Posts Tagged ‘redding’

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

 

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

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: Trying to Warn Our Grown Children . . . And Letter to Our Pastor Goes Unanswered

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

We are very thankful for Lighthouse Trails Publishing and Research, and for all the dedicated watchmen who warn and educate the sheep. We pray for continued wisdom, provision, and protection for everyone who is engaged in presenting and defending the simple and powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are especially concerned because our talented, zealous adult children are, to some degree or another, caught up in following Bethel and Hillsong worship and practices. So far as I know, none are practicing ‘contemplative’ prayer, but other occult practices are subtly mixed in with their schools of worship and ‘supernatural’ ministries. We prepared a notebook for each of our children and their spouses where we downloaded and printed Warren Smith’s Reinventing Jesus Christ (now titled False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?) back in late 2006 or early 2007 – probably just before we discovered Lighthouse Trails. I think they mostly stuck the notebooks under the bed or somewhere obscure.

Since that time, some of them have expressed disappointment in us for backing off of all things Vineyard, hyper-charismatic, and the whole signs & wonders and healing ministries movements. So, we have the privilege of standing in the gap and praying God will reveal the Truth to them and expose all the error they are so vulnerable to. My husband says we really can’t bring up these topics with them anymore, that we need to wait until they ask us what we think or believe because they already know. We find that we aren’t comfortable going to their churches anymore.

At one of their churches, one big event featured a couple from Bethel (Redding) leadership – and Heidi Baker – ‘ministering.’ We watched some of it online . . . very distressing.

We actually have left our own Calvary Chapel fellowship this past year. They’re still teaching the Word, chapter and verse, but are not willing to address apostasy issues. My husband wrote a letter to the pastor after Jesus Calling showed up in the bookstore – even some of the men in their Bible study were bringing it along and quoting it. No response, not even an acknowledgment of his letter was ever offered. The book disappeared from the bookstore, but they never addressed it from the podium, nor did they ever stock any books by discernment authors.

We have been blessed to be able to attend discernment conferences with Roger Oakland and Warren Smith speaking, as well as some local CC pastors who are good under-shepherds. We have gotten to meet and speak with them, as well as with Caryl Matriciana and Randolph and Johanna Michaelson. What is surprising to me is that these types of conferences don’t seem to attract the thousands of Bible believers I thought would be lined up to participate, up in arms about false teaching and wolves in sheep’s clothing as are we, like-minded.

May God give you good health and continue to provide for you and protect you as you continue to fight the good fight!

Yours warmly in Christ,

Mrs. S.

Letter to the Editors: Why Aren’t People Seeing What We See?

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.

K. __

Related Information:

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

BOOKLET: “I JUST HAD A VISION!”

BOOKLET: The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to the Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators

 

 

An Insider’s View of the 2015 Jesus Culture Conference Themed: “One Encounter Changes Everything”

JCSac2015_04By L. Sharp

Lines were wrapped around the ARC Pavilion, which holds a maximum capacity of about 8,000. There were banners with the UC Davis theme: ONE DAVIS, ONE WORLD. The conference was sold out. 10 nations (aside from the U.S.) were represented. There was much emotional excitement in the air as people were waiting with great anticipation to get into the “Jesus Culture” event. About one third of the attendees were 30-40 years of age. The rest were mostly 20 or younger.

Attendees were also given a conference program. The front page said: “ONE ENCOUNTER CHANGES EVERYTHING” and had an intro section written by director of Jesus Culture, Banning Liebscher (former youth pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, CA).

The intro read:

Throughout history there have been momentous gatherings where the people of God came together to seek His Presence, to see Him show up in power and in love. One thing we know: when God shows up everything changes.

In Acts 9, the Apostle Paul has such an encounter on the road to Damascus, God shows up and surrounds Paul in His light, changing his life and forever making history.

We are believing God to come again like that in these next 2 days. We are believing for such an encounter for you. For your friends. For your family. For Sacramento. We have invited some of the most significant church leaders, speakers, and worship leaders to come to Jesus Culture Conference Sacramento.

Our prayer is that everyone would meet God, encounter His love, and live forever changed. That they would in turn live a life to see their city and region transformed through God’s love and power. This is what will bring revival. This is what we are burning for.

JCSac2015_05The major themes of “burning hearts for Jesus,” “awakening,” “glory,” “burning with passion,” “burning fire,” “revival,” “one voice,” etc. were prevalent throughout the songs of the conference.

