I am approached often regarding the ministry of Bethel Church in Redding, California (and subsequently, music that outflows through their musicians Jesus Culture). For weeks, I’ve prayed about how best to respond, not desiring to present a statement out of context, gossip, assault the true body of Christ, nor give any further attention to a ministry that is frighteningly far from biblical truth. An opportunity presented itself recently when a friend provided me with a Bethel post “God, Bad, & the Ugly” from Kris Vallotton who is considered, along with Bill Johnson, the chief leader/prophet for Bethel Church in Redding. So, instead of providing thoughts out of context, I will simply provide biblical response to his publicly made statements regarding Bethel’s ministry philosophy.


Author’s Note: After reading over his comments, I did not laugh nor mock, but more than anything shed tears. It appears that Bethel desperately desires to “mainstream” their church but cannot synthesize Scripture with their ministry. Their words display a desire to be spiritual but it is quite apparent they have no systematic interpretation process for the Scriptures they attempt to use. Therefore, not only are the positions false, they are theologically immature. This is sad for the leaders and their families, but much more so, for those that follow such behavior blindly. We cannot call what these men say or do “church”. In it’s best form, it may be considered immature confusion, a youth ministry gone mad. In it’s worse form, it is demonic. When people say that I should “go to my brothers” regarding this matter, I disagree, because I cannot consider them brothers. My prayer is that God enlighten them to truth and call them to repentance. As you will see, I ardently recommend that people avoid Bethel and any platform of media, music or otherwise, that comes from it’s dark center. Mr Vallotton’s reflections will be found in bold. I’ve noted vital biblical references below, alongside my brief thoughts. For sake of time, I’ve only highlighted the most evident errors, while leaving dozens on the sideline. For a more concise defense of biblical gifts vs. the supposed sign gifts of modern charismatic-continuism click HERE


#1 CHURCH INVENTIONS

“…a small, yet influential coalition of people has shared negative reports about us. These reports often include words such as “controversial,” “unbalanced,” or even the word “cult” to describe us. To be frank, I can understand why certain religious leaders or unbelievers might view us through these perspectives. We certainly have made our share of mistakes, both as a leadership team and those who follow us. And we have such a high value for freedom and risk that it has created a kind-of research and development culture where people are encouraged to take risks. I think this stems from the fact that we view ourselves much more as pioneers than settlers. Therefore, we celebrate creativity, revelation, invention and innovation above comfort, safety and security.” – Vallotton

“Research and development” along with pioneering, invention, and innovation, are beneficial values for corporate America but the Church was long ago invented by Jesus Christ, pioneered by His apostles, and comes complete with the bible, a manual on how it is to be operated. Because Christ is the “inventor” and the head of this body, called the church, it becomes a fundamental, and deadly, flaw when any man attempts to build something called, “Church” on a set of values outside those clearly specified in Scripture (and hence practiced in orthodoxy for millennia). No natural man should ever presume to take the supernatural pen from the Eternal Architect’s mighty finger, and attempt to re-craft His preeminent design. The Church is certainly operated by imperfect people but its inception and directive stands most holy as crafted by a perfect God. In the original article, Bethel also moves to support this “R&D” culture by referencing a slew of Old Testament characters who proved “fallible”. Yet, Bethel forgets, or has not properly studied, that we do not live in the age of Law like these men and women but have received the progressive revelation of Christ’s incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, and institution of the Church, with the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us, and provides clear documented biblical principles to guide us. Thus, although our natural sin nature may be “fallible” like our Old Testament counterparts, through grace we can receive freedom from these carnal propensities, and the Church itself is to be led by those being sanctified unto the specific promises and purposes of this age of grace. (CF Romans 5:1-5, Romans 8:26-30, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Cor 4:7-10, 2 Cor 5:17, Ephesians 2:1-10, Ephesians 4:17-32)

The most basic error of the Word of Faith movement (which attempts to add personal revelation atop what is already completed in Scripture) is that it places fallible human opinion atop perfected divine truth. Usually when a man or woman claims to have a, “A Word from the Lord” he presupposes himself as divinely inspired. Whenever he or she claims, “A dream to be divine” He says in essence, “The bible is not enough” or, “Although Paul says ‘Scripture is adequate,’ I’ve still got a little bit more.” And, this has no decent ending resolve. See the passages listed below. The bible speaks of itself and says clearly, “I am enough. I am complete.” In fact, it warns all men from daring to add or delete even one word. (Matt 16:18, Eph 2:19-20, 2 Tim 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Rev 22:18-22)

#2 UNBRIDLED ECUMENICALISM

“We really think it’s important to give people the freedom to disagree with what we teach or practice without feeling like they are being disloyal or dishonoring. We have strong feelings about certain subjects that are even contrary to what some of our good friends believe. But we don’t want to be right at the expense of being together. If Jesus only had relationships with people who were doctrinally perfect… I’d be the only one he’d hang out with (smile face).” – Vallotton

The statement, “We do not want to be right at the expense of being together,” appears gracious to the one who accepts that there is no clear right. This is modernism, pluralism, and often taught by Oprah and her friends. But, to the man who trusts that Christ, and His Word, present a clear (and literal) right, and that this clear right is what leads a lost sinner away from darkness and into light, he will naturally conclude that speaking forth this right, and speaking against wrong, is not only a necessary thing, but the most loving thing. This is the definition of Christ’s, “Narrow Road” and is the model of the apostles. Yes, the bible clearly presents that Jesus healed the hurting and took time for the doctrinally lost but it is equally clear that Jesus had judgment reserved for the “doctrinally able” whom twisted and perverted spiritual doctrines unto their own ends. His indictment on the Pharisee will make any knee tremble. His curse upon Bethsaida will make any jaw clench. Paul, Peter, and Jude spend chapters of their letters calling the church to protect itself from error. Thus, if a man accepts Christ as Lord and His Word as the complete authority for Christian living and conduct in the Church, secondary differences may be patiently navigated between Christian brothers. However, if one attempts to diminish the inerrancy, authority, or sufficiency of Christ’s plan as presented through Holy Scripture, takes advantage of the sheep within a congregation, or elevates their own status over Christ as Lord and Master, there is ample biblical support for “not being together for the sake of being right.” (Luke 11:39-44, Luke 12:52-53, 2 Tim 4:3-5, 2 Peter 2:1-2, Jude 1:17-18)

#3 APOSTOLIC SIGNS

“Some write about me, Bill Johnson or Bethel Church as if we were the originators of the idea that Christians should have a supernatural lifestyle. This is comical to me. People will often write something like, “Bill Johnson says,” and then go on to quote the Bible word for word. For example, it was Jesus who said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…these signs will accompany those who have believed in My name: they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover,” (Mark 16:16-18). The exhortation, command and commission to do miracles, heal the sick and cast out demons is all throughout the New Testament. A supernatural lifestyle is articulated, demonstrated and replicated by Jesus and the apostles, as well as everyday believers from the book of Matthew to the book of Revelation…Yet some Christians choose to live with less than Jesus paid for, and that is their prerogative…” – Vallotton

The New Testament provides the inerrant account of Christ’s life on earth along with His miraculous signs specifying Him as Messiah. It also provides testimony of those whom He designated as apostles, whom would join Him working miracles testifying to the inception of the Church age. This period is often termed the Apostolic Age. To be an Apostle during the Apostolic Age, there were three basic requirements (see references below). Firstly, a man must have been an eyewitness of Christ. Secondly, he must have been appointed by Christ. Finally, his work was to be authenticated by signs. To the contrary of Bethel’s statement, this was not a commission given to “Everyday believers” nor were these apostolic furtherances even mentioned in any of the Prison or Pastoral Epistles of Paul. For a more comprehensive understanding of how Bethel misuses the Book of Acts see The Errors of Bethel & Jesus Culture Part 2 HERE.

Based on these biblical truths agreed to by fundamental, liberal, and even renewal theologians, the apostolic period ended with the death of the Apostle John in approximately 100AD. And, the early church fathers, Clement, Ignatius, and countless others, including Augustine, Luther, Wesley, and Whitefield, for almost 1800 years termed the Apostolic Era finished. It was not until the early twentieth century that any “evangelical” would attempt to reinstate it. These “ministries” claim to hold a position that ended with the early church, hold onto an era that ended with the death of the Apostle John, and claim a designation that even the early church Fathers, closest to the original disciples, dared not maintain. We live in the post Apostolic Age, and the qualifications of the apostles, including their eyewitness accounting, appointment, and normative authenticating signs of miracle, have ceased to be possessed by any one man or any one ministry. This does not mean that God ceases to conduct miracles, through prayer, in unique situations. It does mean that the “Office” or “Authority” of any one human to conduct these miracles at-will has concluded. [For the sake of clarity, I’ll repeat this statement, “Historically, the cessation of sign gifts is not the cessation of miracles, but of any one man to operate those miracles at will.] Based on this, we must be ever vigilant when a church, denomination, or sect, attempts to utilize apostolic vernacular or usher normative sign gifts upon the body.

