We owe the world an encounter.” Firestarters are possessed by an encounter of God’s fiery powerful presence that releases an encounter of God’s fiery powerful presence to others around us in supernatural ways that help them….Competency only comes through continual, persistent practice.  Firestarters are not perfect, but are willing to continue to take risk in starting fires.  The pathway of risk is the primary way we step into our supernatural destiny as Firestarters”

We owe the world the gospel, not NAR heresy.  “Starting fires” by presumptuous works of the flesh, sow confusion and deception. The “pathway of risk” can only lead to further deception and illusions of grandeur.

4. BREAKTHRU SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY

This is based on the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry curriculum.
This is how Bill Johnson describes their school of supernatural ministry:
“Our primary emphasis in this school is for believers to return to Signs and Wonders as a lifestyle. Those who simply want good doctrine on miracles will not fit in here. As John Wimber put it, faith is spelled “r-i-s-k”. We have worked to create an environment where people can take risks in learning to operate in the supernatural without fear of rejection or failure. This gospel must go forth with power for massive world wide revival!”

What Bill really means here is that doctrine does not matter.  If it did to Bill, he would know that only the Holy Spirit gives gifts, and that his “environment of risk” has created a generation of youth listening to the voices in their head or deceptive spirits. Fixated on signs but knowing nothing of Christ crucified, these risk takers offer spirit readings at psychic fairs and purposely exclude the name of Jesus.  

Outreaches are described as “Treasure Hunting”  You are probably wondering what this means; here is the explanation from Bethel:  “Towards the end of January 2005, a group of Second Year “Firestorm” students, lead by Kevin and Theresa Dedmon, drove down to southern California to minister. Typically, this type of team travels to churches that desire more “fire” to be “nitro” to their “glycerin.” Following the Holy Spirit, they began a “treasure hunt” to find people needing a touch from God, prayer, or even a simple kind word. They spent a few minutes receiving a “download” from the Holy Spirit, asking for words of knowledge, visions, people’s names, or a place they should go. Word by word, they received revelatory “clues” from the Holy Spirit”

Here is more Bethel terminology and methodology evident in the BLC Worship team:

The worship directors for Breakthru Worship received a prophecy that “God was going to release new songs for our nation and beyond from BLC.”  Their description of their newly released album “Kingdom Come” : “Each song comes out of different encounters with God, messages that were being preached at BLC, and even prophetic artworks. Jumping ahead to 2018, by February, miraculously we had seven songs ready for recording — seven songs filled with hope, joy and vision for South Africa. In early March this year, we did the LIVE recording at Breakthru Life Church. We are astounded that throughout this project we could feel God’s hand on the process, and His grace for creativity and acceleration. We are excited to be sharing a project with quality and presence and to have seen it all come together so easily and quickly. We can see that God is in this, and that His heart is to see passionate worship rise from Africa,that celebrates the diversity of what He’s doing in our land”

A recent article  in Gateway News (a South African site that promotes the NAR and charismania)  reveals John Crumpton’s progressive capture by Bethel.   Excerpts from the article in italics, with our comments below:

G News: “The son of Derek Crumpton who initiated, organised and convened two of the first multiracial “Come Holy Spirit” conferences in South Africa, in 1977 and 1980, John too has a global view of God’s Kingdom.  Through the years he has become aware that a large portion of the church in South Africa and the continent of Africa, is largely focused on the Gospel of salvation, rather than on the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus and his apostles apparently forgot to tell us that there are two gospels, so we will have to let Bill Johnson explain:

“THE CHURCH HAS LARGELY REPLACED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM WITH THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION.
The Gospel of salvation is focused on getting people saved and going to Heaven. The Gospel of the Kingdom is focused on the transformation of lives, cities, and nations through the effect of God’s present rule—this is made manifest by bringing the reality of Heaven to earth. We must not confuse our destiny with our assignment. Heaven is my destiny, while bringing the Kingdom is my assignment. The focus of the Kingdom message is the rightful dominion of God over everything. Whatever is inconsistent with Heaven—namely, disease, torment, hatred, division, sin habits, etc.—must come under the authority of the King. These kinds of issues are broken off of people’s lives because inferior realms cannot stand wherever the dominion of God becomes manifest. As we succeed in displaying this message, we are positioned to bring about cultural change in education, business, politics, the environment, and the other essential issues that we face today. This creates a most unusual phenomenon: the fruit of revival becomes the fuel of revival. And as long as we stay true to the message, the movement increases unto reformation…When you declare the right message, you create the atmosphere where everyone is able to press in. No matter the need, there is an answer now. The right message marries the truth of Jesus as the desire of the nations with the nations themselves. The right message changes the atmosphere to make the manifestation of His dominion realized. Perhaps this is the context in which the irresistible grace of God is embraced, thus fulfilling the desire found in the heart of every person alive. .”

This is nonsense of course!  This is false doctrine called dominion theology as well as a  health and wealth gospel. Some typical Bill Johnson gobbledygook is also thrown in the mix.  The wealth part has worked for Bill Johnson and his right hand false prophet – Kris Vallotton.  That’s because they make money peddling their heresies. The health part, well, judge for yourself –  Bill and his wife Beni Johnson wear glasses and both underwent surgery recently.  Without medical intervention the son of Bethel Music CEO Joel Taylor would have died, and Bill’s son Eric is 85 to 90% deaf in both ears.  The healing rooms at Bethel have failed their own “papa.”
Redding itself (where Bethel is located) is nowhere near closer to heaven despite all the decrees, declarations, and shifting atmospheres emanating from Bethel.  In other words Bethel is like a man dying from snake poison trying to sell you an anti venom he swears by.


This false dichotomy of two gospels is being promulgated by those who teach dominion/kingdom now theology.  There is only ONE gospel, and it includes salvation and discipleship – both possible because of what Christ has done.  Only Christ can bring the kingdom in it’s fullness to earth.  Creating atmospheres, in Bethel’s terms, means ignoring scripture and stepping out into one’s imagination or the spirit world to achieve results. The right message is the gospel of repentance, and the world hates it.  Scripture is clear regarding the condition of the visible church prior to Christ’s return, and it wont be a billion soul harvest:  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first”
2 Thessalonians 2:3

G News: “When John first read this message of the Kingdom of God in Bill Johnson’s books, he immediately identified with the passion to bring “heaven to earth” through releasing God’s influence into every aspect of society.  He realised that the revelation of this truth has the power to transform not only individuals, but communities, cities and nations.”

The kingdom of God is about God’s influence on an individual, not a society or nation.  Believers may well have an influence on their communities, society, and the world, but that is the fruit of salvation, not the means of salvation.  Furthermore, it must be noted that some believe literal nations will be saved or born again.  When Jesus said “go and make disciples of all nations” he was indicating that the gospel was not just for the lost house of Israel, but the Gentiles – all nations.  Previously, Jesus had instructed them avoid the Gentiles or Samaritan towns. Nations wont be saved, people from all nations will: “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb”
Revelation 7:9

.G News: “Hungry for more, John first visited Bethel Church in Redding, California in 2008 and during the last decade, he has travelled there numerous times accompanied by interested leaders.  He has found unprecedented favour as well as some meaningful friendships in the Bethel community…God gave John a vision to establish a new initiative called Kingdom Come South Africa to expose as many local South African church leaders to the message of the Kingdom of God.  It was to embrace as many believers as possible across the board, without the baggage or history that may exclude or threaten any segment of the body of Christ.  It would not be connected to any individual church, denomination, cultural or racial group but hopefully include them all!

This is how the New Apostolic Reformation and other false doctrines have spread across South Africa, and the world.  In most cases there is no need for a church to abandon it’s denomination or affiliations; they simply assimilate the false doctrines, and the change becomes obvious.  Terminology changes (atmosphere, dominion, shift, accelerate, apostolic,) courses are introduced (schools of supernatural ministry), signs are sought, and new vision introduced.  Prophetic words justify the new direction, and those who ask questions are quickly sidelined and branded as rebellious or out of touch with what God is doing.  The “Apostolic council” of the church has “heard from God” –  so who are you to question their vision? The focus shifts from what Christ has done, to what we can accomplish.  

G News: “In 2007, before Bethel Church became as well-known as it is now, a close colleague of John’s had a dream about a rugby match between the Springboks and the British & Irish Lions.  In the dream Bill Johnson pulls on a Springbok rugby jersey and is introduced as an “impact player”.  The Lord spoke clearly to John of the impact Bill Johnson was to make in this nation.

The Lord clearly “spoke” to many people – Charles Russel, Joseph Smith and David Koresh.  Our safeguard is in what the Lord has clearly spoken: Scripture.
Johnson and Bethel have definitely made an impact; I don’t need a dream to tell me what his impact has been as it’s already in scripture: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.
The doctrines taught by Bethel – word of faith, health and wealth, and dominion theology are all false doctrines.  Why would God want a false gospel to influence South Africa?

G News: “John saw that Bill was uniquely equipped to address two evident weaknesses in the South African church.  Firstly he would speak as a spiritual father to the orphan spirit/fatherlessness of the church and would help us to establish our identity as sons and daughters of the King.  Secondly, he would be able to release a revelation of spiritual legacy into the church – the partnering of multi-generational leaders who honour and embrace each other’s anointing and gifts, rather than being threatened by the emerging generation.”

Sounds like we have a saviour in Bill Johnson.  The revelation we need has already  been given – it’s called Scripture – and it’s Christ alone who should be honored.  The legacy the New Apostolic Reformation will leave will be one of deception and of shipwrecking the faith of many.

G News: “Finally Bill accepted John’s request to speak at the first Kingdom Come South Africa in February 2017.”

What did Bill Johnson teach at this conference, was it sound doctrine?
We reviewed his message, you can listen here:  Part 1 Bill Johnson Review
                                                                             Part 2 Bill Johnson Review

G News: Watch this space for “Kingdom Come South Africa 2019” …!  After all, isn’t that our heart cry as a nation?”

No it’s not!  What South Africa needs is the gospel, not New Apostolic Reformation deception.

 

Want to know more about the NAR and Bill Johnson?  Links to two different sites with articles:
Church Watch Central – Bill Johnson

 

10 ways to identify false teachings

By Rick Becker   10 May 2018

Throughout history false teachings have infiltrated the church.  Heresies that plagued the early church have not been silenced; instead they continue to flourish.  The “Christian” who slams the door on a visiting Jehovah’s Witness has no qualms embracing a “born again Jesus” that came to make us wealthy, suffered in hell, and laid aside his divinity during his incarnation.  These are some of the heresies promulgated by well known brands such as Hillsong, Bethel, and the host of word of faith and prosperity churches that litter the globe.  In this post, we offer some simple markers that will be helpful, in a general sense, to identify a false teaching.

 

1. False teachings are Man Centered

The description of this current generation is found in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and could be summed up in three words found in those verses: “lovers of self.”  It is this love of self that has been injected into scripture via narcigesis, and in doing so, the bible has become a book about us.  We become the hero in a biblical story – a good example can be found in the way many popular teachers approach the biblical account of David and Goliath.  This story has become a source for many topical sermons, comparing us to David.  We become the giant slayers, the hero of the story.  While we may certainly learn from David’s faith in God, there is a bigger and marvelous picture in the account that escapes many due to the tendency of narcigeting texts.  David is a type of Christ, who has overcome the enemy for us.  If we were represented in the story, we would be the dismayed and fearful Israelites, perhaps even the stubborn Goliath who needed to be slayed.  This man centered approach will focus on your destiny, your legacy, your gifts, your breakthrough, your potential, your worth etc.  You determine your future through your creative words that contain inherent power.  False teachings will meet your ‘felt needs’ instead of addressing your real needs. Your emotions will be tickled, your conscience ignored.  Contrary to popular teaching, our “best life now” can only be found when our identity is in Christ, not self.  

2. False teachings Misrepresent the nature of God and man.

False teaching emphasizes some attributes of God and excludes others. God is loving, kind, and gracious; his love is so great that Christ died for us while we were sinners. This same loving God is also righteous, a consuming fire that hates evil and punishes sin. There is mercy because there is judgement, and the good news of the gospel is good news for those who know and accept the bad news – that they are sinners under the wrath of God.  This is the nature of all men and women, but false teachings would have us believe that all humans are inherently good, just somewhat lost and damaged, but not depraved.  We are purported to be victims, not perpetrators; worthy of salvation, not deserving punishment.  If that were true, we would not need a saviour but a life coach.  The truth is that the brokenhearted will find consolation in the work of the cross, but not before the wretched heart in all of us is dealt with.

What we believe about God and ourselves is what defines us.
A different Jesus, more human than divine, has duped thousands into believing they can walk as the Son of God walked on earth.  A new breed are so familiar with “papa God” that when he supposedly manifests his presence in a glory cloud, they whip out their smartphones to record the fog.  Where is the reverence for a holy God that should cause us to fall prostrate before him, trembling in awe?  The future of those who have such a low view of God and high view of man can only be further deception, and apostasy.

3. False teachings promote Methods

False teachings contain methods to harness spiritual benefits – a quick sinners prayer gains entrance into the kingdom of heaven, breaking a generational curse will restore health and finances, tithing will ensure prosperity, praying in tongues will ensure a breakthrough, praying the prayer of Jabez will enlarge your camp, spiritual mapping identifies strongholds, spiritual warfare will bind demons, aligning oneself under an open heaven will bring revival….and the list goes on.  Each year a plethora of new courses flood the market.  Not content with income from book sales, teachers now offer paid courses based on their latest book release.  Their revelations are touted as words for the body of Christ.  We are told that we can discover our prophetic personality, find out what our Kryptonite is, or discover the keys to success and prosperity.  False teachings place the emphasis on what you must do, instead of what Christ has accomplished for us.

4. False teachings Minimize the cost of following Christ.

False teachings ignore the consequences of escaping the dominion of darkness and being placed in the kingdom of God.  New believers are entering a war zone, yet the new gospel on offer is sold to happy consumers delighted to hear that God wants to make their dreams come true.  Better relationships, job promotions, and a bright future in this present world await those worthy creatures upon whom “Papa God” is eager to display his favour.

