When Bethel Invades Your Church

This is an article written by Kathleen Morgan who frequently commented here. She recently came out of the “Bethel Invasion”.  This is the link to her short story   When Bethel Invades Your Church.

As a child I was raised a Catholic, which included attending mass, catechism, and a first holy communion. As a young adult I read the Bible and decided to attend a charismatic Bible-based non-denominational church.

Eventually I left the charismatic church and attended a Baptist Church. I had never understood or been interested in the differences between the many denominations within the Christian Church.  This fuzzy attitude of mine has changed over the past year, and I would like to share my story with you.

My family’s experience at the local charismatic church

My adult daughter recently became involved in New Age and native spirituality.  After we had a few discussions and arguments over Christian beliefs and the practices of the New Age movement, she agreed to attend a local non-denominational church with me. As a family we had gone to a Baptist Church together, but I thought that under the circumstances a charismatic church would be a place that would suit the situation. I was hopeful that hearing the Scripture taught would reach her with the message of salvation.

To my surprise the Sunday sermons were less about Scripture and more about
the “revival” happening in the town of Redding, California, where the message of Bill Johnson, senior pastor of Bethel Church, was being preached. I heard about the students of Pastor Johnson’s School of the Supernatural and how they are being trained to bring God’s power and healing to us. I heard sermons laced with invitations to try “soaking prayer” and experience “fire tunnels.” I saw a speaker in church “downloading and processing messages from God.” There were invitations to receive God’s power and impartations of healing and prophetic words.

This church purchased curriculum from Bethel and invited “those who want to move forward with God” to attend. This was a class on “the supernatural,” the same signs and wonders of which the Apostles spoke.  Members of the Bethel Church traveled south in order to instruct people to “learn to have visions and dreams” from God. I was not comfortable with the subject matter and did not attend the class. The church also held a Bible Study fellowship and I asked my daughter to go with me.  She came several times and enjoyed the meetings. One night a woman give a talk about some kind of inner healing ministry she did with people. When she was finished speaking my daughter said, “Mom, this is what I am learning at the Healing Arts School; she is talking about what is in my book”.

Found on the Internet – Signs and Wonders?

Since that time I have grown very concerned with the emphasis on Bill Johnson and
Bethel.  I did research on it and found many articles and blogs full of praise for Bethel and the “new things God is doing.”  There are dozens of Youtube videos and blogs with statements like these: “During one of these meetings a leader in our church saw gold dust begin to appear on her hands. After the meeting she went home and the gold dust appeared again. She understood this sign to be an indicator to pray for her husband and for a visiting relative–both of them were healed. Her husband and her relative began to shout when gold dust appeared on their hands!”

The internet has countless intriguing, sensational, and supernatural stories of healings and gold teeth being imparted. I watched a Youtube video of gold dust stigmata appearing on hands, I saw hands and bibles dripping in oil and angel feathers falling from the rafters. Each time these accounts were attributed to God as “signs and wonders” of his unconditional love.

Modern Day Prophets?

These teachings are not coming solely from Bill Johnson, but they are part of a global alliance of modern day “apostolic and prophetic” persons. They claim to have been given impartations from God himself to prepare his church to usher in the New Heaven.  This is a vision shared by many people. The fabric of this “revival” is woven by dreams and visions of men and women who proclaim to know a deeper truth, much of it revealed to them by angels.

Many churches all over the world are partnering with Bethel and other “supernatural” congregations to bring the revival to your area. That statement alone is unnerving to me. There are schools of the supernatural opening up to teach young believers how to tap into God’s power.

I read enough of this phenomenon to make me have nightmares. Now I understand that this revival is happening whether we like it or not.

Responses from Other Christians

Astounded by all this, I called a few Christian friends that I have known for years. I asked if they knew about this “revival.”  I found a wide range of responses to my questions. Some are committed to this and believe my wariness comes from unbelief. Some think I still need to process the information. They honestly believe these new revelations are coming to us from God through “the corporate church.” Others think it is just weird, a fad of sorts. Then there are those who just ignore it, because they never gave credence to charismatic Christianity in the first place.

Where does that leave me?  After researching and experiencing it from a parishioner’s point of view, I find it full of man-made events and mystical occurrences. It troubles me enough to write this article and hope people will educate themselves on this subject. Many of the practices are taken from Shamanism and directly from pagan ceremonies. The ancient rituals hold some power and impart mesmerizing delusions. Christianity does not embrace the ceremonial rites of ancient religions. We preach Christ crucified, for the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

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175 thoughts on “When Bethel Invades Your Church

  1. I heard a sermon at our Bethelized church just last Sunday: Stop sinning, get ready to help in the coming big revival. In my walk through Charismania, the big revival was an everlasting and elusive game of chase the carrot–with the revival held out before you as the reason to press on through increasing foolishness. You could never get off their hamster wheel of learning and listening (to their books and CDs) for fear you might miss the latest revelation leading to the Big Revival. It all radiated from Joel 2:28-29. As I am just emerging from that hype, I still find it hard to shake that teaching of the great end-time revival as certainty. When I read scripture, it says there will be a great falling away and Jesus asks if He will find faith on the earth at His return. Can someone shed some light on the scriptural basis or lack of for the big revival?

  2. Oh, Kathleen!

    My heart breaks for you! But please know that you are NOT alone! I have recently and painfully had to seperate from my own church that has aligned itself with Bethel. Their plan is to infiltrate and take the city & county by the “new revival” storm! The leadership in my (ex) church just returned from a “leadership” conference at Bethel. The last 5 months or so have been a nightmare, so I really understand and feel for you.

    M’Kayla’s blog as well as herself personally have been a refuge and a voice of sanity and reason amidst the chaos I have witnessed.

    If you need someone to talk with, maybe M’Kayla can hook us up via e-mail.

    Again, you are NOT alone, and this “movement” is spreading like wildfire. Those of us who are concerned need to be there for one another at a very critical and confusing time.

    May God bless you!!!

  3. You are correct. There is no scriptural basis for an “end time revival”. What I see is a HUGE – HUGE end time delusion as the remaining free-to-practice-Christianity-world is being swept up into it. We could very well be facing the falling away described in 2 Thess. Why? Those following have parted from the love of the truth and are following after other gods. I have to wonder if all the big revival hype is leading up to the unvailing of the anitchrist. These Bethel followers and others like them and gone before them seem like zombies. They all have the same tag lines, the same hot phrases that have no meaning scripturally or otherwise. They speak of love yet have no love for their own savior to check such teachings with His word. Most of them aren’t even aware what is happening to them.

    A good point of reference: compare their claims of greatness and pride with the sufferings of the disciples of the first few centuries or of those who live in other countries and have to hide to worship or pray. Compare also their claims to dreams and visions against the intent and purpose of the ones recorded in scripture. These people are elitists and have parted from the truth. God has become their genie and they have lost all fear and reverence that He deserves! All true revivals are about repentance of sin, not about signs and wonders of which theirs are false – satan masquerading as an angel of light. After all, what in the world do falling feathers have to do with our God?? How could that have anything to do with His love for us. Wasn’t dying on the cross good enough to show His love? You are on the right track. Hang in. Ask all the questions you want! :)

    It is my prayer that God would shine the light of the truth on whoever comes here with these questions.

  4. I would like to say that I heard stories of gold dust appearing long before I knew anything about Bethel or even knew there was a city called Redding. Most of what they do is not new by any means.
    I have two questions for you. The first is, just because it’s different and you don’t understand it, does that make it wrong? The second is, if people are coming to the Lord and finding meaningful relationships with Christ, are the innocent mistakes that important? No church or movement has ever done things right. Every church has messed up in some way or another. One thing I appreciate about Bill Johnson, though, is that when he or the church messes up, he gets up and says, “Well, we’re not doing that again.” They know they make mistakes, but they do their best to repent and not repeat.

  5. I completely agree with Kathleen’s assessment. I don’t think this is all leading up to the antichrist(I’m a partial-preterist), but I do think the movement is filled with a bunch of “baby” Christians. The best thing we could do is pray for them(obviously:). God will rescue those who are truly seeking Him.

  6. mebeingreal
    Where in the bible are there stories of gold dust or any of this other phenomena? It’s a little more than a happening that is different from what I don’t understand when it cannot be verified as a move of God in the biblical sense. The bible is our guide to Him and the final authority to prove all things that are claimed to be of Him. What we are discussing is not a matter of “not getting it”, it is a matter of completely missing God. There is no denying the false teachings that go on in Bethel and many other churches today and NO they are not new either. People are more wrapped up in what they believe to be signs and wonders than they are in the purity of the gospel and teaching found in the word of God. There are more protecting the men and women who support false doctrine than there are those who stand for biblical truth – aka Jesus Christ who gave His life for them. If people are so convinced they are following after Christ, why aren’t they reading the Word? Why aren’t they as the Bereans checking to see if those things taught are true? Bill Johnson listens to and follows the direction of the false prophet Bob Jones. He supports and defends Todd Bentley who is a proven false teacher among other things. You can hardly say he recognizes wrong when he sees it. No, he supports it. So, the claim “we’re not doing that again” hardly applies, much less any appearance of repentance.

  7. My Dear
    Please do not feel you are alone. My church is into him at the moment. I have now downloaded his messages and all he does is waffles.
    The word is our plumb line. I feel sad because Ii will have to leave soon.
    This is my motto: If it is not in the word it is not from God. Even Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun.
    Keep your eyes on the Cross and abide in the Lord and his Living word. You will not be led astray!

  8. Hi Harry.
    Thank you for that. :) So with the words you use to encourage others may you find yourself encouraged by them. I think most of the Christians involved with Bethel and the others do not know the danger.

    Blesssings

  9. Where is the Old Testament example that would give a grid for Jesus walking on water, walking through walls, appearing to the disciples after the Crucifixion? Where is the Old Testament example for tongues of fire? Much of what Jesus himself did and what the apostles did was not in the Old Testament, which was their only source. There isn’t always a specific example in the Bible, but we already know that not every single act that Jesus performed was recorded. Jesus also said that signs and wonders would follow those who believe, and He also said that we would do greater things than He. Either Jesus was lying, or He was telling the truth.
    I still don’t think you understand what Bethel is doing. Do you understand why they are interested in signs and wonders? It’s to show people the power of God and His Kingdom to introduce them to the King. That’s exactly what the 12, and the 70, and all the different groups that Jesus sent out did. It’s what the apostles did after the resurrection. They healed people and then converted them. Are they not our best examples, second only to Jesus?

  10. This is not a matter of “Jesus lying or telling the truth” it is a matter of context in which the word is written. Jesus performed such miracles because He is the Son of God. He did these miracles so that others – namely the Jews – would know and see Him as the promised Messiah. Comparing these “signs and wonders” gold dust, falling feathers, gemstones, oil, – STIGMATA – with examples in the OT and what Jesus did is not a valid argument, nor is the claim that many things Jesus did were not recorded. The things that were recorded – written down – were done so for our edification for our teaching so that we would know them and know the truth. They were accounts by eye-witnesses to Jesus Christ, what they learned from Him, what they taught others. All things they did pointed back to Christ, not to falling feathers or gold dust or even gold teeth! No. These are false signs!! This is a key statement in knowing the difference and if you miss it you will be lost.

    People who were healed by Jesus Christ and His disciples were healed IMMEDIATELY. There were no “gradual healings” or a need to return for more “healing prayer”, or that they need to repeat certain scriptures 5 times a day in a loud proclaiming voice to “receive their healing”. There were no accounts that someone was “touched” or “felt better”, or that “something happened”. There was no mistake of the healing for the person involved and those who watched as they saw them to be true miracles of supernatural power and instantaneous healing and deliverance.

    Bethel claims the ability to do the same miracles as Jesus did, the same power, the same authority as the Son of God. They are the same as those from ages ago involved in the word of faith. They do not have any of it. Instead what they have is a knock off from occult teachings, huge followings of deluded people and tons of money. This is why many who go to their healing rooms for prayer go home not healed, not delivered, not even saved. They speak of believers as we have to attain a higher level of spirituality so that we will be able to perform such miracles, signs and wonders. This is not even biblical. There will not be a day that all hospitals are empty and we are not moving to set up the kingdom of God on earth through the workings of miracles, signs and wonders. We preach Jesus Christ crucified, some who hear the word receive it and are saved, some do not. Healing is secondary and only as God wills. Often times He does not and that is the life that we live, under His sovereignty.

    Stop saying I don’t understand. I came out of this mess! I speak from experience and bible research. These healing rooms do not heal and these dead raising teams do not raise the dead. Please do some of your own research. Stop listening to these cute one – liners and read the word for what it says. The push is not for healings or higher levels of spirituality – it is for salvation and living the life that glorifies Christ. More often than not it ends up being a life of hardship that we would not have chosen. It is not a life of prosperity and “all is well”. You want to identify with the disciples? They all died gruesome deaths, except for John. They did not have wealth or health, many were sick, homeless and treated inhumanely. These who claim signs and wonders, power, authority, etc. seem to leave that part of truth out of it. Get ready. If you are a true follower of Christ things are not going to go well for you. But I am sure those following after false teachings, those who demand miracles will get what they desire, a false hope and a false god.

    Please go to the top of the blog under “Pages” and read a “trip in charismania” before you respond. It gives the background of my experience in the healing rooms and the false prophetic.

    Do some research for the roots of this movement – latter rain, dominionism, John G Lake, Alexander John Dowie, William Branham – some of it you will find here on my blog and some you can google for yourself. Pull out your concordance and look up key words on healing, word curses, etc., the things that Bethel teaches, do a search on signs and wonders and angelic activity. Do research on the Holy Spirit and learn the difference between true manifestations and the false -shaking, falling, heat, etc. Educate yourself and see the truth. It will not be easy, but it is necessary if you are to follow the One who died for You.

  11. Thank you so much for posting this article on Bethel and Bill Johnson. Our brief exposure to their teachings is what lead us to really start digging into what they really believe and teach vs. what the Word of God says and they are not even close to lining up. We had been in a charismatic church for several years: with bits and pieces of “Toronto Blessing” and Bill Hamon prophetic teachings floating around; but it wasn’t until we left and went into ministry that Bill Johnson came into the picture, by way of not only the church that we left but the covering/fellowship that we were affiliated with. We have since left this fellowship and ministry and are now pouring over every bit of information that we can get our hands on concerning Bethel and WoF etc. BTW your site is saved to our favorites and we appreciate all the info. that you share. God Bless you Pat

  12. God bless you. Thanks for the information. It is so helpful that others hear testimony. I also had bits and pieces of bad teaching for decades. But yes – when we begin to read the word we find the truth. It is shocking and frightful, but has the power to save!

  13. Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
    Mar 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned.
    Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues;
    Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
    Mar 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
    Mar 16:20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

    And into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come near unto you.
    (Luk 10:8-9)

    And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons: freely you have received, freely give.
    (Mat 10:7-8)

    For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not worked by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
    (Rom 15:18-19)

    .
    .
    .
    .
    To me, there is no doubt that God has NOT changed His mind about healing and signs following the preaching of the gospel. There is no scripture to suggest that He has, only circumstantial evidence.

    The doubt is that there are false teachers who major on the supernatural, as our LORD warned in Matt 24:24.

    Praying for the sick is not a sin and it’s not the problem. It’s the false gospel, false teachings, and the immoral (covetous and arrogant) lifestyles that is sin.

    As good ‘doctors’ we need to diagnose accurately.
    :)

  14. Also, the manner or approach to healing is so often arrogant and presumptuous and self-glorifying, but that does not make healing a sin.

  15. To base one’s beliefs on one’s experience only (or lack of it) is “experiential theology”.

    Like when a person doesn’t believe in tongues or healing bcos they haven’t experienced such. Their ‘theology’ is experiential, not Biblical.

    ———————————————–

    On a related note: If in a certain situation preaching the gospel i don’t pray for the sick or cast out demons it would only be bcos the Holy Spirit did not lead me to in that situation, and NOT bcos there is any Biblical injunction or mandate NOT to do it. There is no such injunction, it is a myth.

  16. And so the differences between Jesus Christ and Bethel, Word of Faith false teachers, prophets and anointing and supernatural experiences. They are not the same, they do not operate under the power of the Holy Spirit. Instead they are held hostage by the power and doctrines taught by demons. That is the bottom line. And the reason why we know this is true is because they do not teach scripture, but twist it to say what they need it to say at the moment including a false end time revival and earthly Kingdon of God which can only be set up by Jesus Christ, not through the efforts of men.

    The spirit manifestations are of the flesh, drunken, disorderly and not those described for us as fruits found in Gal 5:22-23. Their prophetic words/market-place ministry have nothing to do with God, completely people focused hogwash of pride and destiny. They are not any different from what will be spoken by occultists as they hear from familiar spirits, not from God. This is why so many of these teachers including John Paul Jackson (and those who trained under him) teach the occultists also prophecy the in the same gift as Christians, but have not recognized it as true gift from Him. Oh my! Why would God give a gift to someone who would not use it for His purpose but for their own? These teachings are evil at the core.

    Why do I bring this up? Because they are all connected at some point. They all use the same teachings for prophecy, market place ministry, hearing the “voice” of God and dreams and vision interpretation, and other supernatural experiences. They believe we have a “right” to these things, these experiences, including a “right” to be healed. Their methods of healing and “speaking things into existence” is nothing but witchcraft repackaged, not bringing freedom but bondage. There is nothing good to be said about them – not one thing.

    So, yes I agree with you that there is no biblical foundation for the gifts ceasing. But at the same time, here in America we do not see the power as described in the gospel. What we see are either lies and exaggerations of the truth to deceive many, or God healing as He wills, which means many do not receive healing. On that note, why are we so wrapped up in healing, when glory awaits? I don’t get it. Desiring healing is not a sin, but chasing after it is because it becomes the what the person fights for, it becomes an idol. The methods for healing prayer found at Bethel and International Association of Healing Rooms (Cal Pierce) are sinful because they are not biblically based. And the truth in that can only be found in an earnest search in the scripture.

  17. Ian, this is a great point. supernatural workings such as signs, wonders, healings, etc.. are good things. but should be used for the furtherance of the gospel rather than focused on.

  18. lol… it could take while to explain.:) in a nutshell, a partial preterist is a Christian who believes that many of the bible prophesies that most Christians see as yet to be fulfilled were actually fulfilled back around 70 A.D. for instance, in passages such as Mat.10:23, Mat. 16:28, Mat. 23:35-36, and Mat. 24:34, preterists believe that Jesus was prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem that happened in 70 A.D.(thus, the “all this will come upon this generation.”) Partial preterists believe that the destruction of Jerusalem was a coming of Jesus in judgment but also believe that Jesus has yet to make a physical return for the church. it can be hard to explain, so if you have any questions about it you can email me. :)

  19. I spent several years in a church that was informally associated with Bethel, had name speakers in from this movement in general, people that worked at the Healing Rooms, etc. As time went on the teachings became more and more unscriptural. The were based on Scripture–at least most of them–but turned around and twisted to mean something else completely. We were always waiting for the big revival to come. It was prophesied several times in the church I was in or similar ones in the area, at least once with a specific date given. Still haven’e seen it anywhere around here! But the most disturbing thing to me about it all was the constant occurence of the very bizarre “signs and wonders.” Actually, in our church itself, they were mild compared to what people kept coming back from the big conferences and talking about. The Christian life being “fun” and “partying in the Holy Spirit” were a huge emphasis. I kept hoping things would change–and they did–they just kept getting worse! It finally got to the point that I knew I had to leave. And I had come to the same conclusion as you, Mkayla, that there was actual demonic activity going on in the name of the Holy Spirit. The hardest thing for me about leaving was being told that I had better be careful that I didn’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit by making such comments. And that of course is the unforgivable sin. And of course, I was also told that I might miss what God had for me if I left. This is all years ago now, and I don’t believe I have completely recovered from the whole thing yet.

