Bill Johnson – Power over Principle, Honoring the Dishonorable.

By Rick Becker   7 January 2020

Todd Bentley is the product of a movement that has elevated men, women, and miracles above God. In the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) the supernatural is a vital element. In fact, the value placed on the supernatural is the underlying philosophy that has enabled charlatans, and in this case a sexual predator to thrive in the NAR. The leaders and the movement value power over principle. By power I mean anything they perceive to be a supernatural gift or manifestation. By principle I mean the principles or fundamental truths contained in scripture. In their defense, NAR leaders who commissioned, restored and recommissioned Bentley will claim that anyone can fall into sin or deception. This is true, but they have failed to address two facts:
• They have created a culture that honors men and women above scripture.
• They commissioned a man who was never qualified for ministry.
One of the leading figures in the NAR who played a pivotal role in the life of Bentley is Bill Johnson. In this article, I explore one aspect of Johnson’s contribution to an insidious movement and the culture within. It has enabled ravenous wolves like Bentley to thrive –  because dead or alive, the dishonorable are honored
.

 Dishonoring God by honoring the dishonorable who are alive

Todd Bentley shot to NAR stardom during the “Lakeland revival” during which he kicked and punched people who came forward for prayer. Claims of miracles drew the crowds, and garnered the attention of leaders in the NAR. Leading NAR apostles and prophets could not resist what was deemed to be a supernatural outpouring, and they catapulted Bentley further into the limelight by commissioning this charlatan, an excerpt from Bill Johnson’s prayer over Bentley reveals the philosophy of power above principle :
We shape the course of history, by partnering with you, giving honor where it’s due.You welcome the glory, as well as any anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. I long to learn from you in that, and I bless you, and I pray with the rest of these, that the measure of glory would increase, that Moses would no longer be considered the high water mark where the glory shone from his face, but instead the revelation of the goodness of God would change the face of the church, and that he would use your voice, he would use your grace, your anointing, to alter the face of the church before this world, that the goodness of the Lord will be seen once again, I pray this over you in Jesus name.”

Bentley was elevated because of his “anointing” and the “glory” that rested on him – power over principle. Shortly thereafter, Bentley’s extramarital affair surfaced, he subsequently divorced his wife and married his mistress. Rick Joyner and Bill Johnson oversaw Bentley’s restoration.

Todd Bentley is restored to ministry.

Many questioned Bentley’s return to the ministry after his “restoration” and in this video, Bill Johnson laments that fact that many abandoned Todd when he was “facing some tough stuff” and then responds to a question he received:
“How in God’s name can you endorse Todd Bentley?”
Not surprisingly, Johnson resorts to power over principle as the main thrust of his defense of Bentley:
Excerpts from Bill’s response: “Have you ever been in the room when God shows up on him, and used him in stunning miracles, have you seen him operate in word of knowledge or the prophetic? … have you personally benefited from his gift?…To respond to your statement how in God’s name can you endorse Todd Bentley?, it’s easy, I do it in God’s name.”

Last year new allegations surfaced, and Dr Michael Brown was asked to “oversee a process where these accusations against Todd could be evaluated.”  (Dr Brown is a master of obfuscation when it comes to the NAR, and has refused to expose many of his heretical friends)

This is an excerpt from the  Statement  released by the panel (which include false prophets in the NAR) that investigated Todd Bentley: “Based on our careful review of numerous first-hand reports, some of them dating back to 2004, we state our theological opinion and can say with one voice that, without a doubt, Todd is not qualified to serve in leadership or ministry today. There are credible accusations of a steady pattern of ungodly and immoral behavior, confirmed by an independent investigator’s interviews dating from 2008 up through 2019″

That fact that Todd Bentley was never qualified to serve in the ministry escaped the panel – Bentley failed on multiple counts: “Therefore an overseer  must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 1 Timothy 3:2
“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Titus 1:9

Part of the statement from the panel gives us a hint as to why Bentley was recognized in the first place:
“We love Todd and believe that he has been supernaturally gifted by God”
– power over principle.

To date, Bill Johnson has remained conveniently silent in God’s name. I think he’s waiting for the dust to settle and hopefully fly under the radar. He will abdicate responsibility, and hope that people forget his
promotion of Bentley as recently as 2018. Alternatively, he may end up re-restoring and re-recommissioning a revived Bentley who is in any case forging ahead with his ministry. One thing Johnson should do, is ask himself why all his prophetic friends failed to discern anything during the past decade.These are prophets who give nations and world leaders prophetic words, prophets who can tell you the name of your fluffy toy when you were three years old. These are prophets who offer “seer courses” claim to “shift atmospheres” and take trips to heaven. 
Beni Johnson (Bill’s wife) has responded on Instagram. Excerpt: “Everything that has to be said has been said. It’s disgusting that ministries are using this tragedy to continue to promote themselves and counting to talk about it. There has been an official statement from the panel, that is all that was needed….With losing their income in ministry, can you offer them food and water…If you want to be an elite Christian, follow the whole book. I’ve reached out to them to let them know no matter what while we were still sinners Christ died for us, and everything can turn around if you follow the right process.”
Not everything that has needed to be said was said, hence the reason for this article.
Has Beni reached out to the people Todd abused? Has she asked herself why his first restoration process under her husband failed? Why does she not address the fact that Todd refused to co operate with the panel, and is still heading up his “Secret Place Church.” Bentley may have taken a drop in his income, derived from conning people and teaching for shameful gain, but he is not homeless or starving. If Bentley was truly repentant, he would not be active in any form of ministry.

Has Beni not read 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13: I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

How many times will Bentley pull the wool over the eyes of some of the wolves that empowered him?

Pursuing the dishonorable

In their quest for supernatural power or anointings, NAR leaders and their minions turn to men and women they have elevated as a power source. They will travel thousands of miles to receive an impartation, “catch the fire” and experience some sort of manifestation at the hands of the supernaturally gifted. These so called supernaturally gifted individuals in the NAR are dishonorable false teachers who claim to have the ability to release the presence of God, perform miracles, activate gifts, and impart anointings. They revel in the admiration they receive, boast of their visions and encounters, and sell their merchandise without shame. They would have been the envy of Simon the sorcerer.

Bill Johnson’s advice to those who want to increase in a lifestyle of miracles:Pursue the men and women of God who carry an anointing in their lives for the miraculous. Such an anointing can be transferred to others through the laying on of hands.  Occasionally there are ministry times when such an individual is willing to pray for those who desire an increase of anointing.  I have traveled extensively in pursuit of MORE.”

Johnson is choosing power over principle, and encourages his followers to follow suit. Not once, does Johnson examine the doctrines of the “anointed apostles and prophets” they pursue. Johnson was mesmerized by the “Toronto blessing” and by his own admission, refused to consider any critique of what was not a blessing, but a great deception: “Someone once brought a book to my office that was critical of the revival that started in Toronto in January of 1994. I refused to read it and threw it away. You might say, “You’re not very open-minded.” You’re right. I am responsible to protect what God has given me.” – Bill Johnson. When Heaven Invades Earth Expanded Edition

Johnson believes he is protecting some kind of power – an impartation he received at Toronto, and is totally oblivious to the fact that as a pastor, he should be protecting the word of God instead of justifying bizarre and demonic manifestations. Power over principle – but in reality, Bill Johnson has neither. He does not value or teach the principles of God, and he has not experienced the power of God in the manner he supposes. Artificial gold dust, gemstones, feathers,smoke and glitter pumped through air vents, Kundalini manifestations, people slain in the spirit, incapacitation, vague and unverifiable healings, and fanciful stories are not the result of God’s power at work.
What the NAR claim to be the power of God, or manifestations of the supernatural from God, are merely man made “signs and wonders,” physiological responses, or demonic manifestations. In reality then, there is no power or principle from God in the NAR.  It’s one big sham, a false movement and a delusion sent by God on those who have rejected truth. This is a movement that dishonors God by attributing false signs and wonders to God.  

Dishonoring God by honoring the dishonorable who are dead.

It’s not just the living they run to for some kind of supernatural transfer, Bill Johnson believes that by honoring the dead, we can access their anointings. In this instance, we have the unusual situation where Bethel’s apostle contradicts Bethel’s prophet.
You have probably read or heard about “grave soaking” or “grave sucking” being practiced by Bethelites. It’s the practice of lying on the grave of a deceased preacher in order to receive their anointing through some kind of transfer or impartation.