Jesus warned us about what it would cost, to be his disciple: Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.   For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?   Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,  saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’   Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”  Luke 14:25-33

“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.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.   And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:34-39

False teachings offer a gospel that does not offend the natural man.  An attractive gospel produces decisions for Christ, but not true converts. An attractive gospel shuns self denial and replaces it with self-aggrandizement.  The true gospel has two effects – it brings life or it brings death.  Life to those who are regenerated, great condemnation to those with hardened hearts who reject truth: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” John 3:19

5. False teachings Misinterpret the kingdom of God

Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, but some teachings make the kingdom all about this world.  Dominion theology teaches that man lost dominion in the garden, and this is the time of restoring that dominion. The church will supposedly conquer the seven mountains of society: religion, education, business, family, government, arts, media.  Jesus contradicted this false notion: ” “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36

The idea is to bring heaven to earth – “invade Babylon” and establish the kingdom of God on this earth – something only Jesus can accomplish. Jesus told the Pharisees,  who asked when the kingdom of God would come:The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” Luke 17:20-21  In one sense the kingdom is here, in another, it is yet to come. Those in the New Apostolic Reformation are always looking for visible signs, and they do all that they can to influence society.  Bringing heaven to earth means conditions on earth should match heaven –  no sin, sickness or suffering in heaven.  Heaven will come to earth when Christ returns, not before.  God is building his church, not earthly kingdoms.

6. False teachings Misapply promises God made to Israel

How many times have you heard 2 Chronicles 7:14 being applied to your nation recently?  We have been taught that if the body of Christ would “humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways” that  God would “heal the land.”  As a result, the economy will prosper, crime decrease, corrupt officials rooted out, and a Christian nation would emerge.  False teachings claim the promises of Deuteronomy 28:1-13, but fail to teach on the dire consequences of disobedience in verses 14 – 68.
You will be taught that “all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” (28:2)  A South African favorite due to the drought: “The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands..” (28:12)
You probably won’t be taught : “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.” (28:20)
False teachings offer the blessings of the Mosaic law but ignore the curses…but not always. Some false teachings apply “generational curses” to the body of Christ based on the Old Testament law that God would visit “the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”  Panic stricken people search their family tree to find out which great uncle was a freemason, or which grandmother read her horoscope.  The cure apparently is to confess their sins, forgive them, break soul ties, and break the curse.  This is an exercise in futility as “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.  False teachings make no distinction between the gospel and the law or between descriptive and prescriptive texts.  This allows for misapplication of scripture.

7. False teachings Marginalize the word of God

The word of God is effectual: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”  Hebrews 4:12.
When we neglect the word of God, we quench the working of God in our lives.  The church has never been as active as it is today, yet we find ourselves in the midst of a great falling away, a departure from the faith.  God is doing a new thing – and it’s not revival, it’s a strong delusion from God on those who reject the truth. Unthinkable yet true – the only infallible source of communication from God has been relegated.  A false teaching will declare that unity is far more important than truth. The irony of course is the fact that this unity is based on what is false, and therefore not a biblical unity, but merely a crowd of deluded people.

The content of many teachings consists of well crafted stories that appeal to the senses. Unverifiable testimonies, opinions, and new revelations have replaced a thorough exegesis of scripture. The few verses that are thrown in to give the teaching some form of authority are usually out of context, and from a perversion of scripture such as The Passion or The Message “bible.”  New mediators between God and man have appeared in the form of modern apostles and prophets who receive direct revelations from God.  Their revelations hold just as much authority as scripture, and they ignore the infallible blueprint for the church in favor of what they heard from God.  In place of a series on biblical passages with clear expository teachings, series follow the vision of the modern apostles and prophets.  This is the year of acceleration they proclaim, next year will probably be a year of accelerated acceleration.  Teachings then focus on how to position yourself for this divine acceleration in order to reap the benefits – increased signs and wonders, creative ideas, great success in your business, opportunities that will thrust you years ahead, greater anointing etc.  

8. False teachings Magnify experiences.

When the word of God is neglected, something else will creep in and take it’s place. Entertainment has become part and parcel of many a church program, but spiritual experiences and encounters with God have become the real threat of late.  Mysticism is widely accepted in the New Apostolic Reformation.  People supposedly take trips to heaven, receive downloads, new revelations, and new interpretations of scripture.  Teachings are based on experiences and encounters with God, angels, or visions.
This fascination with experiences has permeated the way some evangelize the lost. False teachings suggest that the unsaved need an experience or encounter with God in order to believe, whereas scripture states that power is in the gospel, not signs and wonders: “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
An experience never takes precedence over the word of God: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8

The rich man in Hades thought that if his five living brothers had the experience of someone returning from the dead preach to them, they would repent.  Abraham replied: “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” Luke 16:31
Could it be said any plainer – scripture is sufficient to save!
Paul, a real apostle who had a real experience in the third heaven wrote of his experience in the third person: “and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.”  Today’s “apostles” flout their so called trips to heaven and subsequent revelations on the Sid Roth Show.  
Gullible folk are mesmerized by artificial smoke, glitter, gold dust, and feathers in meetings, convinced that this is an experience from heaven.  While these are fake, even genuine signs and wonders will not persuade those who reject the truth – Jesus knew this:
 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

9. False teachings Monetarize the Gospel

A mandatory tithe is a false teaching that makes the Industrial Evangelical Complex a lucrative business . Manipulative pastors will tell you that If you don’t give your tenth,  God will curse your money and you have opened the door to demonic attack.  Other teachings promise that if you give a certain amount during a specific time, God will bless you for the remaining year. 
As noted, false teachings misapply God’s promises to the nation of Israel.  Here is an example and this verse is used as justification for tithing: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10  This was a specific word for Israel, who were neglecting part of the law – the tithe (which amounted to approximately 23%). The body of Christ is not under the Mosaic covenant, but the new covenant.  The only time Jesus mentioned the tithe, he was addressing the Pharisees under the law. Any teaching that commands you to give a certain percent is false. Any teaching that guarantees you financial gain because you have tithed is false.  Any teaching that claims God’s will is to financially prosper all believers is false.
Ask a prosperity teacher to explain these verses: “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)…” – Rev 2:9
“For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted
the plundering of your property” – Heb 10:24
“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as
having nothing, yet possessing everything” – 2 Cor 6:10
“For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” – Psalm 73:3
Scripture does instruct us to support those who preach the gospel, and to give generously.  What amount should we give: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”
2 Corinthians 9:7

.10. False teachings Modernize the gospel

Modern man has demanded a modernized gospel – one suitable for the present time.  One result is a politically correct gospel that offends none and saves none.  Social justice takes precedence over evangelism, and an all inclusive approach legitimizes sins condemned in scripture.  Liberalism, Feminism, Mysticism and a host of other poisonous “isms” have influenced teachings in the visible church.  When truth becomes relative, it can no longer be defined as truth.  A modern gospel that questions the sufficiency and infallibility of scripture in order to appease skeptics and appear seeker friendly has created hordes of false converts. If Jesus was not born of a virgin birth, if he was not fully God and fully man, if he was not resurrected in his body – you have another Jesus. If scripture is not infallible we have no objective source of truth.  A modernized gospel is nothing less than an attack on God’s word.

 

 

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Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

By Rick Becker     12 April 2018

The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry School Planting website has published an article entitled “Pastoring People With Unique Spiritual Giftings.”  Their article reveals their progressive slide into mysticism and Gnosticism, and reaffirms the need to expose this school for what it is.  Some have compared it to Hogwarts, the school of Wizardry from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  Bethel itself has been labelled a cult by others.  What is certain, is that Bethel church and their School of Supernatural Ministry are deceiving thousands of people all around the world.  In this post, we examine an article published on the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry School Planting website.

Bill Johnson has groomed his underlings to take risks beyond the boundaries of scripture.  In their attempt to cultivate a new breed of anointed revivalists who walk in signs and wonders, Bethel has created a generation of passionate yet deceived youth.  Johnson teaches that Jesus came to model a life for believers.  Christ as God, has been downplayed and replaced with Christ as an example:
“So Jesus came and modelled a lifestyle of power and purity because the power of the Spirit of God was on him. He was trying to show those of us who would follow what life would be like in someone who had no sin and was completely empowered by the Spirit of God.” –  Bill Johnson, Manifesto for a Normal Christian Life.

Jesus performed his miracles “as a man in right relationship with God…not as God.  If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us”  – Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth.
In other words, whatever miracles Jesus performed, we as his followers are able to emulate, and even supersede.  It is this thought that has influenced the minds of Bethelites, and caused them to view themselves as little gods, hoping to walk through walls, walk on water, and raise the dead –  the Trinity has morphed into a quartet.  Not content with the confines of scripture, Johnson encourages his followers to take risks: “This generation is a generation of risk takers. And not all the risks taken will be seen as real faith. Some will come to light as steps of foolishness and presumption. But they must be taken just the same. How else can we learn? Make room for risk takers in your life that don’t bat a thousand. They will inspire you to the greatness available in serving a great God.”  – Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades (Earth Expanded Edition)

Like Simon the Sorcerer, this lust for the supernatural, for power and for greatness has overcome many in the New Apostolic Reformation.  Steps of foolishness and presumption have led to a rejection of truth, and as a result a strong delusion has caused them to believe what is false.  The fruits of this deception are clearly visible in this article from the BSSM School Planting page:

“Pastoring People With Unique Spiritual Giftings.”

“I knew a man who would know people’s secret sins the moment he laid eyes on them. From what I know this was not a gifting he wanted or sought after, it was just something he experienced. It was a testament to the character of this man that he was also one of the best lovers of people that I’ve ever known.”

Reading the sins of people is not a gift of the Spirit.  They would probably try and justify it by calling it a “word of wisdom” or “word of knowledge” but those two gifts were not exactly the fortune telling version present in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and charismania.  Secondly, no gift is a testament to a man’s character but rather a testament to God’s character.  There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, and there is nothing we can do to deserve any gifts. The man in the description is experiencing an involuntary supernatural phenomena (if the story is true)  This is not how the gifts of the Holy Spirit operate.

“I know quite a few people who, from a young age, saw into the spiritual realm like you and I see into the physical realm. They see angels and demons constantly, without actively looking for them.”

And the purpose of seeing angels and demons is? The fact that more angels supposedly appear or are seen in the NAR movement in a week, than in the entire period from Adam to the early church is telling.  Jesus had an encounter with the devil in the wilderness, but there is no record in scripture of people seeing demons.  This fascination with seeing angels and visions leads to deception: 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

“I don’t know about you, but until a couple of years ago this was different to how I experienced the supernatural. I’ve never seen someone’s secret sin written across their forehead. Until a couple of years ago, I had never seen demons and angels flitting about, going about their business. I’ve never fallen into a trance, and I’ve yet to be supernaturally transported anywhere. Spiritual gifts manifest differently for different people, and there are those out there who have very unique manifestations of spiritual gifts, and very unique relationships with God as a result.”

The pastor names the following experiences: seeing sins of people, seeing demons and angels, trances, being supernaturally transported, and then uses the term “spiritual gifts.”  None of the experiences he mentioned can be classified as spiritual gifts. The people who have these experiences are now being elevated as some elite breed, yet scripture is silent regarding “unique manifestations of spiritual gifts” or “unique relationships with God as a result.”  All believers have been baptised by the Spirit into the body of Christ, and all of us “were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13)  There is no hierarchy in the body of Christ enabling some to receive special revelations while the rest of us gather spiritual crumbs off the floor.  This BSSM “pastor” is promoting a form of Gnosticism –  a heresy that plagued the early church and was addressed by Paul in his letter to the Colossians.  

“People label them as mystics or seers. Personally, I believe this is what should be normal for Christians, and is actually accessible to all of us.”

Wrong!  Scripture is clear regarding the true gifts of the Spirit: “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?  Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?”
1 Corinthians 12:29-30
You don’t have to be a cessationist to know that being a “seer” or “mystic” is not “normal for Christians.”  In fact if a believer never experiences any sign gift or some form of  encounter with God, they lack nothing according to scripture.  Scripture teaches that God has supplied believers what they require: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” 2 Peter 1:3

Furthermore, if we need an encounter or experience to sustain or mature our faith, then what God has supplied through the work of the cross and the indwelling Spirit is insufficient.  Mysticism does not train us in righteousness or equip up for every good work, scripture does: while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  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 3:13-1
The real gifts of the Holy Spirit cannot be accessed at will as the Holy Spirit distributes them to each individual as he wills: ” All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Cor 12:11
BSSM leaders are simply regurgitating heresies of the Johnson’s.  They believe we can access all kinds of encounters and anointings.  Beni Johnson (Bill’s wife) promotes contemplative prayer, and suggests it can help lead us to access the spiritual realm: “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.
This is but one example of how Bethel’s teachings lead their followers into Mysticism and Gnosticism.  While Beni & co are searching for “thin places” to encounter a spiritual realm, those who believe in actual scripture can rest in this objective fact: 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.  For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”  Colossians 2:8-10

“Christianity Should Be Inherently Mystical Because That’s God’s Nature”

“I’m going to use the term seer in this post, simply because it’s easier to attach a label, even though I don’t think it fully describes or captures the gifts I am speaking about, and I think it makes it seem like it’s an experience that is limited to one set of people when it’s not.”

 This statement makes things even less clear.  It’s not easier to attach a label, especially one that is not found in the New Testament.  This article is about experiences, not the legitimate gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Christianity should really be inherently clear because God has revealed himself through Christ: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.”  Eph 1:7-9

God has chosen to make himself known – through Jesus Christ.  At Bethel, the infallible and objective truth found in scripture has been ignored in favor of subjective feelings, intuitions and experiences.  The hidden treasures Bethelites search for in signs and experiences can only be found in Christ: 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.  I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” Colossians 2:2-4
This lust for extra biblical experiences and revelations portrays a heart that is ignorant,  discontent with who Christ is, and what he has done on our behalf.

“I’ve met quite a few people in the Bethel environment that came here because they felt weird elsewhere. These people felt like they didn’t fit in, had their giftings misunderstood in other environments, and often didn’t understand their gifts themselves. So they came here looking to learn, and looking for others like them. What they discover upon getting here is that they are still the weird ones in this environment too; the majority of people don’t understand their experiences, and don’t talk about those kinds of experiences often either.”

If a leader at Bethel finds someone weird because of their giftings, then we really have a problem.  The purpose of the gifts is to edify the body (1 cor 12:7; 14:12;14:26) not confuse the body.  There is nothing weird about the true gifts of the Holy Spirit, neither will the Holy Spirit bestow some supernatural gift on an individual that causes them bewilderment or vexation. 

