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This is posted from the Bethel Church and Christianity Facebook Page. To date, the author has not been determined.
SAVED FROM THE DECEPTION OF CHARISMANIA
GOD SAVED ME AND BROUGHT ME OUT OF THE SIGNS AND WONDERS MOVEMENT
God saved me, and brought me out of the Signs and Wonders Movement, after being involved in it for nearly twenty-two years; I am now twenty-three years of age and have been saved for about a year and a half. This is my testimony, and in writing this I pray that God would use this to save others out of the movement that I was so heavily involved in, and that above all else, Christ will be magnified and made much of!
I was born and raised in the “Prophetic Movement” (which is now in the process of morphing into the “New Apostolic Reformation”), and I grew up completely oblivious to what Biblical Christianity is meant to look like. Some of the leaders who had an influence on how I perceived what the church is to look like, have included John and Carol Arnott of the “Toronto Blessing”, Rodney Howard Browne of the “Brownsville Revival”, and others such as Kim Clement, Benny Hinn, Chris Harvey, Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, Randy Clark, Patricia King, Georgian Banov, Bobby Conners, Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, and Bill Johnson.
In the fall of 2002 I ended up moving to Redding, California to get “plugged-in” to Bethel Church, which Bill Johnson (a self-proclaimed “apostle”) oversees. It was here where I ended up jumping into and entertaining the supernatural phenomenon, signs and wonders, and mystical experiences (which were falsely attributed to God) in a much greater way then I did when I was a kid growing up. I soon got involved in the youth group, which was heavily influenced by Lou Engle who heads up “The Call” and Mike Bickle who heads up “IHOP” (International House Of Prayer). I later enrolled in Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry in 2006, and went through the whole three-year program. I was heavily engaged and supportive of many of the things, which were being taught and practiced. When Todd Bentley and his, “Lakeland Revival” began to take place, I jumped on board with that as well, and became a full supporter and advocate for it. I was gladfully defending it against all the, “Religious Pharisees” (or so I called them at the time). It was also at this time that I noticed the, “Toking the Ghost” movement and became a “Toker” myself, and a full supporter of John Crowder and Ben Dunn.
However, when Todd Bentley’s affair was made public (August ’08), I ended up becoming grieved by what happened and by the poor response that was to follow. Shortly after the crash of the “Lakeland Revival” I received some severe rebukes for being involved with John Crowder’s and Ben Dunn’s “Toking Mania”, and so I withdrew myself from this aspect of the chaos. It was also at this time, while I was in my third year internship with Bethel, that I was starting to notice that things didn’t line up and I began to question the legitimacy of the Prophetic Movement.
First off, before I share my testimony of how God saved me and brought me out of this movement, I want to explain why I believe that Bethel is a cult, and not just on the charismatic fringe. Labeling someone or a group a “cult” is not a thing to take lightly and so I hope to explain why I believe this to be true with the Word of God. The following statements are examples of the beliefs and practices of Bethel, their school of supernatural ministry, and other ministries who they consider to be their friends and partners in revival. I will not be able to share everything that I was involved with, but in sharing some things I hope to bring some awareness to the dangers that this movement possesses, and bring encouragement to those of you who are praying for friends and loved ones who are entangled in this deception.
TO THE GLORIOUS PRAISE OF MAN AND A STRANGE FORM OF SINLESS PERFECTIONISM
Bethel has a really high view of man, and is extremely man centered. My understanding after being involved with Bethel for almost seven years, and after going through three years of their school of ministry is that they teach that man is basically free to choose good or evil, and that man isn’t all that bad. They would teach that man, prior to coming to Christ is a sinner, but even though he is a sinner he isn’t all that wicked. They would teach that if you pay your bills, don’t cheat on your taxes, and love your family that you are a good person. The leadership at Bethel is quick to impress this into the students who go to the School of Supernatural Ministry in the very beginning of their schooling. Kris Vallotton (a self-proclaimed “prophet”), who is Bill Johnson’s right hand man, would be quick to tell the students how amazing they are, and that they are not wretches or all that bad. It is taught that you are a child of God (which is true for those who are saved), so (by their definition) that means you are “royalty”, “amazing”, “kings” and “queens” so how can you be a wretch? Here is a link to a video clip that is on Kris Vallotton’s website, where he talks about the royalty of man, and how amazing you are.
*update video no longer available*
But the Scriptures say otherwise concerning the “goodness” of man. The Word of God says that all of man’s righteousness is like a filthy rag useless for anything at all. Isaiah 64:6 “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” This is to say that all of our own efforts of “goodness” amount to disgusting garbage in the sight of God. The Apostle Paul wrote concerning men and their sinfulness. Romans 3:10-18 ““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”” Paul further writes Romans 8:7-8, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law, indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (More Scriptures concerning man’s total depravity: Gen 6:5, Ps 14:1-3, Ps 51:5, Jer 17:9, Ro 5:10-12, Eph 2:1-3) The Scriptures makes it clear that men are born with a sinful nature, and commit sin by nature and choice. Man is not good for the most part, with some sin, but rather man is totally corrupt and in love with his sin, and does not wish to part from his sin. For “no one does good, not even one.” men are naturally “hostile to God” and have a “heart of stone”(Ezekiel 36:26), nor do they naturally seek for God. People are not waiting to hear about the wonderful plan that Jesus has for their life, for they hate Him and are not submissive to Him (John 15:18-25). It is not until God does a saving work in the sinner’s life, (Jon 2:9, Jn 1:12-13, Jn 3:3-8, Jn 6:37, Jn 6:44, Jn 10:25-30, Ro 8:28-30, Ro 9, Tit 3:5) that the person is able and willing to seek for, submit to, and treasure God.
It is also taught at Bethel that once you become a Christian you are no longer a sinner. One of their “key verses” for this is taken from Romans 6:11 “So you also must consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Kris Vallotton would take this and say that since you are “dead to sin” you are no longer a sinner. But the context of “consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” means that we are no longer enslaved to sin, to fulfill its lusts and desires, that it is no longer the thing that drives us, it is not that we are no longer sinners. Now, the leadership at Bethel does not teach that a Christian can’t sin, but rather they teach that if a Christian does sin it does not make him a sinner. In other-words (they would teach), if a Christian does sin it is because they believed a lie that they still struggle with sin. Here is a link to a video clip of Kris Vallotton talking about Christians not being sinners. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvS2kkIoyAs) What does scripture have to say about Christians being sinners? Are Christians still sinners? If we were to look at 1 John 1:8-10 “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.” Scripture tells us we are sinners because, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” If we claim to be sinless we lie and do not have the truth in us, or in other-words if someone was to truly believe that they are sinless then they are not truly saved.
Note on Video: [The fundamental error in Kris’ teaching is that he has missed the overriding context of 1 John. John writes to those who have made a profession of Christ (1 John 5:13) in an effort to assure them of their salvation. John does not write to non-believers as Mr. Vallotton suggests, therefore, he is guilty of allowing his presuppositions concerning sin and salvation to misleadingly guide his interpretation down an avenue that the apostle never imagined.]
SHAKE -N-BAKE WITH A SIDE OF KUNDALINI
Among one of the more common and heavily embraced practices would be that of getting “drunk in the Spirit”. This is where you lay hands on each other, pray for each other, or ask the Lord to get you “hammered”, in which people (including myself) would have experienced spiritual bliss, joy, and ecstasies. People would react differently to these experiences, some would fall down and not be able to stand, others would stumble around as if heavily intoxicated with alcohol, some would shake violently, and others would experience the blissful side of this but not necessarily exert any physical manifestations. Although, I do not doubt that their are those who would “fake” being drunk (I did this at times), this does not exclude the reality that people regularly experience spiritual highs when practicing this. One of the main “proof” texts for this is taken from Acts 2:1-15. “But others mocking said, “they are filled with new wine.””(vs. 13) and “These people are not drunk as you suppose”(vs. 15a) The defense for “getting drunk in the spirit” is that they were “drunk”, so they were drunk in the Holy Spirit (aka: falling down, laughing, twitching, and shaking), because people thought that they were drunk, and that is how drunk people act. But if we were to look at the text a little bit closer we would see clearly why they thought that they were drunk. We read in verses 1 -13, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing him speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians – we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “what does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”” There were those who thought that the disciples were drunk because they were speaking in tongues (foreign languages and dialects unknown to the speakers) “Telling the mighty works of God.” It was because of this that people thought that they were drunk. There is nothing about shaking and baking in the text at all!
