By Rick Becker 16 November 2017
The false doctrines of Bethel church are well documented. Word of faith heresy, prosperity gospel, dominion theology and mysticism are part and parcel of Bethel’s “gospel.” Bill Johnson & co claim to be agents for heaven invading earth; however, the only invasion they are facilitating is that of false teaching in the visible church. We examine the fruits of the Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry based on a testimony from a BSSM student which was published on the BSSM official school planting page.
The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) is headed by false prophet Kris Vallotton, “Senior Associate Leader of Bethel Church and co-founder of BSSM.” Their mission is to “equip and deploy revivalists who passionately pursue worldwide transformation in their God-given sphere of influence . Students are trained to continue in the ministry style of Jesus: “to enjoy the presence of God, say what He is saying, and do what He is doing.” This is in alignment with the dominion theology of the New Apostolic Reformation – the transformation of the world through conquering the seven spheres of society. When it comes to evangelism, Bethel promote signs and wonders, or “encounters with God” as a means to save the lost. The preaching of the true gospel is by and large foreign to Bethel. It has been replaced with an ear tickling message that elevates self and has replaced the cross with a throne. Bethel’s “gospel” consists of a smorgasbord of errors – word of faith heresy, the prosperity gospel, dominion theology, false signs and wonders, and mysticism to name a few.
Jesus himself condemned those who were always seeking after a sign, and was never deceived by those who “believed in him” because of his own miracles: “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.
Furthermore, scripture clearly warns of the role of false signs and wonders in the last days: “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.
The official BSSM school planting page recently posted this article (15th of November 2017). What you will read should infuriate and sadden you at the same time. This is the fruit of a church that is deceiving thousands of biblically illiterate people – many of them desperate to create a legacy for themselves by shifting atmospheres, making declarations, performing miracles, and ushering in what they believe is the kingdom of God. Heaven has not invaded Bethel; deception has.
The article contains “lessons God taught” Jim, a third year BSSM student from Medowie, Australia. From the article:
Jim: “God Is More Concerned with Hearts than Our Expectations – The first time I really noticed this was when I ministered undercover at a psychic fair. We offered dream interpretations, healings, and spirit readings (prophetic words). Sadly, many of the attendees had been hurt by Christians and the Church, so we used language that was not religious or would cause them to put walls up. We built rapport by just loving them. They eventually figured out we were Christians, but without us saying anything.”
At the outset, any believer should be concerned! Are we called to minister undercover to the extent that we compromise the gospel? Are we taught to masquerade as psychic readers? When Paul was in Athens, a city full of idolatry and philosophies, “he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection” and boldly declared: “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.
Repentance and judgement are key elements of the gospel. It’s common to hear stories from Bethel where people are supposedly saved, yet the gospel is rarely mentioned. Under the guise of not offending people, the students used different terminology to seduce those looking for what is essentially a personalized horoscope. What their clients would have received would have been little different from the psychic reader in the opposite booth. Sadly, attendees at this event who encountered the BSSM students would probably not have heard or been offended by the message of the cross, which is the only message that saves. It’s the message of the cross that tells you God loves you unconditionally, but it’s also the message of the cross that lets you know in no uncertain terms how deceitfully wicked you are and calls on you to repent.
Jim: “To reach the people at the psychic fair, we did not say Jesus, God, or Holy Spirit. Instead, we called God the “Spirit of Creation. Honestly, this already had me on the verge of feeling offended.”
Yes, you read it correctly!
The apostle Paul: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..” Romans 1:16.
What is offensive is leaving Jesus out of the gospel. Without Jesus, you have no gospel. What these students were presenting was a false gospel.
Jim: “A young man came into our booth for a “spirit reading.” I asked him if he would mind if I invited the “Spirit of Creation” into the tent, and he said that would be okay. After we prayed, we ministered to him with a bongo and maraca. The person I ministered with began to shake and wave the maraca over the young man’s head while I pounded out the most spiritual sounding beat on the bongo that my rhythmically challenged hands could manage. It felt like we were really just making fun of the new age scene, and afterward struck me as somewhat mean-spirited of us.”
Did the apostles go around offering “spirit readings” in order to “reach people?” It’s possible a spirit accepted Jim’s invitation – perhaps the same spirit that produces the Kundalini manifestations that Bethel is known for. Notice that Jim is concerned that they may have offended the new age scene through their behaviour, yet he has no qualms about making a mockery of scripture or grieving the Holy Spirit.
Jim: “What made the situation even weirder was that as we invited the “Spirit of Creation” through what I thought was our mockery of the new age, Holy Spirit actually responded and fell in that tent. We were all overwhelmed by tangible peace and could feel His presence on us. The young man ended up having a vision of the Trinity and then giving his life to Jesus. It was absolutely beautiful.”
No mention of the gospel or repentance. Feelings and “visions” are the norm for many of these undercover “revivalists” as they present a false Christ, a false gospel, and boast in their works of iniquity. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
Jim: “I walked away from this experience very confused. I felt offended on God’s behalf about our behavior, and yet, He had moved in that moment. I asked Holy Spirit about it. I said “Holy Spirit, we were being absolute idiots. It felt like we were mocking other people, and You still fell. You used what we were doing even though what we were doing seemed offensive.” He responded, “I was more interested in him encountering Me than what you guys were doing.” This was the first time I realized I am way more religious than God. God doesn’t fit into our boxes. He doesn’t always move in the ways we expect Him to. He is more concerned with the hearts of people than with fitting into our expectations of Him.”
