Posts Tagged ‘bethel church’
To Lighthouse Trails Editors:
I wanted to write you about Bethel’s trend of trying to make their teachings sound more “mainstream” evangelical, even though their aberrant teachings are clearly not (as LT has pointed out over the past few years through booklets, blogs, etc.).
Bethel has gotten more sophisticated with their lingo and presentation of some rehashed Latter Rain heresies and “revival” pep-speak, but the calculated supposed “upgrade” that has escalated in the past few years has been an attempt to repackage their same old “kingdom-now,” Christian dominionism,” 7 mountain mandate,” into more palatable, mainstream language.
Why? Probably in an attempt to increase its already huge following (that continues to multiply over the Internet and worldwide: including its affiliated “Jesus Culture” band).
Who are they targeting? Not just young people who may not be familiar enough with God’s Word to discern error and unbiblical teachings, but Bethel is also targeting the unsuspecting, struggling evangelical who may not be familiar with some of the charismatic lingo, and “signs and wonders” and who are being enticed by the “power” and “revival” that Bethel falsely promises at every turn . . .
Here are several items with Pastor Rod Page (pastor of Lewiston Community Church, Lewiston, CA–20 miles from Bethel Church in Redding, CA), speaking about God’s Word, God’s heart, and God’s truth regarding those entangled, unaware that Bethel’s teachings (Kris Valloton, etc.,) are unbiblical and dangerous:
1) Link to 12/6/16 Herescope posting/article: “The Bethel Church Upgrade”: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-bethel-church-upgrade.html
2) Link to TBC Radio program: “Has Bethel Church Been Upgraded?” with Rod Page Part 1: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/has-bethel-church-been-upgraded-rod-page-part-1
3) Link to TBC Radio program: “Has Bethel Church Been Upgraded?” with Rod Page Part 2: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/has-bethel-church-been-upgraded-rod-page-part-2
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
So Bethel Church leadership cannot feign ignorance on this phrase as their “Physics of Heaven” shows they are thoroughly versed in New age teachings. I was on Facebook scrolling the news feed when I saw a sponsored ad for Bethel advertising their coming “Open Heaven” Conference. Well within the first 10 seconds the first thing to appear on the screen was As above, So below. I’m sure Ray Yungen would find this interesting as well.
I find it extremely creepy as they have a large white pyramid atop their prayer house (see the photos below). How they get away with this rank occultism is beyond me, unless they are already under strong delusion.
In Christ Alone,
Bethels prayer house with pyramid
prayer house at night. pyramid glows red
inside prayer house- directly under the pyramid
(Used in accordance of the U.S. Fair Use Act for the purposes of review, critique, and education)
For more information about Bethel Church, please review the following:
NEW BOOKLET:Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings by Bill Randles is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings, click here.
Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings
By Bill Randles
What would you think of a Bible school that sends young people out to literally prostrate themselves on the graves of deceased preachers so that the students can absorb “the anointing” that lingers on the graves? What about a church in which a mist containing feathers, gold, and jewel dust descends on the worshippers in the sanctuary? How about a church conference which features prophetic “tattoo readings” as one of the workshops?
What would you expect of a church which is a combination of the Word of Faith error and the prosperity gospel of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, the signs and wonders of Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn, the false assumptions of the “spiritual warfare” and hyper-deliverance movement, the “prophetic movement,” and the gnostic mysticism of the Toronto Blessing?
You don’t have to wonder any longer, for there is such a “ministry” which is currently the most recognizable and influential face of the prophetic movement. I refer to Bill and Beni Johnson who co-pastor Bethel Church in Redding, California and its related ministries including “Jesus Culture” youth band and Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry.
Bill Johnson, a noted conference speaker and leader, is the author of several best-selling books and considered to be an apostle and leader within the Apostles and Prophets movement. Hundreds of thousands have been affected by his ministry and have attended retreats and conferences where they have been “imparted” with “the anointing.”
In order to fully understand this prophetic movement in its current state, we must examine the teachings and ministry of Bill Johnson in the light of the Word of God. Didn’t Jesus warn us not to be naïve but that “every tree is known by its fruits”?
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)
The primary “fruit” of any professed prophet would be the teaching. (The same would go for any pastor or apostle or anyone who stands in the name of God).
Let’s examine some of Bill Johnson’s teachings which go errant on so many levels that it is hard to decide where to begin. For the sake of brevity, I will address four areas of concern: a) The Word of Faith Movement; b) Johnson’s teachings on the Incarnation; c) the anointing (Holy Ghost); and d) his theology of experience. I urge you to be the judge according to the test in Deuteronomy 13.
I. The Word of Faith Movement
It doesn’t take long to see by reading his books that Johnson is a proponent of the Word of Faith teaching, popularized by Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. Therefore, it is necessary to give a brief overview of WOF teaching to be able to see where Johnson is coming from.
In a nutshell, the WOF teaching is based on a gnostic interpretation of the Fall and of redemption. The following is my paraphrase of their explanation:
When God created Adam, He gave him all dominion over the earth, to rule and reign as God’s regent. However, when Adam fell, by obeying Satan, he handed that God-given dominion over to Satan, who became the “god of this world.” God, the Father, couldn’t just come in and take the dominion back—Adam had given it away.
God had to find a way for a man to come in, as a man, and undo the folly of Adam, gaining back the authority given to Satan by Adam. Jesus is that man. (The WOF teachers do acknowledge that Jesus is God but believe that He “laid aside His own Divinity” in the Incarnation).
As a man, Jesus came into the world, resisted all of the temptation that Adam and Eve and the human race succumbed to, and died on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
But there is a twist, for the WOF teachers insist that salvation wasn’t secured for man in Jesus’ death on the Cross as a substitute for our sins. Rather, Jesus first had to descend into hell and suffer the torment of Satan and his minions until God was satisfied that it was enough and could legally raise Him from the dead.
Of course, the Word of God says that Jesus’ death on the Cross was sufficient, and that when He said, “Telestai!” (It is done), it really was done. But Copeland and Hagin teach that it wasn’t finished until Jesus had literally “become sin” and endured demonic torment in hell.
The Fall, according to WOF, was as much about the loss of power and authority as it was about sin and alienation from God. Therefore, salvation is about restoration of power and authority, as well as forgiveness of sins. We get the power back and can now exercise dominion over this life and take authority over evil.
Because of this skewed view, WOF is a power religion. This is why WOF Christians frequently speak in terms of authority; they “bind and/or loose” angels and demons; they decree, rebuke, and otherwise speak in terms of “releasing” peace, grace, or mercy into this situation or that.
The essence of this theology is the restoration and practical use of the “authority to the believer.”
The ideal in WOF circles is that of the born again man of power and authority, the miracle man who has come in to the “revelation knowledge” of “who he is in Christ,” and demonstrates the power of “the anointing” to a lost world. There have developed extensive mythologies around truly historical figures such as John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, and William Branham. These are the men who really “took authority,” they say, and showed us all what any believer could do if he had but the faith and “anointing” to do so!