“Often these people have been misunderstood and hurt by the mainstream church, so they come looking for a safe place to learn about their gifts and to be healed from the pain their gifts have caused them. I know many of these individuals, and have done life at a deep level with quite a few of them over the past five or so years. Pastoring them can be unique, because their experiences are potentially different from what many people know is possible, and being misunderstood has hurt them in the past, so what they need most is understanding. They don’t need you to understand their experiences, but rather to understand their hearts.”

Bethel is the last place anyone suffering from “gifts” that have “caused pain” should go to for help.  What biblical truth can they receive from a group that ministers undercover at psychic fairs offering spirit readings, accepts anything that does not feel demonic, and exclude the name of Jesus?
Perhaps some of these people have been warned by others in churches that actually teach the gospel and contend for the faith.  It’s possible that they refused to repent of their experiences and admit that they have been delving into occultic powers.  They may be wanting to retain their powers or abilities to know or perform the seemingly impossible.  What they need first and foremost is the gospel.  Are these individuals born again?   Sound instruction based on scripture (something foreign to Bethel) is the what these individuals need.  They don’t need their experiences to be understood; they need  their experiences to be tested, and compared to the word of God.  We know what scripture teaches regarding the heart of man – it’s desperately wicked.  For this reason our task should be to understand what scripture teaches regarding a matter.

“Seek to Understand”

“The fact is, if you don’t experience the supernatural like these individuals then you potentially won’t understand their experiences.
I’ve heard about experiences that I had to really take to Holy Spirit and determine if I agreed with from a theological standpoint. It’s important that you don’t do that in the moment with them. In the moment, be open and seek to understand, but don’t get caught up on your understanding of theology or belief/disbelief.”

The fact is, if believers exercise the proper gifts of the Spirit, the body will be edified.  The fact that these unique individuals cannot even understand their own supernatural experiences and don’t know what to do with them is enough to suggest that what is needed is proper discernment and the application of God’s word.  Bethel’s theological standpoint is “take risks” – even foolish and presumptuous ones.  How can you trust in a standpoint that has no objective foundation :“to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map—to go beyond what we know. To do so successfully we must recognize His presence above all.”  – Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth (Expanded Edition)

What if the “presence” you recognize leads you in the opposite direction or says something contrary to the “presence” I recognize?  How would we determine who has the correct “presence?”  This is the problem that mysticism creates, it becomes a case of your experience versus mine, instead of scripture judging both of our experiences.

Where does scripture instruct us to seek encounters and experiences?  Bill Johnson writes: “Many have stopped short of a divine encounter because they were satisfied with good theology”  What does he mean by “divine encounter” – falling backwards, uncontrollable hysterical laughter, Kundalini manifestations, gold dust appearing?  Johnson rejects what scripture actually teaches regarding the proper operations of the Holy Spirit.  As a result, the “divine encounters” experienced and sought after at Bethel merely serve to enforce their deluded state.

“Ask questions, but from a perspective of openness, rather than trying to prove it wrong. Use discernment, and look for the fruit of the experience. Do not react out of fear or confusion. So many seers have shared their experiences and had it go really poorly, so if you want to be able to learn about them and speak into their lives it’s important that you listen in an open way without causing them to shut down. If they notice you freaking out, they will be unlikely to want to share more.”

There are many experiences that may seem to bear fruit that seem Christian, but in time what looked like a sprout of wheat often proves to be a tare. Our task is not to study seers, but the word of God.  Questions are necessary to find out exactly what transpired, but “Use discernment” won’t work here, because if you are a leader in a Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry you have none, and you have not been taught to rightly divide the word of truth.  The goal of the gifts of the Spirit are to edify the body – what is described here by the BSSM pastor are individuals having experiences.
Bethel, like an evil generation, seek after signs and promote experiences: “Many people criticize those who long to experience more in God, but I don’t trust the ones who don’t. We are not going to be kept free from deception by abandoning experience. In fact, the ones who do not hunger more for God are already deceived.”  – Bill Johnson, Experience The Impossible.
Believers who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled, not by experiences, but by abiding in Christ and his word.  The Holy Spirit illuminates the word of God to us, and leads us into the discovery of truth that is objective and and complete. The “more” sought by Johnson and his underlings is a never ending quest that will entertain their senses and cause them to be mesmerized by the angel of light.

“The Spiritual realm is full of mystery, and God uses language we can understand to represent concepts. Jacob saw angels ascending and descending into Heaven via ladders. This was likely a representation of a spiritual truth rather than angels actually requiring ladders to come and go. Because of this, experiences like this can be quite confusing, and seemingly very bizarre and beyond our understanding.”

When Jacob had his dream, the source was clear: “And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac” Genesis 28:13
As a result: Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”(vs 16-17)
There was no confusion, no misunderstanding of what had taken place. 

The only mystery we need to be concerned about has been revealed “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
Colossians 1:24-29

“But if we don’t seek to understand and close ourselves off to things that don’t make sense, we will miss out on learning from these encounters and experiences.”

True believers will never miss out by closing themselves off to “things that don’t make sense.”  God is not the author of confusion, and he does not give gifts or experiences that make no sense.  Everything we need to learn, is in scripture, not mystical encounters. However, when your chief apostle creates a false dichotomy between the Holy Spirit and the Spirit inspired word of God, encounters carry just as much weight as scripture itself:
“It’s difficult to get the same fruit as the early Church when we value a book they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have. To value the Scriptures above the Holy Spirit is idolatry. It’s not “Father, Son, and Holy Bible.” The Bible reveals God, but is itself not God.” – Bill Johnson, Walking in the Supernatural: Another Cup of Spiritual Java

“Sometimes seer giftings can be quite overwhelming. You are seeing and hearing things that you don’t feel like you should have access to, and sometimes don’t even want access to.”

This is rank heresy, and unfortunately not surprising due to the fact that at Bethel a Witch can receive an encouraging word of prophecy.  Steven Kozar has written about this encounter hereThe witch actually took some members of her coven with her to Bethel – you can read part one of their story in their own words here (links for part 2 & 3 are at the end of the article)  What these so called “seers’ are experiencing is not from the Holy Spirit, and in place of explaining the gospel to these tortured souls, Bethel attempts to make them feel understood, and encourages their “unique” giftings.

“And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day – just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.  Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.  But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”   But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.  Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.”  Jude 6-11

“It’s often information overload! While not a regular experience for me, I’ve had several moments where I’ve heard the thoughts of people around me. It’s always a jarring experience, and one that makes you wonder if you are going crazy.”

That’s a distinct possibility, because God is the only one who can read thoughts.  Keep in mind this is the pastor speaking. This is the person responsible for helping those who cannot make sense of what they are seeing and hearing in the spiritual realm.

“For me, I used those moments to minister to people, and they gained freedom and healing through it.”

Yet another subjective, unverified, unbiblical tall story emanating from Bethel.  How do you gain “freedom and healing” by someone “reading your thoughts?”  How is it any different from an accurate psychic reading?

“Understand that while these gifts are exciting, learning how to use them and not let them rule your life can be a process. I passionately believe that gifts from God are positive, and shouldn’t turn into something that makes your life more difficult. I totally believe that, but have seen too many instances of gifts making things difficult for people to say that it doesn’t happen.”

Understand that the gifts of the Holy Spirit never rule a life. Paul makes this clear when addressing the practice of the real gifts:and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.  For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:32-33.
What the BSSM pastor is describing is exactly what we find in pagan religions: an external controlling influence that produces bizarre and confusing encounters, often leaving the recipient uncertain of what took place and what the intention was.

“Create Safety”

“The Church has often not known how to deal with people who experience the spiritual realm like this. We’ve either not believed them, demonised them (pun not intended), given them a platform they shouldn’t have had, or prayed for their gifting to go away. I’ve seen all of these options play out, and seen the damage they all cause. Just like any other person in our church or school, we want them to feel safe.”

Safety can only be found in scripture.  Bethel does not know how to deal with people who have these encounters.  If they cannot discern between a witch and a believer, what hope is there for those who go down to Bethel for help?  These individuals are going to be led into further deception by leaders who are clearly unqualified.

“I’ve seen it happen that people get excited by the gifts on someone’s life and create a platform for them. Gifts are not the same as character. Spiritual gifts are not an indication of Godly character. Do not give someone a platform simply because of the gifts on their life; it will damage them, and it will damage people around them if their character is unable to sustain the platform they find themselves in. I think it’s important that you create pathways for communication where seers can inform you of what they are feeling in an atmosphere, and ideally you want that pathway for all of your students to be able to communicate what they are sensing.”

“Seers” informing “you of what they are feeling in an atmosphere” is not biblical Christianity, but pure mysticism and paganism.  Bethel believes they can shift atmospheres but this is not a principle taught in scripture.  “Feeling” and “sensing” are subjective and that is the reason we have scripture – an objective standard by which to measure and test all things.  The disciples spent time in cities full of paganism, wicked rulers, and wicked people.  Despite that hostile and evil environment they never bound any territorial spirits, shifted atmospheres, blew Shofars, or spoke declarations over the cities.  Atmosphere is important to Bill Johnson : “The atmosphere issue is a big deal for me,” Bill says. “The two things that I keep focusing on the most are the principles of the kingdom and the presence of the King. If I can keep those two things in focus, we find that He ends up doing more stuff. You end up having more stuff happen by accident than we ever used to have on purpose. When the glory of God begins to come into the room, I’m not going to stop that to teach. I don’t have anything that important to say. To me, it’s all about the presence.”
Bethel has confused the King with the prince of this world, that’s why all kinds of “stuff” forbidden in scripture take place.  Johnson’s “papa God” and born again Jesus have created a platform for deception : But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4

“I have also seen it play out where a seer gifting was causing a young person pain. They communicated the things they had experienced to people who reacted out of fear, or were simply terrified by the things they were seeing. The Church, genuinely wanting to help the person but not knowing how, prayed for the gift to be shut down.”

Bethels culture of cultivating any sort of supernatural activity at the expense of sound doctrine and true discernment is bearing fruit, and this is a prime example.  I don’t believe this is describing a situation that is a mix of some truth, and some error.  This is purely demonic.  In the early church, experiences were not communicated, the truth was.  Fear is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and gifts getting “shut down” is God’s prerogative, not man’s.

 “Pastoring someone in their gift is always a better option than shutting it down”

“In shutting down a gift you are shutting down part of that person; they are still going to be experiencing things, but their awareness of what they are experiencing is going to be limited.”

Chapter, verse?  This is nonsense of course.  

“In the long term it’s more sustainable and life-giving for them to learn how to operate in their giftings and simply to be pastored, loved, and covered in that gifting. You do not need to understand their gifts in order to love and encourage them. Community where they are loved, where risk is celebrated, and there is room to fail is going to provide the best environment for someone to learn and grow in their seer giftings. Create safety by listening, seeking to understand, and providing them with tools to process and get healing from any pain that their giftings may have caused them.”

What’s the point of the gifts if they are not understood?  What this BSSM pastor is doing is simply guiding people (many probably not even born again) in their mystical journey of encounters with evil spirits or their own imaginations. “Risk celebrated” is the equivalent of error tolerated in this context.

“Normalize Their Experience”

“If you have never experienced anything like what they are experiencing you will not be able to personally relate to their experience, but it’s helpful and freeing for them to know that they are not crazy, and that people have been, and are experiencing similar things. My wife and I meet with a group of similarly gifted people each week, and it’s been incredibly helpful. As we listen to each other’s experiences, we learn about the spiritual realm, we learn things we didn’t realise about our giftings, we grow in them, and we also have a group that we can be accountable to if what we are experiencing doesn’t sound like Jesus.”

“Normalising” an experience does not make it biblical. You don’t learn about the spiritual realm by “listening to other’s experiences.”  The pastor should be teaching the word of God to the group instead of discussing experiences.  The infallible word of God has been replaced with subjective experiences as a source of truth.  The modus operandi of deception is that it looks like truth. Jesus warned that false prophets “come in sheeps clothing” and Paul warned the Corinthians that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”   The way to determine if an experience or gift is from God is not by asking the question does it “sound like Jesus?”  Very often, deception will “sound like Jesus.”  By neglecting the word of God and it’s authority,  Bethel has created a quagmire from which they cannot escape unless they repent of their false teachings.

“If possible, help seers find other people like them, so that they can normalise their experiences together. If that is not possible, there are hundreds of books you can point them towards to help them understand what they are experiencing, as well as numerous passages in the Bible that describe supernatural experiences that can help them understand their experience. Studying the lives of people such as William Branham, Maria Woodworth Etter, or St Teresa of Avila can also help them understand themselves.”

The third option this pastor suggests is scripture, this should be the first and only option that will provide a definitive test on any experience.  Now the pastor suggests that these gifted seers study the lives of people, and provides three examples:
• William Branham (1909-1965) – Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton have a great deal of respect for the ministry of William Branham.  Vallotton went so far as to ask God for the mantle of Branham.  It’s possible his request was answered, because Branham was a heretic. Here are some of his beliefs: The serpent’s seed doctrine – Eve and the serpent had sexual intercourse in the garden of Eden, resulting in the birth of Cain. Hell is not eternal. Denial of the Trinity.  God wrote three bibles – the scriptures, the Zodiac and the Pyramids (pyramidology and astrology)
• Maria Woodworth Etter (1844-1924) – known as “the Trance Evangelist” or “mesmeric revivalist” people were slain in the spirit and went into trances under her ministry. One of her false prophecies was that San Francisco would be destroyed by a tidal wave.
• St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was a Spanish mystic and nun belonging to the Carmelite order. Teresa prayed to the Virgin Mary, experienced trances, visions and used prayer and devotion to attain some form of mystical ecstasy.

This BSSM pastor is recommending false prophets and frauds as a resource instead of God’s word. By normalizing what is forbidden in scripture, Bethel is placing itself in a precarious position: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8

“The exciting truth is, even if you don’t experience the spiritual realm like these individuals do, you can not only pastor them and learn from their experiences, but you can begin to cultivate and experience those giftings for yourself in your own lives. A friend of mine recently said “The age of the mystics is over, it’s time for the Church to grow in mysticism.”

The exciting news is that you should NOT be experiencing the spiritual realm like these individuals.  Believers are complete in Christ, and have no need to chase after encounters, or receive any new revelations.  Cofounder of the BSSM Kris Vallotton, tantalises those with an appetite for new revelations in a recent post by claiming: “In my encounter, the Lord said He is going to pour out revelation on this generation that has been held in the vault of heaven for eons of ages.”