These drunken manifestations that are experienced within the Prophetic Movement are identical to that of Kundalini. Kundalini is a practice found in New Age groups as well as eastern mysticism. These practices would include physical manifestations, such as jerking and shaking, and feelings of heat, energy, and pleasure. There is absolutely nothing in the Scriptures that even come close to supporting this practice at all! With this it is safe to say that getting drunk in the spirit is a counterfeit experience. Here is a link to a good video clip that Andrew Strom did on the Kundalini, and the manifestations of “drunkenness” found within the Prophetic Movement. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBpw2oQrvMM). The Scriptures warn us that people will turn away from the Truth and follow what is false: 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teachings, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
WHEN SOLA SCRIPTURA IS NOT ENOUGH
Another common practice is for people to hear the Lord “speak to them prophetically”. In this movement and at Bethel in particular it is taught that the Lord is always and continually speaking to you (apart from the Scriptures), and all you have to do is “tune” in to the right station (like an FM/AM radio) to be able to hear from the Lord. Some of the different ways that they teach that you can hear from the Lord would include: audibly, open visions, angels, the inner-audible-voice (where you hear the Lord speak audibly inside of you, rather than on the outside), the still small voice (like that of a faint whisper), feelings (where you “feel” what the Lord is saying to you), and dreams. (however, compare that with Hebrews 1:1-2) They would say that all prophecy is for edification, exhortation, and comfort and that when you give someone a prophecy, you are doing so to encourage them and to help build them up. For Example: you would receive a prophetic “download” about someone and prophecy over them by telling them something that may sound like this, “The Lord really likes how you like numbers, so I feel like you have a grace on your life to be an accountant.” This is something that if you were to ask the leadership at Bethel about, or anyone who has been apart of Bethel for any length of time, that they would testify too.
This “continual speaking” also embarks into the arena of authoritative new revelations, or extra Biblical revelations. It is believed and taught at Bethel that the Lord is revealing new truths apart from what has already been revealed to us in the Scriptures. Bill Johnson has said, “The Lord wants to give revelation at a measure that has never, I don’t think has ever happened in the world before. The spirit of revelation is being released upon the church, but I’ll, let me tell you one of the things that makes room for the spirit of revelation to come, it’s the fact that we are willing to embrace mystery.” Here is a link to a video clip where you will hear Bill say this, and as well hear him expand on it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pfa_kj1NUk). For an actual example of extra Biblical revelation: Bethel recently had Cindy Jacobs (who is a self-proclaimed “prophetess”) come to Bethel on 09-01-10, which she gave a “prophetic word” over Bethel, about Bethel building buildings, being an apostolic center, and taking the media mountain (the “mountain” concept will be explained in the section “At The Root Of It All”). Here is a portion of Cindy Jacob’s “prophecy” over Bethel.“The apostolic team here will have to pray over this and unpack it and see what it will look like. There might be other buildings in-between and other ways. In order to do what you’re going to do, you are going to need a lot of buildings. Because the Lord says, “I am getting ready to build this apostolic network and many people are going to come and say, “I need to join.” And I am going to show you how to do this organically but yet put structure to it.” The Lord says, “do not fear to step out and do that. My people need a home and a place. I have put a heart in many that have the DNA of revival and healing and revivalists and miracles…. where will they find a resting place? There is a desire to find a resting place.” You can read the full transcript of this “prophecy” at this link
*update…no longer available*
While I was involved in the Prophetic Movement it was my experience that many people (yet not all) didn’t bother to read their Bibles on a regular basis, which was also the case for me. From what I observed I believe this was the case because it is believed that we need fresh words from the Lord, and the Written Word of God is not enough, and it is believed that you can’t walk in the fullness of your relationship with the Lord using the Scriptures alone.
The Scriptures do teach us that the Word of God is sufficient, 2 Timothy shows us of the sufficiency of Scriptures, that the Scriptures are enough, we do not need new revelation. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” The Scriptures are enough that one may be “competent, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 4:2-4 “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teachings, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
2 Peter 1:16-21 “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. . [Peter is referring to his experience on the Mt. of Transfiguration (with James and John) when Jesus was transfigured and Moses and Elijah appeared] And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, [The exact meaning of “prophetic word” is described in verse 20 as “Prophecy of Scripture”.] to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” What the Apostle Peter is saying is that they have received something even “more sure” than the audible voice of God, transfiguration of Jesus, and appearance of Moses and Elijah… The Word of God! Scripture is enough and there is no need for new revelations whatsoever!
IS IT ALLWAYS GOD’S WILL TO HEAL EVERYONE?
One belief and practice that is heavily embraced and aggressively defended, is that it is always God’s will to heal everyone, and that if someone is sick it is against the will of God, and you have authority to take dominion over sickness, disease, and even death. One verse in particular, that is Bill Johnson’s and Bethel’s “hallmark” verse that is used in the defense of this is found in the Lord’s Prayer, Matt 6:10 “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So the defense goes that there is no sickness in heaven so there should be no sickness here on earth, there is no diseases in heaven so there should be no diseases here on earth. On earth as it is in Heaven. But if we were to look at this verse in its proper context it means that we are to pray that the Lord’s will be done here on earth. God is sovereign over heaven and His will is being expressed and experienced there, so likewise we are to pray that the Lord’s sovereign will be expressed and experienced here on earth as well. The Leadership at Bethel are also contending for a cancer free zone within Redding, California. Bill has said, “It’s really possible for Redding to be cancer free.” He also said, “It’s possible (for Redding to be cancer free) because it doesn’t exist in Heaven, and He said, “On Earth as it is in Heaven.”’ Here is a link where you can listen to a video clip of Bill saying these things (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4wwTw7ZOtk).
*update..video no longer available*
What is the will of God? John 6:32-40, “Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” It is God’s will that men believe in Jesus Christ savingly and receive eternal life!
Another widely used verse that is used in defense of it being God’s will to heal everyone is Matt 10:8, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.”. This verse is usually used in conjunction with Matt 28:20a, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (this “defense” here was one of my favorite ones to use) Makes sense at face value, but if we go back and look at Matt 10 again, and in particular verse 5-6 we will see the setting for verse 8. Matt 10:5-6 reads, “These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the hose of Israel.”” So if were to truly be faithful to Matt 10:8, we should only evangelize to those who are Jewish, and forget about everyone else. But this would be in violation of Jesus’ command in the Great Commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations ”(Matt 28:19a).
It is also taught at Bethel, that physical healing is in the atonement for this life, so therefore it is God’s will to heal everyone. Strong defines “atonement” by stating: “The Scriptures teach that Christ obeyed and suffered in our stead, to satisfy an immanent demand of the divine holiness, and thus remove an obstacle in the divine mind to the pardon and restoration of the guilty.” (Strong, A. H. (2004). Systematic theology pg. 713) Bethel would use a portion of Isaiah 53:5 to support their claim, “with his stripes we are healed.” So it is said that the lashings Jesus received was for the purpose of physical healing in the believer’s life (the leadership at Bethel does not deny, nor would they deny that the problem of sin is dealt with in the atonement), and that if you are a Christian you are then entitled to have physical healing and divine health (where you walk your whole life and never get sick) as your blood bought right. Bill in his book Face To Face With God writes, “The sufferings of Jesus were realized in the persecution He endured and in the burden He carried for people. He did not suffer with disease. That must be removed from our idea of Christian suffering. It is vain to carry something under the guise of the will of God when it is something that He purchased that He might destroy its power over us. An additional concept to remember is that He suffered that we might not have to suffer. For example, He bore stripes on His body applied by a Roman soldier so that they could become His payment for our healing.” (Face to Face with God, ch8 Joy: The Reward pg. 172) Bill also writes, “None of us would say that He died for my sins but still intends that I should be bound by sin habits. Neither did He pay for my healing and deliverance so I could continue in torment and disease. His provision for such things is not figurative: it is actual.” (Face to Face with God, ch8 Joy: The Reward pg. 173) Is this the case? Is physical healing on this side of heaven in the atonement and thus a promise to be claimed for every believer? Let’s take a closer look at Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” What are the “stripes” speaking of? Reading the first part of the verse puts “stripes” into the right prospective. “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace”. This is the type of healing that Jesus’ stripes” brought us. That He substituted Himself on the cross in the place of guilty vile sinners and bore their punishment for their sins’; He bore the holy righteous wrath of God in the sinners place, so that God could bring salvation to those He died to forgive. The Apostle Peter also echoes this 1 Peter 2:24-25 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” Now, healing is in the atonement, however, the healing that Jesus (in His first coming) secured was spiritual. Perfect physical healing takes place in the resurrection of the believer, which, as is the case of the myriads that have already physically died, may come at some moment in time subsequent to death.
If you wish to look further into “with his stripes we are healed.” here is a link to a good article on Isaiah 53:5.