The WOF is an offshoot of an earlier expression of these very ideals, the Manifested Sons of God (MSG), once repudiated by the Assemblies of God in the 1940s but now widely embraced in this new form. MSG is based upon an erroneous interpretation of Romans 8:19, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
Traditional Christianity has held that this verse refers to what happens at the bodily coming of the Lord. When Jesus returns, the curse on Creation will finally be removed, and the true children of God will be manifested.
But the MSG teach that this verse means that the Creation is waiting for the church to attain to the knowledge of the power and authority, in order to “manifest” our Sonship to the world, through signs and wonders. All of this must occur before Jesus can come back!
This is the context in which to understand where Bill Johnson, Jesus Culture, and the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry are coming from, as they seek to bring the church into the power and anointing of their “mystical revival.”
In his teaching on the Incarnation, Bill Johnson states, and rightly so, that Jesus Christ is God. But Johnson also emphasizes to an unbiblical extreme that Jesus completely laid aside His deity:
Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” He had set aside His divinity. He did miracles as man in right relationship with God because He was setting forth a model for us, something for us to follow. If He did miracles as God, we would all be extremely impressed, but we would have no compulsion to emulate Him. But when we see that God has commissioned us to do what Jesus did—and more—then we realize that He put self-imposed restrictions on Himself to show us that we could do it, too. Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father—without the Father’s help.1
There are several problems with this teaching of Johnson’s. For example, it is theologically inaccurate to say that “Jesus had no ability . . .” and that Jesus “set aside His Divinity.” It is dangerously close to being a denial of the deity of Christ, for divinity by definition cannot be “set aside” nor could God ever be said to lack ability in any sense.
In the Incarnation, the eternal God became a man, though He never ceased being God. He always had all power, but restrained Himself, declining the prerogatives of power and majesty, which are inherent to Him, that He might live and die for us as true man.
Another problem with this is that Johnson asserts that Jesus performed miracles to “set forth a model for us . . . to show us that we could do it (the miracles) too . . .”
This is at the very heart of the Word of Faith teaching from which Johnson has emerged. Supposedly, we as individual believers can and should be doing all of the miracles of Jesus, in the power of the Spirit. To Johnson, Jesus came in the flesh, partly to show us that we too could do what He did!
This quest for miracle power is misguided and has led many into deception. Jesus didn’t do His miracles to “show us that we can do it.” The miracles of Jesus are manifestations of the merciful God, whether they be the ones in the Gospels, or in the Book of Acts, or those done in His name throughout the world today. “These signs will follow those that believe.” We are not to seek them. It is only a “wicked and adulterous generation (which) seeks after signs.”
Johnson actually posits that any believer has the potential to experience most of what Jesus experienced in the Gospels, even the Transfiguration! He states:
Most all of the experiences of Jesus recorded in Scripture were prophetic examples of the realms in God that are made available to the believer. The Mount of Transfiguration raised the bar significantly on potential human experience . . . The overwhelming lesson in this story is that Jesus Christ, the Son of man, had the glory of God upon Him. Jesus’s face shone with God’s glory, similar to Moses’s after he came down from the mountain.2
Johnson seems to fail to appreciate that though Jesus became “as one of us” in the Incarnation, His uniqueness cannot be safely diminished. Imagine a spirituality spent seeking to attain a transfiguration! No wonder Johnson’s students go to such lengths seeking “glory” experiences.
III. The “Anointing”
The second aspect of Johnson’s teaching that is dangerous and has led to the reckless mysticism in which so many associated with Bethel are involved is what he teaches about the Holy Spirit, particularly “the anointing.” Johnson states:
Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ means “Anointed One” or “Messiah . . . [Christ] is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired.3
First of all, here is an example of a teacher setting forth an unbiblical separation between the person “Jesus” and the word “Christ.” This is a very dangerous thing to do; it is similar to what the New Age movement claims, and it is being done towards a similar end.
New Agers want to establish the (false) idea that Jesus was merely an enlightened person, one who was anointed (Christed) at thirty years old, very similar to other remarkable human beings such as Gandhi and Zoroaster. This “anointing” is a self-realizing experience.
Johnson seems to be trying to establish that just as the man Jesus had to be anointed with the Holy Ghost in order (as a man) to do the miracles He did, we too can have the same experience to do the same thing, for Jesus is our model.
The Bible doesn’t do this with the word “Christ.” The apostles never relegated Christ as being a title, nor as being an experience. Christ is a designation of Jesus’ deity. Scripture insists that Jesus is the Christ, and it refers to Jesus as Christ, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself . . .” Christ is an eternal person, the second person of the godhead, chosen of the Father, and thus anointed with the Holy Ghost.
When Jesus came into the world, He already was Christ; he never had to become Christ, nor can anyone become Christ unless he is a false Christ (i.e., antichrist).
On the same subject—the “anointing”—Johnson continues:
The word anointing means “to smear.” The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism. The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit.
The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [the anointing] there could be no title.4
Do you see the problems Johnson’s teachings on “the anointing” raise?
For example, did Jesus become the Christ at His baptism? If “Christ” is only valid upon an experience, what was Jesus before the Holy Ghost came upon Him in the Jordan? Was He merely an unqualified “man with a title” up until then?
Johnson’s view on the Christ is strikingly reminiscent of an error which emerged early in the history of the church and was repudiated as heresy. It is called adoptionism. It holds that Jesus was a devout man who did not become “Christed” until He was thirty years old when He was anointed of the Holy Ghost. It was by the Holy Ghost that He did His miracles, but the “anointing” left Him when He died on the Cross. If Jesus could do these things (through revelation knowledge and the anointing), so could any other believer.
There is a passage in 1 John 5 that refutes this very error about the Christ:
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 John 5:6)
The heretics were teaching that Jesus was not Christ until He was baptized in water and anointed with the Spirit. He remained Christ until He shed His blood. But the apostle insists that “He came by water and blood;” that is, He was already Christ when He was baptized and remained so on the Cross, and through His resurrection. The designation, “Christ,” was and is more than an experience; it is inherent to Jesus, the Divine God/man.
IV. The Emphasis on Experience, De-Emphasis on Doctrine
Finally, Bethel (and Bill Johnson) is actually dangerous in its approach to doctrine and experience and has exposed its followers to the following practices:
Grave soaking trips5
Visualization, contemplative prayer, and meditation practices
Chanting, soaking, and spiritual drunkenness
“Toking” the Holy Ghost to get “high on Jesus”
In addition to “normal” prophetic words, those who attended Bethel’s “Power and Love Conference” in February 2014 received readings based on their tattoos and piercings. Doug Addison can interpret the hidden messages on your body and even train you to do the same. You don’t even have to fly to where he is; for the reasonable fee of $150, he can tickle your ears over the phone for thirty minutes.6
Believe me when I say I have just scratched the surface of the irrational, unbiblical, and even anti-biblical practices of Bill Johnson’s influential ministry. How do confessing Christians become so undiscerning?
