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Part 1.

Defecting From Bethel

In this highly anticipated Cultish exclusive, co-hosts Jeff Durbin and Jeremiah Roberts are joined in Studio by former BSSM student Lindsay Davis.

Just a few weeks ago, Lindsay created much controversy with the announcement that she was expelled from the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry for publicly speaking out against the school.

Why did this happen?

What caused her to doubt Bethel’s cause and begin to think differently than she had a few months prior?

In this three-part series, we speak in depth with Lindsay Davis about her time at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and discover what makes this worldwide movement so alluring.

We also discuss some very concerning psychological and sociological cultish behaviors which line up with descriptions given by experts like Steven Hassan and Rick Allen Ross, who have extensively researched recent cultish movements in the United States.

Most importantly, we discuss the theological cultish behaviors that fall under Walter Martin’s classic definition:

“ a group of people gathered around a specific person or person’s misinterpretation of the Bible. “

Additionally, we explore the physical and supernatural manifestations happening at Bethel, which brings up the question: are these experiences movements of God, psychosomatic episodes, or something else?

Could it be possible to experience healing and the supernatural apart from God?

There is no doubt that Bethel Church has worldwide influence, and because of this, it is imperative to have this conversation.

We invite you, regardless of where you stand on this issue, to be part of this conversation and listen to Lindsay’s story with an open mind.

From Famine in the Land

By Rick Becker  25 January 2018

In order to make the gospel more palatable, many are resorting to crafty means in order to attract the lost.  One of the means employed is going “under cover” at various events.  This new breed of revivalists and evangelists don’t rely on the gospel, but so called “encounters with God.”  Words of knowledge and healings are utilized in order to win the lost. This covert evangelism involves:
• an absence of the gospel
• using terminology that does not offend
• supposed supernatural encounters
• cards, colours and stones to facilitate messages from God
..In other words – “another gospel”

A host of articles have recently exposed the unbiblical evangelistic tools and shenanigans of Bethel and Christalignment.  Going undercover at psychic fairs and the use of “destiny cards” to offer readings, or as they would argue – words of knowledge, are part of their evangelistic strategy.
In stark contrast to the methodology of Christalignment and Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry Students, the Apostle Paul refused to disguise the truth:

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.   But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing“  2 Corinthians 4:1-3

Clandestine operations were probably employed by the false teachers in Corinth.  Paul was making it clear that the gospel does not need to be disguised or tampered with in order to be effective.

John Gill commentary: “not walking in craftiness; they used no sly and artful methods to please men, to gain applause from them, or make merchandise of them; they did not lie in wait to deceive, watching an opportunity to work upon credulous and incautious minds; they did not, by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple; nor put on different forms, or make different appearances, in order to suit themselves to the different tempers and tastes of men, as did the false apostles: not handling the word of God deceitfully. They did not corrupt it with human doctrines, or mix and blend it with philosophy, and vain deceit; they did not wrest the Scriptures to serve any carnal or worldly purpose; nor did they accommodate them to the lusts and passions of men; or conceal any part of truth“

Those who tamper with God’s word or employ deceit when presenting it are doing so in order to please man or gratify themselves in some manner: “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.  For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.  For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.  Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others”  2 Thess 2:2-6

Bethel came out in defense of Christalignment (not surprising since Theresa Dedmon of Bethel came up with the brand “Destiny Cards”)    In their statement, they made this point: “The Hodges are attempting to contextualize the Gospel and bring people to the realization that God is looking for them and loves them no matter where they are – just like the apostle Paul often did. In Acts 17:22-34, Paul spoke to a group of religious people who didn’t yet know God and lived in a city full of altars, idols, and various religions. In that moment, Paul referred to a single altar in their city that had an inscription to the “unknown god,” and he used this familiar object (something they understood and valued) as a starting point to connect them with the God of all creation. He wasn’t worried that they would get a wrong idea (like that God is merely one of many gods or that idols are appropriate) because he would soon be introducing them to the true God.”

