The Super Apostles’ Hireling Todd Bentley – A Tragic Affair

By Rick Becker  27 August 2019

For years, discerning believers (all believers should be discerning) have been warning about the “ministry” of Todd Bentley. Instead of heeding warnings, the super apostles’ of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) knowingly chose to elevate and commission a man who kicked and punched people desperate for healing. Isn’t it strange, that “apostles & prophets” who claim to have the ability to declare things into existence and predict the future of nations, have failed to recognize the abominable acts committed by one of their own favourite sons- right under their noses. It should come as no surprise that the fruits of a movement that elevates man and relegates God are rotten to the core. This is a tragic affair, because despite the fact that Bentley is accountable for his own sin, the super apostles’ of the NAR elevated Bentley, and gave him a larger platform. The world associates this despicable movement with the “church,” and the victims associate these elevated charlatans with “men of God.” Just as tragic, is the fact that leaders in the NAR refuse to consider valid criticism, and resort to the usual tactics by condemning those who expose their false teachings as heresy hunters or as having a “religious spirit.” 

New allegations have surfaced – you can watch Bentleys response here.  He disputes the “majority of the accusations” but states that there are “some that are true.” Bentley then talks about “faults that are many years old.” God forgives those who truly repent, that is not the issue here. The issue is Bentley’s lifestyle of sin, which not only disqualifies him from any form of ministry (not that he was ever qualified), but should have had him excommunicated from the church on more than one occassion.
What makes this whole sordid affair, not only an embarrassment, but also impossible to ignore, is the fact that it was a charismatic “revivalist” in the NAR or at the very least closely associated with NAR teachers, that brought the issue to light. Stephen Powell was influenced by Bentley:
“My connection with Todd goes back to when I was a kid when I can remember getting his books and teaching cds for Christmas from my parents. Todd’s life and testimony inspired me when I was nineteen years old, fresh out of High School, to take five months off of work, lock myself in my room, and seek the Lord day and night. It was at that time that I had my first visitation of Jesus, and that I first began to move in the prophetic and healing gifts.”
Powell describes of a photo of himself which picked up a peacock feather on his shirt, somehow the photo picked up what he was “wearing in the spirit realm.” Powell claims it was actually a feather that Bob Jones gave to me, um, when I had a heavenly encounter with him in 2014 right after he passed. I went to heaven and I saw Bob Jones and he handed me a Peacock feather, which is a piece of his mantle”
Divination involving false prophet
Bob Jones is just about as big and bold a red flag you could ask for. So clearly, Powell is as deceived as the rest of the prophets of the NAR, and should be marked and avoided.

The details of the allegations are too sordid to publish here, but you can read Powell’s open letter here.
The goings-on behind the scenes resemble the Mafia : “Some of the witnesses I talked to at the beginning of my investigation have since withdrawn their testimony because they have been threatened by people involved in this network of sin and cover-ups. I’ve come across at least one witness who was paid off and made to sign a legal gag order in order to keep silent about the great sins and abominations he’s witnessed. And in some cases, I personally have been threatened with a lawsuit and violence if I revealed my findings.”

Powell also mentions how Knight of Malta and NAR apostle Rick Joyner (who is now in full damage control mode) refused to entertain his plea to address the issues regarding Bentley. Rick Joyner’s incoherent rants indicate that he is intent on saving his own skin, while at the same time demonizing anyone who exposes Bentley’s shenanigans. Excerpt from Joyner’s rant: “I will say this about Todd, he’s still being restored, but guess what, so am I, so are you, we still have a ways to go, and uh, I felt like the Lord showed me in 2008 that this wasnt the last big public embarrassement that Todd was going to have, or mistake, or sin, I was given the scripture in proverbs where the righteous fall seven times, even the righteous fall seven times, he said but they rise yet again, and he said Todd would keep getting back up, he would fight on..”
Being a “prophet” Joyner should have acted on this revelation and saved some from becoming victims of Bentley’s wicked acts. How many times will Joyner allow Bentley to “fall.” It does not seem to matter to Joyner, who is more concerned with Powell going public out of frustration, than Bentley’s sin: “I’ve seen the consequences of those who’ve done the things that this brother is doing … I was waiting to meet with him so that I could have something from God that I could give to him that might help set him free from the course that I believed him to be on…It’s a black hole when you start to believe you’re the police of the body of Christ but you’re not getting that from above. You’re getting it from the devil.”

No Rick, it’s a black hole when you protect a predator by sitting on information with hard evidence, while a bible lies on your shelf. Joyner’s reason once again exposes the root probem with the NAR – scripture is insufficient in their world! The the bible is clear regarding qualifictions for the ministry, clear regarding church discipline, and clear regarding false teachers! While Bentley was possibly stalking his next victim, Joyner was waiting to hear from God in order to discipline the whistle blower. It’s impossible to read Paul’s epistles without coming to the conclusion that he too, “policed” the body of Christ. What is from the devil, is the New Apostolic Reformation. What we are witnessing are the fruits of a man centered movement, with leaders who are willing to fleece and slaughter the flock for their own shameless benefit. The only consolation is that these wolves attract more goats than sheep.

Jeremiah Johnson, another “prophet” who has pulled the wool over many eyes sat on the information Powell provided for three weeks, and then in a dream, he saw Paul Cain and Todd Bentley with plucked out eyes, and Python’s around their necks. Johnson claims God told him the following during the dream: “And when you see all these things come to pass, know then that I am releasing judgement upon My house. For My people have worshipped these men. My people have failed to discern. In that day, when exposure comes, tell My people to not accuse, to not point the finger, but rather to ask themselves, “How have I contributed to all of this?” For the judgment that shall come upon My house in the days ahead will directly deal with the idol worship of men and ministries that is an abomination before Me.”

Jeremiah Johnson is the one who has failed to discern, I know for a fact that he was warned and implored to avoid Joyner the Knight of Malta, but he probably saw an opportunity for greater exposure, and has amassed more followers. As a “prophet” he has has zero discernment, because he considers Todd White to be “a voice of truth in the body of Christ.” Yes, the same Todd White who claims to be sinless, performs the fake leg-lengthening trick, and partners with heretics like Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland.
Johnson has now thrown down the gauntlet to Joyner, threatening that unless Joyner deals with the predator Bentley, he will separate himself “from Morningstar Ministries and will no longer be speaking at their conferences.” Those unhappy with Joyner’s response, can simply exchange one false prophet for another by following Jeremiah Johnson, who stands to gain as a result of this dispute by becoming the new trusted and reliable prophetic voice who appears to make a stand against sin.
But where is the other Johnson – apostle Bill Johnson who commissioned Bentley, helped “restore” Bentley. Bill Johnson was promoting Bentley as recently as June 2018, encouraging people to attend Bentleys revival meeting where Johnson promised “massive conversions and miracles.” If Bill Johnson took the time to listen to those pesky watchman, internet police, accusers of the brethren, and people with a “religious spirit” he would have issued a warning instead of promoting a predator.
Bill Johnson: “While few would admit it, the attitude of the Church in recent days has
been, “If I’m uncomfortable with something, it must not be from God.” This attitude has given rise to many self-appointed watchdogs who poison the Church with their own fears. Hunger for God then gives way to fear of deception. What do I trust most, my ability to be deceived or His ability to keep me? And why do you think He gave us the Comforter? He knew His ways would make us uncomfortable first.”
(
Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth, p 79.)

Dear Bill, the watchdogs were uncomfortable when some spirit told Todd Bentley to kick an older lady in the face. Even the United Kingdom had more discernment than NAR apostles and were “uncomfortable” with Bentley’s violent healing ministry and banned him from visiting the country.

Let’s revisit the moment when Bentley was catapulted into the limelight by the NAR super apostles. If you have not read this excellent and informative article by Steven Kozar – We Remember: The Charismatic Day of Infamy, June 23rd, 2008, I’d encourage you to read it here. Kozar’s article contains a clip of the first part of Todd Bentley’s “commissioning” and some extra resources. I’m going to move on to the next segment, where an incapacitated Bentley receives prophetic words from the super apostles. I’ll post some excerpts from their words, with commentary below the link.

