By Rick Becker 21 August 2019
Jacob had his dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven at a city called Luz, which he renamed “Bethel”- meaning “house of God.” At a later stage in Israel’s history Jeroboam (first king of the northern kingdom) went off the map by ignoring God’s commands regarding worship. Jeroboam appointed his own priests, set up a golden calf at Bethel and seduced his people into idolatry. Hosea and Amos later referred to Bethel as “Beth-aven” which means “house of idols” or “vanity.” Today, another kind of “Beth-aven” exists in the form of Bethel church Redding. It’s supposedly a place of dreams, angels, and open heavens. But like Jeroboam, Bethel church has found scripture too restrictive, and created it’s own “golden calf.” The lure has worked, but all the glitters is not gold, and Bethel’s seductive ladder does not lead to heaven. In this post, I examine what I believe are some of the reasons people are seduced by Bethel. These points also serve to describe the characteristics and teachings of churches that are caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation.
1. SCRIPTURE IS RELEGATED
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The relegation of scripture is the root cause of the errors in the points that follow. Those who defend Bethel will argue that Johnson & co quote, and base their teachings on scripture. The problem is that the principles of biblical interpretation are ignored, and their error is compounded by their use of the Passion translation – a perversion of scripture. The result is the New Apostolic Reformation’s man centered theology. These man centered doctrines are a lure for itching ears and people eager to serve their passions (2 Tim 4:3)
Like any false teacher, Johnson will say the right thing at times. He is however a master at creating a false dilemma, one that places scripture at the mercy of some kind of experience or encounter. Johnson believes the Bible is the inerrant word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and that any new revelation does not carry the “same authoritative weight as Scripture” and that “everything we hear must be consistent with what He has spoken to us in His Word” 1
But Johnson’s duplicity is easy to identify. How can we be sure everything is consistent with scripture when we rely on a “presence” to take us beyond scripture?
“Following the leading of the Holy Spirit can present us with the same dilemma. While he never contradicts His Word, He is very comfortable contradicting our understanding of it.Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scriptures enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But 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.” 2 (bold emphasis mine throughout this article)
Studying, examining, and meditating on the word of God is biblical, pursuing experiences is not. Johnson promotes a mystical and subjective means for spiritual guidance and growth: “An encounter with God is often a power encounter. Such encounters vary from person to person according to God’s design. And it’s the lack of power encounters that lead to a misunderstanding of God and his word. Experience is necessary in building a true knowledge of the word. Many fear experience because it might lead away from scripture. The mistakes of some have have led many to fear experiential pursuit” 3
One would think that incorrectly dividing the word of truth leads to a misunderstanding of God and his word. When context becomes irrelevant, so does scripture, as presuppositions replace truth. When the Holy Spirit illuminates scripture to us, the meaning does not change, but Johnson pits experience against exegesis:
“FROM STUDY TO EXPERIENCE – The study of Scriptures must take us beyond the historical setting, beyond language studies in the Hebrew and Greek, and at times beyond the context and intent of the human authors of Scripture. It’s time to hear from God afresh—that His Word would once again become the living Word in our experience.” 4
Did God not inspire the context and intent of scripture when he moved upon human authors? “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit..” 2 Peter 1:20-21
Lay aside every commentary on the bible that has been produced during the past two thousand years, lay aside all scholarship and studies in the original languages, Bill Johnson believes we need a different view:
“A NEW VIEW – We have gone as far as we can go with what we presently know. Not only are we in need of the Spirit of God to teach us, we are in need of a different view of the Bible.” 5
And if this is not confusing, I don’t know what is:
“Jesus is the Word of God. It’s hard for Him to not have something to say. Occasionally, we go through times when we feel God is not speaking to us. While that may be so, most of the time He has simply changed His language, and He expects us to adjust with Him.” 6
Now for a vague statement that allows for gold dust, gemstones, oily palms, feathers, road runners etc to become a means of communication from God instead of scripture:
“It is vital to learn how God speaks. His first language is not English. In fact, it would be safe to say it’s not Hebrew either. While He uses the languages of men to communicate with us, He is more inclined to speak through a myriad of other methods.” 7
Finally, Johnson plants the seed in the minds of his followers to blindly accept God’s additions: “There are pillar truths in the gospel that form the most basic foundation of the structure. Once you have these in place, God delightfully adds to them, as a decorator decorates a house after the foundation and walls are secure. A man of understanding accepts God’s additions and doesn’t question them. He is not double-minded about them. That’s how a person of understanding attracts greater understanding. You treasure something that God says, and that builds a foundation for greater revelation.” 8
Conveniently, he does not specify what these additions are, or what they look like in practice. What we do know is that Bethel’s culture of “risk taking” has led them into mysticism, vain imaginations, and doctrines of demons. While Johnson acknowledges some form of foundational truth, it bears little relevance as Bethel’s theological foundation is flawed.
Bethel logic – there’s a law of attraction that rewards people who don’t ask questions.
It’s clear that Johnson’s position is scripture plus…plus an encounter, plus a new view, plus signs, plus other methods. By relegating scripture and exalting experiences, Johnson has created an attractive environment without boundaries that elevates experiences and leads to mysticism.
2. SIN IS MINIMIZED
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
The cross is a revelation of God’s love, grace, mercy, and the depth of our sin – not our worth. Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6), not the worthy, or good that needed a little help in discovering their true identity. If people are inherently good, all they need is a fresh perspective, not a savior. While Bill Johnson teaches that sin is part of fallen man’s nature, his son Eric takes an indifferent approach to our fallen state: “every government, every structure, every system, fundamentally and theologically must start with the concept and idea that people are good, and they mean to do good, even if they’re not saved. We have to start from that premise.”
That’s not the premise of scripture: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” John 3:19
We don’t call out the gold in sinners, we tell them that God “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
In this article Kris Vallotton boasts in the fact that believers should go a week (or longer) without sinning, and that the real issue is “that if (not when) we sin” we have an advocate. The struggle against the flesh does not exist according to Vallotton: “Those of us who know God are not in a war with our flesh, however, we do have a devious, evil enemy who is a sinner. He is endlessly accusing the Body of having his own wicked nature.”