This is an excerpt from Kris Vallotton’s response to the claim that Bethelites practice grave soaking:  “It has been an inside joke among our Bethel team for years. I really thought it was funny until some folks took it seriously. I mean if God wanted us to receive some kind of impartation from people who have already passed than certainly we would have some New Testament examples or instruction on it. Furthermore, if you could receive some gift from people after they died, than why did Joseph want Jacob to lay hands on his sons before he passed if they could have just as easily received an impartation at his funeral? I think the Elisha story was never meant to be repeated as there are no other accounts of it in the Bible. The Scriptures need to be the foundation in which we base all of our experiences. We are a radical group of revivalist who want to be on the cutting edge of everything God has for us. But it’s really important that in our zeal for God we don’t become spiritually weird.”

Now for something that is not based on scripture, is spiritually weird, and involves the dead.

The following excerpts are from Bill Johnson’s contribution to book Momentum: What God Starts, Never Ends – by Bill Johnson, Eric Johnson (Chapter 4)
The title of the chapter basically indicates that the NAR have made people mediators of God’s power or anointing, it’s titled “Access Through Honor.”
In his chapter, Bill discusses revivalists of the past. Now I’m sure we have all been encouraged by the biographies of men and women of God that have gone before us. But Bill takes it to another level, it’s nonsensical, and a doctrine of demons. Not to mention that most of the “revivalists” he mentions were complete frauds.

Johnson:“These heroes of the faith made sobering choices to follow God, no matter what. In doing so, they have made it possible for me to access things I’d never have access to on my own. The Lord spoke to me about these revivalists, saying “If you will honor the generals of the past, even those whose lives ended poorly, I will give you access to their anointings.”
Chapter, verse?  Surely any believer would know that “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” 2 Peter 1:3.  Bill is making up his own theology as usual. That quote alone, should cause any believer to shake their head in disbelief, anger, and run from this cult if they are involved in it. Whether you agree that Johnson’s three examples were false teachers or not, does not alter the fact that what he is saying is idolatrous, and should have cemented his place in a new edition of Kingdom of the Cults had the late Walter Martin still been with us.
Johnson uses the stories of Solomon and Hezekiah as examples of biblical figures who started well, but ended poorly. He points out that God recorded their obedience and disobedience. It’s one thing to learn from descriptive passages of inspired scripture, it’s another to throw deceased false teachers into the mix and think we can gain anything from their “ministry” by accessing an anointing. Johnson believes we should honor generals of the past he admires, and uses three specific examples – John Alexander Dowie, William Branham, Lonnie Frisbee .

Johnson: “We didn’t choose these people. God did. And while he never gave the stamp of approval to any of the sin issues in their lives, He did use them, knowing their weaknesses. Why this surprises us is hard for me to understand, considering that none of us are perfect. God doesn’t approve of any of our sins or weaknesses. Yet He gives us access to realms of the Spirit, to forever set us free. The failure to take advantage of the grace made available is not the fault of the gospel, the style of the preachers, the message, or the day they lived in. It is theirs alone. Yet God is not ashamed to let his Name be associated with such people. He actually recorded for all to see that his only Son would be born through the lineage of deceivers, liars, adulterers, and even a prostitute. We should be thankful. It means that we, too, qualify for grace and are available to be used by God.

If Johnson believes God is not ashamed to let his name be associated with a deceased heretic like William Branham, then the same should go for a living one – Todd Bentley.
Would Todd Bentley’s style – kicking and punching people have been approved by Jesus? And what message? I have never heard expository teaching in a NAR service, narcissism and eisegesis characterize their teachings. That’s if you are fortunate enough to hear any scripture at all, as usually it’s dominated by stories and the exploits of the speaker. The style of the preacher and the message is not “theirs alone.” They should have met the biblical qualifications to teach in the first place.  Bill is placing his stamp of approval on heretics because he values power over principle.
We all qualify for grace – because we are all sinners. We don’t all qualify to be teachers of God’s word. Johnson does not seem to know the difference.

Johnson: “of all people, we should be the most accommodating to those whose lives ended poorly  God uses imperfect people, not as a testimony of his approval of their lives, but to confirm His word preached by those people (they don’t preach his word) We must adjust to His values or we become dangerously close to dishonoring His work in those who have gone before us. And since there is no one alive to defend them, God will.

By lives ending poorly, Johnson can only be referring to sin and deception. By confirming his word, Johnson is probably referring to signs and wonders, in other words if there are signs and wonders the word must have been true. He ends his sentence with a threat towards those who dare question his heroes of the faith, most of whom are frauds.
Johnson believes God will inflict us with some form of spiritual lack:

Johnson:“I personally think that many have gone into spiritual poverty simply because of their careless comments and slander of those who have filled an important place in history. Such careless accusations are not acceptable, even though the person is dead. We must guard ourselves. If I am careless to criticize, I have opened myself up to the same spirit that deceived them.”
Bill Johnson’s logic – by pointing out that his hero in the faith, William Branham was a heretic and fraud who taught the serpent seed doctrine, and the “idea that the zodiac and the Egyptian pyramids are equal to written Scripture”… you will be inflicted with  “spiritual poverty.”
Observe what has happened to Johnson, he has failed to discern a heretic like Branham, and gone so far as to ask God for the mantle (anointing) of Branham. He is the one who is deceived, and has opened himself up to doctrines of demons and a spiritual delusion because he values power over principle, and refuses to objectively critique men and movements based on scripture.

Johnson:“I have watched a phenomenon in the things of God. He often puts the very area of spiritual breakthrough we long for most, in the camp of believers we least want to be associated with. It really tests our hunger for more. It is the ultimate test to our prayers that say we’ll pay any price for revival. Considering the value that God places on humility, it shouldn’t surprise us that God would require that of us. After all, Jesus was numbered with two thieves on the cross in His payment for our redemption. In his case it was humiliating. In ours, we have to learn to associate with believers whose lives, for whatever reason, bring embarrassment to us. As the master goes, so goes the servant. All these people, successes and failures, left an inheritance from their victories.”

Is it a coincidence that this Book was written in 2011, just two years after Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner were involved in Bentley’s restoration process? I have no words for the comparison Johnson makes – Jesus being crucified between two thieves, and “believers” associating with other believes who “for whatever reason, bring embarrassment to us.”
Johnson says that if any of the three he mentioned were alive today, he would honor them and ask them to pray for him. He tells the story of meeting the granddaughter of a “revivalist” he does not name. Johnson asked her to pray for him because “she carried a family anointing that could be imparted.” – Where is this taught in scripture?

Johnson: “We must stop the slander and criticisms, even if the details are true. These people should be held in respect for what they did accomplish for God. The kingdom culture celebrates people for who they are without stumbling over who they are not. Such is the culture of heaven. Refuse to participate in the careless conversations of other believers who take pleasure in giving such critiques.”

Johnson uses the stories of biblical figures such as of Solomon and Hezekiah as examples of people who finished poorly, he also mentions the deceivers, liars, adulterers, and even a prostitute in the lineage of Christ. How would we know the facts concerning these individuals who finished poorly unless these facts were spoken about and subsequently recorded in scripture? But now he expects us to avoid critique even if the details are true, of his personal heroes. What about real conversations based on facts? What about preventing the perpetuation of the false teachings taught by some of the frauds he idolizes? What about rebuking those who follow the unsound doctrines of departed false teachers? 

Johnson: “And finally, we must honor the Holy Spirit who rested upon them. Even more specifically, we must give honor to the particular kind of anointing they carried. For example, I am told that William Branham had over 10 000 open visions, with 100 percent accuracy in his miracle ministry. This means I must give a place of great value in my heart for this kind of ministry if I want to experience it myself. This usually starts by valuing God’s anointing on others who operate in word of knowledge, specifically through open visions. We must refuse the temptation to compare and critique. Rather, we celebrate. For what we celebrate we will be far more likely to participate in.”
Johnson logic – Ignore details even if they are true, but believe everything you are told. Johnson is teaching the law of attraction, and notice how he continually primes his followers to never question. Scripture instructs us to test all things, and compare what is being taught with scripture. Johnson instructs his minions to refrain from any form of critique, in order to attract the anointing they desire. The Holy Spirit apportions the gifts as he wills, not according to our desires or because we honor individuals with gifts we covet.

Johnson: “Honor comes from the heart. Getting rid of the religious need to tear others down in order to feel better about ourselves will go a long way in helping us tap into spiritual inheritance.  What people have accomplished in the generations before us, was always meant to be left for us as an inheritance.”