When contextualizing leads to compromise, the gospel is polluted.  In Acts 17 Paul did not attempt to blend in with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers; in fact the reason he was taken to the Areopagus was because his message was different : “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection”  Notice that Paul was not ashamed to name Jesus, whereas the new breed of crafty evangelists prefer terms such as spirit of creation, high spirit, Christ spirit etc.  Paul’s reference to the “unknown god” cannot be compared to going undercover and changing biblical terminology in an attempt to smuggle Jesus in at a later stage.

The irony is that Bethel and Theresa Dedmon use this passage to justify Christalignment’s  contextualization of the Gospel – which includes the use of Destiny Cards.  Dedmon writes: “Destiny Cards” are not tarot cards.  They do, however, have a similar look that attracts people who are searching for a “reading”.  There is no way one can justify creating something that looks similar to a demonic tool in order to “attract” people searching for a “reading.”
Dedmon gets it dead wrong once again when she writes in the same article: “Jesus always spoke in parables that communicated the message in creative ways in which people could relate and receive.”  Parables and Destiny Cards are not comparable.  Jesus did not use parables in order for people to relate and receive; in fact most could not relate and never received anything.  Paul put it this way:  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing”  2 Corinthians 4:3

 

Finish article HERE 

A good article by Rick Becker from

Famine In The Land

 

You probably have friends and family caught up in New Apostolic Reformation churches (Bethel, Hillsong etc) and you have found it extremely difficult to persuade them they are being deceived.  You may have been accused of having a critical spirit, of being divisive, judgemental, or of being a heresy hunter when warning them of the false doctrines in this movement.  Why is it so difficult for those caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation, word of faith and prosperity gospel movements (NAR & CO) to break free?

These movements have characteristics similar to cults, making it almost equally difficult to come out from their grip and deception. There are reasons why it is so difficult for people to escape from these movements and churches that teach false doctrine. Firstly, we will look at some secondary reasons, and then note the two primary reasons why people struggle to break free from this deception.

1  A new priesthood has been established within the NAR & CO.  When the likes of Patricia King, Kris Vallotton or Bill Johnson claim to have a revelation for the body of Christ, a new strategy etc, who are you to question when God does not speak to you on such an intimate basis?  Like any cult leader, they claim to have special knowledge, immediately placing them on a level that is admired by their followers.  Leaders claim to have taken trips to heaven, talked with angels, received new downloads and impartations from an open heaven.  Their so called ability to receive new revelation has elevated them above their followers, in clear contradiction of 1 John 2:27: “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”  There is no difference between the manipulative priests and Popes of the Roman Catholic Church and this new breed of apostles, prophets and pastors.  They interpret scripture on our behalf, and through eisegesis twist the scriptures to promote their false doctrines.  They are rarely challenged by their own followers, and point two reveals why.

2  Submission induced through an unhealthy fear keeps followers in their place.

Finish article HERE

 

I have received many inquiries about oppression from those who have gone through SOZO or 
any method contacting the spirit world. Just because Christian terminology is used, 
it does not mean it is indeed "Christian." 

These methods are very dangerous as you are actually being subjected to the demonic realm.
Spiritism is called detestable in Deuteronomony 18:9-13. This would include calling down
any spirit in the form of fire, power, etc. This can open yourself to demonic oppression 
which causes manifestations in your body and mind. Once this door is opened it can be 
difficult to be free of the evil spirits. 

Kim 

“Has SOZO given me evil spirits?”

I received the following letter about SOZO Prayer, a technique based on psychology and used by so-called “inner healing ministries” sweeping churches today. I share because it’s important for you to know what SOZO is, and what it does and does not do:

“I was recently bought some SOZO CDs, which I haven’t listened to yet. I threw them away, after learning that the CDs are from Bethel Church in Redding, California.  So far I have gone to two SOZO appointments, but I have not experienced any issues. Even though I do feel healed, Scripture tells me my feelings can’t be trusted.  I am concerned, and wondering if I inadvertently picked up evil spirits during those sessions? What should I do?”