Scripture teaches the opposite:
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11
We know that grace is not a licence to sin, and that progressive sanctification will take place in believers, but the struggle with our flesh will continue until we die. Furthermore, our awareness of our sin should increase, not decrease, as we grow in sanctification. Matthew Henry commenting on 1 John 1:8-9 writes: “All who walk near to God, in holiness and righteousness, are sensible that their best days and duties are mixed with sin. God has given testimony to the sinfulness of the world, by providing a sufficient, effectual Sacrifice for sin, needed in all ages; and the sinfulness of believers themselves is shown, by requiring them continually to confess their sins, and to apply by faith to the blood of that Sacrifice.”
In his book The Epistle to The Romans, Leon Morris echoes these sentiments: “It is worth bearing in mind that the great saints through the ages do not commonly say, ‘How good I am!’ Rather, they are apt to bewail their sinfulness. ‘Go away from me, Lord;I am a sinful man’ is the authentic cry not of someone who does not believe, but of someone who does.” 9
In his desperation to justify some form of sinless perfection, and absolve believers of repenting, Vallotton manages to mangle the meaning of the parable of the lost sheep: “The devil wants to convince us that sin, wickedness, addictions and every other form of bondage are rooted in our nature. That way, he can torment us and then blame it on our old man! But in the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus said that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). Jesus said ninety-nine out of a hundred people in God need no repentance!”
Some commentators suggest that the ninety-nine Jesus was referring to were the self righteous Pharisees and scribes in his audience who had complained that Jesus “received sinners.” If that’s the correct interpretation, it basically describes Vallotton.
Gil’s commentary: “the occasion and scope of the parable, determines this to be the sense; the Scribes and Pharisees, that murmured at Christ’s receiving sinners, are the ninety and nine just persons, who were only outwardly righteous before men, and trusted in themselves that they were righteous, perfectly righteous, and without sin, and so stood in no need of repentance for it; now there is more joy in heaven over one repenting sinner, than over all these: hence learn, that a self-righteous person, is an impenitent one; that a repenting sinner is more regarded in heaven than a self-righteous man.”
If the ninety-nine refers to those who are saved, it means they they have already repented in relation to salvation. Bethel love to quote this section from the Lord’s prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” but it seems as if Vallotton believes this part of the prayer does not apply: “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:10-12
Vallotton can hardly get himself to use the word sin, in relation to believers: “Conviction is from the Holy Spirit. When you behave badly, conviction says, “You are way too awesome to be acting like that. Stop it! You are acting below your identity.”
True conviction says you have sinned, not that the devil has lied to you about your identity. When we sin, we confess, repent, and receive forgiveness from Christ. If anything, we should admit our insufficiency, and boast in Christ, not ourselves. The wrath of God, eternal damnation for the wicked, and the severity of sin are not the kind of topics that will create a jubilant atmosphere in a meeting, yet these are biblical doctrines we should be teaching. Whenever sin is minimized, self is elevated – we become the awesome ones.
3. SELF LOVE
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self..” 2 Timothy 3:1
The following two nauseating quotes from Kris Vallotton’s blog are blasphemous, and reveal the NARcissistic nature of Bethel’s false prophet. Kris Vallotton: “The truth is, as a child of God, you’re supposed to look and act like your Daddy! You are created in His image—a beautiful heir to His kingdom. You have access to everything your Dad has access to, and you’re glorious just as He is!”
Compare Vallotton’s self-aggrandizement to the apostle Paul’s words: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:30
Kris Vallotton: “Your identity as a child of God is a non-negotiable. You’re powerful, glorious, and outright awesome. I want to reiterate the declaration from the video and encourage you to read this out loud today: “I am amazing. I am God’s greatest creation. He loves me to death. I rock. I was born to do greater works than Jesus. I was born for glory. Nations are attracted to me. I have the mind of Christ, therefore I think like God. He’s my inheritance and I’m His inheritance. He actually likes me and I like me too. And if people got to know me, they would like me. Creation knows who I am. The devil knows who I am, God knows who I am, the angels know who I am… and today, I know who I am!”
Who has preeminence in this confession – Christ or Kris Vallotton?
In his book Heavy Rain, Kris Vallotton shares a vision he had. He was thrust 100 years into the future, where he saw an elderly man surround by several generations of family members. The old man was telling stories, and suddenly became serious and teary eyed as he began to explain something of great importance: “He began to speak to those present about their noble roots and their royal heritage. He stared into the eyes of each one, as if he was looking for greatness in their souls. He spoke of the great price their forefathers had paid to obtain such favor, wealth and influence from God and man. But it was what he did next that stunned me. He pointed to a majestic stone fireplace that rose about thirty feet to a vaulted ceiling. I looked over toward the fireplace mantel, where a large, beautiful artist’s portrait of Kathy and me hung. I was breathless as he finished his exhortation: “All this began with your great-great-great-grandmother and great-great-great-grandfather!”I instantly came out of the vision, struggling to gather my thoughts. Next I heard a thundering voice speak to my spirit: Your children’s children’s children are depending on you leaving them a world in revival. You are no longer to live for a ministry. From this day forward, you are to live to leave a legacy!” 10
Who has preeminence in this vision – Christ or Kris Vallotton?
Believers will have to pick up their cross daily, and follow in their masters footsteps. Vallotton, like his fellow false prophets in the NAR want to avoid the cross, and crown themselves in splendour and majesty. In the following quote, Vallotton completely misses the point of Paul’s words in 1 Cor 4:8.