More brainwashing and sly innuendoes from Johnson. We are instructed to expose false teachers and their teachings, not to feel better about ourselves, but to snatch souls out of the fire. Our spiritual inheritance has been given to us by God, through his Holy Spirit, based on the work of Christ – not the dead.

By honoring the dishonorable, and pursuing power over principle, Bill Johnson has dishonored God, and led thousands into deception.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4

 

Are the fires in Redding a sign of God’s judgement on Bethel?

By Rick Becker  28 July 2018

The Carr fire that has caused devastation in California, has weaved it’s way into Redding, home of Bethel church.  Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and at the time of this writing two lives have been lost.  This tragedy comes shortly after the horrific fires in Greece that took the lives of at least sixty people.  Across the world, other tragedies are taking place in the form of other natural disasters, wars, disease, and starvation.  The Carr fire has captured the attention of those familiar with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) due to one of the chief proponents of NAR false doctrines being Bethel church.  In this brief post, I would like to address the speculation concerning the reason for the fire.

Naturally, many who have been a victim of the aberrant teachings and practices of Bethel church are wondering whether the fire is God’s judgement on Bethel church.  For the answer, we need to look to scripture.  The cause for calamity being assigned to sin is nothing new.  Job was the unfortunate victim of such false counsel, and in the end his counsellors were proven wrong.  The misconception that we should escape tragedy due to our level of righteousness (or correct doctrine) is one that ignores scripture, and reality itself.  In fact God  “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” Matthew 5:45
To assume that a tragedy is in direct proportion to our sin is to fall back under the law!  If God were to punish (by wildfire) cities, states and countries that had sinned, or that had churches in them that taught false doctrine the whole earth would be on fire.  In attributing sin as the cause of suffering, we are in fact coming to the same rash, and faulty conclusion NAR teachers espouse – we are sick due to lack of faith, we are poor due to not tithing, we are suffering due to lack of spiritual warfare or failure to decree, declare and shift atmospheres etc.

In Luke chapter 13, Jesus addresses this very issue of calamity being proportional to sin, or what people deserve:There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Luke 13:1-4

It seems as if those who were speaking to Jesus, were attempting to get a reason as to why these tragedies occurred.  This is the same question many are asking regarding the Carr fire.  Jesus does not entertain their suspicions, but instead asked them to examine their own hearts.  He dispels the notion that these tragedies are proportional to any level of wickedness on the individuals part. Jesus makes three things patently clear:

Suffering is no indication of how sinful we are.
Speculation as to the reasons for tragedies is a mistake on our part.
Similar tragedies could befall anyone.

A wildfire and it’s aftermath are not going to persuade those who have bought into the lies of Bethel, that their doctrine is false.  If Bethel’s buildings were reduced to ashes, they have the dollars to rent another, and their new $96 million campus has already been approved.  Scripture warns that imposters like Johnson and Vallotton will grow in their delusion: “while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” 2 Timothy 3:13.  They have rejected truth, and been given over to a delusion. Only God can open the eyes of those caught up in deception, and our task is to contend for the faith, and pray for those who have been blinded by an angel of light.
Mark my words, Bethel will have many “testimonies” in due course.  Comments on social media from Bethel fans, reveal that their state of delusion has not diminished, as they still believe they can decree, declare and take authority over the fires. Here are a few examples:


We all suffer the effects of living in a fallen world and in earthly tents.  Despite our desire for justice and wholeness is this present age, God tells us to look to the future, where he will wipe away all our tears and bring complete restoration.  Despite our desire for the wicked to receive compensation in this age, God tells us to leave that up to Him, as He alone is holy and just, and will reward and punish those according to His righteous judgement.  Lets not make the same mistake as those in the NAR and attribute our prosperity and comfort to our level of obedience or spirituality.  Let us instead, examine our own hearts:Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139: 23-24

 As believers, we should do what we can to offer assistance to victims of the fire – all victims!  As believers, we should ask God for mercy, pray for rain, pray for those affected.  As believers, we should pray that in the midst of this suffering, the only real hope in this world, and the world to come is proclaimed – the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Bethel School Of Spiritual Drunkenness

By Rick Becker  25 July 2018

The doctrines and practices emanating from Bethel are as far removed from biblical Christianity as the east is from the west.  Leaders at BSSM channel their students into the dark world of mysticism, vain imaginations, and the demonic.  It takes little discernment to realize that what the BSSM promotes is evil.  The fact that they cannot see this indicates they have rejected truth; they have been given over to a delusion.  Our task is to contend for the faith by warning and praying for those caught up in this deception.

The official Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry School Planting website has recently published an article entitled “Overcoming Obstacles to Physical Manifestations of the Holy Spirit.”  Once again, it reveals the severely deluded state of the BSSM.  In Bethel terms “overcoming obstacles” really means ignoring scripture and taking risks in order to experience something supernatural regardless of the source.  Direct quotes from the article in italics, with my commentary below.

BSSM: “There are many manifestations of the Holy Spirit, both inward and outward. Manifestations are evidence of God’s Presence on people and can be an indicator of what God is doing in someone. But they are also different for everyone, and it’s important for us as leaders to help our students navigate them. Holy Spirit drunkenness may be one of the most misunderstood physical manifestations. It is clearly present in scripture as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:15), but, for some, it can be confusing on how to engage with it.”

“Holy Spirit drunkenness” is only misunderstood by those who don’t understand scripture.  The article is based on the assumption that the disciples were behaving like drunkards of the day of Pentecost.  Acts 2:15 is the text used to justify this: “For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day” 

Peter was giving the crowd an explanation of what had just occurred:
 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.  And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.  And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome,  both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”  But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”  But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.”
Acts 2:4-14

The text does not say that the disciples experienced “Holy Spirit drunkenness” but that they were accused by some mockers as being drunk.  What had “bewildered” the multitudes?  The answer is in the text, the disciples were speaking in different languages (tongues) and those present heard their own “native language” being spoken.  The text does not say the disciples were staggering, incoherent, slurring their words, incapacitated, laughing or shrieking uncontrollably.  In other words the disciples were not behaving as if they had just walked through a “fire tunnel” at Bethel.  There were no Kundalini or seizure like manifestations. This gift of speaking in foreign languages was a miracle, and having no explanation some accused them of being drunk.  This is the response of some when encountering a miracle, or the truth. The word translated as “mocking” in verse 13, is used by the men of Athens in response to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection of the dead: “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.”
One of the effects of the Spirit’s outpouring was boldness (not drunkenness) to preach the Gospel.  Peter had previously denied Christ on three occasions, but now he is able to face a crowd, and boldly proclaim truth.  How could he have delivered his first sermon in a state of drunkenness?  Why did he refute the allegation that they were drunk?  Why are the BSSM leaders trusting the opinion of unregenerated mockers?  Why would God’s Spirit be the cause of behaviour that is condemned in scripture?

Scripture reveals that a fruit of the Spirit is self control (Galatians 5:23) and that being full of the Spirit is the opposite of drunkenness:
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 5:15-20
Drunken people speak as fools, they are not circumspect, and their behaviour is uncontrollable. In stark contrast, the Spirit filled believer is circumspect, has understanding, and speaks coherently.

Drunken behaviour is never sanctioned in scripture.

Elders are expected to avoid drunkenness, and exhibit self control: 
For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined” Titus 1:7-8

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” I Corinthians 6:9-11

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 5-8

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.” Romans 13:12-13

Being drunk is in fact a sign of God’s judgement:

“The LORD has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit” Isaiah 19:14

“The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again.”  Isaiah 24:20 

“They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.”  Jeremiah 25:16

 “These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in visionthey stumble in giving judgmentFor all tables are full of filthy vomit, with no space left.”  Isaiah 28:7-8

Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land: the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And I will dash them one against another, fathers and sons together, declares the Lord. I will not pity or spare or have compassion, that I should not destroy them.’” Jeremiah 13:13-14

Mystical Babylon was intoxicated through murdering the saints :Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” Revelation 17:5b-6

“Spiritual drunkeness” was a sign that God has blinded or hardened those who have hated his words, and rebelled against him, as in the case of Israel:
Astonish yourselves and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine;stagger, but not with strong drink! For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets),

and covered your heads (the seers).”  Isaiah 29:9-10

Today, those who reject the truth are similarly given over to delusion:
 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

BSSM: “Anne Collins is the Administrator for BSSM School Planting and has been at Bethel for five years. In this post, she shares part of her journey with the manifestation of Holy Spirit drunkenness and discusses how to embrace it and how to create a safe environment where your students feel free to engage with the Holy Spirit no matter the manifestation.”