All of this concludes that any regular “sign” or “wonder” of today consists of one (or more) of the following elements: 1) An emotional or para-psychological response, prompting one feel better for a short time 2) Trickery and manipulation, wherein a leader stages or poses healings to gain followers or income 3) Demonic activity, that does assist in healing the body and further propagates the lie of a false prophet, as he destroys the soul. Kris Vallatton, Bill Johnson, C. Peter Wagner, and any man who claims the mantle of “Apostle” and thinks of himself as a modern Peter, Paul, James, or John, is not only misguided, He is opposing two millennia of church history. And, when these men attempt to sell the “apostolic” privilege to others, as these men do, they are leading many astray.

Finally, the statement that, “Some Christians choose to live with less than Jesus paid for” is the quintessential line of a False Prophet. It assumes that there is, “Hierarchy” in faith and that some Christians receive the “In” on God’s blessing while other are “stuck out in the cold of their faithless existence.” It assumes that this leader with the “In” can help others get “In”. Peter explained that it is greed which drives such teaching (2 Peter 2:3, Jude 1:16). To state that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is more meaningful for one than another, based on earthly profit or benefit, is to diminish the very substitute itself. How dare any man say such a thing?

One need not think long before discovering the weakness in this position. Why is it that those with the supposed “In” still get sick? Still die? Often lose all their money? Often blow up their marriages? The simple fact that Oral Roberts, Smith Wigglesworth, and Aimee Semple all lost their ministry, money, and died is ample evidence that faith doesn’t equate to health, wealth, and longevity. And, the historic (and continuing) thread of Christian martyrs, who have died, died young, and died in disrepute, unknown by earth but made famous in heaven, is the greatest proof that faith often comes with greater suffering not greater surplus! It is either insecurity or demonic dread that prompts any man build a ministry on, “Hierarchy” stating that they have a special “In” or “Anointing” or “Power” than those that follow. Bethel has taken a step further, conducting a school for innocent young people, immersing them in this deception. What must their secret club meetings be like? Who can ever attain their supernatural level? Jesus tore down the veil and those lies saying, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3, Mat 10:1, Acts 10:41-42, Mark 10:14-15)

#4 WORSHIP CONDUCT

Then there is the infamous gold dust; again the phenomenon comes and goes. The first time I ever witnessed this myself was at a MorningStar conference more than fifteen years ago. The speaker released the “glory of God” in the room, and suddenly gold dust appeared on everyone’s face and hands…But the truth is, I really don’t know why these things happen. Therefore, I do think feathers and gold dust qualify as “wonders.”… One of the manifestations that has been most offensive to people is something we call “holy laughter.” This condition occurs when, for no obvious reason, people just begin to laugh hysterically as if they are drunk. Some laugh so hard that they literally fall on the ground… Again, I have never experienced this condition myself, but I have carried my wife out of several meetings when she was so “spiritually drunk” that she couldn’t walk. Weird you say? Yeah, I agree, it looks that way to me too. I love what Angela Monet said, “those who danced look quite insane to those who didn’t hear the music.” I think this quote applies here.” – Vallotton

Firstly, the (doxa) glory of God is not glitter, and those who encounter it in Scripture, fall to their faces in fear. Secondly, Jesus Christ came and walked earth as the glory of God. Secondly, the apostle Paul and Angela Monet seem to clearly disagree. Angela apparently wishes the church to look insane while Paul wrote clearly that the church would contain order and truth that would prompt the unbeliever to be, “Convicted by all… so that he would fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.” Chaos does not convict sinners of God’s truth, the prophetic (spoken forth) Word given in order does! I refuse to give glitter clouds, feathers, or church drunkenness further writing time. It’s chaos. It’s been around for many years in different forms, and it’s not of the Lord. I do not have time nor space here to examine Bethel’s ministry of “Grave Sucking” nor their new “Prophecy of the Tattoo” ministry, dead-raising team, healing rooms, post-tribulationalism, nor the fact that their youth frolic through tunnels of fire in orgie induced euphoria. Come, please leaders of Bethel! Please consider your own families! You’ve allowed your wives mimic alcoholism, a sin that has destroyed hundreds of millions of lives and is clearly against Scriptural mandate (Eph 5:18). And, you now publicize that the Holy Spirit wants your family this way. Repent! (Ex 33:20, John 1:14, 1 Cor 14:23-25, 40)

#5 THE DEVIL

Again, it’s very hard to attribute this to Satan when the fruit of this manifestation is always positive in the people having the experience… Could it be the devil? If it is the devil, he is doing a wonderful job of helping people get closer to God. In almost every case where people have been “slain in the Spirit” they report being more convinced than ever of God’s love for them.” – Vallotton

One of the pragmatic proofs used by ecstasy-based religions is “feeling” as conceptual evidence of it’s impact. It is remarkable, in fact, that Bethel focuses such inordinate amount of time on mystical experience, that there is very little, if any, doctrinal teaching about Christ at all. This is seen in Bethel’s assessment that, “They report being more convinced than ever of God’s love for them.” The obvious question here is, “Has Bethel not heard that ‘Satan disguises himself as an angel of light?'” (2 Cor 11:14)

Based on his words, I will suppose that Bethel’s leaders (and Mr. Vallotton himself) hold 1 John 4 & 5 as an arm’s length proof text that, “Feelings of God’s love equate to proper spiritual practices”. I’ll agree that the love of God is a central joy in the relationship with Christ and fellowship within a local church. But, allow me to show that it is NOT the only evidence of proper doctrine nor application within the church.

Notice contextually, that in 1 John 4 & 5 the apostle John references God’s love repeatedly but goes on to explain the “evidences” of any man “convinced” of God’s love for him. God’s love prompts that the individual accept Christ as Lord (4:2), God’s love is then evidenced when the individual loves others (4:8), God’s love is then evidenced when the individual accepts and obeys God’s commandments without burden (5:3), God’s love is then evidenced when the individual refrains from habitual sin (5:18), and God’s love is evidenced when the individual no longer holds any idols (5:21).

Therefore, being convinced of God’s “love” is not near enough evidence. Muslims believe in love, Jews believe in love, even Buddhists, and Hindus believe in love. The evidence of whether a person is truly called by Christ unto salvation comes following this reflective “convincing” of God’s love through the determined response to 1) adore Christ, 2) love others, 3) obey Scripture, 4) turn from sin, and 5) lay down all idols! I would recommend Bethel assess if this is happening to all those being, “slain in the spirit.” For it is my continual experience that those who grow to true depths in God’s grace are not at all interested in an emotional pulpit show, have no desire to have glitter dumped on them, and do not wish to leave church feeling inebriated. They can easily receive that Monday-Friday. They attend church to “grow in the knowledge of their Lord and Savior and to know Him and His sufferings, knowing that these light and temporary troubles are storing up for them a glory that outweighs them all.” (2 Cor 4:17)

CONCLUSION

As we’ve seen, Bethel holds a theology that 1) Maintains new revelation 2) Is willing to unite with virtually anyone 3) Claims to operate as Apostles 4) Conducts worship outside biblical directive and order 5) Claims emotion as evidence of its veracity. Any one of these issues is error, all combined it is frightening. This stance against biblical authority and biblical methodology is not Christian orthodoxy.

People will ask why it is necessary to take time to point out the errors of another. My answer is simply that, “The Bible commands it.” Paul was clear that there are times when error must be clearly specified. The American Church has a lost sense of conviction because it does not operate precisely as the Bible commands.

Much of Paul’s final letter before death, 2 Timothy, was regarding false teaching. Paul commands young Timothy to, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ASHAMED, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) The key word is “ashamed.” Shame is the painful feeling that rises from an awareness of having done something dishonorable. Anyone who “teaches falsely” will be ashamed when they meet God. It does not matter how many degrees on the wall, or how many people in the seats, or how passionately they believed what they said. If they have mishandled the Word of God, they will be ashamed.

Paul goes on to say that there’s one way to avoid being ashamed. You must, “Be diligent” and “Accurately handle” the Word of truth. In modern english we would say it this way, “Work with maximum effort to cut a straight line when you’re studying, teaching, and preaching.”

