Jesus Culture Awakening – Bethel (from Inerrant Word)
Well, there is an event starting today called the Jesus Culture Awakening in Chicago. Jesus Culture are essentially the worship band from Bill Johnson’s Bethel church. This is a dangerous group to be associated with and to be caught up in – I know!
I have had personal experience with the effect of Jesus Culture and Bethel when my wife was caught up in their music and teaching. You can find her testimony (4 parts) of how she got out from under their influence here, here, here, and here.
There is something insidious about Bethel and its associates. Often they appear at face value, to say Christian things and they even appear convincing (though there are some so ludicrous that it is a wonder anyone buys into them). But, for me, I was often left with a very ill feeling in my gut. Then when you start hearing some of the quotes from people like Bill Johnson who say that if we preach a message which allows for sickness, we preach another gospel (in reference to Galatians 1:8). There are plenty of youtube videos which show this.
For the message of Bethel is this: health and wealth, sign and wonders are what God does for you. You should be seeking after these things and if they are not abounding in your life, then something is desperately wrong! They will deny it of course: “we never say such a thing!” Not outright but it permeates their sermons, and messages. It is clear, unless you are experience all manner of odd things and signs and wonders etc, then you are in trouble.
Their ministry has such things as “healing rooms”, soaking, etc. You can read some very interesting reviews of these here.
I know that my wife turned from being a joyful, contented mother and wife into an aggressive, belligerent, and antagonistic woman. I have had people say, “oh, she must have just got carried away” or the like. The fact is, she was not alone. I know several other people personally who got caught up with this sort of thing. They acted and changed in the same way. The fruit of the Spirit goes out the door. Jesus and the Word being the sufficient and satisfying saviour and focus has gone too. Instead this obsession with miracles, angle feathers, gold dust etc replaces it. There is no contentment – only a desire for greater and more fantastic “miracles”. A desire which becomes absolutely consuming.
Now some of the people whom they associate with are very dangerous. People like Todd Bentley, John Crowder, Joshua Mills etc. If you have not heard, Todd Bentley has been involved in a crazy, signs and wonders revival in Lakeland in the recent past. During which it turned out he had an inappropriate relationship with one of his staff (while he was married) and then he ended up divorcing quickly and marrying this girl. I believe there were other issues he suffered with at the same time. While this was happening (and before it was publicly known), Bill Johnson and other extreme Pentecostal heavyweights laid hands on him in service and proclaimed God’s anointing on him and how he was doing great things for the Lord and would outshine Moses etc. Well, if they were speaking for God (which clearly they were not for they are false prophets) surely He would have warned them to provide Todd help in the very least? But no, it appears they use God as a means to gain.
John Crowder is as weird as they come. He refers to himself as a “new mystic”. The only word I can use to give him justice is blaspheming heretic. I have seen him do things which would make your hair stand on end! Things like sucking the anointing from people in graves like a vacuum, smoking “holy ghost” drugs (toking the ghost he calls it), falling around like a drunkard (calling it the drunken glory of the lord). He speaks heretical trash and the most shocking thing is not necessarily the things he says and does (for we have always had nutcases around) it is the fact that so many people follow him and show themselves to be undiscerning, ignorant, and deceived. One day, he will give an account to the Lord and it will not be pretty! You can look up multitudes of videos on you tube which show off the show that is John Crowder. Here are some interesting reviews of this man, his ministry, and his behaviour (there are many more if you type his name into Google): Apologetics Index, Slaughter of the Sheep, and Apprising Ministries.
So these are the people that Bill Johnson relate with and associate with. Dangerous people who would lead the flock astray and bring them to calamity.
But some great sites which have a lot of information about Bill Johnson, his associates and their teachings are Heralding Truth, M’Kayla’s Korner, Closing Stages, Apprising and Crosswise. There are multitudes of articles, reviews, comments, and testimonies.
All I can say, is be careful of this ministry and his teachings. Make sure that you test the spirits (1John 4:1) and do not let anyone tell you to let go of your mind etc. God created us a rational, thinking, creatures whom he commanded to worship in spirit and TRUTH (John 4:23). He tells us many times to test what we hear (Acts 17:11, Rev 2:2) to know if it is truth or heresy. My wife’s testimony provides some links in there to a post on a blog which helped her incredibly when she realised what was happening to her. I pray that you also will benefit from this.
The best thing I can encourage surrounding this event is that even if you are curious or you have friends of family going, run! Do not go. I beg you to avoid this event at all costs for it is dangerous. I am not someone who has taken these people out of context – their ministry, life and teaching is out of context. You can find multitudes of material on them and what they teach in proper context in their books, sermons etc which are easily accessible. The mounting evidence of their false teaching is damning.
I pray God gives you wisdom and discernment and if you are caught up in this stuff, I pray He would open your eyes and draw your heart back to Him!
Before you go, take a look to see what the children at Bethel are being taught. This video is a couple years old and was brought to my attention on a comment. – I was floored at the complete lack of reverence and respect for God, Jesus Christ, spiritual authority and the bible! What will become of these children? Some scary stuff happening.