Monday, October 31, 2011

Gold Dust and Feathers at Bethel

Recently, on a facebook discussion group addressing all-things-Bethel, a Johnsonite became noticeably angry and vulgar when the question of gold dust and feathers at Bethel was brought up. The question was “If you attend Bethel, do you really think this is ok?” Getting past the carnal reactions (both sides), it was informative and instructive to see the usual arguments brought forth. I'd like to discuss these in detail.


Response Number 1

"God can and will use whatever He pleases to show himself real to people"

This is a variation of the classic "you can't put God in a box" argument. It is based on the false premise that we cannot understand or comprehend God and denies the fact that God can put Himself in a box.

We know certain things of God to be true:

He is faithful. He is truth. In Him there is no guile. He is all-knowing. He is everywhere. He knows our heart. He is jealous. He loves us. He is long-suffering. He is not capricious. He is just. He is righteous. And this is not a comprehensive list- let's just say He has revealed himself and we can know Him.

How do we know such things? Well, He has revealed Himself in history, and that revelation is recorded in scripture, which He has given to us. This concept is so important that theologians have given it a name: perspicuity. Quoting theopedia:

The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture (often called the “perspicuity of Scripture”) teaches that the meanings of the text can be clear to the ordinary reader, that God uses the text of the Bible to communicate His person and will. The witness of the Church throughout the ages is that ordinary people, who approach it in faith and humility, will be able to understand what the Bible is getting at, even if they meet with particular points of difficulty here and there.

OK, back from that rabbit trail. We can know certain things about God. And we know these things, not just based on our subjective experiences (which can lie) but based on the written Word of God, and our experiences and the teachings of others - tested against the Word of God as per 1 Thessalonians 5:21 ("test all things").

What is a box? It suggests a boundary - inside the box is one condition, outside the box is another. The National Weather Service, for instance, will post a Tornado warning and draw boundaries on a map- inside the warning "box" is a warning condition, outside is not. They even use the term "box" for these warnings.

So, to help us understand God let's make a little diagram. A box if you will. Let's use a few of the attributes listed above to form the boundaries of that box.

I think you must agree that God has placed himself in a box and there are certain things that He will not do. He is not a wishy-washy capricious God like so many false Gods, who act on a whim. Not only can we grasp the nature of God, but He wants us to, for He wants us conformed to His image. it is not, to use another metaophor, a "moving target."

How can anyone who argues "His heart aches for all to know Him in a VERY intimate way" not understand that God is knowable because He has (metaphorically) placed Himself in a box.

Variation on the Theme

Further discussion is merited because the original statement in the present discussion was not solely the "box argument" but rather incorporated the sovereignty argument. And this is a good question - if God is sovereign (He is) then can He do any thing that He pleases?

Let's cut to the chase on this. The answer is yes, but the more honest question is "WILL He do anything that pleases?". The answer to that question is no. And we are back to the "box" argument. God will not do things that are contrary to His nature (attributes).

As a side note, I find it interesting that many Johnsonites like to play the "sovereignty card" in matters of manifestations, but not in matters of healing- which is a huge part of Bethel doctrine. Most Johnsonites would take exception to the Calvinte view of sovereignty.

Response Number 2

"If it takes "gold dust"...to get someone's attention, God would do it if He wanted to."

My first response would be a Rob-Bellish “and you know this how?” But seriously, this reasoning is as bizarre as positing "If it takes sexy naked ladies to get someone's attention, God would do this if He wanted to." Sure.

Even Bob Jones, who is highly esteemed in the signs and wonders movement and spoke recently at a Bethel conference, has long acknowledged that the three major temptation for men in ministry are "Girls, gold and glory." The concept seems understandable - even to Jones whose weakness apparently was “girls” (sexy naked ladies, to be precise).

And so it seems incredulous that God would use what is a major source of temptation to "get someone's attention." Especially since He has already given us his written Word (the Bible) and the Living Word (Jesus, the sacrifice Lamb). Isn't Jesus enough?

As to his written Word, God has already stated:

"take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather that choicest gold."

And He goes on to say:

"For wisdom is better that jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her (wisdom)."

Is God's Word Sufficient?

Historically we find the signs and wonders movement drawing on the teachings of John Wimber, who brought forth his thesis of "power evangelism" to the charismatic church. In essence this thesis teaches that signs and wonders are required for the propagation of the gospel. Scripture tells us that signs and wonders will follow the preaching of God's Word. but this has been distorted in recent years, most notably by teacher Bill Johnson, into a situation where often signs and wonders have replaced the preaching of God's Word.

This has been promoted by the Bethel practice of "treasure hunting." Reports now are coming in from California of Johnsonites publicly rebuking street preachers attampting to preach the gospel. Because God has showed them a better way? What does God have to say? Isaiah 55 might give us a hint:

"So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."

Romans 1:16 gives us further understanding about the gospel message:

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.."

My goal here is not to proof-text the sufficiency of the written (and preached) Word for instruction in righteousness, or its ability to speak to ears that are dull. No, I think we need to question an image of God that is so weak that He has to send pigeon feathers or Mylar glitter to capture man's attention. Or, perchance, even the real things.

I mentioned earlier that God has revealed himself through history. That notion comes from Hebrews 1:1. If we read on to verse 2, we find that, in "these last days" He has revealed Himself ("spoken to us") through his Son.

And so I ask this: did Jesus, God incarnate, actually die on the cross for our sins? Did He rise again on the third day? Was this witnessed by not only the believers but by unbelievers? Here is the bottom line: if this does not get you attention, nothing will. And if it takes gold (or sexy naked girls) to get you attention, are you really saved?

To use yet another metaphor, God has "drawn a line in the sand." He is looking for those whose hearts are fully committed to him (2 Chronicles 16:9). He is not looking for carnal followers, those whose attention is gained by carnal things.

"For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

We are Left With This

On one hand we have those whose mandate is to "preach the Word." On the other hand we have those who feel they must demonstrate an over-realized kingdom theology that appeals to man's lust for signs and wonders (c.f. Matthew 12:39) and justify it by stating, as John Wimber implied, that the Word was not enough.

This, of course, is a much bigger issue than the original question regarding whether the feathers and gold dust of Bethel are a valid sign from God, or if they are even possibly a sign of judgment.

The response "God can and will use whatever He pleases to show himself real to people" is trite, untrue, and does little to advance the Bethel position. And, in spite of anecdotal tales, "If it takes 'gold dust'...to get someone's attention, God would do it if He wanted to" can be considered to be no more than conjecture and brings with it some serious baggage. So far, no Johnsonite, nor even Bill Johnson himself, has developed a useful apologetic for “feathers and gold.”

Let's talk about it. Just to keep things civil, I'm going to delete any responses that use the terms such as heretic, blasphemer, antichrist, Sadducee, Pharisee, or scoffer. Play nice.

--adding two videos 11/2/2011 - see comments --

From September 2011 service


From 10/14/11 service



From 10/22(21?)/2011 service



Adding this 11-8-2011. I'd love to see the cut diamond that grew before thier eyes examined, but not holding my breath. What sort of cut marks would it exhibit, since it grew while cut?

197 comments:

  1. Superbly written and biblically reasoned article. I just finished reading "The other side of the river" the story of a former elder from a Johnson-like congregation (or IHOP, or Joyner like church -they are virtually interchangable). It is a compelling and well written story and tells the story of this man's slow awakening to the way in which Biblical sufficiency comes to be replaced by extra-biblical experience, angel visitations, visionary experiences, in his church.

    It took this guy about 10 years to face up to the manipulation that was part and parcel of what becomes a necessity once one skates off the path of Biblical orthodoxy in pursuit of one hyped experience after another.

    Gold dust and angel feathers are no different than crying statues and claims of stigmata, and alleged appearances of Mary. The capacity of humans to deceive themselves and to be deceived knows no limit. Only the sure Word of scripture can protect us from deception and that in the context of healthy Christian community where folks can process God's truth without being pressured into conforming to bizarre experiences as the ultimate badge of spirituality.

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  2. I was there at Bethel this past Sunday, November 30, 2011. In the evening service, Bill Johnson was not able to preach much at all because of "glory dust" or "gold dust", plus some feathers falling on people. I was in the middle of it, with much falling on me. I tend to be healthily skeptical because I have never experienced or seen this before. I even wondered at first if it could be demonic, and prayed carefully accordingly. And I can assure you this was not hypnotism nor mass hysteria!

    Scripture is absolutely authoritative for me, but I saw nothing here that would be contrary to Scripture. Scripture does not speak of this but does not forbid it. The fact that Scriptures do not speak of it would have negated Jesus' turning of water into wine because in the whole OT, that had never been spoken of. But the OT Scriptures do not forbid it. And the whole OT and NT Scriptures do not forbid God from doing unusual things such as sprinkling "glory dust" on His beloved children at His own whim. Peter's shadow was a first, not in Scripture. Paul's handkerchiefs also.

    Description: the particles were very tiny, like very small dust in size. The particles glowed gold colour on their own, without any needing any light to illuminate them. At least some of the particles could be seen to glow two days later (today). My trustworthy friend saw what appeared to be 2-3 small white down feathers falling on the congregation. I happened to not be in a position to see those myself. The total quantity of dust was very much. One man told me his shoes were covered with it.

    If it is implied or stated by some that this phenomenon was not from God then this is implying that either someone was interfering with the ventilation system (which I am sure has been carefully investigated previously), or that it was done by the devil. Please be very careful not to attribute to the devil what has evidently been done by God. The Pharisees did that, to their peril.
    It may be best not to be too skeptical without having been there.

    Scriptures are of absolute authority, absolutely beyond any kinds of physical phenomena.

    This display from heaven seemed to be spontaneous, with the almost immediate breaking out a cappella from the audience of praise and holiness music. (Somehow I do not remember the exact song now). The audience kept singing it over and over and over, not being led by anyone on the platform. When Bill Johnson finally did get to say a few words, it was in reference to Isaiah 60:1-3 "...And His glory will be seen upon you." (Yes, some may think this is taken out of context, but on the other hand, it sure looks like an application of this verse!) Then after Bill spoke only a very few minutes, the audience went glorious in spontaneous praise in song again.

    And yes, during that service some people were healed of very serious ailments! Praise God! --Larry Jackson

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    1. I was at Bethel this weekend for the first time for a Single Life Workshop Conference. I was very, very skeptical about their claims of feathers falling, etc. The first day of the conference was held at a local school gymnasium. As my small group was praying, some small white feathers appeared. The Bethel school students immediately said they were "angel feathers." I gave them push back and said that the feathers were probably from my sleeping bag, which was on the ground nearby. The next day, we met at a different location (Bethel Twin View). As we were praying for one girl, small white feathers suddenly were caught in her hair. I again thought it was my sleeping bag, so to prove my point, I looked at the "materials" tag on my sleeping bag and remembered I had gotten it for super cheap at Walmart - there were no feathers in the bag, just synthetic filler.

      Anyway, I don't know if these feathers are literally from angels, or if God somehow brings feathers in just as a sign of His presence, but after seeing these feathers appear as we were praying does make me open to the possibility.

      - Rose

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    2. Why do people assume just because you are in a "church" activity that the "signs and wonders" that appear are from God?

      Jesus said that it is a "perverse generation that seeks after signs..." was that statement for just then or does it have a universal application?

      Could it be that in reality God is taking His hands off (or loosing them) so that the deceived will be more deceived by the "angel of light"?

      Is mankind really so in need of the "signs" that it just can't get their feet planted firmly on the ground, heads out of the clouds and be rational and logical and use their minds?

      TJH

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    3. To be fair, scripture does state in Chronicals the presence of a cloud. Regardless - the presence of a cloud at Bethel doesn't indicate that it's created by God - especially when it is physical particulate that can be carried from the place.

      What I do know is that the New Apostolic Reformation is about as orthodox in doctrine as the Protestant Reich Church - which is - not in the slightest.

      Furthermore, there are essentially zero times in scripture that God manifests in any physical form simply for amusement. When he does show up in a physical form, it's usually a pretty serious moment for a very serious reason that would not resemble an Evangelical worship service.

      Some of the statements God makes when in physical form:

      "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the universe?"

      "Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

      "What God has made clean, you must not call profane."

      These people are engaging in trickery and fraud and they know it.

      I grew up in Northern California, and particularly around religious leaders closely affiliated with Bethel. I know a great number of the reprehensible deeds they engage in - like drugging people in the community, working with pornography rings, and covering up child-sex rings.

      It's sad that people can't see glitter falling from rafters for what it is.

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  3. Larry, thank you for posting your well-reasoned response. The anecdotal information is very interesting and helpful.

    The video of the Bethel service is impressive. It could be real. Or real deception. And I say that without worrying about offending Holy Spirit.

    Before reading your comments, as I lay in bed this morning, I had a mental picture (you could call it a vision) of Moses on the mountain whipping out his iphone to film the burning bush ("Wait till my peeps see this..").

    God's glory is a terrible majestic awesome thing. Terrible in the KJV sense. Fearsome.

    IF it is appropriate to whip out your phone and film the glory (while people are jumping up and down and hooting), and IF it is appropriate to show a film clip of same over and over at the next service (they did) and IF it is appropriate to post that film on YouTube (they have) the it is entirely appropriate to discuss and evalaute the same.

    On Bethel sponsored forums, if you make any comment that does not line up with the party line, you are dismissed, marginalized, ignored, blocked or defriended. By this reasoning only the elite - those who "get it" are allowed to evaluate the phenomena. This form of mind control is indicitive of a cultic atmosphere. I'm not calling Bethel a cult; the control of the discussion is disturbing.

    If we allow that the glory cloud is real, and that God allows it to be filmed, then the expectation is that God is expecting, even inviting us to "test all things." I, for one, am not fearful of blaspheming solely on the basis of considering that there may be several plausible explanations for this ranging from demonic deception to man-made trickery to the real thing. God did not save me only to set a trap (If you EVER attribute anything wrong then ZAP).

    One of the earliest reports of gold dust and oil dates back to the late 90's where a dear pentecostal lady named Ruth Heflin promoted the "ministry" (aka "side show") of Silvania Machado from Brazil. Heflin continued to support Silvania even after the whole thing was exposed as fraud (whereas John Arnott rejected Silvania and cancelled meetings). I mention this only to ask - is it possible to decieve even the elect? (Matthew 24:24).

    If it IS possible- and that scripture was actually talking about false signs and wonders in the last days - then it behooves us to consider very seriously these things.

    Lastly, I would take issue with your contention that we have to be there to evaluate. I didn't film the phenomena and post this stuff on my website - Bethel did. They make the claim and it must be evaluated. If we limit the evaluation to those who "get it" then the evaluation seems rather biased, especially since it IS possible to decieve even the elect.

    Make sense?

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    1. Yeah, If I were a cessationist and didn't believe God did things like this anymore, it would piss me off to see God doing wonders through others, to whom He gave miracles and not to me. We should be careful about keeping to the scriptures and not following false signs and false prophets. But to me sound like many in the body are jealous God would do an incredible validation of such a ministry when nothing like that happens to mine. Worshipping God until His presence comes is not a crime, unless it is in Pharisaical circles or within churches who are close to blaspheming the Spirit.

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    2. Anon, If I were a cessationist I wouldn't be Pentecostal.

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  4. Larry,

    The apologetic for extra biblical things (shadows, handkerchiefs, water into wine) is not a new one, and there can be some validity to it. I have some thoughts which I need to develop. Would you be willing to discuss this here?

    -Bill

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  5. Yes, Bill. I am willing to discuss. Thank you for your kind response. My background, briefly: I have been a Christian for over 1/2 century. My deceased father was a Baptist preacher for about 57 years. I went forward at the biggest crusade Billy Graham ever had, in New York in 1957. I am absolutely HIS, and value truth and integrity very highly.
    I was ordained and led an independent congregation some years ago.

    As to Bethel: I was not aware that they posted this on UTube (I hardly ever look at utube.), or that they repeated it over and over. Sounds to me like making something holy into a carnival.

    I have not been aware of them excluding from discussion any one who disagrees with the party line. That is most unfortunate. It has disturbed me that among the qualifications for membership is giving an oath not to be critical at all. But that necessarily means that when a genuine wolf comes in sheep's clothing, no one will be permitted to "criticize", and therefore deception will take it all down, and everything therein. Hopefully they mean something different from what "criticize seems to mean.

    I do admire and respect the position and character of Bill Johnson. He is very gentle and laid back, and should not be categorized with the slick televangelists. His sermons seem to be very solidly Biblically based, and many people are in fact healed every week of many various deadly diseases (cancers, metal spine rods disappearing), medically verified. Note that I never saw healing in Baptist and other evangelical churches all my life. For some reason, God is blessing this work.

    There is never pressure about tithing from the pulpit. In fact, they tell all visitors that their tithe belongs in their home church, not at Bethel.

    Their buildings are all built utilitarian, and not fancy. Most services are filled to overflowing, with people in overflow rooms. One building is used only for prayer, and was built for that purpose, and is open 24/7.

    I am seeking for truth, and not trying to defend or tear them down. This is my home church and I have been going there for a few months. It has surprised and delighted me the kindness and thoughtfulness of the ordinary members. I have never seen this to this extent in any other church.

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  6. OK, to further the discussion I have embeded some YouTube video in the main article from September and October 2011. More recently, as Larry noted, the cloud was present on October 30.

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  7. Indeed, comments by Bart McCurdy were deleted on, and he was booted off by Kris Vallotten. This has happened on other Bethel-related sites in the past.

    This was on the Kris Vallotton KVMinistries.com facebook organization page- here is a comment from Kris which remains.

    "Yo Bart- what is up with you? The Bible also mentions gold streets in heaven (Rev 21:21). There are 412 mentions of gold in the Bible. About a dozen of them are spoke of negatively. You had about 400 chance to say something positive but you chose to use one of the few negative verses. This is a pattern for you on my Facebook page. You need to reconsider if you are really a fan/friend or if you lied to get on my fan page. If you just want to argue I will remove you from my page for not being honest about your intensions."

    Now I know that Bart has tried to set up a face-to-face with Kris and Johnson- a in fact made that invitation in one of the deleted posts.

    I'm with you on the covenant / membership agreements which seem to date back to the discipleship movement of the 70s. Knowing what I know now, I would never sign one of those again.

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  8. Larry,

    Here's what I'm thinking. The extra-biblical apologetic is a usual one, in fact Vallotten just made a comment concerning that on his FB page.

    Indeed the bible records many one-of-a-kind things, such as water into wine, Peter's shadow, and a hankerchief. No biblical precedence.

    Howver the bible does not record many other extra-biblical occurances such as mentioned in the apocrypha. For instance the story of Jesus, as a child, making clay birds alive.

