BSSM – soaking, declaring and spinning into delusion

By Rick Becker       31 May  2018

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

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

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

Two of the answers are telling:

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

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

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

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

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

TAKING RISKS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DECLARING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are believing the Lord for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPINNING

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

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

Identifying someone’s unique identity is not the gospel and will not save them.  The good news is that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to redeem a people and deliver them from, slavery, sin, and eternal damnation. This is the message the lost must hear:For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdombut we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-24
Stretching legs, healing aches and pains, gold dust, words of knowledge and all the other tools of the BSSM are not the power of God that leads to salvation.  The power of God unto salvation is found in the very thing BSSM students are not taught – the gospel:
 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There can be no doubt that we are in the midst of a great delusion in the visible church.  Bethel church and the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry play a part in this great delusion.
 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12

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

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

By Rick Becker     12 April 2018

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

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

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

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

“Pastoring People With Unique Spiritual Giftings.”

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

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

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

And the purpose of seeing angels and demons is? The fact that more angels supposedly appear or are seen in the NAR movement in a week, than in the entire period from Adam to the early church is telling.  Jesus had an encounter with the devil in the wilderness, but there is no record in scripture of people seeing demons.  This fascination with seeing angels and visions leads to deception: Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,  and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”  Colossians 2:18-19

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

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

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

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

Furthermore, if we need an encounter or experience to sustain or mature our faith, then what God has supplied through the work of the cross and the indwelling Spirit is insufficient.  Mysticism does not train us in righteousness or equip up for every good work, scripture does: while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:13-1
The real gifts of the Holy Spirit cannot be accessed at will as the Holy Spirit distributes them to each individual as he wills: ” All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Cor 12:11
BSSM leaders are simply regurgitating heresies of the Johnson’s.  They believe we can access all kinds of encounters and anointings.  Beni Johnson (Bill’s wife) promotes contemplative prayer, and suggests it can help lead us to access the spiritual realm: “A thin place is where heaven and earth are close. It is easier to experience the spiritual realm in these places.” – Beni Johnson, Mystics, Mystical Experiences and Contemplative Prayer.
This is but one example of how Bethel’s teachings lead their followers into Mysticism and Gnosticism.  While Beni & co are searching for “thin places” to encounter a spiritual realm, those who believe in actual scripture can rest in this objective fact: See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”  Colossians 2:8-10

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

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

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

God has chosen to make himself known – through Jesus Christ.  At Bethel, the infallible and objective truth found in scripture has been ignored in favor of subjective feelings, intuitions and experiences.  The hidden treasures Bethelites search for in signs and experiences can only be found in Christ: that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” Colossians 2:2-4
This lust for extra biblical experiences and revelations portrays a heart that is ignorant,  discontent with who Christ is, and what he has done on our behalf.

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

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

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

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

“Seek to Understand”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Create Safety”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter, verse?  This is nonsense of course.  

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

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

“Normalize Their Experience”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bethel is not revealing new truth or accessing unique gifts, they are simply promulgating old heresies and delving in either vain imaginations or the occult.  A real apostle – Paul, warned that mysticism and gnosticism have no place in the church.  Wisdom and knowledge can be found in Christ, not in supernatural experiences or special knowledge given to the “uniquely gifted.”   God has revealed himself in and through Christ, with the purpose of giving us understanding; understanding that helps us discern between truth and error. God gives us full assurance and understanding and knowledge of God’s mystery:
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.”  Colossians 2:1-4

Let me conclude with this quote from B B Warfield:

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

 

 

 

THE NEW BREED OF CRAFTY EVANGELISTS

By Rick Becker  25 January 2018

In order to make the gospel more palatable, many are resorting to crafty means in order to attract the lost.  One of the means employed is going “under cover” at various events.  This new breed of revivalists and evangelists don’t rely on the gospel, but so called “encounters with God.”  Words of knowledge and healings are utilized in order to win the lost. This covert evangelism involves:
• an absence of the gospel
• using terminology that does not offend
• supposed supernatural encounters
• cards, colours and stones to facilitate messages from God
..In other words – “another gospel”

A host of articles have recently exposed the unbiblical evangelistic tools and shenanigans of Bethel and Christalignment.  Going undercover at psychic fairs and the use of “destiny cards” to offer readings, or as they would argue – words of knowledge, are part of their evangelistic strategy.
In stark contrast to the methodology of Christalignment and Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry Students, the Apostle Paul refused to disguise the truth:

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.   But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing  2 Corinthians 4:1-3

Clandestine operations were probably employed by the false teachers in Corinth.  Paul was making it clear that the gospel does not need to be disguised or tampered with in order to be effective.