The only “safe environment” for any form of ministry, is to operate within the confines of scripture.  Embracing what is clearly condemned in scripture is to reject God’s word, and grieve the Holy Spirit.  What these deluded people are embracing is another spirit, another Jesus, another gospel.  In their desperation to encounter the supernatural, BSSM leaders have condoned any manifestation, and many spirits are willing to comply.  When Paul wrote to the Corinthians regarding their abuse of the gifts, he gave clear instructions on how the gifts of the Spirit should displayed: So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.

The chaos and bizarre manifestations at Bethel and their BSSM plants are in clear contradiction of scripture.  Were there bizarre manifestations under the ministry of Jesus – certainly!  Were these manifestations exhibited by disciples of Christ ?  What we read of in one instance bears striking resemblance to what happens to victims of Bethel and the BSSM:
And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.  And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him.  And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”  While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God.”
Luke 9:38-43
You can watch a similar manifestation that takes place under the watch of Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson at Bethel here.  At the five minute mark, you will see a young man writhing and convulsing on the floor.

What Jesus cast out, Bethel embraces!

A popular belief in some charismatic circles is that when the Holy Spirit is moving, outsiders or those offended by what they witness should be ignored.   Paul however makes it clear in his letter that self control should be exhibited when the gifts are in operation: If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.  But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God” 1 Corinthians 14:27-28
Failure to follow these instructions would result in outsiders and unbelievers being justified by thinking the believers are crazy:

“If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?” 1 Corinthians 14:23
Keep in mind that what Paul is referring to here is the real gift of tongues!  The Corinthians were probably speaking in tongues simultaneously, without someone to interpret, and were focused on the miraculous in order to impress others. Speaking foreign languages in that manner would cause “outsiders and unbelievers” to consider the speakers crazy.  This is a similar charge brought against the disciples on the day of Pentecost, which shows that the gift of speaking in foreign languages may cause unbelievers to consider the speakers crazy, or even drunk.

BSSM:Like soaking, praying, or engaging in worship, “drinking in the Holy Spirit” is simply taking time to focus on the presence of God; to connect with His heart and receive.”
Search the scriptures – “soaking” does not exist.  It’s a form of mysticism that abandons objective truth in favour of subjective feelings and impressions.  In other words, it’s a gateway to your imagination or deceiving spirits.  Can you recall any new testament passage encouraging us to “connect” with God’s heart and “receive?”  Have we not all been baptized into one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13) and been supplied with all we need ? (2 Peter 1:3-4)  What BSSM mean by “receive,”  can only refer to manifestations, voices, impressions, and feelings – the very things we cannot trust in.

BSSM: “Drunkenness” is a term to describe the manifestation of how someone looks and feels in the Presence that can appear nearly identical to being drunk on alcohol. Our desire should never be for the manifestation, but for receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit. So the aim of Holy Spirit drinking is actually to encounter more of God.”

This is rank heresy at it’s finest!  Once again, there is no biblical text that compares a believer who is filled with the Spirit to a staggering drunkard.  Self control is a fruit of the Spirit;  incoherent behaviour and plain ridiculousness is an evil fruit.  When does God’s “presence” depart from a believer?  Does it mean that when we are “sober minded” as instructed by scripture, God’s presence has departed?  If we take the advice of the BSSM, and revel in drunkenness as a sign of God’s presence, someone will be waiting to take advantage of us: “ Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

BSSM: “Students should encounter God personally more than they learn facts about Him. And there are countless ways to interact with Him and to experience the presence of Holy Spirit. What makes drunkenness so unique and important is that it’s a way to experience God that completely bypasses our practical understanding. Though it can look intense and even chaotic, it ministers directly to our spirits, and through us to others. Drunkenness can be God’s way of re-prioritizing our spirit’s position above our soul, leading us to new places with God that our minds wouldn’t find on their own.”

This reads like a manual for paganism or mysticism. What makes drunkenness so very unique and important, is that it’s forbidden in scripture, and that spiritual drunkenness is a sign of judgement.  The prophetic word (scripture) is more sure than any mountain top experience, let alone pure mysticism.  What does scripture say about our minds? Should we bypass rational thought, dismiss the infallible and objective word of God, and hand our faculties over to a chaotic and drunken state?  Of course not.  We are instructed to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor 10:5) and “renew our minds” (Rom 12:2)  If we want to “re-prioritize” our spirit, then we need to be sober minded, and conform our lives and doctrine to scripture.  It’s the Holy Spirit who illuminates scripture, helping us to know God, but the BSSM bypass scripture and the Holy Spirit.  Students are paying dollars to receive scripture taken out of context, and are being introduced to another spirit.

BSSM: Anne’s Story – I have been in revival settings my entire life. I have loved the Lord my entire life, and I’ve experienced different levels of His presence and manifestations. But at 28 years old, I had never been drunk in the Holy Spirit. I was offered the chance to take a trip with a BSSM missions team to Mexico this spring, and I was jokingly warned beforehand, “This is a very drunk trip!” Despite feeling really uncomfortable with that, I knew the Lord wanted me on the trip and that He had something specific for me if I would say “yes” to whatever He was doing. One day early in the trip, a group of the students (who were already very drunk in the Spirit) gathered around me and encouraged me to join them. I was really uncomfortable, but I’d been around enough people drunk in the Holy Spirit that I knew how to “take it,” wait it out, and put my heart in a position to receive from the Lord.

Later that day, one of my friends asked me, “Was that okay, what we did to you?” This shocked me. I realized in all my years in revival meetings or in ministry school, no one had ever asked me if their manifestation or way of ministering in drunkenness was actually helping me receive. My friend apologized for behaving in a way that made me feel unsafe and encouraged me to speak up about what I needed in order to feel okay in those moments. He didn’t want to control or change how I received from the Lord, he just wanted me to have more of God!

That for me was life-changing. I’d grown up as a little girl in the midst of the influence of the Toronto outpouring, and most of my first experiences of God were that He was VERY REAL and He was TERRIFYING.  He made all of the safe adults in my world look crazy. Discovering that God and my friends were still safe in the midst of that craziness changed the way I experienced Holy Spirit, and actually led me to getting drunk with the team later that night! As the trip went on, Holy Spirit continued to pour out more. I learned that God was so much kinder than I’d believed. I learned that drunkenness was not a separate experience from God’s peace and joy and righteousness, but that it was a manifestation of all three.”

That’s not what scripture teaches.  Looking “crazy” is not a manifestation of righteousness, peace and joy, but a manifestation of deception in one of it’s highest forms.  God is kind by making his children lose all sense of reason and control?  Acting crazy is a fruit of the Spirit?  Anne said that God “had something specific for me if I would say “yes” to whatever He was doing”  Where does God bargain with, or bribe his children in this manner?  We have established that spiritual drunkenness is not from God, so who was Anne conversing with?  There are only two options – her imagination or a demon. 

BSSM: “The experience was new, but the God I was encountering was not. I was discovering a new part of a Person I’d known for years so it still felt safe, even as the manifestations got crazier. I also learned ways I’d been holding God back in my life due to my unhealthy fear of Him. But with each problem I discovered, God simply asked me to trust Him more than that fear. More fear left, every time, and I experienced more of His presence!”

The god conversing with Anne, is not the God of scripture.  A healthy fear of God would cause her to obey scripture, and serve him with fear and trembling, not involuntary and crazy manifestations.  Her whole encounter is based on her subjective feelings and manifestations.  How does she know she was experiencing more of God’s presence?  The only answer is by the way she felt.  Are there any scriptures instructing believers to measure the presence of God by how they feel, or their level or craziness?

BSSM:Overcoming Obstacles to Engaging with Holy Spirit.  Each of us can experience more of God when we choose to trust Him over our current understanding or fears. Below are a few areas that can set up barriers to experiencing more of Him. These not only apply to manifestations, but to every area of our lives in God.

Offense: When Holy Spirit shows up in ways we don’t expect or in ways we aren’t familiar with, it can trigger fear or offense. When we experience a manifestation apart from His nature, we can get offended or scared. The truth is, God is GOOD, and He’s bigger than both our experience and our understanding. He is always after our hearts, no matter what it looks like, and it is our choice if we will engage with Him in the way He’s moving.”

