Bethel’s Creative Renaissance – Idolatry

By Rick Becker   21 November 2019

Theresa Dedmon is the creative arts pastor at Bethel. Dedmon claims that in 2002, she received a “prophetic word” that she would lead a “worldwide arts movement.” Dedmon believes “Anointing and healing flows through what we touch and create” You may say she’s a dreamer, but she’s not the only one. Bethel is cultivating a generation of followers attempting to create heaven on earth so that we may all live as one. Co creating with ‘Papa God’ is one of Bethel’s strategies to influence and transform society. While scripture teaches that conditions in the world and the visible church will decay, Bethel clings to the  false doctrine that conditions will improve. One of their methodologies to infiltrate culture and transform society is the use of creative arts. In Bethel’s world, balloons, cookies, prophetic pizza and paintings play an integral role in releasing the supernatural and transforming society. In reality, Bethel is playing an integral role in deceiving millions. They are preparing a generation of biblically illiterate people who lust after false unity, false peace, signs and power. These are a people being prepared to be mesmerized by the antichrist.

Dedmon compares this creative move through a worldwide arts movement to the Renaissance because it “touched every sphere of life and brought innovation and prosperity to every sector of society.” One would expect a “pastor” to commit to preaching the gospel, and making disciples, but like “papa Bill,” Dedmon is under the impression that society is in need of some kind of transformation instead of the gospel. In her “About Me” page on her website, Dedmon writes: “Now, this Kingdom Creative Renaissance will touch every person in society as they see God’s desire to partner with them in creativity.” According to Dedmon, God apparently desires a planet full of co-creators instead of saving sinners and building his church. The seven mountain mandate is the motivating force behind Bethel’s desire to influence and transform society. The arts, is one of the spheres or mountains the New Apostolic Reformation believes they will transform: “We want to raise up world changers to go into every realm of society: church, family, business, arts and entertainment, media, and government. As this happens, God’s presence will not only transform the Body of Christ, but also all of culture.”  – Theresa Dedmon, Born To Create.

Dedmon makes no bones about the fact that she is a vital cog in God’s machinery. Two more quotes from Dedmon’s website: “I was born to be a catalyst, activating believers to release God’s power as they create.”
The word “activate” is one of the New Apostolic Reformations catch words. It’s not in scripture, but it gives NAR leaders a semblance of power which in reality belongs to God alone.
Naturally, your ability to be effective in this move comes at a cost: “All these years of experience led to the development of Kingdom Creative E courses to further serve and activate the Body of Christ in their supernatural creativity…Come join the Kingdom Creative Renaissance that brings heaven to earth!”
Dedmon’s  28 Lesson Journey Into Unlocking Your Creative Potential” will set you back $129. Part of the sales pitch is that it’s value is worth $1500, and in her own words, you will get the “Opportunity to travel as part of Theresa’s ministry team upon completion (value: priceless)”

In a sponsored Facebook post, Dedmon writes: “Have you seen God move powerfully through your creativity? He absolutely can. Our job is to simply step out and trust that he can use anything. If he can use Paul’s handkerchief to heal this sick, why not your song, your art, or your poem, right? So, if you’re hungry to grow in your Kingdom Creativity, I’ve helped thousands to step out and see people touched by God and their creativity. That’s why I created this free Creative Blueprint Download. It’s designed to help you partner with Papa God while giving you a practical road map to active those dreams inside of you.”
Dedmon’s “freebie” Creative Blueprint Download is an eleven page document that includes an assessment, questions, and as usual, a story. Ultimately it’s just a means of getting the biblically illiterate to purchase a course. Dedmon prefaces the download with this mouthwatering possibility: “You might be wondering “I want to learn how to co-create with God but I don’t know…where to begin…the steps to move to move forward …and how people can be touched by God through what I create”

I thought it worthwhile, to examine two examples from scripture that Dedmon uses as justification for God to use “your song, your art, or your poem.” Perhaps I should just clarify that God can indeed use something we say, write or create, in order to inspire, motivate, and point others to Christ. Some are certainly gifted in the natural sense, with various forms or creativity, which can be used to glorify God.  But as we will notice, Dedmon takes this to an imaginative whole new level that I would describe as idolatry.

The first example is from the sponsored Facebook post – “If he can use Paul’s handkerchief to heal this sick, why not your song, your art, or your poem, right?”

Lets examine the text:And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” Acts 19:11-12
We observe that these were special, or extraordinary miracles. We know that signs and wonders authenticated the message and ministry of the Apostles (2 Cor 12:12)  Paul did not join an international apostolic coalition with membership fees in order to function as an apostle, he was called by God (1 Cor 1:1) and taught God’s gospel (Gal 1:11-12) not the New Apostolic Reformations twisted doctrines.

Four glaring differences between what took place in the text compared to the methods that are found in modern day movements:
• Paul was not praying over handkerchiefs.
• Paul was not selling handkerchiefs.
• Paul was not training people or “activating” them to perform this extraordinary miracle.
• God was doing the miracle, the handkerchiefs did not have magical powers.

There were some in Ephesus who thought they could emulate the exorcisms taking place under Paul’s ministry: “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Acts 19:13
Most of us should recall the outcome, as scripture paints quite a vivid (and painful) picture of their failure: “Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.  And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.” Acts 19:14-19

Ultimately, God was glorified, and people repented of something that could well describe Bethel’s methodology -the practice of using “magic arts.”

The second example Dedmon refers to, can be found in her Creative Destiny blueprint. Dedmon tells the story of painting live with a fellow artist during a service: “we painted live in worship at Tree of Life church. As I saw Simon’s painting after worship, I knew God wanted to release healing to those suffering with eye problems. So, after my husband and I spoke, I shared God’s heart for healing eyes through looking at Simon’s painting (read Numbers 21 for a story of healing through art). As those with eye problems came forward and looked at the painting, God’s presence began to touch them and the result was miraculous. Cataracts and floaters disappeared, stigmatism was healed, and people’s eyesight improved. This time, I introduced Simon to another way of painting with the Holy Spirit’s direction. I was able to give Simon the gift of seeing new ways his art can release physical healing.”
Some may ask, well what’s wrong with God working in this manner? The answer is that we don’t enact descriptive passages in scripture to receive a miracle. James gives instructions for the sick: “Is any sick among you? let him look at a painting call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14

Dedmon justifies her methodology of receiving healing by looking at a painting because  the Israelites were healed “through art” when they looked at the brazen serpent. Numbers 21 recounts the story of the Israelites, who at that stage spoke against God and Moses. God’s punishment for this rebellion was lethal:
 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” Numbers 21:6-9

This was of course symbolic of the work of the cross: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3:14-15
The Israelites were healed because they had followed God’s instructions. God spoke, whoever obeyed was healed by God – not the brazen serpent. To use such a miraculous and significant event to justify healing (if there were any real healing’s) by looking at a piece of art is idolatrous. Israel made the same mistake with the bronze serpent.
After the incident in Numbers, it’s purpose expired, apart from the fact that it was a type of Christ. The Israelites held on to this piece of art, and what was merely symbolic, became an idol: In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign.  He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done.  He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan)”
2 Kings 18:1-4

The seven sons of Sceva trusted in a formula, the Israelites placed their faith in a piece of art, what Dedmon is doing is no different.

Dedmon is however blinded to the fact that Bethel thrive on teaching formula’s: “There is no formula, only relationship! Jesus never healed anyone the same way for a reason. He was looking for what the Father was doing for that particular person and situation. Our minds tend to want things to be the same because then we can follow a procedure. But we need to follow Jesus’ footsteps of dependence on the Father.” – Theresa Dedmon, Born to Create: Stepping into Your Supernatural Destiny.

The fact is, this method of receiving healing by looking at art is clearly becoming a modus operandi for Dedmon. In this video on Dedmon’s Facebook page, she once again refers to the story of the bronze serpent, followed by the statement that they are going to “release healing” to the sick in the audience. Dedmon is holding a small image of a tree she painted, and approaches one of the young ladies standing up front.  Dedmon: “so Lord we just release them, so that when they look at this picture, that God is going to heal…. whoooaaaa…whoooaaa.. (mild contortion as in stomach cramps – supposedly a sign that the anointing is upon Dedmon) yeah, just go ahead look at the picture, and see that…we say pain go.”

In this blog post, Dedmon tells more stories of people receiving healing by looking at paintings. The focus is not on Christ, but on the artworks, and the ability of Bethelites to dish out portions of presence:There were countless other miracles because my team listened to the Holy Spirit and creatively released His Presence to bring healing to others who were physically in pain or who needed a breakthrough from depression and other issues.”
Releasing God’s presence is not taught in scripture. God is not a genie in a bottle that needs periodical release by his handlers in order to achieve something.