Actually, scripture is really clear when it comes to preaching the gospel, and the contents of the gospel. It is also clear regarding the manner in which we behave. While God does not fit into our boxes, he expects us to fit into His – scripture. It is because God is concerned with the hearts of people (desperately wicked) that he expects us to preach the gospel which will offend the natural man. A gospel that does not offend the natural man and convict him, is not a gospel that will save. Jim is clearly having conversations with himself.
Jim: “This tendency for the supernatural things of God to look different, to look uncomfortable, to look outrageous, can cause us to assume it is not God moving. We can have this tendency to want to protect His reputation, or protect our concept of how He looks. How often do we use offense rather than discernment to determine if something is from God? In much of the church, we seem to be scared of offense and the mess it will create. We are afraid it will chase people away, and it just does not fit with our image of meek and mild Jesus.”
Bethel’s culture of “risk taking” is simply a pragmatic approach that opens the door to familiar spirits. The “mess” that is created by operating outside of the limitations of scripture, is something the apostle Paul addressed when writing to the Corinthians regarding the operation of the gifts: “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.
Consider that Paul said this in the context of the Corinthians exercising the authentic gifts of the Spirit. One gets the sense that so many outlandish stories have already been told at Bethel, the quest is on to see who can come up with the most bizarre manifestation, strategy, experience or testimony. Contrary to the chaos being justified, order is by God’s design:“ But all things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40.
Jim: “We assume offense cannot be from God, even though that is far from biblical. If we look at the Bible we can see that Jesus is not afraid of causing offense.”
Jesus did offend the religious false teachers and hypocrites of his day, but to draw a parallel between that and the shenanigans of these BSSM students and their “ministry” is ludicrous. Discerning believers should be offended when God is mocked, His Word disregarded, and the demonic attributed to the Holy Spirit.
Jim: “A few days after the psychic fair, I found myself prophesying over a woman and her yoga business. It was one of those moments where the words were out of my mouth before I realized what they were. Yoga had always been something I had considered spiritually negative. I had always viewed it as new-age related, and a practice that God did not like. Then out of my mouth comes a prophetic word about God using her business to bring transformation and restoration to people’s lives. I was offended! How could that be God? How could God use something so wrong?”
There is nothing wrong with stretching exercises; there is something wrong with a Hindu spiritual discipline. Manifestations of a Kundalini spirit are viewed by Bethel as the workings of the Holy Spirit, so it’s actually surprising that Jim had second thoughts regarding his spontaneous “prophecy.” Why would God want to use what is essentially a pagan form of coming into union with a divine being, to bring transformation and restoration to people?
Jim: “This was a lesson God kept repeating for me, and through that, I learned a tool I now use regularly. I asked Holy Spirit, “Are you offended right now?” He responded, “No, and so you don’t have a right to be either.” The religiousness in me was trying to prevent me from seeing God’s heart for this woman, and for the people around her. In leading a school you are going to run into the supernatural. Remember, the supernatural often offends and often does not look how we expect it to, but that does not make it bad or not God. We need to use discernment to tell the difference between what is God, and what is not Him, but offense is not a sign that something is not God.”
It’s fashionable these days in New Apostolic Reformation circles to say “Holy Spirit” instead of “the Holy Spirit.” I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s to create the impression that they are really intimate with the Holy Spirit. In one sense, it’s accurate, because the absence of the definite article gives room for other spirits to be involved. Why is Jim ashamed of identifying the Spirit of truth? If Jim & co cannot discern a Kundalini manifestation, do not preach the gospel, don’t mention Jesus, offer “spirit readings”, ignore scripture, etc, what are the chances they can tell what is from God and what is not?
Jim: “Now, whenever I see something that offends me, but does not feel demonic, I actually get quite excited. I ask Jesus if He is offended, and if He is not, then He is just showing me He is bigger than I previously thought.”
That ultimately is the method of discernment in the New Apostolic Reformation – feelings. While there is a gift of discernment, all believers are expected to grow in discernment: “for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14. Discernment begins with testing what we hear and see against scripture (Acts 17:11). Jim does not mention scripture, instead he relies on his feelings or conversations with who he thinks is God.
Jim: “If I find myself getting offended about something that God is not offended by, it means that God is bigger than my boxes for Him, and He is helping me get free of religion. Next time you see something in your environment that offends you I’d encourage you to ask Him if He is offended. If you discover that He is not offended, view it as an opportunity for Him to show you how big He is. Jesus sometimes offends the mind to show the heart deeper revelation and deeper truth.
Next time you see something that offends you, go to the scriptures. That will clarify most issues. Ask God for discernment, keeping in mind that discernment from God will never contradict scripture. Do you want deeper revelation and deeper truth? Then study the word of God. Don’t rely on mysticism or some bizarre behaviour that offends you.
In conclusion: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits” Matthew 7:15-20.
The fruits of Bethel and the BSSM are rotten to the core. They may be passionate and sincere, but they are sincerely deceived. Far from bringing heaven to earth, they have become a pernicious influence in the visible church. No doubt many of those involved will one day point to their works as evidence of their salvation, but many will be shocked when standing before Christ: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”