Posts Tagged ‘bill johnson’

Guest Commentary: The Unholy “Holy Ghost Fire” of Todd White and the NAR

By Tony Baugh

The Bible is clear that in the last days, just before Jesus returns, there will be false prophets, deceiving through false signs and lying wonders. There is no greater present-day evidence of this than the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation). The Ground Zero of the NAR is Bethel Church in Redding, California, with whom Todd White is strongly affiliated. White speaks at their conferences and is very tight with Bethel Church’s commander-in-chief and senior pastor, Bill Johnson, whose “School of Supernatural Ministry” offers courses on doing precisely what Todd White does, as well as “teach” people to be ordained as “Prophets” and “Apostles” (if you are willing to pay their hefty tuition). Upon completion of the courses, Bill Johnson himself “Knights” graduates.

Bethel (and the NAR at large) inducts youth through the emotionalism of repetitive, hypnotic “worship” music, which has since morphed into the “Jesus Culture Movement,” a rapidly rising youth movement spreading the NAR agenda like wildfire across the globe. Some of the techniques used are: Getting kids “high” on the music, telling them it’s the Holy Ghost moving, running the kids in lines through “fire tunnels” during intermission, laying hands on them and imparting the Kundalini Serpent Spirit . . . where they often fall down, twitch, convulse, oftentimes as if burning in agony, all in the name of “Jesus,” calling it “Holy Ghost Fire,” yelling commands to the Holy Ghost such as, “MORE! MORE! MORE LORD!!! . . . DOUBLE IT!! DOUBLE IT!!”, etc.

Todd White

This is precisely what Todd White does, always “calling down fire” in the name of “Jesus,” which is also precisely what we are warned will be one of the great deceptions of the Beast . . . calling down fire from heaven . . . aka: false signs and lying wonders (Revelation 13:13). Jesus Himself said it would be a deception so powerful, that if it were possible, it would deceive even the very elect.

In Bethel’s best-selling book (co-authored by Bill Johnson), The Physics of Heaven (sold in their campus bookstore alongside a plethora of Jesus Culture CDs and a multitude of NAR authors), it states that Christians are “’taking back truths’ from the New Age that really belong to citizens of the Kingdom of God. (Kindle Locations 407-408).

One of the Bethel’s own “prophets” trained by their Supernatural School unknowingly prophesied to a real practicing witch, telling her “[God] is pleased with you!” and “implored [her] to keep doing what [she] was doing.” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2015/07/born-again-witch-witches-at-a-pentecostal-church-healings-and-prophecies/)

There are multiple videos and photos evidencing Bethel students on campus field trips, who take classes on “Grave Soaking/Sucking, as well as the Johnsons (Bill and wife Benny) traveling to grave sites to “suck” or “soak” the anointing of the dead from faith healers like William Branham, the very godfather of the NAR, whom they worship like a god and who has multiple, easily verifiable, failed, false prophesies. This practice is an act the Word of God calls “Necromancy” (contacting the dead), condemning it as an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 18:11).

Todd White Receives Kundalini “Annointing” From Benny Hinn

Another stunning fact is that Todd White received his Kundalini “anointing” from Benny Hinn. When Hinn laid hands on Todd White, Todd fell back, and Hinn repeatedly and creepily told him he was going to be part of a “great youth movement.” This is verifiable on video.

What Christians may find difficult to believe is that Satan himself can indeed heal in the name of “Jesus,” but it’s “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). To verify this, Johanna Michaelsen’s book or video testimony The Beautiful Side of Evil, is highly recommended. Her books was the catalyst that delivered author/speaker Warren B. Smith out of the New Age. Both he and Michaelsen are early pioneers of exposing New Age mysticism’s creeping into modern Christianity, largely and sadly unaware by most.

As an ex-New Ager myself, I can attest that psychics, Yogi’s, Reiki masters, and witches employ the exact same techniques as the NAR, by tapping into the demonic realm of unclean spirits, who supply very personal, intimate information (such as certain ailments or sickness they may have) about the indviduals they approach (sort of like an invisible phone line direct to the demonic spirit realm. These “mediums” also employ flattery, telling people how “amazing” they are and how much “Jesus love them.”  This immediately impresses the recipients, who the mediums then asks if they can lay hands on them to heal them through the power of the “Holy Ghost,” while doing it in the name of “Jesus” (another “Jesus” . . . aka Satan). The recipients often feel “heat” or “electricity” (common sensations associated with the New Age practice of Reiki). The recipient are told it is “Holy Ghost Fire” and that they just felt the power or even just received the Holy Ghost. Generally, not one word about sin, repentance, or even the Gospel is used.