Bethel are so steeped in the new age and mysticism they won’t recognize staring at a painting in order to receive healing is a form of hypnosis and idolatry. Dedmon describes her mystical process of painting in her book “Born to Create: Stepping into Your Supernatural Destiny.” (All the quotes that follow are excerpts from the Kindle edition of this book, emphasis mine) Dedmon was invited to exhibit at a doctors office in Redding during an “Art Hop” evening.
Dedmon: “..
as I usually do when I paint, I soaked in God’s presence and asked for a supernatural anointing to be released through my paintbrush. Since I was painting pictures for a doctor’s office, I asked for an anointing that would heal those who entered the office and looked at my paintings.”

Paintings are not the only creative tool that Dedmon utilizes : “I train people to prophesy and call out the gold in people through every way imaginable because it’s legal to be creative in the Kingdom of God! One of these creative expressions is balloons—that’s right, balloons! I train people to prophesy with balloon crowns and to knight men with balloon swords. It is such a powerful medium!”

The only medium in this instance is Dedmon. Prophecy is a gift, you cannot train people to exercise a gift that has not been given. Even those who hold to continuationism will struggle to find prophetic words in scripture that “call out the gold in people.” But because Bethel conjure up “prophetic words” and teach that people are inherently good, they have no problem calling evil good, and good evil. Jesus did not return to heaven and leave us with balloons or paintings as mediums, the real power is in the gospel, and the working of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 1:16; John 16:7-8) Bethel talk about ‘hosting the presence’ of God, but in fact they are always searching for and relying upon some external medium for power and authority. From seeking the mantles of false teachers such as William Branham, to utilizing puppets, destiny cards, stretch pants, balloons and paintings, Bethel have turned their backs on the all sufficient word of God; the finished work of Christ; the real operations of the Holy Spirit, and embraced a different gospel.

Imagination forms the bedrock of Dedmon’s philosophy, in fact she believes the imagination is a vehicle for transformation. Dedmon writes: “We need the whole Body of Christ to realize the potential lying dormant in the imagination.”
As an example of someone who left a “legacy” because he used his imagination, Dedmon points to King David : “The life of King David provides a great example of using the imagination to transform the world…Aren’t you glad David used his imagination and taught other psalmists to do the same?”
We could all agree the the book of Psalms resonates with just about every conceivable human emotion, and that David was a gifted psalmist. However, David was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and scripture is incomparable to anything written by a Bethelite after a soaking session in their Alabaster prayer house. David’s imagination did not “transform the world” and neither will the continual use of Bethel’s catch phrases that contradict scripture achieve anything.
It gets worse: “We were made with imaginations that reflect the heart of Creator God, who imagined you and me into being! The more we release our imaginations to dream and visualize from Heaven’s perspective, the more God can create things through us to fulfill His purposes!”

God’s purposes on earth are limited by our imaginations and creations?

Dedmon: “The enemy comes to kill, rob, and destroy. He wants to divide families, nations, churches, and people’s lives. When people are creative, the enemy fails to have power because he has nothing that can stop God’s creative sound.”
Dedmon believes that Gideon’s trumpet, David’s harp, and Paul and Silas praising God in prison are proof that creativity makes the Devil tremble as these sounds are released. Dedmon has obviously been influenced by one of the most heretical and new age books sold by Bethel – The Physics Of Heaven. Bethel’s description of the book is telling: “Read what some of the most beloved leaders in the Christian charismatic movement have to say as they explore the mysteries of God hidden in sound, light, vibrations, frequencies, energy, and quantum physics. Contributors include Bill and Beni Johnson..”
(For an excellent 6 part review on this book, click here)

Dedmon: “In May of 2011, Bill Johnson spoke in the School of Supernatural Ministry and said that creative miracles will happen when creative sons and daughter begin to create. Why is this? I believe it is because we have to “see” the greater glory before it is released. Art, songs, writings, fashion, music, and dance have the capacity to usher in the supernatural, unseen realm of the miraculous.”
Do you need any more evidence that Bethel have placed their faith in creative expressions instead of God?

Dedmon: “Now I understand how creative expressions can not only enhance the Kingdom message, but also can embody it. They not only deserve a platform, but they also have relevance for others who need to understand who God is through a different creative expression. A prophetic painting can be worth a thousand sermons. Transformation happens in our imaginations, whether or not we “get it” at the time. My imagination painted a vision of what my life was like through my restricted religious lens. I needed an adjustment to embrace my full destiny. God knew I couldn’t receive it in word form, so He gave me a picture that could not be forgotten. God used my imagination to awaken me to the role of creativity in communicating and receiving the Kingdom of God.”
One sermon that correctly divides the word of God, is worth all the “prophetic paintings” Dedmon’s team could create. “Adjustment” or transformation comes through the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) That takes place as we study the word of God, not through entertaining our imaginations.

What would a sermon or book from a Bethelite be without tall stories – it would be half the length for starters. This tall story takes a leaf out of Revelation:
Dedmon:
When we take risks, God shows up and moves in and through us. I ask my students who go out weekly to release creativity and ask the Holy Spirit what He wants them to do. One person received the same Scripture I had received from Revelation 22:2 and felt the Holy Spirit wanted them to go outside and find leaves to anoint. The group went out with the leaves and asked a man they met if he needed healing. He said that his foot was in continual pain. The girl who had anointed the leaves shared the Scripture and what God had shown her. Before she had even given him the leaves, all of the pain left his foot! They looked down, asking him to move it around to confirm the healing and saw that a leaf had fallen on the healed foot! No matter how hard he tried to get the leaf off by shaking, it clung to his shoe. He stomped his foot, jumped around, and was completely healed.”

This story is the envy of struggling artists who run short of paint:
Dedmon: “A student named Kimberly Humphrey asked the Holy Spirit what she should bring on her trip to Mozambique, Africa, and she brought four 8-ounce tubes of paints. She miraculously painted four murals in prisons during the time she was there! Some of the walls were 10 feet by 8 feet. When she returned, there was still paint in those tubes. If God can multiply food to feed the hungry, He can multiply paint to save the nations! As prisoners look at the murals, they are coming to Christ.”

Balloons, leaves, murals….what’s next? Apparently Food!
Under the sub heading “If You Give A Revivalist A Cookie” Dedmon writes:
“I know that everyone is excited about this creative expression: food! Wait, you can prophesy through food and see people get healed? Yes. Food not only invites our senses to encounter God’s goodness, but it can also be a way to prophesy life to others. I know all the chefs out there will love it! The basic concept is that you can ask the Holy Spirit for a recipe or a prophetic word that goes along with the food you prepare. This is also powerful because you anoint the food with your hands and with love!”

Fortune cookies, tea, and revelatory pizzas…
Dedmon: “At the School of Creativity’s culinary arts booth, they prophesied over others through cookies with a prophetic message of encouragement inside. They offered soothing tea for healing and made prophetic pizzas.”

In the words of Brian Houston, there is more.  According to Dedmon “dance changes the atmosphere” and is a “way of bringing freedom and His presence everywhere you go!”
But don’t settle for less when you can have a double anointing. How so you ask –  is this double anointing acquired  through prayers, fasting and meditation? No, remember this is Bethel, so according to Dedmon “drama Improv brings double anointing!”
Lets not forget Dedmon’s  tarot destiny cards:A supernatural art card is a pictorial representation of what you see in the Spirit over a person, and it usually requires an interpretation.”

Sadly, the children at Bethel are not spared the indoctrination of this Charismatic cult. From a young age, they are taught to rely on their feelings, images and voices in their minds. Instead of teaching children from the scripture – what God has said, Bethel are encouraging a form of channeling. What may start out as acting upon the imagination, can end in acting on demonic influences.
Dedmon: “Did you know that children could be taught to prophesy and heal the sick? As children are taught who God is and how to listen to His voice, they create things that transform people’s lives. After all, there is no “junior” Holy Spirit. We need to cultivate faith in our children so they can hear from God and experience the miraculous, laying the foundation for their history with God. At Bethel, children are taught to ask God what He is saying and then to express what they hear in dance, singing, drawing, and writing.”

There is no junior gospel, children need to hear the same message of repentance as adults. Dedmon prefers to work on children’s self esteem:

“As I have mentioned before, we want to bring value to the children in our community. We prophesy and bless children through face painting, balloon animals, and destiny art. We declare their destinies as we knight and crown them with balloons, signifying that they are royalty. We have everyone stop and clap after we announce, “Everybody, we have a princess or we have a knight.”

No Theresa, you have a child that needs to hear the gospel!

