BSSM Evangelism – Activating The Senses & Strange Spirits.

By  Rick Becker    15 November 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The seven activations:

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

The best way to evangelize the lost is to know what the gospel is. By telling someone that God loves something about their unique personality has nothing to do with evangelism, but the initiation into a “gospel” that revolves around self. Scripture describes our condition prior to being born again- see if you can spot something amazing that God would have “loved about” us: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Ephesians 2:1-3
That’s the bad news.  Thank God he intervened:  “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Ephesians 2:4-5

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

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

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

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

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

Now compare Bethel’s activation to this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

More articles on Bethel and the BSSM:

BSSM – soaking, declaring, and spinning into delusion

Bethel School of Spritiual Drunkenness

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

The New Breed of Crafty Evangelists

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

God – Kris Vallotton’s Fixer

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

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Effects of False Teachings

By Rick Becker    4 October 2018

False teachings have serious consequences, not only for those who teach error, but also for their hearers.  The Apostle Paul took false teaching seriously:  I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. Acts 20: 29-31.
If the apostle Paul were alive today he would have been accused of being a heresy hunter, judgemental, divisive, unloving, and would have been rejected by certain well known churches and teachers that are adored by millions.  Paul was however judging righteously when he warned of false teachers.  He was dividing correctly by making a distinction between truth and error, and he was loving in that he presented the truth in order to save those being tossed about by the various winds of doctrine.  It is these winds of doctrine that are systematically poisoning millions within the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  It may take some time for false teachings to have an effect, but when they do, they are destructive.  In this article we explore seven effects of false teachings.

 

1.  SENSUALITY that leads to destruction.

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

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

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

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

2.  SELF is appeased.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.  SLAVERY instead of freedom.

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

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

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

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

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

4.  SHAKEN in mind concerning end times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.  STABILITY is lost.

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

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

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

6.  SEPARATION from the body and head.

“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”  Acts 20:29-30

Those who distort the truth are often narcissists; they speak of themselves more than they do of Christ.  Instead of pointing their followers to Christ, they magnify themselves and their own teachings. They separate their followers from truth, and from true fellowship with other believers. Those of us who warn our friends and family of teachers who twist the truth are often accused of being divisive, but the real dividers are those who draw away disciples by twisting the truth – “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”
Romans 16:17

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

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

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

7.  SHIPWRECK of their faith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there hope for South Africa?

By Rick Becker   13 September 2018

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

The Situation:

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

False hope is not the solution:

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

Here is a list of seven fallacies or false teachings:

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

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

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

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

While the gospel is salt and light, and any nation that implements biblical principles will have a better society, we are not called to transform the world but to transform people through the gospel and by making disciples. The world has it’s prince, and it’s not Jesus: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience –  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” Ephesians 2:1-3

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.  Revival will change South Africa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.  Unity is necessary for revival.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there hope for South Africa?  

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

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

1.  Which citizenship really matters?

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

Secondly, we should devote ourselves to two things:

2. Prayer and studying the scriptures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The church at Ephesus – discerning, yet found wanting.

By Rick Becker  30 August  2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. What is the solution?

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

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

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

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

3. What if we don’t repent?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIKE JACKALS AMONG RUINS

By Rick Becker    23 August 2018

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

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


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

EXAMINING VALLOTTON’S CALLING AS A PROPHET.

Jesus appears to Vallotton while he is in the bathtub:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Vallotton make the world a better place?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vallotton’s narcissistic imagination:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No discernment, bizarre revelations, and false teachings:

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

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

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

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

Vallotton narcigetes scripture:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

The New Apostolic Reformation – A Shelter for the Unqualified

By Stephen Colin   9 August 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A better song goes like this:

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

Edward Mote (1797-1874)

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

By Rick Becker   2 August 2018

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

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

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

Some snippets from Theresa’a blog posts:

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

Creativity has replaced the gospel?

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

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

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

Who needs God?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

 


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

By Rick Becker  28 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

Bethel School Of Spiritual Drunkenness

By Rick Becker  25 July 2018

The doctrines and practices emanating from Bethel are as far removed from biblical Christianity as the east is from the west.  Leaders at BSSM channel their students into the dark world of mysticism, vain imaginations, and the demonic.  It takes little discernment to realize that what the BSSM promotes is evil.  The fact that they cannot see this indicates they have rejected truth; they have been given over to a delusion.  Our task is to contend for the faith by warning and praying for those caught up in this deception.