Much of what pretends to be, “Bible” and, “Church” and, “Preaching” today actually is not. Therefore, to help others avoid shame on the final day, and to protect even one sheep from being led astray, “truth in love” mandates clarity and boldness, regarding what is clearly unscriptural. As it relates to Bethel, the sword of the Word of God must be taken out of its scabbard. May true followers of Christ delete the music, set down the books, avoid the school, and lovingly steer others from anathema.

The preceding was written for the theological clarity and intended use of Mission Bible Church in Tustin, CA. To email the author directly, email twood@missionbible.org 

Posted by Anthony Wood

Anthony is Pastor of Mission Bible Church in Tustin, CA, and has authored the books Defining Church & Defining Family. He’s married to Bre, and they have three children. More @AnthonyGeneWood

298 Comments

  1. It saddens me to read this. This place has been home to me. I got healed,restored and my relationship with Jesus is better than ever before after attending Bethel and being in the school of ministry. Anyway my point is not that. I just see a lot of criticism and judgementalism here and it’s totally heartbreaking. Please my dear brothers and sisters in Chrisy, let’s all love one another. Isn’t that what Jesus commanded us to do?
    Yes,maybe we don’t agree with what someone or a ministry is doing but as long as lives are being saved,let’s celebrate that. The world has enough judgemental people,let’s all be ambassadors of love.
    I’m not as much as a bible scholar like most of you here but in all my simple understanding of the Word and being in a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I think love is the essential. All of us here got saved because of a Savior who loves us and gave Himself for us, so let’s all love one another.
    People are being killed here just because they believe in Jesus(I am a missionary in India)I think all Christians should stand together United because I believe that is the heart of our Father.
    So please,let’s love one another. I hope my post doesn’t offend anyone and I’m sorry if it did, I was just hurt reading this article.

    Reply

    1. Get into the Word it is how God speaks today.

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    2. There is a lot here to think about.

      Knowing that Jesus is the truth, it is very important to me to find what the truth is, and to compare everything to Jesus’ standards in the end.
      There are valid things in each of these points, it seems. But there are also misconceptions that blur the conversation. Read on after the main point if you want to see an example of how I may have come to this (though its probably presumptuous to think anyone would care that much!).

      In the end, it is really strong to say the those in Bethel are not even your brothers. As a church, they may be wrong in some things, and may dance along the line of Holy Spirit and fabrication, but as long as in their heart they have the core belief in Jesus and what He did, and what that means, and as long as they trying to pursue Jesus and His Will, even if they mess up and if the way they do it is different than ours, yours, or mine, God will work through them, and work to perfect them by teaching them truth. Wow, He is so amazing! We should constantly compare what we see, do, and practice with the scriptures so that God can teach us and use us to help each other, our fellow brothers and sisters, from falling off the path God has put us all on, wherever their weak points are. Bethel may need our help in keeping them from missing God’s will by getting lost in the emotions or expectations or whatever their weaknesses are, but we should not give up on them! God hasn’t yet! No One church has it all figured out, and my church may be learning something different than what yours or Bethel needs to learn. We need to work together, with God!
      I hope that you can share your wisdom with those in Bethel, in a way that illuminates truth about God but with gentleness and respect. And as you gently instruct, I hope you would be at least a little open to the idea that they may have some things right, and if they don’t, maybe at least having a civil conversation with them about God may teach you something more about God.

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      A non-specific example (I could have done any of the points),but lets take the first part of #3.

      It is definitely true that “the cessation of sign gifts is not the cessation of miracles, but of any one man to operate those miracles at will” and I agree that something where “men attempt to sell the “apostolic” privilege to others” would certainly be an act of Satan “leading many astray.”

      Expecting miracles in and signs the way one might use a formula, and expecting them on demand is dangerous practice. Because I’m sure that the devil can be very convincing! He is the master of lies and disguises himself as an angel of light, as you said, and it is probably easy to fall into a place where you can’t interpret what is the Holy Spirit and what is demons in disguise. And we cannot predict how the Holy Spirit will act– He is likely to act at times and in ways we would not expect, as God’s mind is higher than ours! Its nice that there are some guidelines in the Bible, and it would stand to reason that the more time we spend with Him, the more we know His Will and His Voice (“my sheep will know my voice”).

      But it is not clear to me, that the Bethel people think that there is an Apostolic privilege as you are describing it. The post from Bill quotes “it was Jesus who said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…these signs will accompany those who have believed in My name: they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” from Mark. This passage does not say those who are my Apostles will have signs, but rather those who have believed my name– opening signs to anyone who believes Jesus. Perhaps claiming that only Apostles have this connection is constraining to how the Holy Spirit wants to move. At the same time it would be ridiculous to think that the Holy Spirit would work the very same here, in a completely different time, place and context, than it worked in Acts.

      Maybe I just don’t know enough about Bethel and what they claim, but from this article at least it did not seem that the Bethel people were claiming to be “Apostles” exactly, at least not in the way you’ve defined it. But lets say that they did call themselves that– and lets say that this claim is ludicrous, as you have explained– would this affect Jesus’ love for them? Because I think if they were to say: Jesus saved me from my sins, and I can be with God forever in heaven because of his sacrifice, so now I want to know Him. I am going to follow Him, and learn about Him and praise Him every way I can and be his apostle and be a witness for Him, and do the things He wants me to do (when he wants me to do them). If they were to say that, even if their use of the word “apostle” was wrong, I don’t think God would condemn them. For those who believe in Jesus, there is NO condemnation! Wow! What freedom! Hopefully God would tell them of their error, but I don’t know if an article like this would really work as a way to show them their error.

      Reply

    3. Catrina DeMicelli January 7, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      I agree we should all love one another in the name of Jesus! He is the reason we need to be caring for everyone and share love every where in his name. Thank you for what you are doing! Your right Bethel is a Wonderful church and it has more Holy Spirit there than any where else I’ve ever been. Don’t ever let the devil take a moment away from our Lord, becauseThey should all belong to our King Jesus Christ and The devil worshippers are the ones writing this negative stuff we shouldn’t even bother to read. Don’t even listen to it, we are above it! God Bless You and Happy New Year!!
      Best Regards, Catrina

      Reply

      1. Dr.Genti Rexho May 19, 2017 at 10:27 pm

        “Bethel is a Wonderful church and it has more Holy Spirit” What Bethel for sure has is the evil spirit!

    4. Why should I love you or call you a sister? I don´t even know you. I´m in Europe and you´re in America. But what we both know, is this movement of Bethel and we experienced things of it personally. This leader of Bethel´s Healing Rooms was in our city. This man is a fake and he is really very convinced about himself. And the worst thing: NO REAL HEALINGS! But he counted more than hundred. And all were just those kind of, that no one sees. A lady in a wheel chair stayed there. A friend with a destroyed leg kept it. So why do you try to manipulate with this word “love” and “brothers and sisters”? I do not know who your Jesus is. 2.Cor.11,4 For if someone comes and proclaims a Jesus other than the One we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit than the One you received, or a different gospel than the one you accepted, you put up with it way too easily. Hebr. 5,14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained their sensibilities to distinguish good from evil. So you see: False Jesus, false Gospel, False Spirit and untrained sensibilities to distinguish. Guess, where that leads to! So just stop crying and go and read your bible, especially those scriptures that are not taught at Bethel!

      Reply

      1. I love Jesus and the Word May 23, 2017 at 8:03 am

        I was healed at Bethel over 12 years ago from hypoglycemia-wasn’t faking it then, am not faking it now. I was born into a Mormon family, saved at a young age from that and into Jesus, grew up Presbyterian, AG, went to Lutheran VBS, went to reformed high school, went to a Pentecostal church, a non denominational church, a Covenant church and currently pastoring alongside my husband at a Foursquare church. One thing I know-Mormonism is a cult and from the devil. Bethel, is not. I have been a part of so many genuine Christian streams-stop ripping the body of Christ apart. It’s repulsive. Even to Mormons!! They look at us and wonder why we are so divided!! It’s ridiculous. The world will know we know Jesus partly by our love for one another! That doesn’t mean only your little stream who agrees with all your organized doctrine. I have Mormon family who desperately needs Jesus and real understanding of the Word…reading this blog, they would want nothing to do with us (Christians). Leave it to the liberal media to tear us apart…why are we doing it to each other? So we believe some different things…it’s the essentials that matters. Jesus saved me when he died for me and rose again. He is the King for all eternity and He is coming back again for a Bride who has made herself ready.