Jesus Culture is a “Christian” worship band that began as a younger generation offshoot of Bethel Church’s worship ministry.  It has only been in recent years that the Jesus Culture band has exploded in popularity around the world. Though based in Sacramento, the Jesus Culture band tours the world regularly and draws crowds in the tens of thousands, filling arenas around the world. The Jesus Culture band has also recorded many albums and continues to grow exponentially in popularity worldwide. The Jesus Culture Facebook page has over 2 million followers!

JCSac2015_11Their main draw is their talented young musicians who all grew up in Redding’s Bethel Church spiritual environment, so for them, everything about God is always experienced through the senses. This is seen through the full-on sensory musical experiences provided during each Jesus Culture performance. Also, on occasion, the band leaders may “prophesy,” “declare,” etc. to this young generation and may lead the attendees into “deeper levels of ‘intimacy’ with God” through their musical-leading techniques.

The Jesus Culture band is drawing young people in the California area away from their conservative Bible-teaching churches. They are doing this (as evidenced by their 2015 Sacramento conference) by creating a mentality that “Jesus Culture” is spiritual, experiential, passionate for Jesus, and any conservative Bible-teaching church and its music is “religious,” “unspiritual,” “dead,” and “lacking passion for Jesus.” In September 2014, Banning Liebscher started a Jesus Culture church plant in Sacramento.

Liebscher kicked off the conference with this theme, which permeated the entire conference:

Jesus Culture is all about raising up revivalists, leaders, catalysts . . . In these next 27 hours, God is going to mark things. We believe ONE ENCOUNTER with God will change your lives. I believe God is raising up a generation who is willing to lay themselves down, to exalt Jesus. In the next 27 hours, we are praying that you would be marked, that in 10, 20, 40 years, you would still be marked by what God will do in the next 27 hours. We believe tonight we are here for God, and we are here for God to mark us with His Presence.

The music, combined with flashing colored streamed lights, white blinding lights, and synthesizers brought attendees to a heightened musical-sensory, near mind-altering state. Fog lights were used on occasion to try and create the “sense” of God’s presence in a visual “glory cloud.” There were also rotating circular white or colored lights shone on the walls during some songs (like the hippie days of psychedelic experiences).

The 8,000 attendees embraced it all: lifted up their hands, swayed their bodies to the music, jumped up and down, sang, shouted, and willingly entered into an almost trance-like state at times.

At the end of the first night’s music time, Banning Liebscher concluded with this:

I remember being baptized at age 5. At 17, I encountered Jesus. Everything changed. I met Jesus. I got introduced to revival, where the Holy Spirit gets poured out . . . You will never do this (bring revival) without ENCOUNTERING THIS BURNING, PASSIONATE LOVE for Him. This is not birthed out of obligation or a sense of duty. WE NEED TO HAVE ENCOUNTERED GOD, who passionately loves us, and in response to that revelation, we surrender! I believe we will see revival in cities, in this nation, in the nations! The same spirit that possessed the Reformers, Moravians, and other revivalists will possess you. Lord, I pray You would possess them.

The speakers for the 2 days conference included:

1) JOHN GRAY: according to his own website (www.johngrayworld.com), he currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas under the leadership of pastor Joel Osteen. In September 2000, while youth pastoring in New, John felt he had found the call of God on his life: to impact youth and young adults with the Word of God through music, comedy, and preaching—all at the same time. John’s talk in a nutshell had 2 main points:

1) John claimed in Matthew 24, ” Jesus said there would be these things (earthquakes, famines, etc.), but before it all goes down, a generation will rise with passion and purpose!”

2) John then went on to “teach” on Mark 2:1-10 (the narrative of the paralytic, whose friends brought him in through the roof, for Jesus to heal him). According to John Gray, the friends of the paralytic were the “they” in the paralytic’s life, because they brought him to Jesus and supported him until he got his healing. The “religious” people who hindered him from coming to Jesus were the “them” in his life. John then said: “You need to identify who the “they” people are in your life, who will bring you to Jesus. Banning, and those in Jesus Culture are my “they.” I need people who can bring me to Jesus. Think about the people in your life . . . Who are the “they” who bring you Jesus? Who are the “them” who prevent/hinder you from coming to Jesus? . . .The “they” are relational and loving. The “them” are religious and judgmental. . . .There is power in having the “they.” There is power in community.”