    Many of these extra-biblical occurances were judged by the church and found to be not credible. A current example of this would be river evangelist Glenn Smith who was caught "seeding" gemstones.

    So the extra-biblical argument is pretty much a red herring- it seems like some want to justify certain signs and wonders by stating that just because the bible does not set precedence, we cannot discount it. And somehow that means (to them) that it is automatically OK.

    So let's flip this around- there really is biblical precedence for water into wine, Peter's shadow, and handkercheifs. They are IN the bible.

    You see I believe what is in the bible is not the work of man, but the work of God. I believe God had a direct hand in the canonization and that the BIble contains precisely what God intended for it to contain and does not contain precisely what God intended for it not to contain.

    Biblical or extra-biblical, the obligation to test ALL things is exactly the same. One of the ways we test, of course, is to compare it to the bible. This may seem like circular reasoning, but the bible is what we have.

    Although Bill Johnson boasts that there are 400 positive mentions of Gold in the bible, the fact remains that none of those positive mentions suggest the gold dust phenomena. (And we don't know if Bethel gold dust is gold or mylar). Since I have heard recently of some platinum dust, I wonder how Johnson will defend that.

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    1. The "Show me that in the Bible" argument against miraculous signs such as gemstones, feathers, glory dust, falling down etc, are answered by the fact that in Acts ch. 6 and 8, Steven and Philip are described as doing great signs and miracles among the people and there are no descriptions of what the signs, wonders or miracles were. None. The same is said of Paul's ministry in Romans 15;19. The miracles could have been literally anything. We know that Paul struck Elymas the sorcerer blind. The idea that anything must have precedent in scripture to be of God is ridiculous.

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    2. I wonder how Moses defended the cloud of God's presence or the pillar of fire?

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  9. Larry, can you cite an instance from Scripture in which a sign either took precedence over proclamation of the Gospel or was not directly attended by proclamation of the Gospel? --Bill

    (not Bill Fawcett -ed.)

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  10. My opinion now is that the dust falling was not gold, or mylar, but rather some unusual substance. I do not think gold floats through the air like this did; gold is too heavy.

    This substance I saw was a gold colour.

    And this substance glowed on its own, even without an outside light source, almost like some kind of radioactive substance.. Gold as we know it does not do that. Either does mylar.
    So it can simply be called "glory dust". If other "glory dust" is platinum colour, that is OK. I would love for some to be analyzed chemically.
    {Maybe if the janitor's vacuum bag could be saved: surely much glory dust must have landed on the floor}.

    My own question is that I could not understand what was the purpose of it.

    If demonic, the purpose could be to draw people's focus off of Jesus and onto a display of some kind, and eventually leading to greater displays of power. (Remember the verses: lying signs & wonders?). To deceive if possible even the very elect.

    If of God, He could be showing an example of heavenly realities, such as the so-called "angel feathers", of which some were seen and taken home by people present (I spoke with a lady today, whose friend took one home as a souvenir.). So often we have only in this country the theory and book-knowledge of Christianity, without anything of a personal nature about it.

    As I wrote before, I would have been more impressed with spiritual realities there at the church meeting if everyone there who needed healing had been healed.

    I will let God do whatever He wants, but remain skeptical of people, whether people for or against the "glory dust" phenomena.

    The focus must always remain on Jesus, no matter what phenomena we have seen or think we have seen.

    Col 2:18-19 is important. Our focus must remain on HIM alone.

    In this country, most of us have never seen anything of a Godly supernatural nature, and so our skepticism is very high.

    People who have had unusual personal holy experiences with God tend to keep it to themselves simply because it is too holy to be trodden under foot by skeptics. --L

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    1. i agree that when you have an experience with god thats unusual or where you truly encounter the glory, you literally "cant" talk about it, its just too awesome as in gob smacked fearful in wonder, you tell a handful but really "dont" want to talk about it, it is "that" holy....i had such an experience and its still after 6mths stil mind blowing and i dont want to talk about publically, it changed my life for good and my faith and reverence for god has skyrocketed, im still trying to grasp the scope of it but cant and its definately biblical

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  11. The purpose of works of the Spirit is to point to Christ (Jn 14:25-26; 15:26-27). Unless a purported sign points to Christ, it's hard to see it possible that the Spirit is the author of the sign. That is, the essence of a sign is that it signifies; Christ and the Cross are the focal point of special revelation and the truth signified by every authentic sign.

    Larry, you correctly point out that some miracles recorded in Scripture had no clear precedent. But it occurs to me that every such unprecedented miracle occurred during a time of discontinuity in which God was working in some unique, unprecedented way. Do you suppose the current time is part of such a discontinuous era? If so, what is its nature?

    --Bill (not Fawcett)

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  12. "My opinion now is that the dust falling was not gold, or mylar, but rather some unusual substance. I do not think gold floats through the air like this did; gold is too heavy."

    As an engineer, this is easy for me to address.

    One of the problems faced at indoor handgun ranges is particulate lead, which is almost as heavy as gold, floating in the air. Special circulation systems and filters are employed to alleviate the obvious health hazard.

    I'm not implying the mystery "dust" is not gold, I'm just saying that the fact that Gold is heavy does not mean that particulate gold cannot "float" as it were.

    Battleships float also.

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  13. So often we have only in this country the theory and book-knowledge of Christianity, without anything of a personal nature about it.

    Here's the problem as I see it. In reality the "personal nature of Christianity" isn't and doesn't really have anything to do with the "signs and wonders" but rather, the changing of a person from darkness into the light. The fact that a person has become a believer and follower of Jesus, inheriting eternal life.

    THAT is a true "sign and wonder"! We get so caught up in the "signs and wonderes" that we become illogical and we get our heads stuck in the clouds, seemingly never to return to a feet planted on the ground to preach a true gospel, that being salvation from death through repentence of sin and belief that Jesus IS the SON of God, the Messiah.

    1 Corinthians 13 and 14 truely comes true in that if there is no "moderation" we look like and are called fools/foolish. I want to be a good ambassador for the Kingdom, not a fool.


    IWTT

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  14. Interesting discussion. What some ignore is that Shekinah Glory manifestations are not a new phenomenon. They occur frequently in the Bible. The observation that these particles glow long after they fall lends credulity to the account of Moses having to veil his face after being in the tabernacle Shekinah because his face glowed for sometimes afterwards.

    If one is inclined to assume it is a hoax, the corollaries and implications need to be examined. I looked up into the ceiling of our similar sanctuary on Sunday and realized that if we had a fan and a pile of fine gold dust in the air conditioning system blowing out a vent, the source would become immediately evident. Especially with 1500 people scrutinizing it and taking detailed photos for 4 hours. Plus the quantities of glitter would be deep on the floor under the distribution site after 4 hours of continuous distribution. Plus, can you imagine risking your national reputation as a credible minister for the sake of a cheap parlor trick. There are 20 to 30 pastors and a large maintenance staff at Bethel, they would all have to be in on the conspiracy. If the Israelites had iPhones, no doubt a million cameras would have been flashing when the glory cloud appeared or the angel food appeared. As it was, some tried to gather and save the manna and it turned to worms. The Israelites had to learn to live with the daily and nightly visible displays of glory for 40 years. It became a part of their life, a testimony that the presence of god was with them. Do you suppose there was a rabbinical discussion group much like this in the camp debating the unusual manifestations? The point is the experience provoked immediate and lengthy spontaneous worship of Jesus.

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  15. Dear Bill,

    Have you ever heard an instance of this happening OTHER than in a controlled indoor environment, like at Bethel...or some other building, conference room, etc. Has anybody to your knowledge made these claims whereby they happened to be outside, doing whatever, and all of a sudden they had "glory dust" all over them? Furthermore, if the Bible says we are all "one body" of believers in Christ, why aren't there reports of this happening all throughout churches across the country, that love Jesus and preach the Bible? Why does this only seem to happen in Apostolic/Prophetic Charismatic circles, but not the rest of the body for some odd reason. No, it seems as though it only happens in Redding, CA, or other Bethel-type churches/gatherings...indoors...in a controlled atmosphere. I think the conclusion should be fairly obvious.

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  16. Previously I had thought that this manifestation must be one of three things:

    From Satan (lying signs)
    From Man (fraud)
    From God (genuine)

    I now must state that a fourth possibility exists

    From God (strong delusion)
    2 Thes 2:11

    Based on the first-hand account in this You-Tube video, I'm leaning towards #4.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y_B8tJCjt0&feature=related

    I'm sorry, this is really sad.

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  17. I saw this happen unexpectedly 3 years ago at an evening service at a Vineyard Church in Albany Oregon. As I watched, the speaker became progressively covered with gold dust. As I got in my car, I had some on my hands and jeans. I talked to a woman in Beaverton Oregon ( from our Foursquare church) this weekend that routinely used to wake to pray for 2 or 3 hours in the early morning on neighborhood prayer walks. She said she saw what appeared to be glory clouds several times as she walked. I respect her testimony, she is a credible christian, a public grade school teacher in our district. I suspect this has happened to many people at different times as they prayed or worshipped. We are finally talking about it and we live in a time where everyone had a video camera so this phenomenon can be captured.

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  18. William, you have decided that God is sending a delusion because why? Read 2nd Thess in context. It is speaking of lawless ones, people who persist in sin, take great delight in wickedness, children of the devil who REFUSE to be saved. God sends them a delusion that reinforces their thinking that they don’t need to be saved, that sin is good. It is not talking about people who have received Jesus as savior, repented from sin, been baptized, love Jesus, read their Bible and lead others to salvation.

    “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

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  19. Gospel plus.
    The gold dust seems to confine itself to churches with doctrinal problems such as a defecient Christology, Kingdom Now, MSoG, and those who gather around fathers. Seems to me like a recipie for disaster.
    Another posted asked a credible question- why only at such places? Do these churches possess special hidden knowledge or are they a cult of the elite?

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    Replies
    1. These churches all give the Holy Spirit His due place in the church.

      Delete
  20. William, how can you just allege these things? I certainly don’t believe in a Manifested Sons of God eschatology and my Christology is completely orthodox. I am a Trinitarian, subscribe to the confessions, raised as a Conservative Baptist with a theology derived from the very conservative scholars at Dallas Theological Seminary. These manifestations have happened to diverse individuals and diverse churches. And of course, displays of the shekinah glory occured for thousands of years and were visible to millions of Israelites, some unlucky Egyptian charioteers, Peter James and John on the mount of transfiguration, 120 on the day of pentecost, Presbyterian Charles Finney “"There was no fire, and no light, in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light.“, in 1906 on Asuza Street, the birthplace of pentecostal revival frequently experienced a thick glory cloud, Methodist preacher Nathan Bangs at Canadian revival in 1805, “I could see a cloud of divine glory resting on the congregation” Forty people were saved. This is not new, it is ancient.

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    Replies
    1. "...in 1906 on Asuza Street, the birthplace of pentecostal revival frequently experienced a thick glory cloud..."

      But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

      If you want to see the glory of God, behold the face of the saved person sitting next to you. The glory of God is manifest in Christ, who gave this glory to His body - the church - through the Holy Spirit. That is where the glory of God rests, not in signs and wonders or "glory clouds." I reject such phenomena as, at best, ecstatically-induced hallucinations. At worst, they are frauds perpetrated by charlatans.

      Delete
  21. "It is not talking about people who have received Jesus as savior, repented from sin, been baptized, love Jesus, read their Bible and lead others to salvation."

    The would you say it is NOT possible to decieve even the elect?

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  22. Of course William, but that is not what 1st Thessalonians 2 is referring to as I pointed out. Now you are quoting Matthew 24:24 which deals with other people during the end times claiming to be the returned Messiah. There have been Gurus from India claiming to be Jesus, Father Divine, an old black man in Chicago in the 1950s claimed to be Jesus. Can Christians actually fall for that? I suppose anything is possible. “If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, here is Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ don’t believe it. False christs and false prophets are going to appear and will produce great signs and wonders to mislead, if it were possible, even God’s own people. Listen, I am warning you. So that if people say to you, ‘There he is, in the desert!’ you are not to go out there. If they say, ‘Here he is, in this inner room!’ don’t believe it. For as lightning flashes across from east to west so will the Son of Man’s coming be.” Matt 24:24.

    So William, is this a case of someone alive today, perhaps fresh from living in the desert, as Matthew says, claiming to be Jesus and speaking at Bethel and performing miracles to verify his claim as the returned messiah?

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  23. Indeed, many folks feel that 2 Thes 2 (not 1st) only has a future eschatological application. Others, including Derek Prince, (and myself) find it applicable to today.

    As to Matthew 24:24, the inclusion of "false prophets" seems to expand the possibility of deception, concerning the elect, beyond false messiahs.

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  24. William, of course 2 Thessalonians 2 has an application for today, it says so right here in the scripture! I believe it, you believe it Derek Prince believes it. “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work.” It's at work today. There are Gurus today who have been photographed levitating. Satanic miracles are common in Africa. If you are a LAWLESS one, one who has no respect for any of God’s laws, who delights in sin, who rejects salvation, then you leave yourself open to satanic deception. As Paul says, “This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.”. “For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming. This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth."

    William, be cautious about twisting scriptures to accuse someone. Please read things in context. This is talking about the Work of Satan, lawless ones on the "way of destruction" who refuse salvation and enjoy sin.

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  25. Dear Anonymous;

    No one who has drank of the 'latter rain' sees themselves as deceived or of having departed from the path of orthodoxy. Take the time to get a copy of "The Other Side of the River" and read it carefully. Here is a well articulated insider's experience of 10 years in the stream of Charismatic ideology that you are now defending. The writer of this blog speaks not as someone who, like John MacArthur begins with a cessassionist commitment. He like lots and lots of folks out here have arrived at our conclusions after having taken a serious stroll down signs and wonders boulevard.

    It isn't just the claims of angel feathers, gold dust and gems - these are not the heart of the matter, merely the inevitable outcome of bad theology. When experience becomes the sine qua non of Christianity it will open the door to the bizarre and irrational experience being normalized. Once again read Kevin Reeves book (The Other Side of the River) in he talks about how bizarre experiences came to be normalized, and then manipulated, subtly, simply by expectation. People falling over, laughing, claiming voices, angel visitations, healings that didn't actually take place, one false and failed prophecy after another. Finally after 10 years of serving as an elder he'd had enough.

    Bill Johnson embraces a form of theology derived in a large part from the word of faith ethos. It is nothing new, as one person put it" Kenneth Copeland with better glasses". His border line Christology very similiar to Hagin, and Copeland is a template for a version of the Christian life that simply isn't true. The idea that Jesus is the wonder worker paradigm to which we are to aspire is one of the Latter Rain's bequeathals to the late 20, early 21st century hyper-charismatic movement. Is this the faith of the reformers, or the faith of the Church Fathers? Did the apostles teach that Jesus was to be our wonder worker example, and the necessary goal of our faith (rather than conformity to the character of Jesus, ala Romans 8:29) If your former theological formation is what you claim these things alone should have you running from Word of Faith metaphysics. Whatever else might be wrong with Bethel - these things are aberrant theology and represent some of the worst twisting of Christian orthodoxy of the past 50 years.

    Do yourself a favor friend - read the book The Other Side of the River before lifting a single word to defend Bethel or the rest of the hyper-charismatic error tragically reshaping the Christianity of the late 20th early 1st century.


    Finally, no matter what you say there exists no Biblical pattern for justifying these ridiculous claims of angel feathers and gold dust (actually goose feathers and glitter). Even the oddest miracles of the bible had some direct relationship to the gospel or the advance of God's redemptive purposes. Manna, or water into wine were not parlor tricks to mystify or dazzle - John called Jesus miracle a sign, one directly related to the testimony of Jesus' claims for himself. Even the strange case of the cloths of the apostle's or the shadow of the apostles are connected to gospel witness, not dazzling the congregation.

    What do goose feathers and glitter speak of? God's sense of humor? I'm not saying that Johnson is the culprit purposely faking these things - but someone is behind it and it isn't the Lord. Do you really need proof that this is fraud? Have you become so deceived that your incapable of seeing the absurdity of this kind of medieval superstition. What would be the difference between crying statues of the Virgin Mary and goose feathers falling from the sky? Is there anything the least bit Christocentric about crying madonnas or angel feathers?

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  26. Religious experiences are self- centered, and self serving, imaginative and conjured up in a person's mind that usually results in making a person feel good about themselves and God. Check out what God says about the false prophets and shepherds in Jeremiah and Ezekiel!

    True scriptural/spiritual experiences convict the soul, has a debasing-self effect and most often empowers the soul through the revelation of the truth that Jesus is, in the transformation and renewal of a person's life into the image of Christ (most often a very uncomfortable yet empowering experience!).

    Most people who chase after religious experiences are those who either have not been instructed in what God's purpose or process, or those who choose a self-centered existence("God exists to bless me and show how good he is to me").

    Matthew 7:21-24! Just let me point out that not only did God not "know them" but they did not do God's will. Such are the people who run after religious experiences with God, but do not learn how to know him, and do his will.

    TJH

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  27. I just have a couple thoughts or observations to add to this very legitimate discussion. I agree with the suggestion that these "signs" have an uncanny similarity to the crying statues, stigmata, and alleged appearances of Mary. I was seriously concerned when I observed the Youtube video of the "Glory cloud." Reason being, people were worshiping "it," and the thought crossed my mind of how susceptible people can be in a potentially supernatural environment. I.E.. What if an Angel of light suddenly appeared, or some other more dynamic manifestation took place? I can say from experience that the people would have bought it... Why? Because, they have been being conditioned for just this type of stuff. All this emphasis on Angels, extra Biblical revelation, dreams, visions... All, at best, extremely SUBJECTIVE! The real issue here is not these manifestations, but rather the doctrines that are being brought in along with these "signs." I believe the most dangerous and central false doctrine yet to come out of this movement, will be given full weight this year. This doctrine is the crux of the entire movement, and without it the movement will lose momentum quickly. That doctrine is what Bill Johnson calls "the Corporate Christ Anointing," and is essentially a repackaging of the Latter rain teaching of "Manifest sons of Gods." I am amazed that so few in the charismatic circle are familiar with the Latter rain movement and all its errant teachings. I am 53 years old, and have been raised in this movement from my childhood. My father was at Sharon Bible school in Battleford, Canada, where the Latter reign movement originated; and my pastor for many many years (James Watt) is the last living Elder from the the Sharon Bible school. The teachings of the Apostolic reformation are not new at all! An excellent book to read the history of this movement is "The New Charismatics(1992)" by Michael G. Moriarty. This book is almost 20 years old and you will find everything that these new apostles and prophets are propagating as NEW! I'll close with two questions. Question one: If the Glory cloud is so significant, why did the dead bodies of all the children of Israel end up scattered through out the wilderness outside the Promised land? They had the Glory cloud day and night for forty years! Not to mention a pillar of fire!
    Question two: (This is for Mr. Anonymous) Have you ever asked yourself, why is it that Scripture singles out prophecy, deliverance, signs, and wonders as in Mathew 7:22-23: "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
    This scripture always puzzled me, so many strive to develop these gifts, and yet, God says he never even knew them? This should give us great pause concerning the priority we place on power evangelism. P.S. Revelation 2:2. "I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false."