  2. The Church I go to in Kent England has links with Bethel Redding California.
    I posted something on my main facebook page warning them about Bethel Redding California but some of them from the Church did not like it so I took it off my main facebook page.
    Now I have a new page calld Writer Writing And Articles. Some of the Writing is about false Christian doctrines and some of the articles from the internet are about about false Christian doctrines.
    The link to my facebook page is below.
    https://www.facebook.com/writer.writing.and.articles23/

    Reply

  3. Have you ever attended bethel church? Or even listened to more than one teaching? They CONSTANTLY bring evidence using scripture in their teachings. Please, in layman’s terms, don’t diss it till you try it. Your perspective is purely from ab outside looking in without having even gone there or listened to their teachings. How can you judge something or someone without even getting to know them? This attitude is what is so embarrassing about Christians. This attitude is how Christians are perceived to the rest of the world. Ignorant, judgmental before even trying something, closed off and having a huge “us and them” mentality. Wake up dude! Life and this coming generation are moving forward without this and ditching the whole religious “Christian” exclusionary judgmentalism. God and Jesus loved the whole WORLD… Everyone. And the “church” of his day, well, you know your Bible well enough to know how He spoke to them!

    Maybe even try spending some time with the holy spirit. He’ll more than likely challenge you to get outside the boxes you’ve put him snd his father and son in. Do some more research into what Jesus was trying to do… Open up God’s kingdom to EVERYONE. Not just scripture believers. And have them EXPERIENCE signs and wonders. Everyone. Not just his apostles. Read the Bible dude. In that mindset, not this closed off to more of God than you can conceive mode. Wish you the best and hope you can open yourself up to more of what God’s doing right now.

    Reply

    1. Jessica, I just see a lot of criticism and judgementalism here and it’s totally heartbreaking. Please my dear sister in Christ, let’s all love one another. Isn’t that what Jesus commanded us to do?
      Yes,maybe we don’t agree with what someone or a ministry is doing but as long as lives are being saved,let’s celebrate that. The world has enough judgemental people,let’s all be ambassadors of love.

      Reply

    2. Perfect Jessica.

      Reply

  4. Well done Pastor! Thank you for clearly stating the primary points of error in the squishy post-modern statements by Bethel. Many solid and clearly articulated statements are also available for anyone who “has ears to hear and eyes to see” as to Bethel false “doctrine”, and Johnson’s patent heresy. Run from that false church and those that deceive with twisting Scripture – eternity is at stake (Matt 7:23). Johnson and crew are some of the most deceitful people I have encountered, and the poor gals (which is common) who say “try it first” are willfully ignorant and letting their itching ears lead them further astray. It is terribly sad, and yet we were repeatedly warned in Scripture about this very thing (which is a repeat of the same elements in Scripture itself). May God grant them the eyes to see clearly with His Wisdom to discern the truth. What they are missing is a high and holy view of God, instead solely taking Scripture for what it “gives” them – they miss the entire grandeur of God and the chief aim of man: to Glorify God and enjoy him forever. Biblical ignorance, lack of understanding Scripture rightly (and rightly dividing the Word) is rampant.

    Reply

    1. Oh how right you are! Until we begin to comprehend the Holiness of our God we cannot begin to see how much we, as sinners before Him need the wisdom and direction in His Word. Our frailty is dependent on everything God tells us He is and until one understands there is only ONE truth and that is God’s truth
      There is no stability in anything we may choose to hold to and believe. God bless

      Reply

  5. Well I didn’t have the time to ready people’s comments… But all I have to say is it is sad when Christians can go through such extent to tear down other Christians ministry … Albeit some try to do it under the coverings of .. ” oh I don’t want to judge” or “oh I prayed about this at length before I replied” but really??? Which God could you have prayed to?? Or rather which God gave u a response to cast aspersions on another’s ministry? The fact is when we pray amiss we come out of prayer with the evil and prideful intentions of our hearts that we went to prayer with. The same one that made Lucifer believe he could take over heaven. Envy. I always say the proof is In the fruits. Ifpeople are getting healed deliverance set free… Isn’t that the works that Jesus said we would do?what are the fruits of ur ministry to date?

    Reply

    1. Karen, getting healed and deliverance is not FRUIT of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, is love,joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and SELF-CONTROL. I have personally met MANY MANY people from Bethel/Jesus Culture. My own brother goes to BSSM, and hanging out with them outside of their church or school I have not seen fruit. Some of them CUSS, get angry, joke crudely, tell me stories that relate to secure immorality, are these not the fruit of the devil? The ones that live like this will not I heritage the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19) Now Matthew 7:16 says, “you can identify them by their fruit, by the way they act.” that is in reference to false prophets. John 7:24.

      Reply

      1. Nope no judgment in any of your statements…..

      2. You will find people who “Cuss, get angry, joke crudely……..” all accross the board. You will find humans in all religions, or no religion. You will find people who are imperfect, yet still created in the image of God. Are we to continue in our sin once we have seen the error of our ways, certainly not. But, it is for freedom that we have been set free. My point is not to defend those who represent God badly, but that God is still at work in us.

      3. Callie: You forgot one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit…. love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, GENTLENESS, self control. There is a big difference between the fruit of the spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
        There are people who live upright lives in all denominations as well as those who fall short. As a member of JC I have not personally witnessed these actions in those I know and associate with but we all fall short of the glory of God which further proves our need for the work of the cross. I agree we are all a work in progress…

  6. Notice the two main things that those in defense of Bethel and other churches teaching falsely say…”you need to just love….and don’t judge.” Evidence of how culture has crept into the church and set the new standard for how we are to rightly divide the word and hold the body accountable. If we do we are unloving or judging. ????? Kind of sounds like the world’s response when you share that..Christ is the only way to the father. Now when you try to walk the narrow way and shepherd the flock, Christian brothers and sisters accuse each other of being “unloving” or “judgmental”. The world mindset. After every single youtube video where this is being exposed people post the same thing…”you’re not being loving…you’re judging…you’re attacking their ministry”. The same words used every time!

    Thank you for standing for truth pastor. In the end that is truely loving the body of Christ. To call out error and gently restore those who are lost back into the fold.
    Matthew 7:13-29. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are a few who find it.
    CHRIST..was very clear about who will inherit the kingdom!! Keep reading in Matthew..beware of false prophets….hearing and DOING Jesus’ teachings.
    None of anything that Jesus taught was about feelings or signs and wonders.
    It’s Daily denying self and taking up our cross, turning from sin, obeying His commands, bearing good fruit and having the fruit of the spirit.

    Reply

    1. Yes yes yes

      😊

      Reply

    2. Amen!Well said Benny!

      Reply

  7. Yes, it is very strange when a person holding an outlier view is called on it, they react by saying that caller is harming the church and their loved ones. When does the exception become the rule? On the contrary, a true shepherd is the one who looks for the wolf, the outlier, and guards the sheep, the loved ones.

    Reply

  8. Can you help me understand the logic behind what you mean by saying that giving words of knowledge or prophecy or wanting to know God more is in anyway not part of the bible. I also fail to find anywhere that God says we shouldn’t desire or strive to know him more. Also it seems interesting that your interpretations are the right ones but Bill Johnson’s is somehow inferior to yours. From the studies that I’ve done both in pursuit of a degree in theology and on my own show the history of the church and it’s theological thought has gone through numerous sea changes throughout time so you will need to be specific when you say that the theology you espouse dates back over 1800 years. It doesn’t. The thoughts you espouse at best date to the reformation and primarily to Calvin and Luther. You do realize they were considered heretics for thinking the common person should have access to scripture much less be allowed to read it in their native tongue. At no point prior to the reformation would anyone be allowed to offer an opinion outside of the church.

    I say all of this not to condemn but to offer you my attempt to counsel a fellow believer in being cautious about holding to dearly to your interpretation of the bible and not leaving any room for Holy Spirit to pour in new revelation. He leads us into all truth but he can’t make us drink. That decision is yours and yours alone.

    Reply

    1. No judgement in any of your statements…

      Reply

      1. That’s correct. Thanks for noticing

      2. That’s correct it’s called a critique of another’s work. I never called the authors character or personhood into question only their argument. Thanks!

      3. That’s correct it’s called a critique of another’s work. I never called the authors character or personhood into question only their argument. Thanks!

    2. Bill Johnson and Calvin and Luther in one pot??? Holy Spirit (without “the” it is probably your great revelation you had) pouring in NEW revelation? Like the NEW Apostolic Reformation Bill Johnson is part of? And the NEW Prophetic Reformation. Their VOA and VOP conferences. The leaders of Bethel are all part of the NEW! They are the great and new Apostles and Prophets. The old is not good enough anymore. We need something NEW. A New Jesus. One that understands everyone and is sweet and nice and like my best buddy. A Jesus that would never do any harm to anyone. He is always smiling and has probably blond hair and blue eyes. YES, a NEW AGE JESUS! I can even see him, how he stands there smiling with arms spread out wide to just welcome everyone and pink hearts are coming out of his eyes. A sweet sweet Jesus (never found that term anywhere in the bible). Not like the one described in Rev. 19. No, this one is different. He appears in a NEW way. Just as we like him to be. Yes, that´s the Jesus we like! He fulfills our wishes. Especially on Christmas! Sweet, sweet Jesus! Tell me, don´t you get it!!!!!!!!????????????