Throwing those teachings in the trash was the right thing to do. “SOZO” is a psycho-spiritual deliverance and inner healing methodology designed to exorcise demons from Christians. Not that a Christian can be possessed by demons, but that is one of many apostate teachings from the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR. (See, What your church needs to know about NAR.)

This technique came out of Bethel Church, invented by NAR apostle Bill Johnson himself. The Bethel SOZO website says SOZO will heal your broken connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called and reach your potential.

During SOZO sessions, counselees receive help opening their minds to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They may be told that they have a spirit of Jezebel, or a Squid spirit, or some other creature or demon living inside of them.

Finish article HERE 

Dangers of Occultism, Inner Healing, Visualization and Guided Imagery

http://chrislawson.libsyn.com/dangers-of-occultism-inner-healing-visualization-and-guided-imagery

(2016 Sanctuary Conference – The Christianising of Occult Techniques)

In this teaching session, Chris Lawson exposes the dangerous occult practices of visualization, guided imagery and inner healing, its implications and how it is influencing the church.Originally published on Sep 10, 2016, The Sanctuary Conference. http://www.sanctuaryconference.org

Chris Lawson
Jude 3

MY BETHEL CHURCH EXPERIENCE ~

by Tony Baugh

Recently, I decided to pay a visit to Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding, California, ground zero of the New Apostolic Reformation (yes, I know, call me crazy).

Arriving up their very well manicured driveway, it was lined with flag poles and various global flags, along with one complete with the Yin-Yang waving high. It’s a church/Christian college, with lots of the typical, cute college girls and young guys mostly wearing beards, ball caps, or Bill Johnson-style eye glasses, many of which were very effeminate or clearly gay (not a judgement, but an observation). The whole place was crawling with a self-consciousness and sexual energy, and was complete with its own buff, tattooed guys working as security. The place is clearly raking in the big $.

I went into the their Coffee Shop, the girl at the counter was wearing a tank top which read, “As on Earth as it is in Heaven.” I asked her if they sold organic coffee (because I try to drink it when I can), she said no, but they have their own “Bethel Brand” and pointed to bags of coffee, that sure enough, were labeled as such. I bought a cup and noticed that directly across from the coffee bar, was loud music coming from a large hall called the “Sanctuary”, with signs saying, “No Visitors or Family Today. Students Only”. A name tag was required for entry. I peeped inside the door and a full on concert was going on with people dancing and swaying to a live worship band of whom some members were convulsing and flailing around ecstatically while the lyrics were displayed across a large screen. This was not a Sunday worship service, just another average weekday @ Bethel. (To be clear, I do not have an issue with worship music unless the emotional high of the music is being confused with a move of the Holy Spirit.)

I then wandered into their own Bethel bookstore, which was loaded with every apostate book imaginable, many of which were on Quantam Mysticism, with authors like John Crowder and Bill Johnson having their own sections,d loads Jesus Culture worship music CD’s for purchase. Only one small shelf contained bibles, no KJV’s. I asked the two women working at the counter if they carried any books by Warren B Smith (One of the great author/speakers of our day exposing end times deception and apostasy in the modern church and it’s embrace of mysticism). They said they’d never heard of him (of course).

As I sat outside drinking my coffee during class break, I suddenly observe a girl is giving another girl an impartation through the laying on of hands on her forehead, while she looks like she is receiving shock treatment, convulsing, right before my eyes. I kid you not. Pure Kundalini Serpent Spirit Impartations were being handed out as casually and as commonplace as hugs, handshakes or high-fives. I could not believe what I was seeing.

As I drove out, back through all the global flags, the last thing I saw was a student wearing a T-shirt that said “unify”. An ironic, final, punctuation mark for Ecumenical, Globlalist “COEXIST-ence” of the rapidly rising global kingdom of the Antichrist.

This was one weird, weird place. Much more so than I had imagined, absolutely infested with demonic presence and blasphemous perversions in the so-called name of Christ. I felt as if I just entered and exited an alternate reality.

Satan knows his time is short, and is pulling out all the stops in these closing moments. God is indeed sending strong delusion and the Great Apostasy is very much now upon us.

May God have mercy on these lost, misguided souls.