It seems as if Bethel’s spirit can’t get by without a little help from its friends. Dedmon has enhanced the waiting area at Bethel’s healing rooms by introducing arts such as painting and dancing.She believes these creative expressions have contributed to healings: “People are now getting healed in the waiting room before they receive prayer from anyone, just by being in His presence through the atmosphere that has been created! They call the waiting room, “the Encounter Room.” The healing rooms are lined with volunteers who can’t wait to create and release His presence creatively so others can be healed.”

Where was God’s presence before the paintings and dancers arrived? Did Jesus (after whom Bethel model their ministry) need a creative team from Nazareth to accompany him. Was James selling us short by neglecting to tell us how important the atmosphere was before praying for the sick? Did Paul leave behind a sick Trophimus in Miletus because he failed to release the presence?

In this excerpt from one of the countless testimonies, another unbiblical practice unfolds. Beni Johnson is deluded enough to think she can wake up angels when they take a break or are idle. While angels are “ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14) we don’t have the authority to command them, let alone “release them.”
Dedmon: “Here is another testimony from Louisa Barry, who paints in the healing rooms: I began painting for a woman who had never seen prophetic art before. I explained that I was releasing angelic breakthrough. I didn’t want to control or shape the image, as we can’t control the angelic presence that brings healing.”

Automatic painting releases angelic breakthrough and healing? You don’t have to be a bible scholar to know that what Bethel teach and practice is bizarre, mystical, and not taught in scripture.

Perhaps influenced by Mark Batterson’s mystical book “The Circle Maker,” one of Dedmon’s students tries another formula by partnering with a myth instead of obeying scripture.

Dedmon: “One of my students, Francesco Sideli, who has a degree in art, came to the school hungry for the supernatural and to encounter God. As he began partnering with the Holy Spirit, his creativity became supernatural. People were healed when he drew a circle with chalk and they stepped into that circle.

Like their heretical friends over at Christalignment, Bethel like to blend in at new age festivals. Real disciples were hounded, persecuted, chased out of cities, and many ultimately martyred. But Bethel blend in with the pagans to such an extent there’s little difference between the two.

Dedmon: “Another time, we did destiny art at a New Age festival in Shasta City, California, inside a large gymnasium. As we came in to set up destiny writing and art, we could hear chanting going on over the loudspeaker. As we were busily drawing, all of a sudden, I heard one of our team members playing the congas and singing in the Spirit over the loud speaker. The New Agers liked it so much that they invited her back for another hour! It’s amazing how much God wants to get in to the world’s parties and show off!”

In 2010, Dedmon’s school held a one day arts festival in a park. Some folk are ashamed of the gospel, they know the truth but are reluctant in sharing as they fear they might offended people. In one sense, that’s the sign of the true gospel – it’s offensive to the natural man. In Bethel’s case it’s not that they are ashamed of the gospel, the issue is that they have a different gospel.

Dedmon: “My team strategically created booths that would make people aware of the needs of the children in Africa, but would also covertly bring the Kingdom into people’s lives and carry the power of the supernatural to transform them. We set up booths for dream interpretation, destiny writing, destiny cards, hourly crafts for children, destiny makeovers (makeup and hair), healing, and massage,

The future is bleak, for the world and the false church, both are under God’s judgement, and both are getting progressively worse by the day. Those who have been captivated by the current delusion in the visible church, will view anyone who is prepared to contend for the faith as a “bully.”

Dedmon: “We need tomorrow to be strewn with innovative ideas because our children were taught God’s plans and were able to infiltrate His core values into the systems and institutions of this world. The future is not bleak—our Dad is around to beat up every bully of religion, fear, or inferior thinking and living.”

In conclusion, I’d like to expound on this sentence by Dedmon : “The enemy comes to kill, rob, and destroy. He wants to divide families, nations, churches, and people’s lives.”
Dedmon is referring to John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Jesus identifies the “enemy” or “thief” and it’s not the devil, it’s false teachers and Dedmon is an example of one. Dedmon is profiteering through fleecing ignorant sheep and inquisitive goats. It is God who brings a necessary division within families: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36
It is God who brings a healthy division between a false church, false teachers, and the body of Christ. Scripture instructs us to mark and avoid those who bring a different doctrine. The world peace and false unity Bethel seeks will come, but under the rule of the antichrist, someone they would probably identify as having an apostolic anointing.  Dedmon and Bethel are playing their role in this current mass delusion by rejecting truth, introducing deceiving spirits and propagating doctrines of demons.

 

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 an external and observable kingdom on earth.  Vallotton smuggles in dominion theology (the transformation of society) under the guise of apostolic ministry: “For the most part, the Church has only empowered apostles to plant churches. But apostles were never meant merely to be church planters: they were called to be world changers! A leader can plant one hundred churches in different cities around the world, but if those churches don’t bring cultural transformation to their cities, then they are not apostolic. Cultural transformation is synonymous with apostolic ministry.” 19  

The thought of an end time church, persecuted and afflicted by the world does not sit well with Vallotton. That is why he believes the world is “getting better all the time” and is clear regarding his eschatological core values:
I will not accept an eschatology that takes away my children’s future, and creates mindsets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy..I will not tolerate any theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations and the Lord’s Prayer that earth would be like 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 into experiential mysticism and demonic manifestations purported to be the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon people. Bethel’s “glory cloud” and other manifestations have deceived those looking for signs and wonders to validate their beliefs, and experience some sort of touch from God. This obsession with signs and wonders has become an indispensable aspect of Bethel’s evangelism. Johnson: “Jesus gave people the right to disbelieve it all if there was no demonstration of power upon his ministry. I hunger for the day when the church will make the same statement to the world – if we’re not doing the works that Jesus did, you don’t have to believe 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.

 

BSSM Evangelism – Activating The Senses & Strange Spirits.

By  Rick Becker    15 November 2018

The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry relies on subjective and unbiblical practices to “evangelize” the lost.  Sadly, it’s a case of the blind leading the blind.  One of the resources from the BSSM is a list of “activations” for evangelism. The fact that this resource even exists and that the “activations” are believed and practiced by thousands, is an indictment on the state of churches in the New Apostolic Reformation. When “evangelism” is based on assumptions, imaginations, and doctrines of demons, it has ceased to be evangelical. When supernatural gifts can be taught, they are no longer supernatural. In this article, we examine the BSSM “activations.”

If you believe what the scriptures teach, then you will know that the BSSM “evangelism activations” should be rejected outright as pure heresy.

Introduction to the seven activations taught by the BSSM School Planting Team:

BSSM: “BEFORE YOU START – Teach your students what to be aware of before they interact with people. Have them assess how are they feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually before entering a room full of people. When they are aware of how they are feeling before interacting with people, they can be aware of when they feel the Holy Spirit moving.”

At the outset, the focus is already on self, and the subjective world of feelings. Christianity by nature is faith based, not feeling based. The Holy Spirit dwells in all believers regardless of how we feel. Can you think of a passage of scripture that instructs us to be aware of how we feel, in order to feel the Holy Spirit moving? 

The task of any evangelist is to preach the gospel, regardless of how they are feeling. The power lies not in us or our ability to feel the Holy Spirit moving, but in the gospel – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

BSSM: “Loving people well is the number one priority when participating in evangelism or outreaches. Remember, it’s not about keeping score and seeing who can
release the most healings. People will remember how you made them feel long after they remember what you did for them. Teach them what real success looks like. While someone being healed or miracles happening are great outcomes, others feeling the love of the Father through your students is real success.”

Once again, feelings are a determining factor in Bethel’s estimation. Evangelism is about spreading the gospel, not making people feel good about themselves. When an unbeliever is confronted with truth in the form of the law and the gospel, they should first of all feel the anguish of being separated from God due to their sins. There is no “good news” unless we acknowledge the bad.  A successful evangelistic outreach should be measured by salvations, not healings or feelings. When I say “salvations,” I mean people who have been born again, not people who have been enticed to recite the sinners prayer or “begin a relationship” with Jesus. A great example of evangelism, is Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost:

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus,delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
Acts 2:22-23

Accusing the crowd of being complicit in the death of Christ is about as far as one could get from a seeker friendly approach to evangelism. Peter was not interested in catering to the felt needs of the crowd, but in proclaiming the truth. What’s interesting about this passage is that some who had witnessed the miracles of Christ, still wanted him crucified. There goes Bill Johnson’s theory that signs and wonders are essential in evangelism. Jesus knew that miracles could capture minds, but not hearts:  Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people” John 2:23-24

Peter continues: 
“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this they felt good about themselves and the amazing destiny God had for them were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:36-38

Note that the people were “cut to the heart” and Peter’s solution was not to tell them they were awesome and worth dying for, but that they needed to repent.