Any “manifestation apart from His nature” must surely imply that God is not the author of it.  How can God work outside of his own nature?  Ignorance of scripture, a seared conscience, and a desire for experiences will always result in delusion.  “No matter what it looks like” is a not a phrase used in scripture to describe the workings of the Holy Spirit in the church;  “what it looks like” mattered to Paul when addressing the Corinthians as we have noted.

BSSM: “Self-Righteousness: I learned that “being able to get drunk” was not a club that I wasn’t allowed to join. I learned that becoming a better receiver of His love made me a better drinker. If we believe we’re qualified to receive because of something we’ve done, we’ve missed the point of His love. If we believe we’ll receive because we’ll do great ministry because of what He gives, we’ve missed the point of His love. He doesn’t need us to be good at something or have intentions for good works before He can give to us. He just loves.”

God’s love has been poured into our hearts.  This is a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit, and it is based on fact – “Christ died for the ungodly.”  The Holy Spirit, through the word of God can illuminate this truth in our hearts; it is entirely His doing: “.and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5: 5-8
Anne is getting addicted to drunkenness, and as she casts aside restraint, she is being led deeper into delusion.  Anne is now teaching this to other students, and using her story to justify this deception.  Friends, this is serious, Anne is going to have to give an account before God one day for leading others into this deception.

BSSM: “Control: Sometimes, the things that we tell ourselves about ourselves actually aren’t true. I used to believe I was a very quiet person and that I’d never experience outward manifestations. But then God asked me, “Who told you you’re like that? Was it Me, or was it you?” Letting go of control is about responding to Him as He is, not as we think we are. We come to Holy Spirit with a hunger to discover Him, rather than with ready-made answers.”

One would think that if God was having conversations with Anne, he would have told her to flee from the BSSM, and that the only feeling she should have obeyed was when she felt “uncomfortable” about going on a “very drunk trip.”  By “Letting go of control” Anne has responded to the lies of Satan, and what she is hungering after is not the Holy Spirit, but an angel of light who will be only too happy to provide her with the feelings and encounters she desires. 

BSSM: “Overthinking: Just like God doesn’t need us to be perfect before He loves us or touches us, we don’t need to understand Him to encounter Him. That can feel risky. I didn’t understand the point of a manifestation that seemed loud and obnoxious and even dangerous. I didn’t have a grid for WHY someone would want to get drunk. But experiencing His love in it made me hungry for more, no matter what it looked like, and I had to lay down my desire to understand everything God was doing and just receive it.”

The problem here is not overthinking; it’s not thinking at all.  Anne does not have a grid to explain the motivation for spiritual drunkenness because the grid is called scripture.  Scripture comes second at Bethel, and even then it’s twisted to suit the heretical agenda of the New Apostolic Reformation.  What’s important at Bethel, is to follow the presence off the map into some form of encounter.  Paul was concerned when two people in the church spoke in tongues at the same time, but the BSSM are not concerned with “loud and obnoxious and even dangerous” manifestations. Someone is wrong here, and it’s not Paul.

BSSM: Being a Good Receiver  “It doesn’t matter what your drunk looks like. It just matters that you have one.” – Chuck Parry
The point of experiencing God is not to “get drunk” and look like it. The point is to aim your hunger at Him and receive whatever He has for you. He will speak to you, impact your heart, your mind, and your season. He will touch you in ways you will and will not comprehend. The goal is to let Him give; to be a good receiver; to quit trying to GET IT, and let Him love you.

Chuck’s wrong of course.  Chuck Parry is the Associate Director of Bethel’s healing rooms, and his biography reads like one of the real Apostles (except for the car story) –“over one winter his car got 320 miles to the gallon, he’s seen food multiplied on numerous occasions, storms move out of the way, miraculous finances and the supplies of Heaven released, dead people come back to life, metal dissolve from bodies, and countless sick and injured healed.”  Unfortunately for Chuck, we test a man’s doctrine by comparing it to scripture, not by how far he gets on a gallon of gas. Where does Paul encourage churches to experience spiritual drunkenness Chuck?  God has spoken, and he was very clear – be sober minded, exercise self control, take thoughts captive, meditate on the word of God.  God has never said “experience me through spiritual drunkenness.”

BSSM: “Drunkenness is what helps us get out of our world and into His world. It’s Heaven invading Earth. It’s the Presence invading your spirit and giving you a taste of what He’s like. Just like it says in the Psalms 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”

No no no…drunkenness is what leads you into deception, it’s hell invading your mind.  The Lord is good in that he has given us an objective standard by which to call out those who teach nonsense like this.  

BSSM: We encourage you to do some supernatural drinking. Teach your students what you are learning yourself. Open up a dialogue about manifestations and how people experience them. We bless your school to be even more full of the Spirit, to be a place for people to discover the depths and the joys of Heaven on Earth!”

I’d encourage anyone involved at Bethel, or any Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry course across the world to flee immediately from this perversion of the gospel.  You are drinking from a cup of delusion, are in danger of shipwrecking your faith, and are a partaker in their wickedness.

 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:3-5

More articles on the Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry:

BSSM – soaking, declaring and spinning into delusion

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

The new breed of crafty evangelists

The fruits of Bethel church – ashamed of the gospel, flirting with the occult

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

By Rick Becker     12 April 2018

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

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

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

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

“Pastoring People With Unique Spiritual Giftings.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Seek to Understand”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Create Safety”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter, verse?  This is nonsense of course.  

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

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

“Normalize Their Experience”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me conclude with this quote from B B Warfield:

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

 

 

 

God – Kris Vallotton’s Fixer

By Rick Becker  15 February 2018

Kris Vallotton is the Senior Associate Leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California and co-founder of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM)  Bethel is one of the leading churches caught up in the deceptive New Apostolic Reformation.  In a recent blog entitled “Two things to do when you don’t understand what God is doing” Kris Vallotton unwittingly reveals the reason why Bethel & co have wandered off into myths and false doctrines.  The fruits of their aberrant theology are clearly visible in Vallotton’s conversation with “God’ who promised to  “take care” of one of Vallotton’s false prophecies.


Kris Vallotton (KV) begins by quoting and then commenting on this passage: “You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:14-15


KV: If Jesus says that no longer does He call us slaves, it means that at one time He did.  How do you know if you’re a slave? You just do what you’re told.  Slaves love to be told what to do because this is their M.O.  Slaves only know what to do, they don’t know why they’re doing it. The highest level of a life as a slave is just to obey.  You can stay a slave, or you can let God prune you. Verse 14 says, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.”

The disciples were living in a unique time:  the transition from the bondage of the law, to the glorious gospel of grace.  Under the old covenant the redemptive purposes and plans of God were veiled.  Gradually their eyes were being opened to the mysteries of the Gospel as they walked with Christ.  He revealed these mysteries to them because he had chosen them, they were following him, and in this context he calls them “friends.”  Yet in a sense, they were still “slaves” (“servants” in some translations) because only five verses later we read: Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” 

Many years after the death and resurrection of Christ, Peter who would have been present when Jesus uttered the words recorded in John 15, still referred to himself as a servant of Christ:Simeon  Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:1
The apostle John notes that the revelation is given to “servants”:  “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John” Revelation 1:1
The Apostle Paul received abundant revelations, and had certainly been “pruned” by God, yet refers to himself as a “servant”:
“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:1
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God”
Romans 1:1

Vallotton is creating a false dichotomy to suit his narrative.  Being a friend of Christ does not exclude us from being his slave/servant.  Jesus also referred to Abraham and Moses as “friends of God”, but we must note that nowhere in scripture do God’s people call him friend.  He is our Lord and master.  The apostle John was able to rest his head on the chest of Christ during his incarnation,but when John had a vision of our resurrected Lord he “fell at his feet as though dead.”  It is this fear and reverence for God that is missing in many churches including Bethel.  God has been relegated to “papa God’ and appears to be venerated little more than “papa Bill” or “papa Kris.”
Are we friends of God, yes, as well as servants.  Who then are the friends of God?  The friends of God are those who have received and been transformed by the message that Jesus gave to his disciples.  Once, we were alienated from God, we were enemies, but through the grace of God we have been reconciled to him through Christ.  As friends of God we obey his commands (vs 14)  bear fruit that abides (vs 16) are hated by the world (vs 19) and know what truths Jesus revealed (vs 15)
There are no new mysteries or revelations or truths that God needs to reveal to his friends.  

Now Vallotton reveals the reason why Bethel & co have wandered off into myths and false doctrines.
KV:Revelation is not the child of laborious effort and searching the Scriptures. I’d like to propose to you that revelation is the child of friendship.”