Image may contain: sky, house and outdoor
Image may contain: one or more people, crowd, wedding and indoor

 

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/newapostolic.html#bjohnson

It seems that many of us know someone who has been negatively influenced by the New Apostolic Reformation.

There are those who are currently picking up roots and leaving for Redding, California to attend Bethel Church. May some of these articles serve as red flags. I am praying.

There are those who are currently attending and have fallen in love with teachings that may seem to glorify God but instead glorify man. Bill Johnson teaches that Jesus laid aside his divinity and did his miracles merely as a man. This paves the way for men and women to perform such false signs and wonders. There are many accounts and videos of deceived young people elevating themselves instead of teaching about Jesus Christ and His purpose of providing a way we can be forgiven of our sin. May some of these articles serve as red flags. I am praying.

There are those whose eyes have been opened, yet experience controlling manifestations in their body. They seek help and find none in faulty deliverance methods. May I encourage those who suffer in this way that returning to the  true Lord Jesus Christ in repentance of  following a false Christ and false teachers will start you on a path back to spiritual truth. Read these articles and share them with others. I am praying.

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/newapostolic.html#bjohnson

Source : Berean Research“Guard Yourselves in Steadfast Truth!”

Leaving the NAR church: Jessie’s story

“I saw myself as a far superior Christian! I belonged to a church that was restoring prophets and apostles, and was right on the cutting edge of what God was doing on the Earth.”

Jessie was fully steeped in the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) movement without realizing it.

Today she tells her story to expose for what it is: An anti-biblical counterfeit that sounds almost like biblical Christianity.

In this series, I want to take readers beyond the textbook What is the New Apostolic Reformation Movement explanation, into the personal experiences from those who have been there, and what happened when God opened their eyes to the truth.

This is Jessie’s story in her own words:

I had no idea that I was in the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation), or part of the Word of Faith movement. I didn’t even know those terms existed. I simply went to the church that I found most exciting, cutting edge and challenging. I had been saved out of the occult and so I was aware of the spirit world. When the Toronto blessing began I was right in there too.

However, over the past three years (and I have been saved for thirty) my eyes have been opened.

 

Finish HERE 

Unholy Signs & Cash Flows

Bethel’s example of Church working with Corporate and State

 

By Pastor Rod Page
“I dedicate this book to my children’s children’s children’s children. Though we will not meet until we get to heaven, I wanted you to know that I had you in mind as I wrote every word of this book, and I continue to hold you in my heart. You will become the answer to my prayers and the fulfillment of my prophecies. By the time you read this book, I will be watching you from heaven (see Hebrews 12: 1).”[1]

This quotation above is the opening dedication to Kris Vallotton’s upgraded book called Heavy Rain. Its former title was How Heaven Invades Earth. At the outset it sounds like a way to soften, or even spiritualize, the more militant sounding “invade” language in his book from six years ago. I believe this change is part of a new effort to say the same thing in a more sophisticated, and yet more palatable, way in order to attract a wider audience.

In this day and age where everything is seen from a marketing standpoint, as far as publishers and agents and business in general, it is no surprise that this would happen from within the headquarters of a now worldwide movement—Bethel Church in Redding, California.

I am writing this from Redding as it is the closest city to where we live for groceries and doctors. It is also where I lived for several years. It’s a pretty typical town in most aspects, with a Costco and an old converted theater downtown, and a mix of working people and retired folks looking for the sun…. It is even sunnier in Redding than Phoenix!

But Redding is actually quite special in regard to what is happening in Christendom. A phenomenon has grown up here. There is something almost “magical” about the effect that Bethel has had on this community. The city has fallen in love with this “church”. Is this even possible in our day of hysteria over “separation of church and state”? It is not separate in Redding. Bethel bailed out the Civic Auditorium and is running it well from all indications. Bethel is also becoming a major property owner. They have bought and improved several commercial properties and hope to increase their School of Supernatural Ministry to 3000 students in the next few years. (It is currently around 1400.) They want to build a museum of revival in Americana and have spent around $40,000 to purchase one man’s memorabilia collection of articles from major “moves of God” going back into the 1950s.

