By Rick Becker 13 July 2021
Bethel church Redding is currently promoting a series of videos called “Rediscover Bethel.” The goal is to clear up any misconceptions, and silence critics. Dan Farrelly, associate pastor and Dean of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry carefully coaches spin “apostle” and “prophet” Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton through a series of questions and answers. In episode 4, Farrelly concedes that their strategy of ignoring questions and critics has “cost them a little bit.” Vallotton weighs in by quoting Churchill: “If you stop for every barking dog you’ll never reach your destiny.” But at the same time, Vallotton says there are “hungry people” asking questions. Why they have left the “hungry people” without answers for decades, is a question only they can answer. No doubt they have felt the heat from critics they label as angry basement bloggers with a jealous or religious spirit. Being a wolf, Vallotton is never going to be happy with the bark of a sheepdog.
I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you – these are not the words of a “barking dog,” angry blogger, or someone with a religious spirit that’s been hurt by the church. These are the words of an old apostle – John, who’s warning the church about “antichrists” and “false prophets.” He instructs us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” 1 John 4:1. In this article, we’ll “test the spirit” of a practice at Bethel – leading people into “third heaven” encounters.
Churchill also said “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” This is the case with Bethel, who have no excuse for their false doctrines and risk taking strategies that are deceiving many. Like the false prophets condemned in Ezekiel 13, “Rediscover Bethel” is merely whitewashing a flimsy wall. So far, they have not repented or renounced any of their false teachings. They have not withdrawn any of their books or courses, in fact failed “prophet” Vallotton who meekly apologized for his “prophetic” word concerning Trump, is currently promoting his “prophetic” material, and on a recruitment drive for the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. This is where students will be seduced into “third heaven” encounters. Bethel’s practice of leading people into “third heaven” encounters can only be described as a combination of the occult and a vain imagination. It’s a form of “experiential Christianity,” it denies the sufficiency of scripture and nullifies the true work of the Holy Spirit.
Readers may be familiar with Judy Franklin. Franklin served as administrative assistant to Bill Johnson for many years. Although she has relocated to Tennessee, she continues to work with Bill Johnson Ministries. Franklin is one of the authors of “The Physics Of Heaven” – a book that explores “the mysteries of God hidden in sound, light, vibrations, frequencies, energy, and quantum physics” (Bill and Beni Johnson contributed with chapters). The book has nothing to do with heaven, and everything to do with the occult and new age – it’s heresy! Franklin’s chapter is a mixture of quackery and dominion theology. This is a review of Franklin’s chapter by Pastor Larry DeBruyn.
Another book by Franklin and Beni Johnson which we’ll examine in this article is Experiencing the Heavenly Realm: Keys to Accessing Supernatural Experiences. Why does this book matter? Because it has Bethel’s stamp of approval, and is currently available (along with The Physics Of Heaven) at Bethel’s online store. Furthermore, Franklin teaches this mystical deception at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Beni Johnson has learnt the tricks of the trade from Franklin and also teaches on “heavenly encounters.”
Excerpt of the book’s description from Bethel’s online store: “If you are seeking a closer relationship with God, you will be totally absorbed within the visions and personal stories of the supernatural shared in Experiencing the Heavenly Realm. You can:
* Activate your seeing capacity.
* Experience love in the third heaven realm.
* Be touched and healed by the Lord.
* Go beyond just knowing about Christ.
* Know Him personally, intimately.
You can be healed by the Lord – emotionally, mentally, and physically – after learning how to experience the heavenly realm.”
Visions and personal stories – the perfect recipe for deception, and one of the primary driving forces behind Bethel. Right off the bat, every believer should be questioning this description. Where are these ideas taught in scripture? Why would God leave such vital information out of scripture?
• Excerpt from Kris Vallotton’s endorsement:
“Judy Franklin has done a masterful job calling the Church back to her original mandate to live in the spirit realm. Her book Experiencing the Heavenly Realm reads like a treasure map, taking us on a journey from the house of horrors to supernatural experiences. Judy hands us the lost keys to the mysterious Kingdom and shows us the way to the Father’s house. If you have been longing to pass through the veil into the hidden realms of Heaven, this book is for you!”