I’d like to propose to you that Vallotton is once again teaching myths. The mystical false doctrine Vallotton teaches is a result of NOT searching the scriptures.  By “revelation” Vallotton means hearing directly from God.  So how did the apostles hear from God – they simply listened to the words of Jesus and obeyed them.  How do we hear from God – we have the privilege of reading the words of Jesus, as well as the inspired word of God from Genesis to Revelation.
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
God can give us wisdom in situations, lead us by his Spirit, and through his providence arrange circumstances on our behalf, but he speaks primarily through the revelation of his written word.

Extra biblical revelation is the common to Bethel, and according to Vallotton you won’t receive any revelation as long as you consider yourself a slave instead of a friend.

KV: “People wonder how Bill Johnson gets all of his revelation and how many hours he studies the Bible. Well I know Bill studies well, but I believe He has access to that revelation because He has become a friend of God”
The truth is that those who know how to interpret scripture wonder how Bill’s eisegesis and narcigesis of scripture manages to deceive millions.  Bill has access to a great imagination, and probably some deceptive spirits because his revelations contradict scripture.  In another blog post Vallotton writes: “Have you ever noticed the incredible way that Bill Johnson can take a verse from the Bible that you’ve read twenty times before and somehow make sense of it in a way you never knew was possible? I’m sure many of you, like myself, are amazed by the levels of revelation that Bill walks in.”
I have noticed how Bill manages to extract from a text a mystical meaning that has evaded the body of Christ for 2000 years.  These new interpretations may mesmerize the gullible, but they are poison and actually nullify the power of the gospel and distort truth.
KV:Revelation can’t be studied it can only be revealed.”
True and false – revelation is revealed, not through some mystical voice or feeling but through the study of scripture.  The Holy Spirit illuminates the scriptures to those in whom he dwells.  In doing so, the Holy Spirit does not bypass our minds; instead we use our minds in the sense that we study the scriptures. This implies reading God’s word in context, and applying the basic rules of interpretation in order to understand the meaning of the text. 

KV: “In other words, as long as you’re a slave God’s going to make sure you don’t know everything. Why? Because the lesson of slavery is testing if you can obey (and trust) God when you don’t know WHY He’s doing what He’s doing”

This is nonsensical of course, because for every trial and circumstance we find ourselves in, God’s word brings comfort and wisdom.  We don’t have to understand  everything “God is doing” because God is sovereign and in control and our trust is in him.  All we need to know is already in scripture!  What is unclear in Vallotton’s waffle is the level of obedience we need to attain in order to qualify promotion from slavery to sonship.

KV: “Once you move into friendship, then you know all things. Jesus said EVERYTHING the Father taught Him, He wants to make known to you.”
In his blog post, Vallotton creates the impression that revelation is necessary when you find yourself in a “situation and you have no idea why God placed you there” for example “moving to a new town.”  If we knew “all things” we would be God.  Jesus did not reveal “all things” to the disciples, only the things that the Father wanted them to know. What were these things?  It had nothing to do with their personal legacy or great destiny.  It concerned the gospel, the plan of redemption, and the purpose of Christ’s suffering. These things have now been revealed, and as sons and daughters of God we can understand them. 

KV: “God wants us to move from slavery into friendship. But you can’t go from saved to friend. You can only go from saved, to slave to friend.”
As we have previously explained, we are servants and friends of Christ. Where does scripture teach this progression from saved, to slave to friend?

KV: “You move from slavery to friendship by abiding in a word that prunes you, and letting it take off the things that aren’t fruitful in your life. When you submit to that process then you become a friend to God.”
Says no biblical text!  We will constantly be pruned by God, the cut off point will be when we take our last breath.  We will mature in our faith and grow in our understanding of God’s word.  We will grow in sanctification, but we will never ever attain some level that qualifies us to become a friend of God with benefits in the form of special revelation.  

Vallotton will now reveal the rotten fruit of his theology.  This is an eye opener, I don’t quite know how to describe what follows…blasphemous perhaps?

KV: “HOW GOD TAUGHT ME ABOUT FRIENDSHIP WITH HIM
Years ago on I had one of those Sunday nights that was just really good; the message went well and I was prophesying over people and they were crying (which was a general sign that it was going well, ha!) I went home on a high and that night lay in bed and heard God laughing and say, “That was a good word YOU gave that lady at the end.” I started to get worried, and apologized to God for getting so caught up in the moment. I went from a high to a quick low. He laughed and said, “Oh that’s okay, I’ll take care of it.” I said, “How are you going to take care of it?!” and He replied, “What kind of a friend would I be if I only ever did what I wanted?”

I don’t know who this god is that Vallotton was casually chatting to; I do know it was not the God Job encountered:
Job:Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

God apparently made it known to Vallotton that one of his prophetic words was false.  This is the same God who commanded false prophets under the old covenant to be stoned to death.  Those who have come out of charismatic chaos know all too well the damage that false prophecies have caused individuals, even shipwrecking the faith of some.  In this case however, God simply laughs.  God has submitted to Vallotton’s false prophecy, and will fix it.  Not because he wants to, because God apparently does not always do what he wants.  In Vallotton’s world, God is such a good friend to those who have moved on from slavery to friendship, that he lays aside his attributes and bows his knee to the carnal word of a false prophet.

Vallotton’s flippancy is a result of the aberrant theology of the New Apostolic Reformation.  Man has been elevated and God has been reduced to be like us.  The NAR have reduced God to a partner and a celestial papa with needs. He has slightly more power than humans – just enough to define him as God.

KV: “Ten years later I found a verse that made more sense of this in 1 Samuel 3:19; “Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail.”
Actually the verse points out why Vallotton was deceived ten years earlier (and still is) The text makes it clear –  the Lord was with Samuel; the same can not be said for Vallotton.  He was listening to his own imagination or a deceiving spirit.  How Vallotton can even compare himself with Samuel beggars belief, yet not surprising considering the narcissistic qualities of the false prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation.  God called Samuel directly.  As one of the great Old Testament prophets, Samuel was mentored by the high priest and judge of Israel –  Eli.  In fact Samuel’s first prophetic word concerned Eli’s household:And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”  1 Samuel 3:10-14
Take note –  God fulfilled the words that he had spoken, Samuel was merely the mouthpiece. The Israelites were defeated in battle by the Philistines, the ark of God was captured, and 30 000 soldiers of Israel were killed – including Eli’s two sons.  Eli heard the news of his sons death, and upon hearing about the arks capture he fell backwards, broke his neck and died.
God fulfilled His words.  God got the results that He wanted.  Samuel’s words were like an arrow that hit the mark because he was a true prophet.

KV: I’m not saying you can prophesy whatever you want. I’m simply saying that God wants us to move into a place of friendship, where we abide in Him and His words abide in us, so that we can ask whatever we wish and it will be done.”
Of course we can’t, but Vallotton got away with it once due to his level of intimacy and friendship with papa God.  Vallotton should really explain the verse he quotes: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7.  Can we really ask whatever we wish and expect God to fulfil our wishes? Gill’s commentary sums it up best: “but this must be understood not of temporal things, as riches, honours, profits, pleasures, or whatever even the carnal mind of a believer himself may sometimes desire; but of things spiritual, and with such limitations and restrictions as these; whatever is according to the will of God, for the Spirit of God himself asks for no other for the saints; whatever is for the glory of God, and for their own spiritual profit and edification; and whatever is agreeably to the words and doctrines of Christ, which abide in them. Every thing of this kind they ask in faith, and with a submission to the divine will, they may expect to receive.”

Vallotton concludes his post by telling his readers to learn from the season they are currently in.  He warns that  “If you see yourself as a slave then you likely won’t move out of that place until you learn the lessons of obedience and trust, without knowing all of the details.”  Furthermore, because of their “big destiny” they should lean into the pruning God is doing, because what they learn in the current season will set them up for success in the next.  That word “destiny” has become somewhat of a cliché in the NAR.  Bethel teaches the prosperity gospel, so there’s no guessing as to what a big destiny would include.  Destiny usually means that YOU will be part of a new breed of world changers that will usher in the kingdom. Signs and wonders will follow YOU.  YOU will live in abundance because you are a friend of God.  YOU will make new discoveries and inventions because you have the mind of Christ. YOU will fill stadiums, YOU will be sought after in Hollywood….you get the picture!  Compare this with the big destiny of believers in the early church:  sawn in two, used as human torches, crucified, homes confiscated, beaten, tortured and ultimately martyred.  Few had more revelations than the apostle Paul and I suppose one could describe his life as one that had a big destiny. This is how it was described by God in a word to Ananias:But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.  For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:15-16

In his upcoming book “Poverty, Riches and Wealth” Vallotton writes: “You can put Jesus in a manger, but you can’t put a manger in Jesus. Wealth, glory and power seeped out of His pores like sweat on a hardworking man on a hot, humid day.”  (Kris Vallotton, Poverty, Riches and Wealth, 30)

This is ultimately the destiny this new breed is chasing after – wealth, power and glory.