2) SAM RODRIGUEZ: He is leader of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference representing more than 40,000 churches. He also pastors New Life Christian Worship Center locally in Sacramento. He was announced at the conference as the new Hispanic pastor at the Jesus Culture church plant in Sacramento. In December of 2014, Sam was flown to Washington D.C. to consult with President Obama to discuss Obama’s immigration reform strategy. Rodriguez is also a member of ICAL (International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders) and also part of the NAR [New Apostolic] movement.1 His wife Eva Rodriguez and Sam’s sister were part of Roma Downey’s “Women of the Bible” television 2-hour event in December 2014.

JCSac2015_17 Sam began with this: “Gideon, in Judges 6, went in one chapter, from failure, to surviving, to thriving! He emerged as leader of his people . . . I believe this generation will have an ENCOUNTER WITH GOD. Not known for failure, this generation will be known for its cry for His glory. We are in one of these 3 states:

 1) Failure (in Egypt)

2) Surviving (in the desert)

3) Thriving (in the promise)

Sam continued with:

Everyone occupies one of these 3 spaces. Repeat after me: Failure, survive, thrive. Everyone has to go through a process. The idea is not to get stuck. Prophetically I declare that your season of failure is over! You must be defined by the heaven you are headed to, not your past failure. . . .When Gideon in Judges 6 is hiding at the threshing floor, Heaven shows up and says: ‘You are a mighty warrior.’ When you have a legitimate encounter with God, you understand your true identity.

AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD REVEALS YOUR TRUE IDENTITY . . .JCSac2015_12

You are defined by God’s spirit inside of you. Raise your hands and say: “I AM that I AM” says that “I am . . .” ( “I am a mighty warrior, I am a chosen generation, etc. . . .”)

The crowd was starting to get louder and more excited as they cheered loudly . . .

Sam then shared a 2006 testimony of the healing and conversion of an 80-year-old Muslim cleric in Pakistan. Sam said, “In the Bush administration, I was invited to speak in Pakistan to a gathering of about 17,000 people.”

Sam then shared the dramatic testimony of this Muslim cleric’s healing of blindness and resultant conversion, and Sam concluded with: “AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD CHANGES YOU!” Sam had the attendees repeat in a mantra-like fashion: “If you know who you are, and what you have, nothing is impossible . . . If you know who you are, and what you have, nothing is impossible . . .” He then pointed to the guy on stage with an axe, getting ready to cut down a wooden pole. Sam explained the wooden pole represents (for the attendees) the Asherah pole in the Judges 6 narrative of Gideon. That Asherah pole reminded Gideon of his past failures. Sam went on to say: “Gideon had an encounter with God, and he learned: 1) Who he was (a mighty warrior) 2) What he had (God’s strength and favor) 3) His purpose (defeat the Midianites) 4) He realized he had to cut down reminders of what the Enemy had built in his life, and use that wooden debris, to fuel the fire that would propel him forward into his destiny of thriving! Sam dramatically set up the guy with axe with this: “So goes the Asherah pole, so goes Sacramento . . . So goes Sacramento, so goes California . . . So goes California, so goes America . . . So goes America, so goes the world!! Here comes your breakthrough!!”

Right then, the guy on stage used his axe and started cutting down the Asherah (wooden) pole. It took about 5 seconds, and then there was loud cheering and a huge uproar from the crowd of 8,000! This was meant to be a “prophetic” act, similar to when the Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah were told by God to do certain acts as prophetic symbols of real future events (e.g. pointing to the future invasion by Babylon, destruction of Jerusalem, etc.)

Sam then said, “I have declared your season of failure is over. We will thrive! No more failures.” Then, the “failure” sign on stage was torn. Then the “survive” sign on stage was torn. On stage, the attendees saw visually a threshed wooden pole with its remnants scattered on stage and one solitary sign remaining: “THRIVE.”

“Your failure season is over. Jesus Culture, get ready to thrive!!” And, with this, great shouts and loud uproars from the crowd ensued. Sam then told the attendees to pray: “Jesus define me. It is You in me. We will build shalom. We will cut down the Asherah pole. We will change the world!”

3) BANNING LIEBSCHER

Scott Thompson (who had spoken earlier in the day and runs Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry in Atlanta, GA), spoke quite a bit before Liebscher got up to speak. Here is some of what Scott had to say:

God loves your city, your state, your nation. He wants to bring heaven to earth. He wants fire to fall from heaven. Put a hand on your heart. Let’s pray a dangerous prayer together: “Jesus, here I am. Point heaven into my life. Show off through me, that people would look at my life and glory in my Father. Send me back as a pillar of fire, a fire in my eyes, a fire in my bones, a fire in my belly, that can’t be controlled by my surroundings . . . Jesus, make Your name famous through me . . . We thank You Lord that 2015 is the year heaven is seen on earth.”