This is a lie of course, in fact Bethel is a mystical house of horrors. What are these “lost keys”? Who lost them? How could God leave his church without the means to be complete?
Revelation, secrets, hidden realms, intimacy, mysterious, and “mysteries” are appealing words to itching ears. If you want a revelation, read the word of God. If you want to know a mystery – study the person and work of Christ, study the gospel!
Sadly, this is not enough for some, who embark on a never ending quest for “more.” They want to feel as if they have experienced something special and are privy to God’s secrets. Bill Johnson teaches this idea:
“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.” – Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World
Beni Johnson echoes her husbands opinion:
“God wants us to understand His world and His Kingdom. He wants us to know all about Him and to know Him intimately. He wants to tell us His secrets and to share His heart with us. Often, when we experience these things, they come through mystical experiences. Mystical experiences are often difficult for our earthly minds to comprehend. It is as though they come from another world, secrets whispered to us from above.” – Beni Johnson. Prayer Changes Things: Taking Your Life to the Next Prayer Level.
Ignore this type of bait, all the secrets the mysteries that God wanted us to know and were previously concealed, have been revealed:
“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Romans 11:25.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Ephesians 1:7-10.
“When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Ephesians 3:4-6.
“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things,” Ephesians 3:8-9.
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:24-27.
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,” Colossians 2:1-2.
• Excerpt from Jenn Johnson’s endorsement:
“While reading this book I could actually feel Heaven… Himself. I just sat back and smiled, shaking my head. “She did it,” I said. She was able to capture Him and all of his goodness in word form. She captured my Friend. She captured Him and how fun He is. (Laughing…) Well done, Judy, my friend. Ya did Him proud; He smiles on this book. I love you so much.”
That certainly sums up the problem with Bethel – feelings! This is the same Jenn Johnson who said: “God to me, Jesus to me, and the Holy Spirit to me is like the genie from Aladdin,…he’s funny, he’s sneaky, he’s silly” Take note, the original video is still on Bethel TV YouTube channel! Johnson also thinks that angels have “farting contests” while circling the throne.
• And finally, the book contains a quote from Bill Johnson:
“The surest way to speak a word of authority is to speak a word that you have been given personal insight on by experience in God. That sort of thing can never be taken from you. Nothing can diminish the effect of that word in your life. I can forget what I have learned to memorize. I can forget the key phrases and slogans, but I can never forget my experiences in God.“
That’s how cults and false religions are started – an experience that’s followed by teachings and practices that contradict 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.” – Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God.
Before we explore a few of Franklin’s grandiose visions, a brief look at the testimony of someone who had a real experience of the third heaven: “I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” 2 Corinthians 12:1-4.
Note the following:
• Paul did not write an epistle on his experience, instead he said that he “heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.”
• Paul did not give the Corinthians keys to activate their seeing capacity or experience the third heaven.
• Paul did not activate the experience by using his imagination – he was “caught up.”
Barnes commentary on this phrase: “Such an one caught up – The word which is used here (ἁρπάζω harpazō) means, to seize upon, to snatch away, as wolves do their prey (John 12:10); or to seize with avidity or eagerness Matthew 11:12; or to carry away, to hurry off by force or involuntarily; see John 6:15; Acts 7:39; Acts 23:10. In the case before us there is implied the idea that Paul was conveyed by a foreign force; or that he was suddenly seized and snatched up to heaven. The word expresses the suddenness and the rapidity with which it was done.”
Franklin’s “visions” can only be a product of her imagination, or some kind of demonic deception, but she believes that some of them were actual visits to the “third heaven” :
“After just a little bit, we stopped at a beautiful garden that looked quite familiar. I realized that this was the first garden I had seen in my visions, and I was a bit confused. So I turned to the Father and said, “But I’ve been here before.” He said, “Yes, I know.” Then He started laughing. It was then that I realized that somehow I wasn’t just having little visions, but I had actually been entering the realm of the third Heaven.”
“To imagine, you form an image of something in your mind. You actually use your mind to see something that is unreal. What I’m talking about here isn’t something that you make up in your mind; it’s something you observe that didn’t come from your mind. It’s something you experience.”