How Bethel would incorrectly view Isaiah 53:5 (as how I also use to incorrectly view it) also changes the nature of the atonement, because if physical healing was an absolute promise to the believer in this life, it stands to be true that if a believer isn’t healed of a sickness or infirmity, then they are not truly saved. To bring further clarity, you should be healed the moment you get saved, or at least begin a gradual process of being healed physically, if physical healing is [a promised blessing for all based on] the atonement [which is meant to be realized] this side of eternity. If you change, add to, or subtract from the atonement, then you swap out the Jesus whose shed blood paid the price for the salvation of His elect, for another Jesus. If you preach another Jesus you are then preaching another gospel. The Apostle Paul had some strong words for those who preached another gospel Galatians 1:6-9 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” This is not to say that one by necessity must understand all of the implications of the atoning death of Christ, but one must understand why Christ died and what He died for. These are crucial to not trusting in “another gospel”.
Not only does Bethel and Bill Johnson believe that physical healing is in the atonement for this life, but Bill also believes that if you believe that physical healing is not a promise to be received or claimed in this life then you are preaching another gospel. Bill Johnson in a recent sermon he preached at Bethel on 08-15-10 entitled “The Real Jesus” said it like this, “I refuse to create a theology that allows for sickness” On this same note in the same sermon Bill tries to “illustrate” what he said by referring to Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), by saying “Paul refers to his thorn in the flesh, which has been interpreted by many, as disease allowed or brought on by God. That’s a different gospel. Jesus didn’t model it, and he didn’t teach it. And Paul said you can’t change the standard (Bill earlier in this sermon referenced Galatians 1:8-9).” Here is a link to a video clip of that sermon where you can hear Bill say these things (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhG1x4fOtBw), this part begins at the 3:19min mark. This is heresy! Why, is this heresy? Well, the question must be asked, who is the Sovereign? If God does not allow sickness or disease then who does? With Bethel having such a strong and overbearing emphasis on healing, it makes you wonder if healing is their god. Scripture itself is clear that God does indeed allow sickness, disease, and even death.
Exodus 4:11 “Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?””
Deut 32:39 “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god besides me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”
1 Samuel 2:6-7, “The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.”
John 9:1-7 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As Long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. This man who was blind from birth, was allowed to be blind by God, so “that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Now, I do believe that God can still heal today, and does still heal today. It would be in accordance to His will and not our will.
AT THE ROOT OF IT ALL
All of these things which were mentioned stems from a very heavy “Manifest Son’s of God” and “Kingdom Theology”, where the main thrust and goal of us being here on earth is for Christians to take dominion over the world in all “spheres of influence”, or what has often been called “The Seven Mountains” (business, government, family, religion, media, education, and entertainment). Bethel would teach that Jesus has commissioned us with delegated authority to take dominion over the earth and bring it to the highest level of perfection possible to offer up to Himself at His second coming.
The Leadership at Bethel teaches that we are to restore the earth to what it was like in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve fell. Bill would teach that when Adam and Eve fell that they gave up the “keys” of authority to Satan, and when Jesus died on the cross He took those “keys” back from Satan. Now that Jesus has the “keys” He has given us delegated authority to take dominion of the earth. Here is a link where you can read a chapter of Bill’s first book When Heaven Invades Earth, in chapter two entitled “Commission Restored” Bill writes about these “keys” of authority.
Bill Johnson in his book When Heaven Invades Earth writes, “Jesus destroyed the power of sin, sickness, and poverty through His redemptive work on the cross. In Adam and Eve’s commission to subdue the earth, they were without sickness, poverty, and sin. Now that we are restored to His original purpose, should we expect anything less? After all, this is called the better covenant!” (When Heaven Invades Earth, ch2 Commission Restored pg. 33)
Now, the Scriptures teach that the redemption of creation and our body’s is not for the temporal life, but the eternal life.
Romans 8:18-25 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. [“the glory that is to be revealed” is contrasted with and distinguished from “the temporal life”. Paul expects believers to suffer in this present life. If Paul expects it, so should we.] For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
The Leadership at Bethel also believes that God has given man delegated authority to be able to speak things into existence and declare what is not as if it was, by way of decree or declaration. One example of this would be that if there is a storm taking place, (like that of Hurricane Katrina) they teach that you have authority to still that storm, because Jesus stilled the storm when He was in the boat (Luke 8:22-25) and we can do everything He did, because He came as a man to show us what we can do!
Bill Johnson in his book When Heaven Invades Earth writes, “Jesus was sleeping in the middle of a life-threatening storm. The disciples woke Him because they were afraid of dying. He exercised authority and released peace over the storm. It was the peace of heaven that enabled Him to sleep. And it was that same peace that subdued the storm. You only have authority over the storm you can sleep in.” (When Heaven Invades Earth, ch5 Praying Heaven Down pg. 66)
Could it be that Jesus had authority over the storm because He is God? Could it be that God is the only One who could have stilled the storm, because He is the only One who is omnipotent?
Bill Johnson in his book Dreaming With God writes.
‘“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”(Prov. 18:21 NASB). With our speech we design and alter our environment. Realities are created that didn’t exist a moment earlier through simple proclamations. With this tool we can build up or tear down, edify or discourage, give life or destroy it. The declared word has the capacity to resource earth with Heaven’s resources. As reformers we must first pay attention to what we say, realizing that we are actually building the world we have to live in.” (Dreaming with God, ch9 Redesigning Our World pg. 157)
To go further down this trail Bill Johnson has also gone so far as to say that God is in “charge” but that He is not in “control”. Bill has said, “Not everything that comes at us is God’s will. We have confusion, one of our biggest areas of confusion in the church, is concerning the Sovereignty of God. We know that He is all powerful, we know that He is in charge of everything, but with that we make a mistake in thinking He is in control of everything. There is a difference from being in charge and being in control. If you think He is in control of everything then you have to believe that Hitler was His will.” Here is a link to a video clip where you can hear Bill say these things (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhG1x4fOtBw).
This “ Manifest Son’s of God” and “Kingdom Theology” mocks God, by placing a high view on man and a low view on God, rather then placing a low view on man and a high view on God, as it should be. The Scriptures clearly teach that God is the Sovereign and that man is not sovereign (Job 38-41), that God is in fact both in charge and in control.
Exodus 4:11 “Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?””
Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”
Isaiah 45:5-7, “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.”
Isaiah 46:9-10, “remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purposes,”’
Daniel 4:34-35 “At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”’
Amos 3:3-6 “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? Does a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from his den, if he has taken nothing? Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?”
Acts 17:26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”
1 Timothy 6:15-16 “which he will display at the proper time – he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
God is the Sovereign; man is not. God is not powerless to act, and He is not desperately waiting for someone to enable Him to do something, He is not sitting in heaven longing for man to be “In control” or exercise “dominion” of the earth and bring it to a state of near perfection for His second coming. God is God, and man is not. Now, this does not negate away from the responsibility of man. Even though God is Sovereign, man is responsible to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:14-15, Acts 17:30-31), go out and preach the gospel (Romans 1:16-17, 10:14-17), and Christians are called to step out in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) these are among a few of the things that man is responsible to do. How the Sovereignty of God works out with the responsibility of man is a mystery that can’t be understood, and it is a mystery that the Bible gives no explanation for.
WHAT ABOUT THE GOSPEL!? WHERE IS THE GOSPEL!?
The worst and most horrifying thing in all of this is that there is no gospel being preached at all! It is all about the signs and wonders and the stories of supernatural encounters and experiences. This creates a spiritual frenzy, that promises health, wealth, supernatural encounters and experiences, for anyone who “presses in”. This false portrait of Jesus can suck anyone in who wants to be wealthy and healthy (which is the desire of almost everyone who has not been regenerated by the Holy Spirit), or anyone who is intrigued by the supernatural. (I should mention I don’t doubt at all that there are some people who are deceived in this movement who are truly saved) At the same time it creates a group of people who would deceive themselves and call themselves Christians, and yet are completely oblivious and hostile to the authentic gospel of Jesus Christ.
At Bethel there is no preaching on the Justice and Righteousness of God, and how God can’t let the guilty go unpunished. There is no preaching of the sinfulness of man, and how everyone has violated God’s standard. There is no preaching on the eternal conscious torments of Hell. There is no preaching of Christ and Him crucified. There is no preaching of Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross paying the full penalty of the sins of those He died to forgive, that is penal substitution. There is no preaching of repentance and faith in Jesus’ name as the only basis for which one is justified and declared righteous in the sight of God. Bethel preaches a gospel that is deficient, useless, and powerless to save.
