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August 3, 2017
Kris Vallotton - Conviction is the Holy Spirit Reminding You How Awesome You Are
By Anthony Wade
A recent blog article by Kris Vallotton reveals the narcissistic heart of his theology...
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)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. -- 1John 1: 8-10 (ESV)
What a dangerous slope Vallotton is leading his followers down. To deceive ourselves willfully about our flesh is to deny the truths in the Bible. It is to call God a liar. To minimize willful sin as merely a way we act or behave is to deny who we are, which is why we needed a Savior to begin with! Next time you think you are awesome, read Romans 3 and see how God sees you without the blood of Christ. Vallotton continues:
If you receive an alias name, you will spend your life trying not to act out your identity. Calling someone a loser, an alcoholic, a whore, a dummy and so forth relegates them to either act out their "name" or build an accountability system that can try to police them into purity.
For example, I love the Alcoholics Anonymous program, except for the standard introduction: "Hi, I'm John and I'm an alcoholic." I understand what the program is trying to accomplish: confess your sins so you can be forgiven, and admit you have a problem so you can be helped. (You can't help someone who doesn't have a problem). BUT I am not my behavior unless I believe I am. Consequently, AA, by its own admission, never cures anyone. At best, the person simply modifies their behavior. You simply can't cure a person by convincing them that they are one thing and then building a system to help them behave differently. Therefore, you relegate people to a lifetime of meetings that are designed to keep them from drinking. This is much better than getting drunk and wrecking your family, so thank you, AA. However, it never restores you to your true identity; it only shackles your bad actions. -- Kris Vallotton
This is the hallmark of Bill Johnson-style teaching. After something as insanely unbiblical as conviction meaning how awesome you are, it is followed up with a pious-sounding train wreck. There is no biblical instruction regarding this "alias" theology. Kris just made it up. Now I agree with him that the AA model may work well in the world but does not belong for Christians. It creates a victimhood that Christ never intends for His children to have to be yoked to. I will also agree about not being able to address a problem unless you admit you have one. The problem is the rest of this gobbledygook is nearly incomprehensible as lucid thought. I am not my behavior unless I believe I am? Seriously again? That sounds like when George Costanza advised Jerry that it is not really a lie if you believe it is true. What Kris fails to realize is that it doesn't matter of Jerry thinks it is true -- it is still a lie. George was only giving him a tip on how to beat a lie detector test. Under this silliness, I can commit adultery but as long as I don't believe I am an adulterer, I am not? Is that How God will operate on Judgment Day Kris? He will level the charge and you will stand there in your arrogance and claim that is not you because you do not believe that is you. I got news for you -- that's you! Paul calls himself the chief of sinners and the least of the apostles while Kris Vallotton is teaching his adherents to deny their sin, call it behavior, and gaze lovingly upon themselves in the mirror a la Stuart Smalley. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. I will tell you what else he is doing beloved. he is teaching people to not confess their sins. The Bible makes it very clear that God forgives but we must ask for that forgiveness. Not pretend they are just little behavioral quirks and laugh them off. This is a dangerous, dangerous teaching. Vallotton concludes:
But the Bible says that we are nobility, royalty and children of God Himself. That's the truth, and it will set you free, instead of simply modifying your behavior. Today I want to encourage you to take some time with Holy Spirit and let Him search your thoughts. Take note of the names you've been speaking over yourself, or the aliases that others have tried to mask you in throughout your life. Then hand them over to God and let Him breathe the freedom-bringing truth over you. Write it down and choose it every day. What are false names that people have spoken over you, and what is God saying over you instead? Let me know in the comments below. -- Kris Vallotton
Beloved this is the shtick that runs throughout the majority of the false doctrines of the day. Prosperity gospel, word faith, false signs and lying wonders, experiential Christianity. It is the core of seeker friendly theology and purpose driven thought. Find anything glowing and positive in the Bible and claim it for your listeners while ignoring context and surrounding truths. Scratch their ears. There are plenty of Bible verses that describe us as sinners, wretched, with poison on our lips and deceit filling our hearts. But Kris can't sell that so he instead picks three sloppy agape words of positivity and after claiming the entire article the dangers of identifying who you are. He asks you to identify yourself as such. I will focus on one as an example of the depraved nature of what Kris Vallotton is doing. In all likelihood, Kris claims our royalty from the following verse:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. -- 1Peter 2: 9 (ESV)
Note first of all that Kris does not address a people for His possession or a holy nation. He does not address that we ought to be proclaiming His excellencies. Yet even on the point about being a royal priesthood, Kris cannot get it right:
The Hebrew has "a kingdom of priests," as in Revelation 1:6 (according to the best reading); which would mean, God's organised empire, every member of which is a priest. Nor is the thought far different here. The word "royal" does not seem intended to imply that every Christian is a king, or of royal birth (though that, of course, may be shown from elsewhere), but describes his belonging to the King as we might speak of the royal apartments, the royal borough, the royal establishment, or even of the royal servants. -- Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
When you are so focused on your awesomeness you fail to see that the royalty is not about you. It is about Him. But that is Kris' overarching problem anyway. His teaching and theology is not about God -- it it's about you. If you could behave better. If you would just talk better about yourself. You are royalty. No beloved. If we could choose to simply behave better then we would not need a Savior. If we could change who we are simply by speaking better about ourselves then we would be God. Kris is right that the truth shall set you free. It is just a shame that he does not have a solid relationship with the truth to recognize it.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- August 3, 2017