That was basically the Praise Todd Bentley show, but lets examine a few of the prophetic words:

“Apostle” Bill Johnson: “When David wanted Uriah killed, he sent him into battle, and then withdrew from him. As a company of people, we refuse to do that. Many revivals in history have been cut short of their intention in God’s destiny and intention over individuals because of jealousies and fears that get stirred up in the people of God, and we refuse to do that. 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.”

So Johnson & co decided to back Bentley, probably because of the so called signs and wonders at Lakeland, maybe they were jealous themselves? If you can’t beat them, make them join you? So they joined themselves to a literal beater, and Bill thought history would be shaped. Todd’s abuse has shaped the life of many victims, and we can only pray that they will find comfort and truth in the gospel and in our saviour. Instead of Todd outshining Moses, the NAR apostles created a Pharaoh. Bentley has not altered the face of the church before the world, he’s a farce, he does not, and never has represented the true church of Jesus Christ. The same goes for these charlatans running the NAR, they claim to hear from God, and speak on behalf of God to the whole body of Christ. Why did God not tell them what Bentley was up to? Where was Shawn Bolz, the man who can supposedly tell strangers their street address and the name of their fluffy toy when they were five? 

Unknown “apostle” : “For the Lord would say unto thee that this day, you have loosened upon this earth, yea what I have wanted for centuries to come forth, a kingly anointing which will bring in money, money, money, because the business man will rise up, and they will go forth under this anointing, and no more will they stay hidden in the shadows, but they shall go forth into the political world, into the business world, into the military world, and great changes shall take place saith the Lord, because this night is a night where you started out speaking your first words about the kingdom of God.”

Wow, so Todd finally relieved God from waiting for centuries. The God that took a coin from the mouth of a fish had to wait for Todd Bentley to release money through his kingly anointing. This flawed reasoning is why these “apostles” can find no wrong with Bill Johnson’s heretical statement  – God’s in charge, but he’s not in control. The only great changes that have taken place in the world since that infamous commissioning, are those that scripture predicted – an increase in wickedness, a great falling away –  a deluded false church that have rejected the truth. Don’t be surprised if these super apostles one day have a commissioning ceremony for the antichrist!

Female “apostle” :“Todd the Spirit of God says years from now people will look at this time, and they will recognize it as when their God showed up and created within the church a new heart says the Lord, and I will genesis in the midst of the chaos in the world today, and I will not just bring a mending, but I will bring forth that which is new, that which is dedicated, that which is uh, uh decided, that which is pure, and I will heal the corruptness of the heart says God.”

It’s been years, and we recognize that a great deception took place, one that elevated a man, and enabled him to prey on people. Why did God wait so long to give the church a “new heart” ? All that took place on that day, was an activation (NAR terminology) of the impure and the corruptible. Will this apostle repent of her false prophecy?

Female “apostle”: ” For the word of the Lord would say behold the vanguard, behold the tugboat that is cutting through the ice of religious traditions  the cool hard thing, the understanding of the mind of man will now bow to the reality of the revelation of the finished work of calvary, behold saith God, you have been equipped with cutting power, you have been equipped to go through those traditions of the mind of man, yea saith God and you are pulling the church into the realm of glory, behind you is a great ship that is laden with healing and deliverance and prosperity. This is the word to you oh man of God, arise kill and eat, no longer, no longer, no longer will men call unclean what I have called clean”
By traditions, did she mean expository teaching, not kicking people, doing things decently and in order, testing all things…you know, all the things that scripture commands us to do? If this lady and her fellow apostles believed in the finished work of calvary, this event would not have taken place. They are making Bentley into a kind of saviour, a deliverer, a king, a portal and glory carrier, this is pure idolatry!

“Apostle” Rick Joyner: “God has sent you as an antidote to that lukewarm spirit, and that fire has been birthed here, it’s been released here, you’ve unstopped the well, you have other wells to unstop, and other cities, and other places, this is just the beginning, and uh, there is longevity too, there is increase but there is also longevity coming, there are many wells, but there are also oil wells, and they catch on fire when you unstop them.”

Well, the antidote failed miserably, but Joyner was right about one thing – increase came, an increase of evil.

Unknown “apostle”: “Todd the Lord has made you to be a detonator, I see cables going around the world to different nations, I see Great Britain been set ablaze by the power of God, I see even as you go ito places that God says you’ll go even with the glory even like William Branham and the Lord says you’ll carry a portal anointing and whatever city you go over there will be a portal, there will be a portal that is opened up says the Lord, the Lord says you’ll detonate and boom, boom, boom, there will be a release of glory to the nations says the spirit of the Lord.”
Great Britain wisely rejected Todd’s appearance on their shores, and I wish these NAR apostles would stop idolizing William Branham who believed “the zodiac and the Egyptian pyramids are equal to written Scripture.” Obviously “portals anointings” don’t exist, but that’s the advantage of being self appointed apostles, you get to make stuff up, and your gullible followers fail to compare your ideas with what scripture actually teaches.

Unknown “apostle”: “Todd as a fellow Canadian there’s the word honour written all over you tonight, because of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob you’ve honored the generations that have gone before you, as a son you’ve reached out to the fathers and you said bless me, and you have blessed us tonight and so we honour you, you’ve honoured the word of God, you’ve honoured the spirit of God, you’ve honoured the moving of the Holy Spirit and the ways of God, and so tonight we just affirm that the rest of honour that is upon your life will follow you now in every nation that you go, and you will draw men and women to you, that seek honour and want to walk to together, and want to be what God wants them to be, in this generation, Todd Bentley, the word honour rests upon your life.”
And that’s where it went wrong: “you will draw men and women to you.”

The majority of this final clip contains a “prophetic word” from Stacey Campbell, who is quite obviously manifesting something. Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner and the other apostles stand idly by during this Kundalini type episode, during which Campbell compares Bentley to Jesus.

 

Stacey Campbell: “And Todd, I have chosen you because of your background, because of your background, because of your background, to release my nature when you release my gifts…to become a living epistle, like the word that became flesh and people saw the glory of God.”
I don’t know what “background” she is referring to, but it’s certainly not his biblical studies. God can use any believer, regardless of their background before their repentance and salvation! But it seems as if Bentley is simply repeating the sinful ways of his “background.” Unfortunately Campbell’s blasphemous statement regarding Bentley is yet another product of a movement that has elevated men and women, and relegated God. If we are to believe Campbell’s prophecy, It seems as if God had no idea what Bentley would get up to – but that’s the god of the apostles and prophets of the NAR, he’s limited.

Stacey Campbell : “The holy Spirit fell on me, and he started to speak to me over and over again, about a generation that would come on the earth that would do signs and wonders that would change society, and society would not change them, and you are a firtsfruits of that generation of nation changers that will release the glory of God in all it’s fullness”
That was not the Holy Spirit speaking to Stacey, we know this because she received a message contrary to what the Holy Spirit inspired in the scriptures – society will grow increasingly wicked, and there will be a great apostasy, not revival.

While all eyes are on Bentley, the silence of the super apostles is deafening. Their prophecies concerning Bentley were false, their discernment regarding Bentley non existent. Friends, this movement is not from God except in the sense that it’s a judgement and God sent delusion on a people who reject truth and desire preeminence. 

 

SEDUCED BY BETHEL

By Rick Becker   21 August 2019

Jacob had his dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven at a city called Luz, which he renamed “Bethel”- meaning “house of God.” At a later stage in Israel’s history Jeroboam (first king of the northern kingdom) went off the map by ignoring God’s commands regarding worship. Jeroboam appointed his own priests, set up a golden calf at Bethel and seduced his people into idolatry. Hosea and Amos later referred to Bethel as “Beth-aven” which means “house of idols” or “vanity.” Today, another kind of “Beth-aven” exists in the form of Bethel church Redding. It’s supposedly a place of dreams, angels, and open heavens. But like Jeroboam, Bethel church has found scripture too restrictive, and created it’s own “golden calf.” The lure has worked, but all the glitters is not gold, and Bethel’s seductive ladder does not lead to heaven. In this post, I examine what I believe are some of the reasons people are seduced by Bethel. These points also serve to describe the characteristics and teachings of churches that are caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation.