  20. HI Cherylu.

    Thanks for the testimony. I hope those who are caught up in this demonic movement will read these testimonies coming it and take heed to the truth they tell.

    If blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is what I have done then I and many others are lost.

  21. It is amazing how much I am now reading about Bill Johnson. Two years ago I could not find much about him. I tried to research him because my daughter was a follower of him. This daughter being one that I have not seen in years, but through some research happened to find out this fact of her affiliation with him. These people who claim to have the inside track on everything spiritual, cannot even comprehend the foundation of the Gospel, or the basis of it all -the love of almighty God- for a fallen world.
    There are at least two churches within ten miles of this small town that I live in that follow his teachings. I’m sure there are more that I am not aware of.
    As a Christian for over thirty years, I attended Baptist churches and then stepped over into the charismatic, attending Benny Hinn crusades etc. I believe in the gifts of the spirit, healing and all that the bible teaches, but there was always a check in my spirit about many of the things I saw and heard in many of these scenarios.
    I like many of you, thank God for opening my eyes to the truth. If we are truly His, the precious Holy Spirit will speak to us, if we will only listen. He is our teacher.
    I pray for my daughter and her husband to be rescued from this deception.

  22. Thank you Tez. I’m glad to hear from you again.

    Truly there are gifts of the Holy Spirit, there is power and anointing when God moves, but it is not found in the craziness of charismania. So many of us get that “check” that something is not right, then to our detriment, ignore it. I would hope that if anything even remotely familiar to this would come to me again I would run to my bible and not the resource table.

    I pray that the Lord, our Good Shepherd will find those who have been lost – including your daughter and son in law – and when He speaks they will hear His voice and come out of the darkness.

  23. Mkayla
    Bill Johnson and his ilk are evidence of a great deception that is presently underway in the church.When men and their ministries are deemed to be of greater significance than the message they purport to represent, then we know that the truth has been compromised.In Ezekiel 36:22 whereby God lays out His plan for a new covenant, He says that it is for the sake of HIS Holy name , not for Bill Johnsons glory, or Benny Hinns or Joyce Meyer’s for that matter.Any way, astute bible students will know that all these things will come to pass before the return of Christ.Incidently, this is also a flaw in Bill Johnsons theology as he is firmly in the Domininist camp. If I understand correctly here , Bill Johnson claims that it is through signs and wonders that the Kingdom of Heaven will be brought to earth.

  24. Not to mention that these “schools of the supernatural” and healing rooms, books, CD’s, etc. are making a BOATLOAD of $$$!

  25. Guys I think we all miss it somehow.
    We do not want to pray for the sick because of the way people abuse it. We are scared to use the word faith because of abuse. We are scared to talk about the gifts of the spirit because of abuse.
    We must find a balance. Just because a few individuals who kill themselves, and others, because of the way they drive does not stop us who stick to the rules from driving. The same counts for believers, just because some people go to the extreme it will not stop me from believing and living the whole council of God.
    Faith:
    I have just read the Gospels again and noticed how many time Jesus said “your faith”. So obviously whatever they had received had something to do with “their faith”. Jesus also said what you believe you can have. The key is to find the balance and get rid of the extreme. Yes my faith works and will work as long as it is in accordance with the will of the One who gave it to me in the first place. Anything outside of this, whether I receive it (by my own power not by God’s) or not, have anything to do with the will of God and can lead to false teaching.
    Tongues (Pentecostal or Charismatics) and healing.
    Jesus said in Mark, those who believe will speak in tongues, lay hands on the sick and they will recover. We cannot ignore this because of people’s abuses. What about 1 Cor 14, we cannot just act like it does not exist. We must preach the whole council of God and not just our own pet doctrines.
    I still lay hands on people and the words Jesus spoke so long ago still have power to heal.
    I am baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues and I pray for people to be baptized and the same happens to them.
    If this piece in the Gospel of Mark is not for today then maybe the rest of the Bible is also not for today.
    The key is to find the truth in the Word and to stick to it. Do not make the Word say something it does not say, this will always get you into trouble!

  26. amen, Harry. not sure that i 100% agree on the speaking in tongues bit but amen to everything else.:)

  27. Through my own experience I have found that a very reliable reality check is watching who people hang out with, who their “bedfellows” are. Well, Bill Johnson hangs around with people like Bob Jones, Todd Bentley, Patricia Coking (aka Patricia King), Rick Joyner, and their ilk. These people are all freaky-deaky NAR “Dominionists” and are a total nightmare that are more concerned with angel visitations, “fire”, and “glory” then they are with Yeshua crucified and true repentance. That right then and there speaks volumes. I wouldn’t touch ANY of them with a ten foot pole dipped in oil and covered with angel feathers. They may occasionally preach the name of “Jesus”, but I believe it is a different “Jesus”.

    Take from that what you will.

  28. Hi Andy.

    Many of us feel the same way. Taking a look at who these birds flock with is a very good and easy way to determine what they are about. I have also found that visiting their website and their “resources page or store” will give a good indication into what they teach and who they support and agree with. It is helpful when someone is in the situation where they can’t quite figure out the true from the false or if you would want a quick idea of where they stand.

    Blessings

  29. You know, I think it was late last year or very early this year when we saw all of these organizations come together – Bethel, Morningstar, IHOP and the hosts of the Toronto Blessing – the Arnotts, Cindy Jacobs, Bob Jones, etc. Joyner and Jacobs are very militant in their style. I used to follow Jacobs but now I see her as a very scarey person. She recently had a vision in her room of the throne room – seraphim and fire. (Redeemed Hippie has the vid on her site, check my blogroll). Anyone who thinks they’ve gained access to the presence of God and was nearly burned alive has nothing to brag on, but better take a serious look at what they are doing! I don’t think Jacobs was as crazy several years ago as she is now. It just goes to show how they become worse as time goes by.

  30. Bill Johnson, the whole “Prophetic Alliance” and their leaders were all exposed by the Lord at the same time the night they all got on stage with Todd Bentley and prophesied what a great guy he was and all the things he was going to do. They all could see what he was going to do in the future but none of these prophets had the “discernment” to see that he was having an affair with Jessa or that he was drinking.
    In one go they were all made to look like fools. They should be glad we do not live under the Old Testament otherwise they would have been dead by now.
    If someone claims to be a prophet and speak lies when he prophesies and you still follow him blindly, my friend then I think you want to be deceived, are looking for manifestations or maybe you like to have your ears tickled.

  31. The problem is that it’s not the complete gospel message that is presented. There is just enough truth to hook them, and then the lulling to sleep comes with all the lies.

    Jesus spoke about the deception that would come in the End Times and he said that many would come in his name and perform great signs and wonders. Don’t you want to know if the sign and wonders are from God?

    Research the movements involved. Latter Rain, Manifest Sons of God, Word of Faith. The techniques that they are teaching are not in the Bible, but you find them in the Gnostic teachings, Occult practices, New Age, and Eastern Religions. Reading Auras? Where is that in the Bible?

    We need to “Wake Up” and Test and prove all things. I’ve done the research and it’s not as it seems. Search the roots. . . which tree do the come from?

  32. Hi Sam.
    Thanks for the comment. It does appear that much of the Church has jumped into the practice of the occult with not so much a second thought to it. I don’t think many have been taught how to approprately test anything. And yes, the truth is in the roots of the latter rain which is proven wrong by the word.

    Blessings.

  33. B
    I am not posting your comment because I believe Bill Johnson to be a false teacher for reasons already stated on this blog. Your comment will only confuse those who are still struggling for the truth. Do the research and consult with the bible on his teachings and you will see he twists the word of God to say whatever he wants it to. It is not a matter of “baby” Christians or that those of us who speak against his teachings lack maturity. People like him have been throwing those phrases around for decades to discredit the truth and truthseekers. We don’t need the gift of healing near as much as we do the gift of discernment. But how can one expect to have any gift at all when they teach or follow things outside the pure teaching of scripture? Ever wonder why there is such a push for healing lately? Pride. Bethel, along with all of those in the Word of Faith have taught for decades about their anointing, their power, thier gift, their this, their that. There’s no room for Christ because it’s become all about them. Everything going on at Bethel is false – the teachings, the manifestations, the worship, the prophecy and certainly the signs and wonders. Anyone who would support Todd Bentley after all he has done is not speaking for Christ, but for himself.

    The easiest way to determine who is false is through the teaching – all that other stuff is hype. Yes, its a great thing to see a baby or anyone healed. What about those who are not and still believe – those who no sign or proof is given, just plain and simple faith. If you truly want to “get it right for the sake of your hearers” then get into the word. The next sermon Bill preaches check his words to see if they are true. They won’t be. Then what?

  34. This is excellent. My wife has just realised the dangers of this and for this I am eternally thankful to the Creator and Lord of all. He has heard the prayers in my family.

  35. You know for a church that constantly talks about being in a revival they have very little preaching on the cross and the sacrifice of Christ’s life for our sin.

    The do, however, talk a lot about “claiming what Christ has won for us” for what though?? Oh… so we too can work signs and wonders.

    We just had someone in our church return from the Bethel summer school of worship and speak on Sunday…. what a mess!! Problem is the Pastor didn’t refute any of the heresies that where said, I am hoping to speak with him and challenge him to correct what was said from the pulpit, I’m just a little worried he has also bought into this whole deception as well.

  36. Ok so I had a meeting with my Pastor and it went really well. There was some really obvious stuff like the teaching from Bill’s assistant who can take you to heaven, that the Pastor is going to correct. But it was the subtle things that I think are going to be an issue. Does anyone here have any info on Bill Johnson’s teaching and Kenosis? I hope I am wrong but it seems like they have some weird teaching regarding sin and how it pertains to mankind after Christ’s death ie all of mankind is no longer slaves to sin but to righteousness – we just have to claim it. I don’t know if they are really saying that or if they are just really unclear in how they teach the gospel.

    thoughts??

  37. Hi Nic.

    Johnson is part of the word of faith which teaches we can have what we speak and that believers have the same power and authority that Christ had here on earth. If we ever became sinless we would no longer need a savior. I can claim I am righteous or sinless all day long and still never achive it. Besides, that very thinking is sin in itself. I believe they, along with Cal Pierce and the whole long lot of word of faithers are morphing into believing they are becoming God-like or “manifest sons of God”.

    The scripture does say “be holy for I am holy”. But I believe it is a matter of a disciplined life and making godly choices that transformes us. Name it and claim it does not work and it is occultic in nature, taken from the Law of Attraction, I believe, but not at all a biblical teaching.

    I am glad your meeting went well. Many of them do not. I don’t know anything about Kenosis specifically—the debate on whether Jesus was truly God and man combined or if he gave up some of that…???….But if its coming from Johnson you can bet there is a subtle deception going on there. If you can be more specific it would be easier to discuss. :)

    I have to wonder if Johnson’s assistant learned that “I can take you to heaven” trick from Bob Jones…??

  38. Nic:

    For info on Bill Johnson & kenosis, check out Bill Fawcett’s “Beyond Grace” blog @ http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com and enter Bill Johnson into the search function.

    Also try The Grey Coats blog @ http://thegreycoats.wordpress.com You’ll have to look around older posts and the comments for info on Bill Johnson

    Finally, try Deception In The Church blog, specifically, I believe they have uploaded archive copies of Dr. Orrel Steinkamp’s Plumbline newsletter. Starting about a year and a half ago or so, Orrel devoted a number of articles/issues to Bill Johnson, kenosis, Johnson’s followers and “disciples”.

    One more: try Heralding Truth blog. Interestingly enough, it’s based in Redding, CA where Bethel Church is located.

    Unfortunately, my sister-in-law is a BJ ‘disciple’. At one point not that long ago, her husband said, ‘what do you do with a wife like that’…however, after my wife and I tried talking with him and forwarded some articles, it seemed to galvanize them and bond them together. So now, they’re praying for us to be delivered out of our deception.

    Be Blessed,
    Norcal

  39. M’kayla: Just went to the Heralding Truth blog…hadn’t been there for awhile, and I see that Bart (blog owner) has M’kayla’s Korner listed prominently on his Home page as being a great source of articles and information on Bill Johnson.

    Great article by Kevin Moore explaining/exposing Bill Johnson’s bad Christology (kenosis, in this case) just below the M’kayla’s Korner mention.

  40. Hi Norcal. :) Good to see you again.

    Thanks for the links for the readers and for the kenosis article! I’ll have a look at that one. We all kind of bounce off eachother here on the internet, don’t we?

  41. By the way Norcal, I am sorry to hear about your family’s involvement in Bethel. There are so many that I hear of – Bethel and IHOP and it is very very sad.

    Johnson’s teachings are basically Word of Faith. If we google people like Benny Hinn, Ken Copeland, etc. we will get the same teachings that deny the deity of Jesus Christ, that he was borne again, blah, blah. This is evidenced in the International Association of Healing Rooms as well, and most all who have a “healing” ministry. The big focus is placed on man, his anointing, his gift, his minstry, rather than God. It is also taught in the healing rooms by Cal Pierce as by others that we need to attain the place of Christ to heal the sick and raise the dead as He did. Once we get there, the hospitals will be empty. They teach as though the original 12 messed it up or it was forgotten along the way, maybe both. But this is not the case. Jesus worked His great miracles here on earth to prove that He is God, came from God as the Son. He is the only one who has such power over disease or life and death. And His main purpose was for salvation, to connect God and man through man’s repentance. Healing is secondary, is of the flesh and what good does it do to heal a person who will not repent? They’ve lost the most important and most lasting part! (This is why Heradling Truth linked to my site, I am an x word of faither as well as an x false prophet. So glad I wasn’t stoned!) So the things we see BJ do and teach in Bethel is what I’ve come out of from the Vineyard, the IAHR, the false prophetic, dreams and visions. These things are so interwoven into Christianity and have been for so long that they have come to be accepted. Who has not turned on American tv and heard these lies preached from a man of God for decades now? They have become part of our society and our lives, like it or not. It is a very good service to the church and the body of Christ that so many are questioning these teachings! We need to. And each time some preacher stands up to read the word, we need our own bibles right there before our eyes to read along. Most people who attend church don’t bother anymore, which is the same case with those who attend these conferences. They take these men at their word. I say don’t do it, none of you!

    And as for BJ and these healing rooms – not that many people get healed. And BJ’s “dead raising teams” have raised no one – yet – in his own words. So apparently he is waiting for something to happen that will make this possible. Garbage – all it.

  42. Bill Johnson preaches a “different gospel” as warned about by Paul in Galatians. Don’t believe me? Then watch/listen to this video and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Oh, and please pass this on to as many people as possible.

  43. This is what Bill Johnson wrote on his Facebook wall recently:
    “Anti means against. Christ is anointed One. The anti-Christ is anti-anointing. That spirit parades itself as zealous Christianity, but is exposed because it assaults and condemns other believers “in Jesus name.”
    Many are so preoccupied finding the anti-christ that they miss the accepted sprit of the anti-anointing that works within the church.”
    How arrogant can one get? Well, I guess when you think you’re an Apostle you can believe anything.

  44. He is an “Apostle” of the “NAR”, not one of Christ or the true church. We know this because he does not preach or teach the truth.

  45. Hi, I came across your blog through a google search and I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for this post and for your defenses of scripture in your comments. I live in northern california and bethel is a huge thing in our town right now and its been very scary to me to watch many of my friends fall into its teachings. And in the beginning I was even a little unsure of whether it was false or not. Anyway, it was very much a blessing to read your words that are so grounded in truth. Especially since I’m planning a meeting with a close friend who recently left our church to join bethel, to talk about their teachings and my concerns for her.

  46. Hi Kayla.
    I didn’t write this article, but a woman whose church was taken over by Johnson’s teachings did. (We see this scenario often here.) You may want to take a look at some of the Bill Johnson articles. Let me know if I can help you. :) Many people are seduced by these false teachings – Bethel becomes more influential all the time – and we are seeing more and more people stand against them. I am glad the information here has been helpful to you.

  47. Yeah I’ve started surfing around here checking out different articles. Very informative stuff. Our church held a conference by Justin Peters a little while back, specifically on false teachers like that and it was very helpful as well.

  48. I have a precious friend raised in the Word of Faith movement. She was at a church that “sort’a” embraced it and at intercessory prayer when a woman who claimed to have previously been a witch became upset and had to leave. She said that the “cleansing prayer” that the group did was the same thing that the satanists did and it freaked her out. Turns out the woman was still involved in the occult.

    My friend didn’t see anything disturbing about this. They believe after interceeding for people they had to do a cleansing prayer to protect themselves, their families, and property which would be open to revenge from satan. It’s just giving the enemy too much power.

    Greater is he that is in me than he who is in the world 1st John 4:4. But, this doctrine does instill fear into people. If you don’t do things like this the devil’s gon’na get you. If you question any of it you have a seed of doubt and can’t accomplish anything you’re praying for. If you slip and say something negative it may happen.

    Please pray for my friend and family members believing this. The Lord knows them by name. I’m going to give them this blog page so they can read it for themselves.

  49. Yes, I am more than familiar with that “cleansing prayer” routine. These people are in bondage to think they can simply say something and have it happen. It is very much a part of who they are in the word of faith. I have prayed for your friends. :) Thanks for commenting!

  50. Wow. Hi Mkayla. My church has completely been taken over by the Bethel “supernatural” vision. I have known in my spirit, heart, and mind that this wasn’t a good thing for a long time.

    I have been hanging on in the church by a thread, because the people and leadership who have bought into this hook, line, and sinker are friends of mine. I truly love them still. I am one of the last original members of my church.

    I remember when I could and would invite people I met to come to my church. It was a place of love, sound doctrine, and truth. I haven’t invited someone to church in over two years.

    I was a worship leader at the church. I had to step down because I didn’t feel like I should be up there if I wasn’t part of this new movement.

    I tried to be a part of it, out of my respect for my pastor and his wife. I went to the School of the Supernatural classes to give it a try–to see. Part of the curriculum is watching Bill Johnson dvds. I made it through about 5 minutes of the first one and I wanted to run. I knew it wasn’t for me. I resigned from the classes the next day.

    It has become an emotionally based church desperately trying to retain an emotional based mountaintop experience with God. There is a conference or guest speaker every couple of months to keep it going. I believe healing has become an idol.

    Last night I went to church to see if anything had changed. It was worse that ever. They were listening to a cd of a “prophet” who had been there recently. They worked themselves into a frenzy and began having open mic prophecy and a resurrection healing for a man in the hospital who was in a coma. I didn’t stay for the whole service.

    I woke up very early this morning. I believe God woke me up. I started researching Bill Johnson which led me here. I am going though some personal hardships right now, and want to run to God. I truly feel loved by the people at my old church, but they have lost their way. Please pray God will lead me where I need to be.