There is one aspect of Bethel that is perhaps the most dangerous. Johnson, like so many Pentecostals and evangelicals who have preceded him, has a strong anti-doctrinal emphasis. To the neo-mystics of the New Apostolic Reformation, doctrine has a deadening effect and is valid only to the extent that it induces experience. Doctrine is “the letter which kills” and leads to “head knowledge” as opposed to the personal experience of God, based upon individual revelation.
Those who insist on adherence to true doctrine are caricatured as Pharisees. There are familiar clichés in these circles such as “God is offending the mind to reach the heart,” and “a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with a doctrine.” These kinds of preachers often delight in saying, “I am going to upend your theology now . . .” as they unveil the latest nugget of their own revelation. Bill Johnson, in illustrating this, stated:
Jesus made a frightening statement regarding those who hold to Bible study vs. experience, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). If our study of the Bible doesn’t lead us to a deeper relationship (an encounter) with God, then it is simply adding to our tendency towards spiritual pride. We increase our knowledge of the Bible to feel good about our standing with God and to better equip us to argue with those who disagree with us. Any group wanting to defend a doctrine is prone to this temptation without a God encounter . . . Jesus did not say “My sheep will know my Book;” it is His voice that we are to know.7
Johnson is deconstructing those who seek scriptural knowledge as being in danger of “spiritual pride,” increasing in knowledge in order to “feel good about their standing with God,” and to be better able to win arguments with those who disagree with them! What a pastor! It is almost as if he would discourage the desire to grow in scriptural knowledge!
But on the other hand, it is the ones seeking “deeper knowledge” (than that which Scripture reveals?) and a deeper “encounter” with God (experience) whom Johnson considers to be blessed. Imagine a young person sitting under a steady diet of this, and you will see why Bethel, Jesus Culture, and the School of Supernatural Ministry are given over to the most sensual mysticism!
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
To order copies of Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings, click here.
(See related booklets.)
1. Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, first edition, January 1, 2005), p. 50.
2. Bill Johnson, Face to Face with God (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2007), p. 200.
3. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 2005), p. 87.
5. http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/2011/07/bill-johnson-and-john-crowders-leaven.html; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrHPTs8cLls https://www.facebook.com/photo.
7. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth, op. cit., p. 93.
To order copies of Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings, click here.
To Lighthouse Trails:
Thank you for all that you do. I would love it if you would write an article on what we can do and how we should do it to let people know what is happening in the church today. One of my questions is why are they not seeing what we are seeing? Are they not true believers? What’s the big picture here? Do you think that all these movements will eventually merge? Are we just alarmists? I have friends who are involved in either Bethel Redding or contemplative prayer. Very few seem interested or believe me when I tell them that this stuff is not biblical. Most won’t check into it, or if they do, they either don’t agree with what they read or think the website is too harsh or unloving (some websites do seem unkind in the way that they come across).
I have been admonished by a number a people that I am wrong, just want to be right, question why I am worrying about what others do, or am too extreme or pharisaical (by some believers that are far more mature and Bible literate than I am). I have been told to stop looking on the Internet because that is unreliable and have been laughed at for doing so. My former pastor even told me to stop.
My Christian friends are constantly posting on Facebook about Bethel, contemplative prayer, or blatant New Age stuff as well as Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and Hillsong. Very few seem to be concerned about all the strange manifestations and theology coming out of Bethel or that contemplative prayer is not something most of us ever heard about or practiced until a few years ago, yet they are OK with it.
I just read Exodus 32 (golden calf) the other day. I was struck by the similarity between what happened then and is happening now. The people were tired of waiting for Moses to come back (Jesus to return) and made their own god. Did they think they were worshiping the God who brought them out of Egypt? Aaron had let them get out of control and so were made a laughing stock to their enemies. Do you think this could be an illustration of what is happening, or am I off base here?
Even two of our Christian radio stations are not safe anymore. Much of the music is Bethel Music , Hillsong, or like-minded groups. The Fish radio station has John Tesh, who is actually promoting eastern meditation. K-Love has Francis Anfuso from the Rock of Roseville (A Bethel-linked local church) doing daily short messages on hundreds of K-Love stations nationwide (though the messages that I have heard do seem to be biblical).
We left a church we loved two years ago when they started to embrace Bethel teachings about healings. The seemingly biblical church we are at now plays Bethel music and I believe is going to be teaching contemplative prayer soon. The pastor is preaching about silence and solitude and mentioned a quote from Henri Nouwen last week as well as spiritual formation. Several church’s we had visited it appears are now teaching contemplative prayer in classes and retreats. It would be wonderful if Roger Oakland and Warren Smith will be able to have a conference here someday, it is very needed.
Dear Lighthouse Trails Editors:
I live in the Midwest, and one would think that the apostate church has not infiltrated us here. Nothing could be further from the truth. My husband and I have stopped attending church due to previous churches attended now being mega seeker sensitive. Recently we decided to try two churches.
The first church is a non-denominational. I felt the Lord was leading me to attend Sunday school, which I did. The pastor led the class, and it was during the time of the Pope’s visit. The pastor stated, “The people are attracted to his anointing.” Another lady stated, “It is a good thing he is not running for public office, or he would be easily elected.” She spoke highly of him. This was also during the time of the “blood moon.” This church was watching John Hagee’s series concerning the Blood Moons on Wednesday nights. They were starting a series of studying a book written by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church of Redding, California. Needless to say, we did not return. I know a couple who attended the same Sunday we did, and they continue to attend because they “like the music.”
We tried another church. I again attended Sunday school, and they do not study the Bible like I do. Very basic, milk instead of meat. The church has a new pastor who invited my husband and I to lunch. He shared his love of Andy Stanley’s books and said he had plans to “grow the Church” and “if anyone disagrees with my methods, they can leave.” His preaching is very “feeling’ focused. He is a former banker who became a pastor later in life. He clearly is using the techniques learned in the business world to woo the people. During his sermon, he stated, “Sometimes I even use the Message Bible for my sermons.” I was amazed at the people’s response. Many laughed, and one man mockingly stated, “blasphemy” as he laughed. A cold chill ran down my spine as I looked at these people, some whom clearly love the Lord but are being led astray.
A friend and her husband attend an ELCA Lutheran church and have been asked to leave because of their views against homosexuality—they believe in the biblical view of homosexuality being a sin. The leaders of that church say, “the Bible got it wrong.” They also do not believe in what they call “decision theology”—people responding to altar calls and making a conscious decision for Christ; they believe people are saved because of their church attendance.
The pastor of another ELCA church resigned due to pressure to perform gay marriages.
A fellowship here that is aligned with Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church has grown into a church, and it is growing each Sunday.