1. SCRIPTURE IS RELEGATED

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The relegation of scripture is the root cause of the errors in the points that follow. Those who defend Bethel will argue that Johnson & co quote, and base their teachings on scripture. The problem is that the principles of biblical interpretation are ignored, and their error is compounded by their use of the Passion translation – a perversion of scripture. The result is the New Apostolic Reformation’s man centered theology. These man centered doctrines are a lure for itching ears and people eager to serve their passions (2 Tim 4:3)
Like any false teacher, Johnson will say the right thing at times. He is however a master at creating a false dilemma, one that places scripture at the mercy of some kind of experience or encounter.
Johnson believes the Bible is the inerrant word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and that any new revelation does not carry the “same authoritative weight as Scripture” and that “everything we hear must be consistent with what He has spoken to us in His Word” 1

But Johnson’s duplicity is easy to identify. How can we be sure everything is consistent with scripture when we rely on a “presence” to take us beyond scripture?
“Following the leading of the Holy Spirit can present us with the same dilemma. While he never contradicts His Word, He is very comfortable contradicting our understanding of it.Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scriptures enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map—to go beyond what we know. To do so successfully we must recognize His presence above all.” (bold emphasis mine throughout this article)
Studying, examining, and meditating on the word of God is biblical, pursuing experiences is not. Johnson promotes a mystical and subjective means for spiritual guidance and growth: “An encounter with God is often a power encounter. Such encounters vary from person to person according to God’s design. And it’s the lack of power encounters that lead to a misunderstanding of God and his word. Experience is necessary in building a true knowledge of the word. Many fear experience because it might lead away from scripture. The mistakes of some have have led many to fear experiential pursuit”

One would think that incorrectly dividing the word of truth leads to a misunderstanding of God and his word. When context becomes irrelevant, so does scripture, as  presuppositions replace truth. When the Holy Spirit illuminates scripture to us, the meaning does not change, but Johnson pits experience against exegesis:

“FROM STUDY TO EXPERIENCE –  The study of Scriptures must take us beyond the historical setting, beyond language studies in the Hebrew and Greek, and at times beyond the context and intent of the human authors of Scripture. It’s time to hear from God afresh—that His Word would once again become the living Word in our experience.”
Did God not inspire the context and intent of scripture when he moved upon human authors? Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.  For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit..” 2 Peter 1:20-21

Lay aside every commentary on the bible that has been produced during the past two thousand years, lay aside all scholarship and studies in the original languages, Bill Johnson believes we need a different view:
“A NEW VIEW  – We have gone as far as we can go with what we presently know. Not only are we in need of the Spirit of God to teach us, we are in need of a different view of the Bible.

And if this is not confusing, I don’t know what is:
“Jesus is the Word of God. It’s hard for Him to not have something to say. Occasionally, we go through times when we feel God is not speaking to us. While that may be so, most of the time He has simply changed His language, and He expects us to adjust with Him.6
Now for a vague statement that allows for gold dust, gemstones, oily palms, feathers, road runners etc to become a means of communication from God instead of scripture:
It is vital to learn how God speaks. His first language is not English. In fact, it would be safe to say it’s not Hebrew either. While He uses the languages of men to communicate with us, He is more inclined to speak through a myriad of other methods.”

Finally, Johnson plants the seed in the minds of his followers to blindly accept God’s additions: “There are pillar truths in the gospel that form the most basic foundation of the structure. Once you have these in place, God delightfully adds to them, as a decorator decorates a house after the foundation and walls are secure. A man of understanding accepts God’s additions and doesn’t question them. He is not double-minded about them. That’s how a person of understanding attracts greater understanding. You treasure something that God says, and that builds a foundation for greater revelation.” 
Conveniently, he does not specify what these additions are, or what they look like in practice. What we do know is that  Bethel’s culture of “risk taking” has led them into mysticism, vain imaginations, and doctrines of demons. While Johnson acknowledges some form of foundational truth, it bears little relevance as Bethel’s theological foundation is flawed.
Bethel logic – there’s a law of attraction that rewards people who don’t ask questions.

It’s clear that Johnson’s position is scripture plus…plus an encounter, plus a new view, plus signs, plus other methods. By relegating scripture and exalting experiences, Johnson has created an attractive environment without boundaries that elevates experiences and leads to mysticism. 

2. SIN IS MINIMIZED

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Jeremiah 17:9

The cross is a revelation of God’s love, grace, mercy, and the depth of our sin – not our worth. Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6), not the worthy, or good that needed a little help in discovering their true identity. If people are inherently good, all they need is a fresh perspective, not a savior. While Bill Johnson teaches that sin is part of fallen man’s nature, his son Eric takes an indifferent approach to our fallen state: “every government, every structure, every system, fundamentally and theologically must start with the concept and idea that people are good, and they mean to do good, even if they’re not saved.  We have to start from that premise.”
That’s not the premise of scripture: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” John 3:19
We don’t call out the gold in sinners, we tell them that God
commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
In this article Kris Vallotton boasts in the fact that believers should go a week (or longer) without sinning, and that the real issue is “that if (not when) we sin” we have an advocate. The struggle against the flesh does not exist according to Vallotton: Those of us who know God are not in a war with our flesh, however, we do have a devious, evil enemy who is a sinner. He is endlessly accusing the Body of having his own wicked nature.”
Scripture teaches the opposite:
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11

We know that grace is not a licence to sin, and that progressive sanctification will take place in believers, but the struggle with our flesh will continue until we die. Furthermore, our awareness of our sin should increase, not decrease, as we grow in sanctification. Matthew Henry commenting on 1 John 1:8-9 writes: “All who walk near to God, in holiness and righteousness, are sensible that their best days and duties are mixed with sin. God has given testimony to the sinfulness of the world, by providing a sufficient, effectual Sacrifice for sin, needed in all ages; and the sinfulness of believers themselves is shown, by requiring them continually to confess their sins, and to apply by faith to the blood of that Sacrifice.”

In his book The Epistle to The Romans, Leon Morris echoes these sentiments: “It is worth bearing in mind that the great saints through the ages do not commonly say, ‘How good I am!’ Rather, they are apt to bewail their sinfulness. ‘Go away from me, Lord;I am a sinful man’ (Luke 5:58) is the authentic cry not of someone who does not believe, but of someone who does.” 9

In his desperation to justify some form of sinless perfection, and absolve believers of repenting, Vallotton manages to mangle the meaning of the parable of the lost sheep: The devil wants to convince us that sin, wickedness, addictions and every other form of bondage are rooted in our nature. That way, he can torment us and then blame it on our old man! But in the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus said that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). Jesus said ninety-nine out of a hundred people in God need no repentance!

Some commentators suggest that the ninety-nine Jesus was referring to were the self righteous Pharisees and scribes in his audience who had complained that Jesus “received sinners.” If that’s the correct interpretation, it basically describes Vallotton.
Gil’s commentary: “the occasion and scope of the parable, determines this to be the sense; the Scribes and Pharisees, that murmured at Christ’s receiving sinners, are the ninety and nine just persons, who were only outwardly righteous before men, and trusted in themselves that they were righteous, perfectly righteous, and without sin, and so stood in no need of repentance for it; now there is more joy in heaven over one repenting sinner, than over all these: hence learn, that a self-righteous person, is an impenitent one; that a repenting sinner is more regarded in heaven than a self-righteous man.”
If the ninety-nine refers to those who are saved, it means they they have already repented in relation to salvation. Bethel love to quote this section from the Lord’s prayer: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” but it seems as if Vallotton believes this part of the prayer does not apply
:Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:10-12
Vallotton can hardly get himself to use the word sin, in relation to believers: “Conviction is from the Holy Spirit. When you behave badly, conviction says, “You are way too awesome to be acting like that. Stop it! You are acting below your identity.”
True conviction says you have sinned, not that the devil has lied to you about your identity. When we sin, we confess, repent, and receive forgiveness from Christ. If anything, we should admit our insufficiency, and boast in Christ, not ourselves. The wrath of God, eternal damnation for the wicked, and the severity of sin are not the kind of topics that will create a jubilant atmosphere in a meeting, yet these are biblical doctrines we should be teaching. Whenever sin is minimized, self is elevated – we become the awesome ones.

3. SELF LOVE

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self..” 2 Timothy 3:1

The following two nauseating quotes from Kris Vallotton’s blog are blasphemous, and reveal the NARcissistic nature of Bethel’s false prophet. Kris Vallotton: “The truth is, as a child of God, you’re supposed to look and act like your Daddy! You are created in His image—a beautiful heir to His kingdom. You have access to everything your Dad has access to, and you’re glorious just as He is!”