His final suggestion-
KV: “Learn to trust Him when you don’t know the WHY behind things, so that He can trust you with even greater revelation. Friendship is reciprocated trust after all.”

Vallotton is making revelation a mystical affair based on very subjective criteria. The revelation Vallotton is referring to is when God speaks directly to you, as he did with Vallotton.  Keep in mind, Vallotton had a conversation with either a demonic spirit or his own imagination, so what is he leading his followers into?  Revelation has been given. The Holy Spirit does not bring new truth; he reveals what has already been given. We may never know the WHY behind some things, but we still know what our response should be according to scripture.  You don’t need to sweat in order to hear the voice of God because you can simply study your bible.  Thankfully,  there is no level of obedience we need to reach to understand the scriptures in context.  If it were up to our level of obedience or how much God could trust us, we would all be doomed.

The reason millions are being duped by the likes of Kris Vallotton, is because they like having their ears tickled and have not studied their bibles.  If you are a believer, Vallotton is not your friend and he will lead you into slavery.  You will become a slave to your own imagination and voices in your head while your bible gathers dust.  You will become a slave to his false interpretation of scripture.  You will become a slave to your own dreams and envisioned destiny, believing that Vallotton’s reduced God is there to serve you.  You will become a slave to a movement that promises you glory, but in fact delivers deception and ultimately judgement.

” For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.  They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” 2 Peter 2:18-19

 

 

 

 

 

Aligning with a false Christ – condoned by Bethel church

By Rick Becker    28 December 2017

“Christalignment” is a “ministry” condoned by Bethel church.  Bethel and “Christalignment” have no problem with going undercover at psychic fairs. Christalignment offer “card readings” at events such as Sexpo, Rainbow Serpent and Queer Expo.  This is a sign of the times – an apostate church participating in and promoting works of darkness instead of exposing them.

Jenny Hodge of “Christalignment” – a “ministry” condoned by Kris Vallotton and Theresa Dedmon of Bethel “church” offer “readings” at various events.
“Readings” are done through the use of tarot  “destiny cards”
From their own  website  :

Our Cards lead the way…….

” You can’t come into your destiny until you take responsibility for your own life.”The Christalignment team use at least 5 different types of cards in Destiny Readings. These are not necessary for an intuitive reader, as we are all hearing from the third heaven realm, but greatly enhance the reading.

We believe they are more predictive and higher than most cards, and can address a current life question that you may have. Card readings with Christalignment are always followed by the reader taking the client into an encounter in the highest realm. Often colour is seen and it is in this realm that answers come for poignant questions that clients have and lives are changed.”

Cards lead the way?  What happened to the gospel?  Cards are predictive?  Clients who have had their fortunes told received predictive readings are guided into an encounter in the highest realm.  Which realm would this be, considering Jesus and the gospel have been excluded from the session.  Scripture make no mention of the importance of seeing colours, or that any “realm” involving colour produces answers that change lives.

What “Christalignment” are promoting is called the occult.  God does not speak through “destiny cards” or colours, he speaks through his word.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
Hebrews 1:1-2

The message people need is complete and sufficient: “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Jude 1:3

“Christalignment” is practicing divination, under the old covenant mediums were punished by death (Leviticus 20:27) Those who chase after “readings” were equally condemned: “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people” Leviticus 20:6

“Christalignment” at Dendenong Market:

Jenny Hodge describes their “destiny readings” at Dandenong market as follows:

“I work alongside a team of spiritual readers who do everything from card reading to spiritual and house cleansing so it’s really a spiritual one-stop-shop. “I’m a spiritual person myself and can tell another just by talking to them.” “I wouldn’t say we have a typical client – each comes with a question to be answered or a problem to be solved. But we’re not religious per se – and because of our name Christians get the wrong idea about who we are. It can be awkward.”

It takes little discernment to realize that “card readings” are not found in scripture.   Mimicking the occult is not part of the great commission.  In their attempt to lure unbelievers, “Christalignment” utilizes works of darkness instead of preaching the gospel.  Card readings, telling fortunes, and “house cleansing” are not tools to preach the gospel, but “Christalignment” like Bethel church, rely on signs to spread their perversion of the gospel. Every single human being has a spirit, what Jenny means by her claim that as a “spiritual person” she can identify another, is nonsensical unless  viewed through a pagan paradigm.  Unbelievers are under the wrath of God, alienated from the life of Christ, bound in a kingdom of darkness and in need of the gospel that brings about repentance from sin.  The gospel alone is what we should be preaching: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” Romans 1:16

True Christians have not “got the wrong idea” about “Christalignment.”  Unbelievers cannot be aligned to Christ without repentance and faith in Christ.  The only “destiny reading” that Jenny Hodge should offer is “unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  The gospel consists of both bad and good news.  The bad news is the condition of fallen mankind and the consequences, the good news is that Christ saves those who repent and believe in him.  The people who receive a “Christalignment reading” are not convicted of sin, instead they are comforted with pleasant words, morsels from the kingdom of darkness that entertain their dreams and comfort their hurts – a Christless encounter.

“Being at the market you can’t be too precious about the location of your stand so you have to be in touch with your inner gypsy and go with the flow. So far I’ve been at this particular stall for the past 38 weeks but no-one knows when and where you’ll be moved to next: it’s in the hands of the spirits – oh, and Centre Management!”  Source – Christalignment, Henna & Destiny Readings | Dandenong Market

“Christalignment” sure is in the “hands of the spirits” – demonic ones.

In this clip below, a member of Christalignment describes how clients can come for : “a destiny card reading where you can ask a question and receive an answer from spirit…we work with the highest spirit” – No mention of THE HOLY SPIRIT, just “spirit” and “higher spirit.”  No mention of evil spirits, because that is what they are operating in. There is NO mention of the real problem – sin, or the only solution -gospel of Jesus Christ.

(Apologies – video disabled by Christalignment)

 

“Christalignment” at Sexpo:

“Christalignment” offered readings at the 2017 “Sexpo” in Melbourne  (has Jenny Hodge read Ephesians 5:11: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”)  By renting stalls at events such as “Sexpo” and other nefarious events, “Christalignment” are contributing to the works of darkness.

 

They describe their experience as follows:
“Our journey into the thrilling world that is Sexpo. Doing profound life changing destiny readings for 4 days surrounded by sex toys. The team were amazing, competing with very loud stage noise too” 

Source – CHRISTALIGNMENT at Sexpo

“Thrilling” what is thrilling about perversion. Aligning with people “whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things” is shameful, not thrilling.  What is thrilling about the wickedness of mankind, wickedness that causes God to grieve:
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from
the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:5-8

We cannot publish all the words Sexpo use to describe their event due to vulgarity, but this should give you an idea of what they offer: “fun..entertainment..male and female stage acts..comedy hypnotists..fetish demonstrations…amateur strip…fetish playrooms”

“Christalignment” at Queer Expo:

“Christalignment” offered their readings at the “Queer expo” Melbourne.  Their description:
“The team so enjoyed going into this drag queen culture in Melbourne – something we rarely get to see. We found our clients to be open, loving , generous with their time with us. They have the same needs as people all around the world – to get answers from the Spirit about issues in their lives. It has been a wonderful experience”

Mingling with people who have exchanged the truth for a lie should cause us to have compassion.  Jesus had no problem mixing with sinners, but his message was uncompromising and he always dealt with the root of the problem, not the fruit.  Naturally we should be repulsed by their wicked acts, but keep in mind that once we were in their kingdom, alienated from God, lovers of self, haters of God.  The compassion towards the lost should result in an urgency to preach the gospel, not marvel at a sinful culture.  The Holy Spirit will first and foremost “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”  The “issue” all humans have is called SIN.  Until sin is addressed, there is no need for a saviour.