Franklin’s proof text for this experience is Ephesians 1:18: “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”
What that verse has to do with taking trips to heaven is baffling.
While Franklin concedes that what she sees and says are not on “any level of inspired authoritative Scripture” she believes the experience is comparable:
“Do they compare with Paul’s experience of being caught up in the Third Heaven or with Ezekiel’s visions? Well, they compare,”
These sorts of claims are nothing new. Spurgeon had something to say about these types of “revelations”:
“Take care never to impute the vain imaginings of your fancy to him. I have seen the Spirit of God shamefully dishonoured by persons— I hope they were insane— who have said that they have had this and that revealed to them… If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense, trace it to the devil, not to the Spirit of God. Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any of us is in the word of God already— he adds nothing to the Bible, and never will. Let persons who have revelations of this, that, and the other, go to bed and wake up in their senses. I only wish they would follow the advice, and no longer insult the Holy Ghost by laying their nonsense at his door.”
A few examples of Franklin’s nonsensical visions:
• God invites Franklin to sit next to him on his throne.
• Sitting with the Trinity around a campfire.
• God swallows Franklin and she ends up in his heart. Later, she’s joined by Bill and Beni Johnson, who come riding into God’s heart on “love cell waves,” with Bill wearing a “cowboy hat.” Bill and Beni had been “looking around” and invited Franklin and a few others to take a tour of other parts. Each of them rode on a “love cell” and visited God’s throat, eyes, hands, feet and brain – which contained electrical charges similar to a “pink neon sign that flashed: LOVE.”
• Franklin visits God’s creation place and finds a “galaxy in a bottle.” She asked God if she could stick her finger in the bottle, God answered “Nooooo.” And I realized what might happen to all the planets and stars if I stuck my finger in that bottle and started moving things around.”
Let’s imagine the last experience was real. Does Franklin really believe her finger in a bottle could upset God’s creation?
• A storehouse in heaven that contained bins full of blessings – represented by coloured balls. Each bin had a chute that poured blessings on to a conveyor belt which was motionless at the time because Jesus was waiting for the father’s instruction to switch it on.
• New revelations.
The various errors point to the fact that Franklin and Bethel view the scriptures as insufficient, and the true operation of the Holy Spirt in the life of a believer as insufficient. Beni Johnson:
“God has so much to teach us and have us learn, and one of the ways He does this is through heavenly encounters with Him.”
Isn’t it strange that Paul, who had a real heavenly encounter said that he was not permitted to teach on what he had heard.
Franklin claims she does not “make a new doctrine or theology” out of her visions/experiences, but she does.
Franklin: “Having heavenly experiences is a tool God will use to show us who He really is and how He works and even gives us strategies for establishing His Kingdom: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” (Matt. 6: 10).”
New or gullible believers reading these words from Franklin will believe they are spiritually disadvantaged unless they have a “heavenly experience.” As a result, many will pursue experiences, and succumb to various forms of deception.
Franklin needs unnecessary fanciful visions in order to learn more – instead of learning from scripture:
“He has indeed created a garden for each of us to come to. A place of fellowship with Him, just as He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I have seen so many different gardens in my journeys with Him. Each garden is a little different, and I learn a little more about Him in each place. I’ll give you an example.”
In her example, Franklin describes an experience in a garden in Heaven. God had made a Lavender garden for Franklin – even though her favourite colour is red. God then changed the colours to red, yellow and green, it was then that Franklin realised that the lavender colour was actually the most peaceful, and suited the setting. The whole point of this specific vision? – “So the lesson I learned that day was God knows best.”
• Romanticizing our relationship with God.
There are 28 chapters in the book, 25 of these are dedicated to Franklin’s visions. Franklin romanticizes her relationship with the Trinity. It’s common for those who go on about “intimacy with God” to define our relationship with God as an eros instead of purely agape kind of love. Apparently Franklin has kissed all members of the Trinity, and danced with two:
“So one day I stood up on God’s lap and put my arms around His neck with my face next to His and my mouth next to His ear. I whispered, “My Father, I want to go deeper in You.” Then I turned my head and kissed His cheek.”