“We are supposed to enter the death chamber of baptism with a cross and exit with a crown. The crown is, “The likeness of His resurrection! The apostle John said, “As He is, (speaking of Jesus) so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Notice he didn’t say, “As He was” but instead he said, “As He is.” Jesus is not the suffering servant carrying His cross anymore. He is the coming King. We are to be the revelation of His royalty on the earth. Paul emphasized this to the Corinthian church, “You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you” (1 Cor. 4:8). The full revelation of what it means to be saved still needs to penetrate our thinking until we understand that who we were is totally dead and who we are is the revelation of Christ on the earth.” 11
Paul is not praising the Corinthians for being a revelation of royalty, but employing sarcasm in order to expose the vanity self sufficiency of “prophets” like Vallotton. The context reveals that Paul experience was of someone who experienced a baptism of suffering: “Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless,and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children” 1 Corinthians 4:8-14
Barnes’ notes on verse 8 :“Now ye are full – It is generally agreed that this is spoken in irony, and that it is an indignant sarcasm uttered against the false and self-confident teachers in Corinth. The design is to contrast them with the apostles; to show how self-confident and vain the false teachers were, and how laborious and self-denying the apostles were; and to show to them how little claim they had to authority in the church, and the real claim which the apostles had from their self-denials and labors. The whole passage is an instance of most pungent and cutting sarcasm, and shows that there may be occasions when irony may be proper, though it should be rare.”
Vallotton’s self centered teachings will appeal to this generation – lovers of self. In 2016, BSSM asked research group Eido “to conduct a wide scale research report. One of the questions they asked past students was: “What could BSSM have done better to prepare you for life after graduation?” One student’s answer is telling:
“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.”
4. SEVEN MOUNTAIN MANDATE
When Jesus returns, it will be a time of judgement and wrath for the nations of this world and unbelievers (Revelation 19) Included in this judgement, will be a false church that has rejected the truth, and entertained false signs and wonders. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)
That is not the scenario Bethel are hoping for. They are hoping for a grateful Jesus that will return in amazement to a sanctified earth. Johnson’s eschatology leaves no room for the tribulation, or a falling away. He believes we can accelerate events if we are hungry and desperate enough, he calls this “pulling tomorrow into today.” This way, the church will apparently experience all the millennial promises prior to Christ’s return. The means of achieving this, is through the church transforming the world by capturing the seven spheres of society – Business, Education, the Church, Family, Arts/Entertainment, Science & Medicine, and Government.
Bill Johnson: “There are seven realms of society that must come under the influence of the King and His Kingdom. For that to happen, we, as citizens of the Kingdom, must invade. The dominion of the Lord Jesus is manifest whenever the people of God go forth to serve by bringing the order and blessing of His world into this one…The Kingdom is likened unto leaven (see Matt. 13:33). As yeast has an effect on the dough it is “worked into,” so we will transform all the kingdoms of this world as we are worked into its systems. From there we must display His dominion and rule.“ 12
This belief is called Dominion theology, and is based on the idea that man lost dominion to Satan due to the fall; the church must reclaim dominion; when it does (through taking control of the seven spheres of society) Christ can return.
In one sense, this theology creates men and women who have a measure of dominion over God – who is made out to be a nervous entity, pacing the heavenly courtyards in the hope that his partners on earth give him the green light to accomplish his plans.
Kris Vallotton: “The truth is that Christ defeated and disarmed the enemy once and for all on the cross (see Col. 2:15). God has condemned him as guilty and handed over the authority he had usurped from Adam to Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Our job as “little Christs” is as deputies who enforce that judgment in every situation we come across. God created a world where our vote counts and where our agreement with what He’s doing is necessary to release His power into the world.” 13
Bill Johnson “If He is in control, then we have to credit Him with disease, earthquakes, hurricanes, and all the other calamities in life. You get the point. I think it’s more accurate to say He is in charge, but He is not in control.” 14
Johnson uses examples such as the death of a child, and a young father killed in a car wreck leaving behind his wife and children in order to lambaste believers who say “God has a reason” or “works in mysterious ways.” He describes this as lazy theology: “There’s the assumption that if God wanted a different outcome, He would have made it happen. That is lazy theology that somehow releases us from responsibility by shifting the blame to a God who put us in charge…So whom did Jesus leave behind with the same tools of authority, power, and presence to deal with the threats of crisis, tragedy, disease, and disasters that He had? Us. We may not have all the responsibility when there are threats of horrific problems headed our way, but we do have some.” 15
These tools of authority apparently extend to raising the dead. Jesus raised the dead to prove that he was the messiah, and to be glorified. Johnson knows better, according to him Jesus raised people from the dead “Because not everyone dies in God’s timing.” 16
In his book Heavy Rain, Kris Vallotton tells of a prophetic word Bill Johnson received: “I believe that God is looking for one city that would be completely His. God wants to cause a breakthrough in one city that affects every realm of society. When that one city falls under the power of God, it will create a domino effect across the entire world that will result in city after city being brought into the Kingdom.” 17
It goes without saying that Johnson believes that city is Redding. That is why they are working furiously to influence the various “spheres of society” in their city.
Vallotton is hoping for a worldwide revival, which he hopes will result in us speaking of cancer in the “past tense” and that that poverty will be eradicated. While Bethel may be able to create a glory cloud in their own auditorium, they will find it harder to create what Vallotton envisions: “What if signs and wonders became so frequent that God’s glory literally hovered over cities like a mist, and “sinners” became a very small minority group? We believe that Redding is destined to fulfill all these dreams, and we are praying, working and living to that end.” 18
If believers can pull heaven onto earth, disciple nations, transform societies, eradicate sickness and crime, create wealth for all – what is the point of the second coming? Yet this is Bethel’s mission – creating an external and observable kingdom on earth. Vallotton smuggles in dominion theology (the transformation of society) under the guise of apostolic ministry: “For the most part, the Church has only empowered apostles to plant churches. But apostles were never meant merely to be church planters: they were called to be world changers! A leader can plant one hundred churches in different cities around the world, but if those churches don’t bring cultural transformation to their cities, then they are not apostolic. Cultural transformation is synonymous with apostolic ministry.” 19
The thought of an end time church, persecuted and afflicted by the world does not sit well with Vallotton. That is why he believes the world is “getting better all the time” and is clear regarding his eschatological core values:
“I will not accept an eschatology that takes away my children’s future, and creates mindsets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy..I will not tolerate any theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations and the Lord’s Prayer that earth would be like heaven…I will not allow any interpretation of the scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined cities…I refuse to embrace any mindset that celebrates bad news as a sign of the times and a necessary requirement for the return of Jesus… I don’t believe that the last days are a time of judgment, nor do I believe God gave the church the right to call for wrath for sinful cities. There is a day of judgment in which GOD will judge man, not us.”