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  28. Bill Johnson is identified as an apostle in the NAR, under Peter Wagner. He, and twenty-four other "apostles" from the NAR, each took turns "prophesying" with apostolic authority over one Todd Bentley in Lakeland, Florida, on June 25 2008. (You can watch the whole thing on Youtube) Just weeks later, all these apostolic prophecies fell flat on their face when Mr. Bentley was exposed to having an affair, drunkenness, lying, etc. He later left his wife and three children for the "proverbial secretary." You can do your own research on the issue. But, bottom line, if these apostles truly loved and honored the word more than signs, wonders, Angelic visitations, dreams, and visions, they would have never attempted the stunt of making Mr. Bentley an apostle. This doesn't say much for their apostolic, prophetic discernment when twenty-five of then couldn't discern by the Spirit the mistake they were all making. I for one will never submit to their so-called apostolic authority, and believe me, they will eventually demand it of you.

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  29. Generally I prefer to confine my blog articles to doctrine, not manifestations, as I believe that abbe rant doctrine is more often than not behind all of this. As so that discussion, which centered on the two poor apologetics given for the manifestation, has naturally moved to the manifestations themselves along with the usual cautions for me not to cross the line into blasphemy. I should think, with 40 years as a spirit-filled believer (33 as a charismatic) that I would be able to make some comments concerning wheat and tares -with God given insight - and not be concerned about being struck down by God my loving Father. But I digress.

    Many of the recent comments echo my concerns, so I will not repeat those responses. Thank you Tim Bain and Brazil for joining in.

    Anonymous (please feel free to post your name, we are adults here), you seem to make several false assumptions:

    1) You assume that I disbelieve that a legitimate "glory cloud" could appear. I have actually been in meetings where it seemed that a haze (we used to call this "blue smoke") would appear. What seemed to characterize these examples was the weighty presence of God. We were "undone."

    Videos can be misleading. I've seen videos from Bethel in which it is stated that the "glory cloud" is present, yet they look no different than videos in which they do not say the glory cloud is present. The fact that they would tolerate the faux-anointing gives me pause. Quoting worship leader Brian Johnson: "Do lights and smoke increase the anointing?" "We use lights and smoke :)" (Twitter, October 2011). I am NOT accusing them of using smoke machines during these alleged manifestations, I'm accusing them of gross doctrinal stupidity for confusing faux-anointing with the real thing.

    Where the videos are not misleading is the reaction of the people present. I do not see the weight of the Glory of God, rather I see people hooting, jumping up and down, giggling, and whipping out their iphones. I am going to judge this situation by the fruit, as instructed by scripture.

    2) You assume that what you are calling the shekinah glory is the same as what is appearing in Bethel. One disciple of Johnson recently referred to it as "Holy Ghost sparkey." Another compared it to radioactivity. And yet nowhere are we instructed in the scriptures that God's glory is a swirling smoke with luminous glitter in it. And just a few years ago, at Ruth Heflin's campmeetings for instance, there was Gold (mylar) dust, but it was NOT luminous. The appearance of "gold dust" at Heflin's meetings are generally acknowledged as the beginning of the contemporary gold dust manifestation occurances.

    Let's make it clear- Moses' face glowed when he came down from the mount; scripture does not suggest that his face was covered with luminous gold dust that was contained in smoke.

    No biblical account suggests luminescent "Holy Ghost sparkey" in spite of the recent extra-biblical claim by a Johnson disciple that gold dust occurred in the upper room. At least that Johnsonite did not claim that is was luminescent.

    One could posit that since the claims of actual gold have not panned out (pun intended) that the new apologetic demand some sort of different other-worldly substance that will (until actually submitted for study) defy analysis.

    Your citation of Finney's "perfectly light" account does not particularly suggest luminescent "Holy Ghost sparkey." Finney, by the way, was as much a Presbyterian as I am a Methodist.

    Bang's "cloud of divine glory" also does not suggest luminescent "Holy Ghost sparkey."

    -continued-

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  30. -part 2-

    3) Indeed, DTS has turned out some amazing theologians and teachers. On the other hand, DTS also claims Jack Deere as one of their own. So while I appreciate the background info, it means little in the sum of things. And if you are theologically trained, wouldn't you agree that assumption two above is intellectually dishonest?

    ---

    In light of Brian Johnson's musings about the possibilities of faux-smoke increasing the anointing at meetings I asked Bill Johnson yesterday "if man could increase the anointing than what is 'the anointing'." Johnson's response (deletion of the post in his FB page) speaks volumes. Johnson says that these are "Signs that make you wonder." Apparently, only THOSE who think as he does are permitted the wonder. Insert joke about “drinking the kool-aid” here. The fruit in this case, and as seen in other responses, appears to be arrogance, and that is convincing enough.

    This is an amazing situation, and I, for one, am glad the discussion is taking place.

    -Bill

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  31. Appearances of the "glory cloud" have been taking place at about 11:45 pm on Friday evenings, presumably around the normal closing time for the Friday 7:00pm service.

    So I recently asked Bill Johnson what time the "Setback" for the HVAC programmable thermostat is set to.

    Johnson will not supply that information, apparently his god is threatend by honest inquiry. His response:

    "It was too otherworldly to reduce to such questions, regardless of sincerity or good intentions. It happened. It was otherworldly."

    I'm not at the point where I will just allow him to say "Just trust me- this is God." In fact, scriptures suggest that we SHOULD test all things, that we should not even take PAUL at his word, and that we should exercise discernment. Therefore, Johnson's position is in direct opposition to scripture. So why should we trust him?

    One could posit that a programmed ventilation system setback at around 11:45 could cause changes in the circulation patterns in the auditorium, and causing residual carbon dioxide, or leftoevr smoke from the latest faux-anointing session, to relocate or swirl. Or that pigeons not only produce feathers, but lots of biological material for a bioluminecent substance to grow in. Plenty of natural explanation that I'd like to rule out.

    Because I'm pretty much convinced, at this point, that there is no natural explanation, and that this indeed is "otherworldly" as Johnson insists. Which begs the question - what "otherworld?"

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  32. Adding another video which illustrates the lack of the weighty presence of God. Whoo-Whooo. I'd love to see the cut diamond that grew before thier eyes examined, but not holding my breath. What sort of cut marks would it exhibit, since it grew while cut?

    -Bill

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  33. I'd like to get back to the "40" people that were saved. Saved from what? What was preached? Were they saved because of the "glory cloud" or were they saved because of the topic Jesus himself told us to preach?

    Luke 24

    45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    Are you preaching the "repentence for the forgiveness of sin?" I'm not sure, it seems that you are saved by that ol' method called "power evangelism" which is no evangelism at all.

    What are they preaching there?

    TJH

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  34. I apologize for posting under anonymous. Your registration system does not like something about my url (rickd@freerange-adv.com) and it is the only way I can Post. My name is Rick Dalbey and I will be careful identify myself.

    I realize there is no convincing someone who is firm in their faith for skepticism. You gave two scriptures to discredit this experience. I showed how they were taken out of context and misapplied. You said the phenomenom only occurred in MSOG based churches. I gave you plenty of examples of occurences in diverse churches and settings down through history and in contemporary times. I can give more if you like, they are not hard to find. You said it only happened indoors. I gave you examples where it occurred out of doors (my school teacher friend Stephanie, a Canadian evangelist from 1805). You claim it only happens at 11:30 at Bethel. The account last Sunday night occurred at 7 pm and continued for 4 hours.

    I have a background in commercial film production and we have used Hollywood smoke machines several times to “smoke the set”. Actors hate it. The smoke (a kind of vegetable oil base) irritates voices and leaves a sticky residue on surfaces. It is not pleasant and has an unpleasant odor. We usually sheet with plastic any part of the set not seen on camera. It is utterly unlike what we see here. When the luminescence is noted, you assign the afterglow to pigeon droppings.

    You have a brand of skepticism which is non-falsifiable. Contrast that to John Arnott’s rational faith which rejected Sylvia Muchado when it was proven she attempted to fake the gold dust phenomenom.

    Even the idea the witnessing the glory cloud always provokes a holy incapacitation is false. Yes, the priests in Solomons temple could not stand to minister. But the camp of the Israelites had to learn to live with the constant visible cloud which was so intense it lit up the ground at night for traveling. Weeks after Aaron accompanied Moses and 70 elders up the glory cloud shrouded Mt. Sinai, he created a calf idol. The first time Moses saw the glory of God shining on the burning bush, he was curious and stood there watching. We are used to scientific notation. We want all the details. Moses doesn’t tell us whether the cloud swirled or was stationary, was gold or orange or blue or colorless, sparkles or simply smoked. Knowing human nature, the first time the Israelites saw the glory cloud cover their camp, if they’d had iPods, a million cameras would have been flashing. Some curious folk even tried to save samples of the “angel food” with disasterous results.

    People who have witnessed this cloud break into spontaneous praise and worship of the savior, have more zeal to tell others about Jesus and many are physically healed. And by the way, the Glory cloud did not guarantee healing in Israel’s case, everyone over 20 died in the wilderness. Last Saturday we were part of an evangelize Portland experience with a Bethel associated church and 23 other un-aligned churches. In 4 hours, 530 people prayed a prayer of repentance and salvation on the streets of Portland. A person was saved every 30 seconds. Two hundred spirit-filled novices read scriptures from the book of Romans to total strangers in parks and transit stops and saw multitudes come into the kingdom. If you know Portland, that is a miracle.

    So either come up with some better theories or let it rest.

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  35. Rick,

    If this conversation is to continue, you will need to read more carefully what I write, becasue I am very careful in what I say.

    You say of me (I assume):" You said the phenomenom only occurred in MSOG based churches."

    I never said that. Rather I said:

    "The gold dust seems to confine itself to churches with doctrinal problems such as a defecient Christology, Kingdom Now, MSoG, and those who gather around fathers."

    Although I would define Bethel as leaning towards MSoG (Johnson embraces teachers who openly teach MSoG), I have not made the claim that Bethel is MSoG. Bethel undoubtedly is teaching Kingdom Now, and Johnson's Christology, if not deficient, is at least inconsistant. I will say for certain that Bethel is a church that gathers around fathers and not doctrine (and so would Bill Johnson).

    But what was the point of the comment? It is this- the phenomena seems to be related to churches within the signs and wonders movement and it not seen in hundreds of thousands of churches filled with believers.

    At any rate, you need to read a little more carefully. For the record, I never said it occurred outdoors, yet you appear to claim that I did. How can I have a meaningful discussion if you are not paying attention? Seriously.

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  36. And for the anonymous guy who just posted just before me (Rick). Come on. These people love the Lord and are evangelistic. Why do you question the salvation of 40 people who repented and put their faith in Jesus? From their belief page:

    “The Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin, Mary, and is God's Anointed One, empowered by the Holy Spirit to inaugurate God's Kingdom on earth. He was crucified for our sins, died, was buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven, and is now alive today, in the presence of God the Father and in His people. He is "true God" and "true man."

    We are saved by God's grace, through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Anyone can be restored to fellowship with God through repenting, believing and receiving Jesus as their Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit, convicts, regenerates, justifies, and adopts us as we enter the Kingdom of God as His sons and daughters.

    Bethel believes and quotes the traditional “Romans Road” salvation message.

    "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9).

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  37. William, (Rick here) I accept that you are born again, spirit-filled christians who loves the Lord. You are my brother. I certainly don’t want to accuse you of things you didn’t say. I’m glad you are not saying that Bethel is a MSOG church. I am happy to see that you are not saying Johnson’s Christology is deficient. Examine Bethel’s belief statement. I printed it out above. You may think it is inconsistent but Johnson’s Christology is every bit as orthodox as Wayne Grudems. As for “Kingdom Now”...this means many things to many people and is quite confusing. If believing that healing is in the atonement and available today qualifies one for Kingdom Now (as many teachers accuse), that includes Derek Prince, Jack Hayford and most Pentecostals and charismatics and myself. If by it you mean Dominionism, of course the Catholic Church is the chief offender, basing their eschatology on Augustine’s City of God, with the extreme calvinist Reconstructionists coming in second. But most Charismatics (including Mike Bickle) reject this formal belief system with the exception of Peter Wagner (the chief cheer leader) and a handful of others. However, even Wagner is not sure what Dominion means if you read his Charisma Magazine interview. Copeland comes as close to heresy as anyone I have read recently in this area.

    I had to laugh when I read your comment “At any rate, you need to read a little more carefully. For the record, I never said it occurred outdoors, yet you appear to claim that I did. How can I have a meaningful discussion if you are not paying attention?” I never claimed you said it occured outdoors. Check the comments. Oh well. I have enjoyed the discussion.

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  38. @Rick,

    I made the statement (a quote from someone who has spoken to BJ) because Bill Johnson was addressed personally by this person about what he teaches and preaches, and by the way BJ answered, HE did not convince the person (who is a Phd in biblical Greek, teaches at a pentecostal bible college)that want was preached was repentence to forgivness and had much to do with discipling the nations. He knows BJ and sees no change in his methods and preaching of God's word.

    TJH

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  39. @Rick,

    Would tis fit Bethels belif system?

    Articles of Faith

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. 2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. 3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. 4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. 5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. 6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. 7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth. 8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. 9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. 11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. 12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. 13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

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  40. I guess this really is the question of all questions, and what it all boils down to. I posed this question yesterday, cause I'm really curious. Why would these things only be happening within a small cross-section of the body of believers, but not in the vast majority of Evangelical, Jesus-loving, bible believing, Holy Spirit welcoming, gift believing, Christocentric, God fearing churches everywhere. Is there something wrong with everybody else? I just don't get it. I do know one thing. I know God loves me based on what He accomplished on the Cross, to glorify Himself, giving me a new life in the process. I'm so thankful that he can transform my mess into something incredible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in me. THAT, is the most dazzling, mind-blowing, other-worldly miracle I can think of....far outweighing anything gold dust and bird feathers can bring me. We live in the New Covenant. Why would God need to resort to Old Testament things to show Himself to us?

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  41. Oh btw, I'm Anonymous/Scott. Thanks so much.

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  42. Please people... before you question, opinionate, seek the Lord and ask Him for the TRUTH!!

    First hand knowledge only counts. Goodness, some of the comments, such as "the people were worshiping the GLORY CLOUD" Honestly, don't be daft - they were praising the LIVING GOD, who according to scriptures has done this before, for HIS PURPOSES ALONE!!!
    Do not grieve the HOLY SPIRIT! BE WISE YES, but don't be ridiculous!

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  43. Scott,

    "Why would these things only be happening within a small cross-section of the body of believers, but not in the vast majority of Evangelical.."

    Exactly

    "We live in the New Covenant. Why would God need to resort to Old Testament things to show Himself to us?"

    Not convinced that bird feathers and jewels are "old testament things, are you?

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  44. Rick,

    A detailed description of Johnon's beliefs deserves a separate post, but I'd like to highlight a few observations:

    At Bethel the "gospel message" has been redefined as the "kingdom message." It's no longer just about Christ and Him crucified, its about kingdom power and healing and signs and wonders. Johnsonites have even rebuked street preachers for preaching the gospel message, and i'm not talking about angry "repent or fry - the end is near" preachers.

    Johnson boasts that he is a fifth generation pastor. Yet the preceeding 4 generations rejected Johnson's Kingdom Now message (I'm NOT talking about dominionism). Here's what their denomination's statement about this excess says:

    "They claim that most of the supernatural power of the Kingdom is currently available to a militant Church and that the fulfillment of the Kingdom will occur during the Church Age."

    Johnson's proclaimed mandate is to bring heaven to earth.

    Johnson also draws heavily from the Word of Faith movement in his theology. And not just in the health and weath area, but in his smug insistance that Jesus had to be born again, an artifact of the JDS (Jesus Died Spiritually) abberant teaching. I'm sure he understands the connection and yet persists in promoting this idea, as it supports his concept that all of us can become -in this day and age- just like Jesus.

    I'm not into guilt by association, but why would anyone who believes he has so much insight into the things of God invite MSoG teacher/prophet Bob Jones to his conferences?

    I bring this up, not to go into a long conversation about the orthodoxy of these things, but to highlight again that there is a common demonimnator to the churches where these alleged signs and wonders are occurring today.

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  45. Hi Bill, thanks. No of course I don't believe this at all. What I really mean is when people cite examples of Old Testament manifestations(or things from the Apostolic era, which is closed by the way) to try to justify these bizarre things that are happening today (i.e. glowing faces etc, etc). Like these are in any way connected to people having "gold dust" on them. This is kind of absurd. Ya know, the "well God spoke thru a donkey and Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever" argument. It just doesn't hold any ground. I am in agreement with you as to the argument that this seems to be happening in places that seem to all be connected somehow by the "hyper-charismatic" thread. The kinds of folks, along with their extremely peculiar ways and ideas, that Bill Johnson runs with also would give me great cause for concern. God speaks to us thru his Son, his Spirit, and his Word. We should all be united by these things. Not by the spurious and extra-curricular things...these are superfluous.
    Thanks, Scott

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  46. Rick,

    Try this in posting: select "Name/URL" under "Choose an identity" and post your name and under that a your website url. I hope that helps.

    Not to get too far from the topic at hand, I do wish to make a comment regarding Johnson’s Christology. First, a statement of faith may be a good place to start but actual practice should take precedence. In his teaching materials, Johnson posits at best an incoherent Christology, at worst an ontologically kenotic one. William Fawcett here has given Johnson the benefit of the doubt. I, however, firmly believe Johnson is teaching MSoG as it’s part and parcel to the Latter Rain doctrine of which he obviously adheres. I reach this conclusion after reading and re-reading his books and other material (and studying LR doctrine). If you’d like to discuss, come over to my site and read the articles I have on Johnson quoting from his material and comment there rather than derail this particular discussion.

    Now, as to this post here: three years ago Bud Press was given feathers by Chad Leatherby who claimed they were angelic. Scientific evidence proved they were fowl:

    http://www.christianresearchservice.com/FeathersFromHeaven.htm

    Press also points out that these sorts of signs happen to adherents of New Age or other cults.