Franklin climbed the tree of life that was in the garden of Eden to pick the fruit, she was not alone:
“Holy Spirit came with me to help me pick the fruit. I leaned over and said, “Thank You,” and kissed His cheek. I giggled and He started laughing. It was the most wonderful sound and it made me so glad to be there and to know Him. After I had picked the fruit, I went over to where Jesus was sitting and sat down by Him to eat it. I leaned my back against Him and He had His arm around me. Sigh. I honestly cannot describe how wonderful it felt to be there.”
“Then I went over to Jesus and kissed Him.”
Franklin witnessed the Trinity dancing together, but was not left out of the fun. On a different occasion:
“The Holy Spirit came over and asked me for a dance. Always before when I had danced with Him, my feet had stayed on the ground while He soared around, seemingly unhampered by the gravity that held me to the floor. This time He took me in His arms and we both soared up and away in a marvelous dance. I was laughing and He was smiling at me. Then He leaned over to me and said, “I love you.”
“I started dancing and spinning through the fire. I actually twirled right through my Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit while They laughed.”
“Then the Holy Spirit and I started to dance again…a deliberate step-by-step dance of me learning to follow His lead— learning the gentle pressure of His hand on my back and the subtle movement of His hand in mine.”
“I was about four or five trees away from Jesus when I looked back and saw that He was standing and looking at me. I ran to Him and threw myself into His arms. He held me and we began to dance. Then He said, “I’ve heard you and the Holy Spirit have been practicing dancing for our wedding day.”
• Channeling, necromancy, divination.
In her book Prayer Changes Things: Taking Your Life to the Next Prayer Level, Beni Johnson writes the following:
A mystical person who is in a right relationship with God and humankind will naturally open the gates for other people to go to the same places in the spiritual realm that he or she has discovered. We see this in Psalm 27:4, when David cries, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all of the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.”
No, we don’t see this heretical nonsense in Psalm 27:4, but we see a warning in Deuteronomy:
“anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” Deuteronomy 18:10-12
In the closing chapter of Experiencing the Heavenly Realm, Beni Johnson writes:
“You can see while reading this book that Judy does have a unique gift. Being able to help a person into an encounter with our Father is awesome.”
As we’ll discover, Judy’s “gift” boils down to ability to apply hypnosis techniques. If we have to “help a person into an encounter” then there must be some technique and process involved. Obviously this is not taught in scripture, but a practice you’ll find in various false religions, and cults.
Franklin: “At some point someone gave me a note and asked me to take it to Jesus the next time I went to Heaven. I read the note and it said, “Dear Father, I need some money. Your loving son.” I laughed about it and put it away, not thinking about it again. However, the next time I went to Heaven, the Father said, “Give Me the note.” I thought, What note? I looked down and there in my hand was the note. So I gave it to Him and He read it. Then He threw His head back and laughed and said, “I love him so much. He makes Me laugh.” That was amazing in itself, but the next week someone gave that man $ 1,000. “
Franklin says that this particular story “got around,” and as a result a woman who had lost two children in a tragic accident, handed her a note that read “Dear Father, I want to see my boys.” That evening, Franklin says she was “with Jesus,” and asked him what she should say to the woman. Jesus just smiled, and at the same time she saw the two children walk up to her. They told Franklin how much they were enjoying heaven, and put a gold locket in Franklin’s hand, telling her to give it to their mother as it belonged to her (The woman subsequently found the missing locket in her car which her child had given her seven days before the accident). The following day, Franklin saw the mother, and the Lord told her to tell her about her encounter with the children. That afternoon, God told Franklin “I want you to bring her to Me.”
There are more stories of people seeing dead relatives during their “third” heaven encounters:
In one session under Franklin, Beni Johnson saw her deceased fraternal grandmother, maternal grandmother, and her father in law in heaven. Johnson also teaches the “process” of taking people to heaven that she’s learnt from Franklin. During a “soaking” session led by Johnson at a youth conference, one boy claimed that he saw his deceased parents in heaven.
• Guided imagery, hypnosis.