The seven activations:

1. WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE
BSSM: “The best way to start is to ask the Lord to tell you something about someone. When you are interacting with someone, a great question to ask the Lord is, “What is something You love about this person?” Words of knowledge help us connect to what is in God’s heart in a real-time way, connecting us to not just the principles, but the person of God. Colossians 2:3 says “In whom [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

The best way to evangelize the lost is to know what the gospel is. By telling someone that God loves something about their unique personality has nothing to do with evangelism, but the initiation into a “gospel” that revolves around self. Scripture describes our condition prior to being born again- see if you can spot something amazing that God would have “loved about” us: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Ephesians 2:1-3
That’s the bad news.  Thank God he intervened:  “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Ephesians 2:4-5

In other words, this is the message the lost need to hear: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

The verse from Colossians is not an encouragement to receive “words of knowledge” for unbelievers, but rather encouragement for believers  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. Colossians 2:1-3
Students should be proclaiming the mystery which has now been revealed – the gospel. Instead they are taught to delve into mysticism, speculation and apply human reasoning and “activations” in order to reach the lost.

Search the scriptures and see if you can find where this word salad is taught – “Words of knowledge help us connect to what is in God’s heart in a real-time way;  connecting us to not just the principles, but the person of God.”

BSSM: “Below are a few approaches to identify different ways to receive words of knowledge.
Vision-Seeing
These usually appear on the inner screen of our minds. Our image center is the same place where we use our imagination. They can be a single picture like a snapshot or viewed like watching a movie.
Exercise – Close your eyes and picture a beach in Hawaii – see the blue ocean, a palm tree, and a white hammock gently moving in the breeze. Can you envision that? This is the inner screen in your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you a body part that needs healing of someone you will meet this week. Take a minute and write down what He is showing you on a piece of paper.”

“Vision- Seeing” was a very important process developed by the Apostle Paul in order to help the Corinthians become effective in evangelism. Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is, and not taught in scripture. I have an exercise for you – don’t think of a Zebra, don’t imagine what it looks like…..so what image just flashed through your mind? By creating an exercise where students ask the Holy Spirit to show them a body part, the BSSM are using the power of suggestion on their students. Guaranteed, every student will immediately see a body part. Now the student needs to find a match, and if they envisioned a sore back, their chances of success are high. When they do find an individual with back ache, their “vision” will have been confirmed and the student will walk away believing they had “heard from God.”  This is basically an example of “The Texas sharpshooter fallacy.”
Instead of envisioning a swollen liver or a slipped vertebra, students should be taught to rightly divide the word of truth, and pray for boldness and opportunities to preach the gospel.
(For more on the gift of the word of knowledge read here  &  here.)
.
BSSM:Physical Impression – Touch 
These are physical Holy Spirit impressions that are felt on your body. They may feel very slight and be easily missed or they may be very strong in nature. You may sense heat, sympathy pain, electricity, pressure, a breeze or coldness, etc. on a body part.
Exercise – Close your eyes and become aware of your body. Take note of how your body is feeling, any areas of pain, and how you’re feeling emotionally. It may be helpful for students to jot down anything they are feeling. Have your students mingle with each other. Make sure they are aware of any changes that may occur in their bodies or
emotions as they mingle with one another. If they are feeling a change in their body or emotions, have them press into Holy Spirit and give each other words or pray for one another based on the shift they felt.

Now compare Bethel’s activation to this:

“Let your attention wander into your body. Become aware of the physical sensations that arise in your body as a result of the emotion you’ve identified…When you experience physical discomfort, it means that something is unbalanced in your experience — physically, mentally, or spiritually. Your body knows it — every cell in your body knows it. Befriend these sensations and their wisdom, because the pain is actually leading you to wholeness.” – Excerpt from Deepak Chopra’s 7 – step exercise to release emotional turbulence.

Hard to differentiate between the two!  This creepy BSSM activation is supposedly a way to “receive words of knowledge.”  Bill Johnson, Beni Johnson, and Kris Vallotton are not ashamed of their new age and occultic leanings, and it’s tragic to witness these students being schooled in subjective and new age practices.

BSSM: “Audible – Hearing or Knowing
These can come as quick random thoughts. You may be talking to your waitress and all of a sudden you think of a person you know that suffers from insomnia. God is probably giving you insight into a need that your waitress has. You will never know unless you take a risk and ask her. Sometimes the word of knowledge will be an internal knowing. The world calls that ESP. You just know that you know. The Holy Spirit may also speak as a still small voice to your spirit in your language. Or He may speak out loud as if someone was talking out loud.
Exercise – Be still and quiet. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about a specific prayer need for someone who you know. Write that down and be on the lookout throughout the week for the person the word is for.”

God has chosen to use his servants and the proclamation of the gospel through them as the means to save the lost. What he requires is obedience in preaching the gospel, and in his providence he will orchestrate circumstances and work in the hearts of people. There is no need to “take risks” by throwing out random thoughts and hoping they make sense, besides, if this is a “supernatural” school of ministry then all their methodologies reek of flesh. Do I believe God can guide our conversation as we witness – absolutely! But not in the mystical and manufactured way Bethel promote.

BSSM: “Feeling Emotions
You may sense the emotional atmosphere of a region, location or a person. You will feel the emotions or mood of the environment or person in your proximity. God allows you to sense this so you can partner and release what He desires into that environment.
Exercise – Every morning for a week, take note of your emotions in a journal. Several times throughout the day, set reminders to take note of your emotions. If you notice a drastic change in your emotions, go over what has happened throughout your day and see if your emotional change belongs to you or someone else.

Surely if you are a believer, you will know that this is nonsense! Nevertheless, let’s examine a passage that will bring some clarity. We read the account of Paul preaching in Athens in Acts 17, and the closest we get to any mention of an “atmosphere” in a particular region would be this verse: “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols” Acts 17:16
This was indeed a city of idols, to such an extent that the Roman courtier Petronius described Athens his satirical novel Satyricon as follows: “Our region is so full of deities that you may more frequently meet with a god than a man.”  Unlike the NAR teachers, Paul failed to initiate any spiritual warfare and bind the strong man over Athens. All he released into the “atmosphere” were his arguments: “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.” Acts 17:17
Without taking any notes of his emotional changes, Paul did the unthinkable in today’s context, he mentioned repentance and judgement:
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he 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
Some believed, some mocked, and Paul moved on to Corinth where he failed dismally to release anything positive into the Jewish environment : Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.  And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Acts 18:5-6

Here is a far better exercise – ignore your emotional changes and be faithful in studying and proclaiming the gospel.

BSSM: “Holy Spirit Highlight
A person or body part on a person just seems to be highlighted. The Holy Spirit is supernaturally pointing something or somebody out to you. It is always a great idea to take a risk and talk to that person or ask the person if the body part that stands out to you needs healing.
Exercise – Ask God to highlight something to you and take note of what that looks like to you. It may be a gut intuition, a glowing, feeling energized, or something else. As time goes on, continue to explore with Holy Spirit what this looks like to you, then pay attention when it happens.”

The machinations of the BSSM are no substitute for the workings of the Holy Spirit. The irony is that the very thing Bethelites long for – the working of the Holy Spirit, is the very thing they prevent by dismissing the Holy Spirit inspired word of God. By focusing on methods instead of the message of the gospel, Bethelites are on a never ending rabbit trail in search of their next “encounter.”

2. TREASURE HUNTS
BSSM: “At BSSM, we often send students on Treasure Hunts. Treasure Hunts implement hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit and teaches students to step out in risk. Treasure Hunts start by asking the Holy Spirit for words of knowledge on various topics: location, people’s name, appearance/clothing, what they need prayer for, and anything
unusual (lollipop, three children, lime green door, etc). The students should write these down on their Treasure Maps…It’s important to remind students to honor the people they interact with. When students find a person that fits their treasure map, have them approach the person politely and have the students explain they are on a treasure
hunt and that the person is on their treasure map. This will make the person feel seen and known by the Lord. With love and honor at the forefront, the students then ask if they can pray for the person. The students can either ask the person if there is something specific to pray for, or go off their treasure map, asking about the
various things students have written down to pray for.”

Kevin Dedmon taught this concept at the BSSM for 13 years.
Dedmon’s goal is “to help people know their true identity, and walk in their divine destiny. to bring God’s kingdom in every sphere of society through signs, wonders, miracles, healing and the prophetic.”  Bethelites believe that they have been given dominion on earth, and are eager to out perform the miracles of Christ. So eager in fact, that they are “taking risks” by attempting to walk on water, walk through walls, and raise the dead. 

If the students find someone who identifies with their words of knowledge (“lollipop, three children, lime green door”) and the person agrees to be prayed for, the article has the following instructions:

BSSM: “Ask for the presence of God to come (release His presence on them)
Command the pain to leave (bones to be set, back to be realigned, tumor to shrink, etc) Ask them to test it out – “Do something that you couldn’t do before we prayed. Repeat if necessary. When they are healed: Explain what just happened (God’s goodness revealed, He knows you and cares about you, etc)  Explain the gospel to them Ask them if they would like to know Jesus personally (have a relationship with Him) Have them ask Jesus into their life”

For more information on the unbiblical practice of Treasure Hunting, read Holly Pivec’s article – What are the dangers of ‘Treasure-Hunting’ evangelism?