    Given Bill Johnson’s aberrant Christology, I have good reason to remain skeptical. Belief in and preaching of a false Christ will not result in true salvation. Johnson is preaching “the gospel of the kingdom” [see When Heaven Invades Earth p 27] – the “gospel” of Dominionism/Kingdom Now [WHIE pp 30-33] in which he ‘takes dominion’ from Satan through ‘healing.’ His ‘gospel’ then is based on a false premise, the false premise of his Dominionistic ideology. What exactly are these signs – gold dust, feathers and gems – following from or leading to?

    And, as to JDS, Johnson comes close to the line. He knows how far he can tread without being accused outright of adhering to this doctrine. Yet, he uses the same Biblical proof-texts as Kenneth E. Hagin in his JDS doctrine – again, Johnson just is not going as far in his statements. They’re from the same root: WoF, New Thought (via Kenyon), etc. Latter Rain is a parallel stream with some convergence.

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  47. Just a personal note...I just wanted to say thanks to
    Brazil and Tim Bain for their comments yesterday. These were excellent and very insightful, and very informative to me. In particular, Tim's Matthew 7 challenge (directed to Anon/Rick)...this was very helpful for me to see this. These things will not carry so much importance for the believer in these last days, as much as perseverance and endurance will (see Romans 15). Thank you guys, much appreciated. Scott

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  48. Rick here, reporting for duty. To those who say, why would signs and wonders not be happening in all Evangelical, Jesus-loving, bible believing, Holy Spirit welcoming, gift believing, Christocentric, God fearing churches, the same could be said of healing or speaking and tongues with interpretation. Our 5000 member “pentecostal” Foursquare church has never had a public tongues and interpretation. And, as long as we’ve had our current pastor, we’ve never had a public prophecy. Don’t we deserve prophecy or tongues? We love the Lord and we have pentecostal theology. I have never heard of a healing in a Conservative Baptist church either. When my parents spoke in tongues privately 30 years ago, they were removed as Bible teachers from their Baptist churches. William Seymour’s church on Azusa Street would experience the glory cloud in the sanctuary. That was the birth of Pentecost in America, your heritage. Time and distance have a way of making things acceptable and nostalgic. If you really want to get into weird eschatology, read church fathers like St Augustine.

    As far as Bill teaching Jesus died spiritually-if he is teaching this then surely we can find it treated on the pages of one of his books, right? He has over 9 books published. Or an article he published. Can you give me a title and page number? Well maybe it was a series he preached. Nope. It gets down to one brief comment in one sermon given several years ago which was taken out of context. It reminds me of the people who dislike Sarah Palin who were overjoyed to have several years worth of e-mails released so they could comb through them and look for any hint of controversy. Perhaps we could dig out that book where he teaches on the Manifested Sons of God? You know, the perfect will never die (oops...all the MSOG teachers died), they are gods etc. I wish heresy hunters would spend more energy combatting real heresy, like the overwhelming, ubiquitous, overt heresy that the gifts of the spirit are dead. Jesus can’t heal today. Any miracles or speaking in tongues are of the devil. That’s what Jesus focused on, claiming that God would be easier on Sodom and Gomorrah then His unbelieving adopted home town where He could do few miracles. “And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. Matthew 11:22-24”

    William, I know you have said you are Methodist. I could go into the insufficient soteriology of Methodism, the deficiencies of Arminian theology, pedobaptism (infant baptism), etc. I gave a brief treatment on the impossibility of pulling off a glory cloud hoax (referencing my work in commercial film production where we used expensive Hollywood smoke machines). Stare at your HVAC system sometime in the ceiling of your church. Now imagine 1500 people (out of town guests, other pastors, maitenance staff, skeptics) scrutinizing the glory cloud for 4 hours with scores of high definition video cameras. The conclusion I come to was this phenomenom was either God or the devil. One way to examine signs, especially signs that are recorded in both the old AND new testament is to look at the fruit. Forty people saved, many healed, hours of spontaneous worship of Jesus is not something the devil would be very happy with.

    And Craig, either you know what kenosis means and are using bthe term unfairly or you don’t know what it means. Do you really think that Bill thinks Jesus is not fully divine or that He ceased to be God at some point? Read on kenosis here http://www.theopedia.com/Kenosis

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  49. Rick said:
    "William, I know you have said you are Methodist."

    Actually, I said:
    "Finney, by the way, was as much a Presbyterian as I am a Methodist."

    My background was Methodist, Finney's was Prebyterain. I would no more call Finney a Presbyterian, then myself a Methodist!

    For the record, after 33 years as an independent charismatic, I joined the Assemblies of God 7 years ago. Where we speak in tongues, interpet, and prophesy! :)

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  50. Congratulations William! You are farther along than we are in our Foursquare church (which I have yet to join after attending, teaching Sunday School and leading prayer ministries for 30 years). Sometimes I (Rick) call myself a Conservative Baptist because my early roots were so deep in it. I know the Presbyterians certainly don't want to claim Finney, even though he claimed them. In reality, I am a Jesus follower, part of the Church of Beaverton Oregon. As Peter Tork of the Monkees crooned, "I'm a believer"

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  51. Rick,

    I do believe I know what it kenosis means. Grab a cup of coffee and a danish or donut or what-have-you. Actually, you may want to pack a lunch as the 2-part article IS lengthy:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-i/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii/

    I even reference the theopedia article you reference and 6 other systematic theologies and quite a few other sources.

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  52. Hi Rick,

    Let me put it a different way...and this is what I'm really getting at with this question, cause I really want to understand. Why do you think GOD is descending upon Bethel in these peculiar ways? Are you doing something special that we don't know about? Thanks, Scott

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  53. Rick,

    And, as for MSoG, I do quote from some of his books and audio. Of course, Johnson is much too clever to actually use the term "manifest sons of God" but the doctrine is there. While you may not agree, you might get a better understanding of the underlying theology. Do you know Latter Rain doctrine?

    The first one starts out with a brief discussion of Johnson's 'born again' Jesus statement with a reference to the complete audio of the sermon from which it came. Then it goes into some of the other aberrant doctrines:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/bill-johnsons-born-again-jesus-part-ii/

    What is a "corporate anointing?" How about the "mantle of Jesus Christ?":

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/kris-vallotton-and-the-%e2%80%9cmantle-of-jesus-christ%e2%80%9d-bill-johnson-on-corporate-anointing/

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  54. Finney was no Presbyterian. Geez.

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  55. Finney was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1824.

    Yes, they would rather not claim him, which was my point.

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  56. In reality, I am a Jesus follower, part of the Church of Beaverton Oregon.

    Is this the 4Square where the senoir pastor passed away about 4 or 5 years ago. If so, he was a man who spoke often in the 4square that I went to in Central Oregon and he was a preacher of the gospel. He knew what it was all about and it isn't about the gifts, seeking after. My friends a PERVERSE GENERATION seeks after the "signs and wonders"!

    STOP IT!

    TJH

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  57. Yes, TJ, it is the same Beaverton Foursquare and the same Ron Mehl who preached the gospel so faithfully till he died 8 years ago. Ron was praying by himself one afternoon in the old sanctuary in the late 1970s and the glory cloud appeared physically to him and the Lord gave him a promise about God expanding the Church if Ron would be faithful. He was very private about that experience but did share it with us at one point. Realize that we are the farthest from a signs and wonder church! We have no public tongues and interpretation, no prophecy etc.

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  58. 927. That’s how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Definitely. So Craig (Rick here), Of course Bill Johnson affirms Christ’s full divinity. To imagine otherwise is laughable, insulting and borders on slanderous. I assure you. “Does this show that Bill Johnson is actually teaching a very poorly articulated functionalist kenosis rather than an ontological kenosis?” Or does Bill Johnson love Jesus with all his heart and serve Him to the best of his ability and your kenosis fixation is completely off-track? Here, I am going to quote Dr. Glen Peeples;

    “In kenosis, Jesus is presented to us as the God who truly, not just in appearances, was “made like his brothers in every way” (Heb. 2:17), who truly stood in our place and tasted death for us, and who actually knows what it is like to be one of us. Kenosis provides us with a powerful antidote to some of the gnostic tendencies that developed in the second century. Gnostic theology wanted to deny that Jesus was truly God in the flesh, because it was beneath God to actually suffer and die. One such Gnostic tactic was to make Jesus a mere man upon whom the spirit of Christ descended at his baptism, that spirit departing at the cross. Kenosis stands at the opposite end of the theological spectrum: God could not only die in Christ, but God was willing to give up the privileges that come with being God, not clinging to the dignity and glory that he deserved, becoming a limited and at times helpless servant.”

    Two weeks ago, six of us went out into the streets of Portland and talked to strangers about Jesus. We talked about God’s love, repentance and read several scriptures from Romans to interested people. Nine people prayed a prayer of repentance and received Jesus. One of them was a stunned man, probably in his 60s who was coming from the doctor where he was just given a diagnosis of Liver cancer. We prayed for his healing and comforted him. Next week we are going out again to tell others in Portland about Jesus. Then we follow up, they are baptized, get into a church. That’s what we do.

    Craig, I understand what you are saying, I have read the same theologians, you have completely misunderstood Bill. I have to laugh when I read that you believe Bill thinks “Jesus was merely “a man in right relationship to God” who “had no ability to heal the sick,” “couldn’t cast out devils,” and “had no ability to raise the dead” except by virtue of the ‘enabling’ by the “Christ anointing,” Do you understand that Jesus was fully God and fully man, that he was Omniscient but chose not to exercise His omniscience in the incarnation? As Jesus told Peter, he could have called 10,000 angels at His arrest but did not. That is Bill’s position. That is mine. I weary of even answering you. Good luck with that theology thing.

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  59. Laurie Bath UK11/10/11, 3:01 AM

    Who is the author of this blog "Beyond Grace". I have scrolled up and down this site but can't find any identification or accreditation.
    Laurie Bath UK

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  60. Laurie Bath,

    Right hand column, 3rd item under "about."

    I am Bill Fawcett, fawcetwd@gmail.com
    How may I help you?

    -Bill

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  61. While I do believe there are some real problems with Johnson's theology of the kenosis, in spite of him saying the right words at times, the real issue is his Christology that seems to reduce Jesus down to our bigger brother, who did what He did solely by virtue of the Holy Spirt, which spirit can also fall upon us and therefore we can do everything He did and more.

    None of us can die for the sins of the world.

    The kenosis may prove to sidetrack this most useful discussion, so I would invite interested readers to check out Craig's blog articles, and also my more gracious view posted here:

    http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/2011/04/bill-johnson-and-divinity-of-christ.html

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  62. Having said that, Johnson's promotion of JDS, by stating that Jesus had to be born again, is very disturbing.

    Quoting Bud Press:

    There is nothing new to what Bill Johnson teaches. The “born again Jesus” or “spiritual death of Christ” garbage was around well before Johnson came along. It has been thoroughly refuted by apologists, cult evangelists, and other discerning Christians.

    Years ago, Christians confronted Benny Hinn for teaching that when Jesus died on the cross, He took on the nature of Satan, sinned, and had to be born again in hell to purcharse our redemption. This is classic Word of Faith garbology, and is blasphemous to the core! There is plenty of info on the internet to refute it.

    Stating that Jesus was “born again” in any way, shape, form, or fashion should raise the hair on the back of our necks and cause an acute case of righteous indignation. Why? Because it attempts to reduce our perfect, sinless Savior to a mere sinner in need of salvation.

    Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is the heart of the gospel. Any deviance whatsoever results in heresy, and leads people into the arms of a false “Jesus” and its false apostles (2 Corinthians chapter 11).

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  63. Rick,

    I submit that you cannot speak for Bill Johnson any more than I can. You cannot know his heart any more than I can. However, we do have his clear words. His specific claims are that Jesus “so emptied Himself that He was incapable…” and “He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever.” This explicitly denies His divine attributes. Jesus was both God and man. To humanize Him at the expense of His divinity is heresy. The converse is, as Gordon Fee wrote, “a naïve docetism.” You wrote:

    I have to laugh when I read that you believe Bill thinks “Jesus was merely “a man in right relationship to God” who “had no ability to heal the sick,” “couldn’t cast out devils,” and “had no ability to raise the dead” except by virtue of the ‘enabling’ by the “Christ anointing,” Do you understand that Jesus was fully God and fully man, that he was Omniscient but chose not to exercise His omniscience in the incarnation?

    I find it no laughing matter. You do realize that proponents of the kenosis heresy (as opposed to this who construe Christ’s humiliation in an orthodox manner) do not explicitly state, “Jesus was not divine while incarnate?” Yet, they deny His divinity by stating such things as “He laid His divinity aside” having “NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever.” God is by very nature supernatural. To explicitly deny supernatural capabilities in the person of Jesus Christ is to explicitly deny His divinity/deity. Christ’s potencies were not limited, the actualities were. That’s a distinction with a big difference. Can you, in all honesty, state that his is not an explicit denial of Jesus Christ’s incarnational deity?

    And, yes, I’m familiar with Cerinthus (whom Peeples references) as I reference his Christology in the first of the BJ ‘born again’ articles.

    The “Christ anointing” quote is in fact the most damaging as Johnson claims this as Jesus receiving the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ with the additional claim that we receive this same “Christ anointing”:

    “…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him…”

    And, what do you make of Johnson’s statement that Jesus was a “lamb (powerless)” on the Cross coupled with this statement?:

    “…Jesus gave Himself to be crucified. He did not raise Himself from the dead...His job was to give His life to die. The Father raised Him by the Spirit...”

    This not only proves ontological kenosis, this denies the efficacy of the Atonement.

    No, I’m not laughing.

    From this faulty Christology flows the rest of Bill Johnson’s theology.

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  64. Sorry, Bill. Would you mind if I posted my comments from the VoR blog referencing that video in which Johnson speaks of Jesus as our "elder brother?" If not, I understand.

    Rick,

    I did ask that you make any comment on the CrossWise site so as not to divert away from the conversation here. I welcome an exchange which would fully deal with the issues brought forth in the articles.

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  65. Rick,

    You wrote, "Of course Bill Johnson affirms Christ’s full divinity. To imagine otherwise is laughable, insulting and borders on slanderous."

    The correct word in this context would be libel rather than slander.

    Oh, and it was Mickey Dolenz who sang "I'm a Believer" though Tork sang backup.

    Just setting the record straight (pun intended).

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  66. Ok, Craig. Just trying to see where this is going.

    I supposed one theory behind the gold dust is that it is a result (judgement) of doctrine gone bad, just as Moses made the rebellious Isrealites drink gold dust.

    For me, the "Jesus Born again" statement is enough to make the case. I'm not convinced anyone is going to tag Johnson with the "kenotic heresy" because of the statements that he has made that seem to deny it. So make your case quickly if you can and lets move on.

    Speaking of doctrine, it is pertinent that Johnson boasts that at Bethel they do not gather around doctrine (bible teaching) but rather around fathers (meaning Johnson). So it seems that doctrine is not important to them which means, I suppose, one can be a member in good standing, even a teacher or prophet, and believe just about anything.

    Which explains the recent claim by a BSSM student that there was gold dust in the upper room. Quoting Rob Bell: "and you know this, how?"

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    Replies
    1. the pentecost did not happen in the upper room, but in the temple. I used to believe it was in the upper room until I did an in depth study.

      Delete
  67. Bill,

    I'll drop the kenosis discussion here, but, I'll just reiterate a small portion of my comments from the above in order to, hopefully, make the point:

    To explicitly deny supernatural capabilities in the person of Jesus Christ is to explicitly deny His divinity/deity. Christ’s potencies were not limited, the actualities were. That’s a distinction with a big difference.

    Jesus Christ's humanity necessarily limited His actualities; however, his potencies (all the omni- traits) were still inherently His as God. To deny this goes beyond orthodoxy into the realm of heresy.

    I agree with you on the 'born again Jesus' thing. Johnson's explicit claim that Jesus "had to be" born again is indefensible - even though he doesn't go on to claim that Jesus went to hell, took on Satan's nature, etc as Hagin and Copeland did.

    I think the feather and gold dust should be accumulated for scientific evaluation.

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  68. Bill,

    You wrote, "I supposed one theory behind the gold dust is that it is a result (judgement) of doctrine gone bad, just as Moses made the rebellious Isrealites drink gold dust."

    Yes, I can see this in view of both 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 and Matthew 7:21-23.

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  69. One more comment, and I'm heading into work. Gathering aournd relationship, not doctrine, perhaps explains why even as recently as August, Johnson stated:

    "In conclusion, I recommend Todd (Bentley) to you, believing that you will be blessed and encouraged by his ministry."

    Bentley overtly teaches MSoG and Johnson recommends him. That speaks volumes concerning 1)Johnson's theology and 2) Johnson's spiritual discernment.

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  70. Realize that we are the farthest from a signs and wonder church! We have no public tongues and interpretation, no prophecy etc.

    You want it to be?

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  71. If I was in a church service, and a guy preaching, who fancied himself a self-appointed, self-anointed Apostle (capital "A") smugly said "Did you know Jesus was born-again?"..at that moment I would have run for the exits. I wonder if anyone did when this guy said this in his "Christmas sermon" of '09 (or '10)? The list of things is just too long to take this place seriously. Their focus and priorities seem to be in the wrong place, diverting people (and to those newly saved, sigh...) away from what we're truly called to be in Christ. When the faith becomes all about "displaying kingdom power", something's gone terribly awry. You're missing the entire point of what it means to be a Christian. As one put it so well, this kind of self-absorbed signs and wonders Christianity (the kind propagated by Bethel, John Crowder, Todd Bentley)...will ultimately not be able to stand up and persevere amidst true persecution and suffering. When that happens, who or what will you cling to, the word of God, or your glory cloud? Or perhaps the handful of gold dust in your pocket... Thanks so much, Scott

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  72. Dear fellow Darbyites (Rick here). So we’ve established that Johnson has never used the term MSOG, you simply accuse him of “tendencies”. Do you really think he believes we are Gods and will never die as was taught in the 1950s by these characters? You have accused him of Latter Rain tendencies. However, that is as true of you and me as it is of Him. If you lay hands on people to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, if you’ve prophesied, you’ve displayed Latter Rain Tendencies. Plus, most obviously we are in the midst of a heavy latter rain. It took 3 centuries after pentecost to build up to 200,000 believers. In the 105 years since the outpouring at William Seymour’s church (which was accompanied by visible clouds of glory) in 1906, there are now 600 million pentecostals in the world and the gospel has been preached to nearly every corner of the globe. Last week in southern Nigeria alone, 158,000 Nigerians received Jesus and signed registration cards in a Reinhard Bonnke crusade. And the rate of conversions is increasing. We’ve established that kenosis is a confusing concept and argued over whether Johnson is an ontological kenotic or a functional kenotic. For the record I don’t think there is any question he is a functional kenotic. However, he has never used the word, never taught it. If you have doubt read Bethel’s belief statement. Jesus could have called several legions of angels as he told Peter, he could have turned the stone into bread. He could have turned the planet into Swiss cheese with a word. He didn’t have to ask “who touched me”. He knew the number of hairs on the head of the woman with the issue of blood. There was never a time when Jesus was not God. Yet He laid down his abilities and depended on the Holy Spirit to model ministry for us. As he said, “these things will you do and greater”. Now you say that Bill “teaches” Jesus died spiritually. Is it taught in any of his 9 books? Taught in any articles or CD series? No, We have one obscure mention in a sermon given 2 years ago. I heard it and I took the point to be that Jesus modeled ministry completely for us. He did not have to be baptized in water to signify rebirth, but He did. He did not have to ask “Who touched me?”, but He did. He could have healed every sick person in Capernaum, but again, he held his powers in reserve and modeled the Christian life for us. There has never been a time when Jesus was not God, never been a time when Jesus, as God, was not alive. He is the eternal logos. You have taken one obscure statement spoken once and tarred and feathered Bill. Heidi Baker, a frequent guest and friend of Bill has led over 1 million Mozambicans to Jesus, established over 10,000 churches and several orphanages in Africa. That is the fruit. I am going to continue to evangelize my city for Jesus, I am going to continue to pray for the sick and I suggest you let go of these hair-splitting theological fixations and focus on the Savior as well. The rapture may not be far away.