      Reply

      1. Amen, hate that sweet Jesus ideology!!!

    3. Thank you Victor. And we are commanded as true believers to GO, preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead. The commission has not changed, as Not one word has nor will change.
      Well said Victor.

      Reply

    4. Beautifully stated.I’m not defending Bethel, I don’t know much about them but I agree with your rebuttal concerning the article.

      Reply

  9. I live in Canada (with my husband), we listen to speakers on Bethel website, we participate in worship with their worship!!! We have been so greatly blessed and growing in the Lord! We have a greater desire for God and His prescience! This group at Bethel are a gift to the body of Christ today when so many churches are dead and dry! One day when we are in heaven all together, you will then be aware of the truth of what’s happening there and other places like Gateway People Church in Texes with Pastor and Teacher Robert Morris! We are so thankful for our modern day media opportunities to be taught and grow in Christ! I believe that these people mentioned have God’s smile of approval on them because they cause others to desire to fulfill the purpose for which we are born…TO WORSHIP GOD! Oh!!! I am so excited to have gotten in on these great ministries! Praise God’s wonderful Name!!! I hope you have a blessed day in His pressence! Spend time with God and He will fill you with His Holy Spirit and you’ll never be the same again! You will join many others who spend their days glorifying the Son of God! HALLELUJAH! YOU ARE LOVED!

    Reply

    1. So you there in Canada need Bethel to praise God? Hasn´t the Spirit of God made it to Canada yet? Or do you need some soulish stimulation to get into the right frequency of heaven? With the voice of the lead singer of Jesus Culture? Yes, that voice might give even God goosegumbs. When they start to play, the level of anointing (especially a false one) rises just within seconds. I think you more became worshippers of man. But to test that, just stop watching Bethel for some months, and see how you grow without them. If you don´t grow without them, there is something wrong I suggest. Bethel is nothing more than a test of God, if people really love Him or they more love the world and what is in the world, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. A test like Lakeland. And thousands didm´t pass the test and were deceived. The question is: How deceivable are we REALLY! Or are you not? Please tell me that you´re not, than I know for sure that you are already! You know what: WATCH AND PRAY! For many false anointed ones and false prophets will arise and shall do great signs and wonders and deceive MANY!

      Reply

      1. I love Jesus and the Word May 23, 2017 at 8:15 am

        How is sarcasm ok to talk to a stranger and a sister in Christ? You have received and been blessed by someone’s sermon podcast, or a preacher at your own church, or a blog post, right? It’s likely this Canadian believer had more to her faith and walk then just Bethel…in the same way you probably read your Word and take in what your pastor is speaking about.

  10. Anthony, you are a good writer and make some good Bible points. But your attack is really disagreement with the entire Pentecostal movement. Remember that the Bible is not God. God is God. The Bible is one, just one way He speaks to us. If you knew His voice, you would hear Him speak. If you know Jesus Christ, you would know His Holy Spirit. By your own confession on the Mission Bible Church website: “True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9), pursue Christ (Matthew 11: 28–30; John 17:3), and obey Him (1 John 2:3). It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).” People at Bethel are getting saved, repenting of their sin, they are obeying Christ. They are pursuing Him. Yet even more, they are running after Him with every fiber of their being. If you draw close to God, He will draw close to you. You can know God, the Living God. “It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ.” You must know Him. You must know His voice. May the Holy Spirit descend on you and your church and awaken your spirit. God bless brother.

    Reply

    1. In the beginning was the Word……..so yes the Bible is God. Well, it is at least what God has given us to understand who he is. And of course He gave us Jesus….and the Word became flesh. And anything that we feel we have heard from the Holy Spirit should be weighed by the Word. I believe in the Gifts of the Spirit but more important is Jesus’ command to make disciples.

      Reply

    2. People at Bethel are defiantly deceived by a humanistic Gospel which produces one Superstar after the other. Can´t you not even get that simple fact? But you guys are really into stages and stars and getting honor from people. Check what Jesus says about that. A great deception of this last days of the twister to forbid people to judge rightly because they think they are doing wrong if not honoring those leaders. What a lukewarm boring and man-pleasing group of followers of the one that sits on a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the WORD OF GOD. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. Where are the warriors, that are not bowing to those golden calfs? Maybe one day you become one as you wake up! WAKE UP!!!

      Reply

      1. Do you know these “super stars ” ??? Have you even met them??? Because I do and have and they live humble upright lives and I notice they are not wasting their time on this site arguing your disapproval of them, they are too busy ministering to those who need to hear the word of God. And by the way God has a name and so does Jesus and we don’t use the correct ones! It’s Yahweh and Yeshua!!! So, my point is, there are many things taken out of context and not correct in interpretation as others have pointed out. I attend JC and can ASSURE you we do not bow like golden calves to our praise band but to the Heavenly Father of which we sing too and we do not bow to our pastor as well but he is definitely an anointed teacher.
        The Yeshua you speak of in Revelation is coming again and will rule with an iron scepter for all of those who chose not to believe before the 2nd coming.
        The Yeshua we serve now needed a cross to show grace and mercy proving that it’s not by works lest any man should boast.

  11. These criticisms are from so called fundamentamentalist ministers who present the same type of false accusations as the
    pharasies made against Jesus. An example is the idea of an apostolic age when the last of the 12 apostles lived.
    No where in the bible is there a specific time or period for apostles to be functioning and yet all of the fundamentalists
    ascribe to this. Rev 22:18 states that any man who adds to these words in the bible plagues shall be added to them.
    These as the pharasies shall have to suffer these plagues; please don’t receive these demonic accusations and be
    part of this company of false accusers. Be like Jesus,not like his accusers.

    Blessings,

    Tom Daley

    Reply

  12. Wow what a load of head knowledge you have. You are stuck in your head and ibvoliously not open to allowing the Holy Spirit to move in your life that is why you are so deceived. Why not interview the thousands of people that were instantly healed and delivered from stuff that people like you spend fifty years trying to counsel them out of with no results and then re-write this artcicle with you as the people doing the repentance for shaming what our Lord has bought and paid for with His precious blood

    Reply

    1. Daniel, which God did u pray to before writing this? Or rather, which God gave you a response to cast aspersions on another’s ministry? (I copied my response from Karen, but isn’t it fitting?)

      Reply

    2. Instantly healed from what? Pain in the back or the head? Maybe like at the so called Lakeland Revival? Wasn´t Bill Johnson also part of those great Apostles and Prophets who came to appoint this ugly little fat Todd Bentley as THE Leader of the GREATEST worldwide Revival just days before this Great Move of (a) God ended because of this arrogant lunatic? Emma didn´t help him sadly. But Rick Joyner brought him back to ministry. So whom are you repeating? Do you know what happens if the HOLY SPIRIT moves? Do some research on REAL Revival and study your Bible about the End-Times and maybe realize that there are people who do their homework and therefore are able to help others to discern!

      Reply

      1. I love Jesus and the Word May 23, 2017 at 8:28 am

        I was healed. My friend was healed. And yes, instantly. And yes I’m still healed 12 years later. And ya wanna hear
        Another healing that will blow some people’s theology? When I was three and a half I was crushed by almost a thousand pounds of hay bales…my Mormon dad found me there with my feet sticking out, threw the bales off me, my eyes were open, my mouth full of hay…I was flopping around seemingly lifeless, he ran me into the farmhouse, and my Mormon grandpa ‘blessed’ me (which we all prob agree we wouldn’t want a Mormon laying hands on us and praying)…BUT God heard their prayers and He has a plan for my life and I was instantly healed then as well. I immediately began breathing and suffered no consequences. I am so thankful that not only is He able to heal, but He is willing.

  13. I see your site is similar to my weblog. Do
    you allow guest posting? I can write unique posts for you.
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    Reply

  14. Jennifer Fitzpatrick October 25, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Oh ye who have so little faith. You must be catholic. Healing is one of the many gifts God gives to those that truly follow and love him. I almost doubt that you are a true christian based on this writing. I recommend you spend a few more decades in your bible before you judge other christians so incorrectly. And perhaps pay a little more attention to the log in your own eye before you concern yourself with the speck in Bethels.