3. FREE HUGS
BSSM: “With a group of students, make signs that say, “FREE HUGS.” Stand on the streets and offer hugs to people as they pass by. We all have the power to shift atmospheres. Have students become aware of what they can release without speaking, such as releasing love and healing into the atmosphere. Make sure your students honor the people they are ministering to, as well as the businesses they may be standing in front of. Your students should be aware of their impact on an atmosphere and that they can shift atmospheres. These encounters provide opportunities to interact with the person and either get words of knowledge, prophetic words, or to pray for the person.”

“Shifting atmospheres” is a product of Dawna De Silva’s imagination. Dawna is the founder and co-leader with Teresa Liebscher of the International Bethel Sozo Ministry. Dawna believes she is powerful, and writes the following: “Being powerful doesn’t threaten my husbands power, there is room for both of us to be powerful. As a women in ministry I had to settle in my heart that I’m not taking a man’s place, the Kingdom of God is ever expanding, everyone gets to be powerful….” Dawna believes her decrees are powerful enough to get her neighbour to paint his house. This craving for power is not new, the request “Give me this power also” was uttered by Simon the magician, who thought he could  obtain the gift of God with money!” Acts 8:20.

Fill in the blanks: “releasing love and healing into the atmosphere” is taught in the book of _______________ chapter _____________

The remaining four “activations” listed below follow a similar methodology, so I’m not going to comment on them:

4. ROSES FROM FATHER
“This is such a fun activation! Purchase several dozen roses. Have the students go to various locations, such as store parking lots or street corners, and pass out roses to people as they walk by, telling each person it’s a gift from the Father. This can open the door for students to minister to people and release the Father’s love.”

5. STICKY NOTE
“In small groups of three or four, go to different stores around town with a pad of sticky notes. Write encouraging words on the sticky notes and place them inside various books, journals, and magazines, being sure not to damage the books. Make sure your students use honor when they are doing this by not going to the same store
too often and respecting the store owner. We often tell our students that if they go into a store or shop, they should respect the business by purchasing something.”

6. RECEIPT ACRONYM
“At a restaurant, write your server’s name vertically on the back of your receipt. Ask God for a word or phrase for each letter in the person’s name that represents their unique identity. While being sensitive to their work time, quickly share with your server what you felt like God was saying about them as a word of encouragement.”

7. TATTOO INTERPRETATION
“In pairs, go to a busy, public area and look for people with tattoos. Ask them if you can interpret the meaning of their tattoo. Ask the Holy Spirit for His meaning of their tattoo. Share what you hear and encourage the person. A fun take on this outreach is to set up a booth at a street fair. As they share their interpretation, have them keep in
mind to use language that makes the person feel comfortable and that they will understand.”

CONCLUSION

Now that you have read the BSSM activations and exercises, I’d like you to do the Berean exercise and search the scriptures to  “see if these things were so.”

These activations are an invention of Bethel, geared towards an encounter gospel. Bill Johnson believes that we owe the world an encounter with God. In his eyes, this encounter includes signs and wonders;  anything less is an incomplete gospel. Bethel’s quest for power has caused them to ignore the principles of God’s word, and the result is a narcissistic gospel. Note all the emphasis placed on the students. Here’s what’s important to them: Their physical, emotional and spiritual feelings. Their words of knowledge. Their ability to shift atmospheres. Their physical impressions. Their ability to hear from God. 

Evangelism is not about how we feel or taking risks in order to experience something supernatural. Paul had some instructions for a young evangelist by the name of Timothy: “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5
Paul described the “work” Timothy should be doing in the opening verses of the chapter, verses which included a warning about the times we live in:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 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 4:1-4

As the saying goes – “What you win them with is what you win them to”

In the case of Bethel’s “evangelism,” people are being won by feelings, experiences, flattery, and supposed messages from God. They are being introduced to a Jesus who thinks they are awesome, and who needs them to partner with him in restoring his kingdom on earth. Bethel’s health, wealth, and dominion gospel will attract many to Jesus. The question is – which Jesus?

 

More articles on Bethel and the BSSM:

BSSM – soaking, declaring, and spinning into delusion

Bethel School of Spritiual Drunkenness

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

The New Breed of Crafty Evangelists

The Fruits of Bethel Church – Ashamed Of The Gospel, Flirting With The Occult

God – Kris Vallotton’s Fixer

Bethel’s delusions of grandeur – impervious to the realities of the Carr fire

 

 

 

 

 

Bethel School Of Spiritual Drunkenness

By Rick Becker  25 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drunken behaviour is never sanctioned in scripture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Jesus cast out, Bethel embraces!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More articles on the Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry:

BSSM – soaking, declaring and spinning into delusion

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism

The new breed of crafty evangelists

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

BSSM – soaking, declaring and spinning into delusion

By Rick Becker       31 May  2018

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is a risky business.  Students are “taught” how to heal, and are encouraged to “take risks” which really means to ignore the boundaries clearly laid out in scripture.  BSSM is simply a school of ‘simony’ that is producing thousands of severely deluded ‘revivalists’ who believe that they are a part of a mighty end time army that will usher in the kingdom of God.  Two of our previous posts exposed their false teachings and methodology:

The fruits of Bethel church – ashamed of the gospel, flirting with the occult.
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism.
In this post we continue to expose the delusion in operation at the BSSM.

In 2016, BSSM asked research group  Eido “to conduct a wide scale research report: “objectively discovering and celebrating the corporate testimony of these graduates; as well as providing the information Bethel needs to grow in excellence as they pursue global revival.”  The Eido report was compiled by two statisticians who are former students of the BSSM.  The report is largely complimentary, and claims that as a result of the graduates ministry 50 000 people were healed in 2017 as well as “several dead raisings.”  No medical records were mentioned or made available.  The report does however include some negative observations from graduates.  One of the questions they asked past students was: “What could BSSM have done better to prepare you for life after graduation?”

Two of the answers are telling:

1. “there could be more talks from people who work in the secular world
and can describe what it is like to be a revivalist without using any jargon. I [have] never said ‘bam, take it’ since graduating”

The question is why is there the need to say “bam, take it” in the first place?  What does “bam” actually do, and how does one “take” whatever “bam” produces?  Did Jesus or the apostles resort to a “bam, take it” ministry?  The “bam” probably comes from a false prophet who is endorsed by Bill Johnson – Todd Bentley.
Outside of the Bethel bubble is a real world that needs the gospel, not the tricks and trades of the Bethel machinery.

2. “I think I felt like I was told YOU’RE AN AWESOME AMAZING WORLD CHANGER LEADER and then I got thrown into the real World like a fish out of water. Ministry life and real world life are very different. And I was very disillusioned. I knew I was AMAZING but that didn’t translate into society as a whole.”

Surely the point of any type of christian instruction is to reveal the greatness of God, not self?  Bethelites are under a spiritual delusion.  Outside of their environment are people who are not bamboozled by gold dust, feathers and fog.  Stretching legs may fool some people, but the average person, even if unsaved, still has common sense.   

Students at the BSSM receive lots of encouragement, but is it biblical, or simply an ego building exercise?  More comments from graduates of the BSSM in the Eidos survey: “I was told by a good amount of people during school that I was meant to do great things, but now that I don’t have those voices always reminding me”, said one
struggling graduate. “Not being believed in or seen the way that I was at Bethel. There I felt so big, here I feel so insignificant and unseen” added another.”

TAKING RISKS

This BSSM School Planting article,Developing a Risk-Taking Culture”  reveals Bethel’s disdain for scripture, and their desire to experiment in signs and wonders.   

BSSM: “Developing a supernatural lifestyle requires risk….Set the tone for your school’s culture by communicating that it is okay for your students to fail when they are trying new things.”

I thought BSSM was a school of “supernatural” ministry?  On the day of Pentecost, the disciples “began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Acts 2:3. There was no trial and error, no risk taking involved.  They were not trying something new – God gave a new gift.  The miracle was that they spoke in languages that they had not learned:And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.  And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?” Acts 2:6-8

BSSM: “While teaching on words of knowledge, ask students to get a word of knowledge (e.g. his/her favorite toy growing up, last four digits of his/her phone number, parent’s name, etc.) for the student sitting to their right. Ask students who got the word of knowledge correct to raise their hands. Celebrate their breakthrough! Ask the students who got the word of knowledge wrong to raise their hands. Tell these students to look around the room and notice they are not the only ones who got it wrong. Celebrate their effort and remind them it’s ok they didn’t get it right the first time. Encourage them to keep trying as it will help them develop discernment.”