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  73. Rick,

    You wrote, "There was never a time when Jesus was not God. Yet He laid down his abilities and depended on the Holy Spirit to model ministry for us."

    Can you explain how that would work in John 5:21?:

    21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. [NKJV]

    I'll let other more learned scholars than I explain: Andreas Kostenberger states, “He claimed not merely to be God’s instrument in raising other people, but to give life himself to whom he is pleased to give it.” Craig Keener, agreeing with Kostenberger, states, “Like the Father, Jesus could give life (5:21; cf. 17:2); this made him act in a divine manner.” Moreover, in a section titled Jesus as Life-Giver in the Present and the Future (5:24-30) in his commentary on the Gospel of John, Keener shows agreement. He continues, “Jesus returns to the claim that the Father has authorized him to give life (5:21) with the image of realized eschatology implied by ‘passed from death to life’ (5:24); one already abides in death until believing in the one who sent Jesus, hence in Jesus’ delegated mission…”

    Jesus acted of His own divine authority as in subordination to the Father. To claim this was done in virtue of the Holy Spirit is to contradict Scripture.

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  74. Rick,

    Assuming for a moment that your position of Johnson adhering to a functional kenosis is correct, even though as I see the evidence I'm not in agreement, the doctrine still has an insurmountable problem. The problem inherent in functional kenosis is that, since it does not allow Jesus to actually use any of his omni- traits, then He can't even use the so-called extra calvinisticum (or some say extra catholicum). This would have caused the cosmos to collapse during the Incarnation [cf. Hebrews 1:3].

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  75. Not a good day when the cosmos collapses!

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  76. I'm in the middle of a project...no time....but let me ask you craig. How did Elisha raise the dead?

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  77. First, (Rick here) you have created these arbitrary kenosis rules. “Since it does not allow Jesus to actually use any of his omni- traits, then He can't even use the so-called extra calvinisticum (or some say extra catholicum). This would have caused the cosmos to collapse during the Incarnation” The Bible doesn’t contain kenosis rules or distinguish between ontological kenosis and functional kenosis. You are getting twisted up with your arbitrary restrictions and definitions. Bill has never talked about kenosis.

    Jesus had power without measure and authority in His own name. As Jesus says, It was by the Holy Spirit that the sick were healed, blind eyes opened, demons were cast out, lame walk.

    But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Matthew 12:27-29

    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, Luke 4:17-19 Jesus quoting Isaiah 61:1

    “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Matt 11:3 Jesus quoting Isaiah 61:1

    For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. John 3:33-35

    One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Luke 5:16-18

    When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, Luke 9:1-3

    Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matt 10

    He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:5

    “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. John 5:19

    “Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.” 2nd Kings 13;21

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  78. Rick,

    You stated, So we’ve established that Johnson has never used the term MSOG, you simply accuse him of “tendencies”. Do you really think he believes we are Gods and will never die as was taught in the 1950s by these characters? You have accused him of Latter Rain tendencies…

    I never used the word “tendencies.” I made the explicit claim that Johnson adheres to Latter Rain. Here’s one quote from one of the links provided earlier:

    “On the Day of Pentecost, Peter declared that the promise of Joel 2 was fulfilled. …Yet, that day was only the initial fulfillment of the promise – the Spirit was poured out on that day, but there is a day coming in which He will truly be poured out on all flesh. This is a fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit being poured as the early and latter rain. The early rain was the first century, and the latter is now.”

    Then, I point out Johnson’s MSoG teaching – a teaching on our glorification.

    Apparently, you refuse to look at what I wrote on the CrossWise site which is certainly your prerogative. However, you then have no right to criticize what you’ve obviously not read. And, in fact, I’ve already asked you to post comments over there yet you refuse.

    Then, after you make the claim that Johnson, without question, “is a functional kenotic,” you try to negate my criticism of this doctrine by my “arbitrary rules.”
    Yet, I’ve only refuted your specific statements. Earlier you’ve made the explicit claim, ”Yet He [Jesus] laid down his abilities and depended on the Holy Spirit to model ministry for us.; but, once I show this to be in fact contrary to Scripture (via John 5:21) and that the logical conclusion in Jesus having “laid down his abilities” would be the resulting inability to use the extra calvinisticum which is debilitating to the doctrine, you come back and state that I’ve made these “arbitrary rules” when I’ve merely shown the logical fallacy in the doctrine you put forth.

    There’s no question Jesus at times relied on the Holy Spirit to perform the miraculous, yet to claim He relied solely on the Holy Spirit is not Scriptural. That is my point. Johnson makes this explicit claim that Jesus had “NO supernatural capabilities.” The word “capabilities” means having no ability which is a flat out false claim in view of Scripture. If Jesus truly had “NO supernatural capabilities” during the Incarnation then the cosmos would have collapsed. And, having no capabilities implies ontological (total inability) as opposed to functional kenosis (having ability but choosing to forego the use).

    This is not about arguing for the sake of being argumentative. Ontological kenosis is necessary to make Jesus a model/pattern to follow in MSoG doctrine. That, I posit, is the reason for Johnson propounding this doctrine. And, I wish to reiterate: if you wish to discuss this further, please do so on the CrossWise blog.

    And, I see you’ve never answered my question re: Jesus being a “lamb (powerless)” on the Cross who didn’t (and obviously couldn’t with “NO supernatural capabilities”) raise Himself from the dead according to Johnson - contrary to John 2:19. The Resurrection was jointly performed by the entire Trinity [Rom 11:4; Rom 8:11; Gal 1:1; Acts 13:34; John 2:19; John 10:17-18]. This was essential to provide Atonement.

    And, going back to the subject of this article, faulty doctrine, especially faulty Christology should make one especially skeptical as to any supernatural activity such as pixie dust, I mean gold dust and feathers. Sort of like the caution necessary re: Bentley at Lakeland whom Johnson continues to enthusiastically support -- the guy who unabashedly taught MSoG. Just like Bob Jones who was somewhat recently featured at a prophetic conference at Bethel. As Bud Press has said, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

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  79. Is it possible that you are missing the context of Mat. 5? Jesus says verse 21 while talking about his willing submission to do "only what the father does." Isn't it possible that there is room for uncertainty over how Jesus is empowered to do this. Could it have been the Holy Spirit? and just some food for thought or fuel for discussion. Earlier in the postings was a justification that is commonly seen/used by Christians who write/read blogs like these. That argument is that we as believers are called to "test all things" and the primary way we do this is through the scriptures. One issue with that I have is that the communities in the cities that received these instructions wouldn't have had the "scriptures" so how exactly were they to do what was asked? They must have had another way... name is Mikko. Please be nice I'm just seeking truth.

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  80. Mikko,

    I’m assuming you’re referring to John 5:21 rather than Mat 5:21 [just like I erred above in using Rom 11:4 instead of 1:4]. It seems to accept that the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to do “give life to whom He will” is reading into the text. The two exegetes cited above are both well regarded. I have commentary by F.F. Bruce which confirms the two above and in fact specifically refutes that it was the Holy Spirit more strongly than either:

    He does not claim simply to be an instrument in God’s hand for restoring the dead to life, as Elijah and Elisha were; he asserts that authority has been given him to raise the dead…not only that eternal life is granted to those who believe in him (cf. Johns 3:15, 16, 36); it is that he exercises the divine prerogative of imparting this life.

    If you continue reading through to verses 22-23 it’s even more evident that Christ is given both authority and the power to carry out of Himself. Yes, this is speaking about the future judgment; but, this should be looked at in its full context that Jesus provided life “to whom He wills” in the then present with ultimate judgment reserved for the future. This is consistent with all 3 exegetes.

    However, even if we were to accept for the moment that your view is correct [in direct contradistinction to credible exegetes] with the corresponding belief that ALL Christ’s miracles were done in virtue of the Holy Spirit (there are other Scriptures which negate this, however), to accept that Jesus “laid aside” all His divine traits, as Johnson claims, such that He did not raise Himself at the Resurrection violates John 2:19, 10:17-18 as noted above which has negative implications on the Atonement. That’s not to mention that if He did not have omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience He could not have sustained the cosmos during the Incarnation [cf. Colossians 1:16-17; Heb 1:3].

    Johnson’s Christology is false – plain and simple.

    For more, here’s an online commentary:

    http://www.studylight.org/desk/?l=en&query=john+5%3A21-23&section=0&translation=nas&oq=&sr=1

    Just click on one of the references on the right [first one, “ACC”, is Adam Clarke’s commentary] for other views. I could be wrong, but I do not believe you’ll find any to support the view that the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus in “giving life to whom He wills.”

    And, for any who may think that Jesus could not have actually provided life until His death on the Cross, remember the thief on the cross.

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  81. Anon says: That argument is that we as believers are called to "test all things" and the primary way we do this is through the scriptures. One issue with that I have is that the communities in the cities that received these instructions wouldn't have had the "scriptures" so how exactly were they to do what was asked?

    Actually they did have scriptures and Paul instructed Timothy to
    Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
    1 Tim 4

    TJH

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  82. Indeed, Jesus and the Apostles were continually referring to scriptures and quoting the same.

    Mikko, the problem you suggest is the same problem Bill Johnson suggests when he states "It's difficult to get the same fruit as the early church when we value a book they didn't have more than the Holy Spirit they did have."

    First of all Johnson builds a false dichotomy by choosing us to pick one or the orther. We can have both and we should let the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth - in agreement with His Word.

    Also, of course, the early church already had most of the books of the scriptures that we now have, and they surely had not only manuscripts of many of the letters of the Apostles, they also had rthe Apostles themselves AND many were even there during the incarnation.

    Bottom line- the "Holy Spirit" apart from the word becomes rather subjective; in 40 years as a Christian I've seen far too many people that were mislead by a "burning in ther bosum."

    After all, the heart is decietful.

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  83. The film "The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon," intended as an apologetic against Mormonisim, contains some great historical information about the bible, and its authenticity contrasted with something supposedly delivered by the Holy Spirit. Just as Mormons are decieved, so are many who denigrate the Bible and exalt the so-called rhema word. Anyhow, the movie is time well spent - take a gander.

    http://sourceflix.com/the-bible-vs-the-book-of-mormon/

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  84. William, you make Bill Johnson's point. You can't value the word of God and denigrate the Holy Spirit. You need them both, it's not either or. You can't we value a book they didn't have (the new testament) more than the Holy Spirit they did have. And you can't value the experience of the Holy Spirit over the word of God. You need them both. As Jesus said in John 5:39
    "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me." It is possible to study the scriptures diligently and miss relating to Jesus.

    Craig is so confused I hardly know where to begin. Is he saying that a person cannot be raised from the dead or healed by the Holy Spirit operating through someone? How did Elisha raise the dead or heal the sick? Is He saying the Holy Spirit did not raise Jesus from the dead? "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." or "Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead" Galatians 1:1-3. Of course Jesus had authority to lay down His life and authority to take it up. He had authority to call 10 000 angels, to turn stone into bread. As God the 3rd person of the trinity He was involved in the resurrection. But Jesus and Paul draw a clear cut picture of Jesus submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit and the hand of the Father to raise Him from the dead.

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  85. Based on reports from Bethel on Sunday night (11/13/2011) I'd say of the 4 options "man-made" is pretty much ruled out.

    Was anybody there who would like to tell us what they saw?

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  86. Anon 11/14/11, 2:21AM,

    Nowhere have I stated that the Holy Spirit did not work through Jesus or through others whether in OT or NT era or even today. You are missing the point. Johnson (and Rick’s?) specific claim is that Jesus laid aside ALL supernatural powers. Thus, He could not have raised Himself from the dead at the Resurrection and, in fact, Johnson makes that specific claim in both a sermon and no Facebook in February of this year as noted in second kenosis article referenced earlier. Johnson is teaching clear ontological kenosis. Further, this means, to re-reiterate, that Jesus could not have sustained the cosmos [Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:3].

    Please read all that I write. I made the specific statement that the Holy Spirit and the Father – the entire Trinity – raised Jesus from the dead at 11/10/11 6:05pm above to include Jesus Himself [John 2:19 and John 10:17-18].

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  87. "all supernatural powers" should be "all supernatural capabilities" as that is Johnson's specific statement. If one does not have 'capability', one does not even have this trait. Thus, Johnson's Christology is such that Jesus did not merely allow the Holy Spirit to perform all His miracles, He was completely unable to perform them Himself. This is made explicit in Johnson's The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind [p 50]:

    "Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help…”

    Johnson's wording is quite clear. In the Johnson Christology Jesus lacked total ability; He didn't merely submit to the Holy Spirit, He could not perform the miraculous Himself. This reduces Jesus to less than God.

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  88. ADMIN NOTE

    Just to keep things civil, I'm going to delete any responses that use the terms such as heretic, blasphemer, antichrist, Sadducee, Pharisee, or scoffer.

    That includes warnings against blasphemy. I'm secure enough in my salvation to discuss the elephant in the room. God loves me.

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  89. Craig,
    But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. Matthew 12:27-29

    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, Luke 4:17-19 Jesus quoting Isaiah 61:1

    “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Matt 11:3 Jesus quoting Isaiah 61:1

    For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. John 3:33-35

    One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Luke 5:16-18

    When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, Luke 9:1-3

    Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matt 10

    He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:5

    “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. John 5:19

    Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men Phil. 2:5-7

    “Who touched My garments?” Mark 5:30

    No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. John 10:18

    Craig, this is the clear witness of scripture. If you won’t believe the Bible there is not a lot more I can say. You have your theological theories, I have the scriptures. Jesus, the Logos, Creator of the universe, retained his authority but limited Himself to depending on the Holy Spirit. I can’t understand that but I accept it. He was the light that enlightens every man yet he grew up a teenager in Nazareth. He sustains the universe, yet needed to be sustained by the ministering angels in the garden of Gethsemane. No wonder He has been given a name above every name, “greater love hath no man than he Lay down his life for his friend”

    Rick

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  90. The last thing I want to do is call someone a heretic. Yikes. There is too much of that going around without warrant. Nor would I want to accuse anyone here of blasphemy or even phariseeism. I was quoting a scripture, without comment, to establish a principal that it would be difficult to accuse satan of sponsoring devotion to Jesus, healing, worship of the savior and salvation. Here is a shortened verion from Matthew with out any of the value judgments against persons.

    “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

    William, I appreciatre your civilized attitude on this, we are all brothers.

    Thanks
    Rick

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  91. Rick,

    I suggest you do a good study on kenosis - the subject of which comes primarily from a faulty interpretation of Philippians 2:5-7 specifically that the "emptying" was literal rather than, according to historic Christian orthodoxy, metaphorical.

    You seem to miss the point that I've made multiple times that Jesus did not solely rely on the Spirit to perform miracles. I've not once made the claim that Jesus did not at times rely on the Holy Spirit. Jesus was/is God [Hebrews 13:8]. God is Spirit and given that God is in very essence supernatural, to claim He did not have these capabilities, as Johnson has, is not Biblical. Jesus needed supernatural capabilities to sustain the cosmos and to "give life to whom He chooses." If Jesus did not raise Himself as part of the Trinity, then we have an ineffectual Atonement.

    Jesus Christ, as the Word made flesh, is/was the 2nd member of the Trinity. At no time was He rendered so completely human that He did not have supernatural powers and at no time did He render Himself void of supernatural capabilities.

    When the Word became flesh He added a human nature without divesting or limiting any divine attributes (i.e. kenosis). That is the mystery of the Incarnation; but, it's not an incoherent doctrine. As but one example, Oliver Crisp's divine krypsis theory defines a fully divine and fully human Jesus Christ without falling into Apollinarianism or Nestorianism and, of course, without any kenosis in using the communicatio idiomatum in hypostatic union. Jesus was not merely contained in the human body of the God-man during the Incarnation; He also existed outside (extra carnem) via omnipresence (called the extra calvinisticum or extra catholicum). Thus, Jesus still had supernatural capabilities in contradistinction to Bill Johnson's plain words more than one time.

    This isn't just about a theory; this is about maintaining the full and unqualified divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Johnson's explicit denial of Christ's supernatural capabilities is an explicit denial of the divine 'omni' attributes (plus immutability) which make up His divine nature.

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  92. Rick,

    I should have a YouTube link by this evening, but what do you make of this:

    http://www.facebook.com/billbjohnson?sk=wall

    Whatever it is, this is accelerating. I have also emailed Larry, who posted early on, if he witnessed this last night.

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  93. Rick,

    I'm going to go back to an earlier comment you made regarding me: I have to laugh when I read that you believe Bill thinks “Jesus was merely “a man in right relationship to God” who “had no ability to heal the sick,” “couldn’t cast out devils,” and “had no ability to raise the dead” except by virtue of the ‘enabling’ by the “Christ anointing,”

    The quotes are taken directly from Bill Johnson's books. You can view the full content from the footnotes I've referenced in the article from which you find them. If you feel these are out of context, then by all means show me and all the readers on here how I've maligned Johnson's words. However, I'm quite confident you won't find I've done so.