Banning Liebscher started the final talk of the conference.  Liebscher highlighted four things that needed to be “accessed” with regards to the Holy Spirit in order to experience revival:

 1) We need to access the Holy Spirit as the seal of our salvation or as the promise of our salvation

2) We need to access the Holy Spirit as the One who takes, guides, and leads us into experiencing the deeper things of God.

3) We need to access the Holy Spirit’s empowerment that enables us to become like Jesus.

4) We need to access the Holy Spirit’s empowerment that enables us to do the works of Jesus.

He continued with: “You have to access and activate all four of these attributes of the Holy Spirit. God calls us to impossible things, but He doesn’t leave us alone. He gives us the Holy Spirit to enable us to do the impossible. For 20 years I’ve been calling a generation to revival, but we need the Holy Spirit to enable us to become revivalists!”

After a brief alter call, the conference ended. God’s mercy was seen that last night with a good number (several hundred) leaving the conference even before the final talk ended and a larger number leaving even before the final altar call started. Out of the 8,000 attendees, perhaps God will rescue some. One thing is for sure, Jesus Culture is not going away anytime soon, and the band and its conferences are attracting more and more Christian young people around the world . . . Over 2.1 million Facebook followers and growing!

Endnote:

  1. http://apprising.org/2014/05/30/rick-warren-and-nars-samuel-rodriguez-headline-erlc-at-the-sbc

Related Material:

 The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson

FALSE REVIVAL COMING?—Part 1: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?

Multi-Sensory Worship: Prayer Stations, Icons, Incense, and Candles

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Chironna’s New Age/Quantum Mysticism at Bethel Redding Conference

By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries

“Will faith in God’s Word become a thing of the past as ‘science’ replaces faith? A growing number of church figures have directly or indirectly introduced quantum physics with its New Age implications into their teachings and writings.” –Warren B. Smith, Another Jesus Calling, pg. 103

In 2012 the book, The Physics of Heaven, was released. Shocking in its enthusiasm for quantum physics/quantum mysticism, and in its lack of discernment about New Age practices, the book has the approval and participation of Bethel Church of Redding’s movers and shakers. Bethel leader Bill Johnson contributed a chapter to the book, as did his wife, Beni Johnson. The Physics of Heaven is co-authored by Judy Franklin, Bill Johnson’s personal assistant. The foreword is written by Kris Vallotton, Senior Associate Leader at Bethel.

As disturbing as The Physics of Heaven is, at least the book serves as a warning that Bill Johnson and Bethel (and others) are heading toward a New Age/quantum mysticism understanding of God. [1]

Before we get to Mark Chironna and the quantum heresy he spewed out during a Bethel conference–with the full approval of Bill Johnson–let us briefly define terms.

The New Age: What does the New Age believe? According to Ray Yungen, “Everything that exists, seen or unseen, is made up of energy—tiny particles of vibrating energy, atoms, molecules, protons, etc. All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this ‘God-energy,’ then we, too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself.” [2]

Quantum spirituality or quantum mysticism: This is a spiritual interpretation of quantum physics. It is favored by the New Age because it seems to demonstrate that everything is interconnected at an unseen, sub-atomic level. Thus, New Agers use it as “proof” we are all One.

All is One? Everything is connected?

Warren B. Smith notes the New Age “is already heralding quantum physics as a ‘scientific’ basis that God is not only transcendent but also immanent–‘in’ everyone and everything.” [3]

But God is not “in” everyone. Mankind is not One with God. We know this from the Scriptures.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:9)

The only people with God in them are those who know the biblical Christ as Lord and Savior–those who have been born again. In terms of the universe, earth, and nature, God is as separate from His creation as He is from unredeemed mankind. To research this theological battleground further, click here.

Through The Physics of Heaven, and the quantum teaching of Mark Chironna at the Bethel conference, Bill Johnson has furthered the assault on the biblical understanding of God.

The teaching given by Mark Chironna at Bethel Church in Redding California during the 2012 Piercing The Darkness Prophetic Conference was titled, “If it wants to happen, it needs to be spoken.” Chironna promoted quantum principles not only as proof that we are all connected, but also to further his speak-it-into-existence Word of Faith heresy.

At one point Chironna states, “How did that water turn into wine? Jesus talked it into existence.” Does the Bible state this? No.