How is guessing the favorite toy of the person next to you glorify and point to God?  How does it edify the body of Christ?  A necromancer or psychic could name the favorite toy.  Where is the miraculous if we can simply thumb suck names and numbers until we get close?  We covered the topic of supernatural knowledge in this article: The new breed of crafty evangelists.

BSSM: “While teaching students on how to heal the sick, share your personal journey with them on how you grew in understanding healing, the breakthroughs you saw, the disappointments you experienced”

Gifts are taught?  It should be so obvious to anyone who has has a bible that gifts cannot be taught, and that not everyone has the same gift.   “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”
1 Corinthians 12:11.
You don’t have to be a cessationist to know that Bethel blatantly ignores scripture!  If healing can be taught, why have Bill and Beni Johnson required surgery, and why are they still wearing glasses?  Why are the hospitals in Redding still in business?

Sometimes “taking risks” involves baiting people.  This is from the  BSSM School Planting facebook page:

“ACTIVATION // White Board: This is from our friends @ilssm_uk ! Take a whiteboard and have your students write down words of knowledge. Take the whiteboard out on the street and watch as people find themselves on the whiteboard and are touched by the Lord!”


Imagine the apostle Paul and a few youth from the church in Corinth walking through the marketplace holding a parchment with “words of knowledge” written down as a means to give the Corinthians an encounter with God.  I could set up a whiteboard outside my local coffee shop with words that most could identify with – broken relationships, financial difficulties, loneliness, lower back pain, does the name John mean anything to you? etc.  What is miraculous about that?  If someone from the BSSM received a “hit” on one of their words from a passerby, will the passerby hear the message of the gospel, or Bethel’s version of the gospel?

SOAKING
In this article, leaders are given advice on leading a “soaking session.”
BSSM: “Encountering the intimate presence of God is the gateway to the supernatural! When we soak in His presence, we are radically transformed into His likeness. We learn to hear His voice, we learn to see Him, and we are anointed to walk in miracles, signs, and wonders.”

This is far from biblical.  There are no portals or gateways or formulas to experience the supernatural.  The reason BSSM have wandered off into mysticism and other errors is precisely because they refuse to hear and obey His voice: scripture.  What they mean by “we learn to see him” only they will know.  The formula BSSM offer is simple: soak, listen, see, receive an anointing and become a miracle maker.  Try and find that in scripture.

BSSM: “For some, soaking opens up the door to visions, angelic visitations, or out of body experiences. Others have physical manifestations of electricity, heat, weeping, and more. Whether or not we dramatically experience the spirit realm or physical manifestations, we get to receive the greatest gift: His presence. When we stop and spend time with Him, we receive a deposit of His Spirit in our innermost being, renewing and strengthening us to fulfill our destinies.”

In other words, a faith that can be felt takes precedence over a faith that is factual.  This form of contemplative spirituality leads to all forms of deception, especially since Bill Johnson encourages Bethelites to ‘go off the map.’  The Bethel version of destiny, is an awesome world changer who takes dominion, performs miracles, and prospers.  I would encourage you to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and compare the desires and lives of many who paid the ultimate price, to the current new breed of New Apostolic Reformation revivalists who have confused the gospel with a mixture of the American dream and dominion theology.

BSSM: “Today, we want to encourage you with tips on how to lead your students to soak in God’s presence! The fruit of intimacy with Him is a lifestyle full of the supernatural. By creating space for them to encounter greater measures of His Spirit, they will be transformed into revivalists that reveal the King and His kingdom.”

Where does scripture teach the fruit of intimacy with Him is a lifestyle full of the supernatural ?

DECLARING

This article entitled “3 Reasons Why Declarations Shift Atmospheres” is  simply word of faith heresy:
BSSM: “Steve Backlund once said, “Nothing happens in the kingdom unless a declaration is made.”

Steve Buckland has confused himself with God.  Where is this notion clearly taught in scripture, how did the disciples or early church apply it?  By his logic, the disciples declared their own tribulations and martyrdom.  Our declarations are not causitive!  God is the only one who makes declarations.  We bring our supplications to God:
The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

BSSM: “Declarations are powerful because God has placed authority in our words. As His children, we can use this authority to either edify or destroy. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (NASB).

Proverbs 18:21 does not mean that our words have inherent creative powers.  It means our words have effects.  Consider verse 6 :A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.”  

BSSM: “When we embrace and release life-giving truth through our words, we can shift atmospheres and establish cultures that reflect the kingdom.”

Says no biblical text!  “Shifting atmospheres” is New Apostolic Reformation terminology; it’s certainly not a concept taught in scripture.  One would imagine that the apostles would have been only too eager to practice this if it were true; instead they were chased out of cities, persecuted, imprisoned, and martyred.  Shifting atmospheres and establishing cultures were foreign to the early church.  The “atmosphere shifting” specialist at Bethel is Dawna De Silva.  Dawna “is the founder and co-leader with Teresa Liebscher of the International Bethel Sozo Ministry. She and her husband, Stephen De Silva, have ministered from Bethel for the past twenty years as well as preaching, speaking, and authoring books. Dawna’s manual on Shifting Atmospheres has become a sought after tool for daily empowerment.”

For $49 you can take her 8 week E-course, and learn how to shift atmospheres by taking “dominion over the supernatural environment for the Kingdom of God!”

Dawna is clearly on the masters level, because she is able to take dominion of her neighbourhood.  If a house in her neighbourhood needs paint, Dawna will declare that the house gets painted.  If the house owner cannot afford paint, Dawna will declare that money will come to the owner so that he is compelled to paint his house.  Dawna will declare that a person waters their neglected garden.  Dawna can do this because there is “power in our words.”

You can watch Dawna relate these bizarre examples of declaring and shifting atmospheres in this video

While Dawna cleans up her neighbourhood and shifts atmospheres through her declarations, faithful servants of God preach Christ crucified to the lost.

This is the fruit of Bethel’s teachings – sheer lunacy, and youngsters are actually paying to be taught this heresy.

BSSM: “To be transformed by the renewing of our minds (as Paul writes about in Romans 12), we must intentionally align our thoughts with truth. We can change the way we think by first changing the way we talk! In other words, we can tap into the power of declarations.”

The mouth cannot change the heart – it reflects what is in the heart: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”  Matthew 12:34.  In other words, BSSM teach that power lies not in submitting our will to God, but in declarations.  What are some of these declarations?  We need look no further than Bethel’s “Offering Readings” described as “declarations that we make during the offering time of our weekend services.”  Excerpts from their declarations:

We are believing the Lord for:

Benefits, Sales and commissions, Favorable settlements, Estates and inheritances Interests and income, Rebates and returns, Checks in the mail, Gifts and surprises
Finding money, Heaven opened, Earth invaded, And miracles created, Angelic visitations, Impartations, And divine manifestations, Anointings, giftings and calls
Positions and promotions, Capital to build small businesses that provide services, arts, and culture attracting both young and old. Repentance from poverty, small thinking, and envy. Courage to recognize opportunities and make wealth

I am powerful, And what I believe changes the world
So today I declare God is in a good mood He loves me all the time.”

BSSM: “.. What we speak is actually a meditation upon truth. As Joshua said, when we meditate upon the Word, we are led into prosperity and success (Joshua 1:8). Let’s declare: God’s grace empowers me to do the impossible, as I meditate upon truth I will be led into prosperity and success”

Actually God was speaking to Joshua, and Israel’s success and prosperity were dependent on obedience.  The covenant that we are under does not guarantee the kind of success or prosperity that Bethel & co envision.  Conquering the nations or the seven spheres of society is not a biblical mandate, and neither is health and wealth guaranteed under the new covenant.

BSSM: “Before Gideon tasted the fruit of victory, God called him a valiant warrior! Gideon’s initial response, however, was that of unbelief. As Steve Backlund says, “The future of a nation was trapped in the arguments of Gideon’s mind.” Before Gideon could step into his destiny, he had to believe in his true identity. This eventually led to the mighty deliverance of the Israelites from what seemed to be an impossible situation. Let’s declare: I am a powerful world changer!   The Lord is with me, if He is for me, what can be against me?”

Steve’s got it wrong again.  His word of faith agenda has blinded him to the truth.  Note that it’s all up to us.  God needs our declarations to act, and now apparently God needed Gideon to believe in his own identity.  I wonder if Steve Backlund has done a study on Jonah?  Was the future of Ninevah trapped in Jonah’s mind?  Were God’s purposes thwarted when Jonah fled from his presence in willful disobedience?
Declaring that you are a world changer has as much power as a person declaring that  they are able to fly.  One wonders why the 8000 graduates of the Bethel BSSM have not managed to change Redding, let alone the world.