His statement implies that scripture is incomplete, opening the door for doctrines of demons to deceive those who are ignorant, or have rejected the truth.

Bethel is not revealing new truth or accessing unique gifts, they are simply promulgating old heresies and delving in either vain imaginations or the occult.  A real apostle – Paul, warned that mysticism and gnosticism have no place in the church.  Wisdom and knowledge can be found in Christ, not in supernatural experiences or special knowledge given to the “uniquely gifted.”   God has revealed himself in and through Christ, with the purpose of giving us understanding; understanding that helps us discern between truth and error. God gives us full assurance and understanding and knowledge of God’s mystery:
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.  I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.”  Colossians 2:1-4

Let me conclude with this quote from B B Warfield:

“This Christian mysticism, now, obviously differs in no essential respect from the parallel phenomena which are observable in other religions.  It is only general mysticism manifesting itself on Christian ground and interpreting itself accordingly in the forms of Christian thought.  It is mysticism which has learned to speak in Christian language.
We may be mystics, or we may be Christians.  We cannot be both.  And the pretension of being both usually merely veils defection from Christianity.  Mysticism baptized with the name of Christianity is not thereby made Christianity. A rose by any other name will smell as sweet.  But it does not follow that whatever we choose to call a rose will possess the rose’s fragrance.” – B B Warfield – Mysticism and Christianity,The Biblical Review (vol. 2 ,1917, pp. 169-191)

 

 

 

10 WAYS FALSE TEACHERS ENSNARE PEOPLE

By Rick Becker   29 March 2018

The greatest threat to the church are not those who oppose the gospel, but those who distort it.  Many in the visible church are fearful that the growth of other religions, godless governments, and the ongoing calamities of this world pose a threat to the church.  These serve to distract from the greatest threat which comes from within – false teachers.  Jesus described them as ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing –  they look like sheep but feed on sheep.  How do these false teachers manage to captivate and deceive millions within the visible church?

 

1. They are Established in the visible church.

The false teachers that present a very real and present danger are not those living on some isolated plot of land with a few hundred followers.  To the contrary, they are the ones revered in the industrial evangelical complex with thousands of followers.  Disguised as apostles of Christ, they speak of revival, fill stadiums, operate in signs and wonders, and claim to have new revelations for the body of Christ. Their books dominate the shelves of christian bookstores, and their conferences and courses flood the market. They are on GOD TV, TBN, and the Sid Roth show.  In his epistle, Jude exhorted the saints to “earnestly contend for the faith” because “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” Jude 4

Paul forewarned the elders at Ephesus that false teachers would come from within:
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

Many new or undiscerning believers are led to believe that these false teachers are the anointed ones, the ones who “hear from God.”  The humble preachers who faithfully exposit God’s word are ignored in favour of the celebrity teachers who motivate, entertain, and promise something new.  The enemy of the church lurks within it’s pastures!

2.  They Exploit weakness. 

Paul warned Timothy that in the “the last days” there will be false teachers who prey on the weak:For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth”
2 Timothy 3:6-7
False teachers prey on the sinful desires and passions of the women mentioned in this example.  They prey on those oppressed by their sins, perhaps giving them a solution not offered in scripture or alternatively, justifying their sins  The result is that these women never arrived at a “knowledge of the truth.”  In our generation, millions of men and women  sign up for the latest “christian” course on offer by well know teachers or ministries, yet never come to know the truth.  Unbeknownst to them, their weaknesses are being exploited by teachers who are peddling myths and doctrines of demons.
The parable of the sower reveals that two things “choked the word” that was sown among thorns: “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” Matthew 13:22
These two things are likewise two weaknesses that false teachers exploit – the cares and the pleasures of this world.  False teachers teachers prey on those looking for an increase in wealth – the pleasures of this world.  Teaching for shameful gain, they offer formulas such as seed faith giving and tithing in order to achieve prosperity.  False teachers prey on those in desperate circumstances such as relationship and health issues – the cares of this world.  False teachers also prey on passionate youth eager to be great in the kingdom of God.  Like James and John they covet a distinguished position in the kingdom on earth, yet have no understanding of the kingdom of God or the cup of sufferings true believers will endure.  The subtlety of pride deceives those who are determined to be part of a new breed of anointed revivalists that will leave a legacy.  These naive youth are taught that all can prophesy, perform miracles, and the end result is a journey into mysticism, vain imaginations and even the occult.  They have been deceived into believing they can rule and reign in this present world by false teachers.
 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 16:18

3. They Entice people

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.” 2 Peter 2: 17-19

Their messages are appealing because they offer what the flesh desires, and justify it with scripture.  The top priorities of the world include wealth and health and this is exactly what false teachers offer.  The gospel they market is nothing short of a dream destiny manual and a means of self motivation.  The old nature is extolled instead of being exterminated.  False teachers tell their audiences they are awesome, inherently good, worthy, and deserve the best that life has to offer.  False teachers make you feel like you deserve a crown, whereas the true gospel leads us to a cross.  False teachers will never tell you about the cost of following Christ, but merely what you will gain.  By gain, they are not referring to redemption or knowing Christ, but taking dominion and  guaranteed health and wealth. In other words, they will tell you that the kingdom of God is of this world.  The sobering words of A W Tozer ring hollow on the ears of those who are professional ear ticklers and their audiences:  “The whole purpose of God in redemption is to make us holy and to restore us to the image of God. To accomplish this, He disengages us from earthly ambitions and draws us away from the cheap and unworthy prizes that worldly men set their hearts upon.”

Three areas that we are tempted in are recorded in 1 John 2: 15-17:Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

The devil used these three areas to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, and in two instances the devil justified his temptation with scripture.  This is what false teachers do –  use scripture, out of context, in order to entice and flatter their followers.

4. They Eisegete texts

You may have been in a bible study when the question is asked: “What does that verse mean to you?”  The proper question should be “What was the original meaning that the author intended?”  Exegesis is the result of applying hermeneutical principles to the text in order to establish the true meaning.  Factors such as the type of literature (historical narrative, wisdom, law, apocalyptic etc), the context, and the difference between the law and the gospel are crucial when interpreting scripture.  False teachers employ eisegesis instead of exegesis. This means that instead of rightly dividing the word and drawing out the proper meaning, they ignore the historical context and original meaning of the text.  Instead, they impose their meaning into the text.

Another faulty method of interpretation is narcigesis.  Eisegesis imposes a faulty meaning into the text, whereas narcigesis places you in the text. In other words, its all about you.  In some cases people are actually encouraged to insert their own names into a text.  You become David, and Goliath your problem etc. This self centered approach makes the gospel about you – not Christ.  By modifying the gospel, false teachers are able to deceive those who accept teachings without making any attempt to emulate the Bereans and search “the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
To give credence to their teachings, false teachers use scripture, but it is in fact an abuse of scripture due to their faulty interpretations. The visible church is in such a bad state that not only do false teachers abuse scripture, they ignore it altogether.  It is common to have meetings that exclude scripture and the gospel, and the focus instead is on signs and stories.

5. They are Eloquent

False teachers are good speakers.  They captivate their audience through eloquent speech.
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.”  2 peter 2:18
They use high sounding words and exaggeration to fool their listeners.  These words however are meaningless, devoid of the knowledge of the truth.  Suave False teachers will mesmerize their followers with stories, testimonies and new revelations. 

Paul lacked oratorical skill, unlike the false apostles who were skilled speakers: Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.  Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.” 2 Corinthians 11:5-6
Some in Corinth had described Paul as someone who had a weak “bodily presence” and having “speech of no account” 2 Corinthians 10:10
Paul was the exact opposite of the teachers that flaunt their appearance and oratory skills on stages and behind pulpits today.  Paul relied on the word of God to have it’s effect.  When the word of God is rightly divided, believers are able to grow in their knowledge what of scripture actually teaches, and in the knowledge of God.  Smooth talkers abound in the visible church, but despite their eloquence and fanciful stories they proclaim “another Jesus” and their followers receive a “different spirit” and a “different gospel.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)

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

6. They Elevate themselves

With “loud boasts of folly” they present their new teachings and tell you of their encounters with God.  Their new revelations are touted as “messages for the body of Christ” as that the “Lord gave them” the word.  They describe themselves in their promotional materials as “sought after speakers” and remind you of how many books they have sold.  They make sure you know about the charity work they are involved in, and what great humanitarians they are.  Jude 16 describes them as being: “grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.”   While claiming to be anointed, their actual condition resembles the church in Laodicea: “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17
False teachers are self centered individuals, they take credit due to others, commend themselves, compare themselves with others, and boast in themselves (2 Corinthians 10:12-18)  This is how they elevate themselves, creating a successful persona that is merely a facade for a ravenous wolf.  A new adulterous priesthood take trips to heaven, receive direct revelations from God, and function as God’s mouthpiece for lesser creatures who have not been allowed access into the heavenlies.  Naturally, the keys to access the heavenly realms false teachers supposedly frequent can be obtained by purchasing their latest course.

7. They promote Experiential Christianity

We are not always going to sense the presence of Christ within us.  As emotional beings, we are susceptible to place more emphasis on the subejctive, and neglect the objective.  Experience has replaced reason, and the result is a generation of people who would rather soak in subjective feelings and their own imaginations than study the word of God.  The word of God is our objective source of truth, so when feelings and manifestations take precedence over the word of God we are left with relative truth.  Chasing after signs and mantles, lying on graves of the deceased to soak up anointings, running after prophets to receive impartations, and being incapacitated by the “power of God” are some of the ingredients of an experiential based Christianity.  False teachers want it to appear as if God is present in their meetings in order to justify their ministries. To this cause, they go to great lengths by preparing their venues.  Trending worship songs, lights, smoke machines and other modern technologies are utilized in order to create the right atmosphere.  Signs and wonders are advertised, and they key word “revival” is thrown in for extra effect.  Which leads us to the next point: 

8. They create Expectation

 Peter describes false teachers as “waterless springs and mists driven by a storm”
2 Peter 2:17. Jude describes them as:  “hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;  wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.” Jude 12-13
False teachers create a false hope by offering health, wealth, intimacy with God and the ability to walk as Jesus did on the earth in signs and wonders.  It is this expectation, or hope that keeps people coming back for more. “There is more” – they shout from their stages and from their positions of power, but the more never comes.  Like clouds without water, these false teachers cannot deliver what they promise.  When those who are deceived do not receive what they hoped for, they shipwreck their faith or embark on a journey without end.  They have to attend the next revival meeting to experience holy laughter or be slain in the spirit, they need a word from the next prophet, they need to do the next course etc.  When results are not forthcoming, don’t expect a false teacher to take the blame.  The problem will be your sin, your lack of faith, the fact that you don’t tithe, you lack commitment to the church etc.

9. They Entertain

 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
That time is now.  The visible church at large is a business, and members are consumers demanding a product that suits their passions.  Entertainment is used to attract and keep people in many churches.  Large churches that entertain goats are viewed as successful; smaller churches that feed the sheep are deemed as failures and in need of church growth strategies.  The true Gospel that offends the natural man, has been replaced by a false gospel that excites the natural man.  

“A German philosopher many years ago said something to the effect that the more a man has in his own heart, the less he will require from the outside; excessive need for support from without is proof of the bankruptcy of the inner man” – A W Tozer

Entertainment is a vital cog in the machinery of the post modern church.  Hedonists are at ease in a church that stimulates the senses and stifles the word of God.  Sermons are based on movies, there are props on stage, hip “worship leaders”, special effects, and celebrity speakers are brought in to satisfy consumers. The early church flourished under this model – “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” Acts 2:42.
These four elements don’t attract the majority of people that constitute the visible church today – carnal people and false converts.  There is nothing entertaining about carrying a cross and dying to self.  The reverence of God has been replaced with a blatant flippancy that has reduced God to our partner who wants us to be happy, not holy.

“Many churches these days have become little more than poor theaters where fifth-rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it.” A W Tozer

10. They Excuse their moral failures

The biblical qualifications to be a teacher or pastor basically covers two areas – the life of the individual, the doctrine of the individual.

False teachers can therefore be recognized by their failure in these two areas.  Teachers must be able to rightly divide the word of God. They  must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it  Titus 1:9
False teachers have swerved from the truth, and distorted the gospel. ” 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.” 2 Peter 3:16
Those who are captivated by these false teachers have failed to compare the teachings on offer to what the word of God really teaches.

The second way to identify a false teacher is by examining their lives.  Scripture is clear regarding what is required. (1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 3: 1-13; Titus 1:5-9)  Some of the requirements listed include: humility, not teaching for shameful gain (greed) not domineering, above reproach, self controlled, family life in order and mature in the faith.
False teachers are masters at disguising their moral flaws and indiscretions.  The sad part is that in today’s society, some of these attributes that actually disqualify a person from church leadership, are openly flaunted.  This makes it easy for false teachers to excuse their moral failures as they follow the pattern of this world.  Carnal people are only too happy to hear how awesome they are, how great they will become, and what a legacy they will leave.  They want to hear this from someone who is seen to have “arrived.”  Humility, brokenness, transparency and contentment with God’s will,  can only serve to sabotage the false teachers image as a confident and successful individual.   False teachers teach for “shameful gain”and they are motivated by greed.
“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.” 2 Peter 2:3
They excuse their greed by preaching the prosperity gospel, a false gospel that will never take hold unless the one preaching it is actually prospering.  Mansions, Jets, expensive cars, watches, expensive clothes and jewelry are justified because God wants to prosper his children.

Barely a month goes by without some well known teacher’s indiscretions brought to light.  Abusing church funds for self promotion or pleasures, controlling and abusing members, and of course having an affair with someone are common.  Guilty pastors simply lie low for a while without neglecting to blame others and shame their spouses or the one’s they betrayed.  Within a few months they have a new wife, or have moved to another city, and it’s business as usual.  Endorsements from fellow false teachers and a re-commissioning by an apostolic or prophetic team ensure the wolf is kitted out in a new sheepskin.