The official Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry School Planting website has recently published an article entitled “Overcoming Obstacles to Physical Manifestations of the Holy Spirit.”  Once again, it reveals the severely deluded state of the BSSM.  In Bethel terms “overcoming obstacles” really means ignoring scripture and taking risks in order to experience something supernatural regardless of the source.  Direct quotes from the article in italics, with my commentary below.

BSSM: “There are many manifestations of the Holy Spirit, both inward and outward. Manifestations are evidence of God’s Presence on people and can be an indicator of what God is doing in someone. But they are also different for everyone, and it’s important for us as leaders to help our students navigate them. Holy Spirit drunkenness may be one of the most misunderstood physical manifestations. It is clearly present in scripture as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:15), but, for some, it can be confusing on how to engage with it.”

“Holy Spirit drunkenness” is only misunderstood by those who don’t understand scripture.  The article is based on the assumption that the disciples were behaving like drunkards of the day of Pentecost.  Acts 2:15 is the text used to justify this: “For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day” 

Peter was giving the crowd an explanation of what had just occurred:
 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.  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?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome,  both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”  But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”  But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.”
Acts 2:4-14

The text does not say that the disciples experienced “Holy Spirit drunkenness” but that they were accused by some mockers as being drunk.  What had “bewildered” the multitudes?  The answer is in the text, the disciples were speaking in different languages (tongues) and those present heard their own “native language” being spoken.  The text does not say the disciples were staggering, incoherent, slurring their words, incapacitated, laughing or shrieking uncontrollably.  In other words the disciples were not behaving as if they had just walked through a “fire tunnel” at Bethel.  There were no Kundalini or seizure like manifestations. This gift of speaking in foreign languages was a miracle, and having no explanation some accused them of being drunk.  This is the response of some when encountering a miracle, or the truth. The word translated as “mocking” in verse 13, is used by the men of Athens in response to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection of the dead: “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.”
One of the effects of the Spirit’s outpouring was boldness (not drunkenness) to preach the Gospel.  Peter had previously denied Christ on three occasions, but now he is able to face a crowd, and boldly proclaim truth.  How could he have delivered his first sermon in a state of drunkenness?  Why did he refute the allegation that they were drunk?  Why are the BSSM leaders trusting the opinion of unregenerated mockers?  Why would God’s Spirit be the cause of behaviour that is condemned in scripture?

Scripture reveals that a fruit of the Spirit is self control (Galatians 5:23) and that being full of the Spirit is the opposite of drunkenness:
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 5:15-20
Drunken people speak as fools, they are not circumspect, and their behaviour is uncontrollable. In stark contrast, the Spirit filled believer is circumspect, has understanding, and speaks coherently.

Drunken behaviour is never sanctioned in scripture.

Elders are expected to avoid drunkenness, and exhibit self control: 
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” Titus 1:7-8

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” I Corinthians 6:9-11

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 5-8

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.” Romans 13:12-13

Being drunk is in fact a sign of God’s judgement:

“The LORD has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit” Isaiah 19:14

“The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again.”  Isaiah 24:20 

“They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.”  Jeremiah 25:16

 “These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in visionthey stumble in giving judgmentFor all tables are full of filthy vomit, with no space left.”  Isaiah 28:7-8

Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land: the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And I will dash them one against another, fathers and sons together, declares the Lord. I will not pity or spare or have compassion, that I should not destroy them.’” Jeremiah 13:13-14

Mystical Babylon was intoxicated through murdering the saints :Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” Revelation 17:5b-6

“Spiritual drunkeness” was a sign that God has blinded or hardened those who have hated his words, and rebelled against him, as in the case of Israel:
Astonish yourselves and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine;stagger, but not with strong drink! For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets),

and covered your heads (the seers).”  Isaiah 29:9-10

Today, those who reject the truth are similarly given over to 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

BSSM: “Anne Collins is the Administrator for BSSM School Planting and has been at Bethel for five years. In this post, she shares part of her journey with the manifestation of Holy Spirit drunkenness and discusses how to embrace it and how to create a safe environment where your students feel free to engage with the Holy Spirit no matter the manifestation.”