SPINNING

From the BSSM School Planting facebook page:
“ACTIVATION // Spin the Wheel: Create a spinning “prize” wheel with different activations on each slot: preaching, prophesying, singing, dancing, words of knowledge, etc. Have each student spin the wheel to discover the activation they have to do.”

There is no doubt that God loves his children and places gifts within us to edify the body.  However, to approach what is holy in this frivolous manner is shameful.  Encouraging students to take a risk by prophesying or giving a word of knowledge at the spin of a wheel is a work of the flesh, and a gateway to the occult.  How does this exercise translate in the secular environment?  Well apparently the gospel comes second in evangelistic endeavours, what’s more important to these revivalists is to receive words of knowledge that reveal a strangers “unique identity”
BSSM School Planting Facebook page:

Identifying someone’s unique identity is not the gospel and will not save them.  The good news is that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to redeem a people and deliver them from, slavery, sin, and eternal damnation. This is the message the lost must hear:For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdombut we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-24
Stretching legs, healing aches and pains, gold dust, words of knowledge and all the other tools of the BSSM are not the power of God that leads to salvation.  The power of God unto salvation is found in the very thing BSSM students are not taught – the gospel:
 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

There is no discernment at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.  That does not mean discernment is not taught.  Mike Maeshiro “is a speaker, author and coach whose vision is to increase the spiritual intelligence of the planet. He teaches our Discerning Spirits class here at Bethel and has amazing insights to unlock each person’s potential!

Lets hear from Mike:
“When we discover that we’re spirits and start respecting and honoring the world we actually live in and how it actually works, abundance, success, reward, fulfillment, these things start becoming our experience.”

Should we not repent of our sins, respect and honor and obey God?

A description of Mike from his webpage:
“Mike is highly intuitive. He can sense truth or the absence of it when people express themselves. He can also sense the presence of something that doesn’t belong. Energy vibrates off of the frequency of our voices, Mike can distinguish the nature of that energy. Through years of practice, he has paired his spiritual sensitivity with emotional intelligence helping the average person discover the inner rumblings and understand why their lives have played out the way they have. He has trained up his team to coach according to spiritual vibrations and patterns.”

Does this sound biblical or new age?  It’s not surprising that Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton allow such blatant heresy to be taught since they both contributed to book that  can only be described as an abomination – The Physics of Heaven.
Reviews on this new age book masquerading as Christianity:

A Serial Book Review & Theological Interaction: Part 1
BILL JOHNSON: Squandering Our Spiritual Inheritance
The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson

Now for the New Apostolic Reformation agenda raising it’s head:

“Mike’s life mission is to raise the spiritual intelligence of the planet. It is a travesty to watch God’s children suffer lack and oppression because they simply don’t understand the world they live in. Mike seeks to remedy this issue and believes the day is coming where all spheres of society will operate differently because of the knowledge of the truth. From government policy to medical practice, Mike dreams of the day when the people intimately know the Spirit of Truth. They will be free because they love Him.”

That’s not going to happen Mike, the scriptures are clear regarding that state of the world and the visible church prior to the second coming – wickedness and apostasy.

There can be no doubt that we are in the midst of a great delusion in the visible church.  Bethel church and the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry play a part in this great delusion.
 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12

What should our response be – pray for and warn those you know who are caught up in this deception.
This article explores the grip of the cult-like New Apostolic Reformation. 

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 NEW BREED OF CRAFTY EVANGELISTS

By Rick Becker  25 January 2018

In order to make the gospel more palatable, many are resorting to crafty means in order to attract the lost.  One of the means employed is going “under cover” at various events.  This new breed of revivalists and evangelists don’t rely on the gospel, but so called “encounters with God.”  Words of knowledge and healings are utilized in order to win the lost. This covert evangelism involves:
• an absence of the gospel
• using terminology that does not offend
• supposed supernatural encounters
• cards, colours and stones to facilitate messages from God
..In other words – “another gospel”

A host of articles have recently exposed the unbiblical evangelistic tools and shenanigans of Bethel and Christalignment.  Going undercover at psychic fairs and the use of “destiny cards” to offer readings, or as they would argue – words of knowledge, are part of their evangelistic strategy.
In stark contrast to the methodology of Christalignment and Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry Students, the Apostle Paul refused to disguise the truth:

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.   But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing  2 Corinthians 4:1-3

Clandestine operations were probably employed by the false teachers in Corinth.  Paul was making it clear that the gospel does not need to be disguised or tampered with in order to be effective.

John Gill commentary:not walking in craftiness; they used no sly and artful methods to please men, to gain applause from them, or make merchandise of them; they did not lie in wait to deceive, watching an opportunity to work upon credulous and incautious minds; they did not, by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple; nor put on different forms, or make different appearances, in order to suit themselves to the different tempers and tastes of men, as did the false apostles: not handling the word of God deceitfully. They did not corrupt it with human doctrines, or mix and blend it with philosophy, and vain deceit; they did not wrest the Scriptures to serve any carnal or worldly purpose; nor did they accommodate them to the lusts and passions of men; or conceal any part of truth

Those who tamper with God’s word or employ deceit when presenting it are doing so in order to please man or gratify themselves in some manner: But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.  For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.  For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.  Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others”  2 Thess 2:2-6

Bethel came out in defense of Christalignment (not surprising since Theresa Dedmon of Bethel came up with the brand “Destiny Cards”)    In their statement, they made this point: “The Hodges are attempting to contextualize the Gospel and bring people to the realization that God is looking for them and loves them no matter where they are – just like the apostle Paul often did. In Acts 17:22-34, Paul spoke to a group of religious people who didn’t yet know God and lived in a city full of altars, idols, and various religions. In that moment, Paul referred to a single altar in their city that had an inscription to the “unknown god,” and he used this familiar object (something they understood and valued) as a starting point to connect them with the God of all creation. He wasn’t worried that they would get a wrong idea (like that God is merely one of many gods or that idols are appropriate) because he would soon be introducing them to the true God.”

When contextualizing leads to compromise, the gospel is polluted.  In Acts 17 Paul did not attempt to blend in with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers; in fact the reason he was taken to the Areopagus was because his message was different : “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection”  Notice that Paul was not ashamed to name Jesus, whereas the new breed of crafty evangelists prefer terms such as spirit of creation, high spirit, Christ spirit etc.  Paul’s reference to the “unknown god” cannot be compared to going undercover and changing biblical terminology in an attempt to smuggle Jesus in at a later stage.

The irony is that Bethel and Theresa Dedmon use this passage to justify Christalignment’s  contextualization of the Gospel – which includes the use of Destiny Cards.  Dedmon writes: “Destiny Cards” are not tarot cards.  They do, however, have a similar look that attracts people who are searching for a “reading”.  There is no way one can justify creating something that looks similar to a demonic tool in order to “attract” people searching for a “reading.”
Dedmon gets it dead wrong once again when she writes in the same article: “Jesus always spoke in parables that communicated the message in creative ways in which people could relate and receive.”  Parables and Destiny Cards are not comparable.  Jesus did not use parables in order for people to relate and receive; in fact most could not relate and never received anything.  Paul put it this way:  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing”  2 Corinthians 4:3

Parables actually hid the truth from those who had hardened hearts:   Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”  And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”  Matthew 13:10-13 

Did Paul offer any “third heaven encounters with God” at the Areopagus? did he use any gimmicks? did he have any words of knowledge for the philosophers? did he perform any signs and wonders?  No –  he preached the gospel: Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he 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 17:29-31

The Gospel is explicit concerning the destiny of all people – unless they repent, they will face the wrath of God on judgement day.  Instead of warning people, crafty evangelists simply flatter the lost.

Since our article, Christalignment contacted us, and attempted to defend their methodology.  They wrote:
“we don’t do tarot. We hate it.” 
“We are not fortune telling or practising divination.”
“We do not offer card readings. The card part of a destiny reading is the smallest. The encounter with God is the largest.”

What they are doing is nevertheless deceitful.  While they may not view the encounters they lead their clients into as deceptive, closer scrutiny will reveal that they are not presenting the gospel in sincerity, if at all.  Furthermore, we cannot guarantee anyone an “encounter with God” or produce words of knowledge on demand for clients.  This means that any “vision” or “word of knowledge” received can only have two sources – the imagination or the demonic.