The “gospel” that Bethel does preach is somewhat hard to pin down, since it encompasses the whole package of Manifest Son’s of God and kingdom Theology. To explain further, they would say that God is good all the time (which is true), but what they mean by that is this, sickness and disease is not of God, so be healed. Lack of provision is not of God, so be prosperous. The earth does not look like what it did in the Garden of Eden; so go fix it, by releasing the Kingdom of God. Their “gospel” encompasses fixing and restoring almost everything on this side of eternity to a near state of perfection for Christ second coming, so that when Christ does come back the church can present to Him a near perfected earth. This is the Jesus that they would present to someone who may be lost. That if you believe in this Jesus your life can be restored into right relationship with God. That if you believe in this Jesus you can have good health, restored relationships, and abundance in needs being meant. They teach that if you believe in this Jesus you can have the “good life” now, which is what God wants for you, and you don’t have to live in separation from Him. This false and counterfeit gospel may soothe the appetites of some, but it won’t lead anyone to Christ in the least bit.
This is a different gospel then the one of Christ and Him crucified, paying the penalty of sin, for corrupt sinners and rising again on the third day showing that the wrath of God was satisfied with His vicarious death on the cross. Here is a link to a good video clip of John MacArthur delivering the gospel from (2 Co 5:21), (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZuVt7qWO80). Paul spoke strongly of those who would preach a different gospel. Galatians 1:6-9 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” We also know that there is one gospel and only one gospel with no modifications, no new revelations, and no additions or subtractions to be received. “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to content for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3) “The faith”, not “a faith”, but “the faith” was once “for all delivered”, it is sealed, with no changes to be received or made at all!
Concerning the Gospel, Paul wrote Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘“The righteous shall live by faith.”’ The gospel is the power of God for salvation, not signs and wonders. Signs and wonders cannot cause a person to truly repent and believe (Luke 16:19-31, John 2:23-25, John 6) “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17. Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ, not by seeing signs and wonders. The gospel must be proclaimed, for sinners to repent and put their trust in Jesus Christ. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”’ Romans 10:14-15. This is why the proclamation of the gospel is so important, because “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
FALSE TEACHERS ARE THE ONES WHO BRING DIVISION
We also know from Scripture itself that it is those who teach falsely are the ones who bring division within the visible church, and are the ones who are enemies of the cross of Christ!
Romans 16:17-18 “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
2 Peter 2:1-3 “But False prophets also arose among the people, just as their will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
Jude 4 “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Jude 17-19 “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “ In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.”
False teachers deny Christ by preaching another Jesus, by making up for themselves an idol of their own imagination to suit their own lusts and passions. In doing so they blaspheme the One True God! Not only do they blaspheme God, but they are also spiritual terrorists! If you think about it, in history there were fascist dictators like Hitler and Mussolini who killed many people, but false teachers like Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, and others are a much greater threat then Hitler was! The reason why I say this is because Hitler and Mussolini were only able to kill someone’s body. Though, if someone was to die believing the lies that false teachers teach, they will spend an eternity in Hell, that is the second death.
Even Paul spoke strongly against those who would teach another gospel.
Galatians 1:6-9 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Paul said that those who preach another gospel should be “accursed”, the Greek word for “accursed” is “anathema” which refers to devoting someone to destruction in eternal hell.
Confronting false teachers was not a job that was assigned to the apostles alone. For in the book of Jude we read.
Jude 3 “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Christians are “to content for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” and are to confront those who teach falsely (1 Th 5:20-22, 1 Jn 4:1, and Rev 2:2).
THE CLEAR EVIDENCE THAT I WAS NOT SAVED
IN THE MIDST OF IT ALL
While I was involved in the Prophetic Movement I was entertaining and practicing all these things and I had many supernatural experiences and encounters (which I falsely attributed to God), which at the time I perceived to be absolute evidence and proof that I was truly saved. In reality I was not saved at all; the fruit in my life was testifying to the contrary that I was actually saved. I was living a continual and habitual lifestyle of sin, without remorse, regret or genuine repentance. I was heavily involved with pornography, and watching it several times a week, if not at times daily. As well I had an ongoing struggle with rage and anger, which at times got violent. 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” This verse does not mean that if you stumble once or even twice then you are not a Christian, nor does it mean that the Christian is perfect, but rather it is referring to a habitual manner of walking or pattern, hence the words “walk” and “practice”. In short, it is not about perfection, but rather it is about direction. We also know from other passages in Scripture that it is possible for people to claim to be Christian and have spiritual experiences, but in reality they are not saved. We read in Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many might works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” This is not the account of someone on Judgment Day who just out of the blue is claiming that they were saved, for the person is crying, “Lord, Lord,”. Nor is this of someone who was “once saved” then fell away (which is not possible Jn 10:25-30, Ro 8:28-30, Php 1:6, and 1 Jn 2:19) for the Lord responds with “I never knew you”, and not with “I once knew you, but I no longer do.” What will Jesus’ response be to the person who claims to be saved, but in reality was never saved? Jesus response will be “depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Now, lawlessness is the practicing of sin (1 John 3:4-6). So, it is possible for someone to claim to be a Christian, but the fruit in their life testifies to the contrary, that they know not Christ.
HOW THE LORD BROUGHT ME OUT OF THE SIGNS AND WONDERS MOVEMENT
AND MY PRAYER FOR THOSE WHO ARE STILL TRAPPED IN THIS DECEPTION
The following March (2009) while I was still questioning the validness of the Prophetic Movement someone posted a video sermon of Mark Driscoll (whether or not you agree with everything that Mark says and does, their are good fruits coming from his ministry, regardless of the errors) on their Facebook page, and one of the people who rebuked me for “Toking” commented on it saying that Mark Driscoll was one of his favorite speakers. Because of his comment, and the respect I had for him, I figured that I would check it out. While I was listening to the sermon I realized that I had never heard preaching like this before, where it was straight bible, verse by verse, truth bluntly told. I was then hooked, and began to listen to several of Mark’s sermons a day (later on I found out about other ministers like John Piper, John MacArthur, and Paul Washer). It was around this time or soon there after that God saved me, that the Lord drew me to repentance and saving faith in Jesus’ name.
Never before this have I ever been told that I was really, really sinful. Never before did I hear of Original Sin, or the radical depravity of man and how everyone has violated God’s Holy and Righteous standard, and is thus fully deserving of God’s righteous and just wrath being poured out upon them. Never before did I hear of Jesus’ vicarious death on the cross, bearing the righteous holy wrath of God, paying the full penalty of sin for guilty vile sinners. Never before did I hear what the significance was of Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead, that His bodily resurrection was proof that God accepted His perfect sacrifice. I was involved in the “church” for nearly twenty-two years, and I never heard the gospel fully preached!
Sure, I would hear biblical truths like, God is Holy and Righteous, Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, Jesus lived a sinless life, Jesus is fully God and fully man, Jesus died on the cross to forgive sinners, Jesus rose bodily from the grave on the third day, and Jesus is now seating in heaven at the right hand of God the Father. Even then, when these truths were mentioned, they were not handled with any real kind of value or importance. These truths were never mentioned together, and when they were brought up it was seldom, far and few in-between, as if they were potholes in the road that were carelessly bumped over!
The fact that I never heard the gospel before, even though I was heavily involved in a movement that professes to be Christian, was completely shocking and devastating to me. What has been even more baffling to me is that God would actually save a wretch like me. I am extremely grateful that the Lord would draw someone like me who was a false convert to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Why God would save me, or choose to save me is beyond my comprehension. For I know that there is nothing good in and of myself that would make God want to save me.
For a short while after God saved me I didn’t know what to make of Bethel and other leaders within the Prophetic Movement. I wasn’t sure if they were Christians who were just really fringe, or if they were plain cultic. After God saved me I struggled with this for a few months, hoping for the best, but at the same time fearing the worst, and I was not sure if I was just being legalistic about the whole thing. During this time period I began to attend Bethel less and less while I was finishing up the last month(s) of my third year internship. Very soon after graduating from the school, I left Bethel all together and began to search for a new home church. I am now at a wonderful Christ centered, Gospel-Driven church, which seeks to Glorify God in everything they do.
I am forever grateful that God would save an undeserving and ill-deserving wretch like me, and bring me out from the cultic chaos, and my prayer is that God would use this testimony to save others who are ensnared in the Signs and Wonders Movement. I pray that those who are truly saved within it would come out, and that God in His beautiful, kind grace and mercy, would grant others repentance and saving faith, and that they would come to see the Beauty and Majesty of Jesus Christ. Through it all, God would receive all the glory and honor and praise. To Christ be the glory, amen!
Governor Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally is, if nothing else, revealing the growing political influence of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) evangelists. These are people who believe they have supernatural powers and the divine authority to rule over “the nations.” The prayer rally is a snippet of a widespread, well-organized movement.