There is no biblical mandate to transform the world. It’s this seductive false vision of a Christian utopia on earth that brings false comfort to those desiring to live in comfort. Johnson:“It is very hard to imagine the Church bringing answers to the issues of life when much of our eschatology anticipates world conditions getting worse and worse. When we also believe that the darkness of world circumstances is the signal for Christ’s return, we have a conflict that ultimately costs us a practical vision—to invade and transform the world system.” 20
While Bethel & co spend their efforts trying to impress and improve Babylon, the true church will always be rejected and hated by this world. A victorius bride is not one that has transformed the world system, but one that has kept the faith and preached the gospel. The lure of being “Little Christs” and taking dominion of this world has seduced those who love this present world.
5 SUFFERING BECOMES REDUNDANT
Johnson: “When we pray for His Kingdom to come, we are asking Him to superimpose the rules, order, and benefits of His world over this one until this one looks like His.” 21
The impression in most NAR churches is that God will promise us all the Joseph experience – we will go from the pit to a palace. You will hear buzzwords such as: increase, favour, acceleration, destiny, legacy, influence, prosper, promotion…in other words favourable words that your flesh wants to hear. Suffering is often viewed as failure, the result of sin, ignorance, or failing to be part of “what God is doing.” But God’s priority for his children is not their comfort, but their conformity into the image of his son. Suffering is a means in this process. No one likes to suffer, whether it is sickness, poverty or any other form of affliction or trying circumstances. There are many reasons for suffering, some we can avoid such as the consequences of bad choices or sin. Others are inescapable – living in a fallen world, corruptible bodies, God’s discipline, suffering for the sake of the gospel.
There is no doubt that God ordains and uses suffering in the life of believers:
• “For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4
• “ You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus” Galatians 4:13-14
• “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” Romans 5:3-4
Paul was a true apostle (Eph 1:1) who received direct revelation (Gal 1:12) and experienced the third heaven ( 2 Cor 12:2) These experiences did not make life any easier for Paul, in fact his life after salvation was characterized by sufferings. From the start, God made it know to Paul that he was going to suffer (Acts 9:16)
Life was not easy for the real apostle, in fact at times he came across as a miserable, negative and depressed individual: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
God allowed a special messenger to harass Paul: “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. ” 2 Corinthians 12:7.
If God wanted to superimpose the benefits of his world, how does Johnson explain God allowing a messenger of Satan to harass his apostle?
Here’s the point – taken to its logical conclusion, the theology of Bethel makes no room for suffering. Bethel have made their mantra clear – as above, so below. There is no sickness, suffering or poverty in heaven, and so believers should experience the same conditions on earth. If healing and some measure of wealth are guaranteed in the atonement, if the world is going to be captivated by the church and believers are going to be praised instead of persecuted, suffering becomes redundant.
This false teaching that earth should look like heaven has allowed Bethel to prey on those experiencing a major cause of suffering – sickness. Johnson teaches that God has already purchased our healing, and “All lack is on our end of the equation” (The apostle Paul ought to have explained this to Timothy, Trophimus and Epaphroditus) Bethel claim to have seen thousands of healings, combine this with their teaching that it is always God’s will to heal, and you have made yourself a major attraction to those desperate for a miracle in their bodies.
Sickness is demonized at Bethel. Bill Johnson: “Would satan like to inflict heaven with cancer? Of course he would. But he has no dominion there. He only has dominion here when and where man has come into agreement” 22
It seems as if the Johnson’s have come into agreement with Satan as they have had their fair share of sicknesses. Despite operating “healing rooms” and a supernatural school, the Johnson’s have resorted to modern medicine for intervention.
To blame all sickness on the devil, personal sin and God’s judgement, is not biblical.
Consider God’s reply to Moses: “But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” Exodus 4:10-11
Consider God’s reply to his disciples: “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1-3
Another area of suffering that Bethel capitalize on is financial hardship.
The promise of wealth seduces those burdened by lack of finances or poverty.
In his book Poverty Riches & Wealth, under the heading “Money Is Not a Measure of Spirituality, Unless It Is!” Vallotton makes it obvious that God’s will for all believers is prosperity. This is because he makes no distinction between the old and new covenants. He teaches old covenant doctrine of tithing (the new testament teaches us to give, according to our ability and what we have determined) and then argues that the new covenant is far better with regards to “superior benefits.” Justification by faith is not what Vallotton has in mind here:
“Do you really believe that an inferior covenant should provide superior benefits? Really? That might sound spiritual, but it actually is opposed to the Scriptures themselves. The writer of the book of Hebrews put it like this: “But now He [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). God said the New Covenant is improved. It is a better covenant, and it provides superior promises. Why not embrace His promise and make the journey from the wilderness, the land of just enough, to the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey, the land of more than enough? Why not reject poverty thinking, build a franchise with God and embrace His vision for your fantastic future?“ 23
Lets read the context of Hebrews 8, and see if we can find any earthly benefits promised in the new covenant: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:10-12
Vallotton’s gospel is about gain in this world, Paul taught the opposite: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:8
“A fantastic future” in this present world, is what the disciples initially believed Jesus came to offer them. They believed Jesus would set up his kingdom on earth, and some were hoping to experience superior earthly benefits: “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup.” Matthew 20:20-23
Suffering is not a stepping stone to greatness in the world, but a reminder that we are not of this world. The disciples wanted position, recognition and a crown of glory in an earthly kingdom, but Jesus promised them a cup of suffering. We are called to share in the sufferings of Christ, not for an earthly promotion but to be conformed into the image of Christ and focus our hope on eternity – not the temporal comforts of this world. Sufferings are not signs that we have failed to pull tomorrow into today, they are signs that we are children of God, being tested, refined and encouraged to look forward to the closing chapter of redemption – our glorification.
• “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4:12-13
• “ Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
6 SIGNS AND WONDERS
“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
You could read the entire bible within a week. You would read many accounts of miracles, signs and wonders, and might think that they are normative. Anyone coming to that conclusion has failed to realize that:
The scriptures span a period of approximately 4000 years.