• They also claim that their website is for “non Christians only.”  In their eyes, this presumably justifies their vague terminology and association with festivals such as Rainbow Serpent, Queer Expo, Sexpo and others.  They describe themselves as “trained spiritual consultants, gifted in various modalities…trained in destiny reading… trained as intuitive readers.”
At their Spirit Life Meditation classes, their “presenters” are described as “seers” and “healers” who offer
“releasing imaginative encounters using the third heaven realm..third heaven encounters…deep rest therapy..intuitive colour therapy…revelatory meditations of third heaven realm..healing from negative energies/cleansing.”
Does this sound like the gospel?  Why not be straightforward and boldly proclaim the gospel as Paul did: “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” 1 Corinthians 1:23.  Matthew Henry commented on this verse: “The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever has been a sure touchstone by which men may learn what road they are travelling.”  The gospel will cause repentance, or further hardening of hearts to those who are perishing – either way it is effective!  In an effort to remove the stumbling block, crafty evangelists remove the gospel.

• They claim they that do not “offer card readings” but “destiny readings.”  At the time of this writing,  their webpage describes their services as follows:  “The Christalignment team use at least 5 different types of cards in Destiny Readings. These are not necessary for an intuitive reader, as we are all hearing from the third heaven realm, but greatly enhance the reading.  We believe they are more predictive and higher than most cards, and can address a current life question that you may have.”

• In their correspondence with us, they attempted to defend their usage of cards:  “The disciples did not do card readings. But neither was TV or Facebook. You are taking everything from our website. I just told you they are destiny readings. Cards are not important. One set of cards has psalms on it. They bless people. It is the word of God. But they are not predictive in any way. However word of knowledge which is what Jesus used is in scripture.” Advancement in technology is not an excuse to change the message of the gospel.  Naturally we took everything from their website; that’s surely the best way to avoid confusion and half truths.  What does cause confusion is operating under pretense.  Christalignment boasts that their cards are “more predictive” and “higher than most cards” on their website, yet in their correspondence with us claim that “cards are not important” and “are not predictive.” 

What they claim on their page is therefore misleading; it’s false advertising, it’s a lie.

One set of cards does have psalms on it. The rest are “Destiny cards” “Animal cards” and “Colour cards”.  Their description of “Colour cards:
“Colour cards can be used in several different ways. Team member Nan uses them to enhance her reading with coloured agate stones. Colours have had an important role to play spirituality in history and have significant meanings in the dream state. As they are imbued with meaning and power, these readings can really change lives and give comfort and hope.” – Scripture makes no mention of how valuable a tool an agate stone is when presenting the gospel.  Colours may be symbolic, but only the new age teaches that they are imbued with “power”

It will be beneficial at this point to discuss “words of knowledge” as this has become a popular practice in NAR circles.  Christalignment claim that their cards are not predictive, but note that Jesus used words of knowledge.  Have they noticed that Jesus never used cards to help him with “words of knowledge.”  The New Apostolic Reformation teach that Jesus came to model life for believers.  Whatever Jesus did, we can emulate and even improve, however Jesus knew what was in the heart of man because he was God.  Contrary to scripture which clearly states that the gospel is the power of God at work, saving those who believe, crafty evangelists believe that signs and wonders are the power that opens people’s eyes to the gospel. The lost therefore depend on the miracle working power of the crafty evangelist to believe.  “Words of knowledge” have become a favourite tool for the new breed of NAR evangelists.  Smartphone false prophet Shawn Bolz (the “christian” version of the psychic John Edwards) Todd White, BSSM students and others supposedly operate in this gift. Usually it goes something like this:
“Does the date 3 March mean anything to you?”
“I’m getting “Elm street” – do you know this address?”
“Do you have a family member by the name of Edward”
“The Lord says he is about to bring a shift in your business”
“You have lower back pain”
“The Lord has given me the meaning of the tattoo on your wrist”
“God is about to release supernatural favour on your endeavours”

Now lets compare that to the “words of knowledge” Jesus had when interacting with people:
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people  and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man John 2:23-25 – this passage contradicts the strategy of Christalignment, BSSM students and the new breed of revivalists who rely on so called signs and wonders to reach the lost.

“After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me…It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.  Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him.” John 13:21;26-27 – not exactly “calling out the gold in others” – a phrase used by Theresa Dedmon when describing her reason for creating Destiny Cards.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’;  for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” John 4:16-19

The issue here was not the 5 previous husbands, as she may have been married to them legitimately (perhaps some died) but she was not married to her current partner.  Jesus made her aware of her current sinful state.  In her eyes, Jesus was no longer simply a Jew, but a prophet – not because he tickled her ears with a “destiny reading” but because she could not hide her sin.  Albert Barnes commentary on this interaction:
” Significantly, the confrontation of her own sinful conscience was the occasion of Jesus’ rising so abruptly in her estimation. Only a few minutes earlier, she had recognized him only as “a Jew,” who she had every right to suppose hated and despised her; but now she hailed him as a prophet. The more deeply conscious any person is of his sins, the higher Jesus rises in his sight. The woman did not deny or offer excuses or explanations, but let the implications of her sinful life stand naked and unadorned in his holy presence.”

Supernatural knowledge in the early church:
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,  and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him”
Acts 5:1-6 – a far cry from the usual “words of knowledge” witnessed in Charismatic circles today.

As you can see, even continuationists must admit that supernatural knowledge in the scripture is far removed from what is practiced in Charismania.  Furthermore, words of knowledge were not used as a means to call out the good in sinners, or reveal a dream destiny.  What then was the gift of the word of wisdom and word of knowledge that Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12?  Paul lists them, but does not describe them; that is why it is easy for some to construct their own meaning and practice.  We believe both the word of wisdom and word of knowledge are primarily to do with the gospel – not your street address, personal decisions, dream destiny, business goals.  Consider the following passage concerning wisdom:

“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.  But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him” 2 Peter 3:15

And this passage which mentions both knowledge and wisdom:
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. Colossians 2:1-3

Keep in mind the early church did not have the full canon of scripture. When Paul preached to the Jews in Thessalonica, we read that he “reasoned with them from the Scriptures.”  All Paul had was the Old Testament, and the gospel is concealed in the Old Testament, Paul simply revealed it to them.  This is why the role of the gifts were unique in the early church: prophecy, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge were able to reveal what had been concealed in the Old Testament.

Christalignment claim that they “use the name of Jesus” and “preach the gospel” yet none of the testimonies they post, reveal repentant sinners grateful to have been saved by the grace of God.  The testimonies revolve around feelings and experiences such as “connecting with the high spirit” and “emotional healings, people feeling lighter and happier”

This client experienced a “flood of colour..channeling and flooding through me..clearing my headache…residual energy just clearing it…I saw this light in the form of an elephant head..the eyes were just kinda like a space I guess, and it was just like staring through me, and the light was going through from him through to me, then like a cycle, colour after colour..I’ve never seen like a spirit animal or anything in that kind of realm”
At the end, mention is made of “Christ spirit” and “high spirit.”  Was the elephant head perhaps an image of Ganesha, a deity in the Hindu pantheon?  Colour was doing the healing?  Spirit animals in another realm interacting with people?  Christalignment use animal cards and colour cards, and this is what manifested for the client;  they are simply channeling these demonic images or visions.  Clearly, Christalignment are not worried when their clients get a wrong idea of who God is.

This client “saw a beautiful being that looked like Merlin, and he came forth and offered me a gift, and I took that gift and it made me feel absolutely beautiful and special”  The Christalignment staff member who conducted the reading goes on to explain how the gift was special because it came from royalty, as the being wore a purple robe. The gift was a round golden ball with something like a crucifix on top.

Merlin was a fictional character, created by the writer Geoffrey of Monmouth. Merlin first appeared in Geoffrey’s work  “The History of Kings of Britain” in 1136AD.  The interesting thing about Merlin, is that he was the son of the devil, yet at the same time the servant of God. (“Merlin” was the wizard in in the stories of Camelot)
The team at Christalignment had no qualms with a fictional character, born as a son of the devil appearing to their client.

On their facebook page, Christalignment share the results of their activity at the Midsumma LGBTQ festival:
“A really brilliant day in at Melbourne’s biggest LGBTQ festival – Midsumma. We had queues all day of hungry people wanting to know if there is any hope for their problems, for their lives. The team were brilliant and most clients were having knock out encounters with the Spirit of Truth.
It is always a shock and so stunning to see just how much The Spirit loves people who are out there, alternative, different. On Sunday this resulted in several stunning instant physical healings and many successful cleansings from entities.
Our first client for the morning was a male transvestite prostitute who “ just wanted to die” and wanted to know how soon he could die. He came to us last year too. He left feeling lighter, free.
It was brilliant to catch up with two well known celebrity transvestites who knew us from last year’s Queer Expo. Immediately they wanted to hug us, take photos and just talk. We really felt the Spirit on that meeting.
One boy was afraid a psychic had made a spirit enter him but after chatting he confided that he was just so lonely. We were able to break all that right off. He went away so happy.” source

Do any of these testimonies point to Jesus Christ?  You be the judge.  Beware of any methodology that contradicts scripture.

“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.”

C H Spurgeon