Bethel is growing while the city of Redding has endured a decline in many facets. Crime is up. The housing market is flat at best. Homelessness is rampant. But Bethel is doing really well. I believe they know why. I think they have discovered a secret to moving forward at this time in their history. Before I get back to this subject let met tell you why I am writing this report.

The Bethel “cash flow” agenda, cited HERE

Why I Write 
Before becoming a full time pastor in 2011 I spent over 30 years being a regular Christian, with a regular secular job, raising a family with my wife of 37 years. Before we moved to Redding we attended a church for 10 years beginning in 1994 in Yuba City, California. We noticed after almost 7 years in that church that the teaching was changing. We heard things that shocked us, but because of intense loyalty to the leadership we tried to justify things we should have checked out immediately. We were told that spiritual warfare was calling out demons by name and defeating them in the atmosphere, and thus allowing our city to have a mass revival. We were told it was always God’s will for us to be physically well. We were told our children were a chosen seed to bring in the great harvest of all time—that they would do miracles greater than Jesus or the Apostles. These things came in slowly, like a steady drip. We were told that Christians have demons that need to be cast out. We were to go on “prayer walks” that would run the devil out of neighborhoods and out of families as we took dominion over our city.

The problem is it didn’t work, and we could not find a good Biblical reason to swallow all of this new teaching. Young people would go to the church’s new “discipleship” school and come out on the other end bewildered by a lack of power, not blaming the leaders who taught them but God, who they thought did not keep up His end of the bargain. We looked at our Bibles and saw texts that were clearly meant for the next world being brought into ours, with no concept for context or proper Biblical interpretation.

It took us almost 3 years to realize we needed to get back to the Bible. Then we found the Discernment Ministries’ Herescope blog (www.herescope.net). God led us to this small cadre of folks who had been writing for years about different new teachings, that were really old things wrapped up in new and upgraded lingo. As Solomon says, there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9).

Then, because of a job, and a ministry opportunity to take what we were finding about Satan’s schemes and warn younger believers, we moved to Redding to start a new job and work with a couple we thought truly were wanting to warn others. Sadly, within a year we found out we were not on the same page with the very people we were supposed to serve with. Shortly after this we began to attend a church where the Bible was taught verse by verse. God put us away in His waiting room where we could get our thoughts and hearts in line with His precious Word.

We began to serve the Lord in humble but useful ways. We helped clean the church each week, emptying waste cans and vacuuming the carpet. Later we taught Sunday School. We truly had many glorious times with our 4th grade class teaching through the entire Bible line upon line. Eventually I was asked to teach in place of the pastor when he was out of town. We were asked to shepherd a part of the congregation and had a “home group” of over 40 people in our home each month. What I found in those days was that God is gracious. When we seek Him and His ways for His glory, He provides all we need. His Word has the answers we need to communicate. We don’t need to make up anything fancy to attract attention to it.

I had heard the Lord calling me to ministry when I was 12 years old. I had, because of fear, chosen not to follow His call for many years. Finally at 50 years of age I answered that call. I began to seek the Lord, and asked others to pray with me about going into full time work. I assumed it would be in a ministry to young people, as that was the reason I moved to Redding. I wanted to warn them of what the enemy was trying to do, both within the church and without it. After another year of waiting, just when I began to give up, an opportunity came as the Lord opened up a door for ministry. I have been serving as pastor at a small community church in Lewiston, California, ever since. I live within 35 miles of Redding in the mountains. God is gracious indeed. It is the hardest, and yet most fulfilling job, I have ever had.

But Bethel is still a thorn. I suppose it reminds me of what happened to us in Yuba City. But it is far worse. It is a leader, a worldwide and dominant leader, in a movement rife with error. This is grievous to me personally because it goes after, and actually targets, young people in a huge way. This is why I write. These young people (and old people, too) are precious to our Savior. This movement is swallowing them in ways I never could have imagined even 6 years ago when I lived within a mile of Bethel Church. This church is more sophisticated and more “excellent” in an alarming way.

Finish Article HERE
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