The false shepherds of today are similar to the rulers of Israel that Ezekiel rebuked:Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered;   they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.”
Ezekiel 34:2-6

Invalid reasons for staying in a church you know teaches false doctrine

By Rick Becker   22 March 2018

When the scales of deception are removed from their eyes, many find themselves in a dilemma.  They realise that the church that they love, attend, and where they were possibly even saved, teaches false doctrine.  False doctrines such as word of faith, the prosperity gospel, dominion theology and of course the unhealthy mixture of all three found in the New Apostolic Reformation are working their leaven in the visible church.  Furthermore, accompanying these false doctrines are false practices and manifestations.  Individuals are torn in two.  Should they leave? or should they stay and attempt to navigate the spiritual minefield that  they find themselves in?  This post looks at invalid reasons that some use to justify their refusal to walk away from a poisoned well.

If you are not familiar with the false doctrines mentioned above, here are some examples of people and ministries that teach them: Bethel church (Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton), Hillsong (Brian & Bobbie Houston, Carl Lentz), Randy Clark, Lance Wallnau, Todd Bentley, Georgian Banov, Heidi Baker, Joyce Meyer, John & Lisa Bevere, Christine Caine, Rick Joyner, Patricia King, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, Craig Groeschel, Rick Warren, Paula White, T D Jakes, Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Todd White, Beth Moore, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Mike Bickle, Ann Voskamp, and many more. In South Africa – CRC churches (At Boshoff) Breakthru Life church (John Crumpton), Rivers church (André Olivier) River ministries (Andre Roebert) Oasis Christian Church (Sarel van der Merwe) Christian Family Church (Theo Wolmarans) and many more.  If your church uses material from any of these folk or promotes them in anyway, you should be concerned! 

The following  reasons are not legitimate reasons to stay in a church that teaches false doctrine:

1.  I’ll simply ignore the bad teaching – eat the meat and spit out the bones

To put it another way – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There is no biblical mandate for this argument.  Those who teach contrary to the gospel need to be marked and avoided, not marked and ignored. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them Romans 16:17
In his letter to Timothy, Paul explains that someone approved by God “rightly divides the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)  He then gives an example, of two teachers who did not rightly divide God’s word: Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” (vs 18)
Finally, Paul tells us what our response should be: “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (vs 19)

By sitting under a pastor who twists the word of God, you are submitting yourself to someone God has disqualified and submitting yourself to someone who is responsible for damaging the faith of their followers.  You pastor should in fact be the one rebuking those who teach false doctrine. He  must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it  Titus 1:9

The church at Thyatira was rebuked fortolerating that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants..” Revelation 2:20.
We must avoid the irreverent babble of those who distort the word of God to suit their own carnal appetites. False teachers need to be silenced, not supported:For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.  They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” Titus 1:10-11
A ravenous wolf has nothing to offer you:  they come to steal, kill and destroy.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking the situation is static in the sense that the current level of false doctrine will remain constant.  It begins with singing Hillsong or Jesus Culture songs, and before you can say “heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss” your pastor will be introducing the doctrines of Hillsong and Bethel.
Soon your leaders will find it necessary to attend a Bethel or Hillsong conference, and then new materials and courses such as sozo or a school of supernatural ministry will be introduced.  You will probably observe new terminology coming from your pulpit, as new teachings come with some catch phrases.  These words, for example, accompany NAR teachings: “shift, alignment, presence, atmosphere, impartation, acceleration”

God’s word is ignored or twisted beyond it’s original meaning, resulting in progressive error:while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  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 3:13-17

2.  I’ll just stay and be a witness

That may work for a short while, but at some point you are going to be accused of “sowing division” and your “rebellious spirit” will be dealt with by your leaders.  Your first port of call in any case should be your leaders.  A meeting with them, explaining your concerns, will quickly determine whether your discernment is appreciated.  There were no undercover believers in the early church; they broke away from the various sects and teachings of the pharisees.  If you want to be a testimony then you need to leave and have no fellowship with darkness.  Those who are interested in truth, will come and ask you for the reasons you left and that will be your opportunity to present the truth.  

3.  I have family members in the church; if I leave I will offend them

This is a difficult case, but one that Jesus warned about: Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.  For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”  Luke 12:51-53
You have the advantage of spending time with your family members and giving your reasons for leaving.  I realise there may be some complications, but ultimately your leaving may be the catalyst for their eyes to be opened.  You may offend them if you leave, but you won’t be offending God.  What is offensive, and indeed unloving, is to stay silent when doctrines that may shipwreck the faith of your family members are not addressed.

You have a duty to warn your family and friends.  They should not feel at ease among enemies of the cross.  “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

4.  I stand to lose too much

The opposite is true; you stand to lose much by participating in any ministry that has swerved from the truth, and is deceiving people. Many are heavily invested in their churches.  Apart from the possible loss of friendships that are dear, there are other factors that may come into play. A church I attended had a “business directory” for church members.  We were encouraged to support the businesses of church members, nothing wrong with that.  Some may however find themselves in a situation where their business is largely dependent on the support of fellow church members, or even the church itself.  The choice then is simple – God or mammon. The same God who leads us out of deception, will provide for our needs and make a way when disaster seems imminent.  Your spiritual welfare must be prioritized above any earthly concern.  You can never lose when you obey the word of God.

5.  Despite some bad doctrine God still moves

We need to clarify what “God still moves” actually means.  By this argument, people are usually referring to signs and wonders, testimonies from people in the church, or perhaps their own experience.  I’m sure you have heard  similar expressions such as these: “the presence of the Lord was so strong during the service” or “there was such a powerful anointing during the meeting and Holy Spirit was present.”  When subjective experiences take precedence over the word of God, we are dealing with mysticism, not biblical Christianity.  People falling over backwards, gold dust appearing during services, rain falling during a prayer meeting, fire tunnels, goosebumps during worship, and even signs and wonders are not evidence of God moving.  These last days will include many signs and wonders, but they won’t be a result of God moving, but of deception:
 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 24:24

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.”
2 Thessalonians 2:9-11

In another scenario, people may actually have been saved or even healed in the church they now realise teaches false doctrine. Perhaps the church started off well, but gradually succumbed to the ear tickling doctrines of demons, or perhaps the church has always been rooted in NAR and other false teachings. Be thankful God is his mercy and grace has saved or healed you in spite of people, not because of them. God saved you, God healed you, be faithful to God!  

6.  I will be without a spiritual covering

You have not been under a spiritual covering in the first place.  The “spiritual covering” that false teachers offer is nothing but a means to manipulate and control their followers.  There is no mutual submission to one another in their vocabulary.  False teachers serve their own appetites, and to get what they want, they will dominate if they have to. True shepherds lead by example with pure motives: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock”
1 Peter 5:2-3

We are still experiencing the influence of the heavy shepherding movement of the seventies and eighties, and the fear instilled in many due to “covering” teaching remains.  Those who experienced this will know what I’m talking about.  In some cases leaders had such control over those under their authority, that they had the power to determine who your spouse should be, where to live, and what work to do.  If the leaders did not “have peace” or managed to find a scripture in Jeremiah for example (wrest out of context) contradicting your choice, you had little option but to submit to them.

Teachers like John Bevere, are still promoting this aberrant doctrine.  This is a long quote (from one of our previous blogs) but worth repeating: “Another book by Bevere – Under Cover, promotes a pyramid model or hierarchical leadership structure in the church, the very thing Jesus and Peter warned about.  It’s an abusive pastor’s dream reference book, as Bevere basically equates submitting to your pastor with submitting to God.  A far more appropriate title would have been “The Untouchables Manual For Ultimate Manipulation Of Sheep.”  Based on faulty exegesis of Romans 13 which applies to civil authority not church authority, Bevere exalts church authority to a level condemned in scripture itself.  Bevere believes that if we oppose God’s delegated authority, we oppose God Himself.  The consequences are severe: “Not only does it place us under the judgment of God, but it grants legal access to demonic powers. If we want to remain obedient to God and ,we have but one choice when it comes to delegated authority – submission and obedience.” p88
And it gets worse: “Our provision as well as protection could be blocked or even cut off as we disconnect ourselves from the Source of true life”

In a conversation with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit said to Bevere:  “John, if I intended for every believer to get all his information, wisdom, and direction only from prayer and communion with Me, then I’d never have instituted authority in the church. I placed authorities in the church with the full intent that My children could not get all they needed just from their prayer life. They would have to learn to recognise and hear My voice through their leaders as well. p147

God did place leaders in the church; not to dominate people but to instruct them through rightly dividing the word of truth, and setting an example through servanthood.  Furthermore, we are commanded to test all things. The Bereans were commended for comparing Paul’s teaching with scripture (Acts 17:11)   Bevere makes no distinction between leadership under the old covenant with that of the new.  His frequent use of old testament authority examples are out of context and he comes to this shocking conclusion: “..when God places His authority on a person, no matter his private or personal behaviour, we may still receive if we look beyond it and honour him as sent from God” p116
This is in clear contradiction to scripture: “appoint elders in every town as I directed you –  if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.  For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.  He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:5-9

According to Bevere’s teaching, if your pastor is a drunkard, abuses people in his congregation and teaches false doctrine, your job is to submit: “To resist delegated authority is to resist God’s authority. We should not take upon ourselves the pressure to discern beforehand whether leaders are right or not. Nor should we judge after the fact. This is not our burden, but God’s. He alone knows and can change hearts as He so desires.” p147″

The same teachers that want you to be accountable, are accountable to no one. They live in comfort, concoct a new revelation at will, and have established themselves as an intermediary between God and their followers.  Our head is Christ, and he has given his body gifts in the form of pastors and teachers to mature us in the faith.  These leaders need certain qualifications according to scripture.  Their lives need to be an example, and they need to rightly divide the word of truth (life and doctrine).  Jesus Christ is your covering, and while we need to be in fellowship, remain accountable and submit to one another, leaving a church that teaches false doctrine is being obedient to your head – Christ.

7.  I play a valuable role in the church

All the more reason for you to leave, especially if you are in leadership.  You may be the secretary, lead the worship, teach a bible study group, or as in my case even be one of the pastors.  You might think you will let people down, and the thought of leaving can cause a sense of guilt and betrayal.  This is when you need to step back, and examine the situation in the light of God’s word as well as from an eternal perspective.  When you leave a church that teaches false doctrine, you are playing a valuable role!  Your actions alone will be a powerful testimony.  You have made a stand for the faith and you are refusing to betray the word of God.  Rather be guilty in the eyes of carnal men and women, than stand before God and give an account for compromise.  Your choice  is between: contending for the faith, or remaining content with a distortion of the faith.

8.   There is no alternative nearby

This is a reality for some, and it’s not just a problem for those leaving a particular church.  People live in isolated areas all over the world and others live in communities with hardly any believers.  Using the “no alternative” argument to remain in a church that teaches false doctrine is choosing to support a false teacher.  At times, we are simply not aware of any alternative churches because we are still looking for a denomination or movement that we are familiar with.  It may take a while to find a fellowship with good sound expository teaching and a body of believers that will encourage you in the faith. God has not forsaken you;  you have forsaken false teaching.  Keep that in mind if you find yourself in limbo as far as finding a fellowship is concerned.  Many people I speak to in South Africa, have unfortunately at some point come under the spell of Bethel church.  Even though they are in a church, Bill Johnson has been teaching them. You know what I’m getting at:  modern technology.  There are literally thousands of good online resources at our disposal.  Not having a home church is not the same thing as not growing in your faith.  Study the word of God, pray, and if possible find fellowship with others who may be in the same predicament: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

In conclusion, if you know that your church is teaching false doctrine (NAR, word of faith, prosperity gospel, seeker sensitive and other forms of false doctrine) there is no valid reason to stay.  If your church has started introducing these doctrines and promotes any of the teachers mentioned,  you should set up a meeting with your pastor.  Be prepared and make sure you are able to articulate your concerns.  Prayer is part of preparation.  You are not going in to attack an individual, but are going to test their teachings. You should mention specific teachings that you find to be contradictory to the word of God, and give examples.  A pastor worth their weight in salt will want to hear what you have to say.  As an overseer they should be concerned for you, and as a teacher of God’s word, they should be only too happy to let God’s word in context be the arbitrator.  If they ignore your concerns, they will in all probability begin the slippery slope that leads to delusion.

Flee from pastors and churches that do not preach the gospel.  You have nothing in common with an enemy of the cross.  You have no business fellowshipping with those who are “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

Come out from among them and contend earnestly for the faith!  Resist, rebuke and run from those who distort the faith.

 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel –  not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers

By Rick Becker  8 March 2018

Scripture warns us that in the last days some will depart from the faith, and be deceived by evil spirits and teachings of demons. Those who teach false doctrines are not on the fringes of christianity, they are in the center in the form of the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  Bethel, Hillsong and other NAR “churches” have infested the visible church like gangrene.  Those who are saved from this deception, try to warn their friends and family still caught up in the quagmire of celebrity teachers and false doctrines.  When we warn them of the precarious position they are in, they usually resort to arguments we are all familiar with. This post deals with some of those questions.

 

Do you know them personally ?

It is not necessary to know figures such as Brian Houston or Bill Johnson personally to test their teachings.  Those of us who come out of these churches know what it takes to work your way up the hierarchical structure in order to “get to know them personally.”  Have they taken the time to get to know the people whose faith has been shipwrecked due to their teachings?  Do they care that their sponsored posts reach millions of naive and biblically illiterate people?  Not content with shepherding their own congregations,  these hirelings spread their doctrines with impunity.  They are not contributing to the body of Christ, but building their own empire.

Their teachings are in print, on social media, in the public domain and therefore open to public scrutiny.  It is their teachings we examine and compare to the word of God – as instructed in scripture.  If the apostle Paul’s teachings were compared to scripture, why give modern day apostles a pass?
“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

 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1-2

Have you approached them directly ?

Many will cite Matthew 18:15-18 as justification of a direct and private approach to dealing with false teachers: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  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.”
In context, the issue is between two believers in a congregation. False teachers are not “your brother” – they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Their messages are public, and their sin is against the whole body of Christ.  There is no need to bring any witnesses to the table when it comes to false teachers, their own witness in the form of their teachings, condemn them.  This passage is instructive regarding church discipline, not how to deal with false teachers.  Incidentally, this is the same passage many use to justify the teaching of binding and loosing Satan.  Once again, that is an unbiblical concept as the text is dealing with church discipline among believers, not spiritual warfare.