Compare Vallotton’s self-aggrandizement to the apostle Paul’s words: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:30

Kris Vallotton: “Your identity as a child of God is a non-negotiable. You’re powerful, glorious, and outright awesome. I want to reiterate the declaration from the video and encourage you to read this out loud today: “I am amazing. I am God’s greatest creation. He loves me to death. I rock. I was born to do greater works than Jesus. I was born for glory. Nations are attracted to me. I have the mind of Christ, therefore I think like God. He’s my inheritance and I’m His inheritance. He actually likes me and I like me too. And if people got to know me, they would like me. Creation knows who I am. The devil knows who I am, God knows who I am, the angels know who I am… and today, I know who I am!”

Who has preeminence in this confession – Christ or Kris Vallotton?

In his book Heavy Rain, Kris Vallotton shares a vision he had. He was thrust 100 years into the future, where he saw an elderly man surround by several generations of family members. The old man was telling stories, and suddenly became serious and teary eyed as he began to explain something of great importance: “He began to speak to those present about their noble roots and their royal heritage. He stared into the eyes of each one, as if he was looking for greatness in their souls. He spoke of the great price their forefathers had paid to obtain such favor, wealth and influence from God and man. But it was what he did next that stunned me. He pointed to a majestic stone fireplace that rose about thirty feet to a vaulted ceiling. I looked over toward the fireplace mantel, where a large, beautiful artist’s portrait of Kathy and me hung. I was breathless as he finished his exhortation: “All this began with your great-great-great-grandmother and great-great-great-grandfather!”I instantly came out of the vision, struggling to gather my thoughts. Next I heard a thundering voice speak to my spirit: Your children’s children’s children are depending on you leaving them a world in revival. You are no longer to live for a ministry. From this day forward, you are to live to leave a legacy!10

Who has preeminence in this vision – Christ or Kris Vallotton?

Believers will have to pick up their cross daily, and follow in their masters footsteps. Vallotton, like his fellow false prophets in the NAR want to avoid the cross, and crown themselves in splendour and majesty. In the following quote, Vallotton completely misses the point of Paul’s words in 1 Cor 4:8.

“We are supposed to enter the death chamber of baptism with a cross and exit with a crown. The crown is, “The likeness of His resurrection! The apostle John said, “As He is, (speaking of Jesus) so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Notice he didn’t say, “As He was” but instead he said, “As He is.” Jesus is not the suffering servant carrying His cross anymore. He is the coming King. We are to be the revelation of His royalty on the earth. Paul emphasized this to the Corinthian church, “You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you” (1 Cor. 4:8). The full revelation of what it means to be saved still needs to penetrate our thinking until we understand that who we were is totally dead and who we are is the revelation of Christ on the earth.” 11

Paul is not praising the Corinthians for being a revelation of royalty, but employing sarcasm in order to expose the vanity self sufficiency of “prophets” like Vallotton. The context reveals that Paul experience was of someone who experienced a baptism of suffering: “Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless,and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;  when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children” 1 Corinthians 4:8-14

Barnes’ notes on verse 8 :“Now ye are full – It is generally agreed that this is spoken in irony, and that it is an indignant sarcasm uttered against the false and self-confident teachers in Corinth. The design is to contrast them with the apostles; to show how self-confident and vain the false teachers were, and how laborious and self-denying the apostles were; and to show to them how little claim they had to authority in the church, and the real claim which the apostles had from their self-denials and labors. The whole passage is an instance of most pungent and cutting sarcasm, and shows that there may be occasions when irony may be proper, though it should be rare.”
Vallotton’s self centered teachings will appeal to this generation – lovers of self. In 2016, BSSM asked research group  Eido “to conduct a wide scale research report. One of the questions they asked past students was: “What could BSSM have done better to prepare you for life after graduation?” One student’s answer is telling:
 “I think I felt like I was told you’re an awesome amazing world changer leader  and then I got thrown into the real World like a fish out of water. Ministry life and real world life are very different. And I was very disillusioned. I knew I was amazing but that didn’t translate into society as a whole.”

4. SEVEN MOUNTAIN MANDATE

When Jesus returns, it will be a time of judgement and wrath for the nations of this world and unbelievers (Revelation 19) Included in this judgement, will be a false church that has rejected the truth, and entertained false signs and wonders. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)
That is not the scenario Bethel are hoping for. They are hoping for a grateful Jesus that will return in amazement to a sanctified earth. Johnson’s eschatology leaves no room for the tribulation, or a falling away. He believes we can accelerate events if we are hungry and desperate enough, he calls this “pulling tomorrow into today.” This way, the church will apparently experience all the millennial promises prior to Christ’s return. The means of achieving this, is through the church transforming the world by capturing the seven spheres of society – Business, Education, the Church, Family, Arts/Entertainment, Science & Medicine, and Government.
Bill Johnson: “There are seven realms of society that must come under the influence of the King and His Kingdom. For that to happen, we, as citizens of the Kingdom, must invade. The dominion of the Lord Jesus is manifest whenever the people of God go forth to serve by bringing the order and blessing of His world into this one…The Kingdom is likened unto leaven (see Matt. 13:33). As yeast has an effect on the dough it is “worked into,” so we will transform all the kingdoms of this world as we are worked into its systems. From there we must display His dominion and rule. 12 

This belief is called Dominion theology, and is based on the idea that man lost dominion to Satan due to the fall; the church must reclaim dominion; when it does (through taking control of the seven spheres of society) Christ can return.

In one sense, this theology creates men and women who have a measure of dominion over God – who is made out to be a nervous entity, pacing the heavenly courtyards in the hope that his partners on earth give him the green light to accomplish his plans.
Kris Vallotton: “The truth is that Christ defeated and disarmed the enemy once and for all on the cross (see Col. 2:15). God has condemned him as guilty and handed over the authority he had usurped from Adam to Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Our job as “little Christs” is as deputies who enforce that judgment in every situation we come across. God created a world where our vote counts and where our agreement with what He’s doing is necessary to release His power into the world.13 

Bill Johnson  “If He is in control, then we have to credit Him with disease, earthquakes, hurricanes, and all the other calamities in life. You get the point. I think it’s more accurate to say He is in charge, but He is not in control.14 

Johnson uses examples such as the death of a child, and a young father killed in a car wreck leaving behind his wife and children in order to lambaste believers who say “God has a reason” or “works in mysterious ways.” He describes this as lazy theology: “There’s the assumption that if God wanted a different outcome, He would have made it happen. That is lazy theology that somehow releases us from responsibility by shifting the blame to a God who put us in charge…So whom did Jesus leave behind with the same tools of authority, power, and presence to deal with the threats of crisis, tragedy, disease, and disasters that He had? Us. We may not have all the responsibility when there are threats of horrific problems headed our way, but we do have some.” 15 
These tools of authority apparently extend to raising the dead. Jesus raised the dead to prove that he was the messiah, and to be glorified. Johnson knows better, according to him Jesus raised people from the dead “Because not everyone dies in God’s timing.” 16 

In his book Heavy Rain, Kris Vallotton tells of a prophetic word Bill Johnson received: “I believe that God is looking for one city that would be completely His. God wants to cause a breakthrough in one city that affects every realm of society. When that one city falls under the power of God, it will create a domino effect across the entire world that will result in city after city being brought into the Kingdom.” 17 
It goes without saying that Johnson believes that city is Redding. That is why they are working furiously to influence the various “spheres of society” in their city.

