Saturday, February 23, 2013

Warning: Jesus Culture Cult - Cult Education Forum

Bill Johnson, the Bethel Cult in Redding California

The warnings for this church group should raise red flags for anyone involved with this movement! 

The theology promoted by Bill Johnson (Senior Pastor at Bethel), along with teachers like Kris Vallotton, is what should be raising red flags for Bethel Church members and anyone looking at this group!
What these men teach is a far cry from orthodox Christianity. This movement falls more in line with the "Word Faith," "Signs & Wonders," New Age Mysticism, Hypnotherapy, and the "Prosperity Gospel" movements. These teachers are embracing such teachings as:

1. The demotion of God and the deification of man.  
2. One can become a god, heal one's self and others.  
3. Johnson teaches that Jesus was simply a man Who was somehow spiritually connected to God. 
3. Jesus became sinful and had to be born again.  
4. That Jesus went to hell. 
5. Bethel's association with the New Apostolic Reformation embraces the many false teachings coming from this group, such as its modern Gnosticism.  These include the teachings of the "Latter Rain",  with self-appointed prophets like Bob Jones. Mr. Jones is reported to have had women come into his office and disrobe in front of him in order to get a supposed word from God. 
6. A failure to heal is caused by a lack of faith. 

This news from Bethel in 2010 should raise even more concerns:  

"Rather than call police when their drinking partner fell — or was pushed — off a nearly 200-foot cliff, two students at a Redding Bible school tried first to reach the severely wounded man and pray him back to life, a lawsuit alleges."  (Source) 

"Angel feathers,"' "diamonds," and "gold dust" have also been reported to appear suddenly in services.  

When "angel feathers" first started to fall at Bethel Church, Bill Johnson thought birds had nested in the air conditioning ducts, he said.  (Source)

Bill Johnson responded apathetically to the gold glitter cloud that appeared at Bethel in 2009. Yet he deemed it a manifestation of the glory of the Lord. 


Jesus Culture's Dangerous Denial of Christ

Christian Research Service

Q&A: Bill Johnson & Bethel Church in Redding

The Berean Call
August 2012

Question: I don’t understand why Bill Johnson and Bethel Church in Redding are not classified as a cult (along with Word-Faith). They deny the deity of Christ, they deny the Scriptures and add to and subtract from them, their schools of ministry are lessons in how to operate in the occult and demonology (I was shocked when a friend told me what techniques they used). They are false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing. What do you think?
Response:  Bill and Brenda Johnson are the Senior Pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Bethel Church is firmly aligned with the Word-Faith movement and identifies with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), or the Third Wave Movement with its “prophets,” “apostles,” and alleged manifestions. Bill Johnson is called an “apostle” by C. Peter Wagner (See  TBC  5/97, 2/07). His theology has amounted to what some call a “ de facto  denial of the deity of Christ.”
By this, they are referring to Johnson’s teaching that Christ set aside His deity during His earthly sojourn. Johnson has said, “Jesus was (and is) God. Eternally God. That never changed. But He chose to live with self-imposed restriction while living on earth in the flesh—as a man. In doing so, He defeated sin, temptation, the powers of darkness as a man. We inherit His victory—it was for us. He never sinned!” (Bill Johnson, Facebook 3/21/2011).
If Johnson had stopped at this point, his view of Christ would seem to be biblical—but he didn’t.
Consequently, that’s not all that he’s taught or all that his followers have said. Speaking of Jesus, Johnson wrote, “He performed  miracles , wonders ,  and   signs , as a man in right relationship to God…not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us” (Johnson,  When Heaven Invades Earth , p. 29). That’s human reasoning, and by implication opens the way for a deification of man.
Johnson’s view of our Lord’s “emptying Himself,” of which the literal meaning is “humbled himself” (Philippians 2:7), aligns very well with the Latter Rain/Word-Faith “little gods” teaching of Kenneth Copeland and others. Johnson has gone on to say,  “God gave every believer the power to heal as Jesus did”  (Johnson, “You’ve Got the Power,”  Charisma Online , March 2012). In line with Word-Faith teaching, Johnson and his followers speak of these presumed abilities in a way that sounds very much like mind science and departs from Scripture.
Though differing from Jehovah’s Witnesses, who deny the deity of Jesus, Johnson’s view of Christ is confusing at best, and he endangers his followers by leading them away from the security of the Word.
Johnson writes, “Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scriptures enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map—to go beyond what we know” (Johnson,  When Heaven,  p. 76).
In conclusion, Johnson is advocating extrabiblical revelation. Going “off the map” is forsaking the safety and sufficiency of Scripture.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua:1:8)
The human tendency is to focus on experience, which then can lead to a number of problems. The charismatic movement is full of examples of people who did not “prove all things” (1 Thessalonians:5:21), and it eventually led to pride, an attitude of superiority, imitating and covetousness by followers, and ministries full of error and imbalance. The works of God are indeed splendid  and hand tailored , but how we handle them must glorify Him and Him alone. Source
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