Apart from Franklin’s false claim that she’s not creating a new doctrine, she’s ignoring that fact that she’s created a methodology – rather, copied a methodology. A methodology that contradicts the scriptures.
We are given insight into Franklin’s technique through a letter written by the wife of a man (Jeff) who was dying of cancer. The letter is published in chapter 27, under the heading Testimonies. The wife is writing to a friend, explaining what took place when Franklin came to their home to lead the husband in an encounter. Bethel were sending healing teams to their home, and on this occasion Franklin had come because Bill Johnson and had asked her to “escort Jeff to Heaven…and come back of course.” The wife was not too optimistic because Jeff was a “highly critical-thinker/ cynical/ logical person” and “knew too much about hypnotherapy to not be able to let himself “go.” The wife’s description of the process:
“Judy began by praying with Jeff and the others, and then asked Jeff to close his eyes. She did what was very reminiscent of guided imagery, that therapists and psychologists use for hypnosis and relaxation, so I thought, Uh oh, this is not going to fly. She spoke in a very low and slow voice, describing finding oneself in Heaven…”
After stopping the process at least 6 times, Jeff finally had the experience, and saw Jesus who had a gift for him – a box with a ribbon. Jeff opened the box which contained a “giant marshmallow,” and Jesus then explained to him that “He is like this marshmallow…. sweet and soft and good.” Towards the end of the story, the wife writes:
“Jeff took his time staying with Jesus, and finally, Judy led him back. (I can’t remember how she did that, and I think at the end, I was on the fringe of being there.)”
What’s described is a hypnosis technique. An induced altered state of consciousness utilizing these techniques is not a method sanctioned in scripture, but the occult and new age. Like a hypnotist who wakes their client up from a hypnotic state, Franklin had to bring Jeff “back.” You’ll also find guided visualization techniques in the unbiblical inner healing movement and Bethel’s Sozo course.
• The power of suggestion
Franklin: “Father has told me that He has created a garden for everyone. Not a community garden (although He may have one of those too) but a special garden for everyone. So I tell the students that and have them ask Jesus to take them there. Sometimes Jesus takes them other places, but most of the time they go to their gardens.”
“Father” failed to tell the rest of us that, he even left it out of scripture! So what we have here, is a new revelation. One that’s apparently quite important, because this is where we can “fellowship” with God and learn “more.”
Franklin has planted the idea in the minds of her gullible followers that they have a garden in Heaven. Due to the power of suggestion, that’s where many of them go. Excerpt from Latane’s story:
“The next day I had to get back to the third Heaven. During soaking I felt the warm touch of Jesus on my cheek again. I knew I was in Heaven again. This time I took hold of His hand and He was to take me to my own personal garden. I was so excited with anticipation of what it would be like… my own garden in Heaven.”
THE BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY CONNECTION
In chapter 25, under the title Taking Others To Heaven, Franklin writes:
“At Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) near the start of each new school term, the leadership has me come to “do my Heaven thing.” I do this at the beginning of the term because that’s when heart and relationship issues between the students and the Father are being dealt with.”
This is obviously when the students are most vulnerable, and the perfect opportunity to manipulate them.
Franklin: “I so love leading people to the place where they experience God in a new, loving, and wonderful way.”
Ultimately, that’s what it is, an experience. One that’s dependent on techniques, and leaves subjects filled with warm fuzzy feelings. Feelings which become one of the means they use to determine whether something is from God. Scripture, not our feelings or experiences, are the only objective and accurate means to determine whether something is from God.
Franklin: “I tell the students to relax and be peaceful, because they can’t enter into an encounter when they are striving. By this time, their excitement is palpable in the air, sort of like children going on their first ride at Disneyland…First, I tell them to close their eyes and not to open them until I give them permission. Then I tell them to picture Jesus out in front of them. He doesn’t have to be real clear because when I first saw Him it was shadowy. I wait and then ask them to raise their hands if they have a picture of Him. I know that there will always be some who aren’t seeing anything, but I know I can’t wait for everyone, so if the majority can picture Him, I tell the rest to soak in His presence.”