John Gill commentary:not walking in craftiness; they used no sly and artful methods to please men, to gain applause from them, or make merchandise of them; they did not lie in wait to deceive, watching an opportunity to work upon credulous and incautious minds; they did not, by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple; nor put on different forms, or make different appearances, in order to suit themselves to the different tempers and tastes of men, as did the false apostles: not handling the word of God deceitfully. They did not corrupt it with human doctrines, or mix and blend it with philosophy, and vain deceit; they did not wrest the Scriptures to serve any carnal or worldly purpose; nor did they accommodate them to the lusts and passions of men; or conceal any part of truth

Those who tamper with God’s word or employ deceit when presenting it are doing so in order to please man or gratify themselves in some manner: But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.  For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.  For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.  Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others”  2 Thess 2:2-6

Bethel came out in defense of Christalignment (not surprising since Theresa Dedmon of Bethel came up with the brand “Destiny Cards”)    In their statement, they made this point: “The Hodges are attempting to contextualize the Gospel and bring people to the realization that God is looking for them and loves them no matter where they are – just like the apostle Paul often did. In Acts 17:22-34, Paul spoke to a group of religious people who didn’t yet know God and lived in a city full of altars, idols, and various religions. In that moment, Paul referred to a single altar in their city that had an inscription to the “unknown god,” and he used this familiar object (something they understood and valued) as a starting point to connect them with the God of all creation. He wasn’t worried that they would get a wrong idea (like that God is merely one of many gods or that idols are appropriate) because he would soon be introducing them to the true God.”

When contextualizing leads to compromise, the gospel is polluted.  In Acts 17 Paul did not attempt to blend in with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers; in fact the reason he was taken to the Areopagus was because his message was different : “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection”  Notice that Paul was not ashamed to name Jesus, whereas the new breed of crafty evangelists prefer terms such as spirit of creation, high spirit, Christ spirit etc.  Paul’s reference to the “unknown god” cannot be compared to going undercover and changing biblical terminology in an attempt to smuggle Jesus in at a later stage.

The irony is that Bethel and Theresa Dedmon use this passage to justify Christalignment’s  contextualization of the Gospel – which includes the use of Destiny Cards.  Dedmon writes: “Destiny Cards” are not tarot cards.  They do, however, have a similar look that attracts people who are searching for a “reading”.  There is no way one can justify creating something that looks similar to a demonic tool in order to “attract” people searching for a “reading.”
Dedmon gets it dead wrong once again when she writes in the same article: “Jesus always spoke in parables that communicated the message in creative ways in which people could relate and receive.”  Parables and Destiny Cards are not comparable.  Jesus did not use parables in order for people to relate and receive; in fact most could not relate and never received anything.  Paul put it this way:  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing”  2 Corinthians 4:3

Parables actually hid the truth from those who had hardened hearts:   Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”  And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”  Matthew 13:10-13 

Did Paul offer any “third heaven encounters with God” at the Areopagus? did he use any gimmicks? did he have any words of knowledge for the philosophers? did he perform any signs and wonders?  No –  he preached the gospel: Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.  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 17:29-31

The Gospel is explicit concerning the destiny of all people – unless they repent, they will face the wrath of God on judgement day.  Instead of warning people, crafty evangelists simply flatter the lost.

Since our article, Christalignment contacted us, and attempted to defend their methodology.  They wrote:
“we don’t do tarot. We hate it.” 
“We are not fortune telling or practising divination.”
“We do not offer card readings. The card part of a destiny reading is the smallest. The encounter with God is the largest.”

What they are doing is nevertheless deceitful.  While they may not view the encounters they lead their clients into as deceptive, closer scrutiny will reveal that they are not presenting the gospel in sincerity, if at all.  Furthermore, we cannot guarantee anyone an “encounter with God” or produce words of knowledge on demand for clients.  This means that any “vision” or “word of knowledge” received can only have two sources – the imagination or the demonic.

