If you heard that your favourite Christian preachers and teachers were teaching you some very false or twisted things, what would you do? Would you:
- ‘Ignore the haters’ who are just trying to cause division in the body of Christ
- Briefly consider the possibility, but brush it off because these people seem authentic, your experience tells you they are right and you trust them
- Use your God-given brain to examine these claims yourself, even if you may not like what you find
If you answered 3. because you suspect that’s the only right answer, but deep down you would do 1. or 2., don’t worry. I’ve been there!!
After my last blog post, which diverged somewhat from my usual topics, I received a fair amount of social media comments and private messages (most of them very kind and encouraging, thank you!). I have a tendency to want to go deep into things and understand them as thoroughly as I can, so I’ve been doing some heavy research over the past few weeks. What I found has forced me to re-evaluate a lot of things, and trust me when I say it was a hard pill to swallow.
I decided to do another post to expand a bit on what I touched on last time. Mostly, I wanted to present the questions that I myself had to answer. Like last time, there are links to further resources at the end of the post.
I hope this will be helpful to those really in search of truth. Of course, there’s tons of false teaching out there. But these are specific things I previously believed/was exposed to, and I believe these teachings are gaining popularity.
Past me would probably have hated this blog post, so I hope you’re less stubborn than I was.
Let’s start with another quiz.
See if you can guess who said these things. The answers may surprise you.
- “We are the Word made flesh again. We are the Reincarnation of Jesus Christ.”… “As Christ comes forth and emerges on the earth in a corporate expression, there will be a people who become the feet. The beautiful feet. … They will be untouched by sin, darkness, even death.”
- “We have gone as far as we can go with what we presently know. Not only are we in need of the Spirit of God to teach us, we are in need of a different view of the Bible.”
- “(Jesus) performed miracles, wonders and signs, as a man in right relationship to God…not as God.”
- “It is time that the church woke up to its mission which is to materialize the kingdom of God on earth today, here and now. People are no longer interested in a possible heavenly state or a probable hell. They need to realize that the kingdom is here and must express it on earth.”
- “every government, every structure, every system, fundamentally and theologically must start with the concept and idea that people are good, and they mean to do good, even if they’re not saved. We have to start from that premise.”
- You’re powerful, glorious, and outright awesome. I want to reiterate the declaration from the video and encourage you to read this out loud today: “I am amazing. I am God’s greatest creation. He loves me to death. I rock. I was born to do greater works than Jesus. I was born for glory. Nations are attracted to me. I have the mind of Christ, therefore I think like God.”
- “He’s big G, and you’re a little g, you’re a ‘little g’ god”
- Brian Simmons, author of The Passion Translation Bible, commonly used in churches these days.
- Bill Johnson, A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World. Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Kindle Locations 1513-1514)
- Also Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles. Shippensburg, Destiny Image, 2013,p 28?? Chapter 2
- New Age practitioner Alice Bailey (had to throw that one in there so you can see how similar it sounds to some Christian teachings)
- Eric Johnson (son of Bill Johnson)
- Kris Vallotton
- Kris Vallotton
You may be in one of three camps – you either don’t know who these people are, or you already know they’ve said these things, or you’re surprised to read they said these things. Either way, I hope you’ll keep reading.
Charles Spurgeon once said that “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” Some of those quotes may sound nice, and I believed some of those ideas for a while. But do they truly line up with Scripture? (If you’re not sure, find out!)
If you really desire to know truth, I hope the following questions will be helpful. Again, I had to confront every single one of these!
- Which do you trust more: The Bible, or your experience? Or how about this one: Do you primarily trust the Bible or your church/famous Christian leaders?
- What does it actually mean to extend God’s Kingdom? What did Jesus say about the Kingdom?
- Do you believe a gospel without signs and wonders is a powerless gospel, as Bill Johnson says? How does that compare with Romans 1:16, which says: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”
- If you find yourself hearing a lot about the ‘global harvest’/coming revival/next move of God/taking back the Kingdom for Jesus, where is that coming from? Does it line up with Scripture?