A church here has started a Yoga class. I sent her [the teacher] the booklet on “Christian Yoga” along with a letter. No response, and the class continues.
I am saying all this to say that if anyone would have told me I would see this in my town ten years ago, I would have not believed it; now I find myself at a loss for words when I watch the falling away before my eyes.
It is lonely here when you seek to walk in truth. Words fail me as I see that the church is not a safe place. Also, I see that people are not checking if what is being preached is God’s Word, man’s word, feelings, or just plain dangerous to their faith. As Christ said to Peter, I pray that your faith fail not.
Thank you for your contending for the Faith.
Blessings to you all.
By Sandy Simpson
Deception in the Church
Seth Dahl, Bethel Church, Redding, CA: Dahl tells the Bethel Redding congregation of his experience with an enormous angel. Dahl asked the angel his name and then Googled in the angel’s answer. The angel’s name was the same as that of a finance company. Dahl then realized the angel was “here for our finances at Bethel. . . .” Dahl states, “You just need to hear a testimony so you can know what’s available to you ’cause I’m not trying to preach a sermon, I’m trying to invite you to a new way of life.” (Bethel Redding children’s pastor Seth Dahl )
There are only three (possibly four) angels named in the Bible and neither of them bear the name of the “finance company” for Bethel Church. Gabriel (Daniel 8:15–27; 9:20–27), Micheal (see Daniel 10:21 and 12:1), Lucifer (not his actual name) or Satan, a fallen angel (Isaiah 14:12–18; Luke 10:18) and Apollyon/Abaddon (Revelation 9:11). Angels named in the Bible have important roles in Israel and/or the Church and would not be named after a finance company for a church in Redding, CA.
Seth Dahl, Bethel Church, Redding, CA: This youth leader states that in a vision Jesus picked him up, began to weep, and asked his forgiveness. (Bethel Redding children’s pastor Seth Dahl, /)
Jesus does not ask forgiveness because He is and always has been without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22). He does forgive our sins if we confess them (1 John 1:9) and are “in Christ” or when we first believe.
Charles Capps: “He [God] framed the world with His words. You can’t build without substance. He took words – faith-Filled words were God’s substance. Here, essentially, is what God did. God filled His words with faith. He used His words as containers to hold His faith and contain that spiritual force and transport it out there into the vast darkness by saying ‘Light be!’ That’s the way God transported His faith causing creation and transformation.” (Charles Capps, Dynamics of Faith & Confession (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1987), 28-29.
God did not create the world by having faith or by filling “His words with faith” as if faith is a substance. God did not use any “force of faith” to create the world. He did so by His Word (2 Pet 3:5), His power (Isa 20:46), and by His will (Rev 4:11).
Kenneth Copeland: “Heaven has a north and a south and an east and a west. Consequently, it must be a planet.” (“Spirit, Soul and Body I” (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries. 1985), audiotape #01-0601, side 1.
Heaven is actually the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2) not a planet. Planets inhabit the second heaven. There is the earth, heaven and third heaven. The Third heaven or Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:4) is outside of the universe of space and time.
Fred Price: “If you keep talking death, that is what you are going to have. If you keep talking sickness and disease, that is what you are going to have, because you are going to create the reality of them with your own mouth. That is a divine law.” (Fred Price, Realm, 29).
There is no such “divine law” stating we can kill ourselves or stop sickness and disease by what we say. This is all part of the “force of faith” “name it and claim it” “confession doctrine” of the New Thought, Word of Faith heresies.
John Kilpatrick: “You need to understand friends, your words are like containers. When they come up out of the innermost part of your belly, out of the heart, the mouth speaketh. As these things come out of your heart, they are spirits, by the time they come out of your mouth, that spirit is encapsulated in some little package and when you begin to speak this stuff out whether it is good or evil, it comes out in the way of little containers in your home and it goes out in your home and it begins to burst. As they burst life is either released or death is released. Blessings are released or cursings are released.” (Glory on Your House, John Kilpatrick)
Again, this is Word of Faith nonsense. Our words are containers that are spirits? Our words are our words and they cannot “release death.” God’s words are above all human words (Psalm 19:4, 138:2). Only Jesus hold the keys to death and Hades (Revelation 1:18).
Rory Alec: “This represents the fact that Jesus, when you partake of this, this represents that his blood has washed you clean of all sin. And therefore you are gods; you have been purchased by the blood of Jesus.” (The Christian Channel Europe “Good Morning Europe” Date Unknown)
The “you are gods” doctrine of Word of Faith is the original lie of Satan in the Garden. Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” There are no other gods but one God. Explicit statements: Ex. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kgs. 8:23; 1 Chr. 17:20; Psa. 86:8; Isa. 40:18, 25: 44:7; 46:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Micah 7:18. Being like God is a Satanic lie: Gen. 3:5; Isa. 14:14; John 8:44. Fallen man become “like God” only in that he took upon himself to know good and evil, not that he acquired godhood: Gen. 3:22. There is only one true God: 2 Chr. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20-21. All other “gods” are therefore false gods (idols), not gods at all: Deut. 32:21; 1 Sam. 12:21; Psa. 96:5; Isa. 37:19; 41:23-24, 29; Jer. 2:11; 5:7; 16:20; 1 Cor. 8:4; 10:19-20. A born again Christian is a child of God (John 1:12) and joins the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7) but is not Christ Himself, which would make the above Scriptures a lie.
Benny Hinn: “Now I am going to read one scripture and then I am going to preach and the Devil is going to drop dead.” (The Christian Channel Europe “Praise The Lord” (TBN) 22/2/98)
The Devil will never drop dead. He will ultimately be sent to hell along with the demons who followed him and all unbelievers (Revelation 20:10-15) where he will be tortured forever.
Paul Crouch: “He [God] doesn’t even draw a distinction between Himself and us. . . . You know what else that’s settled, then, tonight? This hue and cry and controversy that has been spawned by the Devil to try and bring dissension within the body of Christ that we are gods. I am a little god! . . . I have His name. I’m one with Him. I’m in covenant relation. I am a little god! Critics, be gone!” (“Praise the Lord” program on TBN [7 July 1986].)
See the above about being “little gods.” Also, apparently, Crouch thought (he has passed on and now knows the truth about what he said) that he was speaking for all Christians in saying we are all little gods. But he was not because he was a heretic.
John Avanzini: “John 19 tells us that Jesus wore designer clothes. Well, what else you gonna call it? Designer clothes–that’s blasphemy. No, that’s what we call them today. I mean, you didn’t get the stuff He wore off the rack. It wasn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. No, this was custom stuff. It was the kind of a garment that kings and rich merchants wore. Kings and rich merchants wore that garment.” (“Believer’s Voice of Victory” program on TBN [20 January 1991].)
Jesus never wore “designer clothes.” The Bible says he was poor and had nowhere to lay his head.