If you are fortunate enough to be one of those rare cases where a celebrity prophet or apostle takes time to meet a concerned stranger, use your opportunity wisely.  Attempting to reach them via social media and email is usually a fruitless endeavour.  Most of these well known leaders have a team that manage their correspondence; the chances that you will actually get a direct reply from the teacher concerned is highly unlikely.  Many of these ministries have a culture of ignoring any outsiders who ask questions – legitimate questions.  They refuse to entertain what they deem as attacks on their ministry.

Why don’t you just pray for them ?

Jesus didn’t pray for the pharisees, he rebuked them openly.  When Peter compromised the truth of the gospel, Paul didn’t cover up the issue and offer a silent prayer for Peter:  But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” Galatians 2:11
We don’t ignore false teachings in the body of Christ.  When Paul wrote to Timothy warning him of those who have departed from the faith due to false teachings, he instructed Timothy to point out the errors : “If you put these things before the brothers,  you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed”
Paul is clear regarding those who bring a different gospel: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
Galatians 1:8-9


Why do you have to mention names ?

Because of this:
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 :19-20

“You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.” 2 Timothy 1:15

“For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” 2 Timothy 4:10

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.”
2 Timothy 4:14-15

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,  and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” 2 Timothy 2: 16-18
False teachers are like Hymanaeus and Philetus, they swerve from the truth by misinterpreting the word of God and teaching false doctrine.  By naming those who teach false doctrine, people can be on their guard against them and stop contributing to their empires.  We mark and avoid those who teach a different doctrine (Romans 16:17)

Their ministry has fruits !

By “fruits” most defenders of false teachers often mean that the teacher they are defending  engages in charitable works, has a large following, operates in signs and wonders, and lives an exemplary life. There is however a “fruit” that is never mentioned, as we will see shortly.  Let us firstly look at the points that these defenders of false teachers  may raise:

a) Charitable works – John and Lisa Bevere’s ministry helps rescue human trafficking victims, Heidi Baker builds orphanages in Mozambique, Christine Caine founded an anti-human trafficking organization dedicated to abolishing injustice in the 21st century.  These are commendable social justice works, but are not necessarily fruits that point to a sound ministry or even true believers.  There are cults and other religions engaged in social justice projects; that does not mean their works are evidence of sound doctrine.

b)  Large following – We are living in the time 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   Ear ticklers have large followings: if numbers alone are a “good fruit” then Islam must be the right religion.  Thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers, book sales, sold out conferences, prosperity and being a sought after speaker are not an indication that someone is a true servant of God.

c)  Signs and wonders –  Right after Jesus tells us we will recognize false prophets by their fruits, he said this:  “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

Many justify Bethel church on the basis of their “signs and wonders.”  Firstly, most of their signs are fake. Glory clouds, gold dust and kundalini manifestations do not qualify as biblical signs. Secondly, the odd person who may have received true physical healing at Bethel, is a result of God’s sovereign grace and will;  it is not a fruit that justifies Bethel’s ministry.

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” Mark 13:22

d)  Lives an exemplary life –  While we can judge by outward appearances, things are not always what they seem.  Many revered leaders in the visible church were found to have feet of clay when they fell from their positions due to extra marital affairs, financial irregularities or other moral failings that disqualified them from the ministry.  For years these leaders were thought to have had good fruits, yet the real (evil) gift they had was in covering up their sin.

What about teachers who are not involved in sin that disqualifies them from ministry?  Do their moral fruits ensure that they qualify to be teachers of God’s word?
There must be moral and spiritual good fruits in the lives of teachers, as scripture details their qualifications (1 Timothy 3; 1 Peter 5:1-4)  But there is more, good character alone does not qualify someone to teach in the church.
Paul instructed Timothy as follows: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
1 Timothy 4:16

The passage in Paul’s letter to Titus lists the qualifications for elders:
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you – if anyone is above reproach,
the husband of one wife,  and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
 For an overseer,  as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.  He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Titus 1:5-9
Notice that among the qualifications (which may surely be described as good fruit) Paul includes the ability to teach sound doctrine.  Paul goes a step further; not only is teaching sound doctrine a good fruit, rebuking those who contradict it is also a good fruit!

Further on in Matthew, Jesus shed more light on this topic of bad fruit when he confronted the false teachers of his day: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:33-37

So while a false teacher may cover their moral failures or greed, their teachings cannot be hidden, and are a sure way to test whether they are indeed false teachers.  False teachers use words to deceive.  If we judge their words by comparing what they teach to scripture, we will know their fruits are bad.
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

Their teachings have helped me !

How have they helped?  Have they taught you to identify in the sufferings of Christ?Have they taught you to die to self? Have they taught you to consider all things rubbish compared to the knowledge of Christ?  Have they taught you to relinquish your ambitions and surrender to God’s calling?  Have they taught you to be content in all things? Have they taught you to carry the burdens of others and forgive your enemies? False teachers are masters at disguising their destructive heresies. They will use biblical terminology and quote scripture. They will make you feel good about yourself and the amazing destiny that God has in store for you.  They may have taught you some biblical truth, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.  Fruit does not grow overnight, and It can take years before false teachings begin destroying the life of an individual.   

Who are you to judge ?

Most defenders of false teachers will quote the words of Jesus “don’t judge” but ignore the context: “ “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?   Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  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 7:1-5
In other words, hypocritical or self righteous judgement is a sin.   Very often when we judge others, we are guilty of the same sin or even worse.  What has this verse got to do with exposing false doctrines and those who teach them – absolutely nothing!  Jesus exercised righteous judgement by calling out sin and rebuking false teachers.  The epistles are replete with examples of judging sin, church discipline, and exposing false doctrine.  The person accusing you of exercising discernment is in fact judging you!
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
John 7:24

You are sowing division in the body of Christ !

There certainly are people who create division in the church: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions” Romans 16:17
Who are these people? Are they the one’s calling for discernment to be exercised in the church?  Are they the ones who warn others of false teachers who are leading many astray?  The verse continues: 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

Those who cause divisions are people who have departed from sound doctrine.  The celebrity apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation would have you believe that it’s those who call for discernment and expose their false teachings that are causing division.  They would have you believe that it’s those with a “religious spirit” that refuse to participate in their meetings, purchase their materials, or accept their latest revelation that are causing division.  The truth is that false teachers are the ones causing division,and need to be marked and avoided.  Teaching “different doctrines” is the cause of division:
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,  he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,  and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain” 1 Timothy 6:3-5

Unity in the body of Christ is not when: John Bevere tours with Bethel music, Lou Engle and friends fill a stadium, Todd White partners with Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn teaches at Bethel,  Kris Vallotton meets with the Pope. That is called false unity in the visible church!
You cannot separate true unity from maturity, and fullness in Christ.  Those who are united in truth, will be the ones who reject the false doctrines of Benny Hinn, John Bevere, Beth Moore, Todd White, Kenneth Copeland, Bethel, Hillsong and other word of faith, prosperity and NAR teachers.

“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

What have you done for the Lord ?

Red herring alert!  That question has nothing to do with examining the doctrine of their favourite teacher. They are asking that question based on the assumption that their teacher has actually “done something for the Lord.”  We have pointed out that the good fruits they take pride in, are really not good fruits at all. Leave your works in the hands of God:  let Him be the judge, and let Him have the glory.  Respond by explaining what God has done for you, and how the truth has set you free. Remind them that boasting is sin.  False teachers love to boast: they quote statistics and project a successful ministry.  Paul was the opposite: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” 2 Corinthians 11:30

So you think your theology is perfect

No, not one of us will enter heaven and find out we had perfect theology.  While there are non essentials of the faith we can agree to disagree over, there are essentials of the faith that cannot be compromised –  such as believing in the bodily resurrection of Christ.  However, there are also teachings classified as non essentials, that are harmful, and can lead to greater deception, bondage, and ultimately destruction.  For example, a teaching on “hearing the voice of God” may seem harmless, but when that teaching goes outside of how God speaks in scripture, there is a problem.  It is common in New Apostolic Reformation circles for God to speak through the reading on your odometer, a movie, a double yolk egg, a road runner, popcorn and other bizarre sources.  Doing a course on “inner healing” hardly seems to be an issue that is essential to the faith, but do some research on the devastating effects a Bethel Sozo course has had on individuals. Many other teachings such as: generational curses, the prosperity gospel, tithing, word of faith and kingdom now theology have caused unnecessary damage and confusion in the church.

We should not brand all teachers who teach some form of false doctrine as heretics and apostates. Some are, others are perhaps misguided in areas, not qualified to teach due to the fact that they are unable to “rightly divide the word of God.”  It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two.  Let God be the judge of their salvation, and let us compare their teachings to the word of God.  When speaking to those who follow  false teachers, focus on the actual teachings, and not the teacher concerned.  If they are open to reason, then you have an opportunity to present truth.  Pray for those caught up in deception, and if the opportunity arises, this should be our response: correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,  and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
2 Timothy 2:25-26

“Test all things; hold fast what is good”
1 Thessalonians 5:21

 

 

MANTLES & DOUBLE PORTIONS

By Rick Becker   1 March 2018

Mere hours after the passing of Billy Graham,  New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) apostles and prophets were gleefully salivating at the prospect of receiving yet another mantle.  Mantles, double portions, impartations and downloads are sought after commodities in the NAR.  Followers of these NAR false teachers lap up their nonsensical notions and teachings with delight, hoping to be the recipient of yet another anointing or mantle.  We are supposedly on the brink of the final great awakening, a worldwide revival, and these mantles supposedly help achieve that goal.  NAR disciples want a piece of the action so to speak, and like Simon the sorcerer they ask “Give me this power also..”  Do the scriptures teach that there will be a world wide revival in these last days?  Do the scriptures teach that we need mantles and double portions?

The word of God teaches a great falling away will take place just prior to Christ’s return: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first”  2 Thessalonians 2:3.
There will be no revival that the NAR anticipate; instead there will be a departure from the faith, and mass deception in the visible church. 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

Ask yourself if this is the picture Bill Johnson & co paint of 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,  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.  But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” 2 Timothy 3:1-8

Ironically, this passage describing the last days not only refutes the claims of the NAR – that a revival will take place where literal nations will be discipled,  but actually describes those who oppose the truth.  Jannes and Jambres were Pharaoh’s magicians, and they were instructed by Pharaoh to perform the same miracle that Aaron performed: “Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,  “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’ ”So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent.  Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”  Exodus 7:8-12

Like Jannes and Jambres, there is a new breed today intent on copying true miracles.  Their “secret arts” include destiny readings, glory clouds, leg stretching, gold dust, and other signs that make you wonder.  This new breed attend NAR supernatural schools of ministry where they are taught how to perform miracles and chase after mantles.  I find it strange that they are selective in what they teach their students.  They train all students to prophesy, speak in tongues, heal the sick, chase out sermons, but ignore two signs that are included in the great commission: ” And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17 – 18

They have opposed the truth and neglected sound doctrine. They will indeed perform signs and wonders, and sadly many will discover that their supernatural endeavors were a sign of their deception, not salvation: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 7:22-23

Apostasy and deception in the visible church and not revival, is what we are witnessing today.  The voices in the NAR crying out for revival and making claims of a final harvest of a billion souls for Christ,  are by and large merely adding false converts to the visible church.

Well known voices in the NAR and Charismania such as the now deceased Kim Clement,  Lou Engle and Benny Hinn  have made this claim that we are on the verge of a new move, a final great awakening.  The sign of course being Billy Graham’s death, and the subsequent release of a new mantle.  Naturally the up and coming “revivalists” and prophets of the NAR need to echo and confirm this word.  God apparently told Hinn in 1989 that the deaths of Oral Roberts and Billy Graham would be the sign of the beginning of the greatest revival on earth.  Lesser prophets Ben Fitzgerald and Lana Vawser received this revelation two years ago:
Ben Fitzgerald, son of Ken and Jenny Hodge of the now infamous Christalignment said  “God told me very clearly, nearly two years ago, that when Billy goes home the Lord will pour out the spirit of evangelism…don’t you want the legacy that Billy Graham has had, I want that legacy on my life”

Lana Vawser :”I knew this day would come and I knew the significance in the earth that this day would hold. I knew this would be the day that I would release this prophetic word that two years ago, over the span of two months, the Lord took me into encounters and dreams regarding what would be heralded and released on the earth beginning with the passing of Billy Graham.”

Vawser then recounts a dream she had of Billy Graham, and then writes:
“At the end of this dream, a prophetic decree was made. This was the decree:“When Billy Graham dies a DOUBLE PORTION of the Elisha anointing will be released upon the earth!!!”
“This decree heralded a time coming to the earth of great increase of signs, wonders and miracles unlike anything we have ever seen. The decree established such a branding over this new era that the signs, wonders and miracles that would accompany the proclamation of the Word of God, would be UNPRECEDENTED. A significant shift, a time of a greater increase of the mantle of evangelism being released onto the earth.”

South African Lindey Ann Hopley, a product of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, repeated the claim that “when Oral Roberts and Billy Graham pass away it will be the sign of the great third awakening that’s going to sweep the world“.  She then goes on to release the mantle of Bill Graham as well as an awakening.

Christine Beadsworth wrote on Z3 News – End time news before it happens:
“When He Dies, It Will Come -The transference of Billy to Heaven has marked the trigger point for the final season of rich harvest to begin…For those who have prepared the soil of their hearts and nurtured the seed sown in it, we are entering the season of hundred-fold increase, of radical and sudden change, of the fire of God being deposited and shut up in your bones, propelling you into the harvest field. Are you willing, waiting one? Will you go where He sends you daily? Heaven has a download for you and the graduation of Billy Graham has clocked us over into the chapter when the scrolls of Heaven are about to be imparted in a fiery downloadPosition yourself for encounter and impartation to equip you to possess your allotted portion of inheritance in Christ. Dense darkness is about to cover the earth but His glory will rise upon you. Billy Graham’s baton is available to the whosoever!”

While some NAR prophets are hoping for full stadiums and larger crusades, Beadsworth heard the opposite: “From what I am hearing, this new season of evangelism will be totally different from the last. Many are preparing stadiums for mass salvation, and looking for the next big ‘man of power for the hour’, but I believe the greatest move of the Spirit of God in this area of evangelism will be one on one, the true Church released to operate in the power of the resurrected Christ to bring in the harvest!”