Vallotton is hoping for a worldwide revival, which he hopes will result in us speaking of cancer in the “past tense” and that that poverty will be eradicated. While Bethel may be able to create a glory cloud in their own auditorium, they will find it harder to create what Vallotton envisions:What if signs and wonders became so frequent that God’s glory literally hovered over cities like a mist, and “sinners” became a very small minority group? We believe that Redding is destined to fulfill all these dreams, and we are praying, working and living to that end.” 18 

If believers can pull heaven onto earth, disciple nations, transform societies, eradicate sickness and crime, create wealth for all – what is the point of the second coming? Yet this is Bethel’s mission –  creating external and observable kingdom on earth.  Vallotton smuggles in dominion theology (the transformation of society) under the guise of apostolic ministry: “For the most part, the Church has only empowered apostles to plant churches. But apostles were never meant merely to be church planters: they were called to be world changers! A leader can plant one hundred churches in different cities around the world, but if those churches don’t bring cultural transformation to their cities, then they are not apostolic. Cultural transformation is synonymous with apostolic ministry.” 19  

The thought of an end time church, persecuted and afflicted by the world does not sit well with Vallotton. That is why he believes the world is “getting better all the time” and is clear regarding his eschatological core values:
I will not accept an eschatology that takes away my children’s future, and creates mindsets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy..I will not tolerate any theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations and the Lord’s Prayer that earth would be like heavenI will not allow any interpretation of the scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined citiesI refuse to embrace any mindset that celebrates bad news as a sign of the times and a necessary requirement for the return of Jesus… I don’t believe that the last days are a time of judgment, nor do I believe God gave the church the right to call for wrath for sinful cities. There is a day of judgment in which GOD will judge man, not us.” 

There is no biblical mandate to transform the world. It’s this seductive false vision of a Christian utopia on earth that brings false comfort to those desiring to live in comfort. Johnson:“It is very hard to imagine the Church bringing answers to the issues of life when much of our eschatology anticipates world conditions getting worse and worse. When we also believe that the darkness of world circumstances is the signal for Christ’s return, we have a conflict that ultimately costs us a practical vision—to invade and transform the world system.” 20
While Bethel & co spend their efforts trying to impress and improve Babylon, the true church will always be rejected and hated by this world. A victorius bride is not one that has transformed the world system, but one that has kept the faith and preached the gospel. The lure of being “Little Christs” and taking dominion of this world has seduced those who love this present world.

5 SUFFERING BECOMES REDUNDANT

Johnson: “When we pray for His Kingdom to come, we are asking Him to superimpose the rules, order, and benefits of His world over this one until this one looks like His.” 21

The impression in most NAR churches is that God will promise us all the Joseph experience – we will go from the pit to a palace. You will hear buzzwords such as: increase, favour, acceleration, destiny, legacy, influence, prosper, promotion…in other words favourable words that your flesh wants to hear. Suffering is often viewed as failure, the result of sin, ignorance, or failing to be part of “what God is doing.” But God’s priority for his children is not their comfort, but their conformity into the image of his son. Suffering is a means in this process. No one likes to suffer, whether it is sickness, poverty or any other form of affliction or trying circumstances. There are many reasons for suffering, some we can avoid such as the consequences of bad choices or sin.  Others are inescapable – living in a fallen world, corruptible bodies, God’s discipline, suffering for the sake of the gospel.

There is no doubt that God ordains and uses suffering in the life of believers:
• “For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4
• “ You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus” Galatians 4:13-14
• “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” Romans 5:3-4

Paul was a true apostle (Eph 1:1) who received direct revelation (Gal 1:12) and experienced the third heaven ( 2 Cor 12:2) These experiences did not make life any easier for Paul, in fact his life after salvation was characterized by sufferings. From the start, God made it know to Paul that he was going to suffer (Acts 9:16)
Life was not easy for the real apostle, in fact at times he came across as a miserable, negative and depressed individual: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
God allowed a special messenger  to harass Paul: So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. ” 2 Corinthians 12:7.
If God wanted to superimpose the benefits of his world, how does Johnson explain God allowing a messenger of Satan to harass his apostle?

Here’s the point – taken to its logical conclusion, the theology of Bethel makes no room for suffering. Bethel have made their mantra clear – as above, so below. There is no sickness, suffering or poverty in heaven, and so believers should experience the same conditions on earth. If healing and some measure of wealth are guaranteed in the atonement, if the world is going to be captivated by the church and believers are going to be praised instead of persecuted, suffering becomes redundant. 

This false teaching that earth should look like heaven has allowed Bethel to prey on those experiencing a major cause of suffering – sickness. Johnson teaches that God has already purchased our healing, and “All lack is on our end of the equation” (The apostle Paul ought to have explained this to Timothy, Trophimus and Epaphroditus)  Bethel claim to have seen thousands of healings, combine this with their teaching that it is always God’s will to heal, and you have made yourself a major attraction to those desperate for a miracle in their bodies.
Sickness is demonized at Bethel. Bill Johnson: “Would satan like to inflict heaven with cancer? Of course he would. But he has no dominion there. He only has dominion here when and where man has come into agreement” 22 
It seems as if the Johnson’s have come into agreement with Satan as they have had their fair share of sicknesses. Despite operating “healing rooms” and a supernatural school, the Johnson’s have resorted to modern medicine for intervention.
To blame all sickness on the devil, personal sin and God’s judgement, is not biblical.
Consider God’s reply to Moses: But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” Exodus 4:10-11
Consider God’s reply to his disciples:As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.  And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1-3

Another area of suffering that Bethel capitalize on is financial hardship.
The promise of wealth seduces those burdened by lack of finances or poverty.
In his book Poverty Riches & Wealth,  under the heading “Money Is Not a Measure of Spirituality, Unless It Is!” Vallotton makes it obvious that God’s will for all believers is prosperity. This is because he makes no distinction between the old and new covenants. He teaches old covenant doctrine of tithing (the new testament teaches us to give, according to our ability and what we have determined) and then argues that the new covenant is far better with regards to “superior benefits.” Justification by faith is not what Vallotton has in mind here:

Do you really believe that an inferior covenant should provide superior benefits? Really? That might sound spiritual, but it actually is opposed to the Scriptures themselves. The writer of the book of Hebrews put it like this: “But now He [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). God said the New Covenant is improved. It is a better covenant, and it provides superior promises. Why not embrace His promise and make the journey from the wilderness, the land of just enough, to the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey, the land of more than enough? Why not reject poverty thinking, build a franchise with God and embrace His vision for your fantastic future? 23  

Lets read the context of Hebrews 8, and see if we can find any earthly benefits promised in the new covenant: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:10-12

Vallotton’s gospel is about gain in this world, Paul taught the opposite: But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:8

“A fantastic future” in this present world, is what the disciples initially believed Jesus came to offer them. They believed Jesus would set up his kingdom on earth, and some were hoping to experience superior earthly benefits: Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup.” Matthew 20:20-23

Suffering is not a stepping stone to greatness in the world, but a reminder that we are not of this world. The disciples wanted position, recognition and a crown of glory in an earthly kingdom, but Jesus promised them a cup of suffering. We are called to share in the sufferings of Christ, not for an earthly promotion but to be conformed into the image of Christ and focus our hope on eternity – not the temporal comforts of this world. Sufferings are not signs that we have failed to pull tomorrow into today, they are signs that we are children of God, being tested, refined and encouraged to look forward to the closing chapter of redemption – our glorification.

• “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4:12-13
• “ Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

6 SIGNS AND WONDERS

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24

You could read the entire bible within a week. You would read many accounts of miracles, signs and wonders, and might think that they are normative. Anyone coming to that conclusion has failed to realize that:
The scriptures span a period of approximately 4000 years.
There were centuries that went by during this time, without any miracles.
The number of people who performed miracles could fit in a small church building.
The major reason for signs and wonders in the New Testament has been fulfilled – to authenticate the message and ministry of the apostles (2 Cor 12:12) and the ministry and identity of the messiah (John 10:36-39)

Bill Johnson would disagree with my conclusion, according to him signs and wonders are normative: “In the natural we use signs to help us find a city, a particular restaurant, or a place of business. It’s practical. In the same way, signs and wonders are a natural part of the Kingdom of God. They are the normal way to get us from where we are to where we need to be. That is their purpose. Had the wise men not followed the star they would have had to be content reading about the experiences of others. I am not.” 24  

