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.

generational curses ..???

Generational Curses/Sin of Ancestors

Many teach that Christians are subject to choices and sins of their family members, choices they themselves never made by persons they never met.  This teaching is applied when a person has a problem overcoming certain behaviors, sin and situations, or when it continues in the family line such as divorce, alcoholism, poverty, etc.

The bible does in fact teach of generational sin, or sin that is passed through the family line.  However, the bible is specific on who this applies to and who it does not.

Deuteronomy 28 is used to support the idea that curses exist over believers, including generational curses.  These blessings and curses were specifically for the Jewish nation, curses imposed for those who would not obey the teachings of the whole law.   New Testament believers are not under the law, but under grace.  It is a different dispensation and this Old Testament teaching does not apply to New Testament believers. In fact, Jesus himself became the curse for us and in our faith we are blessed of Abraham.

Galatians 3:13, 14

13Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

With Christ, the old covenant was passed away.

Hebrews 8:11-14

11 Christ came as a High Priest of the good things to come with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling of unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Is the shed blood of Jesus not good enough to remove all sins?

Deuteronomy 5:9 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me.

Put in context, this is one of the Ten Commandments. The particular scripture refers to the idol worship of carved images; however, it has been used to prove that curses are passed through generations. But continue reading into verse 10 –

10showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

So, the Lord says here He will show mercy to those who love Him. Don’t believers and the repentant love Him?

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law, you have fallen from grace.

God deals with us as individuals. There is nothing in the New Testament to tell us that believers are held accountable or subject to sins of ancestors and generational curses.  This includes pacts or oaths taken in secret societies and those practicing the occult. There is nothing to substantiate soul ties or that it is necessary to break them or that it is necessary to have the guidance of another person to lead someone through prayers. It is futile and unbiblical to take a person through his lifetime and that of his ancestors seeking for reasons of his suffering.  We suffer because we exist in a fallen world!  Christ is our hope!

2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone be in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

It is ridiculous to suggest in light of the true power of God that any of us are subject to the curse of a witch or better yet, “Christian” curses!

Colossians 2:10 You are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power.

Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

God knows the heart of the repentant. Some people need to come into the full knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, some need to renew their minds, others need to stop sinning or stop whining.  There are valid reasons why Christians struggle – in this world we will have tribulation – by the words of Jesus.  The disciples suffered tremendously and preached the gospel under horrendous conditions and considered themselves blessed.

1 Peter 4:14  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.