There were centuries that went by during this time, without any miracles.
The number of people who performed miracles could fit in a small church building.
The major reason for signs and wonders in the New Testament has been fulfilled – to authenticate the message and ministry of the apostles (2 Cor 12:12) and the ministry and identity of the messiah (John 10:36-39)
Bill Johnson would disagree with my conclusion, according to him signs and wonders are normative: “In the natural we use signs to help us find a city, a particular restaurant, or a place of business. It’s practical. In the same way, signs and wonders are a natural part of the Kingdom of God. They are the normal way to get us from where we are to where we need to be. That is their purpose. Had the wise men not followed the star they would have had to be content reading about the experiences of others. I am not.” 24
Some go to Bethel to “see God move.” Bethel’s “encounter” theology has propelled them into experiential mysticism and demonic manifestations purported to be the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon people. Bethel’s “glory cloud” and other manifestations have deceived those looking for signs and wonders to validate their beliefs, and experience some sort of touch from God. This obsession with signs and wonders has become an indispensable aspect of Bethel’s evangelism. Johnson: “Jesus gave people the right to disbelieve it all if there was no demonstration of power upon his ministry. I hunger for the day when the church will make the same statement to the world – if we’re not doing the works that Jesus did, you don’t have to believe us” 25
Vallotton comes to the same conclusion based on
scripture Johnson’s opinion. Vallotton explains that when unbelievers experienced supernatural manifestations of God’s kingdom in the form of Christ’s miracles, they had the opportunity two see two kingdoms at work: “This contrast provides them with an opportunity to repent. A Church that does not demonstrate the miraculous works of Christ has failed to give the world this opportunity, and thus has no right to judge people for their lack of response. Without miracles, the kingdom of God is reduced to words, concepts and good works” 26
Johnson and Vallotton are incorrect of course. There were times for example when Paul displayed the signs of an apostle but his custom was to “reason” from the scriptures. Athens was a city steeped in idolatry, this would have been a great opportunity for Paul to shift the atmosphere (Bethel terminology) by binding spirits and performing a few miracles. Instead, Paul delivered a sermon and the result was that some believed, and other mocked. The rich man once subscribed to Bethel’s notion that if God’s kingdom can only be reduced to words, evangelism becomes less effective. He asked Abraham to send Lazarus the beggar back to earth to warn his brothers, Abraham’s reply should serve as a warning to Bethelites: “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:29-31
Miracles don’t save, the gospel does – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16
Those who have bought into the Bethel lie that the gospel must be accompanied with signs and wonders, often accuse those who disagree with them of “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:5
However, the power referred to in this verse does not refer to the working of miracles, but the power of the gospel in that it transforms lives. Despite an“appearance of godliness” those who should be “avoided” are not those who fail to operate in signs and wonders, but people who are: “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud.. arrogant, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:2-4. Paul then lists two more characteristics of those who should be avoided. They are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” and “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”
Jannes and Jambres were Pharaoh’s magicians or sorcerers who opposed Moses and used their secret arts to changes their staff’s into serpents.
Paul’s advice to Timothy at the end of the chapter: “while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:13-17
In Johnson’s view, scriptures plus signs make us complete, and so he reinterprets scripture to suit Bethel’s narrative:
“Most of us read our Bibles with religious, cultural biases more than we realize. Look at this verse, for example. Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe” (John 4:48). I grew up imagining that His tone of voice was one of disgust because He was scolding them for the weak faith that must have some kind of experience in order to believe. But what if He was just acknowledging how faith grows? That thought seems to be supported by the fact that Jesus followed this statement with a miracle. Why? First of all, miracles always came out of His love for people. But secondly, He wanted them to grow in faith. And He had just the process for their development—seeing signs and wonders.” 27
Jesus was lamenting the fact that Jews continually needed signs. Johnson ignores the fact that in the same chapter, many Samaritans “believed because of his word.” vs 41. So were the Samaritans weaker or underdeveloped in their faith for believing without witnessing signs and wonders? If needing signs and wonders was a universal need to grow in faith, and still relevant today, why did Jesus tell Thomas: “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:28-29
And why did Paul not appease the need for signs and wonders when he preached:
“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” 1 Cor 1:22-23
False signs and wonders have played a pivotal role in deceiving people, and will continue to delude those who have rejected the truth. The bar is currently so low, that feathers, gemstones, gold dust, and “glory clouds” deceive Bethelites. While they might revel in the atmosphere created at Bethel, their very souls are at stake. They are unaware of the fact that God’s judgement is not upon those who question their signs and wonders, but upon those who have rejected truth and believe what is false.
“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
Johnson & co go a step further than merely offering people an opportunity to witness or experience signs and wonders, they will teach you how to perform them:
7 SUPERNATURAL POWERS
One of Bethel’s core values is that “The Holy Spirit gives every believer the supernatural power to witness and release miracles, signs, and wonders.”
But scripture teaches that as far as the gifts are concerned, the Spirit “apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:11.
Continuity versus discontinuity of the gifts is NOT the issue as far as Bethel is concerned, orthodoxy is. You and I can “release” absolutely nothing! Bethel clearly operates outside the confines of scripture when it comes to the gifts. Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry students pay approximately $5000 per annum in order to learn how to operate in the supernatural. In other words there’s nothing supernatural about the school, as gifts of God cannot be taught or bought.
• “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
• “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!” Acts 8:18-20
Bethel’s “activations” into the so called supernatural gifts employ spinning wheels, Uno cards, and a lot of guesswork involving meaningless information : “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.”
