But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. -- Philippians 3: 7-11 (ESV)
Beloved, we have covered the many heresies emanating from the cesspool known as Bethel Church in Redding California. This is the church operated by Bill Johnson, who never met a false teaching he didn't like. The co-leader is the wildly heretical Kris Vallotton. Their resident "hipster prophet dude" is Shan Bolz who does psychic cold readings with his smart phone. They even have their own heretical worship act in Jesus Culture who are leading countless kids away from the real Christ with a false gospel. They operate a school of the supernatural where they actually teach people how to manifest the gifts of the Spirit, which completely usurps God's power. Bethel is ground zero for experiential Christianity which eschews the Bible for our own personal experiences. They teach their adherents to "listen for God" and whatever pops into their minds is assumed to be God instead of their wickedly deceitful hearts. They operate a "dead raising team" that claims 15 resurrections to their credit without a shred of proof. The infamous "grave sucking" heresy also originated from Bethel. They teach that God always must heal us, that He is never angry with us, and the quid pro quo blessing theology of prosperity. If this sounds like a lot, there is even more, including dominionism, seven mountains theology, false signs and lying wonders, and word faith teachings. This information is hardly hidden as Bethel brags about their heresy and deems anyone who disagrees as needing a deeper revelation of the Spirit. We came across the above linked page on their website that states: "We love to declare promises and truth as we give our tithes and offerings. Below are declarations that we make during the offering time of our weekend services."
Just so we all understand what they are saying here -- they declare these statements during the collection at their services. They offer four such declarations which reveal how far away from Scriptural truth they really are and to what depths they are willing to go to pimp out our Lord and Savior for the trinkets and baubles this world has to offer. Contrast that with the key verses today beloved and keep them in mind as we review these declarations. The Apostle Paul understood the difference between eternal worth and temporal greed. Whatever gain he experienced on this earth he counted as sheer loss compared to knowing Jesus Christ! For His sake he suffered the loss of all things and yet counted what he lost as rubbish in order to gain Christ, be found in Him and to be found in His righteousness. He reveled in knowing the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings. Do you think Bill Johnson ever preaches about sharing in the sufferings of Jesus Christ? I doubt it because he can't sell it. They do not want to be found in Christ beloved. They want to leverage Christ to bleed money from people. So let us reason together as we review what they teach their flock to say as they give their money:
"Offering Reading Number One - As we receive today's offering, we are believing the Lord for:
Jobs and better jobs, raises and bonuses, benefits, sales and commissions, favorable settlements, estates and inheritances, interests and income, rebates and returns, checks in the mail, gifts and surprises, finding money, debts paid off, expenses decrease, blessing and increase, thank you Lord for meeting all of my financial needs that I may have more than enough to give into the Kingdom of God and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!!!" -- Bethel Website
Let us deal first with the fact that this is not a prayer beloved. It is a declaration or as false teachers like to say, a decree. It is in fact petulantly telling God what you want. It is properly couched in pious sounding Christianese, like we are asking only so we can further the kingdom -- wink wink. Secondly, how disgusting is it that during the time when you are giving to the cause of the Gospel (allegedly) you are demanding something in return? Here is my ten percent Lord -- now I am believing you for a better job, bonuses, raises, increased benefits, estate settlements, inheritances, interest, rebates, returns, random checks in the mail, surprise gifts, debts paid off, decreased expenses, blessing, increase and even finding money! Wow, what staggering arrogance. If this is what you are believing God for then you should just keep your ten percent. There is no indication that the widow who sowed her mite was declaring anything from God in return.
Thirdly, what happens when this laundry list of carnal greed fails to materialize? Now Bethel is trying to be cute in providing such an exhaustive list. Thus anything vaguely positive financially can be easily attributed back to the giving. The reality however is that the vast majority of people will not experience any of these things in their lives in the short term. I have spoken with disillusioned Christians who tithed as they were asked and waited for these promises only to still lose their house. The Bible does not promise material blessing in this life -- period. Our riches are eternal, not temporal. Bethel however cannot sell eternal blessings because they do not preach the Gospel. So they are left with selling this world as a payoff for support. They leverage God as their bag man to deliver recompense for promises He never made. The Christian landscape is littered with bruised and battered sheep that were told to declare and decree absolute nonsense like this only to see things go from bad to worse. They end up blaming themselves for some perceived lack of faith or they blame God for reneging on a deal He did not make. They also end up blaming all organized church for the sins of the Bethel's of the world. They walk around alone and ripe for more egregious false teachings because they are separated from the Body of Christ. Bethel is teaching that the blessings of God are carnal in nature and temporary to this world. They then tie them directly to giving, essentially pimping God out. Lastly, they do not even teach you to ask for these things but instead declare them. How utterly vile.
"Offering Reading Number Two - As we receive today's offering, we are believing You for: