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.”
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?
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 ?
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.
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 wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-24
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:
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.