  51. Ross, your experience is similar to many. I was led to this site after questioning, in my spirit, our church’s use of Bethel’s “give me” offering prayer last Jan. Thus began a year of “coming out of charismania” that has been eye-opening and painful. Yet, I have found a place of grateful trust in our Lord, who is faithful to call and protect His own. I thank God for His discernment!
    Our central Pa. church, too, is infiltrated by this creepy mix of religious divination, quoting of names and Elijah List words, glorifying of manifestations, and frenzied emotionalism, always packaged as rightful abandonment to the spirit, and sanctified by the love of Jesus.
    It began, in earnest, after our leaders went to a C. Peter Wagner-Randy Clark-Che Ahn et al conference and returned full of “fresh anointing.” Now it was all about manifestations and fire in your hands. (Read Jessie Penn-Lewis’ “War on the Saints” for an eye-opening teaching on manifestations.)
    Many have left, and I find myself withdrawn in spirit but there in body, because of the people I love, who come there because they don’t feel comfortable in the area’s more traditional churches. The truth is: It is time to leave, and trust the Lord to care for these people.
    Now, the church is struggling for money and unity. Those who question their doctrine are soon labeled the problem. You are right, healing becomes an idol, but underneath it all is a religious spirit that says it alone knows what God is all about!

  52. Hi M’kayla, I’m a married, stay at home mom in Georgia, and my family recently left a church that lines itself up with Bethel’s teachings. I have worked with the youth, “ministering” to them through fire tunnels, claiming healing in Jesus’ Name (as if I had the authority to do so!), and trying to primarily rely on the Holy Spirit for everything without testing it against Scripture. It is very difficult to “reprogram” my way of thinking. For instance, I will go to read my Bible, begin reading, and then realize I still filter the Scriptures through the twisted doctrine, not the true. Sadly, it’s gotten to the point where I do not want to read my Bible because I don’t want to “get it wrong!” Do you know of any sound commentaries or study guides (in other words, resources where someone has already done the “bookwork” studying the original Hebrew and Greek and can explain the context well)? I will not base my faith in Jesus on another’s interpretation, but if there is a good resource out there it would sure save me some time! God bless.

  53. Hi Julie.
    It takes time and effort to go through the process of undoing or “deprogramming” the false teachings. I know what you are going through, but to rely on another person to teach you the truth is to put yourself back in the same situation you are trying to break from. It’s not a race, so please, for your spiritual edification take the time to renew your mind in the scriptures.

    I relied on Strongs Concordance to research topics that were most bothersome. I found it to be an amazing process because when we begin to research God’s word one topic touches on another. It is very deep, very searchable. And the benefits from doing your own work are enormous and an experience that cannot be taught by another. If you rely strickly on others you will miss out on this great blessing and for the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth. :)

    We don’t come out of false teaching easily. Many of us continue to struggle in our minds, and some with the physical manifestations. I believe this to be the continued influence of the deceptions of Satan. The power of God is greater than the deception of Satan – much more so. Your Lord is faithful and He wants you to know the truth, to know Him. Continue to pray for clarity and for His guidance into the truth and you will not be disappointed.

    My blogroll also has resources that are quite helpful. But please don’t deprive yourself of your own research. I can’t say enough about the restorative process you will experience.

  54. It is hard when we are faced with this decision, when people that we know are caught up in the false teachings and don’t want to see the truth. You said you want to run to God – this is the best place to be. It is amazing that you were not caught up in the lies of BJ because so many of us go there. There have been so many of these false teachers. And with the “evangelism” on tv and now the internet, their lies spread much more quickly and many fall away from the truth. So many want to be “wow-ed” – they are swayed by emotionalism and the desires of the flesh! They have thrown out their bibles and common sense for the sake of the next experience or next prophetic word. Sad!

    The hard stuff we face, trials and tribulations are allowed so that we may know the Lord. I keep reminding myself of all He suffered – persecution and abandonment by all He loved and died for and still He continues to love us. It is an amazing feat to think we can even come close to that. But we cling to Him because without him we are lost. There is no other Savior than Jesus Christ. Our suffering is short-lived in comparison to eternity with Him. Be encouraged that you are not alone in what you face today.

  55. Julie, I also want to add a few thoughts, some things that I am looking into learning more about.

    Their is an order to the books of the bible that is different than the way they have been put together. I don’t know why this is. But if we get that order and begin to read it that way it should bring a better understanding.

    It is also good to know in each book who is the writing directed to. What are the circumstances – believers, unbelievers, teachers, and when it was written, etc.

    The bible is a finished work. There is nothing that will be added to it and nothing that can be taken from it. God speaks through His word and not from Charismania’s supernatural visitations “God told me…” To follow after those with these claims is disastrous to the faith.

    A couple of thoughts -
    Remember that God is sovereign. We ask God for our needs, we bring our requests to Him and He answers as He wills, not as we will. See the prayers of Jesus in John 17, Matthew 6:6-13. We do not have the power of God, we do not call things that do not exist as tho they did (this is a very popular WOF lie, a brutal twist of scripture).

    Many powerful miraculous events took place in the bible. God caused these things to happen to grow the foundation of the Christian church. Things that happened then, do not happen in the same way now. This is also a lie of Charismania/WOF. They believe they can reinact those events and become like those people – they can speak a scripture or make a claim, a decree or prophecy and it will happen. It’s all garbage and well intentioned people are taken in by it because they don’t know any better. We find the truth in scripture – always. Some things are harder to understand and maybe those things should be laid aside until the more simpler come better into focus.

    There is a link on the side bar for courses on hermeneutics. You may also want to check that out.
    :) Let me know how it goes and if you have other questions.

  56. Yep. A very good way to quickly find out who is aligned with who and what they believe is to find out who they rub shoulders with. We saw the convergence not long ago – Toronto, Bethel, Morningstar, IHOP, etc. Look under the NAR cat. I think I stuck a couple of articles on it there. :)
    Let’s just pop out the list from the link right here for all to see –

    Friends of Bethel

    Benny & Suzanne Hinn Ministries
    Bob Jones
    Bobby Conner
    Brownsville Revival
    Chris Harvey
    Don & Christine Potter
    The Elijah Revolution- Lou Engle
    Extreme Prophetic- Patricia King
    The Family Church – Rich Oliver
    Fresh Fire Ministries- Todd Bentley
    Fuchsia Pickett Ministries
    Global Awakening – Randy Clark
    Harvest Rock Church – Pasadena CA – Che Ahn
    Healing Rooms Ministries- Cal Pierce – Spokane WA
    Heritage Fellowship – Cleddie Keith – Florence KY
    ICN Ministries- Dr. Michael Brown
    International Church of Las Vegas – Pastor Paul Goulet
    Ignited Hope- Steve Backlund
    Iris Ministries- Rolland & Heidi Baker – Mozambique
    Life Center Ministries International
    Mantle of Praise Ministries- Mark Dupont
    Master Potter Ministries- Jill Austin
    Mickey Robinson- Seagate
    Ministry to the Nations-Jim & Ann Goll
    Morning Star Ministries
    Nichole Franklin – Author of Surviving Single Motherhood
    Prayerhouseart -a Bethel Church Ministry
    Randall Worley- Headwaters Ministries
    Revival Ministries – Rodney Howard-Browne
    Rex Burgher
    River City Church- Redding CA – Wendell McGowan
    The River – credentialing fellowship
    The Call
    Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship – John & Carol Arnott
    Smithton Outpouring
    Vaca Valley Christian Life Center- Vacaville CA
    Wholeness Ministries – Mike Evans
    Bola De Neve
    Harvest House Church
    Shawn Bolz, Expression 58
    The Awakening – a Bethel Church plant in Carlsbad, CA
    Bethel Church Atlanta – a Bethel Church plant
    Kids in His Presence – Mike and Marilyn Seth
    Miracle of Love – Doug and Diane Philips
    Leif Hetland Ministries
    Iverna Tompkins Ministries

    – Just a note, Jill Austin has passed away, as has Michal Ann Goll (I’m not sure if Ann Goll on the list is a daughter or a misprint of what should have been his wife’ name- Michal).

  57. Riverstone Church in Kennesaw, GA, sends people to Bethel to get “trained” in the prophetic…I used to go there. You may also want to add their church plants, Stonebridge Church in Marietta, GA and Vintage 242 Church in Dallas GA to the list as well.

  58. Julie, thanks for the information. I know so many churches are being taken over with the false teachings of Bethel but hadn’t realized they had their own church plants as well.

    People, please beware!

  59. I have been studying this subject for six months or more. Bethel is invading our church (a congregation of approx. 5,000). I also noticed Bill Johnson is going to be a speaker at a youth gathering called Planetshakers (overwhelming huge youth gathering). I am just sick about it. An excellent sourse of information for internet viewing is to google Kundalini Warning by Andrew Strom; there are parts 1, 2, & 3. Simple 10 minute videos that show film footage of exactly what this movement is all about. Please pray for me; I will be talking to one of the pastors at my church again this week. If nothing is going to be done to stop this false doctrine, I must leave my church of 22 years; it is very painful.

  60. I’m sorry to hear that Mary. I will pray for your meeting. Let me know how it goes.

    I am very familiar with Kundalini and sometime before Andrew did his writing on it. When I think about it I am still stunned that the demonic has come into the church. I know that Johnson and his teachings are polluting faster than we can expose it. So many have turned a deaf ear to the truth.

    Planetshakers – in Melbourne? Anyone reading this comment be aware that Israel Houghton is touring with Johnson! So much for HIS music.

  61. I’m probably going to make a lot of people mad but I’m a firm believer in the divine miracles our Heavely Father provides for his sons and daughters. So many moments are wasted bashing a church that is obviously anointed by God! You say that this church is a cult and filled with false prophets, but I myself have experienced healing and deliverance from Bethel and my home church which has aligned itself with Bethel. I have watched as people with back problems from a crooked spine & uneven leg lengths sit and receive prayer and I’ve seen God literally grow these legs out INCHES right before my eyes. I have been on treasure hunts where the things and people I’ve found on my list have perfectly matched and led me to places and people who needed prayer and who God began to work in right away. Bethel, Bill Johnson, and most other churches that are following this new revolution are simply seeking God’s presence! They desire for the people of this world to come to Christ, and simply that. They aren’t seeking fame or fortune, they do not claim to have provided these miracles themselves…they know God did it and they make sure everyone else knows that, too…And I’ll leave you with one question- if these miracles and signs and wonders are against God’s will…WHY ARE THEY HAPPENING?!!!?!?!?

  62. Katie,

    I doubt that you will make anyone here mad. Bashing churches is not what takes place on my blog. If you would read, you will find that I came out of these movements, these teachings, not just Bethel, but the prophetic movement, healing rooms, interpreting dreams and visions, and all that goes along with these associations. The author of this particular article left her church having done biblical research necessary to see that Bethel teachings are not derived from the bible. This is also what led me out after having found the teachings did not come from the word. I found that simply by researching and reading on my own.

    You say these churches are following a NEW REVOLUTION. From?? I could make an educated and experienced guess and say the new revolution has come from NEW REVELATION via prophetic word, again, one not found in the bible. Katie, if these things are not in the bible how could you arrive at a conclusion that they are from God? Because they “wow” people, because of the feeling? the need? Are you aware you could visit a psychic and receive very clear and personal words from him? Are you aware you could receive a massage from a practitioner of Reiki or Chi and receive feel good healing moments every bit as powerful as from those who claim these powers of God? Are you aware that Bill Johnson is now endorsing mystic experiences and contemplative prayer originating from the other religions – Catholicism, hindu, buddhist, aka new age? Shocking and unbelievable, yes, but I have spent over 2 years involved in researching the things I was involved with and I have found roots and explanations to all these claims they have. The sad part is that they are not receiving them from God the Most High, they are not operating under an anointing the same as Jesus Christ and they have not received power from the Holy Spirit. The best way to find this truth is to go to the bible and compare their teachings and claims with what is written on those pages. You will not find theirs to be truth.

    Jesus told his disciples there would be tribulations. He himself suffered during his time here on earth and went without many things. As did those who followed him. Jesus suffered enormous torment at his death. Why do those who claim his name in this day and age think they deserve better? Knowing Christ involved repentance. It is not about a “feel good” or “me” experience. Anytime the message is about the person God is not in it.

    There are many things I could point out to you here on this page. Please take some time to read the blog and the comments. Then take Johnson’s teachings and do your own research through the bible. It is the only way to know the truth.

  63. Hi Katie.
    The scary thing is the goats said to Jesus “Did we not heal, worked miracles and cast out demons in YOUR name?”
    I do not slander the miracles all I am saying is that the only thing miracles proof is that you might be a goat and not a sheep. The problem with these movements is; they seek manifestation and not the Lord. If they do not feel or see something they are disappointed, if you seek God for feelings and manifestations they might come but they might be from the wrong source.
    In Acts 20 Paul warns the church that people AMONG them will rise and try to deceive them. These were people who sat under Paul’s ministry for three years.
    Deceivers do not walk around with board that says “DECIEVER”, they are probably not aware that they are deceived.
    That is why the Word is so important. The Word must be our plumb line not feelings and manifestations.
    Question mkayla, where did you read that Bill Johnson now promotes mystic experiences and contemplative prayer?

  64. Katie,

    How did you come across this site? What were you looking for?

    I ask this because I believe it’s not by chance that this site was brought to your attention. Please take the time and ask some questions. I believe this to be a safe place to ask the hard questions.

    Prove all things; prove that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
    (1 Thess 5:21)

    Here is a site with an online book that explains the gnostic teachings that have entered the church. http://users.stargate.net/~ejt/strange.htm (Strange Fire the rise of Gnosticism in the church by Travers and Jewels van der Merwe)

    Strange Fire is exactly what we’re dealing with!

    It’s important to remember that Paul and Peter exposed false teacher and they welcomed testing of their teachings.

    I truly believe that the things that are being exposed are the very same thing they were coming up against. Don’t you want to know?

    I’ve studied Gnostic and Kabbalah for a few years now. As I read the teachings of these movements like Bill Johnson’s, I can see the gnostic doctrine. These doctrines have grown up with the church, so they are very familiar to most of us that have grown up in the church.

    I grew up in the whole Pentecostal movement. Assemblies of God, Pentecostal Holiness, and Foursquare church, so I know about most of these teachings personally, but things are really moving far outside of the Bible.

    I also walked away from my church because of the New Age teaching filtering in through the Catholic Contemplation and Mystics teachings. My pastor could not see that these teachings were false. He defended them, so my family left. I’ve spent the last few years researching the roots of these movements.

    I’ve researched and discarded many false teachings as I’ve discovered them. That’s not to say that there aren’t many people within these groups that truly love the lord, the true lord, but if they don’t understand the teachings and their evil roots they too may move away from the true gospel.

    I don’t know what your background is, but if you’re searching for truth then you need to follow what the scriptures say. Test and prove all things. Don’t be afraid to look at the things the people are saying on this site because they have nothing to gain.

    We are warned continually in the Bible that our time will be filled with false teachings and doctrines. The first sign of a cult is that it doesn’t give room for testing and questioning doctrine. Even if they say they do, it’s been my experience that they don’t want to be questioned and they teach that if you question that you are not spiritual enough or don’t have enough faith. So, if you’re really searching for the truth then you shouldn’t be afraid to test the teachings and practices of the groups your defending.

    The doctrine should be the first thing that is tested. So let’s test some of the doctrine of the Word Faith—Signs and Wonder’s movement against the truth in the Bible in the right context. I believe in signs and miracles, but I’m fully aware now that Satan also performs signs and wonders. Did you know that?

    Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. (Luke 11:35)

    If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which though hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and only his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)

  65. The miracles the Jesus performed were called signs – they were there to point to, as a sign does, Jesus. If miracles are performed they are there to give credence of what is being taught. If what is preached does not line up with the Word of God then what are we to think of the signs? If the signs are there to endorse the teaching and the teaching does not line up with God’s Word is it wise to say that they are from God?

  66. Hi Mkayla
    I’m aware that I haven’t posted here for quite some time , but be assured that I call in reguarly to read articles and responses.
    I couldn’t help but to weigh in on this one as I’m in the process of gathering material to present to both the pastor and members of the previous church that I was a part of, who , thanks to the pastor , are now fully indoctrinated into the Bethel – gotta have signs and wonders – theology.As you are no doubt well aware , trying to pin down the errors in Bill Johnsons doctrine is no easy task , and even when successful at doing so , there are still some folks that refuse to recognise it as a serious issue.
    Reading Katie’s post above was really all the prompting needed to post what I am about to say.
    On Bethels webpage there is a short presentation titled ” House of Generals” , in short , this outlines Bethels [ Bill Johnsons ] apparent vision to collect and exhibit articles and paraphenalia that document the ministries of the so called ” Generals” , and I might add that some of the generals mentioned have been associated with some dubious practices and doctrines of their own, but since Bethel is a discernment free zone , this matters little to B J .
    Any way , about 50 sec into this vid , BJ comes out with the following, and I quote,

    ” Now I have no desire to go backwards, but one of the things the Lord has really made clear to us , is that if we will honour those who have walked faithfully before the Lord in the past , THEN IN THAT HONOUR HE WILL GIVE US ACCESS TO THEIR ANNOINTING” end quote.
    Now I’m no expert , but to me that looks a lot like necromancy, but regardless of what it is , it’s certainly not biblical. For those who are questioning the signs and wonders that typify the theology at Bethel , I would only say this , if the source of what goes on at Bethel is indeed this annointing of the Generals , then this is not of the Holy Spirit.
    Again , the bible is our only guide to testing and discerning the spirits and in this instance I have no hesitation in calling this false . Also , in answer to Katie’s question as to why God allows this to occur , my best reply would be found in 2 Thess 2:9

    Even him , whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and LYING WONDERS.
    And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish ; because they received not the love of the truth, that they may be saved.
    And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie.

    In short , I believe that these things that are occuring in apostate churhes are no less than Gods judgement on them and really emphasises the need to search out and follow the truth.

  67. I recently read Neil Anderson’s book titled The Core of Christianity. In it he details a conversation with John Wimber (Vineyard), where Wimber reportedly said the biggest problem in their movement was “Everybody wants the power, but not enough want to study God’s Word and become disciplined in their spiritual walk.” Anderson, in his chapter titled “Overcoming Spiritism,” says that he used an exhaustive concordance to “find every use of the words signs and wonders either by themselves or together with each other in the New Testament. When the context was referring to the latter days of the church, every usage of these two words was assigned to a false teacher or prophet.”
    This is a sobering warning. God performs miracles. The devil counterfeits.

  68. Harry – that was the night my eyes were opened to the charismatic mess – the night Todd Bentley was ordained by 20+ “prophets” NOT ONE of which could tell he was living in sin. I kept wondering when they would remove the demon-possessed lady off the stage (head shaking) but no one moved – they just gave her a microphone. Anyone with an ounce of spiritual discernment would know that was a demonic manifestation.

  69. That head shaking woman would be Staci Campbell who has a following of her own, I think out of Canada. In Charismania she is known as a prophet and sought after, mimicked, etc. The head shaking and snakey sounds are always a part of her “ministry” and most of the people she lays hands on manifests every bit as wildly as she does.

  70. It is true everyone wants something out of it – power, authority, anointing (mantle)! And none of them get the real thing. When the move is about the person and the “I want, I get” mentality it is proof they have moved from the true power and authority of God. It’s never been about a person, it’s always been about God’s desire to have fellowship with His people. Those who try to reentact bible characters have fallen short of the truth.

    Interesting info about Anderson because I thought he was also caught up some time ago. I’ll have to check that out! Wimber missed it.