The only “safe environment” for any form of ministry, is to operate within the confines of scripture.  Embracing what is clearly condemned in scripture is to reject God’s word, and grieve the Holy Spirit.  What these deluded people are embracing is another spirit, another Jesus, another gospel.  In their desperation to encounter the supernatural, BSSM leaders have condoned any manifestation, and many spirits are willing to comply.  When Paul wrote to the Corinthians regarding their abuse of the gifts, he gave clear instructions on how the gifts of the Spirit should displayed: So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.

The chaos and bizarre manifestations at Bethel and their BSSM plants are in clear contradiction of scripture.  Were there bizarre manifestations under the ministry of Jesus – certainly!  Were these manifestations exhibited by disciples of Christ ?  What we read of in one instance bears striking resemblance to what happens to victims of Bethel and the BSSM:
And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.  And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him.  And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”  While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God.”
Luke 9:38-43
You can watch a similar manifestation that takes place under the watch of Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson at Bethel here.  At the five minute mark, you will see a young man writhing and convulsing on the floor.

What Jesus cast out, Bethel embraces!

A popular belief in some charismatic circles is that when the Holy Spirit is moving, outsiders or those offended by what they witness should be ignored.   Paul however makes it clear in his letter that self control should be exhibited when the gifts are in operation: If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.  But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God” 1 Corinthians 14:27-28
Failure to follow these instructions would result in outsiders and unbelievers being justified by thinking the believers are crazy:

“If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?” 1 Corinthians 14:23
Keep in mind that what Paul is referring to here is the real gift of tongues!  The Corinthians were probably speaking in tongues simultaneously, without someone to interpret, and were focused on the miraculous in order to impress others. Speaking foreign languages in that manner would cause “outsiders and unbelievers” to consider the speakers crazy.  This is a similar charge brought against the disciples on the day of Pentecost, which shows that the gift of speaking in foreign languages may cause unbelievers to consider the speakers crazy, or even drunk.

BSSM:Like soaking, praying, or engaging in worship, “drinking in the Holy Spirit” is simply taking time to focus on the presence of God; to connect with His heart and receive.”
Search the scriptures – “soaking” does not exist.  It’s a form of mysticism that abandons objective truth in favour of subjective feelings and impressions.  In other words, it’s a gateway to your imagination or deceiving spirits.  Can you recall any new testament passage encouraging us to “connect” with God’s heart and “receive?”  Have we not all been baptized into one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13) and been supplied with all we need ? (2 Peter 1:3-4)  What BSSM mean by “receive,”  can only refer to manifestations, voices, impressions, and feelings – the very things we cannot trust in.

BSSM: “Drunkenness” is a term to describe the manifestation of how someone looks and feels in the Presence that can appear nearly identical to being drunk on alcohol. Our desire should never be for the manifestation, but for receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit. So the aim of Holy Spirit drinking is actually to encounter more of God.”

This is rank heresy at it’s finest!  Once again, there is no biblical text that compares a believer who is filled with the Spirit to a staggering drunkard.  Self control is a fruit of the Spirit;  incoherent behaviour and plain ridiculousness is an evil fruit.  When does God’s “presence” depart from a believer?  Does it mean that when we are “sober minded” as instructed by scripture, God’s presence has departed?  If we take the advice of the BSSM, and revel in drunkenness as a sign of God’s presence, someone will be waiting to take advantage of us: “ Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

BSSM: “Students should encounter God personally more than they learn facts about Him. And there are countless ways to interact with Him and to experience the presence of Holy Spirit. What makes drunkenness so unique and important is that it’s a way to experience God that completely bypasses our practical understanding. Though it can look intense and even chaotic, it ministers directly to our spirits, and through us to others. Drunkenness can be God’s way of re-prioritizing our spirit’s position above our soul, leading us to new places with God that our minds wouldn’t find on their own.”