The NAR evangelists embrace “seven mountains dominionist theology,” a belief that Christians must dominate seven “mountains” of culture which include church/religion, family, education, arts and entertainment, business/finance, media and government. Emerging as a leader of this movement is a group that calls itself The Oak Initiative, which seeks to reshape the culture and “to work on every level where government is found, from the most local to state and national levels.”
A number of The Oak Initiative’s board members are involved with Perry’s prayer rally and, in a recent newsletter, the group announced its latest goals:
Make sure to watch the video about Rick Joyner
“Joyner also claims that he has transcended time and space by mysteriously popping from one city to another.”
Anyone that has appeared on Sid Roth’s show is a false teacher, participates in false teaching, or is deceived by false teaching.
Occult “Eagle Spirituality” Manifests in Popular “Prophetic” Ministries
source: The Berean Call
As demonstrated by native American culture and indigenous people groups worldwide, animal worship has long been a means of contacting and interacting with deceiving spirits. Equally pleased to appear in human or animal form, they often take willing participants on exciting out-of-body experiences or communicate “secret knowledge.”
Modern shamans (who are as apt to wear suits as loin cloths) market seminars where everyday people can “encounter” their personal “power animal.” In public schools, children are encouraged to use their “imagination” and “dreams” for astral travel. Occult relaxation and visualization techniques are reinforced by literature such as the Harry Potter books and Scholastic’s “Animorphs” series, in which hero-children transform into creatures with special powers and abilities.
Fictionalized in popular games and movies, these techniques are based on ancient occult practices that, once widely banned, now flourish virtually unchecked. According to answers.com, “a familiar spirit…obeys a witch, conjurer, or other users of the supernatural, and serves and helps that person….If they look like ordinary animals, they can be used to spy….These spirits [also]…inspire artists and writers.”
Many new age writers and occult practitioners have been assisted or encouraged by animals they perceive as “familiars.” As Patrick Ryan, author of The Eagle’s Call: A Journey of Body, Mind, and Spirit recounts,
When I was writing this book…an eagle often circled the building in which I lived, visiting many times….When I was…doubting my direction, a coyote also came to visit….Across the street, it looked toward me as if encouraging me on….So, led by the spirit of coyote, eagle and the many other guides of the universe, I was able to complete this tale. Its primary message is about following the call of my body, mind and spirit.
Romans 1:18-32 gives a clear account of man’s “call of his body and mind”-a rejection of God in favor of nature worship: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Rom 1:22-23).
Perhaps in part due to the reverence of “animal spirits” by ancient pagan cultures, animals continue to play a significant symbolic role in our world today. School and professional sports teams adopt animal names such as the panthers, tigers, lions, bears, wolves, or eagles-based on popular significance of animal traits. Consumers even purchase “animal” car models and athletic shoes marketed for their perceived attributes of speed and power.
So, what’s the fuss? Is animal symbology inherently evil? No, even Scripture makes generous use of animals as symbols-from love poems in The Song of Songs to comforting analogies of the Lord: “hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Ps 17:8b) et al.
Take the eagle, for example. Revered as a national symbol by various countries, Scripture makes several positive references to the eagle. One of the most popular verses cited for encouragement is “they shall mount up with wings like eagles…” (Is 40:31). Many are comforted by the eagle as a symbol of patriotism and American heritage (which is often equated with Christianity). Fewer though, take note of passages that portray the eagle in a negative light, or realize that the eagle doubles as a Masonic symbol of the phoenix, representing “rebirth through fire” in occult mythology.
In addition to its being an “unclean” animal, Scripture also contains a number of negative references to the eagle (“They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey” (Job 9:26). Obadiah even contains a reference to Edom as an eagle, apparently as a type of Lucifer: “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord” (Ob 1:3-4).
So why do the neo-prophets and apostles of today use the eagle as a symbol of choice? Many “prophetic” ministries associate eagles with tremendous natural vision and observable qualities of “rising above;” but like shamans and seers-ancient and modern-they err in assigning to eagles spiritual qualities. An occult website declares the eagle’s role is that of an “illuminating force” that rises on the east wind, whose gift is that of “seeing hidden spiritual truths” and “whose strength is by its connection to spirit guides.” The website advises: “One who flies with the Eagle has a responsibility…to operate from Higher Intent, to develop the latent abilities of Illumination, and then freely share this Illumination with Others.” In other words, a seer who channels the eagle is to “impart” this knowledge and “gifting” to others.
A number of prominent ministries use the eagle as a corporate symbol, and most of these do so quite innocently. But research into the testimony of a young prophetess associated with C. Peter Wagner’s self-titled New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) raises great concern. (The NAR, a blended resurrection of several modern heresies-kingom-dominionism, manifest sons of God, new breed, et al.-is spreading like wildfire through a growing number of charismatic and evangelical churches.) Here is just one example of cause for alarm:
Sharnael Wolverton…was called to the ministry at an early age….During [an]
incredible period of seeking intimacy with [God] she encountered many dreams,
visions, visitations and divine appointments leading to the birthing of Swiftfire Ministries….One divine appointment…was with Bob Jones, who introduced her to a golden eagle named “Swift.” “Swift is sent forth to those in order to carry the purposes of God swiftly.” Another encounter was with Patricia King of Extreme Prophetic, who had also been introduced to Swift.
This admission by a professing Christian “minister” is nothing short of astounding! Aside from this startling testimony, most followers of these seers (and even skeptics) would not think twice about the recurring “eagle” motif on the websites of Sharnael Wolverton (swiftfire.org), Bob Jones (bobjones.org/itinerary), and Patricia King (extremeprophetic.com). But with the knowledge that Bob Jones (a proven false prophet who was removed from ministry in 1991 for sexual misconduct) “introduced” at least two prominent neo-apostolic women to a demonic entity that manifests as an eagle (whom all three know as Swift) the “birds of a feather” mascots they share take on far greater significance.
Other “apostolic-prophetic” leaders who often teach with or promote Bob Jones also use the symbol of an eagle in their ministry logo: Paul Keith Davis, Rick Joyner, Bobby Conner, Cindy Jacobs, and others. Does this mean they also have the spirit of Swift to help them “carry out the purposes of God?” Not necessarily-but the connection between “eagle spirits,” shamans, and today’s neo-prophetic seers is unmistakable. This is the New Spirituality.
Though his mystical teaching remains unchanged, none of Jones’ co-ministers or spiritual offspring seem to mind that his misconduct involved giving private “hands-on” readings to young women-disrobed to “stand naked before the Lord”-or that he was rebuked for other occultish practices. Ironically, he is revered as a spiritual grandfather among today’s rising stars of the Third Wave (neo-apostolic) movement, promoted largely by the much-hyped pseudo-prophetic website, “The Elijah List.”
But, Jones is in good company. Many of his disciples, as well as the “apostles” and “prophets” who endorse or teach with him, claim to have met and talked with angels, with the Lord, and with saints of the past (the forbidden practice of necromancy); and, they all take great pride in teaching others how to have angelic encounters and “third heaven visions.”
Undoubtedly believing they are working divine signs and wonders, could they instead be “deceived and deceiving others” (2 Tim 3:13)? As God’s word declares, “There shall not be found among you any one…that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord” (Deut 18:10-11).
A Biblically based commentary on current issues that impact you
Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, and Patricia King Practice Astral Projection
By Bob DeWaay
In a bizarre You Tube.com video of “prophet” Patricia King’s TV program, fellow “prophet” Bob Jones and revivalist Todd Bentley discuss the practice of visiting “the third heaven”. Jones also professes to have taught Bentley and King the practice.1 In the clip from her aptly-titled show, “Extreme Prophetic” (which has been viewed more than 50,000 times), she introduces Jones as a seer: “Many people don’t understand seer prophets because they see visions and revelations and supernatural encounters and mystical experiences, and Bob Jones in our day, I think, is one of the champions of the seer realm. In fact, as a prophet he’s probably the most accurate prophet in our generation, but he is going to share some insights with us.” King evidently has low standards for accuracy. In 1997 Jones prophesied that an earthquake would destroy Los Angeles and that terrorists with nuclear bombs would also attack the city.2 He told Christians to flee, which means he considered the events to be imminent.
The topic of the day for this particular interview, however, was not predictive prophecy but travel to the third heaven. Bentley had previously called King and described traveling into heaven. Here is the account of how he learned this:
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Critical Issues Commentary
Todd Bentley: Claimed but Not Ordained
by Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service
April 7, 2009
According to his January 2008 book, Journey Into The Miraculous, Todd Bentley claims to have been “ordained” through the Canadian-based Christian Ministers Association, and recognized as a “minister” through the World Ministry Fellowship here in the United States.