  71. Ugh Ray! Let me know how it goes with the meeting. I’m getting loads of these stories and I am sure you have read them! If you haven’t already been there, Craig at Crosswise has done some good work with BJ’s teaching. It’s a bit deeper than mine. :)

    The idea of passing on the anointing is taken from the story of Elijah and Elisha. I thought it was Paul who stated he didn’t take honor from men. If that is the case then why is Bethel hearing the Lord speak the opposite? I saw a list of names who greatly influenced Johnson and none of them are to be trusted for they all operated under false doctrine and practices. So the “rich heritage” he claims to have from both sides of the family are deeply rooted in lies and deception. So it is no wonder he is so far off base. If only he would return to the word and stop listening to the voice!

    All we can do is pray, warn and pray some more. Not only are our churches succumbing to false teachings, signs and wonders, but also to worldly influences. We really do need discernment and longsuffering love – agape – that only the Father can give to us!

    Blessings to you.

  72. Are you planning to do some new posts? I’d like to see some indepth info on Sozo. I have read what you have about it, but would like deeper info. I come here everyday and have learned so much.

  73. I’m not planning on writing about Sozo, but if you have specific questions I will be happy to answer them for you. I am glad my blog is helping you. Thanks for letting me know that.
    :)

  74. Thank you so much for this post, and for this whole blog. I found because we’ve been doing a lot of research on Bethel and this whole New Apostolic Reformation. My 18-year-old son went to a summer conference at Bethel last summer and since has been reading all their books and has even applied to their Supernatural School of Ministry. Unfortunately, we didn’t check it out thoroughly enough before he went. Once we started hearing him talk about things that didn’t line up with Scripture, we started an all out investigation.

    We’re convinced this is not from God, but there’s always that little bit of doubt which says maybe we’re wrong and just putting God in a box. We’ve had such a division in our household since my son brought all this in — he and my husband are hardly speaking. My husband is deeply hurt that my son no longer holds the Word of God in proper perspective and thinks it’s only one version of God’s Word to us — more will be revealed. My husband feels that he has failed as a father. My son also now believes that man is basically good — fearfully and wonderfully made — rather than basically sinful. We’ve been pushing on him pretty hard with all the stuff we learned yet he still seems to really want to pursue becoming a prophet and leading a generation. One of the big reasons he can’t dismiss what he’s learned about this “new move of God”, is because of all the “good” they are doing in other countries, i.e, Heidi Baker in Africa, etc., and because the one family that’s been exposing him to all this is really on fire for the Lord right now. So he sees them as having “fruit” in their lives and us as being “religious”.

    Do you have any wisdom for us at this point just relationally? Like what you’ve seen work best in your life when trying to reach someone in deception? I know praying for him is the most important. I’m worried we’re in danger of losing the relationship altogether if we keep pushing, however, we’re afraid he’s in danger of losing his soul which is why we’ve been so passionate about coming up against this whole thing. At this point, we’re wondering if he was really saved in the first place because of his lack of discernment here. We would think the Holy Spirit within him would be bearing witness that something is gravely wrong here, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

    Do you believe there are Christians in this movement that will be saved? I guess what I’m asking is if you think the doctrinal errors are forgiveable if they believe and love the Lord?

    Thanks for your time.

  75. Jeanette, I am so sorry to hear about your son. I know it must be heartbreaking for you both because reading this has shaken me up quite a bit. I see the destruction Bethel is causing families; young people like your son who have been deceived into believing the lie. There are many other organizations doing the same – IHOP, theCall, Morningstar, Generals International, Aquire the Fire, etc. I wonder what lies in store for those who have succeeded in turning children from their parents when it was God who set up families. I am not alone in wondering why these places don’t get swallowed up into the earth.

    As far as I can tell we are forgiven of our sins, that God is faithful to forgive us. I had quite a scare in thinking I had committed the unpardonable sin, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I still have moments when that scares me, but I don’t think it is correct. And if upon my death I find out differently, who can argue with God? I do know that I loved the Lord and believed I was following His direction. I believe that to be true of the people I was involved with. I know that there were things I spoke that were not of Him. But I also believe there were times that He spoke to me and that is why I am encouraged that charismania is forgivable. Why would God call us out of something and then send us to hell later on? I don’t find that in scripture. If we truly love the Lord we will do what He has said. I don’t know where the dividing line comes in. I don’t know what happens to people who are false teachers or prophets and die in that sin. It is enough for me to know that God is fair and just in those decisions. But I find it important to warn as much as I can of the apostacy filling up our churches.

    I can’t counsel you in how to deal with your son. I am not qualified. Some days I don’t feel qualified to say anything to anyone. I do know God is faithful, ever so more than we could ever know. I have no success stories to tell you about. I do know of one woman who I spoke a “prophetic” word to during a woman’s conference. She later contacted me for “another word” and I began instead to tell her what I had learned. She saw the truth and came out of it! However, the Lord was teaching her before my conversation came about. He had to have been!

    I have stories here written in comments and testimonies of others who have come out. I don’t believe it happens because of nagging. I believe it happens because it is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth. I think all we can do is speak the truth and leave it to the Lord to open the eyes of those who will listen to it. That would be my experience. That is what we see Jesus doing and that is what He taught His disciples. And I would say it could be that the Lord is speaking to your son – why would He not? I would also be aware that this could be creating in him a huge conflict and if so his desire would be to get away and be with those who he is currently trusting. I say this because I was in a huge conflict and have noticed that when people don’t want to hear the truth, they just want to end the conversation and get away as quickly as possible.

    I gave lots of prophetic words to people, I walked in the belief that it was my gift and I was growing and doing more in that as time went on. Then one day I began to see differently. There was always a nagging “something is wrong here” kind of feeling. I ignored it because I believed others were more educated in the word and in spiritual matters than I was and went on with it. One day I sat down in my living room intent on seeking the Lord’s direction to lead other intercessors and the Lord gave me a scripture that had nothing to do with my question. I laughed it off and went on praying the same way. He gave me another scripture much like the first one. So there I was in the middle of asking the Lord for help in continuing to deceive others and He spoke truth back to me. It was the beginning of a time of research and eventually I saw the truth. It was horrifying and the journey out was not fun either and there were times I thought I would die.

    Your son is in the midst of some very dangerous people. He is in a place where he will be imparted with all kinds of demonic teaching and maybe even the manifestations. He has been taken in by the “wow” factor, caught up in the emotions of “who God has called him to be, living out his destiny”. We think that it is our humility speaking when we state “God would use a sinner like me” and from that goes the “fearfully and wonderfully made” which the false prophetic just loves! In truth it is our pride speaking because we get taken in to all kinds of devious teachings and practices – God said this and showed me that in this vision and that dream, blah, blah. And none of it ever amounted to a thing!

    I have been involved in a healing ministry, the same as Bill Johnson. They give great stories yet, my experience during those years lacks of wonderous healings or deliverances. We had demon possessed that could not get free. Everything is given a positive spin. Those who are not healed report feeling better, or feeling something. But this is not healing! Satan can imitate to an extent as we saw in the conversations that took place between Pharoh and Moses.

    I too loved Heidi Baker and went to hear her speak. She was all over the floor, could hardly stand as is normal for her. There were many strange manifestations going on that night. I always wondered why in some places and not in others. Now I believe it is the power given over to satan. And of course, Heidi has all kinds of stories she tells of people being healed. I am in the USA, she is in Africa. How do I know it is the truth. And the reason why I ask is because I have not seen. And if you ever listen to conference speakers it is always about the radical miraculous in other countries. Why not right then and there? They are quite good at their manipulation! Maybe he would like to talk to another false prophet who has found the truth?

    Hebrews 1 tells us God speaks to us through His word. There is not going to be any new revelation as His plan has already been laid out throughout scripture ending with the Revelation of Jesus Christ. I am sure you are aware of these truths along with many others. My only advice to you would be what you have already said and that is to pray. Love your son and pray for him to have eyes to see the lies. He could very well end up with a story a lot like mine. If there is one little place of doubt in his mind in what he is being taught via Bethel, it could be an opportunity to blow the whole experience wide open.

    Be encouraged that what we are seeing is no surprise to God. The Father knows who are His.

  76. Thank you so much for your response which gives me some peace of mind. Your experience is so encouraging. One thing I have to remember is that God will finish the work He began in him and it’s not all my responsibility.

  77. Many Blessings to you for helping others discern the truth.
    Here is my story, sorry it is so long.
    My journey away from true Christianity into this insanity began 2 years ago at the IAHR in Santa Maria. Until this point, I believed myself to be a discerning Christian and avid inductive Bible Study Leader. I do believe that Satan uses sickness as a lure into this false movement. Healing does become an idol, and Satan knows that people will do practically anything to find relief. The Bible teaches that even the elect may be deceived because it is so powerfully deluding. When you start to buy one lie, it leads to another, than other, until you are so far off course that it is only through the grace of God that you can come to truth.
    After receiving “inner healing” and prophecy over my husband and I that we would need to leave our Bible Based Church and have a healing ministry we slowing bought all the lies. We believed them because these prayer teams knew personal information about our past and we though God was speaking to them. My husband even heard a voice tell him that A More Excellent Way book would be “free to him” if he went to buy it. Amazingly, this truly happened. When the lady at the front desk proceeded to slide his card, she stopped and gave it back. She said it is on the house. Of course, we thought this was an amazing sign that this was from God. Never mind the healing room book selections were full of mystical new-age twisted lies. But, I IGNORED the Holy Spirit telling me to leave because I was suffering from illness and past abuse.
    Over the next year, we did end up moving and involved with a church plant who put us through Cleansing Stream and gave us material from Bethel. My husband received several prophetic words that he would have a very powerful healing ministry. Again, we saw this as confirmation that we were doing God’s will. They taught us how to break spirits over our city and neighborhood, house cleanse, feel in the spirit, break curses and walk out our healing. The focus was on how God gave all of this spiritual warfare stuff as our job.
    We were invited to be part of leadership and traveled to Bethel for a conference on the prophetic last year. We were told that we are in the age of Solomon and that we too had to marry many wives (aka: form alliances with the world system and take it back for God through the 7 mountains). Basically, lots of heretical stuff which I still have my on. It was bad. I touched angel feathers and experienced many strange wonders. My husband was touched in the sternum by a supernatural school of ministry student and felt a powerful liquid type energy go into him (he equates it with a drug going into you and exploding throughout), the result was uncontrolled laughter for over an hour. He is a skeptical logic based person and NOT emotional at all. We believe this was Kundalini energy after much research. I also on several occasions at Bethel, from someone two ladies who frequented IHOP and Florida revivals, and at Spokane IAHR training received impartations which resulted in tongues and shaking with drunken symptoms. Before this happened, I didn’t believe in gibberish tongues, only the gift of languages.

    While in the Bethel “encounter room” where you wait before going into the healing room, I walked into a spiritual wall of some sort. On the other side people had fallen to the floor. I felt myself being pulled down, but was able to resist it. It was in this room that I began to know that something was wrong. All I can say is that I was terrified. The leaders I was with just told me that I still didn’t understand that Holy Spirit and the supernatural because of my conservative background. I was encouraged to let go. The room looked like the very thing Paul warned about in Corinthians, pagan type emotionalism. As the hypnotic music continued uninterrupted, people would twitch, jerk, shake, stagger, blow shofars, paint, dance, etc. People would occasional come up to the mike with claims that they were just healed: hearing restored, hair growing in, which was witnessed by one of our group, a man not needing his walker, etc. Then the unthinkable happened. LEVITATION!!! I freaked out and felt like I was going to throw up. They were levitating objects like money and guitar picks, screaming that “Jesus was lighter than air” Coins floated up and stuck to the ceiling. I left to go to the bathroom because I was almost having a panic attack.
    The leaders “helped” me back in and gave me assurance that this was of God.
    I was then prayed over a student for my back and they said I probably had a short leg, which of course I said, “Yes, a chiropractor told me I do.” A team started to pray and my leg stretched out, but too far. I was in shock and then they prayed over my other leg and it started to stretch. Now, I believe that this could have been demonic and a trick, as they were touching my leg. But, it didn’t feel like it was being pulled, only stretching from inside.
    By the way, I still have a lot of lower back pain.

    This “healing” convinced me that this all had to be God and that I had to stop questioning. So, when we were asked to open a healing room in our city (because of all of the prophecy over my husband), we agreed. Our pastors took us to IAHR headquarters in Spokane so we could get an impartation. Instead, we saw more red flags: LOTS OF HERETICAL TEACHINGS, Mystical new age posters on the doors of the associate director. We learned that we should lay on graves to get anointing from dead people and that angels sat around waiting for us to tell them what to do.
    We even sat on their “magical silver carpet” which manifested oil for years.
    I came home confused and questioning, praise God!! We were given SOZO training guides, and told that we had to learn to administer it and that all church leaders would HAVE TO go through a session. It was through this material that the Holy Spirit showed me how this was not from Him. It was spirit guides and dianetics (scientology). Such a pack of lies!!! The material said that if you see someone who is diagnosed with a mental disorder, they were probably just prophetic. This is a popular teaching and is also in Bethel books. They teach the Rhema word and that all of God is not in the Bible.
    Now I look back and see all of the red flags, I see how I grieved the Spirit, I lusted after these things in hopes of being healed from some diseases I have. Guess what: no healing!! My husband and I prepared a large document refuting the false teachings and took it to leadership. We were told, “how dare you set yourself up as a watchdog, that is a dangerous place to be” (because you are touching God’s anointed). We were told that we were Pharisees and the like.
    I was in such turmoil and confusion over what I went through that I spent hours researching and begging God to show me the truth. The deceptions were powerful and I too thought I would die at times. Satan told me that I too had blasphemed the Holy Spirit, but then I realized that Paul was killing Christians and he denouncing their works. Remember, he was a Pharacie. Didn’t God forgive him? I have read some good comentaries on that verse, and it may not apply to us today. Afterall, we are told to TEST TEST TEST!!! QUESTION QUESTION QUESTION!!!
    I have family still in this and it makes me sick. After coming out, I even went through several months of wanting to throw all of my faith away and reject everthing I ever believe. Satan has not won though, and I am holding on the the true gospel of Jesus.
    Bottom line:
    In studying scripture we find:
    -God is sovereign and not subject to the will of any man -It is by God’s grace that we can do anything
    -The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and not a power force that can be manipulated or controlled
    -Man’s biggest problem is sin, not a lack of knowledge of how seemingly “supernatural”/powerful we are -Having Christ in us does not make us divine
    -End times prophecy speaks of tribulation for the Saints, not a worldwide dominion of the church (many will be deceived, even the elect, if possible- this will be led by false prophets).
    My husband and I are now in a Bible believeing Church that preaches truth. I have repented of all of this and still believe that God is powerful and mighty to SAVE. If He heals me or not, I will praise Him.
    Thank you so much for this blog!!! People need it!

  78. Thank you RJ for taking the time to share that with us. It is good to hear another story of a fellow believer coming out of the craziness. It is encouraging that God is restoring your faith to what it should be.

    Blessed be the name of the Lord our Deliverer!

  79. Hi RJ
    These guys make the word say whatever suits them as the go along.
    1 Cor 4:6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. NIV
    We cannot go beyond what is written.
    Yes there is more to God than what he has chosen to reveal to us mere mortals and it will take eternity to discover everything about God and the great salvation he has provided for us through Jesus.
    But in this currant age he chose to reveal Himself to us through His word. If we start going beyond what is revealed in His word we will go into error.
    I know Bill teaches that the word says the King hides himself and wants to reveal himself and it is for us to find the hidden things.
    Yes they are hidden……….do not cast your pearls before swine…………but they are hidden between Geneses and Revelation not outside of it.
    The word must be our plumb- line!

  80. Hi M’Kayla, Hope you are being renewed in Christ as you spend time with your family.

    I had written you at one time asking if you would do any writing on Sozo. Just wanted you to know Closing Stages just posted a part one article on it today and it is really good. God bless.

  81. I have been caught up in a “Bethel” following church for seven years. This is the first time I have read all the information I have just read. I must tell you I am thrilled to find I am not alone in finding fault with these teachings.

    I want to point out I was involved “deeply”, a member of the prayer team and leadership!

    I saw it all, all the mirachulous, all the signs and wonders, all the experiences!

    My best friend was in another state and praying for me to wake up for over a year. I am hear to tell you one day I did just that, wake up! I want to call it deception, but more then that it is almost like hypnosis. When you are caught up in the movement, you believe it is right, true and of God. When you finially start to examine some of it, it doesn’t line up with the Bible!

    I think the best test is to see who is glorified. God or the person bringing the prophesy, the healing, the teaching.
    Bill Johnson has been put on a stage, front and center. So many of the churches want what is happening in his church they look the other way to the warning in their hearts from the Holy Spirit. So much truth is mixed in to the deception that it is easy to reason it must be good!

    It is not good, it is not God, and I don’t want any part of where it is coming from. I too was told I am missing the blessing, I have the gift to teach others and am giving it all up. Well if I can pull anyone away from this very dangerous movement I will be thrilled.

    I do believe in the spiritual gifts, the problem is most churches that practice tongues do not stop there but rather go for the whole package hook, line and sinker! “drunk in the spirit, Holy laughter, dreams , visions are all glorified as a touch from the Lord! Been there done that, no thank’s I want all the truth I can get and it is in the Bible. That Holy God breathed upon book is our guide to truth.

    I am so glad to find I am not alone and other people are running from this movement. There are times I have felt very hopleless. Many dear friends are caught up in this movement and I am here to tell you all you can do is pray for God to reveal His truth to them. They will not listen,
    cannot hear what you are saying against this movement. They will become defensive and turn against you.

    Be Blessed and don’t stop praying, there is hope!
    I believe the remnant church spoken of in revelation is the very small group of believers that want to follow Christ and are not willing to have any part of Anything that is not of Him!
    Bev

  82. Praise God that more and more people are waking up and getting out!
    I too ignored that voice of the Holy Spirit because I beleived so much good was happening!!
    Continue to pray, stay close to the Lord and don’t take on the condimnation of Satan!!

  83. Hi Bev
    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate hearing stories from others who have had these kinds of experiences. It helps others to find the truth. Praise God for His faithfulness toward us. You are correct – never give up hope and never stop praying for the lost ones.
    Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord!

    Be well! :)

  84. Julie- Please be careful when you lump churches together without actually knowing anything about them! We are at Vintage 242 and have absolutely no affiliation with Bethel. Let’s not slander a body of believers please!

  85. randel, 242 has no affiliation at all – not word of faith, false prophetic, gifts, signs and wonders, supernatural occurrences, etc….supported, taught, and expected by Bethelites and others??

  86. Hey Randel,
    No slander intended…I’m only stating what I have experienced first hand. Do you remember at camp when Corey Russell from IHOP (which has major connections with Bethel) blew into the microphone and the youth starting falling to the ground, some shaking, some laughing? I had a little girl in my cabin who “laughed in the spirit” until 2:30 am and made some of the other girls mad, some afraid. One girl said she would never come back because she was so freaked out. I know you know about the people who attend Riverstone, Vintage and Stonebridge who go to Bethel for training. Look, I love so many people from these churches; my intent is not to slander the body of Christ. I am deeply concerned that many from these churches have embraced a different gospel (like the one Bill Johnson teaches, that Jesus was “born again,” etc.) and that there are people who claim to walk in the light who are actually in darkness and don’t even realize it. I know no church is perfect, only Jesus is. I simply testify to what I saw, heard and experienced during my time there in order to expose false teaching with the hope that people will begin reading the Scriptures in context, and know the Lord for Who He really is. Hope this helps.