This reads like a manual for paganism or mysticism. What makes drunkenness so very unique and important, is that it’s forbidden in scripture, and that spiritual drunkenness is a sign of judgement.  The prophetic word (scripture) is more sure than any mountain top experience, let alone pure mysticism.  What does scripture say about our minds? Should we bypass rational thought, dismiss the infallible and objective word of God, and hand our faculties over to a chaotic and drunken state?  Of course not.  We are instructed to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor 10:5) and “renew our minds” (Rom 12:2)  If we want to “re-prioritize” our spirit, then we need to be sober minded, and conform our lives and doctrine to scripture.  It’s the Holy Spirit who illuminates scripture, helping us to know God, but the BSSM bypass scripture and the Holy Spirit.  Students are paying dollars to receive scripture taken out of context, and are being introduced to another spirit.

BSSM: Anne’s Story – I have been in revival settings my entire life. I have loved the Lord my entire life, and I’ve experienced different levels of His presence and manifestations. But at 28 years old, I had never been drunk in the Holy Spirit. I was offered the chance to take a trip with a BSSM missions team to Mexico this spring, and I was jokingly warned beforehand, “This is a very drunk trip!” Despite feeling really uncomfortable with that, I knew the Lord wanted me on the trip and that He had something specific for me if I would say “yes” to whatever He was doing. One day early in the trip, a group of the students (who were already very drunk in the Spirit) gathered around me and encouraged me to join them. I was really uncomfortable, but I’d been around enough people drunk in the Holy Spirit that I knew how to “take it,” wait it out, and put my heart in a position to receive from the Lord.

Later that day, one of my friends asked me, “Was that okay, what we did to you?” This shocked me. I realized in all my years in revival meetings or in ministry school, no one had ever asked me if their manifestation or way of ministering in drunkenness was actually helping me receive. My friend apologized for behaving in a way that made me feel unsafe and encouraged me to speak up about what I needed in order to feel okay in those moments. He didn’t want to control or change how I received from the Lord, he just wanted me to have more of God!

That for me was life-changing. I’d grown up as a little girl in the midst of the influence of the Toronto outpouring, and most of my first experiences of God were that He was VERY REAL and He was TERRIFYING.  He made all of the safe adults in my world look crazy. Discovering that God and my friends were still safe in the midst of that craziness changed the way I experienced Holy Spirit, and actually led me to getting drunk with the team later that night! As the trip went on, Holy Spirit continued to pour out more. I learned that God was so much kinder than I’d believed. I learned that drunkenness was not a separate experience from God’s peace and joy and righteousness, but that it was a manifestation of all three.”

That’s not what scripture teaches.  Looking “crazy” is not a manifestation of righteousness, peace and joy, but a manifestation of deception in one of it’s highest forms.  God is kind by making his children lose all sense of reason and control?  Acting crazy is a fruit of the Spirit?  Anne said that God “had something specific for me if I would say “yes” to whatever He was doing”  Where does God bargain with, or bribe his children in this manner?  We have established that spiritual drunkenness is not from God, so who was Anne conversing with?  There are only two options – her imagination or a demon. 

BSSM: “The experience was new, but the God I was encountering was not. I was discovering a new part of a Person I’d known for years so it still felt safe, even as the manifestations got crazier. I also learned ways I’d been holding God back in my life due to my unhealthy fear of Him. But with each problem I discovered, God simply asked me to trust Him more than that fear. More fear left, every time, and I experienced more of His presence!”

The god conversing with Anne, is not the God of scripture.  A healthy fear of God would cause her to obey scripture, and serve him with fear and trembling, not involuntary and crazy manifestations.  Her whole encounter is based on her subjective feelings and manifestations.  How does she know she was experiencing more of God’s presence?  The only answer is by the way she felt.  Are there any scriptures instructing believers to measure the presence of God by how they feel, or their level or craziness?

BSSM:Overcoming Obstacles to Engaging with Holy Spirit.  Each of us can experience more of God when we choose to trust Him over our current understanding or fears. Below are a few areas that can set up barriers to experiencing more of Him. These not only apply to manifestations, but to every area of our lives in God.

Offense: When Holy Spirit shows up in ways we don’t expect or in ways we aren’t familiar with, it can trigger fear or offense. When we experience a manifestation apart from His nature, we can get offended or scared. The truth is, God is GOOD, and He’s bigger than both our experience and our understanding. He is always after our hearts, no matter what it looks like, and it is our choice if we will engage with Him in the way He’s moving.”