• They also claim that their website is for “non Christians only.”  In their eyes, this presumably justifies their vague terminology and association with festivals such as Rainbow Serpent, Queer Expo, Sexpo and others.  They describe themselves as “trained spiritual consultants, gifted in various modalities…trained in destiny reading… trained as intuitive readers.”
At their Spirit Life Meditation classes, their “presenters” are described as “seers” and “healers” who offer
“releasing imaginative encounters using the third heaven realm..third heaven encounters…deep rest therapy..intuitive colour therapy…revelatory meditations of third heaven realm..healing from negative energies/cleansing.”
Does this sound like the gospel?  Why not be straightforward and boldly proclaim the gospel as Paul did: “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” 1 Corinthians 1:23.  Matthew Henry commented on this verse: “The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever has been a sure touchstone by which men may learn what road they are travelling.”  The gospel will cause repentance, or further hardening of hearts to those who are perishing – either way it is effective!  In an effort to remove the stumbling block, crafty evangelists remove the gospel.

• They claim they that do not “offer card readings” but “destiny readings.”  At the time of this writing,  their webpage describes their services as follows:  “The Christalignment team use at least 5 different types of cards in Destiny Readings. These are not necessary for an intuitive reader, as we are all hearing from the third heaven realm, but greatly enhance the reading.  We believe they are more predictive and higher than most cards, and can address a current life question that you may have.”

• In their correspondence with us, they attempted to defend their usage of cards:  “The disciples did not do card readings. But neither was TV or Facebook. You are taking everything from our website. I just told you they are destiny readings. Cards are not important. One set of cards has psalms on it. They bless people. It is the word of God. But they are not predictive in any way. However word of knowledge which is what Jesus used is in scripture.” Advancement in technology is not an excuse to change the message of the gospel.  Naturally we took everything from their website; that’s surely the best way to avoid confusion and half truths.  What does cause confusion is operating under pretense.  Christalignment boasts that their cards are “more predictive” and “higher than most cards” on their website, yet in their correspondence with us claim that “cards are not important” and “are not predictive.” 

What they claim on their page is therefore misleading; it’s false advertising, it’s a lie.

One set of cards does have psalms on it. The rest are “Destiny cards” “Animal cards” and “Colour cards”.  Their description of “Colour cards:
“Colour cards can be used in several different ways. Team member Nan uses them to enhance her reading with coloured agate stones. Colours have had an important role to play spirituality in history and have significant meanings in the dream state. As they are imbued with meaning and power, these readings can really change lives and give comfort and hope.” – Scripture makes no mention of how valuable a tool an agate stone is when presenting the gospel.  Colours may be symbolic, but only the new age teaches that they are imbued with “power”

It will be beneficial at this point to discuss “words of knowledge” as this has become a popular practice in NAR circles.  Christalignment claim that their cards are not predictive, but note that Jesus used words of knowledge.  Have they noticed that Jesus never used cards to help him with “words of knowledge.”  The New Apostolic Reformation teach that Jesus came to model life for believers.  Whatever Jesus did, we can emulate and even improve, however Jesus knew what was in the heart of man because he was God.  Contrary to scripture which clearly states that the gospel is the power of God at work, saving those who believe, crafty evangelists believe that signs and wonders are the power that opens people’s eyes to the gospel. The lost therefore depend on the miracle working power of the crafty evangelist to believe.  “Words of knowledge” have become a favourite tool for the new breed of NAR evangelists.  Smartphone false prophet Shawn Bolz (the “christian” version of the psychic John Edwards) Todd White, BSSM students and others supposedly operate in this gift. Usually it goes something like this:
“Does the date 3 March mean anything to you?”
“I’m getting “Elm street” – do you know this address?”
“Do you have a family member by the name of Edward”
“The Lord says he is about to bring a shift in your business”
“You have lower back pain”
“The Lord has given me the meaning of the tattoo on your wrist”
“God is about to release supernatural favour on your endeavours”

Now lets compare that to the “words of knowledge” Jesus had when interacting with people:
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  and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man John 2:23-25 – this passage contradicts the strategy of Christalignment, BSSM students and the new breed of revivalists who rely on so called signs and wonders to reach the lost.

“After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me…It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.  Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him.” John 13:21;26-27 – not exactly “calling out the gold in others” – a phrase used by Theresa Dedmon when describing her reason for creating Destiny Cards.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’;  for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” John 4:16-19

The issue here was not the 5 previous husbands, as she may have been married to them legitimately (perhaps some died) but she was not married to her current partner.  Jesus made her aware of her current sinful state.  In her eyes, Jesus was no longer simply a Jew, but a prophet – not because he tickled her ears with a “destiny reading” but because she could not hide her sin.  Albert Barnes commentary on this interaction:
” Significantly, the confrontation of her own sinful conscience was the occasion of Jesus’ rising so abruptly in her estimation. Only a few minutes earlier, she had recognized him only as “a Jew,” who she had every right to suppose hated and despised her; but now she hailed him as a prophet. The more deeply conscious any person is of his sins, the higher Jesus rises in his sight. The woman did not deny or offer excuses or explanations, but let the implications of her sinful life stand naked and unadorned in his holy presence.”