    I note that you've not taken the full context of John 10:18; here's the full context:

    17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life —only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” [NIV; emphasis added]

    This sure seems like inherent power with authority from the Father - in subordination to the Father.

    Also, you quoted Luke 9:3:

    When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he [Jesus] gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases

    If Jesus gave the Twelve 'power and authority' this seems as though He worked in a supernatural way. I'm quite sure I cannot give 'power and authority' to anyone even though I have the Holy Spirit indwelling. The Holy Spirit may (and does) work through me, but I totally lack both supernatural 'power and authority' in and of myself.

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  94. William, you ask what I make of this glory cloud appearance at Bethel. I am also e-mailing friends who were there. One of my friends, Julia Loren, is an author and investigative journalist who is based in Redding and I want to hear her take. I came home from a prayer meeting Sunday night and had a message on my phone from a friend in Texas urging me to turn on iBethel. It is more obvious than ever that the cloud appears spontaneously, has no apparent locus of origin, and continues unabated for hours. Of course, the shekinah glory is not a new phenomenon, mentioned frequently in the old and new Testaments, Azusa Street gatherings, even an isolated appearance to our pastor 35 years ago. In fact, Israel had to learn to live with its daily appearance for 40 years. It did not insure holiness, didn’t guarantee healing, it didn’t even signify that Israel was righteous or Holy. It was just God’s great kindness, granting them courage to undertake the impossible. Moses said “I won’t go unless you go with me” and God took him at his word. The glory cloud signified times of great miracles and favor for Israel. I believe it signifies we are facing equally difficult times. Times when “Men’s hearts fail them for fear”. A time of darkness when a great light shines over His people. A time of the increase of miracles, signs and wonders all designed to draw people to repentance and salvation through the blood of Jesus. In fact, Isaiah prophesied that the cloud of Glorty would once again cover the nation of Israel when they turn in repentance (at the end of the tribulation perhaps?). “Then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.” Is. 4:2. When I watch the glory cloud fill the auditorium, it provokes in me a sense of wonder and awe at God and reminds me of His proximity and importance in my life. It’s a great priority check.

    Seeing live streaming footage of the cloud of glory awakens in me feelings I had during the days of the 1990 Iraq war when scud missles were being fired on Israel. The creative department of the ad agency where I was employed stopped working and gathered around the TV. I thought at the time that this could literally be the start of the war of Armageddon. We just had a sense of God breaking through history. This has motivated me to pray more and witness more. A group of us are going out to the streets of Portland again on Saturday to tell others about Jesus. I don’t care what Rick Joyner or Kris Valloten believe, I personally am convinced the scriptures teach a pre-trib rapture (and of course the glory cloud is not intended to be a stamp of approval for doctrinal correctness, whatever that may be). I try not to dwell overly much upon the nearness of His coming. Could be a month, or a year, or 20 years, though I would be surprised if it was a lot longer than that.

    Thanks, Rick

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  95. Rick,

    Please keep us appraised of what you learn. This is new territory, and I'm really sensing a tipping point.

    From my pre-trib view point, whether from God, Strong Delusion, or Satan, this puts us closer to the end-time time line. Blessings on your street preaching.

    You may find it interesting that I have freinds in the Bethel area that do street preaching who get castigated by Johnsonites for doing so, as they prefer prophetic evangelism and signs and wonders to a presentation of Christ and Him crucified. Go figure.

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  96. Rick,

    Here is some additional commentary from well-known exegete and historian Darrel L. Bock, PhD. [author of Breaking the Da Vinci Code and The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities]. This is from his exegesis of Luke 3:22

    ...The power that Jesus exhibits in Luke-Acts is attributed to his own authority, person, or name, and not solely to the Spirit [Luke 4:36; Luke 5:12, 17; Luke 6:19; Luke 8:46; Luke 9:1; Luke 10:19; Acts 3:12, 16; Acts 4:7]. Even the power that the disciples receive is sent by Jesus to them so that he has authority over it [Luke 9:1 and Luke 24:49 with Acts 2:32-34]... [Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Luke 1:1 - 9:50, 1994, Baker; pp 344-45]

    I certainly don't expect you to take my word for it which is why I'm quoting other sources. All the commentary I've cited above is authored by well-respected exegetes with doctorates. Taken together, these scholars debunk the theory that Jesus was strictly limited in His miracle workings to just the Holy Spirit.

    Also, I did a very brief check on the individual you cited previously - Dr. Glenn Peoples. Peoples' is propounding ontological kenosis with Jesus actually divesting Himself of both His omniscience and omnipotence. Prayson Daniel in the following rightly challenges Peoples' kenotic theory:

    http://withalliamgod.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/why-i-dont-buy-kenotic-theology/

    Daniel quotes a portion of Peoples:

    ...He did not simply have his omnipotence and omniscience at his disposal throughout his earthy life, choosing never to make use of it [ed: which would be functionalist kenosis]. He actually set those things aside and genuinely took the form of a servant. It was not an act or a ruse. The incarnation, in short, was genuinely as it appeared to be.

    Rick, is this your belief? This is almost consistent with Johnson except Bill goes one step further denying Jesus had any supernatural capabilities which would necessarily include omnipresence as well.

    This is a non-divine Jesus and, hence, sure appears to be a different Jesus [2 Cor 11:4]. And, if this is correct and Johnson is really believing in a 'different Jesus', we must ask ourselves the source of the 'gold dust' and feathers.

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  97. Craig, as I said before, I believe in a FUNCTIONAL KENOSIS. I believe Bill Johnson does as well. I believe you have misunderstood him. Bill is not saying Jesus was not God. The very thought is absurd and you know it!!! Bill is not expressing himself in technical theological terms.

    The Bible is explicit about how Jesus ministered and yet you reject all the clear scripture. Jesus always was God and always will be God and never was not fully God. Of course Jesus had power and authority as stated in Luke 4:36. Actually, stating the power of the Lord was present with Jesus to heal in Luke 5:12 undercuts your arguement. In Luke 6:19 power was coming out of Him...remember scripture says he was given the Holy Spirit without limit? Peter’s very shadow healed. Jesus was free to give the power and authority He had. Why are you quoting from Acts? Of course faith in Jesus name healed the sick man. Jesus is God. He voluntarily laid down and he voluntarily took up his own powers at resurrection. Were those powers related to sustaining the universe laid down? I don’t know. Maybe not. Was He the omnipresent teenager in Israel in every place at once? Why did He not operate out of his Omnicience when He did not know who touched him? Yadda yadda yadda. I gave you a dozen scriptures that were very clear. Can you get any clearer than “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” Matthew 12:27-29 You had no answer. You just enjoy arguing and you are wasting time trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

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  98. Craig and Kevin,

    We are losing comments worth response, such as Mikko's, to this esoteric discussion of the kenosis. While the discussion has merit, neither one of you is going to convince the other, I fear. And everyone else's eyes are glazing over, including mine.

    This ends the discussion on kenosis. You can take it over to Craig's blog.

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii/

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  99. I would like to clarify my point about the possibility of "Strong Delusion," a reference to 2 Thes 2.

    In the case of Strong Delusion, the lying signs and wonders come from Satan, it is God who sends stong delusion upon some so that they belive what is false.

    Some would state that we are not at the proper eschatological time for this to happen, but aside for the fact that the lawless one has not yet been revealed, or has the Holy Spirit been removed, but we seem close to this time than ever.

    Just wanted to clairfy WHO would send false signs and wonders - the lawless one who has not yet been revelaled. As someone once said, "He may be Satan, but his is God's Satan."

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  100. Mikko,

    You suggest the early church did not have the scriptures, yet the scriptures suggest that they did.

    Acts 17:2 Paul reasoned with the Jews "from the scripture."

    Acts 17:11 The noble bereans were commended because they examined the scriptures to see if the things Paul taught were true.

    2 Tim 3:16 the early church was told that all scripture was good to establish doctine, for reproof and correction, and to teach "right living."

    I could go on and on, but the fact remains that even the early church had scripture.

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  101. Bill,

    I'll move the kenosis discussion to CrossWise (assuming Rick comes along).

    I agree with your position with "the coming of the lawless one" as preceding the revealing of the lawless one as that seems to make the most sense in the larger context.

    As to Scriptures that show the early church had the Scriptures, some will claim that 2 Tim 3:16 is strictly OT. I would disagree with that position; but, I think a stronger Scriptural support is 2 Peter 3:15-16 which legitimizes both Peter's epistles and Paul's writings which would include 2 Tim 3:16

    15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. [NIV 1984]

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  102. Bill,

    You may want to check out the post over at Bart's FB page, from the man who talked about experiencing firsthand the strange manifestations at Jim Jones' People's Temple in the Bay Area back in the 70's. Perhaps you could print that hereB as I think it would be VERY beneficial for everyone who has been posting here to see, and how it may shed some insight as to what may be taking place at Bethel. I too believe that the end is drawing near closer than ever before (hehehe, tongue planted firmly in cheek). The idea of the "Christ consciousness" is now being marketed so aggressively, everywhere you turn it's there right in your face it seems (check out "bzel333's" latest video on YT). This is no coincidence of course to the discerning Christian, not to mention according to the Bible. Bethel may be playing some part here, spiritually speaking. Bill Johnson has some very deep sympathies for some deeply peculiar characters (which is no secret). Two come to mind, in light of all that is going on -- Kathryn Kuhlman and William Branham. Influenced by demonic "spirit guides", many have propositioned (?) Could they be showing their hand here, I wonder. The palate that Johnson works from and the Christ-consciousness deception are eerily not that far apart. As with his Word Faith friends, take a few core ideas, twist them ever so subtly, and you have a different Christianity. A little sleight of hand never hurt nobody...

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  103. Kuhlmann and Branham...which they crave the "anointings" of, no? Hmm...

    Scott ( just posted)

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  104. Why does God send them a delusion? Verse 9-11 of 2nd Thessalonians 2 says that it is in preparation for the coming of the lawless one (the Anti-christ), that it is a work of Satan, that it is given to people who are lawless (consider a life style of breaking all the 10 commandments and being proud of it). They are going to hell, they are not saved, they do not love God because they “refused to love the truth and so be saved”. This definitely describe the Christians at Bethel, the believers at Azusa Street or my pastor who saw the glory cloud 35 years ago and has led thousands to repentance and faith in Jesus.

    Rick

    BTW Kathryn was as straight up orthodox evangelical as they come who was responsible for leading hundreds of thousands to Jesus. Ask your pastor.

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  105. Rick,

    I'm going to assume you meant to say "This definitely DOES NOT describe the Christians at Bethel."

    Now, as I think I said, The timing of 2 Thes 2 is sktechy. I'm not sure how it will all work out. But the possibility exists. I find Matthew 24, in which Jesus says that we will see false signs and wonders, as perhaps more applicable, but I'm not ready to Identify a false messiah or false prophet. I can think of 2 friends of Bethel who might qualify for the second.

    Aside from thoe two scriptues, I think that a case could be made that this is a sign of judgement as easliy as that this is a sign of blessing.

    As the bethel apologetic develops, so will the response. Right now its a moving target; they no longer claim it is gold, so Vallotens 412 occurances in the bible rings hollow.

    TJH,

    "Sorry brother, you can come up with all of the intelectual support and scriptures you want. You are wrong!Period!"

    That is not helpful.

    -Bill

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  106. ""Kathryn was as straight up orthodox evangelical as they come..."

    - Apparently this hasn't had any effect on Benny Hinn then, after sucking all the "anointing" from her gravesite. Now that is laughable...

    Scott

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  107. Rick, you wrote ...in preparation for the coming of the lawless one (the Anti-christ), that it is a work of Satan, that it is given to people who are lawless (consider a life style of breaking all the 10 commandments and being proud of it)...

    Here's the context of these verses:

    9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. [NIV 1984]

    First, the prefix anti can also mean instead of. So, the individuals do not have to be Ten Commandment breakers. In fact, it seems more logical that Satan will look like the real Jesus Christ (the "instead of" Christ) in order to deceive, and, hence, more likely to be in the false signs and wonders spoken of in Matthew 7:21-23 which appears to correlate with the Thessalonians verses. And, since the tares will grow with the wheat [Matthew 13:24-30] - meaning they will look like the real deal - this gives more credibility to the position.

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  108. William. I feel at least I can talk to you, that you are reasonable. I really don’t want to argue over whether the “anti” in anti-christ means “against” or “instead of”. Lawless means, no respect for God’s laws.The people that are being deceived in Thessalonians are not saved, they DELIGHT in wickedness and lawlessness. Some people here (not you) are determined to condemn Bethel no matter if they have to twist scripture or ignore scripture to do it.

    In Matthew 24 Jesus is talking about a person masquerading as Jesus. He may come out of the desert, he may come from an inner room. He will have a false prophet announcing that this character is Jesus. In Revelation 19:20 we are told that “The beast” (anti-christ) “was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."

    The false prophet’s miracles are intended to establish that this evil, blashphemous character from the desert who hates Jesus and beheads Christians, is God and anyone who accepts that lie is given the mark of the beast. The false prophet is the one who does the miracles. I really don’t think that applies here. Unless you think that Bill Johnson is the false prophet in league with the devil to introduce the anti-christ and will be thrown in the lake of fire.

    Thanks, Rick

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  109. Rick,

    Matthew 24:5

    For MANY shall come saying..

    Matthew 24:11

    MANY false prophets shall arise

    Matthew 24:24

    for false messiahs (one who has been anointed) AND false prophets shall arise.

    Your interpetation seems to hinge on a single person- THE antichrist. I read MANY in a more literal sense, and see AND not meaning fallse anointed ones AND false prophets.

    At this point, I'm not willing to state that false prphets have not been honored by Bethel Church. At any rate, I would not keep company with Bob Jones, Todd Bentley, or John Crowder. I think that all of those guys are seriously misleading the body of Christ in these last days.

    Hope I made myself clear this time.

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  110. Rick,

    Strong's concordance:

    http://concordances.org/greek/473.htm

    Definition: (a) instead of, in return for, over against, opposite, in exchange for, as a substitute for, (b) on my behalf, (c) wherefore, because.

    I don't just make this stuff up.

    Some people here (not you) are determined to condemn Bethel no matter if they have to twist scripture or ignore scripture to do it.

    I suppose I would be included in the "some people" you refer to. You've made a rather serious charge which I don't appreciate. I don't twist or ignore Scripture - certainly not on purpose.

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  111. I hear you Bill. Good thoughts. I think you are right that we will soon begin to see actual demonic miracles performed by various lawless people. And I agree with you regarding Todd Bentley. I certainly wouldn’t be endorsing him. I know Bill is loyal to a fault, but this crosses one of those fault lines. I saw Todd once before he had all those tattoos (6 years ago) and I had problems with him then. His conversion, early ministry story (which was valid) and charm he had with older ministers has worn thin and much of what he is doing now seems to revolve around making money. I can forgive someone for falling if there is true repentance. Need I mention King David. Or Amy Semple McPherson, founder of Foursquare (3 husbands, two divorces, died of a drug overdose). Even the early Assembly of God people were pretty out there. I know many signs and wonders people are permanently burned up about Todd, won’t talk to him and trust nothing he says. I would not reccommend goofy John Crowder as well for the same reasons you wouldn’t. Once you start looking at the personal lives of ministers it is like watching sausage being made. AB Simpson, founder of Christian Missionary Alliance taught complete sanctification perfectionism. Alexander Dowie became a complete crackpot...even though a wonderful denomination, the Open Bible Church, was birthed out of it. Martin Luther hated jews and taught that we are living in the millenium. Charles Parham was a racist and friend of the Ku Klux Klan. I think one of the most destructive heresies that has had the most influence on America we conveniently ignore. And that is the Baptist teaching that Jesus can do no more miracles of healing today and that the gifts of the Spirit are demonic manifestations. In other words, Jesus is the same yesterday and tomorrow, but not today. That’s the way I was taught. Despite all the craziness of God’s children, I do believe that He loves and blesses anyone who truly loves Jesus. We are all broken and in need of grace. Don't you love the word of God, there is so much peace and security in it. Thankfully no one has had a camera on my life.

    Saved by Grace, Rick

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  112. Rick,
    I have appreciated the back and forth exchanges currently taking place.

    I am coming at this from a different perspective. I have recently learned that those of us who were praying with Mike Bickle's church (KCF, pre-IHOP) back in the 80's are now being credited (at least by Mike) with 'bringing in' the first wave of these manifestations - the one's that occurred at Toronto. In other words, the signs came to Toronto because we prayed in Kansas City.

    I can assure you that those of us who were on the first leg of this lap, praying, we were anticipating brokenness and repentance to accompany the expected outpouring of God. Leonard Ravenhill was a frequent quest speaker and this was his continual emphasis.

    When Toronto occurred, I had long since left KCF, but I was, nonetheless, informed of the manifestations taking place from that sector. Perhaps because those meetings didn't carry a reputation, or a testimony of brokenness and repentance, along with no testimony of the Gospel being preached, I dismissed these signs as being from the Lord.

    Have you heard whether or not these current manifestations carry with it the repentance and brokenness I speak of? That, I believe, would be an undeniable sign that God was in their midst. You can't fake brokenness.

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  113. Julie, while I was not there when the glory cloud appeared, (though I was warching it live streaming in Portland Oregon), my best friend was. Bruce is an MD, then earned an Mdiv in theologyat an evangelical seminary. He is a brilliant guy, trained in science. He met the Lord in 1971. During the 1990s he took two years out of his medical practice and taught theology and science at Life Bible College in LA. Despite a deep and thorough knowledge of the Bible and a genuine Christian experience, Bruce, like so many others, suffered a mid-life crisis and fell into an affair. He went through a divorce and re-marriage followed by another divorce. His faith had grown cold. He met and married his third wife last year. Sub sequently she met the Lord and Bruce began his long journey back. I have been praying with him once a week working through the sin issues. Bruce’s wife had heard about Bethel and they visited a few weeks ago. Bruce was completely unfamiliar with Bethel. They were in church on that Friday night, though they left just before the manifestation occured. The two of them were instantly conscious of the overwhelming presence of the Lord. Bill called out Bruce’s wife, she had been bearing great grief since her oldest child died 2 years ago. The Lord filled her with great joy and peace. Bruce, on the otherhand, dissolved into a mess of tears on the floor and spent 3 days experienceing brokeness, repentance and healing. It was kind of like Ezra’s account of the laying of the foundation of the temple, the weeping could not be distinguished from the joy. Since returning home they have been on fire witnessing about Jesus to friends, family and patients. My friend is back from the dead! Others of us who have been impacted by Bethel are sharing the gospel on the weekends with strangers on the streets of Portland and have seen many transformations. We are going out again Saturday with spirit-filled people from 23 other churches. Revival fires are burning. A group of churches have been fasting and praying for 7 weeks together for revival. This is unprecedented. I believe this recent display of God’s presence is provoking an ongoing brokeness, repentance and healing which is happening daily, not just as a dramatic one-time altar call.