Christalignment at Queer expo:

(Apologies – video disabled by Christalignment)

 

Because scripture is not sufficient and the gospel is not taught, Christalignment depend on occultic practices in order to produce something supernatural

“Christalignment” does not preach the gospel.  They are deceived and are deceiving others through divination.  In the book of Acts, we read the account of another woman who offered “readings” for monetary gain: As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.”  Acts 16:16-18

How is it possible that a “ministry” operating in a spirit of divination is supported by Bethel church and others?  It is possible because an angel of light is at work in the visible church.  It is possible because scripture is ignored as “encounters” take precedence.  It is possible because millions in the visible church are offended by the message of the cross.  “Christalignment” is indeed aligned to a Christ – a false one.  Avoid “Christalignment” and Bethel church, they are preaching a different gospel, and have nothing to offer but deception.

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.  For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.  They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”
2 Peter 2:17-19

THE LESSER MENTIONED THIEF

By Rick Becker  7 September 2017

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” – John 10:10.  We are all familiar with this phrase, usually quoted when referring to Satan.  However, when we examine the context, we see that Jesus is in fact referring to false teachers. Satan is certainly a liar who is hell bent on destroying God’s sheep by any means, and one way his intentions are carried out is through false teachers.

If we look at the context of this verse, we see a contrast between Jesus – the good shepherd, and the false shepherds of Israel – the Pharisees.  The previous chapter recounts the healing of the man born blind, and how despite this miracle by Jesus, the Pharisees excommunicated the blind man and condemned Jesus – the good shepherd.  Jesus promptly rebukes the Pharisees (John 9:40-41) and Chapter 10 continues in the same vein, with the object of Jesus’ condemnation being the religious leaders of Israel.  Jesus refers to them as “that man” vs 1, “a stranger” vs 5, “all who came before me” vs 8, “a hired hand” vs 12, clearly all references to the religious leaders.

In verse one, we are told: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber” John 10:1.  Jesus is using a parable to contrast a true shepherd, who cares for the flock, as opposed to a hireling, who is ultimately concerned with some sort of selfish gain. Today we have hirelings in the church: these false shepherds do not fulfil the biblical criteria to minister in the church. Scripture is clear, one of the qualifications is that those who teach must be able to rightly divide the word of truth:  “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.“  2 Timothy 2:15

These hirelings have not come through the door which is Christ, but as Jude warned have “crept in unnoticed.”  The threat to the spiritual welfare of the church is internal because this is where false teachers operate – within the fold.  You will find these hirelings on stage at a plethora of conferences hosted annually by churches or movements such as Hillsong, Bethel, The Call, IHOP, Willow Creek GLS and others. Some of their common errors include the prosperity gospel, word of faith heresy, and dominion theology as espoused by those in the New Apostolic Reformation.

They have disguised themselves as “apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13).  These false apostles are described as being savage wolves.  Paul warned the Ephesian elders:  “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them… ”  Acts 20:29-30

False teachers come to steal, kill and destroy.  They do this through their teachings and behaviour:  “There will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.  Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping” (2 Peter 2:1–3).

How exactly do false teachers “steal kill and destroy?”  The passage above reveals some of the ways:

Their false doctrine which is destructive – false teachings present either a distorted view of man or a distorted view of God.  Last weeks blog post revealed the extent to which false teachers have distorted the biblical view of mankind.  It is impossible to mature in the the faith, or at times even be in the faith unless these two views are aligned with scripture.  A distorted view of God is not a foundation to build upon – Os Guiness explains:  “Sometimes when I listen to people who say they have lost their faith, I am far less surprised than they expect.  If their view of God is what they say, then it is only surprising that they did not reject it much earlier.  Other people have a concept of God so fundamentally false that it would be better for them to doubt than to remain devout. The more devout they are, the uglier their faith will become since it is based on a lie. Doubt in such a case is not only highly understandable, it is even a mark of spiritual and intellectual sensitivity to error, for their picture is not of God but an idol. ”
― Os Guinness, God in the Dark.

Their conduct maligns Christianity – scandal after scandal has plagued popular leaders of mega churches (due to their depraved conduct) bringing the name of Christ into disrepute.  Extra marital affairs, plagiarism, covering up a family members pedophilia, stealing church funds, sensual productions on church stages and other indiscretions are regularly witnessed. To make matters worse, there is little accountability, and the perpetrators are usually “restored” to a ministry position they were never qualified for in the first place, after a few months.

Their exploitation of people through their lies.  A good shepherd will protect his sheep at all costs.  False teachers exploit the flock through various manipulative means, justified through their twisting of scripture.  The weak, vulnerable, hurting and naive are preyed upon and abused.  Furthermore, a hireling’s primary concern is the wages he/she will receive at the end of the day.  This brings us to three observations concerning false teachers who come to steal, kill and destroy:

1. They exploit their followers through stealing their money:

  Their ultimate concern is self gratification, monetary reward being one of their motives:  “..they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” Titus 1:11 This means that they want your money as “they have hearts trained in greed” 2 Peter 3:14.  Let’s not lay all the blame on them, because in order to enrich themselves, they appeal to the greed of their followers. Teaching on tithing or the “principle of sowing”  therefore dominates many of their messages.

New Testament believers are never commanded to tithe, but to give in this manner: “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8

The irony is that tithing did not work for prosperity teachers;  what made them rich are their fabricated stories which tickle ears. The apostle Paul did not mince his words when teaching on how we should deal with those who teach false doctrine and are motivated by greed:  “For there are many who are insubordinate,empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.  They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”  This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,” Titus 1: 1 – 13

Don’t be fooled by all the good these teachers do, and you can be certain that they will let you know that they are doing good!  Most of these celebrity teachers and megachurches make sure that they do some charitable work.  Some might point to these works as evidence of good fruit, however,  building Orphanages, christian universities, fighting human trafficking etc can never justify a false gospel.  “You will know them by their fruits” also refers to sound doctrine.  Those who teach what they ought not to, are displaying bad fruits.

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound  words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,  and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” 1 Timothy 6:3-6.

2.  They tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear:

False teachers tell you what you want to hear, and in doing so rob you of the truth, and of Christ himself.  What does our carnal nature want to hear about? Self, naturally.  Our destiny, our purpose, our legacy. Sadly, Paul described the times we are living in in his letter to Timothy: “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”  2 Timothy 4: 2-4

When last have you heard a sermon by one of these mega church leaders condemning sin, exposing false doctrine, warning of the judgement to come, rebuking, reproving, and contending for the faith?  These are subjects they conveniently ignore as they are too busy catering for the passions of those on the wide road that leads to destruction. The cost of following Christ has been exchanged for the comforts of a relationship with God in which you determine the conditions and rewards – a partnership.

This is not a new scenario; God condemned Israel for seeking out prophets who told them what they wanted to hear: “For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 30: 9-11. Centuries later, this verse is still applicable to the likes of T D Jakes, Brian Houston, Joel Osteen, Shawn Bolz, Patricia King and Kris Vallotton to name but a few.

What these teachers will offer, is the opposite of self denial and picking up your cross.  Self denial has been replaced with gratification of self:  “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” 2 Timothy 3: 1-4

3 They cause division in the body:

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”  Romans 16:17-18

We need to dispel a common misconception regarding this verse. This verse is NOT saying that warning people of smooth talkers and exposing their error is divisive. This verse IS saying that those who cause cause divisions and obstacles are the smooth talkers who have veered off from the doctrine they had been taught.  These hirelings need to be marked (named) and avoided (a healthy division) as they take advantage of their naive followers.  Their common errors include teachings that place us back under the law (Galatians 2), grace as an excuse to continue in sin (Romans 6), and false philosophy (Colossians 2).

The book of Jude exhorts us to contend for the faith, and then goes on to describe false teachers who have crept into the church. Jude then states that “It is these who cause divisions.” Jude 19

It is those who depart from sound doctrine that are causing division: “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20: 29 -30

The dividers are those who twist or ignore scripture.  These are some of the words scripture uses to describe their teachings and methods: myths, cleverly invented stories, fables, relying on dreams, destructive heresies, distort the truth,  empty talkers.  Paul, in his first Epistle to Timothy, reveals the consequences of following false doctrine:O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.” 1 Timothy 6: 20 -21

Paul lamented the ease with which false apostles were accepted in Corinth: “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

Sadly, today is no different, let us heed the words of Charles Spurgeon:

“He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart.  Oh, if some of you were like your fathers you would not have tolerated in this age the wagon loads of trash under which the gospel has been of late buried by ministers of your own choosing.  You would have hurled out of your pulpits the men who are enemies to the fundamental doctrines of your churches, and yet are crafty enough to become your pastors and undermine the faith of a fickle and superficial generation.”