With its original roots in the Pentecostal movement, the Christian Ministers Association (CMA) is a “licensing body” that “provides a covering for those in need of meeting the requirements of Canadian Law concerning ordination of clergy,” and a “Canadian charter society registered with the Federal Government” ( http://www.canadacma.org/home/index.php?id=4 ).
But according to a top official from the Christian Ministers Association (CMA), Bentley is not ordained through the CMA, and has never been a member of that association.
Further, Christian Research Service has learned that while Todd Bentley was recognized as a minister through the World Ministry Fellowship (WMF), his membership “papers” have been removed, according to a top official.
Founded in 1963, the WMF is an outreach and fellowship of ministers worldwide that “functions under the oversight of a 12 member Executive Board, a 21 member Advisory Board, and a 12 member Credentialing Committee” ( http://www.worldministry.com/aboutwmf.html ).
Once the WMF board learned the circumstances surrounding Bentley’s leaving the Lakeland revival and resignation from Fresh Fire Ministries, the WMF wasted no time and “moved-in quickly to take action,” a top official said.
Christian Research Service’s contact with the CMA and the WMF was due to the claims made by Todd Bentley in Journey Into The Miraculous:
I thank God for my friendship with Patricia [King], and for how God used her as an instrument to ordain me into the ministry–but I always will know that the call came from God. I’ve since been ordained in Canada by my local church, and through the Christian Minister’s Association. In the U.S., I’m recognized as a minister of the Gospel through World Ministry Fellowship in Texas. [Todd Bentley, Journey Into The Miraculous, Destiny Image Publishers, January 2008, p. 162]
According to Bentley, “God” led him to write Journey Into The Miraculous (p. 22).
Currently, Todd Bentley is undergoing another “restoration,” this time under the auspices of Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson, and Jack Deere. Unfortunately, Joyner, Johnson, and Deere are part of the problem, not the solution.
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12-13).
Truth to the core
Solid, Bible-based men and women strive to lead holy lives and teach sound, Bible-based doctrine. They set good examples for others to follow–including the younger generation. They do not suddenly disappear in controversy, disgrace, and sin, then suddenly return months later in more controversy, disgrace, and sin. They are accountable first to God, then to their fellow Christians. To them, truth is paramount, and a false prophet is a false prophet; a false teacher is a false teacher, and sin is sin.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them
on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 3:3).
This current fiasco is just the tip of the iceberg, and a natural consequence to a hyper-Charismatic movement gone wild and out of control. In many cases, false prophecies, false teachings, and sin are just mere “mistakes” that can be handled by playing the Wiser than God game, then filtered down though the Department of Compromise and Excuses. Eventually, after all the dust has settled, sin in the camp ends up in a mound of paperwork on the desk of Mr. I. Could Care Less. From there, it ends up in “File 13” (trash can), never to be discussed again.
And they get away with it because they have spent years conditioning and deceiving and intimidating their followers into believing in their self-appointed apostles, prophets, and teachers over-and-above God’s written word, the Bible.
But their fine-tuned deception hasn’t gone unnoticed. God’s righteous judgement is already at work, for He does not bless, honor, or excuse false prophets and false teachers. And they, like others before them, will fall:
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD (Proverbs 17:15).
Analyzed, Examined, and Found Wanting
by Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service
January 19, 2009
‘Angel feathers’ in their caps
Question: Who made the following statement? Patricia King? Benny Hinn? Todd Bentley? Pastor David Jones? Joshua Mills? Bill Johnson?
Angels often send us little reminders of their presence as angel feathers, which are small white feathers. These seem to appear from nowhere when we are down and in need of comfort. I remember sitting in a café, watching the rain falling on the pavement outside and feeling blue. Suddenly, a small white feather floated down in front of me and landed on my table. I smiled, knowing the angels were around me, with their comforting presence. [emp. theirs]
For the answer to this question read the extensive research done by Bud Press
Volume 19 Number 4 July/August 2008
What Language Do You Speak?
Our spoken and written language is the most important aspect of our culture and identity as a people. In 1997 The Summer Institute of Linguistics noted that the Bible had been translated into 2,197 languages. The Ethnologue Institute has a detailed list of 6,809 distinct languages. In the U.S. we recognize what part of the country someone comes from by their accent. As an American traveling overseas, my ears always perk up when an American accent floats across a crowded airport (Americans seem to speak quite loudly, especially overseas). We identify one another by our language. Our knowledge of the spoken and the written word enables us to hear and understand each other.
Likewise, true knowledge is gained through understanding. Understanding comes through applying oneself to the Truth. Proverbs 24:5 states that: A man of knowledge increaseth strength.
The Word of God is the very fountain of all knowledge. The study thereof should be of utmost importance in the believer’s life. It will identify us as believers. Our knowledge of the Word will enable us to hear and understand His will for our lives.
The Language of the Redeemed
In I Peter 2:9 we are told that we are a peculiar people: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
This means that we have been set apart from the world. We are part of a different world than that which is around us. We speak a different language; it is the language of the Redeemed. True holiness before God is the daily goal of the true follower of Christ. I Peter 1:13&14 says: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.
The language of the redeemed binds us together even closer than the language of our native country.
It is because of this understanding that our hearts break over so many dear Christians who are not steeped in God’s Word today. They are not satisfied with the simplicity and beauty of walking by faith daily in the joy and blessings that He gives. This is the reason why Discernment Ministries has plodded along these many years weeping in the dreary dust of the crowds flittering here and there like the Athenians who spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.
Oh, but they say, God is doing a new thing in the earth. That does not mean to jump ship without a life jacket. When you hear those words, follow the admonition of Scripture – rather prefer to err on side of caution. Listen to the language spoken. Oh, yes, websites of many errant teachers can copy a statement of belief that looks genuine. But is this what they really believe? They can make many claims that will suck in the gullible. But what are they really teaching?
After studying these things for so many years, it is hard to know who is deceived the most. Is it the Leaders who have moved so far away from the knowledge of the Holy and instead, promote the profane and call it holy; or, is it the Followers who blindly run to and fro?
As a young girl, I grew up in Minnesota. The Voice of Healing had just started. Evangelists visited Minneapolis on a regular basis and my father, an Assembly of God pastor, supported every campaign that came through. My eldest sister was born with spinal bifida and was paralyzed from the waist down. Naturally, the greatest desire for our family was that she be healed. We attended meetings by: William Branham, Oral Roberts, AA Allen, the Cerullo brothers, Raymond Richey, Velmer Gardner, Kathryn Kuhlman, and I could go on and on. My sister was usually relegated to a back corner somewhere as she was considered a “difficult case.” I wondered about that. William Branham told my father that “it wasn’t God’s will to heal her.” I wondered about that. In some meetings I would observe “set-ups” where people would walk in a side door, sit in a wheelchair and when the healing lines would form, they would be wheeled up and be proclaimed “healed” and walk off the stage. I wondered about that.
At 12 years of age we moved to Zion, Illinois where there was a lot of fascinating history. My father had known John G. Lake personally when he had lived in Zion in his younger days. My piano teacher would relegate us with stories of John Alexander Dowie. During this time the Charismatic movement started, and my father and I visited many Full Gospel Business Men’s Conventions as he was active in the local chapter. A whole new set of individuals became known to my father as he would drive speakers to their next engagement, and I would sit in the back seat drinking in every word. Derek Prince, Don Bashan, Nicholas Bhengu and many others passed our way.
Stanley Frodsham, a dear man of God and the Editor of the Pentecostal Evangel for many years, became part of the Latter Rain Movement that started in 1948. He and many others left the fold of the Assemblies of God and joined with those who were part of the “new thing” that came out of that particular time. Stanley Frodsham and his wife moved to Zion and attended our church. Mrs. Frodsham became my Sunday School teacher. Rev. Frodsham was the biographer for Smith Wigglesworth. He and his wife had traveled extensively with him and I was fascinated with the many stories they told. When I went to Central Bible College, the Frodshams had moved there and they introduced me to the Latter Rain group called The House of Prayer. At CBC attending Brother Kessel’s class I learned one side of the story of the split in the Assemblies of God http://www.discernment-ministries.org/NL_January1997.pdf. After attending this particular group for awhile, I learned the Latter Rain side of the story. I now realize all of this was part of God’s teaching process in my own life, even attempting such a ministry as Discernment Ministries. (Many years later I questioned Stanley Frodsham’s daughter about his involvement in the Latter Rain. Her answer was: “My father was a glutton for the supernatural”).
Yes, there are wonderful sincere people who are genuine in their love of the Lord but are always looking for “supernatural experiences and revelations,” but in doing so cause division and harm to the body of Christ. Yet, God in His infinite mercy has a way a working in the lives of His children who are humble and remain low at the Master’s feet, which I know was true of the Frodshams.