    I have never visited Toronto, but I would recommend to you heidi Baker’s story. She and her husband were burnt out missionaries who struggled for converts. At Toronto she spent many days weeping and worshipping on the carpet. Must have been a sight. They returned to Mozambique in the fire and power of the Lord. In 15 years they have established 10,000 churches, led over a million to Jesus, launched several orphanages and Bible schools. She is also a frequent speaker at Bethel.

    Rick

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  114. Reading all or most of this, it's all been said, but the time has now come to obey the Lord: Come OUT of her my people! What have we to do with blasphemy and deception? Let the dead bury their dead... as for you Man of God, serve Him. We have a very rough ride ahead of us, even surviving in these last days, and we can no longer be encumbered with a battle than cannot and WILL not be won. For 20 years or more God has warned us, and called our attention to these things, which continue to grow worse with every passing day. These things will indeed grow and increase, but WE must turn aside and look to our walk in GOD. Before the end, we are told, the angels will be separating the tares into bundles for burning, so the wheat can be more easily identified and gathered. Our only task now is to separate ourselves!

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  115. To make it clear- no name calling, and please no warnings that I(we) are blasphemers or telling us that we are judging. Come let us reason together. (Totally out of context, I know).

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  116. From Bethel, November 20, 2011. Tonight, there was a comment from Bill's mother, who communicated the verse from the OT about when the glory filled the temple, the priests were no longer able to minister. (Or approximate quote.)
    Bill preached an awesome sermon for Thanksgiving; one of the best I have heard in my life. With the practical application of giving thanks before God gives what is needed. He also said something to the effect that if he were able to impart one thing only, to people, it would be the spirit of thanksgiving. Afterward, there was much spontaneous a cappella worship, led by Bill or by those in the congregation. The worship kept on for a long time, fully heart worship, more than I have seen in any church anywhere in a very very long time. Then there were people healed. I prayed for a lady with arthritis who was healed. Various ones heal;ed of various deadly and very painful ailments were healed, and voluntarily gave testimony to the goodness of God. During this time, "glory dust" and many feathers were falling. Bill thought it could be more feathers than he ad ever seen before.
    Bottom line: God was intensely glorified for a very long time. God showed up in healing various ones who desperately needed Him.
    Although there was lots of feathers and "glory dust" (At one point I was choking on it, there was so much!), yet I felt that the focus was not on that, but on God Himself, worshiping and glorifying and thanking Him! If God wants to show off some visible glory, that is ok. But the focus is not on that, but primarily on Him.
    I appreciated that for the most part it was hard to focus upon the "glory dust", because it was so widespread and prolonged. I was probably exposed to it for about 2 hours. Videos and utube short clips of it do it no justice at all, and it is better to be there. It has been almost every Sunday evening service for a month or so.

    I am aware that some who may want to post here will never believe. That is their privilege. But it would be wise to wait, weighing, always remembering Paul's admonition to test all things, hold fast to that which is true. And hoping for a chance to be there so as to experience the presence of God, and not just "glory dust" on video presentation.

    I repeat what was said much earlier:

    God's glory is a terrible majestic awesome thing. Terrible in the KJV sense. Fearsome.

    Yes. We want God, in His awesome glory, and will not be sidetracked by His displays, because we want Him above it all.

    church started at 6:00 pm. I left after 11:00, and a few hundred people were still there.

    May God lead you in His glory, for His honour alone!

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  117. Thank you for the report, Larry.

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  118. Larry: "And hoping for a chance to be there so as to experience the presence of God, and not just "glory dust" on video presentation."

    Among the wonderful characteristics of God are His ability and willingness to meet us wherever we are so long as we're eager to hear from Him and seek to obey Him. I'm thankful that, unlike Muslims who must travel to Mecca, I don't have to incur the bother or expense of a trip of thousands of miles to enter into worship--a trip impossible for many on account of their lack of health or wealth.

    Frankly, I don't see the value or point of gold dust or feathers, even if authentic. According to the Bible, when I read God's Word I see the true and definite glory of God in the face of Christ as revealed to me there (2 Cor. 3-4). Not only that, we as NT believers are now ourselves temples of the Spirit and true vessels of glory. Most importantly, whereas the glory of Exodus was merely temporary the glory inherent in the proclamation of the Gospel surpasses it (2 Cor. 3:7-11). That is, the true power of God is not found in glory clouds, feathers, oil, or even in physical healings--the signs and wonders sought by the Jews--but in the Gospel message that heals the soul by reconciling it to God (Rom. 1:16).

    The Book of Hebrews is chock full of comparisons between the glory of God as expressed in the OT and the glory of God as expressed in the NT revelation of the mystery of Christ. Why would anyone who has Christ consider seeking God in the temporary and superseded forms of glory found in the OT? I can't help but observe that Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, and others seem intent on re-establishing the temporary OT forms that have faded away, against the many and explicit serious warnings of Hebrews against doing so. Simply put, Christ is all in all.

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  119. Larry: "Also, for those who like to criticize: for with whatever judement you judge, you will be judged. Please be cautious; your eternal destiny is at stake."

    Larry, are you judging those who are skeptical of Johnson's claims? If so, do please be cautious. I don't sense that most here _like_ to express skepticism. I think it's more in the nature of perceived obligation than recreation. FWIW, I do agree that much may be at stake: To affirm, deny, or even merely ignore these alleged phenomena could have far-reaching consequences.

    Since you've spent time pondering Johnson's worldview, I'm curious whether you can reconcile it--not merely the current phenomenna--with the following NT quotation:

    Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you" (Lk 17:20–21).

    This saying of Jesus seems to me to beg the question, If the true kingdom of God does not come in ways that can be observed, what should be made of alleged contemporary signs such as glory clouds and feathers?

    By the way, I don't wish to insult you in offering the following information. But I think it's important. In the event (which I do understand that you see as quite remote) that the Bethel manifesations are man-made, I speculate that they might consist in part of powdered hexagonal glitter. Much of that material comes from China and, being that it's not intended to be ingested, may be contaminated with heavy metals, such as lead. Inhaling such material could be hazardous, especially to those with existing respiratory conditions. Unless you're absolutely certain that the manifestations are not man-made, I urge you to exercise due caution.

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  120. Perhaps this is a little off topic, but in light of the earlier references to 2 Thessalonians 2, verse 4 jumped out at me, in regards to the lawless one setting himself up in the temple of God. I immediately thought of 1 Corinthians 3:16, where we are told that we are God's temple.

    I know many, including myself, have been taught to believe it will be a physical occupying of a physical temple, in Jerusalem. But with the warning further in 2 Thessalonians 2, about the lawless one coming with lying signs and wonders, is it possible that it is actually referring to the lawless one taking his seat in our hearts, as our object of worship, as he is "taking the place of" Christ?


    Just a thought I had, and have been pondering...any thoughts one way or the other would be greatly appreciated.

    -Steve

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  121. Steve,

    Compare 2 Thess 2:4 with Rev 13:6-7 keeping in view the full contexts of both Rev 13:1-10 and 2 Thess 2:1-8.

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  122. Craig,

    I apologize if I wasn't clear in my post, I do believe that THE Anti-Christ/lawless one will be a real person, who will demand worship, etc.

    I was just considering if there will be a literal temple rebuilt in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount, that he will physically occupy. I'm having trouble coming up with the appropriate way to express what I'm thinking, so forgive me if this comes across as clear as mud :)

    When we are "born again" as children of God, we commonly say "Jesus lives in our hearts"...He becomes the object of our love, worship, affection, desire, etc. We become priests, and our body's become His temple, as the Holy Spirit dwells within us.

    For the person who does not have the Holy Spirit, when the Ant-Christ comes, with signs and wonders, and people follow him, he will become their object of love, worship affection, desire...effectively becoming their "god", setting himself in position within a man, that only God has rightful claim to.

    Unless I am missing something, the passages in Revelation that you provided, would seem to accept theory.

    I pray this makes sense, and accurately conveys what I am thinking. I am not saying in anyway this is Bibilical, or accurate, just that it jumped at me while reading 2 Thess, and I want to "rightly divide", and figured I'd ask for the thoughts of other brothers and sisters.

    Thanks for your input.

    -Steve

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  123. Steve,

    Sorry, I wasn't trying to put forth a particular viewpoint just merely showing you some other Scripture to consider in light of your hypothesis.

    You wrote, "Unless I am missing something, the passages in Revelation that you provided, would seem to accept theory."

    You're right. I wanted you to make that determination rather tell you directly.

    There are quite a few theories related to this. Some of the questions which need to answered are determined by answers to other questions. Some of these questions include (this is not by any means all-inclusive):

    How is the A/C 'revealed'?

    When is the A/C 'revealed' and which factors are involved? And, with this is another related one: what is the proper chronology taking the events listed in the full contexts of both the Thessalonians and Revelations passages?

    What is the outcome of His 'revealing'?

    Does the parable of the wheat/tares [Matt 13:24-30], and/or the sheep/goats [Matt 25:31-46] factor in?

    Given that, as you essentially stated, true Christians are Holy Spirit-indwelled, are there individuals who could be 'unholy spirit' indwelled?

    The NIV Study Bible's note for Rev 13:6, specifically the word states:

    Against God's name and God's chosen people (here called God's dwelling place, or tabernacle in Greek text). Paul calls them God's temple (Eph 2:19-22), whose citizenship is in heaven (Php 3:20).

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  124. Steve,
    I would lean towards a literal fulfillment of those scriptures. Generally any replacement theories negate the fact that God still has a plan for Israel.

    I have not listened yet to this program, burt it may indeed address the topic.

    http://www.voiceofrevolution.com/lineoffire/shows/line_of_fire_11_17_11.mp3

    -Bill

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  125. Larry is making an offer to host an interested skeptic; you may contact me off list if interested. Hopefully someone like Bud Press will take him up on the offer and collect samples and photographs

    -Bill

    If any serious Christan is truly wanting to visit Bethel, Try it aiming to attend Sunday evening, as that seems to be their best service, and the longest. You may contact Bil Fawcett for details of travel. I live 2 miles south of the church in an apartment. If someone visited, they would probably expect to sleep on a couch in the living room. Plane service will probably have a plane change at San Fancisco. We could probably pick you up at the airport. Or alternatively, there is an Amtrak station downtown here. If you elected to take Amtrak, my strong suggestion is to take a sleeper coach. If you chose regular couch fare, you would probably find yourself in very poor health, both physical and emotionally, while you are here. You could stay a couple of weeks, to attend all services that week, and maybe catch two Sunday night services (which I think is their best service). Here, we are so disabled that we would hope you could help around the house a bit. If interested in seeing for yourself, yo are welcome, subject to Bill Fawcett's approval. If you are richer, you could rent a hotel and rental car. But for those struggling, I am doing what I can to make it possible. Incidently, we have no TV, and if you are a TV junkie, you would miss it too much. Also, for those who like to criticize: for with whatever judement you judge, you will be judged. Please be cautious; your eternal destiny is at stake. Contact Bill Fawcett, if interested. Temperatures here have lately been in the 40's and 50's, sometimes higher. As a congregation, these people have been the kindest church family I have probably ever known. And they have been the most intense, trying hard to follow after God. Maybe that desperation for God, on a larger scale, is what has brought on the phenomena. What church do you know where, for this total congregation of my estimate 2500, 50 get healed every single week. That is about 1 for every 50 people attending. Does your church have that kind of steady record, week after week? May His eternal weight of glory rest upon you now and forever.

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  126. I don't have time to read all 125 comments, so what I am about to ask may have already been mentioned. But breaking these experiences down to their most simplest forms, does anyone not think it is possible that there is simply a huge spiritual war going on INSIDE Bethel?

    If people are getting healed at Bethel, which is not only Biblical, but is our mission as disciples of Jesus to go out and do the same, why is it beyond the scope of anyone's imagination to think, realize, or understand that this "glory dust" could be a manifestation of the enemy to prevent people from first keeping their eyes on the Lord and second doing the work of Jesus (healing) and therefore destroy the works of the devil (sickness).

    I've always had trouble believing the gold dust and feathers are from the Lord. Logically, angels that have been seen in visions and dreams tend to be very large. The feathers people find are tiny. I've had fleeting thoughts about how angels could possibly be their source. Perhaps it's a foolish point, but we have been given the gift of reasoning. That said I have been healed of hypothyroidism and many other afflictions related to autism. My faith is not weak, and I have had the privilege of being present when a deaf friend of mine was healed as well.

    Thank you for your insights. They have been so incredibly helpful. God Bless.

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  127. The Pharisees were the ones that esteemed their own opinion higher than even making it a matter of prayer. How can anyone make an educated choice on something when they are unwilling to go see for themselves? Without experiencing it, all you have to go off off is biased hearsay, and in turn at best the most that you could come up with is a fabricated biased opinion of something you refuse to go see for yourself. We are to test everything! But you can't test anything if you are not open to the fact that your initial assumption of something you didn't experience could be wrong. God gives signs and manifestations of himself as he wills, not as the doubters will. You have to believe it to see it,not the other way around. If there is any doubt, then it's not faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. God obviously can do it, so why wouldn't he? Why did he manifest himself to Moses in a burning bush? Because he can and because he wanted to do. Just because we don't understand the things of God doesn't make them not real. Living a life of sound doctrine is just as important as moving into a life of faith. faith is putting the doctrine into action. When Jesus said and greater things he shall do, because I go to the father, meant that we would see and do supernatural things that weren't even seen in the time of Jesus. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that's after the fact that you make attempts to see it yourself and to be open while asking God about it during prayer, and not making comments until you get an answer back.

    Jesus said only a wicked and perverse generation would ask for a sign to believe. You will never see or do miracles in the name of Jesus until you actually BELIEVE the verse that says, these signs shall follow...

    There is a lack of faith if these signs are not following. Lack meaning none, because we either believe that we are who the bible says we are and that we can do what it says we can do, or we don't. When we try to reason spiritual things with the carnal mind it will always sound ridiculous. The bible states that. It is not physically possible, but God doesn't deal with the physical, he deals with the spiritual. With God ALL things are possible!

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  128. Trethwill,

    I'm guessing you really do not know what a pharisee is; you may wish to study this article:

    http://www.outsidethecamp.org/pharisee.htm

    Anyhow, playing the pharisee card, or other forms of derogatory name-calling, are not permitted here, so consider yourself warned.

    Most of the so-called "biased hearsay" you cite comes straight from the mouth of Bill Johnson and videos that he has posted. I realize it might be biased, but I realkly think we should consider- and discuss- what he has to say.

    Johnson himself says "its a sign that makes you wonder." Are only people who agree with Johnson allowed to wonder?

    Since the so-called glory cloud seems to show up late in the evening, I did ask Bill Johnson what time the automatic setback for the heating/cooling system was programmed for, and he refused to say. That's a response "that makes me wonder."

    BTW, I don't refuse to see for my self. It's just not possible for me to do so, so i will have to rely on solid information supplied by Johnson and others. Would you judge me in this?

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  129. Trethwill, you say you have to believe it to see it. You also say you have to test everything.

    Now maybe I am misuundstanding what you are saying, but I am wondering how exactly you are really going to test anything if you already believe it to be true? That sounds to me like you have already made your judgment before you did any testing.

    Am I misunderstanding what you are saying here?

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  130. I didn't bother to read all of your responses so I'm not really sure about the specifics on what you all are discussing/debating at the moment but I just got back from a trip to Bethel this weekend (January 15-17) and I saw the gold dust - but more importantly I experienced the presence of God. His love and power were heavy in the services. For those of you who are skeptical or hesitant you should just go and check it out for yourselves. It doesn't really matter anyway, your opinion and theology on God cannot stop God from bringing His Kingdom to Earth.

    Oh and one last thing- in regards to the Glory cloud showing up in the evenings, the evening services are more relaxed and usually heavily focused on worship. Also if you actually were there you would be able to tell it is not coming from the air ducts - the cloud I saw does not necessarily all fall down to the ground or rise up to the ceiling. It just sort of floats there in the middle of the air and billows and moves in a very random way. There are no fans in the facility and the air conditioning is your basic vents that blow straight down and not from the sides.

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  131. Oh and Kelly to answer your question about the spiritual war - many people are healed just by being there when the cloud shows up or by being touched by it. I don't remember ever hearing of a time when the devil healed the children of God.

    As far as I have heard their doctrine is Biblically sound. I think the reason people don't like it is because it forces them to move out of their comfortable confines of Christianity and accept that maybe God's Kingdom is a little different looking than what we would like to think.

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  132. Sorry one more thing - every time the glory cloud shows up it causes excitement in the congregation and usually is followed by an increase in praise to the Father. A lot of them refer to the glory cloud as a direct representation of God's manifest presence and so for them it is not a separation of God and glory cloud. I'm not sure if I explained that very well but what I am saying is that for most people (I cannot speak for everyone) the cloud spurs them on to seek God more, to know Him more intimately, and to give Him the highest praise.

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  133. I would like to know something from the last poster.... Do you think God, who is suppose to be the same yesterday, today and forever,has\can change His mind and decide to do things that are silent, not spoken of in the scriptures? It seems to me that when all is read IN CONTEXT that God has put us, not Himself or maybe even Himself in a box. But since you seem to support and agree that these manifestations are from Him, how do we then test them properly?
    Tim

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  134. It seems that experiencing the presence of God is becoming a noteworthy goal in the church today. The above poster goes into detail to describe the atmosphere in the room where the cloud appears and the devotion it draws from the hearts of those in attendance.

    This 'happening' places it beyond scriptural evaluation. Because it's the very presence of God, evidenced by the affect it has on the congregation creating in them a desire to be more intimate, perhaps the only way to judge it, since the scriptures are silent, would be to judge the fruit in one's life who actually takes this experience as a springboard to go 'deeper.'

    Well, I know of a real life example. There are testimonies of people who experience a tangible presence of God when adding fasting to their prayer regime.  This particular person also began to receive direct revelation from God while on these extended fasts - enough that they received the attention of the resident prophets who fast tracked them into a group singled out for prophetic giftings.  This person became a prayer and fasting dynamo, so much so that persons around them began to worry what these periods of fasting might be doing to their physical strength.

    However, since the leadership encouraged this type of prayer and fasting, and since this person's testimony was 'God's presence is so strong when I fast', how could this be damaging? I mean, fasting is mentioned in the scriptures. And, persons who are truly serious in their prayer life consider fasting a required discipline, surely this individual is safe in the 'tangible presence of God'.