Michael Koulianos of Jesus Image: “Today I felt a holy fear of God as I heard of Billy Graham’s passing. I spoke with Lou Engle and pastor Benny Hinn early this morning. They were in full agreement. I’ve preached to much larger crowds than this crowd today, but I felt the weight of the moment at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry today. I couldn’t help sense that one or more of these young people would hear the invitation from Heaven to fully surrender their lives to Jesus. We believe the mantle of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts is being released on a company of people who’ve been in hiding…all alone with Jesus. They’ve learned to host Him and kill lions and bears in secret. There has never been a more holy time to give our “full yes” to the Lamb of God.”

Not to be outdone, another voice from the charismaniac swamp is Charlie Shamp.  Shamp reminds us to not be offended when Jesus appears to us in a “different form” after Jesus appeared to him while in a trance – in the form of a Lamb.  He goes on to say that God had spoken to him regarding Billy Graham’s death, and that his mantle would drop this year. The mantle of that ministry would be passed to the “wild ones”“the radical revival culture”  The video on his facebook page where he shares this revelation is entitled: “Prophet Charlie Shamp accurately prophesies the death of Evanglist Billy Graham on January 13, 2018 while in Charlotte, North Carolina.We pray that this generation takes ahold of this prophetic word and many young Evanglist’s arise around the world with a double portion mantle for Evangelism!”

Does it take a prophet to know that an ill 99 year old will shortly pass away?

We should expect signs and wonders in the last days, possibly through many in this new breed but not from the source they imagine.  This new breed have a veneer of humility and outward righteousness, but many want to be the next great miracle worker.  Their personal destiny and legacy overshadow the cause of Christ. Their methodology and teachings contradict scripture because they don’t have a love for truth.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,  and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,  that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

What do the scriptures teach regarding mantles, and is that how God operates today?

The NAR look to the old testament to justify their claim that God gives mantles. Prophets in the old testament wore cloaks, or “mantles.”  This mantle was an outward sign of God’s calling. When the prophet Elijah called Elisha, he “threw his mantle on him.”  This prophetic act indicated that Elisha was called to the office of a prophet. Towards the end of Elijah’s ministry, just prior to being caught up to heaven, Elisha asked Elijah: “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 2 Kings 2:9
When Elijah was caught up in a chariot of fire, his mantle fell, and Elisha picked it up, and struck the waters of the Jordan.  The waters parted, as they had earlier when Elijah struck the water. When some sons of the prophets from Jericho saw Elisha, they said “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.”

To see whether mantles and double portions are still available, we need to examine the new testament, as this is the covenant we fall under and describes God’s operations in this dispensation.  False teachers have the habit of taking a descriptive text to justify their current teachings and methodology.  In other words what was described, is not always prescribed or applicable to us.  Every believer has received a spiritual gift from God: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

These gifts, help us to build one another up in the body of Christ and spread the gospel. There are instructions in scripture regarding our gifts. We should for examples: not neglect them, use them to serve others, and stir ourselves up in our gifts.

Elisha performed his first miracle shortly after picking up the mantle: “Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over” 2 Kings 2:14  The mantle was not only an indication of a calling, but also a sign that the Holy Spirit had anointed the person who was called.  This anointing was often accompanied not only by accurate prophetic words, but signs and wonders.  This is ultimately what the new breed are after – signs and wonders.  NAR proponents argue that the mere preaching of the gospel is insufficient; what we need according to them is power evangelism and prophetic evangelism.  The irony is that their prophetic evangelism and power evangelism usually leaves out the message of the gospel.  Instead of the gospel being presented, people receive an “interpretation” of what the tattoo on their arm means, or they are the recipient of the old leg stretching trick or receive a “destiny reading.”  That’s about as far as their signs and wonders go.  You will never find this new wild breed of revivalists empty a ward for the terminally ill at your local hospital.

Under the new covenant, believers have received the Holy Spirit. Under the old covenant, the Holy Spirit would come upon God’s chosen vessel to fulfill a task and then leave. Under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit dwells within all believers, and never leaves: “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.   But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.   If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus  from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:6-11

 “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” John 14:16

” 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,  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

Scripture does exhort us to be filled with the Spirit.  We are instructed to surrender to the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We should immerse ourselves in the word of God, not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit.  If we do the latter, we cannot expect the the fullness of the Spirit to operate in and through us, despite the fact that He still dwells within.  The NAR & co are always looking for something to fall from heaven: a mantle, an anointing or an impartation.  Scripture teaches that we have already received an anointing: “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him” 1 John 2:27

Under the new covenant, God has already supplied to every believer what they need:
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” 2 Peter 1:3
What believers need is not some new addition from the heavenlies, but a greater surrender within.  Instead of chasing after the callings of others (rarely legitimate callings when it comes to those whom the NAR admire) we should be content with our gifts and calling.  It is clear that the new testament does not teach that mantles are available or necessary for believers.

Now we must ask the question: are some believers graced with a double portion?
Once again, we need to find the answer in the new testament, because as we observed, the Holy Spirit has now been given to all believers and dwells within.
A “double portion” in the old testament refers to a double blessing, conferred upon the firstborn, a chosen vessel, or the nation of Israel.  In Elisha’s case, the fruits of  double portion included performing twice as many listed miracles as that of Elijah.  Scripture is clear regarding spiritual gifts for believers – God “apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:11

Scripture never instructs us to align or position ourselves in order to receive an anointing that a deceased person carried.  Scripture does not teach us that we can get by with half or single portions, but double portions are what really gets the job done.

It’s not a case of seeking from above what you lack; it’s a case of realizing what has already been given in and through Christ:do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.” 
Ephesians 1:16-20

There is nothing wrong with a desire to see souls come into the kingdom of God.  There is nothing wrong with an urgency to spread the gospel.  The problem is when our motivation, methodology, or actual message is a departure from what scripture teaches.
When we focus on our legacy – our motivation is wrong
When we think the right atmosphere, mantles, double portions, hordes of people, manifestations and signs etc are needed to spread the gospel or a sign of revival – our methodology is wrong.
When we teach a gospel that promises a great destiny in terms of earthly comfort; a gospel that helps fulfill our personal ambitions and dreams – this message is wrong.

There is no rest in the finished work of the cross when it comes to the New Apostolic Reformation.  To use their own phrase – “there’s more.”  In their world, what Christ has done on the cross is insufficient.  Scripture is insufficient.  The focus shifts from what Christ has done, to what we must do – a man centered theology! 

There is always a need to chase after something: a new mantle, anointing, impartation or revelation.  The “more” always lies outside of the believer in whom Christ dwells.  Naturally this is good news for the apostles and prophets in the movement, as they are the ones with the latest scoop on what God is doing.  They have a new course, new revelation, new mantle on offer.  They point to God for the “more” but have positioned themselves as the playmaker – the essential cog in the whole process.  The result being that they climb the NAR food chain, and watch their income climb at the same time.
The good news is that there is no need for us to chase after mantles and double portions.  Those who do, have fallen for myths and ear tickling doctrines that oppose the truth.

Kris Vallotton – For Thirty Pieces of Silver

By Rick Becker   22 February 2018

Judas betrayed Christ for a mere thirty pieces of silver.  Today many charlatans follow the path of Judas, betraying the Lord and the true gospel for money.  Kris Vallotton of Bethel church is one such charlatan.  Vallotton will be releasing his new book “Poverty, Riches and Wealth” in March this year.  In this post we review the first chapter sent out free to subscribers.  There are no surprises, although Vallotton boasts he can “go a week without sinning” he is a shameless prosperity teacher, twisting God’s word to come to his conclusions.  Vallotton loves to speak about himself, 75% of the first chapter is about him, a further 20% are his opinions, and bible verses that he has twisted out of context make up the remaining 5%.

The foreword is by Jentezen Franklin, a word of faith and prosperity heretic.  Right from the start, Franklin nails his colors to the mast with the following words: “Know this: God’s dream for you is so much bigger than yours. He promises prosperity and good success. Why is this important? Because it does matter to God. He can take you beyond anything you ever imagined, and He can take you places you have only dreamed about. I find most people are bound by a spirit of limitation.”
All of the disciples would disagree with Franklin, most of the early church would disagree with Franklin and most importantly scripture itself exposes Franklin as a liar.  Believers currently being held in custody and tortured for their faith would disagree with Franklin’s assertion that a “spirit of limitation” is what’s holding them back.

God promises us eternal life, not a comfortable life, but that message does not put dollars in the coffers these prosperous charlatans who cross the globe in their jets as they peddle their false doctrines. They teach as a means for gain, the apostle Paul on the other hand knew that nothing can compare to what we really gain as believers – Christ himself:  But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” Phlippians 3:7-10

Franklin: “The difference between living in prosperity and living in poverty is a choice. Choices have consequences. God told Israel that He set death and life, blessing and cursing, before them. They had to choose life or death (Deut. 30:19). It is not by chance that you are blessed; it is by choice.”
That’s it – a simple choice?  What went wrong with the apostle Paul?  At times he was hungry, naked, cold and homeless.  Millions are living in poverty, and many of them are true believers and like the beggar Lazarus may not experience financial relief in this world.  Why were God’s people who suffered tremendously and never tasted prosperity commended for their faith:Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated – of whom the world was not worthy – wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” Hebrews 11:35-38

Kris Valloton (KV) begins in his introduction by criticizing “God’s noble people” for “despising wealth” and creating “doctrines to enshrine poverty.”  There have always been extremes throughout church history.  It is true the some have unfortunately practiced asceticism or monasticism in order to attain a higher degree of spirituality or to “get closer to God.” This generation however is aptly described in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 :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”

The first time he mentions scripture he does so in a mocking tone.
KV: “Paul’s exhortation to his beloved Timothy was inscribed in the halls of our conscience, like the thundering voice of God echoing from some holy mountain: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Lets be clear – money is not evil, but the love of it is.  Vallotton has ignored the warning in verse 10, and it’s ironical that just a few verses earlier, Paul describes the likes of Vallotton:If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,  and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”  1 Timothy 6:3-5

Vallotton laments the fact that he carried his “poverty prejudice with him” for many years, but then something happened a few months after he and his wife became pastors at Bethel church.
KV: “Then suddenly, it all happened—my poverty spirit crashed on the shores of adversity and my tiny boat of small thinking began to break apart, torn by wave after wave of revelation. The Scriptures that used to be my safety net were now ripping under the weight of exponential increase. I scurried around in a panic, trying desperately to mend my broken nets of poverty, but they simply could not carry the load of prosperity that was being charged to our account.”

And then another suddenly…

KV: “Then suddenly, thousands of dollars began pouring in from a number of different sources, from real estate deals to book sales, and from teaching materials to conference offerings. Thousands of dollars found their way into our bank accounts.
Soon we were giving away about half our profit, yet there was still enough left over to live in abundance. The whole thing came to a climax in May 2016, when a man I had never met before insisted on paying off our house, to the tune of $487,000!”
Any money that Vallotton makes from business deals is his business, but receiving money from teaching false doctrine that tickles ears is called “teaching for shameful gain.”  

KV: “The payoff of our house was the final straw for me. I saw it as a confirming sign from God, and I was compelled to tell the world what the Lord was revealing to us about wealth”
There is nothing new about wealth that God needs to reveal to the world.  The problem is that today’s new breed of celebrity teachers have to concoct new doctrines to stay relevant.  These teachers have replaced servanthood with self-aggrandizement.  If you think about, the church is merely capitalizing on the cravings of this world.  This is what sells in the world – you design the life you deserve, you can attract wealth, you can be successful at whatever you choose, you are awesome!  This is the same message Valloton & co preach, it sells because it’s what people want to hear.  Whenever there’s a new book release from any of these charlatans, there’s always the claim that God told them to write it, and that it will reveal new information that God has apparently withheld for 2000 years.

KV: “I knew I had to brave the criticism of those who would question my motives and/
or methods and write a book about true Kingdom wealth. I think this revelation is a catalyst to overthrowing the principality called Mammon and establishing a wealth mentality rooted in heavenly wisdom. My primary motive in writing this book is to break the back of poverty and release a spirit of prosperity on the world.”
Wrong Kris – the source of your “revelation” IS mammon.  
Do the scriptures teach about prosperity being the answer to the world’s problems?

But godliness with contentment is great gain,  or 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.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Quick quiz – Vallottons book is going to appeal to those who
A  Desire to know how to live a godly life in an ungodly world
B  Desire to learn the secret of contentment in all circumstances
C  Desire to have an eternal perspective of life
E  Desire to be rich

False teachers prey on the weak, vulnerable, hurting and poor.  Vallotton’s book is not going to be snapped up by the wealthy, but by those who “desire to be rich.”  The outcome will be a wandering away from the faith and destruction.

A master of obfuscation, Vallotton says that he does not use the word “prosperity” in the same way that the world describes riches, he means “Kingdom wealth”  which is far more inclusive and sounds more spiritual. Part of his definition below:

KV: “Wealth is light in the darkness, healing in sickness, prosperity
in poverty, wholeness in brokenness, favor in obscurity, love for
the unlovely, beauty for ashes and victors among victims. Wealth is a “can-do” attitude, a “more than enough” mindset and a “nothing is impossible” belief system.”
That sounds nice – prosperity IN poverty.  A believer may be poor, yet in his spirit he is prosperous, I agree with that, but that is not what Vallotton means.  How do I know this, because this whole chapter is about money…. obscene amounts of cash flowing into his bank account!  In a recent blog, this master of obfuscation writes:

Both Solomon’s riches and Abraham’s riches were directly attached to their relationships with God. Genesis 13:2 says, “Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold,” and 2 Chronicles 9:22 says, “So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. So maybe wealth is not a sign of your relationship with God, unless it is”
Have you noticed how often prosperity teachers use examples from the Old Testament without explaining the context of the text.  They will never explain the law, who it applied to, it’s conditions or its curses.  If we apply God’s promises of prosperity to Israel under the law, we must also apply God’s punishment for false prophets, in which case Vallotton would be dead.  This is part Vallotton’s “word for Russia” in 2016.  Tell me what has come to pass: “
I saw a great reformation flowing through the entire country of Russia. It began in Red Square and flooded the nation with a spiritual awakening that is unprecedented in modern history. Every city was filled with joy and prosperity. Creativity was released in the land inspiring medical breakthroughs, inventions and innovations. This resulted in an historic economic boom as Russia began exporting their medical cures, automobiles (I saw two new brands of automobiles emerge with excellence out of Russia), and inventions to the nations of the worldI saw great collaboration happening between government, commerce and business. Many corporations moved to the land to be celebrated and empowered. There were great incentives given by the government to those that created wealth. They were lessons taken right out of the parables of the Talents and the Minas that Jesus told. 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.”