After several years of processing and growing in my Christian walk, I left for South Africa as young eager missionary to work with a 75-year-old lady with a genuine “apostolic ministry gift.” I say that because Ruth established many churches along with other wonderful missionaries, and the work of God in the Northern Province in South Africa is a testimony to their lives and sacrifices. Those people truly laid down their lives for the Gospel. They gave their all! Many times Ruth would go out and spend her last mite to fill up the little pick-up truck with vegetables that she could pass out to the hungry. They gave unstintingly of their time and resources for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It distressed me greatly when new innovative thinkers came on the scene and denigrated the work of these pioneers with a “new way of doing missions.” They then would maneuver to get rid of those who had gone before.
Marriage in 1971 and arrival of a family took our lives into a different set of circumstances and new ventures in our ministry – even to then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Ultimately we came to the U.S. where many things already had changed in the church. While pastoring in the States, we quickly became aware that Christian television was changing the whole direction of the church. A language was being spoken that somehow sounded foreign to our ears. Thankfully we realized that what at stake was the preaching of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Language of the Apostasy
It is grieving to me to write this as there are so many sincere people involved. It is so hard for me to understand why so many get caught up in these things. My heart cries with Paul who said, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (I Cor. 2:1-2).
Please don’t dismiss me as a heresy hunter and shut up your mind to anything but your preconceived notions. This is about Truth. Whether you are Todd Bentley, C. Peter Wagner, Bob Jones, Paul Cain or a pastor of a church, you can be deceived. None of us escape Satan’s devices. As simply as I possibly can, I will attempt to lay out some of the unscriptural language of the apostasy.
Let us examine the foundation for what we are now witnessing – from a 1993 Discernment newsletter,
In the newsletter there is a review of a book by William DeArteaga entitled Quenching the Spirit. DeArteaga makes the assertion that “God brings new truth to the church by first revealing it to cults and occult groups.” He already had written a book in 1983 entitled Past Life Visions in which he lauds Agnes Sandford’s incredibly heretical The Healing Light and defends her belief in a pre-earth human existence (pp 145-6); seems to embrace evolution of man from a lower species (p. 126); declares the “ghosts” are “earthbound souls” (p 187) who may legitimately communicate with the living (p 182) and that the dead should be ministered to by the church (p 183). He argues that reincarnation is Biblical and was “validated by Jesus” (pp 197-209) and that such a gospel is helpful for India because it allows “the Hindu to maintain… the concept of Karma-reincarnation” (p 215); and he recommends regression into past lives as a standard method of spiritual healing for the church to adopt (pp. 151-163). [The Berean Call, Nov. ’92.]
The language of the occult
At the time this Discernment newsletter was written (1993), DeArteaga’s book was legitimized by the TBN, obviously to back up many of the teachings being promoted. There are ministries active today who have no problem introducing occult practices and call it “truth,” and claim we can use these experiences for a deeper “relationship” with God.
I heard about one ministry that boasted, when invited to a Luciferian Initiation, that really Lucifer just means “angel of light” and after all, we all want “light”! Do you wonder why there is no mention of sin any longer? Has it grieved you that the cross is a subject avoided like poison?
Patricia King (Extreme Prophetic) influenced Todd Bentley after his conversion. I personally do not think he had any opportunity to sit under sound doctrine and learn the first principles. He was “channeled” into the supernatural realm to hook up with what taught him as getting “connected.””.
Her itinerant pastor, who doubles as a travelling DJ, calls the show “Club Mysterio” on an online video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2i5k6WuwX4 Please compare this to the New Age version at www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxDebb9dLKY&NR=1
This newsletter could actually be a large book to do justice to this vast subject. However, if it just makes one person stop, think and repent, it is worth the effort. It is about souls for whom Jesus died that our hearts grieve. The days for “playing church” are over, folk.
“Well, revivals can be messy you know”. This is the way the weirdness is excused. After all, we want to “move higher” into God. We hear sincere folk saying things like: We have to move into a ‘higher place’ – a place of intimacy with God. Jesus did the things the Father told Him to do. WE MUST MOVE INTO THAT PLACE. A place of the knowledge of the Lord that the Lord yearns us to come into. Teachings on “intimacy with God” have sold many books. But just stop here a moment. Isn’t that what any “religion” requires? Always striving after something? Bringing offerings to the many gods in Hinduism, faithfully bowing low in the mosques, dancing into a frenzy to obtain “oneness”?
Let us take a breath and rest in the Scriptures a moment. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: Which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (I Peter 2:9&10)
The language of the Scripture tells us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation. This is what this is all about. The perversion of language is the ploy of the enemy to subvert the body of Christ to follow another gospel.
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
II Thess. 2:9 Him, whose coming after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders.
Language of Angels
Dear ones, nowhere in Scripture do we find angels appearing out of nowhere to just keep in communication with us. The culture right now is crazy about angels and Hollywood is churning out movies to satisfy that desire. To read and listen to the stories about Todd Bentley’s angels really denigrates the truth of Scripture. On his website in 2002 he talks about a particular rock on Rick Joyner’s property at Moravian Falls. This rock supposedly has some power, and as they approach it there are three young angels “horsing around, wrestling, getting each other in head-locks and giving noogies.” He learned from others that these were the worship angels who oversee the worship center.
Sorry, but this isn’t biblical. The worship angels are before the throne of God… and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. They give glory to God night and day without rest. We serve a Holy God. His holiness NEVER CHANGES. Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And some cried unto another and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Yet Todd Bentley says, “they [the angels] have nothing in heaven to do but waiting to serve God’s purpose in you!”
Language of the Lie
Bob Jones, who obviously has had a huge influence in Todd Bentley’s life, even introducing him to his angel in 1988, said, “the children will possess the Spirit without measure – for these are the best of all generations that have ever been upon the face of the earth. And the best of all generations are those ELECTED SEEDS that will glorify Christ in the last days… they will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before. Every miracle, sign and wonder they’ll move in the power that Christ did…. They themselves will be that generation that’s raised up to put death itself underneath their feet and to glorify Christ in every way and the church that is raising up in the government will be the head and the covering for them… the chosen generation of history that will go beyond all the others in power.” He goes on to say, “This generation of the young people that are coming are going to see the beginning of this World-wide New Order… it is going to change the expression of Christianity in the earth in a generation.”
From a Discernment newsletter in 1990, www.discernment-ministries.org/NL_Sept1990.pdf you will read that Gnosticism has again entrenched itself in the thinking of Christendom. Mystical knowledge is replacing the truth of the Word of God. And they are talking of taking over the WORLD?
Language of Heresy
The greatest sorrow of all is that the deity of Jesus Christ is undermined by this teaching. The divine purpose of the Holy Scriptures is the revelation of Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God. Gnosticism gives way to “higher knowledge”. It brings about disinterest in the Bible and Bible teaching. The “anointed seed” is now said to be connecting with the supernatural realm, and this heresy draws the masses with its instant gratification.
The door is being opened, Eat this fruit and ye will be as god. Accept this lie and you will find yourself at the altar of mysticism where all of the religions of the world worship based on subjectivity, humanism and brotherhood.
What Language do you Speak?
It is time to examine ourselves – whether we are in the faith or not. Have we been led astray by “strange fire”? Has the siren’s sweet song lulled your senses and caused shipwreck to your walk with God? Repent and return to your first love that you may be found worthy to stand in His Presence.
The following are two recent podcasts that I did on the subject of The “revival” and The New Apostolic Reformation. http://sliceoflaodicea.com/slicecast/
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, …For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (I Cor. 1:10a, 2-3)
****This article was posted with the permission of Jewel Grewe****
Bud Press just sent out this new information and I am flabbergasted. Where will this end? How far will the extreme prophetic go? Oh Lord come quickly!
This last video leaves absolutely no doubt the nature of this dancing. Listen for these phrases:
“Running the Power back to ourselves”
“Altered states through repetitive rhythms”
There is nothing Christian about Ekstasis worship. It is paganism all the way through. Do not be deceived.
Todd Bentley or Jesus Christ?
by Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service
May 20, 2008
To the Reader: Below is a word-for-word transcript of Todd Bentley’s YouTube video-taped message titled, “Jesus Christ Himself wants to visit you.” As of this writing, the 5 minute-23 second video may be reviewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdwBrB8cCOk .
Patricia King, self-proclaimed prophetess and founder of Extreme Prophetic, provides a short introduction to the video, and backs Todd Bentley’s claims to have seen Jesus Christ. Patricia King, herself, is no stranger to conflict and controversy ( http://www.extremeprophetic.com/conflict_home.htm ).