    Reply

    1. i doubt that Catholics have little faith

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  15. I probably agree with most of what you have written, but I don’t understand why you would place a post-tribulation eschatological view int to the same categories of “Grave Sucking” and “tunnels of fire in orgies induced euphoria”.

    Reply

  16. kkkkkkkkkkkkk é uma pena esse seu pensamento, está na hora de tirar o Espírito Santo da caixa e viver uma realidade sobrenatural. ❤

    Suellen – Brasil

    Reply

    1. Domingos Amândio Eduardo January 1, 2017 at 2:06 am

      Se Jesus Cristo tivesse vivido no tempo desse cara provavelmente seria duramente criticado por essa pessoa que se diz pastor. João 21:25 Jesus realizou ainda muitas outras maravilhas. Se todas elas fossem escritas uma por uma, acredito eu que nem mesmo o mundo inteiro seria capaz de conter os livros que se escreveriam. Tudo que Jesus realizou foi tido como feitiçaria, ele mesmo foi chamado de falso profeta, e mesmo assim não se importou e inovou sim. O Espírito Santo não está limitado à um livro preto com 66 resumos. Ele é Deus, é ilimitado. Como é que uma mente limitada acha-se no direito de julgar o que é e o que não é de Deus? Eu não entendo essa religiosidade precária que já perdeu de vista o crescimento do pecado. Se são tão detentores da verdade e do poder das escrituras ele poderia ir e salvar o mundo inteiro.

      Reply

    1. Hi Anthony, quite an assortment of responses. I have two other posts on my blog that have to do with Graham Cooke. Actually doing research on him was how I began to do research on NAR. Links to the two posts are here: https://bcooper.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/review-of-prophetic-wisdom-by-graham-cooke/ and https://bcooper.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/apostasy-and-graham-cooke/ It is important to note that the Assemblies of God in the USA do NOT support the OFFICE of Apostles nor their assumed authority to govern today. Here is a link to their statement on Apostles and Prophets: http://ag.org/top/beliefs/position_papers/pp_downloads/pp_4195_apostles_prophets.pdf Point to note: don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Blessings.

      Reply

  17. Here’s me in the flesh saying you’re an idiot. Bible says call sin sin. And You are tearing down the body of Christ.
    Whatever the case may be it’s NOT UP TO YOU TO DECIDE!! It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict. You are NOT God.
    If you don’t believe in miraculous healing fine, if you make it, you’ll see heaven first. You and other denominations needs to stop picking and jabbing at others.
    But instead show love to one another even if they are sinful or wrong. Jesus NEVER called Mary a Whore or harlot, He said woman you’re forgiven now get up and sin nomore. That’s how we should be. Loving and assertive but LOVING!

    Reply

    1. I read this article and didn’t see anywhere where the author said he didn’t believe in miracles…..

      Reply

  18. Wesley termed the apostolic era finished? and i never knew that as a Methodist? please revise your history pastor, http://danielrjennings.org/tsoojw2.pdf

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  19. this is so messed up tho bethel church may have its flaws but it has good parts too like every church in the world. only one of your points seemed off to me but i didnt really understand what you were saying. that claim on the ‘apostolic age’ is false doctrine in the highest read the scripture that the young pastor quoted i myself prayed for people in the name of Jesus and saw people miraculously healed. The criteria to being a apostle is seemly being called by God to be one you dont have to ‘see’ Jesus to be one and if so then how is paul an apostle? how then did they chose another person to replace Judus to be the 12th apostle? How then phillip the evangelist do those amazing miracles if he was not of the apostles? Jesus said anything is possible to them who believe if you put your faith in his words and act on it you would see that you too can do amazing miracles as well and cast out demons and heal the sick if you believe in the name of Jesus

    Reply

    1. But Bethel and the WOF (word of faith) movement don’t teach that! They teach that “you” supposedly can command things at will because a little christ lives in you. This isn’t actually true. There is no place in scripture that it says Christ lives in your heart anywhere. The Spirit enables us to live a Christian life. Can God heal people? Absolutely. But there is a difference in coming to God in prayer for healing vs thinking because of your special anointing you can -at will- heal others by just saying “the name of Jesus.” Re-read Matthew 24- it says many will come in Jesus’ name, “do healings, perform signs and wonder”, and He will tell them to depart and cast them into hell. What is all that about?

      Reply

  20. Domingos Amândio Eduardo January 1, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Meu Deus, é triste ler essa carta. Porque não vais às ruas ganhar almas ao invés de gastares todo esse tempo a criticar um povo que, com sinceridade de coração, tem procurado levar adiante o evangelho de amor e salvação. Você acha que tudo se resume na Bíblia? Leia João 21:25 Jesus realizou ainda muitas outras maravilhas. Se todas elas fossem escritas uma por uma, acredito eu que nem mesmo o mundo inteiro seria capaz de conter os livros que se escreveriam. Se Jesus vivesse hoje provavelmente teria sido criticado por ti.

    Reply

  21. I have one small question, if it is possible that the devil and demons masquerade as angels of light and miraculous things can be done through them (by false prophets and teachers), why then would a true believer in Christ who only wants to further the Kingdom of God not be able to heal and do miracles in the name of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit?

    Reply

    1. I think there is a difference between earnestly asking God in prayer to heal someone ( a friend, a coworker, etc) who is ill, and “commanding” a person to be healed and “speaking it” into existence. Does that make sense? All prayers in scripture are to be said with a reliance on God. Current Word of Faith and Bethel crowd does not have this- they teach you have a little christ in you.

      We are not able to heal others- ONLY Jesus.

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  22. Hello Pastor Anthony,
    My prayer for you and believers with a mindset as yours is that the Lord will open your eyes to see what is missing in your life and ministry as the very thing you are criticizing as “unbiblical ” is the very thing that MIGHT be missing but NEEDED in your life and ministry!
    Take a minute and examine the fruits of your ministry over the years! Take some time and examine the fruits of the minister and ministry you are criticizing! If they are winning more souls to Christ than you are, then you should be more concerned about your ministry than theirs!
    There’s the tendency for people to get carried away by emotions when there’s a revival of “religion ” or an outpouring of the power of God, but no man should dare to discredit that work as not of God!
    It appears you have background in theology or possibly aspiring to be a theologian! And that is great, as theology has it’s use in the body of Christ! But you want to be a theologian filled with the Holy Spirit and with power, otherwise theology will do you and your congregation more harm than good! “The letter killeth but the Spirit makes alive! ”
    Any body can quote scriptures including the devil! Any one can interpret scriptures based on their education/experience/background! Interpretation of the scripture without the Holy Spirit does no good! But rather more harm!
    “The Kingdom of God is not in words but in power. ”
    You want to ask yourself what do you have, words or power?

    Reply

    1. The Spirit has the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness, and self-control……if man wills power and wants to bring people to man, not God, then another spirit shows up and does just that.

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  23. All I have to say is thank you to the author. I do not see you as judgemental, but rather a watchman on the wall. One day soon, all will be revealed for what it truly is. God will sift it all out.

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  24. Keep it up! Sadly I think those that follow in the Bethel pattern/cult get furious if you point out anything wrong. They have drunk a LOT of Koolaid. They even think Biblical teaching is reserved for scoffers! Because they have “holy spirit.” I find this really odd to be honest- at some point Bethel stopped saying “THE Holy Spirit” and now its just “holy spirit.” This spirit though that I see is rather unusual and doesn’t seem to convict sinners of their sin- instead they just keep living in it. People I’ve known associated with Vineyard/Bethel/Toronto have:
    1) refused to work or have a regular job as commanded in timothy to care for one’s spouse, and also in proverbs.
    2) told people that ‘once saved always saved’ is good doctrine
    3) done everything and anything sexual with people thinking God will forgive them of their habitual sin.
    4) been rude, mean, and cruel to family members
    5) stalked those who were not in the “bethel” crowd.
    6) pushed the teachings of an indian guru on people as truth- even though it had a false christ character (Sadhu Singh)
    7) virtually imprisoned their children with them because they don’t want them to be corrupted (person not allowed to go hang out with any other kids, have hobbies, etc)

    I mean need we more evidence?

