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November 3, 2017
Bethel Teaches to Declare God is in a Good Mood and Other Insanities
By Anthony Wade
Bethel's own website offers up four sets of declarations they say during their weekly offering time that reveal how absurdly unbiblical they truly are...
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:
Heaven opened, earth invaded, storehouses unlocked and miracles created, dreams and visions, angelic visitations, declarations, impartations and divine manifestations, anointings, giftings and calls, positions and promotions, provisions and resources, to go to the nations, souls and more souls, from every generation, saved and set free, carrying Kingdom revelation! Thank You, Father, that as I join my value system to Yours, You will shower FAVOR, BLESSINGS
and INCREASE upon me, so I have more than enough, to co-labor with Heaven and see JESUS get His FULL REWARD. Hallelujah!!!" -- Bethel Website
Where the first declaration was more in your face about the greed, number two wants to appear more spiritual. You still cannot miss the overall financial implications of "unlocked storehouses", provision and resources, and being showered with favor, blessings and increase. The same tactic of pretending you are declaring these greedy decrees for "kingdom matters" is employed but that only reminds us to a familiar rebuke from Jesus Himself:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. -- Matthew 23:15 (ESV)
John Calvin once said that zeal without doctrine is like a sword in the hands of a lunatic. It matters not if Bill Johnson and the Bethelites are sincere -- they are sincerely wrong. Only the uncompromised Gospel has the power to save anyone. The rest of this declaration is a hodgepodge of Charismatic catchphrases that have little scriptural backing but will resonate with those who have been taught so poorly. Heaven opening and earth invaded are two popular themes from the wicked hearts of false signs and lying wonders teachers. So are the over-spiritualized notions of dreams, visions, angelic visitations, impartations, anointings, giftings, and calls. These are all biblically themed but not actually supported by the Word of God the way they are being taught. Even the divine manifestations is charismatic code speak for gold dust, gemstones, glory clouds and angel feathers -- which Bethel claims all occur regularly at their church. The final point on this section is the seediness of the doctrine of me instead of focusing on Christ. Notice at the end there that this statement makes us responsible for making sure that Jesus gets His full reward? Where the heck is that in the Bible? We are not co-laborers with Christ beloved. He is our Lord and our Master. Bethel will never teach that however. Instead you are a co-laborer with the one you are supposed to serve and directly responsible for making sure He gets His full reward, which is why you need God to shower you with so much money. Once again, vile.
"Offering Reading Number Three - As we pray for new wells of revival, we pray for new economic wells in Redding to be created. So Lord, we ask You for: Favor for our city with CEO's, government leaders, and kings, manufacturing firms that produce goods for the nations and provide new jobs for our people. Technology to establish new markets, energy sources, and efficient solutions to grow as a population. Laws and Courts that measure with the justice and the freedom of our land's Constitution. Civil Servants that encourage entrepreneurs and a media known for wisdom and truth. Natural resources released, harvested, sold, and reproduced. Education, books, and universities that develop mind molders who influence the influential. Capital to build small businesses that provide services, arts, and culture attracting both young and old. Medical community known for integrity and excellence. REPENTANCE from poverty, small thinking, and envy. Courage to recognize opportunities and make wealth. Abundance to bless the world and the prudence to save and invest. Revelation to pass on wealth to our children's children"So we declare, that when the righteous prosper, the city rejoices! Hallelujah!!!" -- Bethel Website
Decree number one was outright carnal greed. Decree number two was hyper-spiritualism. This one however is straightforward NAR theology. This is the blueprint for worshiping this country as an idol, conquering the seven mountains of culture and chasing carnal revival. The Bible does not promise a great end times revival beloved -- just an apostasy. The NAR crowd however is positively obsessed with the notion of revival in America. They like the sin this country affords. They like the little niche they have carved out for themselves within that sin construct. We see this decree is demanding progress on the business mountain with favor over CEOs, manufacturing firms, production businesses and natural resources. They are teaching conquering the government mountain of influence by decreeing favor with governmental leaders, civil servants, and even our constitution. Media, arts, and education are also touched on. We must understand that this declaration is needed because Bill Johnson and the dominionist agenda is to have Christians take over the word to bring about the second coming of Christ. Now, of course this is not biblically supported but that will not stop them because they have the personal testimony of their hearts speaking to them and not realizing that it isn't the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps the most insulting part of this entire webpage however is the chastising of people to repent of their poverty! Are you kidding me? They equate poverty to small thinking! To Bethel the job of a Christian is to create wealth -- not spread the Gospel. Save, invest and pass along wealth to our children. You know, three topics not covered in the Bible. This is however a major plank in the Bethel platform. They honestly believe and openly teach that poverty is a mindset that can be overcome with word faith and following their suspect doctrines of devils. Do we fully comprehend what Bethel is teaching here? That poverty is a sin! It requires repentance! How does Bethel explain the church in third world countries then? The underground church in China? The Middle east church facing beheadings for refusing to denounce Christ. The poverty stricken Christians in South America or even south Detroit? If your gospel cannot be preached across this entire world then it is false by definition. I would say this is vile but that would be unfair to the word vile.
"Offering Reading #4 - I am powerful and what I believe changes the world. So today I declare
God is in a good mood. He loves me all the time. Nothing can separate me from His love. Jesus' blood paid for everything. I will tell nations of what He has done. I am important. How He made me is amazing. I was designed for worship. My mouth establishes praise to silence the enemy
Everywhere I go becomes a perfect-health zone. And with God nothing is impossible!" -- Bethel Website
So we come to the fourth declaration spoken at Bethel during the offering and this one is all about the only god they really serve -- themselves. In declaration number one, God was an ATM for their carnal blessings. In declaration number two they began to elevate themselves spiritually to rival God. In the third set they began to lay out all they had to do to help this poor god out. They had to conquer all of these mountains and prepare the earth. Now here it all comes home. How unbelievably haughty is this declaration that they make their congregants actually say to God! I am powerful? No beloved you are not. Where in the Bible do you see any of the apostles walking around like they were anything? The one time the Sons of Thunder asked to call lightning down Jesus rebuked them. What you believe changes the world? Really? Well aren't you special? Today you declare that God is in a good mood???? Seriously? He loves you all the time and His blood paid for everything? What are you teaching yourself about sin? The true power is in the Gospel, not in our weak mortal shells. We are not important beloved. God is important. Then they close the declaration with the false teaching about mandatory healing. Just because nothing is impossible with God does not mean that He is required to do anything. He is sovereign.
Reflect upon these declarations seriously beloved because even if you can easily see through them, there are countless thousands of people who follow this church like a cult. People are being taught to declare to God Almighty how great they are. How important they are. To actually teach people to declare how God is feeling on a given day. They teach people that if they are poor they need to repent. Like spoiled and petulant children they stand with arms outstretched and demand that they get favor, blessings, increase, reward, unlocked storehouses, found money and countless other absurdly ridiculous carnal dreams. Compare that to what Paul says in the key verses today. As a Pharisee of the Pharisees, Paul had it all. He lost it all to follow Christ. No bitterness or carnal desires. He counted all he had lost as trash for the sole benefit of being found in Christ. To know the power of His resurrection not his own power like Bill Johnson teaches. To share in His sufferings, which Bill Johnson will never teach. The sad and obvious truth is that Bethel does not want Christ because they do not follow Christ. They are all about selling the crown of glory. They want nothing to do however, with the crown of thorns.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- November 3, 2017