  87. RJ —Thank you for your testimony. I have made a copy to take to some people I know. I hope this will help to open their eyes. May
    God bless you. I Praise God for your deliverance from heresy.
    This gives me hope for my co-workers.

  88. I rally wanted to share my story too as my church in the UK has become well & truly Bethelized, the transition into it has been a subtle & underhanded invasion, swapping of truth for error, what Im posting is about that journey of utter deception & how it gets in.

    late 2009- Bill Johnson comes to my town in a big church wide event…. some time after that mtg (I didnt go to it because I really dont like big events) our senior pastor sat down with some leaders & discussed the audacity of bethel people visiting mind/body/spirit./psychic type fairs & setting up stalls that would offer to pray for healing & prophesy over people that would frequent such a place… 1st red flag no gospel preached/ & irresponsible – how on earth do people who are mostly drawn to occult practices discern & distinguish & make appropriate responses to that which is reportedly from a Holy God in that type of setting. ok I know god can reach anyone anywhere anyhow – but his “method” promotes spiritual confusion I believe in people who are dead to sin & lost to HIM.

    May 2010: a group of leaders form our church & around the town visit Bethel… they return “odd’ different but not in a good way – immediately there is a lot of praying for individuals in the church by laying a hand on the forehead without the individual’s permission – these leaders just go up & “minister”- shouting & whooooaing in prayer times… also wafting hand movements during prayer times. my ” mentor’ who I love dearly & know very well now exhibits a subtle change in personality & has experienced a range of ill health ever since.
    Red Flag 2: the language begins to change – we hear about impartation/intoxication of the spirit & relationship with father/ the work of Jesus on the cross becomes lessend as we focus on a culture of developing the prophetic/miracles & concentrate on being family

    we see for the first time the practice of “fire tunnels”

    rest of 2010…. we begin to immerse in Jesus culture music – begin preparing plans to launch our own healing rooms.. the “culture of honour” is widely talked about promoted from the senior leadership team.

    Red flag 3: even though a culture of honour & doing everything from a place of loving relationship/family is promoted big time – various circumstances present themselves where honour should have been highly practiced – where in fact the opposite could be said

    2011- senior leadership from Bethel visit the church. its obvious people form other places in the UK flock to hear the latest word.

    healing rooms begins

    Students from Bethel BSSM visit the town: we actively see for the first time prophetic art & the interpretation of it in our service time- soaking or what they would call “carpet time” is evident & other new phrases begin to pop into our language

    * being whacked by God – get whacked – stay whacked – never go back
    * get activated in the spirit/prophetic
    * we want Jesus to get what he died for ( in relation to miracles)
    * release & freedom become Big words
    * Host the prescence
    * More More & More

    Red flag 3: senior leaders are imparting drunkeness to each other (& everyone else)- rolling around on floor – throwing love/bliss bombs at each other. & stating that they feel so drunk they are not sure how they could drive home. some of the behaviour they exhibit & allow would have been considered demonic & or worthy of discipline 20/25 years ago

    present: *church decides to set up its own supernatural school of ministry
    * other leaders visit to Bethel & other conferences around the uk & return using odd & confusing language – mostly pointing to the idea that Gods word was for then & the spirit or the flow (of the new wine) is for now
    * we go totally overboard on the prophetic – with instruction form the senior leaders to develop, be ready & willing to give a prophetic word to literally anyone, anywhere, anytime.

    Red flag 4: the occult creeps in: we now use Bethel’s offering readings ( look it up on their website) when we collect our tithes & offerings – this to me is nothing short of an incantation – a list of demands to get what WE want from God including “divine manifestations” & angelic visitations.
    people are encouraged to place a cloth on their head during prayer at HR
    & we are also offering people ” spiritual readings” this is where various prayers are written on cards & people are encouraged to randomly select one & have a leader pray over them for fulfillment in that area – just feels like home grown Tarot.

    After all of this I have to say IM OUT – they will have my resignation by the end of the week !

    I just felt I wanted to post all this so that others can see how this has happened chronologically like a drip drip drip effect of Blurrgh! which has sucked many in

  89. Your story gives me chills – brings back memories. I know the influence of Bethel is like a fast moving disease that few escape. Thank you so much for sharing that with us and because I feel it important and most helpful to many, I am going to post as an article. Let me know if we can do anything for you here. Praise God you are OUT! He is the only one who can do that!

    Love and blessings in Christ.

  90. thank you Mkayla, coming out from under deception is very hard; we are having lots of opposition… in our situation it is the leaders of the church who are totally pushing this- a number of people are beginning to “wake up” & are being fobbed off, “ressured” that we arent aligning ourselves with Bethel THAT much & the leadership are making very subtle comments from the front about how we all need to be in total submission to the authority God has put in place. already – we have heard a disguised ‘threat’ that things will not go well for people who out & out disagree ( because it produces disunity)

    clearly there is a lot of fear; with powerless people unable to voice anything that is deemed to be negative against the direction that the leaders are going.

    thank you for your support

    Zazzy

  91. Zazzy, not to down play at all, but this is the direction many take. We who stand against these false teachings, even bringing very clear scripture, are the ones who are considered wrong, out of God’s will. But please be encouraged that those of you who are standing against it are not the powerless ones. It is the other way around. These people are in the grip of satan who has blinded their eyes. Yet, they are powerless against you, what is this threat..???…do they truly think they have that much control over your lives as well? It is like Job experienced, only what He allows. Get out, take others with you and start your own meetings per NT church guidelines/scripture.

  92. I’m a huge fan of the music by Hillsong United. This past week they performed at the Jesus Culture, Awakening 2011 conference which drew me to watch this event online. I come from a conservative Presbyterian background. Let me first say that I believe God works miracles every moment of everyday but I have struggled with the preaching at this event. These speakers believe that God has given them authority over people to be prophets of God. This is treading a very dangerous slope. Seeing how these preachers are tied to men like Benny Hinn frightens me. These men have basically re-branded themselves to be relevant to a younger generation. This message relates to closely with the prosperity gospel in my opinion. Are they related?

  93. HI Zach,

    Yes, in a sense they are related. We have witnessed a coming together of different “streams” a couple of years ago. Many of these organizations continue to come together now. They are growing every day and are quite dangerous to the faith because they are bringing a different gospel, as you have suspected.

    There is a connection with word of faith/prosperity to what I call charismania (excessive false signs and wonders with supernatural emphasis), even going into the emergent church who basically has thrown out the teachings of the word for experiences and practices found in eastern religions and Roman Catholicism. Sadly, we have seen many churches and ministries go this way and the musicians are going with them.

    The only authority is Christ as He is the head. Now that we are also seeing the coming together of the “Christian” political move and the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation under C Peter Wagner of which Cindy Jacobs is a part of), the false prophets and apostles things are getting quite ugly. The focus with the younger generation is because of the false idea that they will one day become Joel’s Army. There is a great teaching on this posted to the side bar by Jewel Grewe. I suggest you take a look at it. In addition, the emergent church dotes itself on “hip, young, relevant, and are quite a dangerous operation.

    It is a good idea to take the things you have heard and compare them with the bible. We are called to test all things. It’s a dangerous conference and is why I linked an article about it on my blog. The fact that you are aware that something is wrong, is evidence of the work of the Lord through the the Holy Spirit. John 14-15-16. This is also great reading to show the difference when these groups start claiming how the Holy Spirit did this or that. They are not the same!

  94. Great sight. It brings me relief to find i am not the only one struggling with all of the deceptions in the church from the likes of BJ and many others that keep popping every two minutes!
    I came out of the pentecostal independant church i was attending in the UK about 3 years ago after the pastor came back from the US with lots of new teachings which my husband and I thought was strange to say the least!
    The pastor said as a church we all had to get on the flight path and get with the vision! The pastor talked alot about Soaking, Healing Angels and how to live in prosperity, the church services changed and they stared having services of purely soaking. The church also had students over from Bethel and guest speakers, Todd bentley was one of them and Bill johnson and too many others to many to name.
    All of this soaking and the new strange teaching stole my peace and alarm bells started to ring.
    I was in the music team at the time and helped with the sunday school classes I felt if i was to leave the church i would be letting people down. In the end we did leave because me and my husband sought the truth that is Gods Word. I prayed and got on my knees and cryed for God to help me understand, as i was confused to say the least!
    God heard and was faithful to answer and with that my husband and i left the chuch and repented to God for having any part of it.
    Well we have been in a different church for the last 3 years and am involved once again in the music team i have alot of friends and happy that God in his grace had bought us out of that movement .
    Unfortunatley I find the same sort of teaching creeping into our new church through the back door. To me it stands out like a sore thumb, (for those of you who have been amongst the false teachings before will understand what i mean!)
    We live in a town where alot of the churchs link together so the false teaching have spread.
    My good friend is attending a house meeting run by someone in our church they are showing DvDs by a guy called Mark Virkcular( not sure of spelling) Four keys to hearing God.
    Anybody know anything about him and his teaching? Anyway my friend was talking about how great the teaching was and of course some of the things she was saying caused me alarm such as your mind getting in the way and some new age words thown in. Ive heard all of this before!
    I have spoken to her and gave her a few verses one was Romans 12:2 . I think she just thinks that i am negative after what my past experiences in my last church. But truthfully i wouldnt consider myself to be her friend if i didnt at least ask her to question if this teaching is correct.

  95. I also recall references to Mark Virkler, author of “How to Hear God’s Voice,” and many others. His teaching also focuses on reaching children. He’s part of the circle, and you can find all his books and descriptions on Amazon. (Where you can also read Virkler’s response to critics reviewing his book.) I’m trying to remember how the exercises went. A friend of mine taught it to us….it was something along the lines of sitting silently and asking God questions and listening for answers. I believe they were something along the lines of “God, how do you see me?…where do you want to meet with me?” etc. As with everything in these teachings, it is ME and My Experiences oriented. This is initially helpful in allowing wounded hearts to heal and believe that God loves them….but if you do not progress beyond that to sacrificing your life back to Christ, then your religion becomes centered on You and Your Experiences, not Christ and serving others.

  96. This practice of asking God questions and expecting answers is dangerous ground. Who is to say a demon will not answer in His place, and believe me they do. Just consider the bad theology behind a question “Where do you want to meet with me?” The bible tells us we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus said He would never leave us!

    We have evidence of God’s love for us in that He gave His only Son. Since that is not enough for these supernatural experience seekers a disembodied voice will lead them to that “other jesus”.

    John Paul Jackson’s side kick (forgotten his name) published a series of teachings on this type of thing too, labeling it prophetic.

    Thanks agony for your input – appreciate it! :)

  97. A person that hasn’t been mentioned that is one of the most closely related groups/people to Bethel is Heidi Baker. This past year I was able to attend the missions school and have yet to meet anyone so full of love. She truly did stop for the one and was no respecter of persons whether government officials or runaway orphan kids. There were miracles, signs, and wonders but within the context of the gospel being preached and believers being encouraged. This I believe is the key difference. In the developed world Christianity has become all about me. So people flock to these conferences to get a touch from God when the one they are trying to get a touch from lives in them (Jn 17, Gal 2). In these conferences God can certainly work, but the group mentality can create a lot of confusion. Also as many have mentioned, the focus on the “manifestations” is concerning. However, do we throw them out entirely? Well the measuring stick I use is if an event promotes spiritual growth the brings us closer to walking out faith, hope and love like Jesus did then it can stand. As soon as it stops promoting this and is promoting something else then it has to go, otherwise it becomes the idol and Jesus is just the side show. Everyone will respond differently based on their maturity in Christ. I have seen both. Some become a Holy Spirit Hedonist, totally feeling centered rather than rooted in Gods word. Others get the message of grace and love and begin living it out not for themselves to be free but also for their neighbor. I have a relative who goes to Bethel, was in leadership, and plants churches specifically for the single moms, drug addicts, prostitutes, etc. The “fruit” that I observe in her is Christlike, full of love, faith, and sacrifice. To pass judgement on everyone associated with them as demonic and full of deception is juvenile.

    In the developing world, where spiritual, physical, mental and social pressure are so intense these “manifestations” serve a definite purpose to encourage the believer. Don’t get me wrong, the truths of scripture about their identity in Christ was not just the foundation but the entire building and the “manifestations” the paint or the cake and the icing if you will. It is much easier to come to the end of yourself and have to rely on the power of God when you don’t live on Mayberry Lane. People were falling in love with Jesus after we showed the Jesus film in Muslim villages, even without signs and wonders. But the healings did help to verify His authority despite them being a muslim or practicing animist.

    With Wicca being the fastest growing religion, the Church has a choice to make. Let this generation be enticed by false power and unity or show them truth from His word AND power from His spirit that Jesus is alive and loves them. The guy that is teaching and living that out more like Christ than anyone I know is Dan Mohler. He is on youtube. He operates in the gifts but without the extra Bethel stuff that can be distracting from Jesus if your not careful. I’ve never met a man whose “eye is more single” on Jesus, very refreshing.

  98. Jayster, these manifestations and the teachings that accompany them are not in the bible. This subject has been discussed here on the blog many, many times. There is confusion simply because we do not search the bible to see if these things are so. If we did we would find that they are not. These are what I base my judgement on, having had first hand experience in not only learning them, but in teaching others too.

    A mature Christian will see the difference in the truth and the lie because it is only thru the leading and wisdom of the Holy Spirit that we can see it. People who follow others because they seem to possess some gift that others do not are the ones who will find themselves wrapped up in the “other jesus”. Before you spend one more day thinking otherwise, I strongly encourage you to get out your bible and do the same. Then you will see, salvation comes thru the preaching of the word of God as the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin. Someone needing a “sign” as in manifestations is not seeking God, but seeking power. We have reassurance that God loves us because the bible says so, For God so loved the world…Jesus is the Word made manifest.

    You are being deceived my friend, as many of us have been. But there is hope that the Lord will deliver you and lead you into all truth when you are finally ready to come to Him alone for it. We live in dangerous days that will get darker, the preaching of truth will become more clouded. Are you even aware of the falling away that is taking place?

  99. Jayster when you say ” within the context of the Gospel being preached” I truly truly hope that the: message of Christ’s message, his life as God-Man here on earth his sinless perfection, his sacrificial death ( the atonement for our sins) his resurrection – our response to that in the light of our sin, the humble acceptance of his grace – our repentance & subsequent submission to him & his teaching…& following him all of our days… is the kind of thing you mean… sorry to be funny about it but we need to be clear what the gospel actually is…

    having been in a Bethelled up church – there has been a shift in what individuals now consider the “Gospel” to be… some feel it gospel enough to “treasure hunt” the area – ask God for “words” deliver them – pray for some sort of healing with no responsibility – no follow through & consider that “being the sharing of the gospel” – there is a belief that a demonstration of signs is somehow enough –

    people are also being asked to receive Christ with absolutely zero repentance…. but of course this is not really salvation… they just seem to agree with the principle of “Jesus being a cool guy”

    I have in recent days heard of people receiving miraculous life & death type healings & they have not come to know Jesus or have backslid into a worse position than ever before… because healing- signs & wonders are an “event” – an “of the moment experience” it does nothing long term to build a persons life in Christ or develop their faith any… Faith comes by hearing & hearing by the word of God…. these people have nothing to build their house on except sand… & this is our responsibility, sadly If they dont see this as their mandate) it is Bill Johnson’s & Heidi Bakers responsibility & any other Christian leaders responsibility…

    we must must ensure that we are clear & can present Jesus the saviour & redeemer for people’s lives with a longterm commitment to growing & developing people into the kingdom…

    providing what appears a quick fix prayer for physical ills & financial woes with a few x factor signs & wonders & simply walking away does not cut it.

    when Jesus said “I have come to give life in all its fullness” he really, really meant it – it was not easy for him to go to the cross… it took effort & a lifetime of fulfilling the father’s will to get him to that place…. giving us “fullness” cost him everything… our commitment needs to be just as “Full” dedicating our whole emphasis on ensuring people really really get that & give them the opportunity, environment & tools to help people build on that solid foundation… it takes waaayy more than a few quick prayers, or fire tunnel for that process to be in any way effective.

    we need to realise that Jesus sacrifice is soooo precious & the people he died for are very precious too.. we dare not sell him or them short.

  100. Hi M’Kayla – thank you for your willingness to share your experience here & the wisdom you have gained in your research. I am a member of a large church for our area (@4000 members.) I have a concern. One of our pastoral staff is involved with a ministry outside of our church body that aligns itself with Bethel teachings : Bill Johnson, sozo, healing rooms & the whole nine yards. When my husband & I first learned about this 1 1/2 years ago, we approached our pastor. He wrote down some notes, assured us that this fellow pastor was a genuine man who loves the Lord, & he also shared with me that he, too, from time to time, will use some techniques from sozo in his counseling sessions. He was of the mindset that, “sometimes you have to chew the meat & spit out the bones.” At the time, I accepted that. My husband & I left our meeting with our senior pastor confused, though. And now, fast forward a year & 1/2. Now there is “worship” going on with the soloist “pounding fists” & stomping feet, hands are raised at the first note of music, hollering, & laying in the floor in a Sunday morning service. This is not what our church is accustomed to “worship” looking like. (We are a Southern Baptist Church that has a more contemporary worship style.) We had a couple join some time ago who have “brought” a new “ministry” in to our church body that, secretly & by invitation only, puts together a time of music-only “worship” in our student center. More like a rock concert. The soloist is the same fist pounding, popcorn jumping, foot stomping, speak it & claim it, bring heaven to earth talk. Videos of these events are online for our members to see, although, no mention of advertisement or “welcoming of all” is noted. Again, it is very secretive. We have had several reliable sources who have been invited & have attended. Their descriptions of the goings on are terrifying & sound like demonic activity. Blood-curling screams, rolling on the floor, clawing the carpet, clawing at their stomachs……the only time I’ve heard of anything like this, especially Biblically, has been when one was demon possessed. These are folks who have an elitism about themselves. I say all of this to give you a visual…..We will soon go meet with our pastor again – by the way, he has NOT been invited to this “service,” & has never attended. In fact, he asked the very pastor who was in question to attend one of these gatherings & report back to him. Well, he did so & said he found nothing wrong with it. ??? In my opinion, not an unbiased opinion as I already mentioned this particlar pastor aligns himself with Bethel, Bobby Conner, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton & the like. My question to you is, what should be our focus of questions to ask? We have our own “list” but I wanted to get input from you. We want to ask: 1. Are you acutely aware of all that is going on now & if so, do you agree with this form of “worship”? 2. Can you show me where any of this observed activity is in the Bible? (Knowing he can’t.) 3. When you think God looks down on our worship service, what do you feel is His primary concern? I need to note that our pastor is a man of few words. He is very thought-ful, not speaking too quick. He is definitely one who would take the route of “loving them out of the deception & darkness” & he would exercise great patience in doing so. I, on the other hand, am ready to call a snake a snake, expose satan for the liar, thief & murderer that he is, & confront this associate pastor & fellow church members with the darkness they’re wrapped up in, Biblically defending how deceived they are & let the chips fall where they may. I have a desire for God to yes, change their hearts & open their eyes to the deception, but, thinking of the investment that my family has made Spiritually in this church for the last 9 years, at the same time, I want Truth to be revealed & preached & if God needs to “clean His house,” then, allow Him to do so. Please help. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  101. anonymous 7

    You probably already know that these secretive, by invitation only meetings are not about the worship of God. Seriously, when did anyone ever worship in this fashion? No, this is demonic activity, leading to, if not already, possession. The teachings of Bethel, healing rooms, charismania as a whole have nothing to do with the gospel. There is only enough biblical truth to pull people in and keep them at a very confused state, often focused on what is right. “He loves or has a heart for the Lord” is a good one that is readily used over and again. Truly, Jesus said if we loved Him we would keep his commands, didn’t He? Didn’t He say if we loved Him we would keep His word?