Bill Johnson makes very little distinction between Jesus and believers when it comes to supernatural powers – “Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders and signs,as a man in right relationship to God…not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything…and makes possible a full restoration of the ministry of Jesus in His Church” 28
More skulduggery from Bill Johnson – in 2013, Johnson’ penned his infamous statement concerning the divinity of Christ: “Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations. He laid His divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and the die in the place of mankind for sin.” 29
He deserved all the criticism he received for this teaching – known as the Kenosis heresy (Jesus gave up his divine attributes during his incarnation). In 2018 he affirmed Christ’s divinity, but in a way that enabled him to retain his teaching that Jesus came to model a supernatural life for us: “Jesus, who would shed His blood to redeem mankind, emptied Himself of His rights as God and took upon Himself the limitations of man. While Jesus never stopped being God, He took on flesh to complete the assignment that we failed to finish. Satan was defeated by a man—the Son of Man—who was rightly related to God.” 30
In this instance Johnson says Jesus never stopped being God, but he’s also saying that there’s nothing stopping you from acting like God as far as the supernatural is concerned. Obviously Jesus was “rightly related to God” – because he is God. While believers are “rightly related to God” that does mean they are equal to God incarnate! Jesus humbled himself and came in the flesh, but his humility did not cancel his divinity. One thing Jesus did come to model for us – is humility. That is the point Paul is trying to convey to the Philippians: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7
But it’s far more exciting and attractive to teach the Jesus came to model superpowers.
Johnson goes to great lengths to emphasize the humanity of Christ in order to hoodwink his followers into believing that they will have the same supernatural lifestyle.
Do you want to walk on water, raise the dead, calm storms, change water into wine? Johnson has the formula: Be a man/woman, be in the right relationship with God, and get the right equipment: “the anointing Jesus received was the equipment necessary, given by the Father to make it possible for Him to live beyond human limitations…The anointing is what linked Jesus the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.” 31
What Johnson neglects to add, is that all believers are anointed: “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” 1 John 2:20-21
In this context, the anointing is not referring to the ability to perform miracles, but to discern and resist those who are antichrists and deceivers. In other words, the real anointing will allow you to discern the deception that is taking place at Bethel.
Johnson again, emphasizing the humanity of Christ: “The Father wanted satan defeated by man … one made in His image. Jesus, who would shed His blood to redeem mankind, emptied Himself of His rights as God and took upon Himself the limitations of man. Satan was defeated by a man—the Son of Man, who was rightly related to God. Now, as people receive the work of Christ on the cross for salvation, they become grafted into that victory.” 32
No Bill, Jesus IS the image of God (Col 1:15) who came in the flesh.
Johnson does not understand the purpose of miracles performed by Jesus: “If Jesus meant for us to be involved in healing the sick, raising the dead, etc., what standard do we follow? Did Jesus show us what God could do? Or was He showing us what a person could do who was in right relationship with God? I believe the latter.“ 33
Johnson’s view that Jesus came to model supernatural powers for believers forces him to ignore the fact that Jesus performed miracles primarily to prove that he was the messiah: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31
Look at the response of the disciples after Jesus walked on water: “And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33
John the Baptist knew Jesus was the messiah: “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29. When he was in prison, John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if “he was the one to come, or if they should look for another.” Luke 7:20
Jesus responded by telling John’s disciples to tell John what they had witnessed: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” Luke 7:22
Jesus did not perform miracles to model the superpowers available to believers, but to prove that he was God incarnate. If Bethelites are able to record a “glory cloud,” is it not strange that there is not one single video of a miracle even remotely similar to what Jesus performed? The greatest miracle, is the salvation of sinners, and our part is to preach the gospel.
8 SPECIAL REVELATIONS, SECRETS & SIGNS
In Kris Vallotton’s blog “Words Of Wisdom From A Millennial Prophetess” he asks the “prophetess” about her “call to the OFFICE of prophet.” Part of her response:
“The main call of the prophet is to take what we’re hearing from God, make it palatable, and actually teach people how to do it. Sometimes we have to take the mystery of God and make it seem not so far away — make it more simple to understand — so the body of Christ and the church can understand it.”
Basically what she’s is saying is that there is a hierarchy in the church, and a few special people will receive direct revelation from God. These messages need to be simplified for regular sheep. How is this any different from the RCC or any other cult?
So what’s the secret to receive revelations, well according to Vallotton doctrine does not matter (so how do they test their revelations?) what matters is relationships.
Kris Vallotton: “Apostles create covenantal, family relationships because believers are attached to and through fathers, mothers and family, not doctrine. This promotes freedom for people to think creatively, to dream, to envision with God and to experience new depths of the Holy Spirit. This relational security creates an environment that attracts revelation. The very nature of revelation is that people get fresh perspectives and deeper insights from God’s Word and have extraordinary encounters with the supernatural Kingdom of God.” 34
“Attract revelation” – is God a magnetic force?
Johnson: “There are anointings, mantles, revelations and mysteries that have lain unclaimed, literally where they were left, because the generation that walked in them never passed them on. I believe it’s possible for us to recover realms of anointing, realms of insight, realms of God that have been untended for decades simply by choosing to reclaim them and perpetuate them for future generations.” 35
What Johnson believes is irrelevant, does scripture teach that we can simply choose to reclaim a revelation? What revelation has been hidden for decades? Johnson might want to reconsider his quest for neglected mantles and anointings! Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit, and when Elijah was caught up into heaven, Elisha picked up his mantle. I’m sure Elisha’s miracles are the envy of every Bethelite, however the mantle could not prevent Elisha from what Johnson should describe as an untimely death: “Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die” 2 Kings 14:1
Bill Johnson: “Become a friend of God. God shares His secrets with His friends. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) He makes all things known to His friends. Not only does He want to share all, He’s invited us to ask anything of Him. But be accustomed to hearing more than you can share with others. Listen as He speaks, but speak only what He gives you freedom to speak about. Some things are revealed only because we’re friends, and are not to be shared with others.” 36
Where is this “doctrine of secrets” taught in scripture?
The revelation of God’s infallible word is not sufficient according to Johnson: “Revelation that does lead us to divine encounter will bring breakthrough that causes a personal transformation. Revelation is the key to spiritual growth because it takes us where we cannot go ourselves. We experience “encounters” because we need “signs” in order to get to where we haven’t gone before. I don’t need signs when I travel familiar roads, but I have to have signs if I’m going to travel where I’ve never been.” 37
Another nonsensical and mystical word salad from Johnson.