To continue reading this article by Sandy Simpson, click here.
The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson by John Lanagan
NEW BOOKLET: Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them
Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them by John Lanagan and the Editors at Lighthouse Trails is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklets. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them click here.
“Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them”
By John Lanagan and the Editors at Lighthouse Trails
I knew the Lord was calling me to experience Him in prayer in a brand new way.1—Priscilla Shirer
[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know, to the depths of the marrow in our bones, that He is God. There has got to be a stillness.2—Beth Moore
Contemplative prayer, which Priscilla Shirer refers to as her “brand new way” and Beth Moore says is essential in really knowing God, is in reality an ancient prayer practice that is essentially the same as New Age or Eastern meditation though disguised with Christian terminology. Those who participate and enter the contemplative silence, as it is called, open themselves to great deception.
Now, because of the success of the War Room movie, many fans are going to flock to the websites and materials of Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer. Those who buy Shirer’s book, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, will discover Shirer’s affinity with contemplative prayer. And those who buy the DVD Be Still or a book titled When Godly People Do Ungodly Things will learn of Moore’s contemplative prayer propensities.
Contemplative prayer is a primary factor to consider as we watch the visible church depart from sound doctrine more and more. It is promoted by such ministries as Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP), Bethel Church of Redding, California (Bill and Beni Johnson), Saddleback’s Rick Warren, author Kenneth Boa, and pastor and author Tim Keller to name just a few.
How was Priscilla Shirer introduced to this practice? She writes:
[A] friend sent me a book on silent prayer. The book explains how purposeful periods of silent prayer can help believers hear God’s voice. I was very drawn to the spiritual journey of the author, and I read the book twice. As my heart burned within me, I knew that the Lord was calling me to experience Him in prayer in a brand new way.3
Thus fascinated with this newly discovered concept, Shirer then read a Bible verse, which she perceived as a Word from the Lord: “As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut” (Ecclesiastes 5:1, NLT). She explains:
It confirmed the message of the book I had been so drawn to and what I sensed the Holy Spirit was leading me to do.4
She was further amazed to learn that some of the women from her church were going to participate in a “silent prayer retreat. Women would gather to spend 36 hours of silence in anticipation of hearing the voice of God.”5
She had read about this in the book on silent prayer, but now here were people actually talking about the same thing. Shirer seems to have taken all this as part of God’s plan.
Beth Moore and Her Contemplative Hero
In her book When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, in a section about “Unceasing Prayer,” Beth Moore states:
I have picked up on the terminology of Brother Lawrence [a Carmelite mystic], who called praying unceasingly practicing God’s presence. In fact, practicing God’s presence has been my number one goal for the last year.6
A head full of biblical knowledge without a heart passionately in love with Christ is terribly dangerous—a stronghold waiting to happen. The head is full, but the heart and soul are still unsatisfied.7
This language is very indicative of contemplatives and echoes Richard Foster who says we have become barren and dry within or Rick Warren who believes the church needs Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative prayer) to come to “full maturity.”8 However, this could lead one to think that the Word of God is little more than a philosophy or belief system and needs the help of contemplative prayer to be effective at all. The insinuation is that the Holy Spirit is dormant and ineffective without this vital stimuli. Contemplatives make a distinction between studying and pondering on the Word of God versus loving Him, suggesting that we cannot love Him or know Him simply by studying His Word or even through normal prayer—we must practice contemplative to accomplish this.
In Moore’s book, she makes frequent favorable references to contemplative pioneer Brennan Manning, stating that his contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel.”9 Yet Manning was a devout admirer of Beatrice Bruteau, founder of The School for Contemplation. Bruteau believes God is within every human being and wrote the book, What We Can Learn from the East. In an interview, she said:
We have realized ourselves as the Self that says only I AM, with no predicate following, not “I am a this” or “I have that quality.” Only unlimited, absolute “I AM.”10
In his book, Abba’s Child, Manning calls Bruteau a “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness.”11 Manning defines “contemplative consciousness” in the following statements:
Choose a single, sacred word or phrase that captures something of the flavor of your intimate relationship with God. A word such as Jesus, Abba, Peace, God or a phrase such as “Abba, I belong to you.” . . . Without moving your lips, repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often.12
When distractions come … simply return to listening to your sacred word…. [G]ently return [your mind] to your sacred word.13
[E]nter into the great silence of God. Alone in that silence, the noise within will subside and the Voice of Love will be heard.14
That “Voice of Love” is the voice heard when one enters the contemplative silence. Furthering Beth Moore’s great admiration for Manning, she quotes him from his book Ragamuffin Gospel calling the book “one of the most remarkable books”15 she has ever read. But it is this very book that reveals Manning’s true spiritual affinity. In the back of Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning makes reference to Catholic priest and mystic Basil Pennington saying that Pennington’s methods of prayer will provide us with “a way of praying that leads to a deep living relationship with God.”16 Pennington’s methods of prayer draw from Eastern religions. In his book, Finding Grace at the Center, Pennington says:
We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible. Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices.17
In Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning also cites Carl Jung as well as interspiritualists and contemplative mystics, Anthony De Mello, Marcus Borg (who denies the Virgin birth and Jesus being Son of God), Morton Kelsey, Gerald May, Henri Nouwen, Alan Jones (who denies the atonement), Eugene Peterson, and goddess worshipper Sue Monk Kidd. Most of these figures are panentheistic, and no discerning Bible teacher would ever point followers to them, either directly or indirectly! And yet, how many of Beth Moore followers have been introduced to the writings of these authors through her glowing recommendation of Brennan Manning and the Ragamuffin Gospel?
For Moore to call Manning’s book “remarkable” and to say his contribution to this generation of believers is “a gift without parallel” leads one to conclude that Beth Moore has been highly influenced by Manning’s spirituality.
The Be Still Film
In 2006, Fox Home Entertainment released a film titled Be Still. One person to whom they reached out to be in the film was Priscilla Shirer. According to Priscilla,
They were creating a program on contemplative prayer called Be Still. They asked me to be a part of this project that was designed to help Americans see the importance of spending time before God in stillness. I knew immediately that God wanted me to be a part of the project.18
And so she was, along with Beth Moore who played a vital role in the Be Still film as well. The producers and directors of the film explained the reason they made the film:
My husband and I wanted to find a way to introduce others in the modern church to this beautiful early church practice.19 (emphasis added)
This “early church practice” is referring to the Desert Fathers—ancient monks who had learned mystical prayer practices from those in other religions. In Be Still, Shirer states that nothing, not even a “great book,” could take the place of experiencing what she calls “the manifest presence of God.”20 If there is one main message in the Be Still DVD, it is: you cannot really know God if you do not practice the art of going into the contemplative silence.