There’s no difference between Franklin’s technique, and the technique used to enter a shamanic trance or any other altered state exercise.
Franklin: “Next I tell the students to walk up to Jesus and then wait. I ask again how many are standing right in front of Him. By this time His presence is growing very strong because we have entered into a heavenly atmosphere where people are anxious for an encounter with a loving God. Then I tell them that He is going to do something.”
W H E R E I S T H I S T A U G H T I N S C R I P T U R E ????
Franklin “I have them raise their hands if Jesus has done something. Then I go around to them with a microphone and ask them what He did. Their eyes are still closed because I don’t want them to be distracted. Oh the things I hear. “He hugged me.” “He kissed me.” “He’s dancing with me.” “He put His hand on my head.” It’s that touch. Jesus loves to touch us. Isn’t that the way love is here in our world? When we love someone we want to be near them, we want to touch them. Do you really think it’s any different with Him? Then I tell them that He wants to say something to them. I wait for a while. Then I go to the people who have raised their hands in affirmation that Jesus has spoken to them and have them share. “I love you.” I’m proud of you.” “I have so many wonderful things to show you.” “I have a plan for your life.”
You’ll never find someone saying “Jesus told me I’m going to suffer for his sake”, or “Jesus told me to repent from my sin”, or “Jesus told me that the glitter and glory cloud here is fake.”
Franklin believes these experiences are available for all – “The heavenly interactions I’ve described above are available to all of us,” and has passed this mantle of deception to Beni Johnson. In her chapter, Johnson writes:
“I have had the privilege to teach on heavenly encounters and have had people share their experiences afterward. I taught on this at a workshop in one of the youth conferences that we were having at the church. When I was done teaching, I told the participants that we were going to soak in God’s presence and that many of them in the room would have heavenly experiences.”
TESTED AND FOUND WANTING
“For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” 2 Corinthians 11:4.
This practice of taking people to the third heaven is not Christian, this is not biblical, this is deception. This is a combination of the new age, the occult, divination, channeling, hypnosis, vain imaginations, Gnosticism, mysticism etc.
Those who defend this practice of leading people into third heaven encounters will say that they are exercising discernment. They will say they are aware of the dangers. Their primary defense of these subjective experiences – is subjective in nature. There’s the problem. They will say it must be from God because they “felt his presence.” An angel of light is able to give warm and fuzzy feelings, as is your own subconscious. The primary means to test a teaching, methodology, or experience, is to compare it to scripture. In this case, even an elementary understanding of scripture is sufficient in order to know that what Franklin and Bethel are teaching and practicing is evil.
Initially, Franklin states that was was concerned about the possibility of being deceived, but was reassured by Bill Johnson:
“At first I was worried about being deceived. So one day I talked to Bill Johnson about my concern. He responded by saying, “Then your God is too small and your devil too big.” I realized that I loved the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit was my Guide and my Teacher.”
Yet the Holy Spirit will never “guide” us in ways that are contrary to scripture. If Franklin loves God, she would love his word, and obey it. Bethel have made God small, by elevating man/woman, and by imagining that believers need the occult or a vivid imagination to be whole. Will Bethel cover this practice in their Rediscover Bethel series? Probably not, it’s indefensible, but if they did, rest assured they’ll find a way to justify anything. Bethel need to be marked and avoided, they teach a different and dangerous doctrine. All we need, has been provided for – in and through Christ, the operation of the Holy Spirit within us, and the infallible word of God as our guide – not guided trips to the “third heaven.”
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”2 Peter 1:3-4.
” 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.
Links to articles on Bethel and the Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry:
BSSM Evangelism – Activating The Senses & Strange Spirits
Aligning with a false Christ – condoned by Bethel church
BSSM – soaking, declaring, and spinning into delusion
Bethel School of Spritiual Drunkenness
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism
The New Breed of Crafty Evangelists
Seduced By Bethel
Bill Johnson – Power over Principle, Honoring the Dishonorable.
The Fruits of Bethel Church – Ashamed Of The Gospel, Flirting With The Occult
God – Kris Vallotton’s Fixer
Bethel’s delusions of grandeur – impervious to the realities of the Carr fire