The following word-for-word transcript begins at 2:41 into the video, where Todd Bentley states:
Just recently, I was in Redding, California, and I had a face-to-face encounter with Jesus. It was real. And I was sitting in this green room in a chair. I was in a chair just like this, and I could feel the presence of the Lord all-around me.
You know, we worship and we pray. We can feel the presence of the Lord; we can feel the peace of God. And as I was sitting in the chair, I, I literally saw heaven open. My eyes were open and I saw heaven open, and I saw the Lord step out of heaven–literally step out of heaven. And from the Lord, Himself, He appeared to me, and, and it was as if He came to me into this realm. He appeared to me.
I, I remember His face. He had the brownest eyes that I’d ever seen; kinda reminded me of the movie, Bambi. Had these big brown eyes. He had long, brownish-black, curly locks that went down past His shoulders. And I remember His beard. I remember he was wearing and Ephod [see Reference.com], and I was surprised. It wasn’t like the glory, it was just a, a plain Ephod. And it was just humble. And He came in the form of, as I would imaging Jesus with the disciples on the Earth, as the Son of man; wasn’t the King of glory; wasn’t in His resurrection glory. It was, He came to me in the form of a humble servant–the Son of man. I mean, he had sandals on His feet; a real plain Ephod. But it was His eyes. And I saw the Lord. It was His eyes.
And from the Lord I saw literally ten rainbows come from the Lord. It was almost like a, a, a TV; like a projection television from the Lord came heaven. And I saw hills and I saw lions and I saw rivers of oil and I saw all kinds of butterflies and giant bumblebees. But, but it was the rainbows. And the brightest color that came from the Lord was pink, which is love and emotions. But ten rainbows. It was blinding. And I could see all of heaven and its glory. It was like Psalms 23. It was the paradise of God. But the Lord appeared to me in this realm.
And I remember His eyes, and I looked into His eyes and I thought, Aren’t your eyes supposed to be like fire? He said, “These are my eyes as I was as a man on the Earth. If you were to see me in heaven, I have eyes like fire.” And I, I looked into Him face-to-face, and He looked me in the eyes. He actually put a hand on my shoulders and He said these words: “Peace I give you, not as the world gives.” And I felt this impartation of the literal supernatural peace of God come over me.
Jesus is wonderful. Jesus is beautiful. There’s no one like Him. He is the King of glory. He is the Lord, strong and mighty. And we love Him and we worship Him, and we thank Him for His goodness.
But may you have a visitation of the Lord. This is your year for Jesus to visit you, if He’s never visited you before.
[End of video]
Is Todd Bentley telling the truth? Was Todd Bentley’s “face-to-face encounter” with the real Jesus of the Bible or with a counterfeit? Here is what Jesus Christ and the Bible have to say:
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him (Matthew 24:23).
So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them (Matthew 24:26).
So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).
Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. “They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day (Luke 17:20-24).
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:1-3).
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows–was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen (Revelation 1:7).
So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you (Revelation 3:3).
Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame (Revelation 16:15).
Todd Bentley claims to have seen Jesus Christ, but it was not the Jesus of the Bible.
I wish I knew who wrote this but i do not…….It is a very important testimony…
A testimony of a former New Ager:‘The first time that I saw gold filling in teeth was back in the late 70’s when I was a graduate student at a New Age center for healing through the occult arts. An old-time new age christian evangelist named Brother Willard Fuller came for an intensive 5 days to teach the bible and introduce the “gifts of the spirit” which he said anyone can have if they just asked. He was invited because of the particular ‘power’ he operated in. He did teach on the bible beginning in genesis and did teach about Jesus. I don’t remember much of the teaching except for the miracles that this Jesus did.
I was interested in this particular training since Jesus was my spirit guide and I wanted to know more about him. At the end of the 5 days there was a “healing service” where he layed hands on people and gold would manifest in their mouths. I didn’t get gold but my teeth became a brilliant white ( for about a week afterwards).I was amazed by this type of power although my teacher, Eva, who was a shaman / healer and trans-medium ( channeled a spirit that would fortell and speak hidden “wisdom”) could do some pretty amazing things. I hadn’t seen anything like this that so titilated my flesh. I wanted this power that was in his name- Jesus. As a result, I bought a bible and began to study it on my own to find out more about this Jesus that I could be exactly like.. and operate in the same power. At one point a crystal manifested before my eyes, floated then dropped to the ground at my feet. My teacher said that this was a gift from my “spirit guide – Jesus” and was to be kept on me always as a source of power.Through the amazing grace of God I met the real Jesus alone in my apt while studying scirpture and He saved a poor wretch like me. After 7 years of studying to be a new age healer I became a Christian with the sincere desire to follow only Him. I burned all my amulets, books tapes etc renounced and repented. The mask came off of my spirit guide to reveal a monster demon.
The first church that I decided to attend was a Word of Faith church that was appealing because the pastor’s wife was a “prophetess” and they were seeking after ”true miracles”- signs and wonder. Now I could experience the “power“ ligitimately because I was a christian and it must be from god. During my 7 years at this church, I grew in the healing arts of christianity and got ‘drunk in the spirit’ alot through the ministry of Joe Jordon. We grew in flakiness and twisting of scripture and many lives became shipwrecked. The pastors divorced and the wife started working for the psychic hotline and her sister now reads Tarot cards.Sooo after joining a vineyard church I was hesitant when our pastor insisted that we go to Toronto for “the Blessing” since I thought the whole laughing thing was off( because of Joe Jordon) but you get swept in this and think that “how could so many people be deceived’? ” I want what they are experiencing.. I don’t want to miss out on a possible move of God.. I want to see real signs and wonders, etc, etc… ” But the sin of self/idolatry and desire for “power” and to be like god (gen.3) is so strong that you are blinded. When I heard of the gold dust and fillings I had a distant check but thought well it must be God if it is coming through Christians to the church.I began to see such similarity to my training in the new age from inner healing , body healing, visualization, meditation, body sensations, disguised shamanistic rituals and beliefs, divination , etc. that I was convinced that Jesus in very soon coming back for all religions are converging into one. After getting out of the river we began to read the bible with new understanding. The Holy Spirit really started to highlight scripture and teach us with a new understanding and in context.Jesus said to His disciples when they asked in Mathew 24:3-4 ” what will be the sign of Your coming. and of the end of the age? ” Jesus’ first reply to that question was ‘take heed that no one deceives you…’ That was His first response! Wow when you think about it that was a warning to the men who knew Him well . Jesus must have known that even those who know Him well could be deceived!I know well that satan can produce signs and wonders and much of what is being produced now through the charasmatic church is from satan. This polluted river is doing a fine job preparing the minds and hearts for the coming of the anti-christ. He IS coming back soon!
I know many people who are immersed (or should I say drowning in the pursuit of signs and wonders. It is almost like drug addiction. There is a growing need for something stronger with each experience. It does create a high. But as with drug addicts and alcoholics there is a denial. People really don’t want to look at their own sin or the harm that it is causing but would rather get high instead though the experience of “being at a conference where Jesus showed up with a sign and wonder”.
I just read about a conference called “Growing in the Supernatural” sponsored by Patricia King. There are 20 people advertized who will be speaking. I know that half of them operate ( in ignorance) in shaministic practices and with spirits of divination and sorcery. I guarantee that people who attend will have a sense of euphoria and a visitation but it will not be from Almighty God.
It is a sad thing that Jesus Christ and Him crucified- the wonder of the cross and His resurrection is not enough! It takes faith to walk this narrow road. And many times it does not feel good and there is suffering. We become impatient and have heard for years the rhetoric from the false prophets about the coming revival and visitation “where people will be healed and the dead raised”. Slowly our eyes turned from Jesus and our future hope to “I want something now which will confirm all that the false prophets have been saying”. There is such a desire to “experience something.. anything will do that is supernatural”. That is why contemplative prayer which is based on eastern mystiscism has become so popular in the church.
May the Lord through His mercy and grace open the eyes of our friends understanding and lead them into the truth.
Please use my testimony any way you see fit. Maybe it will be just the bait on the fishing pole that will draw someone out of the river. I pray for the people I know and those I don’t who are caught up in deception….People are looking for a quick fix and solution to their everyday problems. Being obedient and following the Lord – abiding in scripture is not appealing. Hebrews 5:14 ” But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil”.
Throughout history our tendency is to idolatry. These leaders are idols who are worshipped and their teachings are the gospel ( of course backed up with the false signs and wonders) Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 10:14 to “flee from idolatry” and 10:21 “you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons…”
I know how angry and defensive people get regarding their golden calf. The ramifications of seeing are enormous. Repentance is not popular and is almost becoming obsolete. There is nothing we can say that will open their eyes but for the work of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God…’