Some go to Bethel to “see God move.” Bethel’s “encounter” theology has propelled them experiential mysticism and demonic manifestations purported to be the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon people. Bethel’s “glory cloud” and other manifestations have deceived those looking for signs and wonders to validate their beliefs, and experience some sort of touch from God. This obsession with signs and wonders has become an indispensable aspect of Bethel’s evangelism. Johnson: “Jesus gave people the right to disbelieve it all if there was no demonstration of power upon his ministry. I hunger for the day when the church will make the same statement to the world – if we’re not doing the works that Jesus did, you don’t have to believe us25 
Vallotton comes to the same conclusion based on scripture Johnson’s opinion. Vallotton explains that when unbelievers experienced supernatural manifestations of God’s kingdom in the form of Christ’s miracles, they had the opportunity two see two kingdoms at work: This contrast provides them with an opportunity to repent. A Church that does not demonstrate the miraculous works of Christ has failed to give the world this opportunity, and thus has no right to judge people for their lack of response. Without miracles, the kingdom of God is reduced to words, concepts and good works” 26 
Johnson and Vallotton are incorrect of course. There were times for example when Paul displayed the signs of an apostle but his custom was to “reason” from the scriptures. Athens was a city steeped in idolatry, this would have been a great opportunity for Paul to shift the atmosphere (Bethel terminology) by binding spirits and performing a few miracles. Instead, Paul delivered a sermon and the result was that some believed, and other mocked. The rich man once subscribed to Bethel’s notion that if God’s kingdom can only be reduced to words, evangelism becomes less effective. He asked Abraham to send Lazarus the beggar back to earth to warn his brothers, Abraham’s reply should serve as a warning to Bethelites:But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:29-31
Miracles don’t save, the gospel does – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16 


Those who have bought into the Bethel lie that the gospel must be accompanied with signs and wonders, often accuse those who disagree with them of  “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:5
However, the power referred to in this verse does not refer to the working of miracles, but the power of the gospel in that it transforms lives. Despite an“appearance of godliness” those who should be “avoided” are not those who fail to operate in signs and wonders, but people who are: lovers of self, lovers of money, proud.. arrogant, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:2-4. Paul then lists two more characteristics of those who should be avoided. They are always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” and “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”
Jannes and Jambres were Pharaoh’s magicians or sorcerers who opposed Moses and used their secret arts to changes their staff’s into serpents.

Paul’s advice to Timothy at the end of the chapter:while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:13-17
 In Johnson’s view, scriptures plus signs make us complete, and so he reinterprets scripture to suit Bethel’s narrative:
Most of us read our Bibles with religious, cultural biases more than we realize. Look at this verse, for example. Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe” (John 4:48). I grew up imagining that His tone of voice was one of disgust because He was scolding them for the weak faith that must have some kind of experience in order to believe. But what if He was just acknowledging how faith grows? That thought seems to be supported by the fact that Jesus followed this statement with a miracle. Why? First of all, miracles always came out of His love for people. But secondly, He wanted them to grow in faith. And He had just the process for their development—seeing signs and wonders.” 27 

Jesus was lamenting the fact that Jews continually needed signs. Johnson ignores the fact that in the same chapter, many Samaritans “believed because of his word.” vs 41. So were the Samaritans weaker or underdeveloped in their faith for believing without witnessing signs and wonders? If needing signs and wonders was a universal need to grow in faith, and still relevant today, why did Jesus tell Thomas: “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:28-29
And why did Paul not appease the need for signs and wonders when he preached:
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” 1 Cor 1:22-23

False signs and wonders have played a pivotal role in deceiving people, and will continue to delude those who have rejected the truth. The bar is currently so low, that feathers, gemstones, gold dust, and “glory clouds” deceive Bethelites. While they might revel in the atmosphere created at Bethel, their very souls are at stake. They are unaware of the fact that God’s judgement is not upon those who question their signs and wonders, but upon those who have rejected truth and believe what is false.
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

Johnson & co go a step further than merely offering people an opportunity to witness or experience signs and wonders, they will teach you how to perform them:

7 SUPERNATURAL POWERS

One of Bethel’s core values is that “The Holy Spirit gives every believer the supernatural power to witness and release miracles, signs, and wonders.
But scripture teaches that as far as the gifts are concerned, the Spirit “apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:11.
Continuity versus discontinuity of the gifts is NOT the issue as far as Bethel is concerned, orthodoxy is. You and I can “release” absolutely nothing!  Bethel clearly operates outside the confines of scripture when it comes to the gifts.
Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry students pay approximately $5000 per annum in order to learn how to operate in the supernatural. In other words there’s nothing supernatural about the school, as gifts of God cannot be taught or bought.
• “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” 1 Corinthians 12:29-30
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,  saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”  But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!” Acts 8:18-20

Bethel’s “activations” into the so called supernatural gifts employ spinning wheels, Uno cards, and a lot of guesswork involving meaningless information : “While teaching on words of knowledge, ask students to get a word of knowledge (e.g. his/her favorite toy growing up, last four digits of his/her phone number, parent’s name, etc.) for the student sitting to their right.”

Bill Johnson makes very little distinction between Jesus and believers when it comes to supernatural powers – “Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders and signs,as a man in right relationship to God…not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything…and makes possible a full restoration of the ministry of Jesus in His Church” 28 

More skulduggery from Bill Johnson – in 2013, Johnson’ penned his infamous statement concerning the divinity of Christ: “Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations. He laid His divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and the die in the place of mankind for sin.” 29  
He deserved all the criticism he received for this teaching –  known as the Kenosis heresy (Jesus gave up his divine attributes during his incarnation). In 2018 he affirmed Christ’s divinity, but in a way that enabled him to retain his teaching that Jesus came to model a supernatural life for us: “Jesus, who would shed His blood to redeem mankind, emptied Himself of His rights as God and took upon Himself the limitations of man. While Jesus never stopped being God, He took on flesh to complete the assignment that we failed to finish. Satan was defeated by a man—the Son of Man—who was rightly related to God.30 
In this instance Johnson says Jesus never stopped being God, but he’s also saying that there’s nothing stopping you from acting like God as far as the supernatural is concerned. Obviously Jesus was “rightly related to God” – because he is God. While believers are “rightly related to God” that does mean they are equal to God incarnate! Jesus humbled himself and came in the flesh, but his humility did not cancel his divinity. One thing Jesus did come to model for us – is humility. That is the point Paul is trying to convey to the Philippians:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7
But it’s far more exciting and attractive to teach the Jesus came to model superpowers.
Johnson goes to great lengths to emphasize the humanity of Christ in order to hoodwink his followers into believing that they will have the same supernatural lifestyle.
Do you want to walk on water, raise the dead, calm storms, change water into wine? Johnson has the formula: Be a man/woman, be in the right relationship with God, and get the right equipment: the anointing Jesus received was the equipment necessary, given by the Father to make it possible for Him to live beyond human limitations…The anointing is what linked Jesus the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil.” 31 
What Johnson neglects to add, is that all believers are anointed:
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” 1 John 2:20-21
In this context, the anointing is not referring to the ability to perform miracles, but to discern and resist those who are antichrists and deceivers. In other words, the real anointing will allow you to discern the deception that is taking place at Bethel.

Johnson again, emphasizing the humanity of Christ: “The Father wanted satan defeated by man … one made in His image. Jesus, who would shed His blood to redeem mankind, emptied Himself of His rights as God and took upon Himself the limitations of man. Satan was defeated by a man—the Son of Man, who was rightly related to God. Now, as people receive the work of Christ on the cross for salvation, they become grafted into that victory.” 32 

No Bill, Jesus IS the image of God (Col 1:15) who came in the flesh.

Johnson does not understand the purpose of miracles performed by Jesus: “If Jesus meant for us to be involved in healing the sick, raising the dead, etc., what standard do we follow? Did Jesus show us what God could do? Or was He showing us what a person could do who was in right relationship with God? I believe the latter. 33 
Johnson’s view that Jesus came to model supernatural powers for believers forces him to ignore the fact that Jesus performed miracles primarily to prove that he was the messiah: Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31

Look at the response of the disciples after Jesus walked on water: “And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33
John the Baptist knew Jesus was the messiah: “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29. When he was in prison, John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if  “he was the one to come, or if they should look for another.” Luke 7:20
Jesus responded by telling John’s disciples to tell John what they had witnessed: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” Luke 7:22

Jesus did not perform miracles to model the superpowers available to believers, but to prove that he was God incarnate. If Bethelites are able to record a “glory cloud,” is it not strange that there is not one single video of a miracle even remotely similar to what Jesus performed? The greatest miracle, is the salvation of sinners, and our part is to preach the gospel.