Any “manifestation apart from His nature” must surely imply that God is not the author of it.  How can God work outside of his own nature?  Ignorance of scripture, a seared conscience, and a desire for experiences will always result in delusion.  “No matter what it looks like” is a not a phrase used in scripture to describe the workings of the Holy Spirit in the church;  “what it looks like” mattered to Paul when addressing the Corinthians as we have noted.

BSSM: “Self-Righteousness: I learned that “being able to get drunk” was not a club that I wasn’t allowed to join. I learned that becoming a better receiver of His love made me a better drinker. If we believe we’re qualified to receive because of something we’ve done, we’ve missed the point of His love. If we believe we’ll receive because we’ll do great ministry because of what He gives, we’ve missed the point of His love. He doesn’t need us to be good at something or have intentions for good works before He can give to us. He just loves.”

God’s love has been poured into our hearts.  This is a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit, and it is based on fact – “Christ died for the ungodly.”  The Holy Spirit, through the word of God can illuminate this truth in our hearts; it is entirely His doing: “.and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5: 5-8
Anne is getting addicted to drunkenness, and as she casts aside restraint, she is being led deeper into delusion.  Anne is now teaching this to other students, and using her story to justify this deception.  Friends, this is serious, Anne is going to have to give an account before God one day for leading others into this deception.

BSSM: “Control: Sometimes, the things that we tell ourselves about ourselves actually aren’t true. I used to believe I was a very quiet person and that I’d never experience outward manifestations. But then God asked me, “Who told you you’re like that? Was it Me, or was it you?” Letting go of control is about responding to Him as He is, not as we think we are. We come to Holy Spirit with a hunger to discover Him, rather than with ready-made answers.”

One would think that if God was having conversations with Anne, he would have told her to flee from the BSSM, and that the only feeling she should have obeyed was when she felt “uncomfortable” about going on a “very drunk trip.”  By “Letting go of control” Anne has responded to the lies of Satan, and what she is hungering after is not the Holy Spirit, but an angel of light who will be only too happy to provide her with the feelings and encounters she desires. 

BSSM: “Overthinking: Just like God doesn’t need us to be perfect before He loves us or touches us, we don’t need to understand Him to encounter Him. That can feel risky. I didn’t understand the point of a manifestation that seemed loud and obnoxious and even dangerous. I didn’t have a grid for WHY someone would want to get drunk. But experiencing His love in it made me hungry for more, no matter what it looked like, and I had to lay down my desire to understand everything God was doing and just receive it.”

The problem here is not overthinking; it’s not thinking at all.  Anne does not have a grid to explain the motivation for spiritual drunkenness because the grid is called scripture.  Scripture comes second at Bethel, and even then it’s twisted to suit the heretical agenda of the New Apostolic Reformation.  What’s important at Bethel, is to follow the presence off the map into some form of encounter.  Paul was concerned when two people in the church spoke in tongues at the same time, but the BSSM are not concerned with “loud and obnoxious and even dangerous” manifestations. Someone is wrong here, and it’s not Paul.

BSSM: Being a Good Receiver  “It doesn’t matter what your drunk looks like. It just matters that you have one.” – Chuck Parry
The point of experiencing God is not to “get drunk” and look like it. The point is to aim your hunger at Him and receive whatever He has for you. He will speak to you, impact your heart, your mind, and your season. He will touch you in ways you will and will not comprehend. The goal is to let Him give; to be a good receiver; to quit trying to GET IT, and let Him love you.

Chuck’s wrong of course.  Chuck Parry is the Associate Director of Bethel’s healing rooms, and his biography reads like one of the real Apostles (except for the car story) –“over one winter his car got 320 miles to the gallon, he’s seen food multiplied on numerous occasions, storms move out of the way, miraculous finances and the supplies of Heaven released, dead people come back to life, metal dissolve from bodies, and countless sick and injured healed.”  Unfortunately for Chuck, we test a man’s doctrine by comparing it to scripture, not by how far he gets on a gallon of gas. Where does Paul encourage churches to experience spiritual drunkenness Chuck?  God has spoken, and he was very clear – be sober minded, exercise self control, take thoughts captive, meditate on the word of God.  God has never said “experience me through spiritual drunkenness.”

