Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his lifewill lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? -- Matthew 16: 24-26 (ESV)
We have long documented the absurdly heretical teachings emanating from Bethel Church in Redding California. A literal cesspool of false doctrines, Bill Johnson has built an empire on teaching wildly unbiblical doctrine. They are the heart of the NAR, false signs and lying wonders, and experiential Christianity heresies. They operate a heretical school of the supernatural where they claim to teach the gifts of the Holy Spirit even though the Bible says that is solely at the discretion of the Spirit. Besides this usurpation of God, Bethel promotes gold dust, gemstones, angel feathers and glory cloud false manifestations. As Johnson has gotten older we have seen more and more leaders emerge from Bethel fueled by his poor teaching. Jesus Culture comes from Bethel and they teach kids to run through "fire tunnels" and try to perform false healings wherever they go. False Prophet Shawn Bolz comes from Bethel. He specializes in fake words of knowledge that he seems to glean from his smart phone. Then there is the number two man at Bethel, Kris Vallotton. Co-founder of the aforementioned heresy school, Vallotton is also a shameless prosperity pimp and is far more active in his social media than Johnson, providing us with a continual glimpse into the mind of someone who abuses the Bible for a living. This week's example can be found at the above link and reveals that Vallotton not only shares the heretical beliefs of the word-faith crowd but does so at a breathtakingly arrogant level. Let us reason together so that we can more easily spot wolves with similar tendencies.
Telling yourself the truth sets you free. Self-talk is one of the highest impacting forces on your life. The kingdom you believe you have within you will be the kingdom you reproduce around you. Therefore, what you believe about yourself will determine how you behave. I believe that our inner thoughts, the things we're silently speaking over ourselves day in and day out, manifest themselves in our relationships, careers and destinies. This may not be new news to some of you, but sometimes negative self-talk can sneak in if we aren't consciously aware of how we're relating to our very own souls. So what name do you speak over yourself every day? Is it "failure" or "winner" or some other alias? -- Kris Vallotton
It is not surprising that someone as narcissistic as Vallotton cannot see the spiritual disconnect in what his opening premise is. Perhaps before salvation our behavior was dictated by what we believed about ourselves but not after salvation! Now it is what we believe about God that should determine how we behave. I will give you a personal example. Before I was saved I used to drink. I enjoyed it. I was pretty good at it. Everyone else did it too. I was Irish, so it was in my lineage. These were all things I believed about myself that formed the behavior I engaged in with drinking. I am not passing judgment either. I was walking in darkness so what else should be expected? Six months after I was saved however, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit too much to continue to ignore. I had seen God move in my life and I had to make a decision about my drinking. It was not a problem as the world sees it but now I saw it as God saw it and it had to go. I believed God could take it away from me and He did. I never could have done it on my own but I knew that God was God. So what I believed about Him determined my behavioral choice to not drink anymore. Fifteen years later that decision has never been challenged. I can have a drink if want one but the beauty is I no longer even want it. That is not how Vallotton and this crowd sees God though. They are God. Self-talk is what matters. How we view ourselves is what determines behavior. It is really sad if you think about it because they spend so much time talking up their love of God but it really is themselves they love. Kris continues:
An important distinction to make when we consider how we're thinking about ourselves, and therefore the culture we're breeding in our minds, is the difference between conviction and condemnation. Condemnation is from the devil, and it says, "You lied, therefore you must be a liar." Or "You got drunk, so you must be an alcoholic." Once the devil convinces you that your behavior is your identity, then he can leave you alone because you will always do your be.
Conviction is from the Holy Spirit. When you behave badly, conviction says, "You are way too awesome to be acting like that. Stop it! You are acting below your identity." So when taking inventory of your thoughts, make sure you're not partnering with the voice of condemnation. Trust me when I say condemnation is a bold-faced lie not worth a second of your time. -- Kris Vallotton
There are a lot of nuanced falsehoods in this we must sift through. First he does not understand condemnation. We should consider it like courtroom language. To be condemned is to be found guilty. Yet thankfully in His mercy, Jesus Christ saved us so that the verdict is overturned. So we do not stand condemned before God -- even though we are guilty. It is His blood that covers us. It is His sacrifice that is taken in my place. When the Bible says that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus it is speaking primarily about when we stand before Him for judgment. Paul does use the present tense which speaks to our ability to have victory over the sin that was condemning us through Jesus Christ. Remember though, it is His victory beloved -- not ours.
Kris also does not understand what sin is or at least he knows he can't sell it. Bearing false witness and drunkenness are sins beloved. They are not "bad behaviors." They are not mistakes or oopsies. This is the end result of minimizing sin through your doctrine. You never hear any significant discussion of sin and repentance from the Bethel Churches of the world. The purpose driven model of church growth will not allow it. The Seeker-Friendly Industrial Complex will not allow it. What Kris does not understand is that our behavior is a direct result of our condition of being a sinner. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. If you want to say that you are a sinner saved by grace, knock yourself out but the theology of Kris Vallotton is to deny who you were and that is the number one trait of arrogant Christians. Consider that the Apostle Paul penned these words after all of his missionary journeys and spreading the Gospel across the known world:
For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. -- 1Corinthians 15: 9-11 (ESV)
There is not even a whiff of arrogance in these words beloved. Paul remained humble because he never forgot where God found him. We have all come across arrogant Christians in our travels through churchianity. A sense that they are better than those heathen sinners. A sense that they are super-spiritual. At the heart of the arrogance however is a true lack of humility stemming from simply forgetting where God found them. I remember the bar He found me in. Theologians have always speculated what the thorn in Paul's flesh might have been and most believe it was a physical ailment of some kind. I always thought it could be an overwhelming remorse and grief of remembering the stoning of Steven and the other Christians he killed when persecuting the church. Can anyone imagine the Apostle Paul walking around the world practicing his self-talk? Seriously? Read the teachings from Jesus Himself in our key verses today. Does He say that in order to follow Him you must learn to speak better about self? No beloved. We must deny self. That is a foreign concept when your theology makes you God.
Perhaps the worst thing in this article however is the arrogant way Vallotton views the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I was actually going to pass on this article until I saw that Kris Vallotton is teaching people that conviction is simply when the Holy Spirit reminds you how awesome you are. Wow. You're way too awesome to be acting like that? Acting like that? Is he serious? You are way too awesome to be committing that adultery! That is so below your identity! Don't you know you are too awesome for that theft, false witness and unforgiveness? I have news for Kris Vallotton -- when we sin we are not "acting." Our identity is on full and honest display then. Don't believe me?
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. -- 1Timothy 1: 15 (ESV)