Priscilla Shirer talks about her participation in the Be Still DVD on her website, where she describes contemplative prayer as seeing “God far more clearly than we can in the normal frantic rhythm of life.”21 Contemplatives teach that in the normal “rhythm,” we cannot have a real relationship with God, and in order to hear Him, we must “change frequencies.” Former Saddleback Church pastor and contemplative advocate Lance Witt explains:
The goal of solitude is not so much to unplug from my crazy world, as it is to change frequencies so that I can hear the Father. Richard Foster has said, “Solitude doesn’t give us the power to win the rat race, but to ignore it altogether.”22
To “change frequencies,” contemplative prayer is needed so that thoughts are blocked out. Brennan Manning states:
[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer.23
Then, once thoughts have been halted through practicing contemplative prayer, an altered state is reached where our minds go into a kind of neutral state, and then, they say, we can finally hear the voice of God.24
The silence the Be Still DVD refers to is a special state of mind, different than normal prayer, and the DVD introduces an array of meditators from a number of religious persuasions to tell viewers about this state of silence. Participants in the DVD are promoters of everything from guided imagery to breath prayers to interspirituality. This infomercial for contemplative prayer is a deceptive collection of dangerous commentaries, and there should be a warning label on the cover—NSFA—Not Safe For Anyone.25
Shortly after the DVD was released, Lighthouse Trails editors spoke with Beth Moore’s personal assistant who said Moore did not have a problem with Richard Foster or Dallas Willard’s teachings. To reiterate this, Moore’s ministry, Living Proof Ministries, issued a statement a few weeks after the release of the DVD that stated, “[W]e believe that once you view the Be Still video you will agree that there is no problem with its expression of Truth.”26 Living Proof offered to send a free copy of the DVD to anyone who received their e-mail statement and wished to view the DVD, saying that, “[I]t would be our privilege to do this for you to assure you that there is no problem with Beth’s participation in the Be Still video.”27 This statement was issued because several women contacted Moore’s ministry after reading the Lighthouse Trails report on the Be Still DVD.
In the Be Still DVD, Moore states: “[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.”28 When Moore says it is not possible to “truly know” He is God without “a stillness,” she is not talking about a quiet place to pray and spend time in God’s Word, but rather she is talking about a stillness of the mind—this is what contemplatives strive for—unless you practice this stillness of the mind, your relationship with the Lord is inadequate. According to Beth Moore, you don’t even know Him in the way you should.
Beth Moore and the Catholic Church
If you study the beliefs and history of contemplative prayer mystics, you will find that over time, they absorb interspiritual and panentheistic outlooks. This happened to Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning, for example. Proponents also begin to share an affinity with Catholicism, viewing it as a legitimate form of Christianity. That makes sense given that the mystical prayer practice came out of the Roman Catholic monasteries (via Thomas Merton, Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, etc). A case in point is when in 2014 Beth Moore shared with a large audience a “vision” she claimed was from God. In order to illustrate her vision to her audience, she had a number of women come up on stage, and she divided them into various “denominational” groups, one of which was a group of Catholic women. She said she saw a community of these different groups that was “the church as Jesus sees it.”29
Someone who has become a significant part of Beth Moore’s ministry is TV Christian host, James Robison. Moore is one of the regular speakers on his show and resonates with his work. In a May 2014 article, Robison wrote:
I believe in the importance of unity among those who know Christ, who profess to be “Christians.” . . . I believe there is an important spiritual awakening beginning in the hearts of those truly committed to Christ in the Protestant and Catholic communities. Is it possible that Pope Francis may prove to be an answer not only to the prayers of Catholics, but also those known as Protestants?30
The fact that Moore sees the Catholic Church as a legitimate denomination within the Body of Christ is evidence that she shares Robison’s views. Apparently, they both see Catholicism as a valid practice.
Priscilla Shirer—A Strange Practice with Contemplative Origins
In her book, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, Priscilla Shirer writes:
As I meditate upon a verse, I will often insert my name or a personal pronoun into it to make it more personal. If I’m reading and meditating on a Bible story, I will become the main character so that it’s not merely someone else’s experience with God, but my own. I often ask myself what God would have me do as a result of what I contemplated.31 (emphasis added)
So, it would not be Moses, but Priscilla and the Burning Bush? (Exodus 3:2-4)
Not Elisabeth, but Priscilla, Mother of John the Baptist? (Luke 1:13)
Not Eve, but Priscilla, wife of Adam? (Genesis 2)
The Bible is very clear about the importance of preserving the Word of God— not altering it, not adding to it, and not taking away from it.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)
One has to ask, where did Priscilla Shirer get this idea of inserting herself into God’s Word as Bible characters? It is very likely Shirer got this idea from contemplative teacher Jan Johnson. According to Priscilla Shirer:
Years ago, I got a chance to meet Jan Johnson. . . . I was encouraged and redirected in so many ways. As a young woman trying to navigate the ins and outs of my relationship with the Lord, Ms. Jan spoke wisdom into my life that was extremely pivotal in my life—personally and in ministry.32 (emphasis added)
Priscilla Shirer quotes Jan Johnson, an advocate of guided meditations, in her book Discerning the Voice of God.33 (Incidentally, Shirer also quotes Brother Lawrence, Dallas Willard, and other contemplatives in the book.)
On Jan Johnson’s website, it asks:
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be present in the Christmas story? How might you have felt if you were Zechariah or Elizabeth, Mary or Joseph? What if you had been an angel, a shepherd, or one of the wise men? In this online retreat featuring Jan Johnson’s Advent guide, you’ll be invited to become part of the events surrounding the birth of the Christ child. You’ll be invited to ‘taste and see’—to live inside the story for a while.34 (emphasis added)
People like Wycliffe and Tyndale died for the Word of God so that we could . . . pretend to replace saints and angels in Bible stories as if we were putting on clothes for a costume party? No, they did not. This practice doesn’t honor God or His Word.
Jan Johnson has an Ignatian background.35 Ignatius of Loyola was founder of the Jesuits and part of the Catholic church’s counter-reformation. To this day, the Jesuits make great efforts to win back the lost brethren to the Mother Church and are practitioners of contemplative prayer.36 According to one pro-Ignatian website:
Ignatian spirituality sees the same with the stories in the Bible. Our imagination can place ourselves in the boat with Jesus and his friends on the stormy sea. Or at the table at the Last Supper, listening in on the conversation, even participating. Ignatius says if we let our imagination free, not forcing it or “scripting” it, God can use it to show us something. I recall, in my own prayer, the vivid scene with Mary and Martha. I was one of their friends waiting for Jesus to arrive to raise from the dead our brother Lazarus. We spoke about Lazarus’ life and how much we missed him. But then our friend Jesus came along and brought him back to life. You should have seen the tears and embraces as the four of us rejoiced.37
When we read something like this, we cannot help but think of the admonition from Scripture: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
One writer describes Jan Johnson’s approach to meditating with Advent and Christmas stories: “Johnson invites readers to enter into the stories through a sort of neo-Ignatian approach she calls ‘participative meditation.’”38
There seems little doubt that Priscilla Shirer was influenced in more ways than one by Jan Johnson.