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  25. It’s difficult for me to take this author seriously when he’s doing what he’s accusing Bethel and Jesus Culture of doing only in a slightly different way. He’s taking isolated statements out of context and applying the scripture he wishes to refute the statement with.
    Here’s what I know to be true. I walked away from God after 15 years as a worship leader and started living a homosexual lesbian life over 20 years ago. I am attending Jesus Culture and Crist Jesus through that church called me back to him in a most beautiful and powerful way. They most definitely teach from the word of God, the same bible the author uses to refute them out of fear.
    Different churches are called to fulfill different purposes and this church is called to revival and it’s happening! I’ve seen it and I’ve seen healing occur. I’ve seen the change in my own life and that the author cannot dispute.
    Worship and music is powerful in this church and it moves people. It has pushed my comfort level at times but how someone worships is between that individual and the Holy Spirit. Jesus Culture in no way mandates how one should worship. I love the Lord God and will raise my hands in praise and dance every Sunday and I WILL feel something in doing so, our Heavenly Father created those emotions for a reason, they help spur us into action. I am not ashamed that I feel something when I worship at this church because it motivates me to follow my God, to get into the word and to share this with others. All of this is evidence of the power of Jesus Christ moving in my life and Jesus Culture is equipping me to get out there and make a difference in my world for the Kingdom! Hallelujah and All Praise to the Father!

    Reply

  26. Ok, if you still dont believe that Jesus Culture is a false Christian movement, just look carefully a the covers of their albums: for example “Jesus Culture Reconstructed Volume 1”, “Everything” and few more. You can find TRIANGLES there!!!! I guess we all know what triangles mean….And yes, I agree, that they rather promote the idolatry and the personality cult than the worship of the Lord…It’s enough to watch their concerts. That’s the truth!! We nned to keep our eyes open and keep trust in God, Jesus Christ and Bible, not in any kind of men!!

    Reply

  27. Here is an interesting picture of one of the teachers that have spoken at the conferences of Jesus Culture, Christy Black Gifford:
    http://nebula.wsimg.com/7e381f590019b1f85532fac7d5131ed6?AccessKeyId=2903393A7135959FFCEA&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

    Are you really that blind? These are the devil horns!!!
    Hear and read what she says: http://www.4discernment.com/jesus-culture.html
    She is not the only one…

    What is the title of one of Kim Walker Smith albums?: ” When Christmas comes”!!!
    Christmas has pagan roots!! Any true Christian should celebrate it actually…..
    Here is one of the source: http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm

    and so on and so on….

    the end of the days indeed….

    Reply

  28. Dear Pastor Anthony,

    I wholeheartedly concur with what you have written and wish to encourage you, brother, in the face of what I am sure is a constant stream of push-back from those in the Bethelite camp. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly these people seem to find articles and blog posts that expose their unbiblical practices and then flood the comments section with their highly subjective reasons why Bethel shouldn’t be critiqued. As you said, Anthony, the Bible commands us to expose these false teachers, and the Bible alone is the standard against which we must judge the fruit of Bethel. I note with great interest that Bethel’s supporters give evidence of Bethel’s supposed goodness with testimonies such as “I got healed,restored and my relationship with Jesus is better than ever before,” “Bethel is a Wonderful church and it has more Holy Spirit there than any where else I’ve ever been,” and “I love the Lord God and will raise my hands in praise and dance every Sunday and I WILL feel something in doing so” — all unsubstantiated and biblically indefensible feelings-based responses, whereas you, Anthony, were careful to accurately quote what Kris Vallotton said and then refuted it by rightly handling the scriptures. Where is the biblical basis for their assertions? There isn’t any. And how can they then claim to be growing ever soooo much in their love for God if they clearly reject the teachings of God’s word?

    And lest any Bethelite accuse me of attacking something I have no personal experience of, allow me to say that I was a Pentecostal for 24 years and saw all of the supposed signs and wonders stuff, including the Toronto ‘blessing’, whose influence is strong in Bethel and its satellites. I thank God that I am now out of that movement and pray that others will have their eyes opened as well. As another fine teacher said, once you have seen the deception, you can’t unsee it.

    Keep up the good work, Pastor. There is more value in this one blog post than in sitting through an entire conference at Bethel.

    Reply

    1. Amen, I wholeheartedly agree with your comment in support of this site. Bethel never seems to have Scripture to back their claims, they are supposedly too spiritual for that… I too was in the charismatic movement, I am now free, I know the truth, thank you God for your grace! I see red flags in churches everywhere getting pulled into this unbiblical movement. I even fear that my reformed Church will cave, they have used 1 bethel song during Church, which is one too many for me!!!!

      Reply

  29. ok, the pastor Anthony Wood, must be a man of God, but he needs to know that in Mark 16 is very clear .. He that believed and is baptized shall be saved but he that believed not shall be dammed, and this signs shall follow them that believed … in my name … and here is a list of the manifestations for all that believe and not only the apostles but all that believe so pastor pray about this scriptures the Holy Spirit will reveal you , that you can have those signs , miracles will happen in your ministry , you are a sincere pastor so lets pray, we are praying here in Brazil for you , you do not need to get in reason, just pray

    Reply

    1. Dear Fernando, please note the signs in Mark 16 include “holding snakes and drinking deadly poison” and ponder why some of the “signs” continue today but others do not. Cleary, Jesus does not give half-promises, so there must be another reason. And, the reason is that the apostles were unique witnesses of Christ (Ac 1:21-22), the foundations of the new church (Eph 2:20), and ended with Paul (1 Cor 15:8). Thanks for commenting brother – AW

      Reply

  30. […] in his seminal work [When Heaven Invades Earth, Destiny Image, 2003] is taken out of context [In a former post I’ve documented errors of Bethel which we’ll set aside here]. In the first chapter of […]

    Reply

  31. Suzanne Simmons May 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    I totally agree with your concerns and conclusions about Bethel and have friends who have been sucked in and away from Bible-believing churches, others who attend occasionally for the ‘thrill’.

    I attend a very solid, Bible-based church, but our worship leader includes some of Bethel’s songs in our services. I have spoken to him about not wanting to use the music of a ‘church’ that is off-base, but he feels that as long as the lyrics are solid, it’s okay to use their music. He says it’s no different than, say, John Michael Talbot and his association with the Catholic church. I do not like our church “endorsing” the music which might lead some people to seek out more which is not solid. My husband basically agrees with him and thinks I’m making too big of a deal out of it, too.

    Your thoughts? I didn’t see any scripture or reasoning in your article to help my case. Did I miss it?

    Thanks.

    Reply

    1. I do not think using any Bethel music is okay, no Hillsong music either… It is very misleading. When we have so many songs, so many hymns why choose from a dangerous church? No it all starts somwhere.. Usually with the music. These unholy churches have admitted to using their music to lure the younger audiences, people like how they feel when they hear the music. They are not worshipping Jesus, they are worshipping themselves. We are to glorify Christ alone!! We have the same problem at my Church. Just be on alert that nothing else creeps in unawares… Keep praying for God to change their hearts!!

      Reply

      1. I love Jesus and the Word May 23, 2017 at 8:43 am

        And the waltz was evil…and cars were evil…and so on. In any music style or item, it can be used to glorify God or not. Someone can worship the music with an organ and choir singing with hymns, in the same way someone could focus their heart on the modern worship music. It’s all the same-no matter the style, the words (deep poetic stanzas vs repeating a true, edifying, God glorifying phrase) your heart and eyes should be on Jesus….and it’s easy to get distracted no matter what your worship music preference is. I personally like a whole bunch of styles…and I get why ppl don’t enjoy or connect with non hymns…but to criticize is so silly to me. i have been super super lifted up and encouraged by several Bethel songs recently. It shifts my focus back on Jesus…when I would otherwise be tempted to give way in my heart to cares and concerns of the world (aka anxiety!!),