    Is this what they are doing? Absolutely not – not even close to it. They are doing what feels right and good to them, being deceived and deceiving many others along the way. Chew the meat, spit out the bones may apply in some areas of the world, but never in biblical teaching or in practice. The word of God is very clear on these things and you know this, having already said you are ready to call a snake a snake and expose satan for what he is – yes. I say do it. There is no “loving them out of deception” outside of the cross and their own repentance. This group should be kicked right out of the church and the pastor should address HIS congregation in repentance for what he has allowed to take place. How else will this body be saved? So, confront, but be ready to get out. To stay is to risk being overtaken and it can happen. The Lord calls us out from the worship of other gods, so to turn your question around, what does He see when He looks down at those gatherings?

    Stay in touch, huh?

  102. It seems the deception is sweeping through all north-america, and sometimes I wish I’d be like one of these deceived sheep, going with the flood and jerking along, instead of carrying the burden of crying out for the state the church, being singled out and avoided because I speak negatively about the “new” anointing.
    It’s been 8 years since we repented and came out of the Toronto blessing mess, and I was hopping the deception would fade away and the church will be back on it’s feet. I was mistaken. Now I see conservative congregations jumping on the wagon; that was unheard of a decade ago. The mess is getting bigger, yoga and new age like teachings from the pulpit are a normal occurrence and when I compare what was 12 years ago with what we see today I can’t stop wondering how much more is to come. There are many in the church that struggle with the many why’s:
    - why does God allow this to happen
    - why God doesn’t intervene
    - where is God in all this
    - is it a mix between Holly Spirit anointing and the works of the flesh
    - shall I accept it so I don’t offend God and be cast out
    - why people don’t see what happens
    - why leaders expose their flocks and promote these teachings

    It is my strong belief that we have the privilege to witness in our lifetime the fulfilment of 2 Thessalonians 2:
    “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

    This is exactly what we see happening now, word for word. Note the Bible says it is a powerful delusion send from God. The deception is here to stay until it reaches it’s purpose, that is to separate the wheat from the chaff, to bring forth the lawless one and to lead to the culmination of this age.

    Draw closer to the Lord, it’s the only way to fight against deception. Don’t waste your time praying that this deception be removed because it won’t. Rather pray that the faith of your loved ones be preserved, so they can be saved. Rejoice my friends, Jesus is coming soon :)

  103. Brickwall , you’ve hit the nail on the head. The deception is not going away , it will only get worse, and you’re right , congregations that once stood firm on the word of God are now falling from it .

  104. Dear M’Kayla and everyone else,
    Thank you so much for this article and many others.
    Me and my family just found out about Bethel Church, Bill Johnson, etc.
    Someone from our family recently got involved in one of the Schools of Supernatural Ministries.
    We didn’t know anything at first and started looking for more information and found much more than we expected….
    Thank God for finding the truth behind this school, etc.
    Please pray for us as we are in the middle of a family crisis with all those things happening.
    We will also take what we found to our Church leaders and talk about it as it seems they are unaware of those things. We didn’t see any bad signs in our Church….yet….except one: someone talking about ‘gold on hands’……as soon as I heard about that I thought to myself: what a lod of rubbish!!
    Thank God I grew in a Christ, Bible centered Church with no nonsense!
    Yesterday, I prayed about all those things and God gave me a word from 2 Thessalonians. What an encouragement! So true with what is happening today!
    I pray that God will keep us faithful until the end.

  105. praying for you SBG: I have been through this very personally….. took what we had concerns about to our leader…. my experience is that the whole discussion was turned around to make out that we were or had the problem.. been accused of having an attitude problem & not wanting to “press in” to the things of God therefore the conclusion our leaders arrived at was that it was us who were rebellious & divisive ( because we were holding back God & his glory etc etc)…

    our leader stated very categorically that it was impossible for him to be decieved & we were under strong delusions ourselves….

    so just from that one comment alone ( & there was much discussion) we can see there is absolutely no room for questioning & Godly discernment … well I guess a leader like that doesn’t need any input from anyone about anything if they can never be deceived huh?

    we noticed that the Bethel influence creeps in: the whole body needs to be vigilant to it…. some of the first things we noticed were:

    * an over endorsement in signs & wonders: constantly talking about gold dust/glory clouds/angelic visitation … the list goes on & on…. & making an expectation of these experiences the bench mark as to whether or not a person was in the “renewal” or in the river.. & therefore walking (or not) as a “proper christian” BJ actually teaches this more or less…

    * the language used changes: Bethel people have a lot of “in” sayings & a specific way of talking this identifies them immediately… some of these are: talking about the father as Daddy/papa… “activation (in the spirit)” “more” “fire” “drink” “press in” “being royalty” “there is a grace on your life to…” “wanting Jesus to get what he paid for” “wakey wakey” “breakthrough” “the river” “the well” … & loads more

    * prayer & ministry for absolutely anything by anyone at anytime during the meeting…… leaders (& others) suddenly get up & pray for people by laying a hand on the forehead & will pray for God to reveal himself (in a new way/ fresh revelation) for that person or they may pray in tongues… always the hand on the head & the prayer is not asked for or in response to the preached word by the person receiving the ministry…. strange manifestations began to occur when people were prayed for like this… do some research on Kundalini as this is what this actually is I believe…

    In our church Bethel came along because the senior leadership bought into it & introduced it to the church… Bethel songs were being sung to the exclusion of all else.. & the teaching centered around being in & bringing down the “Prescence of God” the “Culture of Honour” & being “activated in the spirit” I would suggest that if your hear these phrases the person delivering them has been under the influence of Bethel/BJ teaching

    Jesus is sidelined, very little teaching is given about Jesus & the atonement of the cross.. its almost as though all that is old fashioned…. because its all about having a relationship with father..

    these are some of the first indications & chances are you may not be able to put your finger on why some of these things are not right…. but equally you will know in your spirit that they are not…

    I will pray for you: but be prepared for some defensiveness, the leaders or whoever is into this stuff will most likely feel very threatened & become defensive & hostile to their position… always use the word of God to back up what you are saying…. I didnt need to tell you that though LOL

    be blessed Zazzy

  106. Thank you so much Zazzy!
    It means so much as we feel so helpless at this moment. The more we read the more we worry for our relative.
    He is already “in awe” with Bill Johnson…….after only a few weeks….
    I keep reading testimonies and I get the sense that there is a spirit of selfishness, a spirit of arrogance in those immersed in Bethel experience….am I right?
    Or maybe is just our relative.
    Anyway, keep praying please.
    I will let you know more as soon as something will happen. (hopefully good news)
    God bless you all

  107. I forgot to ask something: I am from UK and I know there are people here from UK, too.
    If you had any involvement with Bethel experience would it be possible to speak to you? We need to hear from people like you. We need to know more about it all.
    Thank you

  108. Saved by grace, there is a lot of information here on my blog, the links and the blog roll regarding Bethel, charismania, etc. If you have specific questions, I would be happy to help you out.

  109. yes big a spirit of arrogance & haughtiness…. people (not just me) have gone in humility to present to leaders what they feel is a correction in line with the word… ( “correction” is too strong a word, even tho that is what it is: maybe a gentle conversation asking a few questions) with the express purpose of the leadership to take it away- praying & seeking God for truth… this is the response they should get but do not.

    they have not approached this lightly, spending weeks on their face before God, pondering & reading the word for clarity before they went along to the leadership..

    they have come away with threats, manipulative double talk & being labelled a trouble maker… within the hour the rest of the leader team who were not present knew all about it.

    people have received church discipline- been threatened with removal from the church membership ( because they are demonstrating something that indicates they are not in unity) removal (or threat of) from previously held position or responsibility, sidelined & watched – physically prevented from praying with others or operating in their gifting area that they have been faithfully serving in for years.

    there is a mindset here in the UK that basically supports the notion that Bethel ( & other associated ministries in the “river”) that they are further on in things of the spirit & because we want that we dare not quench it in any way… & because the are “further on” they are correct & doing everything they are because the Holy spirit is leading them into it…… &&& we just dont understand it yet … because we are not further on… this is evidenced by the miraculous, a continual stream of signs & wonders & healings which we need more & more of in order to convince ourselves that God really has shown up… basically the more manifestations you have the more you are in it … corporately & personally – this “Renewal”

    The UK has set itself up for this because we have been talking about a move of God – “Revival” since 1986….. Toronto came & went but this is much more intense.. Christian leaders in the UK really do seem to think that an increase in the “supernatural” means more of God & more revival… & that the kingdom of God is prevailing… & should prevail as we are to be the head not the tail in society… Just think about the 7 mountains mandate… & the ringing of the bells on the morning of the opening of the olympic games… those in the “river” “ushered in the kingdom” with that… everything gets twisted up into some significant prophetic moment of some sort.

    see we have become so desperate for “revival” these last 20+years we now accept anything that could possibly indicate that – those that question are out of step & unity… & told so…

    In my new church ( which has nothing to do with Bethel) I got talking to a lady who asked me if I had heard of the place… she went on to say that she had never met any group of people who were more in love with God than the Bethellites… & was raving about it … I gave her a gentle gentle, please be careful – there are things not right with Bethel response to which she got extremely offended… after the prayer meeting we were at she then proceeded to do her own prayer & ministry to some other person present… with no clear authority from anyone she was laying hands on & “declaring” things over this person… now there is a designated pastoral team & a way to refer people & elders were present in the room … but that didnt even come into her thinking – she just went for it & did it anyway.. ( I dont think it went down too well… & she has not been seen now for over 6 weeks..)

    so arrogance: yes they feel they have the authority to minister in this way just because they have been to Redding.

    SBG I would love to talk with you as I am in the UK too but Im not going to post my real name & email.. so please ask M kayla for it as she has it & talk to her she was very supportive of me when I made the decision to leave my previous church. she has done a heap of research & there is so much on this blog of great great value….. you can find my testimony of how I got out on “escape from bethel & the false prophetic” thread.

    sending love

    Zazzy

  110. Hi M’Kayla,

    Thank you. I have already read a lot on your blog; that’s how I found more about Bethel, Bill Johnson, etc. It’s been very helpful for us to understand more.
    I would like to know which churches in London are involved with Bethel Church, their teaching and practices. I know that Holy Trinity Brompton have links with them….unfortunately. I used to go to that Church about 6 years ago and I was shocked when I found out about them being linked to Bethel.
    What I am hoping for is to find out some of those churches and go there to see what’s really happening; we need to understand better in order to warn our Church, family, etc.
    Thank you again
    God bless you

  111. I forgot to say a few things.
    I was watching Benny Hinn yesterday (I am just finding out about those people!!) and he is such a fake that is impossible not to see that!!
    I was watching him with his kids next to him, in front of thousands of people. His kids were scarred of him!! It made me sick! He shook his hands towards the boy and he started shaking, he fell down…..his daughter took a few steps back in fear….HOW CAN THAT BE GOD??? It is so clear that’s the opposite.
    But with Bill Johnson is not like that……..he know’s what he’s doing and he is cunning. People say he is gentle, humble….but I say he is like the snake in the Garden of Eden…..he knows how to put things so you fall for it….

  112. Saved by grace.
    An easy way is to check out them out is to go to the church’s websites, go to links, resources or friends pages, listen to audio sermons, videos, etc. I don’t recommend actually attending a service because they can be dangerous and won’t necessarily tell you what you are looking for. The last 2 churches I left did things behind the scenes and most of the congregation weren’t even aware of it.

    You can also purchase a popular Bill Johnson book, such as When Heaven Invades Earth and research it with the bible. If you go to Johnson’s website, there should be plenty of material for free investigation. All you need are a few hot points to take him down biblically. Here’s a start –
    He claims Jesus Christ had to be born again, supernatural emphasis/dreams visions/feathers/gold dust, laying on the graves of the dead to suck up their anointing or mantle, healing is for everyone. BJ is Word of faith based, with emphasis on the supernatural, dominion/kingdom now, manifest sons of God. He found all kinds of excuses to bring Todd Bentley back into the “ministry”.

    The very sad point is that many people, churches, ministry, outreaches, etc., have joined in with his fanaticism and we are seeing a world wide falling away, apostasy, if you will. Most of these people are untouchable, unreachable, their spirits seemed to have been permeated, possibly seared, they are defensive when confronted with the truth, they bully, reject, speak of great love, yet have none. Be careful of what you get into and make sure the Lord is leading you to do this work. It is ugly and full of the demonic. I had no idea how much hatred and loss I would encounter when I began speaking the truth. But, it is what we are called to do. I just want you to be ready – don’t get your feelings hurt or let anyone tell you (and they will) that you are the one with the problem. You are not.

    Keep in touch with us! :)

  113. also: if you can bear it look up Bethel’s Global legacy web page…. there they say you can put in your postcode & up pops the contact details of churches that have bought into it… not every church will be on there but some are… if they are on there they are in:

    in regards to churches “linking” with Bethel it’s not quite like that because Bethel/BJ & KV would tell you its all about developing “kingdom relationships”… the terminology would be alignment or partnering…. Bethel have no church governmental or direct apostolic involvement with churches/ministries/leaders that choose to align themselves… but there is clear direct line of “spiritual impartation” – they would call it with all those who choose such a thing… It is so powerful leaders will quote the one liners & teach the material directly found in the books CDs & other teaching resources that spew forth… & use that to make scripture fit it rather than the other way around in order to justify the teaching…

    furthermore they believe & teach that each city/town should have its own apostolic team covering it & it seems quite clear that they will work with a designated leader person who shows willing to be an apostle for the town. to develop an alignment of churches within a town where those churches gather in the “collective river” this is linked to the teaching of the 7 mountains mandate/dominionism/ushering in the kingdom mentality…. this is what Global legacy is all about under Paul Mainwaring (senior Leadership Team Bethel) who is originally from the uk

    shuddering at the recollection & the reality of it all…

    Z

  114. Dear M’Kayla and Zazzy,

    Thank you so much for your advice. It is much appreciated!
    I will follow your advice and won’t go to any of those churches.
    I spoke to my husband and we agreed it is better to speak to someone like Zazzy.
    Thank you Zazzy for offering to speak to us!
    M’Kayla, could we have Zazzy’s email address and it is fine to give him mine. Thank you.
    Please continue to pray for our relative.
    My heart is so sad with all that is going on.
    But I know that me Redeemer lives! :)
    God bless you all

  115. There is a bit on her, mostly in the comments when she was brought up in other conversations. Do a search on her name and see if that will bring anything up for you. Heidi was supposedly born again as a kid, lived in southern Ca next door to one of the Gabor sisters in an affluent beach city. Several years ago she met up with Randy Clark where she “received the prophetic word” to go to Mozambique. Heidi is quite drunk, unable to speak much, stand or walk. Many times during her meetings she claims she does not know where she is at. I went to hear her once when she was in Oregon and it was quite a strange, supernatural night. She is as false and as dangerous as they come.

  116. There is a lot of judgement flying around here…well, the last thing I want to do is join in it. I don’t want to judge your heart or anyone else that is a part of or in agreement with Bethel church or Bill Johnson. Only the Lord can really judge the hearts of men. Remember, anything that is not done or said out of real love is just wood, hay and stubble that will burn up in the end and mean nothing. The important thing, I think, is that we love one another as Christ loved us. There are too many important things going on in the world and people that are hurting and need the LOVE of the Lord to worry or focus on what others hearts may or may not be. That’s what I believe at least. I hope it in line with the heart of Jesus as well or else it doesn’t really mean anything!

  117. Anna, got your bible dear? Find this scripture and post it for me – Remember, anything that is not done or said out of real love is just wood, hay and stubble that will burn up in the end and mean nothing Then, look this one up – There are too many important things going on in the world and people that are hurting and need the LOVE of the Lord to worry or focus on what others hearts may or may not be.

    There is a difference in judging hearts or the intention of a person and judging false teaching and prophecy – which we ARE told to do. And when we find a teaching to be in error we are to expose it, warn others and have nothing more to do with it or the teacher. I believe this topic has been -stampeded- on here with plenty of biblical evidence.

    If you truly want your “heart to be in line” with Jesus’, then here is an area where you can study to show yourself approved, and to be like a Berean who searched the scriptures to find if the things taught were so.

    Please dear, do some research and throw these overused one-liners in the trash. There is much more to truth than simple love.

  118. 1. “Remember, anything that is not done or said out of real love is just wood, hay and stubble that will burn up in the end and mean nothing.”

    “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” (1 Cor 3: 11-13)

    Real love ONLY builds on the foundation of Jesus Christ who is the Word of God made flesh. It doesn’t, like Bill Johnson, warn people that too much study of their Bibles might lead them to be bound by a “religious spirit”. That is a different foundation.

    2. “There are too many important things going on in the world and people that are hurting and need the LOVE of the Lord to worry or focus on what others hearts may or may not be.”

    “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” (Romans 1:16-19)

    If a person’s heart does not love the gospel, then NOTHING that they do or say can be of any eternal benefit to anyone else. Well meaning people suppress the truth all over the world in the name of sharing “love” with those in need; and those people never hear the gospel and perish eternally. Just something to think about.

  119. I agree with what M’Kayla says.
    Some people don’t understand that there’s no middle road in all of these! You either are on the narrow path, either on the wide one!
    You cannot say: “oh well, they have some bad teaching, some evil spirits, etc….but what’s important is that they have love”
    Rubish, rubish, rubish….this is all Satan’s filth and lies!!!
    Wake up people!!! Jesus is comming and He will bring His judgment with Him!! It won’t be “half an hour in a corner” but an eternity in Hell!!
    Love is kind, yes, but it is WISE too!!
    Ask God for His wisdom!

  120. Anna,, please understand that no one here wishes to come in “judgement” against anyone at all.. that is not the driving force of this blog or of us regular commentors…

    however this is place where we can discuss & question teachings & ideas promoted by this church & this man.. we are here to explore whether or not what is being said & done in our churches, which is just being copied by our leaders, from Bethel is biblical & Godly… we have to ask whether or not anything that is being brought to us ” as a new thing of God” really is of God. or is it counterfeit & therefore a deception – a false teaching -erring from the whole counsel & weight of scripture?

    please understand that I certainly, & many many others around here have taken these questions & observations already to our pastors & leaders for clarification.. sadly our testimonies tend to correlate that these “men of God” who we have submitted to, sat under for our spiritual covering & lapped every word & teaching for years & years now turn to us with character assassination, threats of being removed from positions of responsibilities & the church- told we were removing ourselves from Gods place of favour & blessing- not being in unity & bringing division into the house of God…. on & on the list could go…. simply because some of us have enough confidence in Christ & actually know the scriptures well enough to know that it is biblical to search out for the truth & to be discerning & ask our leaders to be accountable when it comes to identifying teachings & practices that go “off the map” of biblical boundaries..

    sadly Bill Johnson uses that exact same concept of going “off the map” to qualify & make acceptable all that is going on & coming from the church he oversees…. those are his words- not mine.. he has a huge responsibility before the Body of Christ & great influence right now especially in the UK….