Jesus Christ said in the end times, many false prophets would come as wolves in sheep’s clothing and that we would know them by their fruits. And the greatest evidence of these falsehoods is that there is always “another Gospel” preached, void of the vital messages that save souls, which Jesus Christ Himself preached: repentance from sin, judgment, hell, fear of God vs. the NAR “Holy Ghost” which is all about an obsession with healing via “signs and wonders,” power, seducing people through the emotionalism of music and the flattery of telling people how amazing they are with no conviction of sin and no contriteness or brokenness of spirit before a holy God, even though Jesus told us the ministry of the Holy Spirit of truth is to “reprove [convict] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8), a message absent from these mouths of these “faith healers.'”

A false prophet is not always known by what he does preach but often by what he doesn’t preach.

There is “another Gospel,” “another Spirt,” and “another Jesus.” In the warning of the Bible, it describing precisely the “Jesus” being promoted by Todd White and the rest of the NAR.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.—Matthew 7:22-23

The most horrifying words in the entire universe:

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. —Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:24

Used and edited with permission.

Related Information:

The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson

Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings

Ten Word of Faith Doctrines Weighed Against Scripture

 

SOZO – Climbing Up Another Way – Is There A Spiritual Ladder to the Lap of “Father God”?

LTRP Note: Today, a caller asked us if we had any information on SOZO. While we have had inquiries about SOZO in the past, we have never posted anything about it. Below is an article from The Berean Call discussing the origins and nature of SOZO. If you know someone who is getting involved with this, please pass this article on to them.

“Climbing Up Another Way – Is There A Spiritual Ladder to the Lap of ‘Father God’?”

By Mark Dinsmore (The Berean Call)

History and Structure of Sozo

“SOZO” is a psycho-spiritual deliverance and inner healing methodology birthed out of Bethel Church in Redding, California. But though the Bethel Sozo website banner says, “[A] Ministry of Bethel Church,” the FAQ section disclaims, “The Sozo staff are independent contractors and are not Bethel Church Staff.” Apparently for legal reasons, no one wants to call this “counseling” or “therapy.” Rather, they simply call it “healing prayer” (and yet, they strongly recommend a suggested donation for receiving “prayer” for which recipients (“Sozoees”) must first sign a waiver.

For background, it is interesting to note that Bethel was once an Assemblies of God (AG) church, and Bill Johnson was an AG pastor; but he led his flock out of AG in 2006 to jump into the NAR/River Revival movement. Johnson is now a self-appointed “apostle,” and his church is now a part of his own “Revival Alliance” network, co-founded with Che Ahn (Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena, CA) and John Arnott (Catch the Fire Toronto; formerly Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship; formerly Toronto Airport Vineyard Church).

Although Sozo got its start at Bethel, other Sozo groups have spun off, such as The Freedom Resource (TFR). Headed by author and executive director Andy Reese, TFR publishes its own manuals and presentations on how to use Sozo. According to TFR’s website, no one individual “owns” or controls the copyright for Sozo concepts and “tools” used in the program: “This particular style or format for ministry has evolved (and continues to evolve) from roots in the Argentine revivals, the understanding and writings of various practitioners of inner healing and deliverance, and from the experience of several churches and individuals including Randy Clark’s ministry and Bethel Church in Redding, California. It is changing and growing as we all learn, grow, and share experiences and tools with each other.” [Note: TFR just announced brand differentiation from Bethel Sozo and will now practice under “Freedom Prayer.”] Click here to continue reading.

 

A Berean Call Interview: Is the Bethel School of Ministry Supernatural? with Rod Page, part 1

Letter to the Editor: Bethel’s Attempt to Make “Same Old” Teachings Sound More “Mainstream”

To Lighthouse Trails Editors:

Bill Johnson of Bethel Church; Photo credit: Christianity Today | http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/may/cover-story-inside-popular-controversial-bethel-church.html

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

Sincerely,

Concerned Believer

 

Pictures Say a “Million” Words About Bethel – “As Above, So Below”

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,

RA

Bethels prayer house with pyramid

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/19679779.jpg

prayer house at night.  pyramid glows red

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/27178584.jpg

inside prayer house- directly under the pyramid

https://emeraldscribe21.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/2014-01-11-14-58-22.jpg

(Used in accordance of the U.S. Fair Use Act for the purposes of review, critique, and education)

bethel-prayer-room-3 bethel-prayer-room-2 bethel-prayer-room-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 For more information about Bethel Church, please review the following:

BOOKLET: The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson

BOOKLET: Ten Word of Faith Doctrines Weighed Against Scripture

The Physics of Heaven by Larry DeBruyn

NEW BOOKLET: Beware of Bethel: A Brief Summary of Bill Johnson’s Unbiblical Teachings

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

BKT-BR-BJ-2What 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.”

II. Incarnation

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:

False prophecy

Visualization

“Fire tunnels”

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.)

Endnotes
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.
4. Ibid.
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.
6. http://gospelliving.blogspot.com/2013/04/why-jesus-culture-bethel-church-and_15.html.
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.

Letter to the Editor: Alone and Dismayed By Condition of Churches in a Midwest Town

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.

Church on the prairie landscape during sunset

Midwestern church – from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission

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.

M.D.

 


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