BSSM: “Drunkenness is what helps us get out of our world and into His world. It’s Heaven invading Earth. It’s the Presence invading your spirit and giving you a taste of what He’s like. Just like it says in the Psalms 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”

No no no…drunkenness is what leads you into deception, it’s hell invading your mind.  The Lord is good in that he has given us an objective standard by which to call out those who teach nonsense like this.  

BSSM: We encourage you to do some supernatural drinking. Teach your students what you are learning yourself. Open up a dialogue about manifestations and how people experience them. We bless your school to be even more full of the Spirit, to be a place for people to discover the depths and the joys of Heaven on Earth!”

I’d encourage anyone involved at Bethel, or any Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry course across the world to flee immediately from this perversion of the gospel.  You are drinking from a cup of delusion, are in danger of shipwrecking your faith, and are a partaker in their wickedness.

 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. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:3-5

More articles on the Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry:

BSSM – soaking, declaring and spinning into delusion

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

The new breed of crafty evangelists

The fruits of Bethel church – ashamed of the gospel, flirting with the occult

Be saved from this perverse generation!

By Stephen Colin    19 July 2018

“And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” Acts 2:40

Peter’s words were directed at individual Jews who could be spared from God’s coming wrath on that specific generation – a generation filled with people who had been either implicitly or explicitly involved in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The principle regarding a Christian’s separation from the world and its perverse system remains vitally important to the health of the Church in 2018. In fact, James makes the point that, “…whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4b) This is an oft neglected teaching in the wider evangelical church and even a brief survey of the fads and movements in the world reveal a great need for the church to take the words of Peter and James seriously. Not only is this a critical matter, but James even adds this to his description of true biblical religion. He writes, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27) 

Now let me be clear that I am not advocating a legalistic approach to our separation from the world. I am not calling for local churches to burn their electric guitars and destroy all modern technology. I am not calling for Christians to separate completely from all unbelievers and form closed communities (that’s what cults tend to do)  When we think about separation from the world it is important to know exactly what we are separating from. Biblically, the term ‘world’ is often in reference to sinful thinking, systems, philosophies, and practices. This would be the current world system along with its underlying ideologies ruled by Satan. An ideology is simply a system of ideas based upon an individuals or groups world-view. Therefore, it is critical that Christians develop a robust biblical world-view in order to identify worldly ideologies and then be able to resist them while standing on the firm foundation of biblical truth. 

The Apostle John makes this concept of separating from the world very practical when he writes, “Do not love the world nor 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 lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
 Notice how John identifies three basic categories that define the Satanic/worldly system of which unbelievers are a part. Firstly, he mentions the “lust of the flesh.” This is speaking of natural man’s desire for anything opposed to God and His perfect Law. Secondly, John speaks of the “lust of the eyes” which points to man’s covetous, greedy desire for more than what God has graciously given. Lastly, he mentions “the boastful pride of life” which has to do with one’s arrogance regarding the influence or wealth he/she possesses. Those three categories are evident in current trends being propagated by large movements within the visible church and reveal how ‘worldly’ these movements are. 

There are two well-known “pastors” whom I will use to illustrate my point. Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church and Brian Houston of Hillsong Church, Sydney Australia. These individuals are key leaders in movements that are looking more and more like the world with each passing year. 

Andy Stanley represents the Seeker Sensitive movement whose primary goal in his own words is to “create churches unchurched people absolutely love to attend.” This may sound pious at first glance, but think about it, if a church is a place that the “unchurched” (unbelievers) LOVE to attend then it has to be a place where sin is tolerated. Jesus provides us with an accurate evaluation of unbelievers, “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)


An unbeliever should most certainly feel welcomed in any Christian church, however, he/she shouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable because a church is supposed to be a place where sin is exposed by the Law of God with the goal of leading the sinner to Christ for complete forgiveness. Paul makes it plain that when an unbeliever enters a Church, “…he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.” If these churches that Andy Stanley espouses are havens for the unbelieving, then who is being convicted and saved? You have to distort or remove the gospel to make the church a place that rebel sinners LOVE to attend weekly while remaining in a state of unbelief because “…the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” (1 Cor. 1:18) This is why Andy Stanley could say so boldly in a recent train-wreck of a sermon  “Thou shall NOT obey the Ten Commandments.” (Aftermath – Part 3 – Not Difficult)  This is the perfect concoction for “the lust of the flesh” because it makes little of God’s holiness, revealed in His Law and thereby ignores how offensive sin is to God. Andy Stanley, by “unhitching” from the Old Testament and God’s Law has removed the “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal.3:24)
Unbelievers may LOVE attending his “church,” however the sad reality is that many will remain in a state of unbelief and have their consciences seared to such a point that to indulge in the “lust of the flesh” is no big deal. 