  32. Dear Kel Sachs, I do not know them personally, neither do they know me. They are far away from me, as I am from them. There were several churches written to by Paul the Apostle. It was always a very personal letter that he addressed to them. I believe in a personal relationship to Yeshua, and God the Father, who is Yeshua, for there is One God and we shall love Him with all we have. The Name of God is His Nature. Yeshua the Savior and the Father. Therefor we shall call no one else Father. God´s Nature is the main point. He raises Children and make them Sons. To become a Son of Father God is the goal for me. That´s what we see in the Live of Yeshua. Born in and out of the Spirit and then confirmed as God´s Son and than becoming a Father to His disciples. Like someone that is born anew not born again. And then the process of making this child of God a son starts. Hebrew 12 makes it clear. It´s the personal education of God the Father. No on comes to Yeshua but through the Father. And no one comes to the Father but through Yeshua. John the Baptist was raised in a very special and unique way. He was outside in the wilderness. There he received his call, as we read. No man put his hands on him and made him someone. No man put his hands on Yeshua and made Him someone. No man put his hands on Paul and made him someone. The Focus at Bethel is definately too much on man. But those man are man of God I believe. The Bethel movement is influencing the whole Western World right now. I live in a small country in Europe and the whole charismatic world knows about Bethel and Bill Johnson. Still we are told to proof and keep the good. I´ve listened to Bethel teachings and I´ve watched it. Heidi Baker, Randy Clark have been here and they are great people I guess. We can all learn a lot from them. But what I realized throughout my over twenty years of a child of God still in the process of becoming a son is, that the Christians are still very inmature and blown from one teaching to another. From one movement to another. But within themselves, churches do not grow or have an impact on society as we know about from Acts. So I see it on one hand as something positiv, but on the other hand, it will not bring us to the point, where Yeshua wants us to get. I can not call Bill Johnson when I have problems. But I can call on God and seek Him and He will show me the way out and by this make me more majure and stronger in Him. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might! That is what we need. Any replacement of God, anything that we put before Him, anything else that we trust in and not trusting Him, is just not acceptable. Bill Johnson and the Bethel team should tell the world, that they should seek the Lord themselves and seek answers and solutions for their region and connect to brothers (sisters) where they are and trust God to bring healing to their Land and not someone else. I´ve been part of many movements until now, like the Brownsville Revival or the Lakeland Revival. It swept over to our country and the effect was short and without any lasting fruit – as far as I know. So please understand my point of view. Here where I am, Bethel cannot help me. They don´t know me. It´s just through the Medias nowadays that we consider such movements so high and jump on anything that presents itself so glorious. As a prophetic Person I see a great danger in such kind of Faith. For it is the Faith in people and concepts and specific teachings, that God gives to them personal. Can you recommend the teaching of Bethel to the whole world? Can you recommend it to persecuted believers in China and other parts of the world? Is it the creme de la creme of protestant charismatic Christianity? I tell you, life here where I am is wild. Christianity is a big Religion. Believers are fearful and superfacial and inmajure. We are fighting the good fight of Faith and we are running our race as strong and fast as we can and by this, we totally rely on God, not on any man or movement. I do not put down what happens in and through Bethel in Reddings California. But if they would send someone that stays here as an Apostle, a sent one, and gives his life to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, maybe I would honour it differently. But to go to conferences, where everyone welcomes them and praises them and wants them to lay hands on them and so on, it is a bit difficult for me to speak so high of them. We have the Word of God here in many translations. We have the Helper, the Holy Spirit and through Him and by the power of the blood of Yeshua we can enter the Holy of Holies and receive any knowledge and wisdom and power and strength in the fear of the Lord, and we do it and will do it and trust Him and Him only, for cursed is who trusts in man. Thanks for your comment and may the Lord strengthen you in this times as it is needed!

    Reply

    1. Hi kaleb,
      I will admit upfront that after the first paragraph of your response I only skimmed the rest. I will go back and re-read.
      Let me clarify that I attended Jesus Culture which is a separate church planted from Bethel. But I know first hand from our Pastor and from how we operate that NO ONE worships the pastors but only God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
      I must however correct your misuse of our Heavenly Fathers name because I believe that it is VERY important and was very important to him when he announced it and describes his nature and his desire for us to have a personal relationship with him.
      You are calling the Father Yeshua when in fact that is the Son Jesus Christs name. Our Heavenly Father does have a name and it is important if you are distinguishing it to use it correctly, it is and will always be Yahweh.
      In our church we do not call on anyone but the power of God and to him all glory, honor and praise will be given!
      Peace and blessings to you.

      Reply

  33. Dear Kel Sachs, maybe you do not understand me as it seems, but that is alright. You can also just skim this my comment, but maybe you read it with an open Spirit. We could of course discuss about what is so important to you like the name of God. To Mose God said, I am the I am. He is the One that was and is and will always be. The word “He is” comes from the Hebrew root word haya, which means, “to be.” It is the third person form of this word, “He is,” that becomes the name Yahweh. If we call Him Yeshua, you just call Him the “God that saves”. So if we say for example “In Jesus Name” we say “In the God that saves Name”. But many use it like a formula. Like any Name in the hebrew it has a specific meaning. In the ancient world, names communicated something about a person’s character, so a name carried much meaning with it. But alright. You probably know that. I believe Yeshua called Him Father cause of the relationship and to show us that God is a Father. The times that the name Yahweh appears, it does not appear in isolation, rather it appears along with another name of God. It is not until Exodus that the name “Yahweh” appears in isolation. The statement in Ex. 6:3 can be understood in one of two different ways. The first understanding is that Moses, being the author of both Genesis and Exodus, may have inserted the name “Yahweh” alongside the other names of God in Genesis so that his readers would know that the God of Genesis and Exodus are not different gods; rather, He is the same God with different names.The second understanding is that the patriarchs of Genesis may have known the name of Yahweh, but they did not know the meaning of the name and how it related to the character of God. Ex. 6:3 is not talking about the name Yahweh but rather the character behind the name. Thus, they may have called Him Yahweh, but they related to Him as Elohim or El Shaddai. Besides that, I´ve never read in the Bible something about a “Jesus Culture”. It could be that a culture becomes a cult. So this name might also include the character of the church you are attending. It is good that no one worships the pastor. One catholic I´ve met said, they do not worship Mary, the just honor her. Well, it´s just words. They honor Bill Johnson. Yes, that´s alright. Just honor your Pastor. Yeshua became a Father and in Isaiah 9,6 it is even written: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. So do you call Yeshua “Everlasting Father”? If not, you are not obeying the Word of God. And this is what I believe is the outcome of your Church and Churches. You rather believe your Pastors than the Word of God and obey them. Your Churches are part of Babylon and you should get out of it or you will participate the plagues that will come upon them. Greetings from Europe. Kaleb

    Reply

  34. Dear “I love Jesus and the Word”, it is wonderful what you can testify! Let me just proclaim “JESUS IS KING”! Halleluja! I believe you that Bethel is not of the devil. For if a kingdom is divided within itself, it can not remain. The devil is just a snake that appears as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions. This is quoted in 2. Cor. as you know for sure. This makes me understand that we have to take care and watch out and on the other hand, fully trust God and run full speed. But always watch and pray and proof and test the spirits. I absolutely believe in the God that heals, the God that restores and sets free. And He does and will do! But not every healing is from God. In the New Age movement there are lots of healings supernaturally. But I believe you that you were healed by Jesus Christ through the Power of the Holy Spirit! I believe you are my sister in Christ and I do not want to put down anything that you experienced with Him for it is very precious if Almighty God takes care of us so sensitive and personal. I love Him for knowing us and watching over us. I love when He touches me and makes me cry or laugh. Yes it´s true, we do in many areas not give a good picture or example to the world. But there are several reasons for that, which I do not want to examine and expose right now. One of the problems are all those different denominations. The Mormons do not have that, neither the JW´s. But the reasons are the differences in expressing a life with and for God or having church services or teaching doctrines. Some lift their hands some not. Some pray in tongues some not. Some believe in healing and lay hands on the sick some not. Therefore we have to read the word and find out what kind of life God wants us to live and how He wants us to express Him. As I am a very emotional person I can relate to king David a lot. But also to John the Baptist. I love to be one of Hebrew 11 and consider the Cloud of witnesses my people of whom I want to be part of. I do not want to be part of a denomination or church or church name like “Jesus Culture” or “Bethel” or any other like Baptists or Pentecosts and so on. I want to be part of those who ran before us and I really mean it, you could ask my wife. Many of those who ran their race before us would nowadays end up in a mental hospital. To be honest: Bill Johnson is just to nice and smooth for me. Almost boring. He is an old man, but Jesus and the disciples were young man and when David killed Goliath he was a teenager. So if we focus too much on old man, married man, man with their families and so on, it becomes like an imprint. We thing that this is Christianity. Being nice, always smiling, having a nice family and so on and so on. But this is a deception. It is a ferry tale. It is Disney World. The spiritual reality is different. There is heavy war going on all around us. As it is written and was foretold. We see it in all kind of areas of society. But the church is not prepared, not equipped. They still play their nice games of feeling good and getting their ears tickled. Please hear me. Bethel is not real reality! Jesus Culture and their concerts is not real reality! I almost hate this Jesus-Culture-Cult, for it brings the children of God and the army of God into a almost drunken state and here I must quote Revelation 2,20: “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” I will leave you know thinking about what I´ve just said. Proof it and tell me what you think. The Lord speaks to me every day. I must hear his voice and follow no other. One day when we stand before Him, He will not ask “What did Bill Johnson say?” No, He will ask us “What did I say” and we have to know what He says every day and be obedient and do it. Every second and every minute we have to hear His voice and trust Him and obey! That is the best Life we can live! Amen

    Reply

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