And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." - Mark 2:15-17 (ESV)
These pages have often written about the cesspool of false theology that is Bethel Church in Redding California. This church is headed by Bill Johnson, who has never met a heresy he has not embraced and incorporated into his own church. Johnson teaches prosperity, word faith, false signs and lying wonders, NAR, gold dust, gem stones, angel feathers, glory clouds, mandatory healing raising the dead, grave sucking, and nearly any other heresy you can think of. He operates a school for the alleged supernatural where he teaches kids how to act out the gifts of the spirit, while they think they actually have them. Johnson once said that God is not in control of this earth because he left us in control. That is the depth of the garbage this man spews. Now maybe he means well. I could care less. This is about leading people away from the true Jesus by selling them a false one. This is not a game. The eternal destination of the souls of man hang in the balance between true doctrine and the vile corruption of scripture that Bill Johnson traffics in. at Bethel, the number two guy is Kris Vallotton. Vallotton has written books about how you can be rich if you are saved by eliminating a made-up concept known as the "poverty mindset." While Johnson can be tricky because he sounds so peaceful, Vallotton is easy to discern because he has simply never met a bible verse he could not mangle beyond recognition. The above link is to Vallotton's latest offering to us. A full-throated defense of Bill and Bethel. Let's break out our bibles and reason together once more because this could get very messy. As Vallotton's piece is excessively long, I will try to only respond to the salient points.
"There has been much written about Bethel Church in Redding, California, and the movement that we have had the privilege of being a part for more than three decades. Most of what has been said about us is positive. But a small yet influential coalition of people have shared negative reports about us. These reports often include words such as controversial, unbalanced or even the word cult to describe us. To be frank, I can understand why certain religious leaders or unbelievers might view us through these perspectives. We certainly have made our share of mistakes, both as a leadership team and those who follow us. And we have such a high value for freedom and risk that it has created a kind of "research and development" culture where people are encouraged to take risks. I think this stems from the fact that we view ourselves much more as pioneers than settlers. Therefore, we celebrate creativity, revelation, invention and innovation above comfort, safety and security." - Kris Vallotton
Gotta give it to Kris as he is a master of bovine excrement. Allow me to translate this nebulous definition. The "risk" he refers to is the fact that Bethel encourages people to prophesy by whatever pops into their heads. Just pretend that God is saying it to you. The risk of course is that they are wrong so often. The "R and D" is just their exploratory nature of assimilating nearly any heresy into their mainstream of services. For example, they take their false view on prophecy and started open mic nights masquerading as prayer services. Anyone at these is welcome to come up to the microphone and "prophesy" whatever the devil has laid in the wickedly deceitful hearts. What I absolutely love is his notion that they are pioneers and not settlers because they are right. The bible is the settled word of God. No need to pioneer anything beyond it but that is the schtick of Bethel. Jesus once raised someone from the dead? Let's have a dead raising team! We believe in this gnostic vision of anointing? Let's vist the graves of dead false prophets and suck their anointing off for ourselves. Yes, they are pioneers at Bethel. Pioneers of idiocy and heresy.
"This R&D culture has attracted some of the most wonderful and extraordinary individuals on the planet. Of course, we've also managed to draw some very broken and strange people. It's important to remember, however, that there are some really weird and broken people mentioned in the Bible who God used powerfully. Unique guys such as John the Baptist, Ezekiel and Hosea come to mind, as well as messed-up people such as Rahab and Samson. Bethel has chosen to be a family, and as such we do our best to love people wherever they are in life, regardless of their character, doctrine, political views or philosophical persuasions. Much like our natural families (whom we don't get to choose), God often assigns people to be part of our spiritual family who, like Jacob, walk with a "limp" yet still deserve to be loved. We work hard to try to understand these people, although we sometimes don't agree with their perspectives." - Kris Vallotton
Yeah, no. this sloppy agape version of love is not biblical at all. No one is suggesting that as Christians we should not extend the love of Christ. Loving them however is not affirming their false doctrines and giving them a platform or pulpit. This may seem like a light point but it really is critical to their errors. We are not called to admit into the family of God people with differing doctrines. Whenever the bible speaks to unity they are speaking about unity in the word. Unity in doctrine. God did not assign you heretics anymore than God assigned Alexander the Coppersmith to the Apostle Paul. The bible commands that churches expel the sinful member let alone allowing the roving heretic.