You can hear the whole thing right here: Fighting For The Faith Start listening in the second hour of the show, at approximately 63 minutes and 15 seconds. Host Chris Rosebrough offered much correction, acknowledging that it was like herding heretical cats–so much heresy scattering in all directions.

Apparently relying on the scholarship of a now deceased Anglican, Chironna made a number of references to the New Age, telling his audience Christians were the only ones who could truly call themselves New Agers. (70 minute mark to 70 minutes and 45 seconds)

According to Chironna:

[He has Jesus saying] “New Age of the Spirit.” (86 minutes 47 seconds)

The woman at the well “has received an impartation which has put her into the New Age.” (85 minutes 34 seconds)

Why all these New Age references? This is a demonic desensitization, pure and simple. Bethel is being prepared for quantum mysticism and New Age practices. This is not ultimately about Chironna, but the forces in Ephesians 6:12.

That being said, consider how New Age-esque Chironna continues to sound here:

98:55: “This leap into the Age of the Spirit is marked by a few things. …It’s marked by a shift in our interior identity. Something changes inside us about the way we perceive ourselves. …When you change the way you perceive yourself, you change. And when you change the world is for grabs and the future is now about what wants to emerge that’s been waiting for the shift to take place in me.”

Chironna then begins his introduction of quantum mysticism:

99:55: And this leap is not just marked by a shift in our interior identity, it’s also marked by an awareness that everything in creation is connected. Everything is connected. Say everything is connected.” [Audience dutifully repeats] (emphasis mine)

100:15: “And it’s connected at deep interpenetrating levels, at a sub-atomic dimension. Our problem is we walk in the illusion of separation. But we are not separate. We are connected. When Paul says we are all one body in Christ in Galatians 4, literally in the Greek it’s we’re all one person.” (emphasis mine)

101 minutes and three seconds: Chironna then uses a talk given by a British quantum physicist as proof that everything in the universe is connected. The scientist apparently rubbed a diamond and stated that this friction at a sub-atomic level was affecting the molecular movement of the farthest known star, five billion light years away. Why? Because everything is interconnected…

And then, horribly, Chironna explains that Jesus could heal people from a distance because of quantum principles! (Luke 7:1-10, Matthew 8:5-10, John 4:46-54) He seems perhaps to have combined two healings, but most of us are familiar with the story of the faithful centurion.

102 minutes and 40 seconds: “So when Jesus says I’ll go with you to heal your son and the centurion servant says you don’t have to go. You can stand right where you are. I’m a man under authority. I understand authority. You don’t have to come into my house. All you need to do is stand right here and influence things at a distance because everything’s connected in your world in a way I understand in mine. Just speak the word and it’ll take place because it’s all connected.” (emphasis mine)

Chironna has just reduced the centurion’s faith and Christ’s power down to their supposedly common understanding of manipulating quantum spiritual principles.

103 minutes and 19 seconds: “There’s a shift in our interior identity, there’s gotta be a fundamental shift to where we stop seeing everything as separated and disconnected and start operating in the awareness everything is connected. Everything is connected. You start acting as if you’re already connected in your future and stuff will start lining up in a way you never expected it to before.”

2 hours 5 minutes and 10 seconds: “That’s why it’s so important to soak.” (Soaking is a form of anti-biblical meditation).

Remember when Elijah prayed for rain? Elijah sent his servant to look out at the sea, to see if clouds had appeared.

He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back” seven times. (1 Kings 18:43)

Blasphemously, Mark Chironna gives Elijah a quantum response, with a rebuke to the servant for reporting that nothing has appeared. At 2 hours, 21 minutes, 17 seconds Chironna dares to say:

“Elijah says, ‘You dummy! In the quantum physical world they have proven there is no such thing as nothing. Because the observer is influencing the observed and creation is moving in response to what I’m intending to bring about.’”

2 hours, 26 minutes: “God didn’t make it rain.”

Near the end of his blasphemous message, Chironna tells his listeners, “If something is shifting inside you you’ve already heard from heaven. You already know what wants to emerge. And if it wants to happen you need to speak it into existence.” (2 hours, 29 minutes, 45 seconds) (emphasis mine)

But following these teachings will not result in hearing from heaven, but from hell.

Nor has Bill Johnson bothered to correct this blasphemy. Chironna’s conference teaching is still for sale at the Bethel Redding store. https://shop.ibethel.org/products/piercing-the-darkness-february-2012-complete-set (scroll down to Session 7)

Can two walk together except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)

Related Information:

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

 


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