"2. Have I done my due diligence in investigating these bands? The problem is that there are many conflicting reports. I know people who attend Bethel, and they say the complete opposite of those who condemn it. For example, Bethel's leadership condemns grave-sucking, but people still say that they teach it. Yes, I have seen the picture of lead pastor Bill Johnson's wife near a grave, but pictures don't always tell the whole story. But, with that said, I have also heard Bill Johnson say things that he needs to clarify. Because I have often been misrepresented myself, I appreciate those who try to hear both sides. That's where many of us are; are we not allowed that opportunity? I just wish the majority of the critics weren't so arrogant and condescending. This attitude really reveals their heart." - Shane Idleman
Beloved, you cannot discern by the anecdotal opinions of others, especially those steeped in bad worship music. What do you expect Bethel to say when they have received so much blowback for the grave sucking? Of course there is no specific sermon on it. The point is that it was taught at Bethel. Just like their "Dead Raising Team" is not sanctioned by the church but they clearly were encouraged and taught there. As for the pictures, this is not Beni Johnson hanging out at a graveyard. She is hugging Charles Finney's tombstone and lying down on top of another. What possible context do you think is missing? Bill Johnson has said many things he needs to repent of, not clarify. So stop trying to blame those that call truth for what it is Shane. It reveals your heart quite clearly.
"3. Human opinion never trumps God's Word, but there is safety in the multitude of counsel. I have asked countless believers for their input, and a significant percentage saw nothing wrong with playing music that is questionable to some. I also look at the spiritual condition of the worship leaders. For example, any idea on who wrote this: "So much heresy is running rampant in the church because we're not clearly preaching the reality of eternal judgment, the reality of heaven and hell, or the frequent commands concerning holiness, godliness, purity and true Jesus apprenticeship"? Jeremy Riddle, worship leader at Bethel, wrote that on April 10 of this year on his Facebook page. In case you missed it, that's a powerful declaration of sound doctrine. My concern is that we may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater too soon. While not true of everyone, the vast majority of those who have issues with this music seem to disdain emotional worship and are often not open to what is referred to as revival. They don't like to sing "Let It Rain" because they don't want to get wet." - Shane Idleman
As Shane is known to do, he mixes in a scripture that misses the point. The point of there being safety in a multitude of counselors is to say that one should not try to get by solely on oneself. This does not mean however that we simply ask a bunch of people what they think and we are magically safe. Idleman comes from the heart of churchianity so we can safely assume the multitude he sought are as well. Is it any wonder they were predisposed to agree that the origin of a worship song is not a big deal? When doctrine as a whole is not a big deal, why would worship? I am glad if Jeremy Riddle actually wrote those words but why then does he stay at a doctrinal cesspool such as Bethel? Does Bill Johnson teach about eternal judgment, hell, and holiness? Of course not.
People may object to Let It Rain because the refrain is sung over and over again in an effort to gin up an emotional response disguised as being a spiritual move. The problem with emotional worship is that it is sold as being a move of the Holy Spirit when it most certainly is not. The bible does not promise a great end-times revival. It promises a great end-time apostasy. The revival chasers of today are largely baked into the NAR seven mountains heresy, as is Shane Idleman.
"Mocking a Genuine Move of the Spirit. I stand in awe of how many famous conservative pastors quote George Whitefield yet fail to acknowledge the oddities that happened under his preaching. The same is true of Jonathan Edwards and others who ushered in great moves of the Spirit. Now, with that said, I am not validating questionable ministries. I have similar concerns as many of the critics, but it is interesting that those mocking are often the same people who would (and do) mock a genuine move of God's Spirit. I'm hoping that this article sparks dialogue within the controversial bands and a movement to revisit theology is sparked. Most of these worship groups are young and need theological grounding. Perhaps the young musicians in some of these bands just need believers who are spiritually mature reaching out to them rather than calling them heretical. My big concern for many of us is found in Revelation 2:2-5 (NIV), "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false." Jesus continues, "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." Could it be that the very thing we need is the very thing we are running from, that being revival and a powerful move of God's Spirit? My new book, Oh God, Rend the Heavens, was written for this very reason." - Shane Idleman
Jesus Culture and Elevation music are not genuine moves of the spirit. Bad trees cannot produce good fruit. The bible assures us of this. When you get too close to these demonic moves you are easily deceived. Dr. Michael Brown swears to this day about the demonic Brownsville episode but anyone with a discerning eye can see it was not of God. Many who rolled around in the aisle barking like dogs during the Toronto blessing still insist it was God. I am not sorry to tell you it was not. I agree the worship groups need theological grounding but they remain in some of the most heretical churches on the planet. They also have too many people telling them all is well.
"Additional Resources. In this sermon, I talk about when my heart was very hard and I was becoming a modern-day Pharisee. The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) always seems to slip into this type of discussion. Since I don't know much about the NAR, I found a video for those interested: The Truth About NAR and 7 Mountain Theology. Michael Brown also interviewed Bill Johnson in this video. Granted, I would have asked harder questions, but he was still able to clarify many things. Here is what baffles me: it's almost as though people don't want to know the facts." - Shane Idleman