SPECIAL REVELATIONS, SECRETS & SIGNS 

Revelations
In Kris Vallotton’s blog “Words Of Wisdom From A Millennial Prophetess” he asks the “prophetess” about her “call to the OFFICE of prophet.” Part of her response:
The main call of the prophet is to take what we’re hearing from God, make it palatable, and actually teach people how to do it. Sometimes we have to take the mystery of God and make it seem not so far away — make it more simple to understand — so the body of Christ and the church can understand it.”
Basically what she’s is saying is that there is a hierarchy in the church, and a few special people will receive direct revelation from God. These messages need to be simplified for regular sheep. How is this any different from the RCC or any other cult?

So what’s the secret to receive revelations, well according to Vallotton doctrine does not matter (so how do they test their revelations?) what matters is relationships.
Kris Vallotton: Apostles create covenantal, family relationships because believers are attached to and through fathers, mothers and family, not doctrine. This promotes freedom for people to think creatively, to dream, to envision with God and to experience new depths of the Holy Spirit. This relational security creates an environment that attracts revelation. The very nature of revelation is that people get fresh perspectives and deeper insights from God’s Word and have extraordinary encounters with the supernatural Kingdom of God.” 34  
“Attract revelation” – is God a magnetic force?

Johnson: “There are anointings, mantles, revelations and mysteries that have lain unclaimed, literally where they were left, because the generation that walked in them never passed them on. I believe it’s possible for us to recover realms of anointing, realms of insight, realms of God that have been untended for decades simply by choosing to reclaim them and perpetuate them for future generations.” 35  
What Johnson believes is irrelevant, does scripture teach that we can simply choose to reclaim a revelation? What revelation has been hidden for decades? Johnson might want to reconsider his quest for neglected mantles and anointings! Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit, and when Elijah was caught up into heaven, Elisha picked up his mantle. I’m sure Elisha’s miracles are the envy of every Bethelite, however the mantle could not prevent Elisha from what Johnson should describe as an untimely death:
“Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die” 2 Kings 14:1

Secrets 
Bill Johnson: Become a friend of God. God shares His secrets with His friends. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) He makes all things known to His friends. Not only does He want to share all, He’s invited us to ask anything of Him. But be accustomed to hearing more than you can share with others. Listen as He speaks, but speak only what He gives you freedom to speak about. Some things are revealed only because we’re friends, and are not to be shared with others.” 36  
Where is this “doctrine of secrets” taught in scripture?

Signs
The revelation of God’s infallible word is not sufficient according to Johnson: “Revelation that does lead us to divine encounter will bring breakthrough that causes a personal transformation. Revelation is the key to spiritual growth because it takes us where we cannot go ourselves. We experience “encounters” because we need “signs” in order to get to where we haven’t gone before. I don’t need signs when I travel familiar roads, but I have to have signs if I’m going to travel where I’ve never been.” 37  
Another nonsensical and mystical word salad from Johnson.

Johnson: “His manifestations, while offensive to the minds of many, are limitless in number, and are simple indicators of God’s presence and purpose. Why are they necessary? Because He wants to take us farther, and we can only get there by following signs. Our present understanding of Scripture can only take us so far.” 38 
Kundalini manifestations at Bethel are offensive to the scriptures, and therefore to the minds of discerning believers. What if a believer does not receive any signs? Are they missing out on what God has in store for them? What sort of signs should we be looking for? Why are Bethelites looking for omens when they have the scriptures? If God uses signs to take us further, how will we know when we’ve arrived if there’s no description of our destination? Vallotton admits that he doesn’t know the purpose of signs such as feathers and gold dust, so he simply concludes that they are a “wonder.”
“Why does God do these things, you ask? I really don’t know. I have often been among different groups of leaders who speculate about the purpose of these signs. I have heard many ideas that sound good and make me feel better about the things I have experienced. But the truth is, I really don’t know why these things happen. Therefore, I do think feathers and gold dust qualify as “wonders.”

It’s tempting to believe that God will give new insights and revelations that have escaped the body of Christ for 2000 years or remained unclaimed for generations. Tempting because you will be the special one that God has revealed this to, and tempting because an opportunity is knocking at your door. This is the opportunity for you to rise above the crowd, join the elite in the NAR club and become a:

9 SIGNIFICANT VOICE

Bethel is a platform for the cultivation of significant voices, and I’m not speaking about the vocalists of Bethel music or Jesus culture. If you maintain the “culture of honour” within the system, grow in your “anointing” and come up with some sort of course or “revelation, the NAR is your oyster. While the percentage of those who achieve this status may be small, the thought of becoming a significant player in NAR is appealing – for all the wrong reasons.
The office of apostle and prophet is closed, they were appointed directly by God, and have completed their task which was laying the foundation (Eph 2:20) But the privileges that came with these titles (direct revelation, signs and wonders) are irresistible to those mesmerized by the New Apostolic Reformation. Why settle for being a significant voice without a significant title? The proliferation of modern day “apostles” and “prophets” is a fruit of NAR theology – the restoration of the five-fold ministry. These titles are claimed by men and women in order to elevate their status in the visible church, and improve their chances of becoming an unquestionable significant voice. Their teachings are not questioned, their visions are accepted, and their new revelations are apparently crucial to believers. This affords them the opportunity to become:

10 SPIRITUAL ENTREPRENEURS

“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:3

The NAR is a burgeoning industry and the qualifications needed to make money are minimal, even non existent apart from “hearing from God” or walking in some sort of “anointing.” In fact, the real qualification is to be unqualified in biblical terms. Spiritual entrepreneurs in the NAR abandon context and employ eisegesis to inject their presuppositions into the text. Sound expository teaching would sound the death knell for the vain imaginations of Bill Johnson & co. Can you recall a series at Bethel, where Johnson or Vallotton faithfully work through an epistle or one of the Gospels using a real bible, explaining what each verse means in context?

I’m going to name a few of the homegrown unqualified “significant voices” cultured by Bethel. Most are still at Bethel, and have dual ministries – allowing them to capture a larger audience outside of Bethel and of course generate larger incomes. Their websites include pages displaying their products, from teachings to apparel.

Dawna De Silva has ministered at Bethel for the past twenty years. She is the co creator of Bethel’s Sozo ministry – one of the most destructive courses in the visible church. De Silva teaches a course on “shifting atmospheres” – a concept God apparently forgot to include in scripture.
Stephen De Silva – Dawna’s husband “offers the Body of Christ a fresh, Holy Spirit-inspired perspective with his biblically based financial insights.” Excerpt from an advert for a course he recently presented in South Africa: “De Silva will teach on the broad subject of stewardship using his unique approach to wealth. Biblical truth, fresh revelation and prophetic acts will provide attendants with new levels of breakthrough overcoming the spirit of poverty, the spirit of mammon, and many mysteries of riches and wealth..
Havilah Cunnington  “serves as a pastor at Bethel Church” and offers a “Prophetic Personalities” course.  She identified what all the real Apostles missed – there are four types of prophetic personalities.  Havilah will “teach on four types of prophetic gifts, unleashing you into a bold life of hearing from Heaven.”  Learning to hear from God will currently cost you less, as Cunnington has reduced the course to $39.

Theresa Dedmon creator of the infamous “Destiny” cards is part of Bethel’s pastoral staff, and oversees the creative arts department for the church and School of Supernatural Ministry. For $44.95 you can purchase a pair of “Stairway to Heaven” leggings from Dedmon’s catalog and Go from yoga to dinner in our body hugging printed leggings!” Dedmon’s sales pitch: “My fashion designs embody the prophetic art they are created from. Wearing my art enhances your awareness of God’s presence, and helps you become a walking encounter of Heaven’s message to those around you.”
Seth Dahl was Bethel’s children pastor, creator of Vince the puppet who apparently releases heaven into earth, and helped Seth transfer the anointing during a “fire tunnel.” Seth has had the privilege of meeting an angel of finance, and Jesus once asked Seth to forgive Him (Jesus)
Andy Mason is the director of “Heaven in Business” and the co founder of Bethel Business School,  a school  “dedicated to helping our students cultivate an awareness of God’s Presence in their daily lives. The Presence of God transforms the world within us as it impacts the environment around us.” One course they offer is the
Excelerator Bootcamp – a course that will help you “shape the nations through your business.” The course includes a lecture on the “spiritual foundations to a supernatural culture” and “multiple ways to hear God for wisdom and strategies in business growth.” The five day course will “save over a year in your business growth process” but will eat into your savings at a cost of $2750.
Ben Fitzgerald served as a pastor at Bethel Church, and is currently the Director of Awakening Europe. Ben’s parents are Ken and Jenny Hodge who have a “ministry” called “Christalignment.” Ben has come out in defense of the occultic methodology and shenanigans of his parents.