- Many of you reading this will believe, like I do, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still in operation today. But does it say anywhere in the Bible that we can ‘activate’ spiritual gifts and that everyone can have any gift they want? For that matter, what did Peter say to Simon Magus when he tried to offer money to Peter and John, because he wanted to obtain the ability of giving the gift of the Holy Spirit via the laying on of hands?
- When it comes to prophecy and words of knowledge, have we lost our reverence and fear of the Lord? Is it a light matter to falsely prophesy over future events (a certain presidential election comes to mind)? Have we read Deuteronomy 18 (also, Deuteronomy 13)? I hadn’t! We’re under the New Covenant, thankfully, but does that mean God’s standard changed? Some of what is referred to as prophecy in church veers dangerously close to divination. Is God okay with that?
- On that note, when we use what some refer to as ‘encounter evangelism’, are we actually telling people the truth? By that, I mean two things: 1. Are we falsely prophesying over them? 2. In our efforts to love them, are we sharing the actual gospel with them? If the answer to those is no, we are a) potentially setting people up for major disappointment and b) potentially making false converts – people who want Jesus without knowing what He has done for them or why.
- The Bible talks about our identity – that once we have given our lives to Christ, we become His sons and heirs, seated with Him in Heavenly places. That is amazing news and it’s important to understand it. But does it actually say, as Kris Vallotton teaches, that we are ‘little gods’? Satan tempted Adam and Eve by making them believe they could be like God. That was their downfall.
- Is what we believe making us more like Christ, or is it making us narcissistic? Have we lost our humility through teachings that tell us over and over how amazing we are? Do we take certain buzzwords and carry them around like badges of honour – ‘anointed’, ‘authority’, ‘spiritual powerhouse’? Who gets the glory here?
- When we give/receive words of knowledge, who is it pointing to? Are these words always about our dreams and destinies? Are they about how we are going to leave a legacy or change the world? Or, again, are they pointing back to Jesus?
- Is your church using the ‘Passion Translation’ Bible? Do you know anything about this ‘translation’?
There’s probably more I could say but that’s more than enough for now. If these questions have prompted you to look into this a little further, may I recommend the following as places to start:
- A Hidden Path: Bethel Redding and Beyond (Sound Word Ministry) I HIGHLY recommend this book – in fact, I’d go so far as to say it should be required reading for any church leader. If you want to understand the teachings coming from Bethel in depth (and the background of the New Apostolic Reformation), this will be very helpful. It’s not long, but very thorough and well referenced, comparing everything to Scripture.
- Beware of the New Apostolic Reformation (Sound Word Ministry). Have you ever heard of the New Apostolic Reformation? I hadn’t either until a few weeks ago, but turns out, it appears this theological movement is everywhere, with many church leaders probably not even aware of the teachings they’re accepting. This booklet is short but informative.
- Seduced by Bethel – Rick Becker, Famine in the Land. This blog post might offend you. It is also long but again, very thorough, well referenced and backed up with Scripture. Plenty more on this blog on Bethel and BSSM if you want to dig deeper.
- Separating from the Messed Up Church – YouTube video. Roberta Morrison goes through some key things to watch out for re. sound doctrine. Really easy to follow. Especially helpful is her breaking down Gnosticism and how this is creeping into our churches.
- 3 Things Christians Should Know About the Passion Translation – 10 minute YouTube video by Alisa Childers. This should be enough for you to chuck your copy but if not, search ‘Mike Winger Passion Translation’ because he has lots to say on this.
If you’ve read this far you might be wondering why I’m making a big deal out of this. Thing is, the Bible makes a really big deal out of false teaching – not to ‘hate on’ people, but for our own good. I for one have certainly been damaged by believing some of the teachings of Bethel and those who repeat them.
Matthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
Matthew 24” “23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.”
Galatians 1: “8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
2 Corinthians 11: “12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
2 Peter 2: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” (and read the rest of the chapter!)
2 Timothy 4: “2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
That’s all for now. I pray you will think and pray over these things carefully. With love, as always.