Johnson: “His manifestations, while offensive to the minds of many, are limitless in number, and are simple indicators of God’s presence and purpose. Why are they necessary? Because He wants to take us farther, and we can only get there by following signs. Our present understanding of Scripture can only take us so far.” 38
Kundalini manifestations at Bethel are offensive to the scriptures, and therefore to the minds of discerning believers. What if a believer does not receive any signs? Are they missing out on what God has in store for them? What sort of signs should we be looking for? Why are Bethelites looking for omens when they have the scriptures? If God uses signs to take us further, how will we know when we’ve arrived if there’s no description of our destination? Vallotton admits that he doesn’t know the purpose of signs such as feathers and gold dust, so he simply concludes that they are a “wonder.”
“Why does God do these things, you ask? I really don’t know. I have often been among different groups of leaders who speculate about the purpose of these signs. I have heard many ideas that sound good and make me feel better about the things I have experienced. But the truth is, I really don’t know why these things happen. Therefore, I do think feathers and gold dust qualify as “wonders.”
It’s tempting to believe that God will give new insights and revelations that have escaped the body of Christ for 2000 years or remained unclaimed for generations. Tempting because you will be the special one that God has revealed this to, and tempting because an opportunity is knocking at your door. This is the opportunity for you to rise above the crowd, join the elite in the NAR club and become a:
9 SIGNIFICANT VOICE
Bethel is a platform for the cultivation of significant voices, and I’m not speaking about the vocalists of Bethel music or Jesus culture. If you maintain the “culture of honour” within the system, grow in your “anointing” and come up with some sort of course or “revelation, the NAR is your oyster. While the percentage of those who achieve this status may be small, the thought of becoming a significant player in NAR is appealing – for all the wrong reasons.
The office of apostle and prophet is closed, they were appointed directly by God, and have completed their task which was laying the foundation (Eph 2:20) But the privileges that came with these titles (direct revelation, signs and wonders) are irresistible to those mesmerized by the New Apostolic Reformation. Why settle for being a significant voice without a significant title? The proliferation of modern day “apostles” and “prophets” is a fruit of NAR theology – the restoration of the five-fold ministry. These titles are claimed by men and women in order to elevate their status in the visible church, and improve their chances of becoming an unquestionable significant voice. Their teachings are not questioned, their visions are accepted, and their new revelations are apparently crucial to believers. This affords them the opportunity to become:
10 SPIRITUAL ENTREPRENEURS
“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:3
The NAR is a burgeoning industry and the qualifications needed to make money are minimal, even non existent apart from “hearing from God” or walking in some sort of “anointing.” In fact, the real qualification is to be unqualified in biblical terms. Spiritual entrepreneurs in the NAR abandon context and employ eisegesis to inject their presuppositions into the text. Sound expository teaching would sound the death knell for the vain imaginations of Bill Johnson & co. Can you recall a series at Bethel, where Johnson or Vallotton faithfully work through an epistle or one of the Gospels using a real bible, explaining what each verse means in context?
I’m going to name a few of the homegrown unqualified “significant voices” cultured by Bethel. Most are still at Bethel, and have dual ministries – allowing them to capture a larger audience outside of Bethel and of course generate larger incomes. Their websites include pages displaying their products, from teachings to apparel.
Dawna De Silva has ministered at Bethel for the past twenty years. She is the co creator of Bethel’s Sozo ministry – one of the most destructive courses in the visible church. De Silva teaches a course on “shifting atmospheres” – a concept God apparently forgot to include in scripture.
Stephen De Silva – Dawna’s husband “offers the Body of Christ a fresh, Holy Spirit-inspired perspective with his biblically based financial insights.” Excerpt from an advert for a course he recently presented in South Africa: “De Silva will teach on the broad subject of stewardship using his unique approach to wealth. Biblical truth, fresh revelation and prophetic acts will provide attendants with new levels of breakthrough overcoming the spirit of poverty, the spirit of mammon, and many mysteries of riches and wealth..“
Havilah Cunnington “serves as a pastor at Bethel Church” and offers a “Prophetic Personalities” course. She identified what all the real Apostles missed – there are four types of prophetic personalities. Havilah will “teach on four types of prophetic gifts, unleashing you into a bold life of hearing from Heaven.” Learning to hear from God will currently cost you less, as Cunnington has reduced the course to $39.
Theresa Dedmon creator of the infamous “Destiny” cards is part of Bethel’s pastoral staff, and oversees the creative arts department for the church and School of Supernatural Ministry. For $44.95 you can purchase a pair of “Stairway to Heaven” leggings from Dedmon’s catalog and “Go from yoga to dinner in our body hugging printed leggings!” Dedmon’s sales pitch: “My fashion designs embody the prophetic art they are created from. Wearing my art enhances your awareness of God’s presence, and helps you become a walking encounter of Heaven’s message to those around you.”
Seth Dahl was Bethel’s children pastor, creator of Vince the puppet who apparently releases heaven into earth, and helped Seth transfer the anointing during a “fire tunnel.” Seth has had the privilege of meeting an angel of finance, and Jesus once asked Seth to forgive Him (Jesus)
Andy Mason is the director of “Heaven in Business” and the co founder of Bethel Business School, a school “dedicated to helping our students cultivate an awareness of God’s Presence in their daily lives. The Presence of God transforms the world within us as it impacts the environment around us.” One course they offer is the Excelerator Bootcamp – a course that will help you “shape the nations through your business.” The course includes a lecture on the “spiritual foundations to a supernatural culture” and “multiple ways to hear God for wisdom and strategies in business growth.” The five day course will “save over a year in your business growth process” but will eat into your savings at a cost of $2750.
Ben Fitzgerald served as a pastor at Bethel Church, and is currently the Director of Awakening Europe. Ben’s parents are Ken and Jenny Hodge who have a “ministry” called “Christalignment.” Ben has come out in defense of the occultic methodology and shenanigans of his parents.
11 SHAMEFUL GAIN
Vallotton: “We’re restoring health to people’s bodies, souls and spirits. We’re restoring financial prosperity. We’re restoring morality in the government. We’re restoring holiness in the arts. We’re restoring land and much more” 39
Ignorant Paul, why did he not have the power to restore financial prosperity: “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:6-9
More from Vallotton: “Wealth is a power and not just a condition. God’s the one who gives people the power to make wealth, which is the magnetic attraction to prosperity. God intends wealth to be a sign that His people have made a covenant with Him.”