Brian Houston represents a movement which is basically a mixture of seeker sensitive/Word of Faith/NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) Arguably one of the most influential “pastors” of the past 10 years, Brian Houston has proceeded “…from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:13)  Brian has been seduced by “the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life…” and has made a business of seducing millions of gullible people into “…following the course of the world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
(Eph. 2:2)

Of course he has cloaked his teaching with Christian terminology, however he has clearly adopted the ideologies of the world and appealed to the itching ears of the millennial generation. 

In his most recent book “There is More,” Brian writes at the end of his introduction, “There is always more to uncover — More to discover about who He is and who He says you are. (God says we are sinners in desperate need of salvation) There is more ahead of you than you’ve allowed yourself to dream or allowed yourself to believe.” (How do you know that Brian? What if there is pain and suffering ahead of me? What if I die tomorrow?)  He also writes, “And if for some reason you’ve stopped dreaming big things for your life, stopped imagining that your life is a story to tell or a legacy to be remembered, (Why should my life be a story to tell? Why should I leave a legacy? Surely a Christian’s focus should be on sharing Christ’s story, His death and resurrection…I prefer the good old saying, ‘Preach the Gospel, die and be forgotten)…then this book is a good place to start again.” (You mean to start thinking like an unbeliever again???) 

It is interesting to note that Tony Robbins, an unbelieving, motivational speaker also spends a great deal of time talking about YOUR dreams. He says, “I’ve learned that the resources we need to turn our dreams into reality are within us, merely waiting for the day when we decide to wake up and claim our birthright.”  Why does Brian Houston sound like an unbelieving, motivational speaker? Why does Brian Houston encourage his followers to seek for ‘more,’ as if Christ is not enough? Why does Brian Houston emphasize the so-called doctrine of “dreaming big” even though this doctrine is not found in the Bible? May I offer an explanation? It seems as though Brian Houston has abandoned the sufficiency of Scripture and the sufficiency of Christ and has instead made a living off the “lusts of the eyes.”  As a result, he has reason “to boast” in what God has supposedly done through him, by giving him the Hillsong empire, wealth and all the influence and power an unregenerate sinner could ever want! Whenever a Pastor begins using his life as an example of what success looks like, he is actually the perfect example of one who loves the things of the world, including “the boastful pride of life…” The whole premise of Houstons book “There is More” is in stark contrast to the reality that for Christian’s “Christ is enough.” We don’t need “the more” that Brian is promoting. Why? Because “…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3)

Both Andy Stanley and Brian Houston represent a large portion of the visible church which has ignored Peter’s call to “be saved from this perverse generation…” Instead they have indulged in worldly fads, “…teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” (Tit. 1:11)  Do you want to separate from the world? A great place to start would be separating from the ministries and teachings of Brian Houston and Andy Stanley! 

At the end of Paul’s life, in his final letter to Timothy, shortly before his imminent death, he writes something that should sadden us and wake us up at the same time. He writes about one of his closest associates “…Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…” (2 Timothy 4:10)  The Seeker Sensitive movement as well as the NAR will only cause you “to love this present world” and abandon the truth. Don’t fall for it. Flee from these movements! Stand firm upon the true Gospel, which is not about you, but rather about what Christ has done to save you from the wrath of God, which will come upon all who continue to follow the course of the world. Paul reminds us that Christ “…gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age…” (Galatians 1:4)

The Bible makes it clear that we are called and saved to make a clean break from all forms of worldliness, false religion, and especially those who come under the guise of Christianity. 

If you belong to Christ and desire to be separated from the world then the Apostle Paul’s words to the Ephesian believers are designed to encourage you and remind us that “…Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Eph. 2:3-10)