    If anyone is entitled to talk about Judgement in the context you describe – well so many of us have been there on the receiving end & truly wish it hadnt been so….

    it seems asking questions, searching the scriptures & formulating opinions that are contrary to what BJ/Bethel is all about….. is not acceptable or wanted in this movement… I know that my Bible says different… & if our leaders cant, wont & dont want to talk about this properly – seriously – we have to talk to people & each other….who feel this same way… we 100% must get to the TRUTH of the matter… if people have been dishonoured in this area by leaders who claim to be so spiritual, on the edge of breakthrough( whatever that is) & touching Heaven with every breath…etc etc….& the duplicity of that is staring us in the face with their responses….This is why we post here…

  121. Can’t leave out the reason of blogging which for me was to warn others. Anna, if you are reading maybe you aren’t aware but I came out of false teaching – the false prophetic movement, healing, signs and wonders, dream interpretation, etc. The reason why I found these “ministries” and their teachings to be false is because I compared the things we were taught, and the things we taught others with the bible and found them to be completely in error. There is always a bit of truth mixed in, to make the lie acceptable, Anna. But the bottom line is that the teachings were false. After I found that out, I began to warn others which is what we are told to do. This is not about judgement, it is about truth. If the Lord is the one we follow, we will find him in his word. A good sermon will always point to Christ and will always be proved thru scripture. If not, then the words are not of God and have no meaning for our lives. There are many out there who come in the name of the Lord, and Christ said this would happen. He also told us to watch and take care that no one deceives us. Mark 13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch., Matthew 24:25, 25 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.

    Acts 20:29Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31“Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.

    Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

    Philippians 3:2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

    When you get down to it there are many scriptures warning of the things we are now seeing.

  122. Anna, I too came out of a church following Bethal and Bill Johnson, I bought his books and CD’s.
    I went to every “healing” conference he had. I was part of the prayer ministry team and thought surely I must be wrong to question these teachings. So many people were being helped! I had a close friend praying I would wake up. One day I heard a teaching and thought , “that doesn’t sound right.” I checked my Bible and it was way off. God is not “doing a new thing!” The word says He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I spent seven years in this movement until it became so unbelievable. I questioned the teachings and like so manyothers, was told I was a touble maker trying to block all the Holy Spirit was doing in this movement.

    I left my chuch two years ago and just last week found notes from a Bethel conference, I read it breifly and thought “this is so far off how could I ever have believed this stuff?” That is part of the deception, you don’t realize you are being pulled in until you are in deep!

    One thing every person has in common when they “question any of this”, is total anger, hostility and being put down as a trouble maker.
    That’s why it is so important to warn other’s so they too are not decieved!

  123. Hi Beth! Welcome. Thanks for commenting. It is hard, but it does help others see that they are not alone. Satan is a great deceiver and many have lost their way. We continue to pray for them. Praise God His mercy is new every morning and that He hears us when we call on Him!

    Blessings, and BE WELL!

  124. Hi Beth,
    You are so right when you talk about the anger and hostility.
    They also tell you that you need to repent, you need to see how you have fallen and are far from God….all this rubbish……I personally have had enough of it and this is coming from only one person!!
    I have told them very firmly what I believe and I will do so any given time. I won’t swallow any of those lies!
    No one should!
    God bless you :)

  125. It’s been two years since this post, but it’s happening here at our side of the world. My family is now contemplating how to leave our church graciously. It’s extremely painful just thinking of not seeing them again, because they’ve been our family for 4 years. But we have to flee. We can’t take part in this kind of teaching and still have a peaceful conscience. May the Lord guide us as we pray about this and eventually say our goodbyes.

  126. It IS true that the Holy Spirit would lead you out of that false teaching. Our Lord would never want us to stay, regardless of what our emotions tell us. Saying goodbye is hard and painful, but at the same time we are thankful the Lord opened our eyes and showed us the way out. Praise Him! Never forget the work He does in our lives. It makes those choices much easier.

    Peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior!

  127. I so appreciate this site. May The Lord bless you.

    I am an Elder in a Bible church in Texas that preaches Truth. Sadly, my wife and some other women in our church have come under the deceptive spell of Bill Johnson and Bethel.
    This has not only created division in our church, which we have been able to halt for the most part, but also in my home. My beautiful wife of 20+ years and mother of our 5 children is a different person. She has become impatient, intolerant, easily triggered and blaming of everyone else for her changed state, especially me for “putting God in a box”, “not going off the map” “Biblio-idolatry”, “not pressing in” and calling what she is believing heresy and demonic.
    Some of the comments have stated those who speak Biblical Truth into the lives of the “Bethel-bots” will be persecuted, scorned, belittled and even hated. That is the state of my home right now. It really stinks!
    Our children are too young to discern that just when daddy speaks the Truth (in love – with patience and kindness) to mommy and then mommy writhes on the floor screaming and crying at him that he is judging her and is “a Pharisee” and “stuck in the law”, they get very confused. They only see daddy said that and it hurts mommy – therefore, mommy must be right and daddy’s being mean.
    Major “Catch-22″.
    I will continue to pray for my wife and our family. It has helped tremendously for me to know how they are literally unable to even tolerate Truth until God intervenes and changes the heart and mind.

    Blessings to you all

  128. Shepherd/Guardian,

    Praying with you….

    “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be as one.” (John 17:11b)

    “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:15-16)

    Don’t give up hope! Keep yourself safely in God’s Word so that His light can shine through you and into your household. Try to remember that you are not fighting the flesh and blood that is your wife, but the forces of the air that are deceiving her. I’m telling you the truth…SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SHE IS DOING. When God opens her eyes, and I believe with all my heart that He will, she will be distraught at everything that she has done/believed and how she has hurt you. Then you will need to reassure her in God’s Word that she truly belongs to Jesus.

    God bless you and keep you….

  129. I’m praying.. this story is waaaay to familiar. being ‘under a spell” is exactly right I believe that is what it is.. Lord let her eyes & her heart be open to the truth

  130. So sorry to hear what happened to your wife. It must be so confusing for kids. I have someone in my family who’s involved with them and, as you said, ‘they are literally unable to even tolerate Truth’. We’ve been told off by other members of the family for telling him the truth!! It’s mad!!
    I’ll be praying for you&family.

  131. Hi M’Kayla,
    You were talking about the antichrist in one of your first comments on this link.
    Who is the Antichrist? Satan. Bible says that our ‘bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit’ and the Antichrist ‘sets himself up in God’s temple’.
    So, if the Holy Spirit is not living in us (God’s temple) then someone else is (antichrist). So those people don’t have the Holy spirit but the spirit of antichrist.
    Can we say that the antichrist is already here? Doing his work in those people?
    Any thought?

  132. Yes, the bible says he is already at work. Consider these scriptures:

    1 John 2:18Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; by which we know that it is the last time.

    19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

    2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now restrains will do so, until he be taken out of the way.

    There are many antichrists, but there is one coming who will be greater, empowered by Satan and many will be deceived by him and his power. I believe we are in warm up stages with all the false doctrine, lying signs and wonders. They will increase as well. People being taken in now run a greater risk of being lost later on. This is why we need to know the word of God and pray for discernment. Things will get much worse for true believers and signs and wonders will become more powerful, more easily believed than they are now.

  133. Thank you all.
    Your words are both encouraging and edifying.
    I’m getting a handle on this thing but, not new to you all, it seems to change shapes, hide behind anger and control, and is highly manipulative.
    I pray for strength, courage, discernment, protection for me and my children, and opening of my wife’s heart to the Truth of God’s Word and a restoration through acknowledgement and repentance.

    May the Lord richly bless you all.

  134. @ all who commented… may have missed something in all the comments but I know that one consistent replay I heard myself thinking was …. THOU SHALT NOT JUDGE. Now I am sure that you will feel compelled to comment to this scriptural statement, I will state a couple of cliches to back it up… PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULD NOT THROW STONES and SWEEP IN FRONT OF YOUR OWN DOORSTEP BEFORE SWEEPING IN FRONT OF OTHERS : ) Let’s all imagine what a peaceful and incredibly awesome world we would be living in if we invested as much time in finding the reasons why we CAN get along rather than focusing on the excuses as to why we shouldn’t. Have a most blessed day people of ALL faith : D

  135. Hi,
    I have been having a problem with slurred speech that my neurologist thinks is Bulbar-Onset ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) that has no treatment or cure. I had been checking out some Word Of Faith practicioners, including contacting a Bethel plant church in my city—haven’t been, though. I wwas grasping so hard at any straws for healing, as the end of this disease is pretty gruesome and VERY draining on the family and caregivers. The attorney I have contacted toward getting my affairs in order recommended I stop ALL charitable contributions (including to my church) because I will need every dime for equipment and nursing care. Yes, maybe healing has become an idol, but right now, the inability to communicate and do much of anything for God has made me nearly suicidal. I had some hope that the “Sozo” practice would do some good if I tried it. But now even that hope is gone. I find it hard to pray (can’t bear to hear myself talk now) and reading the Bible gives me no comfort at all. Interestingly, all my tests that would point to ALS have been Clear so far, but my neuro says that another test will probably show the presence of ALS—so he has scheduled one for April. I keep praying for death, but somehow I stay alive, day after day. I had thought there was hope, but now I’m confronted with a God Who loves me so much that he’s stricken me with a debilitating disease that will bankrupt me and probably other family members, too. Great—thank you, Jesus!

  136. Holly Bardoe, my heart goes out to you. In my own way and in my own circumstances, the loss of my daughter and step son, the loss of many relationships and the seemingly endless broken heart of mine – still I cling to God, tho I know pain, I know Him in ways that I would not have had these things not have happened. I cannot say that I am glad for them, but I am glad for what God did for me through these circumstances and what He continues to do.

    To seek out help thru Word of Faith, Bethel, SOZO or any form of inner healing is to go directly to Satan for your needs. That is shocking, and it should be. These people come in the name of the Lord, yet they do not stand for His truth. They have strange ideas and ways, strange fire, so to speak, ideas and thoughts taken from the world and from other religions, from men and women who taught things and hated God. There is no hope to be found with them, for what it is if you gain your life and lose your soul in the process? This is not the plan that God would have for any of us called by His name. I am telling you these things with all certainty, because I used to be one of them until God showed me the truth and led me out of it. These healing sessions are dangerous, demonic and believe me that is the last thing you need to open yourself up to. So, my sister, rejoice that you have been saved from those things. Tho the idea may seem strange at first, it is a place of joy for you, for us all.

    Micah 6:8
    He has shown you, O man, what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justly,
    To love mercy,
    And to walk humbly with your God?

    You say that you cannot do anything for God, but what does the above scripture say for you to do? That is a starting place for today my dear. Remember, Moses could not speak well, either, yet remember what God accomplished anyway. Look at your writing – you DO have ability!

    It is a good idea for all of us to be reminded of the true living conditions of many because the ways of this world often get us off track – Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead by a resurrection: and others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36and others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tempted, they were slain with the sword: they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38(of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves, and the holes of the earth.

    It is the liars of WOF that plant the idea we are deserving of some great life, some great healing, of complete joy and – prosperity. These are lies in face of the word of God. The Lord knew you would have these difficulties, this illness, and yet He is allowing it to happen. So let Him take you through the days, leaving behind the need for healing, and just begin to rest in the truth that He is the only one who knows you completely. Beg for death? So have I and then I was shown something different. As for the money, do what needs to be to take care of you. As we are told, no thought for tomorrow, only today, because we are told to ask only for what we need today and we don’t even know what tomorrow will bring us. If you go bankrupt, this is by the hand of the medical community and their exorbitant fees, which is not the same as God taking your money. We should all strive to live for today – Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof Matthew 6:34.

    I would love for you to stay in touch, talk, vent, learn…I will pray for you that your heart and mind are willing to receive these truths and that you will begin to live a different kind of life. Remember, even Jesus prayed ..not my will, but Yours.

    With hugs -

  137. Carrieintheuk, I think you are mislead. Christ told us –

    Matthew 24:3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

    :4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,a’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

    9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

  138. Sadly, the “Judge not…” Scripture is used by just about all the false teachers out there as a way to silence the truth about their teaching.
    This is a very good, Biblically-based article on why we need to and are commanded to expose the wolves which the sheep cannot discern.

    Blessings!

    Discernment in an Age of Deception
    Defining the Believer’s Biblical Call to Judge

    by Bob DeWaay

    Editor’s note: The following is a Bible study that pastor Bob conducted by request to prepare for a live radio show on the topic. We decided that this material is important and answers questions most Christians have. Therefore we decided to publish it, knowing that its format is more of a topical Bible study than the type of literature CICusually publishes. We hope that you find this Bible study helpful and informative.

    Many times, after publishing an article that disputes the claims of someone’s published work, I am asked if I had talked to the person privately. There are those who claim that debating ideas in the public arena should not happen unless there was a prior Matthew 18 process of adjudication. It is my position that Matthew 18 does not apply to the public interaction of theological ideas. In this paper, I shall examine various New Testament passages that explain what we must and must not judge.

    It is not surprising that people are confused about the matter of passing judgment because some scriptures tell us we must make judgments and discern, and others warn us not to judge. We will see that Scripture provides straightforward, objective guidelines concerning making judgments and that both the commands to judge and the commands not to judge are understandable – and they are to be obeyed.

    Do Not Judge – Matthew 7

    The following teaching from the Sermon on the Mount warns us not to judge:

    Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
    Before we interpret those verses we must look at the sermon in Matthew that preceded it. The Sermon on the Mount concerns motives and sin. For example, the hypocrite prays to be “seen of men” (Matthew 6:5). Jesus’ sermon contains warnings against anger (Matthew 5:22), lust (Matthew 5:28), a command to love one’s enemies (Matthew 5:44) and a warning against loving money (Matthew 6:24). Jesus addresses many sin issues in a manner that would show everyone their sinfulness and need for the Gospel. Jesus said, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). This statement would have shocked Jesus’ hearers because the scribes and Pharisees were fastidious in keeping the law of external rules. A righteousness greater than theirs could only be the imputed righteousness of Christ that changes the heart. Without Christ’s righteousness we cannot enter the kingdom.

    Given this context, what is the meaning of Matthew 7:1-5? The answer is that we are warned against judging how righteous others are in comparison to ourselves. This passage is a warning against self righteousness. As sinners, we tend to minimize or rationalize our own transgressions and magnify what we see wrong in others. Jesus warns about this because self-righteousness like that of the hypocritical Pharisees will keep a person out of the kingdom of God. It is the poor in spirit and the persecuted who will “inherit the kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:3, 10). These humbled people know they need a savior.

    So does Matthew 7:1-5 teach that Christians should accept all teachers and teachings without discrimination? No. This passage concerns peoples’ motivations and the degree of their internal righteousness. These matters we are not to judge. Other passages, which we will examine later, are concerned with judging the content of a person’s teaching. Before we study those texts, let us examine other passages that are used to suggest that false teachers should not be corrected publicly.

    Go to Your Brother in Private Matthew 18

    As mentioned earlier, the admonition in Matthew 18 to go to your brother in private if he has sinned is often used to suggest that public teachings should be adjudicated privately. However, Matthew 18 does not address debate about the orthodoxy of someone’s public teaching but how to deal with one of Christ’s sheep who have strayed into sin. Let us examine the passage in context.

    Matthew 18 begins with the disciples discussing who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus saw a danger in their attitude that could be very harmful to the church. The rest of Matthew 18 deals with relationships in the church, particularly how the “little ones” (meaning believers not young children – Matthew 18:6) are treated. The problem Jesus foresees in the discussion of who is greatest, is that “little ones” (believers who may appear unimportant to those concerned about their own “greatness”) would be mistreated by those whose motives are wrong. Matthew 18 contains teachings to insure that every believer is seen as important and every effort is put forth to preserve their spiritual well-being.

    In this context, we read this:

    And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. (Matthew 18:15-17)
    At issue is a “little one” who has become a straying sheep (Matthew 18:12). The tendency is for people who are seeking greatness in the kingdom to allow the sinner to wander off and perish rather than put forth the effort to preserve him or her. Jesus said, “Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish” (Matthew 18:14). As we have seen, the little ones are believers, and it is not God’s will that a believer perishes. So the “lost sheep” that is rescued is a straying believer.

    Given the immediate context, reproving in private someone who sins shows a willingness to take steps to keep one of the Lord’s flock from perishing. It is not specified what particular sin may be at issue, but rather what the motives of the church members (i.e., disciples of Jesus Christ) are. They are to care about the well being of the little ones who may not appear important to others, but who are important to God.

    The entire process outlined in Matthew 18 is about preserving church members from perishing. If the process does not result in the person repenting, they are to be assumed to be a lost sinner (a Gentile and a tax-gatherer). Lost sinners are the subject of gospel preaching. Any true Christian who has been confronted by this process will seek repentance and restoration. Those who claim a right to sin however they see fit show no evidence of regeneration. They are not “little ones” but targets for the gospel.

    So, does this passage tell us that public false teaching should never be corrected or judged without first gaining the permission of the false teacher? No. As we shall see in many other passages, false teaching cannot be allowed into the church for precisely the reason Jesus tells us to care for the flock. The spiritual well-being of His “little ones” is more important than that aspirations of those who deem themselves “greatest in the kingdom.” The flock must be protected and preserved. Allowing wolves into the congregation under the guise of Matthew 18 would be a horrible abuse of the passage.

    Notice that verse 16 says that two or three witnesses should confirm “every fact.” This is important, because someone could falsely accuse another of sin. What is being confirmed by the witnesses is that the person in question is guilty of the sin and refuses to change. In the case of publicly broadcast and published teachings, there is no need for this process because the “facts” are already public knowledge. What is needed is to compare the teachings to Scripture, not determine if the person is committing a sin and hiding it. At issue in public teaching is the integrity of the faith once for all delivered to the saints, not sin in the local fellowship.

    Do Not Pass Judgment – 1Corinthians 4

    Paul warns the Corinthians about wrongly passing judgment: “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (1Corinthians 4:5). This passage indicates that there are some things we will not know until God’s future judgment. One of these things is mentioned in this passage: “the motives of men’s hearts.” We should avoid judging what we do not know. People’s motives are often hidden from us, but their teachings are public information.

    Consider what Paul said in Philippians:

    Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18)
    It is not clear how Paul knew about these bad motives, but it is instructive to see his response. Because the content of their message was the true gospel, Paul rejoiced. This is in clear contrast to what he said elsewhere when the content of the message was wrong: “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). It is safe to assume that an angel from heaven would be a nice person with good motives. But a false gospel is damning and still must be rejected. There are many “nice people” with damnable false teachings.

    The content of the wrong judgment that the Corinthians were making had to do with matters that cannot be known now:

    Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (1Corinthians 4:6, 7)
    As shown also in 1Corinthians 1, they were in the habit of judging who was superior and aligning themselves with human personalities. Paul is telling them not to do that. Who is superior spiritually is not known, and will not be known until God passes judgment in the future. But what can be known is “what is written.” There is an objective standard for judging teaching, but not for judging motives and the relative superiority of personalities.

    We have seen a consistent theme so far. We are not to judge the motives or the relative degree of righteousness of other believers. But we must judge what is taught, whether it is in accordance with the true gospel and what has been written in Scripture.

    There is another matter concerning judgment that also concerns judging teachings, but most people misunderstand it. This is the section of Scripture in Matthew 7 about judging by the fruits.