Not Safe For Anyone
Contemplative teachers will not advise believers to focus on a repetitive Eastern style mantra like “Ommm” (for example) but rather on a word or phrase like “Jesus” or “Abba Father” or a Scripture verse. In this way, the contemplative prayer appears “Christian” but nevertheless serves as entrance to the silence. Often, a practice called Lectio Divina is implemented. This is where words or phrases from Scripture or other books are repeated slowly to help get the focus off our thoughts and enter the contemplative silence.
The silence of contemplative prayer is rich ground for false visions, the voice of lying “christs,” and supernatural esoteric experiences. Author and research analyst Ray Yungen says that in contemplative prayer one can come into contact with familiar spirits because of the occult nature of contemplative, and in actuality, the silence found in contemplative prayer is a dangerous substitute for the Holy Spirit.
We realize that millions of women adore Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, and the notion that either woman would be tied in with an occultic-based New Age type mystical prayer movement would seem outlandish. But even one of the most widely read Christian magazines identifies Moore as a contemplative advocate in a 2010 Christianity Today cover story titled “First Came the Bible.”39
Some years ago, contemplative prayer defenders came up with a so-called answer to Christians who saw the connection between contemplative prayer and Eastern and New Age meditation. They said that New Age and Eastern practitioners strive to empty the mind whereas Christian contemplatives seek to fill the mind with God. But just because the intent may be different, the methods are the same, and the outcome is the same. One can be very well intentioned yet be very fully deceived.
We would like to say here that we have appreciated in the past the Kendrick brothers (producers of War Room) for their Christian, family-friendly films, Facing The Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous and found these to be inspiring contributions for the family. But we cannot say this about War Room because the movie is going to bring many women into the sphere of influence of Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore. At best, the use of these two women will send out a confusing message where a movie about prayer uses two major proponents of contemplative prayer to inspire its audience. We wish the Kendricks would have done their homework before making the decision to use two women who promote a dangerous mystical prayer practice in their movie about prayer.
It’s not likely that Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore see contemplative prayer as spiritually dangerous—nor will thousands, even potentially millions, of men and women who see War Room and subsequently buy Shirer or Moore’s books, or their Be Still DVD.
A Spiritual Awakening?
The Bible talks about a great falling away and multitudes being deceived prior to the Lord’s return. But Christian leaders today aren’t warning about that; rather, they are telling everyone that we are on the brink of a great spiritual awakening.
“Spiritual awakening” has become a “mantra” within evangelical Christianity. Terms like One, Awaken, Awake, Great Awakening, Spiritual Awakening, are being broadcasted throughout the church. While it is a good thing to desire true repentance and revival, how can leaders who embrace a mystical spirituality and who don’t understand spiritual deception (and are even participating in spiritual deception) help bring about true revival?
In 2013, Beth Moore spoke at James Robison’s Awake Now Conference and said that God showed her a great spiritual awakening is coming. Interestingly, Moore warned that audience of over 4000 people about those who would question this great awakening and “downpour”:
But we must be prepared in advance for scoffers. I will say that again. We must be prepared in advance for scoffers. And here’s the thing. The unbelieving world scoffing is not going to bother us that much. We’re used to them thinking that we are idiots. . . . That’s not what’s going to bother us so much. What’s going to bother us, and I believe that God is saying, “Get prepared for it so you know in advance it is coming” so when it does happen you’re not all disturbed and all rocked by it because it is going to come from some in our own Christian realm—our own brothers and sisters. We’re going to have people that are honestly going to want to debate and argue with us about awakening and downpours. What do you want here? They’re going to say, that’s not the way it should look.
You know what, dude? I’m just asking you, are you thirsty? Are you hungry? I can’t think of the way to the semantics to get it like you want it. But I will say to you, I’m just thirsty, and I’m hungry. But there will be scoffers, and they will be the far bigger threat, the one within our own brothers and sisters, our own family of God—far, far more demoralizing. And yes, it will come from bullies, and yes, it will come from the mean-spirited.40
As if giving a prophetic warning, Beth Moore is setting the stage to marginalize discerning Christians who would question this great “spiritual awakening.” In other words, no one should dare challenge the leaders of this coming spiritual awakening even though Scripture instructs us to be good Bereans and to test all things with the Word of God.
Beth Moore’s statement that Brennan Manning’s contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel” has serious implications. Beatrice Bruteau, whom Manning said is a “trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness,” wrote the foreword to a book called The Mystic Heart by New Ager Wayne Teasdale. That book actually lays out the groundwork that contemplative prayer will unite Christianity with all the world’s religions at a mystical level. The complete union of all the world’s religions cannot be accomplished without a form of mysticism (which removes all “doctrinal” barriers) within Christianity—and that form is contemplative prayer, the very thing that War Room’s two actresses promote.
Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. (Isaiah 2:6)
To order copies of Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them, click here.
1. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2007 edition), p. 39
2. Beth Moore, Be Still DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, April 2006), section: “Contemplative Prayer: The Divine Romance Between God and Man”
3. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God, op. cit.
6. Beth Moore, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), p. 109.
7. Ibid., p. 60.
8. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), p. 126-127.
9. Beth Moore, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, op. cit., pp. 72-73.
10. Beatrice Bruteau interview: The Song That Goes On Singing (http://integralpostmetaphysics.ning.com/forum/topics/beatrice-bruteau-the-song-that).
11. Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994), p. 180.
12. Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1996, Revised Edition), p. 218.
13. Ibid., p. 203.
14. Ibid., p. 200.
15. Beth Moore, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, op. cit., p. 290.
16. Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2000 Edition), p. 212.
17. M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, Thomas E. Clarke, Finding Grace at the Center (Petersham, MA: St. Bede’s Pub., 1978), pp. 5-6; cited from A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p.64 by Ray Yungen.
18. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God, op. cit.
19. Whitney Hopler, “‘Be Still’ Invites Viewers to Discover Contemplative Prayer” (Crosswalk.com, March 27, 2006, http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/be-still-invites-viewers-to-discover-contemplative-prayer-1386003.html?ps=0), citing Amy Reinhold, Producer and Director of Be Still DVD.
20. Priscilla Shirer, Be Still DVD, op, cit., section: “Alone With God.”
21. Priscilla Shirer’s website: http://www.goingbeyond.com/ministry/ministry-faqs.
22. Lance Witt, “Enjoying God’s Presence in Solitude” (Rick Warren’s original Pastors.com website: http://web.archive.org/web/20060510014820/www.pastors.com/RWMT/?id=59&artid=2043&expand=1).
23. Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus, op. cit., p. 212.