Vallotton is a charlatan, scripture is clear – prosperity is NOT a sign of our relationship with God: “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)…” – Rev 2:9 (their riches were not material)
“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” – 2 Corinthians 6:10 (making them rich in Christ not finances)
Spiritual entrepreneurs prosper because they are tickling itching ears, but Vallotton believes it’s an anointing that causes people to inexplicably give:
“You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Wow! There are two things that grab me from this passage. The first is that God gave His people power to make wealth. In other words, wealth is more than wise financial investments; it is actually a magnetic force—a tractor beam, so to speak—that sucks prosperity into its vortex. When God anoints a person, or in this case an entire nation, with the power to make wealth, it creates an invisible yet tangible culture in which people feel impassioned to give to those who are anointed, even though they often cannot even explain why. This kind of anointing transcends logic and reason.” 40
There really can only be one explanation that people actually believe this drivel – a mixture of the law, Star Trek, new age teachings. This is the result of a spiritual delusion that has come upon people who have rejected truth. Significant voices and spiritual entrepreneurs are not the only Bethelites who prosper financially or have a chance to get rich. The ordinary member at Bethel is primed to expect financial gain. Here are some excerpts from Bethel’s declarations that they make during their offering time:
We are believing the Lord for:
Jobs and better jobs
Raises and bonuses
Sales and commissions
Estates and inheritances
Interests and income
Rebates and returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts and surprises
Debts paid off
Blessing and increase
Compare Bethel’s desire for riches to Paul’s words: “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:10-13.
In this article, Bill Johnson like every other prosperity teacher, twists Malachi 3 to justify tithing. Under the sub heading The Consequences of Withholding the Tithe Johnson writes: “If I don’t give it to God, then God gives it to the devourer. You never get to keep it. That’s the bummer. You withhold it and what happens? A car breaks down again. Washing machine, amazing how many times that thing can break. Hello. Storm comes, a fence blows over, this happens. It’s amazing how many crazy things happen for people who just withhold the tithe. Why? Because you’ve become a legal target to the devourer. Does that scare anybody at all? A legal target. God says, “Yep it’s legal. He’s got a bull’s-eye right on his chest. Go for it. Just don’t take his life.”
It’s this kind of fear mongering and despicable teaching that enrich the coffers of Johnson & Bethel.
It’s a pity Bill Johnson does not apply his own advice: “Nothing is accomplished by allowing our imagination to create our own image of God. He would then be no better than the gods made out of wood or stone, also created by human initiative. Inventing Him in our minds or building Him with our hands is a similarity that is both vain and ultimately destructive.” 41
Yet that is exactly what Bethel have done – created another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel. Jeroboam seduced his people with a golden calf, these days it takes a little gold dust to seduce those willing to go off the map. The secret arts of Bethel are a result of another spirit, and human initiative.
Johnson speaks of travelling to cities that are full of spiritual darkness, and says he chooses to focus on what he represents, instead of the darkness: “I come as a house of God. As such I contain a gate to heaven, with a ladder providing angelic activities according to the need of the moment. Simply put, I am an open heaven! This does not apply to a select few. On the contrary, this revelation is about the house of God and the principles of the house apply to all believers.” 42
Bethel Church Redding does indeed come as a gate, but it does not lead to heaven, and the ladder they provide is filled with activities from vain imaginations and fallen angels. The open heaven they claim to be under, is a God ordained delusion – because they do not love the truth.
1. Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World (Kindle Locations 1463-1464). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
2. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013, p 73.
3. Ibid. p 84.
4. Bill Johnson, A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World. Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Kindle Locations 1457-1458)
5. Ibid (Kindle Locations 1513-1514)
6. Ibid (Kindle Location 593)
7. Ibid (Kindle Location 581)
8. Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind Access to a Life of Miracles – Daily Devotional & Journey. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2006, p 68.
9. Leon Morris, The Epistle to The Romans. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1988, pg 288
10. Kris Vallotton, Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power (Kindle Locations 3470-3472). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
11. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers 2006, Chapter 9
12. Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World (Kindle Locations 727-729). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
13. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers 2006, Chapter 12
14. Bill Johnson, God is Good – He’s Better Than You Think, Destiny Image 2016, Chapter 9.
15. Ibid. Chapter 9
16. Ibid. Chapter 8.
17. Kris Vallotton. Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power (Kindle Location 1964). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition
18. Ibid (Kindle Location 1976)
19. Ibid (Kindle Locations 884-887)
20. Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World (Kindle Location 532). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
21. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013, chapter 4 p 61.
22. Ibid. p 44.
23. Kris Vallotton, Poverty Riches & Wealth, Chosen Books, 2018, Chapter 6.
24. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, Chapter 12
25. Ibid. p 93.
26. Kris Vallotton. Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power (Kindle Locations 193-194). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
27. Bill Johnson. Experience the Impossible: Simple Ways to Unleash Heaven’s Power on Earth, Bloomington, Chosen Books, 2014, 4.FAITH
28. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013,p 28?? Chapter 2
29. Ibid. p 75.
30. Bill Johnson, God is Good – He’s Better Than You Think, Destiny Image 2018, Chapter 2
31. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013 p 75.
32. Ibid. p 31.
33. Bill Johnson, Experience the Impossible: Simple Ways to Unleash Heaven’s Power on Earth, Bloomington, Chosen Books, 2014, 15. Love.
34. Kris Vallotton. Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power (Kindle Location 356). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
35. Ellyn Davis; Judy Franklin. The Physics of Heaven (Kindle Locations 549-551). Double Portion Publishing. Kindle Edition.
36. Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World (Kindle Location 1379). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
37. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers, 2006, Chapter 15
38. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013 p 136
39. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers 2006, Chapter 12
40. Kris Vallotton, Poverty Riches & Wealth, Chosen Books, 2018, Chapter 6.
41. Bill Johnson, God is Good – He’s Better Than You Think, Destiny Image 2018, Chapter 1.
42. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013, Chapter 12, pg 134.