Remember what I was saying about the claims that accompany new books?

KV: “My prayer is that you would find keys in this manuscript that would unlock your legacy and release prosperity on your children’s children. I hope that you will be so transformed by the revelation in this book that it will literally alter the course of your history. May it be on earth as it is in heaven!”
That’s a pretty impressive sales pitch, but not one you will find in any of the gospels or epistles. Here is how Jesus presented keys that would unlock your legacy and alter your history: pick up your cross and follow me.they will hate you…they will persecute you…if you love your family more than me you are not worthy of me….etc

The church in the book of  Acts have missed out on Vallotton’s new revelation: “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to prosper suffer shame for His name” Acts 5:41
……………………………………………..and
“if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we prosper suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” Romans 8:17

Part one of the book is under the heading :The True Meaning of Kingdom Wealth

KV: “In the first part of this book, we will discuss the true meaning of Kingdom wealth as we contrast it with poverty and riches. I will prove that there is a power to make wealth and that there is a spirit behind poverty. I will also help you discover how to embrace the abundant life that Jesus promised and how to avoid becoming rich instead of wealthy.”
Sounds tantalising, this is how false teachers appeal to the senses of their carnal followers: 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

The first and only chapter we review, is entitled: “The Net Worth of Jesus”

KV: “if you make the mistake of judging Jesus’ net worth by His humble earthly condition, you will misjudge His prosperity and undermine His mission. The apostle Paul put it like this: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty
might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Wait! What did Paul say? Jesus was rich, but then He became poor so (the reason He became poor) we might become rich. That is incredible!”
Wait! Did Vallotton take the time to explain the meaning of that text – of course not!  Christ became poor in the sense that during his incarnation, he took on the form of a servant, took on human nature, his attributes were veiled, and he suffered death on a cross.  Christ did not give up earthly or material wealth because heaven does not consist of monetary wealth as we understand it.  We are made rich spiritually through Christ’s sacrifice:  To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” Ephesians 3:8
 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” Ephesians 1:3

In the book of Revelation, Smyrna was one of the seven churches addressed. It suffered no rebuke from our Lord.  The church was being persecuted, and was warned of more suffering to come including imprisonment and death.  Far from experiencing prosperity, they were poor, yet Jesus refers to them as being rich.  They were rich in spirit, despite material poverty.  “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)…” – Rev 2:9
Why did Jesus not condemn them for their poor choices, lack of faith and spirit of poverty?

Vallotton has commended himself to us because of the dollars pouring into his account.  Lets compare that with how Paul commend himself:
 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;  by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;  by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;  through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed;  as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as POOR, yet making many rich; as HAVING NOTHiNG, yet possessing everything.”   2 Corinthians 6:4-10

The fact that Vallotton believes if we misjudge Jesus’ networth we “undermine his mission”  means that Vallotton does not understand the gospel.  That is why he does not preach the gospel.

KV: “I want to point out again that Jesus became poor for a reason. His
celestial mission was to make us wealthy. It is the great exchange—
beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, hope for the hopeless, healing
for sickness, prosperity for poverty. You get the idea: Jesus called it
abundant life.”
Yes, wealthy in the spiritual sense Mr Vallotton!  Prosperity IN poverty has now morphed into prosperity FOR poverty.  To use well known phrases from Isaiah 61:3 (beauty for ashes, joy for mourning) and then insert “prosperity for poverty” is crafty and exactly how false teachers operate.  The abundant life Christ promised is spiritual and eternal: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3
Vallotton has made it clear that he has made a bad exchange – mammon over Christ.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”
Matthew 6:24

KV:”First of all, if wealth and riches are inherently evil, what are they doing in heaven? Why would God describe heaven so lavishly if wealth were bad, or even bad for you…wealth cannot be intrinsically evil, or the Bible would not describe heaven as a place full of unimaginable riches. In fact, if heaven is God’s goal for us, then wealth must be a piece of our prize!”
They are not inherently evil, but Vallotton seems to think of heaven in earthly terms.  The gold he loves so much on earth, will serve as pavements in heaven. There is no condemnation for wealthy believers who love God, steward their finances for his glory, and don’t have a love for their money.  There is condemnation for those who believe God guarantees us material wealth.  Furthermore, scripture are replete with warnings to those who have succumbed to the temptation of wealth:
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.  Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.  Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.  You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter” James 5:1-5

 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

KV:”Our idea of “poor Jesus” is similarly skewed. Although Jesus left
heaven, heaven never left Jesus, because Kingdom prosperity always begins from the inside out. You can put Jesus in a manger, but you can’t put a manger in Jesus. Wealth, glory and power seeped out of His pores like sweat on a hardworking man on a hot, humid day”
This is what Vallotton craves, wealth, glory and power.  Keep in mind Bethel teaches that Jesus came to model what life should be like for every believer.  This is why Bethelites attempt to raise the dead, walk on water, and outshine whatever Christ did because “greater things” in their minds points to the miraculous.  This is what Bethel teach their children: “Having the keys of power and authority means that we have the same position, recognition, and abilities that Jesus had.” – ” Kids carrying the kingdom”

Vallotton then goes on to recount the miracle when Jesus changed water into wine.

KV: “Mary and Joseph may have been a middle-class carpenter family, but they might have been drinking wine that reminded them of heaven at home. In fact, the wine was so good that the Bible says that when Jesus made wine, He “manifested His glory.” Now, that is great wine! I guess He was not kidding when He said that He is
the vine and we are the branches (see John 15:1–14).”
Vallotton misses the whole point of the miracle.  John tells us why these signs are recorded: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

Vallotton then describes the miracle where Jesus instructed Peter to catch a fish in order to pay tax.  The first fish Peter caught, would have a Shekel in it’s mouth.  This story sets Vallotton up to deliver an over the top and simply dishonest assessment.

KV: “Apparently, Jesus took God’s command to “rule over the fish of the sea” seriously (Genesis 1:26), because He became quite famous for impacting the fishing industry. The gospels record Jesus supernaturally chumming the fish into the disciple’s nets on at least two occasions”  (Read Luke 5:4-7)
“These guys are not fishing recreationally; this is how they make their living. Fishing was a middle-class, feast-or-famine kind of occupation . . . that is, until Jesus showed up. He quickly transformed a meager living into a prosperous vocation.”
The fishing industry was barely impacted by Christ’s miracle.  Since when did the disciples now step into a prosperous vocation after Christ’s miracle?  In this instance, it was the opportunity Jesus used to call some of his disciples. The lesson was not about prosperity or wealth, it was about Jesus being the son of God who performed miracles. It was about the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man.  Peter’s response to the miracle was not relief due to the fact that he would now be wealthy thanks to a revitalized fishing industry:But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken.” Luke 5:8-9
This miracle caused the disciples to actually forsake the little they had gained in this world“And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him” Luke 5:11

KV: “Let’s look at one more fishing expedition so we understand that the previous story was not an isolated incident. It was the nature of Jesus to behave extravagantly. He never provided just a few more fish . . . heck no!”
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.”  He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.” John 21;4-8

This was his third appearance after his resurrection, this was not just a matter of Jesus behaving extravagantly.  Far from setting an example of wealthy and extravagant living, after breakfast Jesus described Peter’s destiny as follows: Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” John 21:18-19
There are many lessons in Christ’s miracles, but none of those lessons are about extravagant displays of wealth or guaranteed prosperity for his disciples.  Vallotton begs to differ, in his mind, it’s all about the money.

KV: “Jesus is into the boat-sinking, way-too-many, catch-of-the-year kind of fishing. In America we say time is money, but in the fishing business fish are money. Jesus was not just increasing their catch; He was increasing their cash! It is worth mentioning here that if having a lot of money is a bad thing, then Jesus should have made sure they had minimal catches.”
It is worth asking here – how many rebukes or warnings did Jesus give to the poor as opposed to the wealthy?  What Kris is preaching is called the American dream, it’s not the gospel.  Having a lot of money is not inherently bad.  Teaching that one of the reasons for Christ’s incarnation and death was to ensure an increase in cash on our part is an abomination.

KV: “What I am pointing out is that if Jesus can circumvent the process of wealth creation by creating money out of thin air, or by making wine instantaneously from water, or by taking a boy’s lunch and multiplying it ten thousand times to feed a crowd that would fill an entire NBA basketball stadium, or by increasing a fisherman’s
catch by 1,000 percent, then there is no way He can ever be called poor . . . at least by worldly standards. Yes, Jesus became poor when you contrast His heavenly home with His earthly visitation. But Jesus was no homeless transient, traversing the countryside
with twelve vagabonds. He actually was a famous traveling rabbi who grew up in a middle-class carpenter’s home and had a very well-funded ministry.”
It’s worth pointing out that Jesus performed miracles out of compassion, and to prove that he was the messiah. Secondly, he did not perform any miracles in order to enrich himself.  Vallotton just does not understand that Jesus became poor, not in financial terms, but through the constricts of the incarnation. Vallotton presents a successful Jesus, famous, well funded, with wealth, power, and glory seeping out his pores. Can you see how hard  Vallotton is trying to justify his own lifestyle?

Vallotton will use any opportunity to take an incident in scripture and highlight money

KV : “Many scholars believe that Jesus had a substantial amount of money from the Magi treasury that launched Him into ministry. Yet traveling for three and a half years with twelve other men had to be pretty expensive.”
He makes mention of the women who supported Jesus financially (Luke 8:1-3)  He revels in the fact that Jesus had wealthy supporters such as Mary who poured expensive perfume over his feet, and suggests that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were “probably His primary financial supporters.”
At this point Vallotton is at great pains to deal with these words of Jesus: Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Luke 9:58
KV: “Much of the misunderstanding about the status of Jesus’ personal financial condition comes from a story told in the gospels of both Matthew and Luke.”

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62
KV: “His “foxes have holes and birds have nests” comment had more to do with the heart of the person who was inquiring than it did with the accommodations available in that location. Especially since a few seconds later, Jesus turned to another guy and said, “Follow Me.” If Jesus were telling the first guy, “I’m sorry you can’t go with us; I have no accommodations for you,” then why did He invite the other guy to travel with Him? Again, Jesus was not homeless.”
That unfortunately is the kind of shallow argument Vallotton needs to resort to.
There were times when God provided for the needs of Jesus and his disciples (Mark 14:12-16)  Vallotton assumes this was always the case.  Furthermore, God provided for their daily needs, not their greeds.  Jesus did not live in luxury or own properties, he could not even afford his own grave.

So what did Jesus mean by his statement ““Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  Vallotton is partly correct, his answer did have something to do with the heart of the enquirer – a scribe and probably a wealthy citizen.  Jesus was clearly demonstrating that his life was not his own, he came to do the will of the Father which culminated in his death on the cross.  The scribe would be asked to do the same, and what is envisaged in the answer is not exactly a life of extravagance and earthly wealth. There would be no worldly security in following Christ, no guarantees of comfort or even stability, and perhaps this is what the scribe was wishing for. The apostle Paul  knew what Jesus meant: “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless 1 Corinthians 4:11

KV: “Dressed for Success
Not only was Jesus not homeless; He actually dressed well for His day. If you compared Jesus’ clothes to the people of that time, you would have to conclude that He was at least somewhat affluent. Jesus wore a seamless tunic woven in one piece. When He was crucified, the four soldiers who stripped Him cut His outer garments into four pieces so that they each got something. But because His tunic was seamless, it was so valuable that the soldiers gambled for it (see John 19:23–25). Some modern theologians call His seamless tunic the Armani suit of the first century.”
Dressed for success – that’s really a pathetic introduction to his paragraph, and reveals what’s in his own heart.  Vallotton at first argued that Jesus became poor so that we can be rich, now he claims that Jesus was at least somewhat affluent.  According to Vallotton Jesus became somewhat affluent so that we could be wealthy.  If Jesus was somewhat affluent, why did he depend on the hospitality and funding of others?  His seamless garment was probably a gift, he may have had it for his whole 3 years of ministry.  Vallotton focuses on the value of the garment, instead of the valuable lesson of fulfilled prophecy: For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet  – I can count all my bones – they stare and gloat over me;  they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”  Psalm 22:16-18.

KV: “Let me be clear: I am not trying to propose that Jesus was a rich tycoon on earth, although He clearly had the means to be one through the supernatural abilities He demonstrated. What I am trying to point out is that Jesus was not poor by any earthly standard. He had everything He needed to take care of His team and cover their
travels. He was incredibly generous, He often helped people prosper financially, and He taught more parables about money than about any other subject.”
God provided for the needs of Jesus.  That does not mean Jesus was somewhat affluent as Vallotton proposes.  Jesus was generous, how he “helped people prosper financially” only Vallotton can explain.  Jesus did speak a lot about money, not to give advice that would make people wealthy, that was not his goal.  The way people use money reveals the condition of their heart.  I wish Vallotton would work through some of these parables on money.  Are they encouraging wealth for all, do they provide keys for gaining wealth, do they reveal the secret of obtaining the power that produces wealth?

Lets look at one chapter on money, Luke 16.  These words come directly after the parable of the dishonest manager: If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” vs 11-13
The same chapter recounts the story of the rich man and Lazarus vs 19-31. I’m sure you know how things worked out for the wealthy man.
Although there is wisdom in what Jesus taught on money, the purpose of parables was not to give sound financial advice,. The purpose of parables was to instruct his disciples (not the world) in matters pertaining to the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not about earthly concerns, but about true wealth – righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Has it not dawned on Vallotton that if Jesus was so concerned with his material possessions, he would never put a thief in charge of the moneybag.  Judas helped himself to the offerings, fulfilling Christ’s own warning:Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matt 6:19-21

That concludes the first chapter, one can only imagine what this charlatan will conjure up in the remaining chapters.  Vallotton boasts about his ranch, his vehicles, and the fact that he makes obscene amounts of money – he is not merely storing up treasures on earth, he is boasting about them.  As we know, Judas turned out to be the one who would betray Jesus, this was a shock to the other eleven.  Judas flew under the disciples radar, like many charlatans in the visible church today. Thirty pieces of silver was enough for Judas to betray Christ.  Vallotton, like Judas has betrayed Christ for silver.

Since Vallotton enjoys parables about wealth, it seems fitting to end this post with one:
” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.  And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.
Luke 12:15-21