11 SHAMEFUL GAIN

Vallotton: “We’re restoring health to people’s bodies, souls and spirits. We’re restoring financial prosperity. We’re restoring morality in the government. We’re restoring holiness in the arts. We’re restoring land and much more” 39

Ignorant Paul, why did he not have the power to restore financial prosperity: But godliness with contentment is great gain,  for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:6-9

More from Vallotton: Wealth is a power and not just a condition. God’s the one who gives people the power to make wealth, which is the magnetic attraction to prosperity. God intends wealth to be a sign that His people have made a covenant with Him.
Vallotton is a charlatan, scripture is clear – prosperity is NOT a sign of our relationship with God: “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)…” – Rev 2:9 (their riches were not material)

“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” – 2 Corinthians 6:10 (making them rich in Christ not finances)

Spiritual entrepreneurs prosper because they are tickling itching ears, but Vallotton believes it’s an anointing that causes people to inexplicably give:
 
“You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Wow! There are two things that grab me from this passage. The first is that God gave His people power to make wealth. In other words, wealth is more than wise financial investments; it is actually a magnetic force—a tractor beam, so to speak—that sucks prosperity into its vortex. When God anoints a person, or in this case an entire nation, with the power to make wealth, it creates an invisible yet tangible culture in which people feel impassioned to give to those who are anointed, even though they often cannot even explain why. This kind of anointing transcends logic and reason.” 40  

There really can only be one explanation that people actually believe this drivel – a mixture of the law, Star Trek, new age teachings. This is the result of a spiritual delusion that has come upon people who have rejected truth. Significant voices and spiritual entrepreneurs are not the only Bethelites who prosper financially or have a chance to get rich. The ordinary member at Bethel is primed to expect financial gain. Here are some excerpts from Bethel’s  declarations that they make during their offering time:

We are believing the Lord for:

Jobs and better jobs
Raises and bonuses
Benefits
Sales and commissions
Favorable settlements
Estates and inheritances

Interests and income
Rebates and returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts and surprises
Finding money
Debts paid off
Expenses decrease
Blessing and increase
Compare Bethel’s desire for riches to Paul’s words: I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:10-13. 

CONCLUSION

It’s a pity Bill Johnson does not apply his own advice: “Nothing is accomplished by allowing our imagination to create our own image of God. He would then be no better than the gods made out of wood or stone, also created by human initiative. Inventing Him in our minds or building Him with our hands is a similarity that is both vain and ultimately destructive.” 41  
Yet that is exactly what Bethel have done – created another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel. Jeroboam seduced his people with a golden calf, these days it takes a little gold dust to seduce those willing to go off the map. The secret arts of Bethel are a result of another spirit, and human initiative.
Johnson speaks of travelling to cities that are full of spiritual darkness, and says he chooses to focus on what he represents, instead of the darkness:
“I come as a house of God. As such I contain a gate to heaven, with a ladder providing angelic activities according to the need of the moment. Simply put, I am an open heaven! This does not apply to a select few. On the contrary, this revelation is about the house of God and the principles of the house apply to all believers.” 42
Bethel Church Redding does indeed come as a gate, but it does not lead to heaven, and the ladder they provide is filled with activities from vain imaginations and fallen angels. The open heaven they claim to be under, is a God ordained delusion – because they do not love the truth.

ENDNOTES

1. Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World (Kindle Locations 1463-1464). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
2. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles.  Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013, p 73.
3. Ibid. p 84.
4.  Bill Johnson, A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World. Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Kindle Locations 1457-1458)
5. Ibid (Kindle Locations 1513-1514)
6. Ibid (Kindle Location 593)
7. Ibid  (Kindle Location 581)
8. Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind Access to a Life of Miracles – Daily Devotional & Journey. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2006, p 68.
9. Leon Morris, The Epistle to The Romans. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1988, pg 288
10. Kris Vallotton,  Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power (Kindle Locations 3470-3472). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
11. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers 2006, Chapter 9
12. Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World (Kindle Locations 727-729). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
13. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers 2006, Chapter 12
14. Bill Johnson, God is Good – He’s Better Than You Think, Destiny Image 2016, Chapter 9.
15. Ibid. Chapter 9
16. Ibid. Chapter 8.
17. Kris Vallotton. Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power (Kindle Location 1964). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition
18. Ibid (Kindle Location 1976)
19. Ibid
 (Kindle Locations 884-887)
20. Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World (Kindle Location 532). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
21. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013, chapter 4   p 61.
22. Ibid. p 44.
23. Kris Vallotton, Poverty Riches & Wealth, Chosen Books, 2018, Chapter 6.
24. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, Chapter 12
25. Ibid. p 93.
26. Kris Vallotton. Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power (Kindle Locations 193-194). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
27. Bill Johnson. Experience the Impossible: Simple Ways to Unleash Heaven’s Power on Earth,  Bloomington, Chosen Books, 2014, 4.FAITH
28. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles.  Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013,p 28?? Chapter 2
29. Ibid. p 75.
30. Bill Johnson, God is Good – He’s Better Than You Think, Destiny Image 2018, Chapter 2
31. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles.  Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013 p 75.
32. Ibid. p 31.
33. Bill Johnson, Experience the Impossible: Simple Ways to Unleash Heaven’s Power on Earth,  Bloomington, Chosen Books, 2014, 15. Love.
34. Kris Vallotton. Heavy Rain: How to Flood Your World with God’s Transforming Power (Kindle Location 356). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
35. Ellyn Davis; Judy Franklin. The Physics of Heaven (Kindle Locations 549-551). Double Portion Publishing. Kindle Edition.
36. Bill Johnson. A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World (Kindle Location 1379). Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
37. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers, 2006, Chapter 15
38. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles.  Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013 p 136
39. Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty: Discovering Your Rights and Privileges of Being a Son or Daughter of God. Destiny Image Publishers 2006, Chapter 12
40. Kris Vallotton, Poverty Riches & Wealth, Chosen Books, 2018, Chapter 6.
41. Bill Johnson, God is Good – He’s Better Than You Think, Destiny Image 2018, Chapter 1.
42. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013, Chapter 12, pg 134.

 

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)

 

 

 

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.  If you have listened to our sermon reviews, you would have noticed that the teachers we reviewed used scripture out of context.  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 quote above is from Robert Morris, who is doing the very thing he accuses Satan of – stealing your money.  Morris is possibly one of the worst manipulators when it comes to fleecing the flock.  He teaches that if we don’t tithe, we are under a curse, and open the door to demons. Failure to tithe can bring divorce and other calamity’s according to this wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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 give 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.

Indeed, our day of “being without intelligence” is over, that’s why it’s impossible to believe this quote;  which would be more plausible if it came from the mouth of a gypsy in a caravan with a glass ball.  This is how we should preach:

“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).  Interestingly, a portion of the following verses describes those caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation:  Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, (intruding into those things which he has not seen), vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,  and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.” Colossians 2: 18-19.

Not necessarily worship, but a fascination of angels and the false notion that we should discern their presence or instruct them is what some teach.  Discerning believers would know that Bethel propagates cleverly devised myths and fabricated stories.  There are no boundaries when it comes to Bill Johnson & co.  Their culture of “taking risks” really means that they are prepared to entertain any encounter or manifestation regardless of the source.  These teachers obsessed with the supernatural and manifestations are the ones causing division because they are the ones disconnected from the head.  Bill Johnson is so disconnected from scripture that he utilizes philosophy, mysticism and the new age in his teachings. He makes up his own theology, and his followers love to have it so:

Imagine if this quote was doing the rounds in the early church.  One of the real apostles would have confronted Bill Johnson, rebuked him, and disqualified him from teaching with immediate effect.  Is it divisive to distance oneself from a “pastor” who has trampled scripture into the ground and incorporates mysticism and new age into his teachings?  Is it divisive to point out that smoke and glitter do not constitute a “glory cloud?  Is it divisive to warn those at Bethel that their leaders covet the mantle of deceased false prophet William Branham?  You get the point!

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.  They are described as shepherds who feed themselves, loud- mouthed boasters who rely on their dreams.  Jude then states that “It is these who cause divisions.”  

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.”