Supernatural knowledge in the early church:
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,  and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him”
Acts 5:1-6 – a far cry from the usual “words of knowledge” witnessed in Charismatic circles today.

As you can see, even continuationists must admit that supernatural knowledge in the scripture is far removed from what is practiced in Charismania.  Furthermore, words of knowledge were not used as a means to call out the good in sinners, or reveal a dream destiny.  What then was the gift of the word of wisdom and word of knowledge that Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12?  Paul lists them, but does not describe them; that is why it is easy for some to construct their own meaning and practice.  We believe both the word of wisdom and word of knowledge are primarily to do with the gospel – not your street address, personal decisions, dream destiny, business goals.  Consider the following passage concerning wisdom:

“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.  But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him” 2 Peter 3:15

And this passage which mentions both knowledge and wisdom:
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

Keep in mind the early church did not have the full canon of scripture. When Paul preached to the Jews in Thessalonica, we read that he “reasoned with them from the Scriptures.”  All Paul had was the Old Testament, and the gospel is concealed in the Old Testament, Paul simply revealed it to them.  This is why the role of the gifts were unique in the early church: prophecy, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge were able to reveal what had been concealed in the Old Testament.

Christalignment claim that they “use the name of Jesus” and “preach the gospel” yet none of the testimonies they post, reveal repentant sinners grateful to have been saved by the grace of God.  The testimonies revolve around feelings and experiences such as “connecting with the high spirit” and “emotional healings, people feeling lighter and happier”

This client experienced a “flood of colour..channeling and flooding through me..clearing my headache…residual energy just clearing it…I saw this light in the form of an elephant head..the eyes were just kinda like a space I guess, and it was just like staring through me, and the light was going through from him through to me, then like a cycle, colour after colour..I’ve never seen like a spirit animal or anything in that kind of realm”
At the end, mention is made of “Christ spirit” and “high spirit.”  Was the elephant head perhaps an image of Ganesha, a deity in the Hindu pantheon?  Colour was doing the healing?  Spirit animals in another realm interacting with people?  Christalignment use animal cards and colour cards, and this is what manifested for the client;  they are simply channeling these demonic images or visions.  Clearly, Christalignment are not worried when their clients get a wrong idea of who God is.

This client “saw a beautiful being that looked like Merlin, and he came forth and offered me a gift, and I took that gift and it made me feel absolutely beautiful and special”  The Christalignment staff member who conducted the reading goes on to explain how the gift was special because it came from royalty, as the being wore a purple robe. The gift was a round golden ball with something like a crucifix on top.

Merlin was a fictional character, created by the writer Geoffrey of Monmouth. Merlin first appeared in Geoffrey’s work  “The History of Kings of Britain” in 1136AD.  The interesting thing about Merlin, is that he was the son of the devil, yet at the same time the servant of God. (“Merlin” was the wizard in in the stories of Camelot)
The team at Christalignment had no qualms with a fictional character, born as a son of the devil appearing to their client.

On their facebook page, Christalignment share the results of their activity at the Midsumma LGBTQ festival:
“A really brilliant day in at Melbourne’s biggest LGBTQ festival – Midsumma. We had queues all day of hungry people wanting to know if there is any hope for their problems, for their lives. The team were brilliant and most clients were having knock out encounters with the Spirit of Truth.
It is always a shock and so stunning to see just how much The Spirit loves people who are out there, alternative, different. On Sunday this resulted in several stunning instant physical healings and many successful cleansings from entities.
Our first client for the morning was a male transvestite prostitute who “ just wanted to die” and wanted to know how soon he could die. He came to us last year too. He left feeling lighter, free.
It was brilliant to catch up with two well known celebrity transvestites who knew us from last year’s Queer Expo. Immediately they wanted to hug us, take photos and just talk. We really felt the Spirit on that meeting.
One boy was afraid a psychic had made a spirit enter him but after chatting he confided that he was just so lonely. We were able to break all that right off. He went away so happy.” source

Do any of these testimonies point to Jesus Christ?  You be the judge.  Beware of any methodology that contradicts scripture.

“He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart.”

C H Spurgeon