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Devotionals    H3'ed 3/26/16

Bethel Church Believes the Prodigal Son is About Not Having a "Poverty Mentality"

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For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. -- Titus 1: 10-11 (ESV)

Kris Vallotton is a senior leader at one of the most heretical churches on the planet; Bethel Church in Redding California. He is also the co-founder of the Bethel School for Supernatural Ministry. This abomination is where the adherents of senior pastor Bill Johnson; teach people the gifts of the spirit. This despite clear biblical proof that they could not possibly do any such thing:

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. -- 1Corinthians 12: 11 (ESV)

All these, refers to the gifts of the Spirit, which are not something we can teach. They are given, as gifts typically are. The Holy Spirit decides who, where, and when -- not Kris Vallotton. This is how Bethel operates though. They are the chief proponent of the false signs and lying wonders heresies in this country. They claim gold dust, gemstones, angel feathers and glory clouds. Anything to distract from God and make people "ooh and ahh." Johnson also teaches the unbiblical notion that God always wants to heal us, despite the fact that he wears corrective eyeglasses. Bethel is where the wildly heretical Jesus Culture band and ministry come from. The primary worship leader of that outfit claimed a waking visitation from Jesus who whisked her away to the throne room of God where she met the Father face to face. This despite the fact that the bible assures us she would be dead if that were so. What's a little biblical illiteracy anyway? The latest round comes from an article recently published by Vallotton entitled, "Do You Struggle with a Poverty Mentality?"

This is a common teaching amongst prosperity preachers. That Christians are poor because they think they should be. That if they could just correct their "stinkin thinkin" that suddenly they would see riches overflowing in their lives. We see Vallotton touch on the usual heresies surrounding this false doctrine. That we are "king's kids" or princes. That as such we have all that God has, which is everything of course! That we fail to see ourselves properly as heirs and as such, we remain poor. Of course this flies in the face of all the teachings from Jesus on money:

"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. -- Matthew 6: 24 (ESV)

Vallotton tries his best to pretend this is not about being ruled by money but his stretches simply do not add up. This entire article is about money and greed, pure and simple. The reality however is that the Bible teaches the opposite of what Kris Vallotton and Bethel believe so all we have to do is look at how he abuses Scripture to try and prop up his false teachings. The primary abuse in this article is from the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which literally has nothing to do with money. Here is Vallotton on this parable:

The story of the prodigal son from Luke 15 illustrates this point clearly. Having squandered his inheritance, the youngest son came home seeking refuge. His father was so excited to see him that he threw him a party. He had been saving the fattened calf for such an occasion, and finally it was time to celebrate. Everyone came to the festivity except for the elder brother; he stayed out in the field. When his father didn't see the older brother at the party, he went looking for him. He found him outside alone. "Why aren't you coming to celebrate?" the father asked. The older brother yelled, "You gave him the fattened calf, but you haven't even given me a goat!" His father was stunned. He looked at his son, staring into his soul with the eyes of a loving father and said, "I gave him the fattened calf, but you own the farm" (summarized from Luke 15:11-31). -- Kris Vallotton

The first thing that should give us pause is that this is not Scripture. This is a summary according to Vallotton but why summarize when you could have actually gone to the text? Because in summarizing he gets to frame the story as he wants it to read instead of how God meant for us to understand it. It also allows him to draw absurd conclusions that the text does not support:

Why in the world did the older brother hang out waiting for his father to give him a goat when he owned the whole farm? He failed to recognize that he was a son and not a servant. -- Kris Vallotton

No where does the text even remotely suggest that the other son viewed himself as a servant. Vallotton is so busy trying to shoehorn this story into his pre-determined false teaching about poverty mentalities that he misses the bigger picture about this parable. It is presented in the context of two other parables. The lost sheep and the lost coin. Neither of those parables have anything to do with riches either. They have to do with salvation. They have to do with a loving God who scours the horizon waiting for us wayward children to come back home. It is a picture of His unbelievable grace and mercy but Kris Vallotton wants to turn it into something ugly. To take the beautiful picture of the grace that is available to us all and turn it into a pitch for having more material wealth is beyond disgusting. But preacher! What about the other son? Good question. Jesus could have allowed the story to end with the party but instead we see this exchange at the end. Why? Well if Kris was interested he needed to go back to the start of the chapter and see why Jesus started telling this series of parables:

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." -- Luke 15: 1-2 (ESV)

He then proceeds to tell them the three parables highlighting the importance of every individual to God and the path to salvation. The older son in the prodigal parable however, represents the Pharisees themselves. In the other son we see all of the judgmentalism and self-righteousness the Pharisees possessed. That he felt that the prodigal did not deserve the redemption he was receiving. Much like the Parable of the Vineyard Workers, where we saw those that had worked the entire day resent the fact that those who only worked the last hour received the same wage. The wage in this case is salvation. We see this Pharisaical spirit in the church today as many veteran believers often resent younger converts. That is who the elder son represented and the lesson would not be lost on the Pharisees, who were the audience of these parables. Vallotton had a tremendous opportunity to preach about any of these fantastic theological lessons but instead he butchers the entire parable to pretend it has something to do with money.

He goes on to claim that many in the church today have the poverty mentality of the other son. That we have to learn how to tap into "heaven's resources." How absurd. The next verse he obliterates is Philippians 4:19

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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