24. Ray Yungen introduced this idea in his book A Time of Departing, chapter 1, page 15: In explaining how the mind is put into a neutral state during contemplative prayer: “The meditation most of us are familiar with involves a deep, continuous thinking about something. But New Age meditation entails just the opposite. It involves ridding oneself of all thoughts in order to still the mind by putting it in the equivalent of pause or neutral. A comparison would be that of turning a fast-moving stream into a still pond. When meditation is employed, stopping the free flow of thinking, it holds back active thought and causes a shift in consciousness. This condition is not to be confused with daydreaming, where the mind dwells on a subject. Visit www.atimeofdeparting.com.
26. May 26, 2006 statement from Living Proof Ministries: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/bethmoorestatement.htm.
28. Beth Moore, Be Still DVD, op. cit.
29. Lighthouse Trails Editors, “Is Beth Moore’s ‘Spiritual Awakening’ Taking the Evangelical Church Toward Rome?” (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15914). You can watch the video clip of Moore at this event on this page.
30. James Robison, “Pope Francis on Life Today” (http://www.jamesrobison.net/pope-francis).
31. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God, op. cit., p. 39.
33. Ibid., pp. 145-46.
35. Jan Johnson, Education: BA, Christian education, Ozark Christian College; journalism courses, UCLA; spirituality courses, Azusa Pacific University; graduate, Academy for Spiritual Formation; Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola 30-day Retreat, 2006; D.Min. Graduate Theological Foundation (Ignatian Spirituality & Spiritual Direction), 2006.
36. Read Roger Oakland’s article, “The Jesuit Agenda” to understand more about the Jesuits (see www.lighthousetrails.com under booklet tracts).
39. Halee Gray Scott, “First Came the Bible” (Christianity Today, August 2010, Vol. 54, No. 8, Pg 27, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/august/19.27.html).
40. You can view this at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4CYqHhCwsE.
To order copies of Beth Moore & Priscilla Shirer – Their History of Contemplative Prayer and Why War Room Should Not Have Used Them, click here.
Appendix (included in the booklet)
The Nature Behind Contemplative Spirituality
By Ray Yungen
Many Christians might have great difficulty accepting the assessment that what is termed Christian mysticism is, in truth, not Christian at all. They might feel this rejection is spawned by a heresy-hunting mentality that completely ignores the love and devotion to God that also accompanies the mystical life. To those who are skeptical, I suggest examining the writings of Philip St. Romain, who wrote a book about his journey into contemplative prayer called Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality. This title is revealing because kundalini is a Hindu term for the mystical power or force that underlies Hindu spirituality. In Hinduism, it is commonly referred to as the serpent power.
St. Romain, a substance abuse counselor and devout Catholic lay minister, began his journey while practicing contemplative prayer or resting in the still point, as he called it. What happened to him following this practice should bear the utmost scrutiny from the evangelical community—especially from its leadership. The future course of evangelical Christianity rests on whether St. Romain’s path is just a fluke or if it is the norm for contemplative spirituality.
Having rejected mental prayer as “unproductive,”1 he embraced the prayer form that switches off the mind, creating what he described as a mental passivity. What he encountered next underscores my concern with sobering clarity:
Then came the lights! The gold swirls that I had noted on occasion began to intensify, forming themselves into patterns that both intrigued and captivated me . . . There were always four or five of these; as soon as one would fade, another would appear, even brighter and more intense . . . They came through complete passivity and only after I had been in the silence for a while. 2 (emphasis mine)
After this, St. Romain began to sense “wise sayings” coming into his mind and felt he was “receiving messages from another.”3 He also had physical developments occur during his periods in the silence. He would feel “prickly sensations” on the top of his head and at times it would “fizzle with energy.”4 This sensation would go on for days. The culmination of St. Romain’s mystical excursion was predictable—when you do Christian yoga or Christian Zen you end up with Christian samadhi as did he. He proclaimed:
No longer is there any sense of alienation, for the Ground that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation. It seems that the mystics of all the world’s religions know something of this.5
St. Romain, logically, passed on to the next stage with:
[T]he significance of this work, perhaps, lies in its potential to contribute to the dialogue between Christianity and Eastern forms of mysticism such as are promoted in what is called New Age spirituality.6
Many people believe St. Romain is a devout Christian. He claims he loves Jesus, believes in salvation, and is a member in good standing within his church. What changed though were his sensibilities. He says:
I cannot make any decisions for myself without the approbation of the inner adviser, whose voice speaks so clearly in times of need . . . there is a distinct sense of an inner eye of some kind “seeing” with my two sense eyes.7
St. Romain would probably be astounded that somebody would question his claims to finding truth because of the positive nature of his mysticism. But is this “inner adviser” with whom St. Romain has connected really God? This is a fair question to ask especially when this prayer method has now spread within a broad spectrum of Christianity.
St. Romain makes one observation in his book that I take very seriously. Like his secular practical mystic brethren, he has a strong sense of mission and destiny. He predicts:
Could it be that those who make the journey to the True Self are, in some ways, demonstrating what lies in store for the entire race? What a magnificent world that would be—for the majority of people to be living out of the True Self state. Such a world cannot come, however, unless hundreds of thousands of people experience the regression of the Ego in the service of transcendence [meditation], and then restructure the culture to accommodate similar growth for millions of others. I believe we are only now beginning to recognize this task.8
A book titled Metaphysical Primer: A Guide to Understanding Metaphysics outlines the basic laws and principles of the New Age movement. First and foremost is the following principle:
You are one with the Deity, as is all of humanity . . . Everything is one with everything else. All that is on Earth is an expression of the One Deity and is permeated with Its energies.9
St. Romain’s statement was, “[T]he Ground [God] that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation.”10 The two views are identical!
St. Romain came to this view through standard contemplative prayer, not Zen, not yoga but a Christian form of these practices.
Without the mystical connection, there can be no oneness. The second always follows the first. Here lies the heart of occultism.
There is a profound and imminent danger taking place within the walls of Christianity. Doctrine has become less important than feeling, and this has led to a mystical paradigm shift. People who promote a presumably godly form of spirituality can indeed come against the truth of Christ.
How could this mystical revolution have come about? How could this perspective have become so widespread? The answer is that over the last thirty or forty years a number of authors have struck a deep chord with millions of readers and seekers within Christianity. These writers have presented and promoted the contemplative view to the extent that many now see it as the only way to “go deeper” in the Christian life. They are the ones who prompt men and women to plunge into contemplative practice. It is their message that leads people to experience the “lights” and the “inner adviser!”
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1. Philip St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1995), p. 24.
2. Ibid., pp. 20-21.
3. Ibid., pp. 22-23.
4. Ibid., pp. 28-29.
5. Ibid., p. 107.
6. Ibid., pp. 48-49.
7. Ibid., p. 39.
8. Ibid., pp. 75-76.
9. Deborah Hughes and Jane Robertson-Boudreaux, Metaphysical Primer: A Guide to Understanding Metaphysics (Estes Park, CO: Metagnosis Pub., 1991), p. 27.
10. St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, op. cit., p. 107.