    You Will Know Them by Their Fruits – Matthew 7

    Jesus’ teaching that, “You will know them by their fruits,” is well known and often repeated. What is amazing, however, is that most of the time people come to conclusions about what this means that have nothing to do with the issues Jesus raises in Matthew 7. They often think of “fruits” as being character qualities, popularity, or the ability to do supernatural signs. I will discuss each of these ideas and then show what Jesus did mean.

    Let us examine the passage. In Matthew 7 Jesus warned about false prophets:

    Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. (Matthew 7:15-17)
    First, personality traits are not fruits. On the outside, false prophets look like sheep. They are often very nice people who are kind, endearing, disarming, affable, winsome, and possess many other wonderful qualities. The false idea that these qualities are what Jesus means by “fruits” causes many people to be misled by false prophets. What they fail to realize is that the Dalai Lama has such qualities and he is hardly a Christian. Having a charming exterior is often the “sheep’s clothing.”

    The number of one’s followers is not fruit. Many assume that popularity is a sign of good fruit. But the context shows something entirely different: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:13, 14). The false religious leaders of Israel had more followers than Jesus did. This can hardly be what Jesus meant by “fruit.”

    And signs and wonders are not fruits. Again we must consult the context:

    So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:20-23)
    People who call Jesus “Lord,” come in His name, and do works of power are false prophets if they refused to abide within God-given boundaries. This is an important concept. This is lawlessness.

    The boundaries are those that God’s ordained spokespersons set. For us, they are the teachings of Christ and His apostles (See Hebrews 1:1, 2; 2:3, 4). Jesus was the prophet that Moses predicted and to whom we must listen (Deuteronomy 18:15; Mark 9:2-7; John 5:46, 47; et. al.). The book of Hebrews contains this warning: “Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:28, 29). Lawlessness disregards the terms of the covenant. Jesus has revealed the terms and boundaries of legal belief and practice under the new covenant, like Moses did under the old. John warned about this in his second epistle: “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son” (2John 1:9).

    Understood in this way, false prophets are those who teach and practice lawlessness. They do not abide within the once-for-all determined boundaries of New Testament teaching. We can see this as we continue in our Matthew 7 passage:

    Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall. (Matthew 7:24-27)
    The lawless ones do not abide by the teachings of Christ. They are the false prophets. The fruits by which they are known are their teachings, not their personalities, the number of their followers, or their miracles.

    To underscore how important judging teaching is, we will examine Paul’s address to the elders in Jerusalem. We will see that guarding the flock is a key duty of pastors and elders.

    Church Leaders and Wolves

    Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 instructs about the duty of Christian leaders to proclaim the truth and to guard the flock against wolves. First Paul recalled his previous practice in Ephesus:

    How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:20, 21)
    Preaching that people should repent and believe is an important theme in Luke/Acts (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30, 31; Acts 26:17-20; et al). Paul’s preaching resulted in the formation of a church in Ephesus. Elders were appointed, and these were addressed by Paul as he headed to Jerusalem. What he said to them reveals what is truly important for all churches.

    And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. (Acts 20:27)
    Notice, first of all, that the phrase “preaching the kingdom” is synonymously parallel with his description of his preaching in verse 21, “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” The message of the kingdom was not some message like the social gospel as some claim today, but the gospel of the kingdom is repentance and faith (see Mark 1:14, 15). These are the terms of entrance into the kingdom.

    Secondly, notice that Paul claimed innocence from bloodguiltiness. This means that had he not proclaimed both the terms of entrance into the kingdom, and the whole of what God has revealed of His purposes, Paul would have imperiled their souls, failed his sacred mission, and brought guilt upon himself for failing to warn them of coming judgment (see Ezekiel 33:6). These same responsibilities apply to pastors and other church leaders today. This is so very important because the flock must be equipped to withstand the onslaught of the inevitable wolves who will arise.

    These wolves are the subject of Paul’s warning to the church leaders:

    Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)
    It is important to see that the wolves come from two sources: outside and inside the church. Wolves are always inimical to the well-being of sheep. It is the responsibility of shepherds to make sure the sheep are safe from the wolves. To do this, the wolves must be identified. The way they are identified is through their teachings. Paul described the practice of the wolves: “speaking perverse things.” The word “perverse” means “twisted” or “distorted.” Their teachings are a distortion of the authoritative teachings of Christ and His apostles. Anyone is a wolf who purposely gives distorted teaching and refuses to repent when shown his error from the Scriptures. The elders must guard the flock against such people.

    Notice what happens through the teachings of the wolves: they “draw away the disciples after them.” False teachers and prophets have a message that comes from themselves, not from the whole counsel of God. The reason these wolves draw disciples away after themselves is that they are the only source of this teaching. If the church is proclaiming the true terms of the covenant and the whole counsel of God, whatever “perverse” doctrine is being promoted by wolves will not be heard from the faithful pastors and elders. Perverse doctrine cannot be found through valid implications from authoritative Scripture. Therefore, if the wolves succeed in giving some of the sheep an appetite for what they are offering, the sheep will have to follow the wolves to get that appetite fed. Since this is not from God, they are being drawn away from the true sheepfold and into spiritual peril and perhaps damnation.

    This is a very serious situation. In John 10 Jesus uses a sheepfold analogy to show that robbers do not go through the true door: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1). Jesus is the door of the sheep (John 10:7). Jesus has ascended bodily into heaven. His teachings as given in the New Testament delineate the boundaries of the sheepfold. The elders of the church are responsible to uphold the true words of Christ and His apostles. They are responsible to identify those robbers who will not abide in the teachings of Christ. False teachers refuse to do this job: “He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep” (John 10:12, 13). Jesus is the true Shepherd, and the under-shepherds (the term “pastor” is from the word “shepherd”) are to feed the sheep the pure words of God and guard them from perverted words. Those who refuse to do so are hirelings.

    Paul’s Warning Comes True

    Timothy became a key church leader in Ephesus where Paul had warned the elders about wolves. Paul’s warning came true. We learn from the epistles to Timothy that false teachers did arise, some of them likely were elders themselves. This provides the background for Paul’s admonitions in Timothy about correcting error, upholding the standard of sound doctrine, and the qualifications of true elders.

    Paul specified to Timothy who the false teachers were by name:

    This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.(1Timothy 1:18-20)
    The reason false teachers are dealt with publicly is that their teaching is public. One does not need two or three witnesses or a private meeting to determine if a public teaching is Biblical or not. Everyone who heard them knows what they believe and teach. At issue is whether the teaching is Biblical. False teaching damages the church, and it cannot be tolerated. In the Greek, it says they made shipwreck “in regard tothe faith.” The definite article indicates that it was the content of their teaching that was wrong. It was not in accordance with “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

    Paul, after giving instructions about the qualifications of elders, reminds Timothy of the key role of the church: “but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1Timothy 3:15). Elders and pastors who disregard sound doctrine cannot be tolerated. When they teach false doctrine, their conduct is unacceptable. They are responsible to make sure the church is the “pillar and support of the truth.”

    Paul predicts that in the later times people will give heed to “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1Timothy 4:1). Paul urges Timothy to instruct the church about this important matter of warning against false teachings and promoting the truth: “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following” (1Timothy 4:6). Today many despise the very term doctrine and accuse those of being wrongly motivated who think it is important to correct false doctrine and espouse true doctrine. This is not at all what Paul told Timothy: “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1Timothy 4:16). Teachings have consequences–eternal consequences. If false teaching is allowed into the church, peoples’ salvation is in jeopardy.

    The duty of elders and pastors to protect the flock from false teaching, and to nourish the flock with sound teaching always has been foremost. But in the last days, the battle intensifies. We are living in an age of delusion and apostasy. So now, more than ever, we must confront false teaching and not allow it into the church. Paul made this admonition and prediction:

    I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. (2Timothy 4:1-4)
    If people do not want to hear sound doctrine because of end time delusion, preach sound doctrine to them! The ability and willingness to do so is a requirement for elders: “[H]olding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).

    The duties of pastors and elders are very clear in Acts 20 and the Pastoral Epistles. They are to teach true doctrine, correct false doctrine, and protect the flock from the wolves. Sadly, those who do so today are often accused of being divisive or sinning because they have “judged” when Jesus told us not to judge. This is a category error. We are not to judge motives or relative degrees of righteousness, but we must judge public teaching.

    Paul Publicly Rebukes Peter

    In Galatians 2, Paul recounts an incident where he publicly corrected Peter:

    But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews”? (Galatians 2:11-14)
    Paul publicly rebuked Peter for publicly denying in action what Paul knew Peter privately believed. Paul called Peter’s actions, “[being] not straightforward about the truth of the gospel.” Peter’s actions implied that Gentile Christians were still “unclean” unless they submitted to Jewish food laws. This is a denial of what was decided at the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. They had determined there to not require that the Gentiles follow the Law of Moses.

    The irony is that Peter himself was the spokesman who convinced the church that this was right:

    And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ‘Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.’ (Acts 15:7-11)
    Paul knew that he and Peter believed the same thing; they had both agreed to the decision of the council. There was no reason to go to Peter privately to correct his belief. Paul immediately dealt with the issue publicly, “in the presence of all.” Peter’s public practice negated his private confession. Being “straightforward about the gospel” means that what we preach and practice in public must be the same as the beliefs we hold privately. The New Testament calls any disjuncture between the two, “hypocrisy.”

    What happens often today is that public teachers proclaim false doctrines. When confronted about this, they point to an orthodox statement of faith. But what they teach publicly is damaging to those who hear them. Whatever they may claim to believe, their public false teaching needs to be publicly confronted.

    What We Can and Cannot Judge

    We have seen that we are not to judge motives. We are not to judge relative degrees of personal piety. What these have in common is the factor that they are unknown. Motives are hidden. Only God knows the heart. We do not know who is more righteous or pious than whom.

    We are not to accuse someone of sin without two or three witnesses. The criterion for two or three witnesses exists to keep one person from bringing false witness against another and having them wrongly come under church discipline. But if there are witnesses, the facts are considered “known” and judgment can be made. In every situation, the hope is for repentance and restoration of the individual. Paul wrote, “This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (2Corinthians 13:1). As verse 2 of this passage shows, the issue was about “those who have sinned.”

    There is another issue about wrong judgment. According to Romans 14 we are not to judge matters of conscience that are not universal commands. Here is what Paul wrote:

    Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:1-4)
    Later in this chapter of Romans Paul warns against judging one’s brother on matters that fall under the category of Christian liberty – food and the observance of certain days (Romans 14:4-10). It would be wrong to exclude a weaker brother from fellowship because he has a more active conscience in certain areas where the Bible legitimately allows liberty. But, if that weaker brother demanded that his scruples be followed by everyone else as a condition of fellowship, he would become an illegitimate lawgiver and should be withstood and ultimately, if he remained unrepentant, expelled from fellowship.

    What is wrong with illegitimate law-givers is that they are claiming to know that someone is sinning when they are not. This is tantamount to making one’s self God’s lawgiver. To judge like this is to claim to know (that some certain action of another person is sin) what one does not know.

    However we can judge what is true or false, sinful or righteous, based on what has been revealed in Scripture. Publicly proclaimed teachings can be judged to be false and should be publicly refuted. Paul did this. Paul told Timothy to do this. Paul gave all elders the responsibility to do this. The church must be warned about wolves when they arise, whether from inside the church or without. Likewise prophecy must be judged by the objective criteria of the Bible (1Corinthians 14:29; 1Thessalonians 5:21).

    There is important action to be taken: We can and we must judge what we can know objectively, but we must not judge what we cannot know objectively. Ask yourself when you make a judgment, “can I know this with certainty”? If the answer is no, we cannot judge. If the answer is yes and the issue concerns Biblical doctrine or sin, we not only may judge; we must judge. Publicly proclaimed teaching falls into this category.

    Conclusion

    Too often people wrongly claim that if an author writes a book, or a preacher preaches a sermon, that no one is permitted to make judgments about the contents of these teachings without first asking the author’s or preacher’s permission. Paul did not ask Peter’s permission to publicly rebuke him nor did he ask Hymenaeus’ and Alexander’s permission to rebuke them for teaching false doctrine. Claiming that false teachers have the right to spread their teachings throughout the body of Christ until such time that a Matthew 18 procedure is set up and implemented is a category error. Matthew 18 concerns the accusation of sin brought by one member of a congregation against another. This requires two or three witness if personal confrontation is ineffective.

    Teachings that are published far and wide do not need two or three witnesses; everyone can see what is being taught for themselves. These teachings must be judged to be biblical or unbiblical. Those who bring false teaching should be publicly corrected. If they continue to bring false teaching and disregard the faith once for all delivered to the saints, they should be considered wolves and the flock must be guarded from them.

    Today the teachings of the wolves come by way of the TV, radio, internet, books, seminars and any other media that is available. No pastor could discuss each of these specific heresies with their authors, nor is it required. What is required is that pastors and elders refute the heresies with sound doctrine, and warn the flock about their pernicious influence. The sad truth is that very few elders or pastors are willing to do this. Many take it as a badge of honor that they correct no one, and glibly allow the wolves to devour the flock under the guise of humility and unity. If we refuse to judge false teaching, we have neglected our God-given responsibilities.

    When and When Not to Judge

    The following is the result of a range of meaning study I did on the Greek word krino_ and its derivatives. I started by finding every verse in the New Testament where these Greek words appeared. I then removed every instance that concerned God’s action of judging because our concern is when humans are to judge or not judge. I then examined each passage in context to determine the meaning. In some cases I had to consult scholarly sources if the Biblical author’s meaning was not readily apparent. I then made categories for the various meanings that I found and placed each verse in the correct category, based on the Greek word that was translated. Then I further sorted the categories by “do”; “do not” and then tangential categories that did not fit the do or do not schema. The following is the result. You can look up the verses yourself to determine if you think I correctly categorized them. The most interesting result to me is that the largest category contained passages about discerning.
    – Bob DeWaay

    Do make a correct determination based on facts and/or Scripture(discern):
    Krino_
    Luke 7:43, Luke 12:57, John 7:22-24, John 7:51, John 8:15, 16, Acts 4:19, Acts 15:19, Acts 16:15, Acts 23:26, 1Corinthians 2:2, 1Corinthians 5:3, 1Corinthians 5:12, 13, 1Corinthians 7:37, 1Corinthians 10:15, 1Corinthians 11:13, 1Corinthians 11:31, 32, 2Corinthians 5:14

    Diakrino_
    Matthew 16:13, 1Corinthians 11:29, 31, 1Corinthians 14:29

    Diakrisis
    Hebrews 5:14

    Do discern spirits:
    Diakrisis
    1Corinthians 12:10

    Do not judge motives or relative piety:
    Krino_
    Matthew 7:1-3, 1Corinthians 4:5

    Diakrino_
    1Corinthians 4:7

    Do not show partiality or prejudice (pre-judge who to treat kindly):
    Krino_
    Luke 6:35-38

    Diakrino_
    James 2:4

    Do not judge oneself to be unworthy of salvation by rejecting the gospel:
    Krino_
    Acts 13:46

    Do not hide your own guilt by condemning others who are no different:
    Krino_
    Romans 2:1-3, Romans 2:27

    Do not judge someone for that which he has been given liberty by God:
    Krino_
    Romans 14:3-5, 10, 13, 1Corinthians 10:29

    Do not judge the opinions of a weaker brother:
    Diakrisis
    Romans 14:1

    Do not allow another to judge you in a matter in which you have been given liberty:
    Krino_
    Colossians 2:16

    Do not insist on using one’s liberty in a way that harms a weaker brother:
    Krino_
    Romans 14:22

    Do not take God’s place as lawgiver and then judge your brother based on your own decrees:
    Krino_
    James 4:11, 12

    Do not take a fellow Christian to court but make proper judgment within the church:
    Krino_
    1Corinthians 6:1-3

    Diakrino_
    1Corinthians 6:5

    Do not have doubt:
    Diakrino_
    Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:23, Romans 4:20, Jude 1:22, James 1:6

    Do not have serious misgivings about an action, but then do it anyway:
    Diakrino_
    Romans 14:23

    Do not ask questions for conscience sake before eating meat:
    Anakrino_
    1Corinthians 10:25, 27

    The Lord makes the final examination:
    Anakrino_
    1Corinthians 4:3, 4

    When the church prophesies properly, an unbeliever will be called to account:
    Anakrino_
    1Corinthians 14:24

    Apostles making a determination for the church:
    Krino_
    Acts 16:4, Acts 21:25

    To be without misgivings:
    Diakrino_
    Acts 11:12

    To examine in order to make an appraisal:
    Anakrino_
    Luke 23:14, Acts 12:19, Acts 17:11, Acts 24:8, Acts 28:18, 1Corinthians 2:14, 15, 1Corinthians 9:3

  139. Eyes on Christ and not on man will keep our theology right and our practices sound. Seek Him with all your heart. No man(pastor) or member will get it 100% right all the time. Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal truth. We are surrounded by deception, and I believe the author of this article is being deceived. Follow hard after God!

  140. Put your eyes into the bible and you will see that the author of this article is in no way deceived. The things going on at Bethel are not of the Most High God.

  141. I have to disagree with Jayster, Dan Mohler is pretty weird too. He teaches kingdom theology and tells people that Christians have no sin. He says we don’t need to repent because we are sinless. And he preaches entire sermons without ever opening the Bible. A few dudes from my church have gotten into his teaching and now have left the church, want nothing to do with anyone because they think we have a “false gospel” that is too “sin conscious”. Very strange stuff.

  142. Dear M’Kayla. I came here to do some research and found that God drew me to read the things you and others have written for folk like me, who face having to walk away from the Churches we love and the many friends that we have made for so many years, all because a new Leadership team decided to visit Bethel and now we face the inevitable heart breaking decision to leave our Spiritual home. I have pasted below the letter I sent to one of the previous Elders, someone I love and trust and someone I know who looks on now in his old age, helpless to do anything to stop the flood of heresy that has infiltrated his beloved Church, where he served faithfully for so many years. Here then is that letter that I wrote with tears in my eyes. All my love in Jesus. Dan x Dear David
    I am troubled to see that our beautiful Church is opening its doors to North Kent Community Church in Gravesend and ‘Their School of Supernatural’ on Sunday coming. NKCC is one of Bill Johnson’s UK franchise groups, covering every aspect of Bethel, Redding’s operations here in Kent. Just take a look at the KNCC website and you will know immediately who they are and what they do.

    David and Christine West are not only fully involved in the ‘Prophetic’ School of Supernatural team at NKCC but are also joint Trustees of ‘Bethel Sozo’ which uses dangerous occultic psuedo holy spirit ‘Recovered Memory Psychotherapy’ You can see Mr and Mrs West here listed in the Sozo UK team website… http://www.bethelsozo.org.uk/uk-team and if you keep scrolling down you may be surprised to see an old friend of ours…..Martin Bentley….no real surprise I guess!

    David bro, I have tried and tried, as you rightly know, to warn folk at TEC of the danger of getting involved in this particular Pseudo christian extreme Charismatic movement but no one wants to listen to my calls for restraint and now unfortunately it is too late!

    If you have any doubt about my concerns, take a look at the material on this Godly Berean website. http://rooftopsandrafters.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/recognising-if-you-have-been-bethelized/

    I have posted this to our dear beloved Brother John Bishop and have asked him not to respond to what I have shared with him, but just to pray for us, as I know he and Lisa always do.

    God bless you David and give my love to dear Shirley please.
    Your Brother in Christ
    Dan x

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