    So, fast and pray they did. Soak up the presence of God, they did, until they'd lost 40 lbs., roughly 20% of their body mass.

    While their physical health deteriorated, so did their mental health. They began experienced psychosis in the form of paranoia, needing to urgently address things in prayer (always the binding territorial spirits type of prayer, btw), even going so far as waking roommates up at night to pray.

    This person's extreme fasting came under scrutiny once they declined to this level, even invoking the leader who promotes these very teachings to intervene and encourage them to, once again, start eating. It appears that the intervention appeared to show up a bit late as the individual would only begin eating if he were made to. Then they required being spoon feeding. It is believed that this person so craved the presence of God they experienced while fasting, that they would do anything to get there again. Including refusing to eat altogether. Which then required the insertion of a feed tube. A permanent feeding tube. One that they so resist having in place that they actually tense up their abdominal muscles in order to prevent the nutrients from flowing into their stomach.

    We'd like to be able to confirm our suspicions that this is just a continuation of extreme fasting, but unfortunately, this person has stopped talking.

    Keep in mind that this is a real time experiment in doing all one can to soak in the tangible presence of God.  Here's my question: would God cause us to experience His presence in such a way that we would be willing to do radical, unbiblical (Esther fasting, 3 days on, 3 days of something else, like veggies only, 3 days of Esther fasting again) health compromising practices that would lead to this? Is this the God of the bible? Are we supposed to give the glory cloud a pass because everyone breaks out in extended periods of praise?

    This person will die. That's right. They will die if things don't do an about face in their life. What is truly sad is that the persons in charge of their recovery keep taking back to the same well in which they were first poisoned.

    We have wonderful, secure scriptural boundaries in place for our protection. Let is stay within the safety of it's boundaries.

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  135. Hi. I've been reading through some of the comments in this thread for the last week now with interest but thought I would post.

    Just to introduce myself, I'm a Christian from the UK. I grew up attending a wide variety of churches in the 80s-90s, and have over the years been exposed to the Word of Faith movement/Toronto Blessing, and personally seen it's negative impact in the lives of my parents and others. Ok, that's probably a disclaimer to say that I'm likely a bit biased, but also I'm a scientist so I'm trying my best to keep as impartial as I can.

    I've become interested in Bethel Church as a couple in our Church Housegroup are currently training at their healing school. We get regular updates from them of the healings that take place and links to the gold dust videos etc. I know this couple are lovely people and are devoted to serving God, but at the same time they have always been lead very much by their emotions and am worried that they are being somewhat brainwashed.

    Whilst my initial reactions have been scepticism to the reported goings on, I genuinely want to give God the glory if He is using Bethel to heal people and transform their lives. If this is the case I want to be absolutely sure.

    My problem is this: Although I can't afford to travel and visit Bethel first-hand and see for myself, through looking at their own website there is enough for alarm-bells to ring in my mind. I can't reconcile the fact that (in my mind) Bethel adheres to some very unbiblical practices but then God chooses them above the 99.9% other churches in the world to manifest Himself and perform miracles. To me the two opposing positions are impossible to both be true, as I can't imagine God blessing a church that is leading people astray.

    Looking at their website - firstly, perhaps this is a cultural misunderstanding on my part of how churches are run in the US, but Bethel seems to be run more like a business than a church. There's Bethel (the church), then their various schools of ministry (requiring fees), their very regular conferences and seminar series (requiring fees), their iBethel online TV channel (requiring fees), the library of books written by the leadership (to buy), and CDs of the worship sessions (to buy). To me it seems as if Bethel may provide resources to enrich my Christian life but only if I buy them. Whilst of course I believe that we should tithe to support Christian Ministry, if Bethel have new revelations that helps bring the Gospel to the World, why should they charge for it? Jesus didn't.

    Secondly, having a quick look their up and coming conference schedule they have something called a "Wellness Seminar" ($69 per person) headlined by an "expert" in "Restorative Endocrinology™". A quick google search brings up the Restorative Endocrinology™ website and describes it as a programme by which you can get your body's natural healing processes to cure you of illnesses by better diet and buying their herbal pills etc. Aside from the fact it's a bit odd that a church which proclaims healing by faith is promoting self-healing (a bit new-agey), a quick search for Restorative Endocrinology in Pubmed (the catalogue of published scientific studies) brings back zero hits - strongly suggesting that Restorative Endocrinology is just a few "sciency" words strung together and not back up by any recognisable rigourous studies.

    Thirdly, if you look at Bill Johnson's personal website, he lists his "friends" which are links to other Churches and Pastors. It reads like a who's who of discredited ministries - notably Benny Hinn (search on wikipedia) and Todd Bentley (likewise). I try not to judge on guilt by association but it would show a rather poor level of discernment on Bill Johnson's part.

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  136. Part 2 (Sorry post was too long!)

    Sorry, that was a bit of a rant. I guess it still comes back to my earlier question - if the story behind the scenes doesn't feel right, then how can the signs and wonders be from God? This is something I am really struggling with - especially as I want to help our friends but am not sure how to discuss it with them without offending/upsetting them.

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  137. MichaelD,

    Great observations. I'd have to say at this point that I have no reason to believe that the "glory cloud" is from God, but even if it was, I'm not sure that you could make that into an affirmation that Bethel doctrine is good. Nor have they made that claim.

    A freind who is a well-known international teacher has also made the observation that things such as the glory cloud do not affirm a ministry.

    But if it does, why not eleswhere at ministries with similar beliefs and practice?

    Randy Clark was just out at Bethel for a "healing conference." In Clark's new certification program one of the lessons is to give 8 words of knowledge in a week and rate them for accuracy. How can anybody give a word of knowledge at will, much less be assigned 8 in a week. That is just the tip of the iceberg as to what may be wrong.

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  138. I don't see any indication of a lab analysis of any of the substances that fall. It would seem to give insight into the controversy.

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  139. Well in the mind of a bethelonian to have it anaylzed would show a complete lack of faith.

    I asked Bill Johnson what time the HVAC system went into cutback for overnight (the "glory cloud" sees to show up at about 11:45 pm). He told me he didn't know, nor was he interested in knowing.

    Yet he calls it a "sign that makes you wonder." I'm wondering.

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  140. Hi Bill
    Thank you hosting this discussion - I think it's an important one. I too am based in the UK and have seen waves of so-called 'things God is doing' come and go over the years.

    What I observe is this: I have seen and known countless Christian friends become disillusioned and misguided by the prophetic movement in its various guises over the past 20 years - from KCF, to Toronto, and it's effect on the Vineyard networks...right up to Todd Bentley and now Bill Johnson - who has a very strong influence on the New Wine Networks - and thence a whole string of charismatic Anglican churches.

    What I do see is that in the long term, when the hype dies down and when the prophecies don't come true or the manifestations cease and the hysteria does down, people are left feeling let down, disillusioned and at worst manipulated by hysteria and lied to. I've seen countless friends lose their faith because sadly they were building their house on the quicksands of experience and subjectivism - rather solid rock.

    I have friends who used to go to Anaheim vineyard and they say that it ripped apart their church. Others here in uk were promised ministries that never happened, depression and even divorces followed. What I witness above all else is division and confusion. Why would God do that to his children? Also in the bible - when these things happened they just happened - they didn't need hours and hours of intense worship to get people into the right state of mind!

    My sense is that the church is being seduced by a lust for spiritual power, and I do agree that when you read up about the latter rain movement - its plain to see that this I where it all stems from...and that it's built on unsound doctrine. What's more, as with all great deceptions, is that it's a very subtle distorting of the truth, which is what makes it so difficult to discern, and such a battle ground. But if Satans deceptions were obvious they would be easy to overcome.

    Well done Bill for helping to unmask this 'fools gold'

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  141. You know, it's interesting. I'm a fan of a baptist preacher by the name of Paul Washer. Washer is fairly open to experiential knowledge of God, but in one of his sermons he says that when people say to him in a meeting "God is here" he replies by telling them "no He's not, because you're still breathing." He goes on to say that the presence of God doesn't always have to be an Isaiah 6 type experience, but when it never is something is wrong. Most of the time in Scripture, when people meet God they fall on their faces. It seems like in the modern Charismatic movement that's almost never the case anymore. The presence of God has become a fun thing to people that never challenges them or shakes them up. We've (including me) lost the sense of God's holiness and his "otherness." I'm afraid of what the results will be down the road in churches like Bethel...

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  142. My wife and I have been immersed in a Cult Culture, where we share the true gospel of Christ with Mormons.

    Living in Utah, one message gets hammered home over and over: "The LDS Church is the ONLY true church on Earth. Only WE have Apostles and a Living Prophet. Only WE hold the Priesthood. Only WE have New Revelation for the Latter Days. Only WE have the true Salvation plan. Only WE can become GODS! Only WE, Only We, Only WE, WEE, WEEE...

    Here's another church drawing attention to itself, saying "WE have these miracles that NOBODY else has. WE have a Fresh Annointing that God is only doing HERE.

    What this implies is - God is spraying gold dust and feathers at OUR church - because OUR prayer, OUR praise, OUR worship is more pleasing to Him - or He'd be spraying gold dust and feathers at YOUR church.

    I'd like to have a chemical lab analyze some of this gold dust. Then we'd know which company is manufacturing it. And an ornithologist (a bird expert)to identify the bird species the feathers belong to.

    I don't recall the Bible saying angels OR God (who is SPIRIT) have feathers.

    And seriously - Gold Dust is a sign of the GLORY of God? In Heaven, they use 24-carat gold to pave the streets! It's an insult to God to equate gold dust with His majesty!

    What's the fruit? Bethel becomes "The Latest Mecca of Miracles and Manifestations". Why not? After all - roaring like lions is sooo '90s.

    The pastor claims a guy on a jet got covered in gold dust - and a whole bunch of people were saved. Really?? No confession of sin? Just some sparkly stuff and BAM - they're all "saved"? Don't bet on it, Pastor.

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  143. I can so agree with you about having to deal with the Mormon faith My husbands family, which isvery large, and whom I love quite dearly is all Mormon, except for us and one other member. Trying to overcome set beliefs however,is hard whether it's IHOP, BJ or otherwise. Sometimes it may even seem impossible when we look at it from our point of view, but the beautiful thing about Christianity is that God always wins in the end. I keep trusting in that.

    Still doesn't make it any easier to deal with though, and as hard as it is, all any of us can do is proclaim the truth as has been laid out in the Bible for all of us.

    Wish you well in that ministry.

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  144. The name of this blog is a statement of what it is. Go ahead, judge if you must. But it will be very personal the return of your measure. I am a person who hates the seeking of sign and wonders in order to avoid or cancel doubt. Faith is a gift from God alone. When you curse people for their joy and their freedom in the presence of God, know that you freedom is being taken away if God was to let you stand on your judgments. And according to your own judgments, you would be beyond grace. But it is for Christ to decide, and his grace is sufficient to forgive all sins, except calling the works of the Holy Spirit the works of the Devil. How boldly you walk up to that line. With 99.9 percent certainty you are ready to hedge your bets and risk cursing the Holy Spirit. I would be shaking if I were you. But you have seen so many liars so surely all are liars... Don't gamble with God.

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  145. Thanks for the kind warning. I suppose it would also be dangeourous to attribute to that which is from the Devil to God. However, in regards to you loving correction, you have failed to point out WHERE in the article I have called the works ofthe Holy Spirit the works of the Devil.

    If you are going to engage in this discussion please stick to the facts and try not to damn me to hell. You comment barely made it through moderation.

    As to the name of the blog, your imagination has gotten the best of you. Please read this:
    http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/p/why-name-beyond-grace.html
    You are very clever, but also very wrong. Blessings.

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  146. Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

    But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
    The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here."

    This passage sums up the attitude of the Leadership and congregation at Bethel they seek signs and wonders.

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  147. It seems people from all ages past need a sign or vision from God. If people need such a vison or sign to have faith than praise God for the sign. I praise God that I have enough faith in God as told through the scriptures to accept that He is my God and my Saviour. I put my trust in Him many years ago and have led 100's of people to the knowledge of Christ and His salvation that He gives to those who believe. I do question some of what appears to be signs and wonders. I know in Springfield MO back in the 60's a golden cloud appeared at a meeting, a tent meeting. It was later proved to be a hoax and fabricated by a preacher wanting to sway people to believe in God. I was not present at this meeting but I have my doubts. I don't know that this is a hoax or not. If it is a hoax then the perpetrator will answer to God for the deed. It strikes me strange that we are taught in scriptue and by the words of Christ that we are to deny self and live for others. I am learning in the Pentecosal movement it seems to be about self and how good "I" feel. So if we are not living out our faith and doing not as Christ has asked. Then why would God send such a cloud to a service. I am not being critical, I am just wondering. If you are weak and need this, then may God bless you and strengthen you.

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  148. There are so many things in this thread of comments that leap out at me. I used to be a debater and a vehement atheist, so it's very difficult for me to read comments that beg obvious logical and scriptural answers and not reply. But the truth is there are too many, and I've seen repeatedly that these kinda of discussions (and frankly that entire way of thinking) do not lead to answers or to more faith or to anything very good, except sometimes a self satisfied feeling of being clever and a little right. I tried when I had an (utterly miraculous) conversion experience, to argue some of my atheist friends into faith. This went terribly until I read 2 Timothy 2:23 "Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness" and stopped going after it that way. I really feel like this doesn't apply only to arguments with non-believers but among each other as well.

    It's really hard to post anything of value in this sort of environment without bitterness and harshness coming across, without it leading to quarrels. But I know we are all posting here because we care deeply about Christ who is the Truth. That's something that I read very little of here and in many of these discussions: Love. That's the thing that scripture points to as being important above all else, even going as far as saying God is Love (which I assume means He is love in His very nature). Christ described himself as being meek and humble; he was always gentle and full of grace. The bible says that Christ is the express image of the Father. It is His character we should emulate.

    My journey to Christianity was very long and dark. I thank God with tears everyday for the miracle that He was able to rescue me, in many ways from the confines of my own mind and arrogance. A huge part of my ability to come to faith was realizing that God is altogether wonderful "too wonderful for me" as David says in the psalms. I had to realize that I couldn't access all truth through a priori reasoning and logic or even empirical evidence. I realized that there was some truth that can only be accessed by my heart, and later by my spirit.

    It becomes very hard for me to watch men of faith (like we all are here) choosing that same trap. Choosing to pursue truth through reason alone. I'm not saying you shouldn't use your mind. Of course, the mind is God given and is powerful in the right context, but if we think we are going to access the entirety of truth through it, we are going to be very frustrated.

    "Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise" 1 Corinthians 3:18. What is the standard of this age? rationalism. naturalism. the belief that everything can be systematically explained.

    "At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do." Luke 10:21 What do children know? laughter, trust, playfulness, imagination! God's truth is hidden from the wise and learned!

    This is not said in judgement because I still fall into the same trap, but it is arrogance to think we could understand all that God is with logic. More importantly, it's very hurtful and neglects a huge part of who we are as children of God. Jesus Himself was very emotional weeping and being full of joy. Emotion is a part of who we are as God's creation.

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  149. My point is this: when Jesus came he wasn't rewarding the pharisees or sadducees for their doctrine or knowledge of scripture, in fact he rebuked the later for their cynicism, but instead He hung out with sinners and healed them. One of Jesus last words was: "when the son of man returns will he find faith on the earth?" Not accuracy or sound doctrine but faith. Why are we so concerned to ever make a mistake? James says we all stumble in many ways. We believe in a God that sent His son to die as a sacrifice for every mistake ever made! Isn't that the notion of grace? Don't think I'm suggesting we should abuse that grace, but do you really think the God who sent His son to die as penance for us is worrying about our overstepping some unclear rule about gold dust somehow being evil?

    I'm not trying to belittle anyone here but doesn't it just seem ridiculous in light of the cross? That God would be upset about gold dust?

    The three most important qualities laid out in scripture are faith, hope and love! Most people I know that attend bethel are kind, warm loving, showing all the signs of fruit of the spirit. That doesn't mean there aren't some bad apples, but apples are present in every church, and the point of our lives is to represent Christ to the world! To be loving, gracious, kind, generous, joyful!

    I pray that God would give me and this whole church a sound mind, to remember Him. To remember what is important. To forgive. To love. To seek Him with everything.

    I hope I haven't hurt anyone in my zeal. If I have, I ask you to forgive me, but I just feel so strongly as one who was set free from deep darkness by the living God that we must wake up and remember what is important for the sake of so many who are suffering.

    God bless.

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  150. Sterling,

    I don't think the discussions posted on this website are foolish ignorant controversies, not do I feast on making a ruckus. Rather, my heart aches for the mis-lead hypercharsimatic movement which I was associated for more years than you have been on this earth.

    We don't have to choose between heart and mind; in fact Jesus said we are to love the Lord our God with all out heart AND all out mind.

    Please understand that I have attempted reasonable discussion with both Bill and Beni Johnson and they have chosen to cut me, a brother in christ, off. This is due to their "culture of (selective) honor" which enables them to honor a dead heretic like Goerge Branham, but not be willing to discuss critical issues with a live baptised-in-the-Holy-Ghost brother.

    Johnson himself, speaking of the gold dust, has stated it's a sign that makes you wonder. So it is fair game- if he can wonder, so can I and others, and certainly you do not believe that he has a monopoly on the truth, do you?

    I think you have made some pretty seriously wrong assumptions, but feel free to post if you want to talk about the issues, and not me or the repondents on this discussion group.

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  151. Mr. Fawcett,

    Had/have you really been associated with the charismatic movement for over 30 years? I would love to hear more about your experiences maybe by email if you are open to it.

    I don't claim to have a lot of wisdom, and I definitely don't have much knowledge, having been a Christian for only a little over 2 years, but I speak only from what little I do know of the Bible and the Spirit. Most of my earnest comes from experiences that pulled me out of darkness and sin and into the light. I have since seen a good atheist friend, my brother, and my father all return to the Lord (by His power alone). I don't say this to try to give myself credibility but to try to explain why I feel passionately about this. It is only because I have seen God's salvation in such a powerful way through this very movement that I react to seeing it attacked.

    I want to clarify myself. I never intended to call this conversation ignorant or foolish. Those adjectives were chosen by that particular translator and I don't think they are intended to be the main focus of the verse; other translations use different adjectives there. I more meant to point to the later parts of the verse about these controversies leading to quarrels, and that opponents should be instructed gently. You only have to read a few of the comments here to see that this indictment is leading to quarrels, and I'm not picking on anyone in particular here but the language is often very harsh, far from being gentle. I don't say that to condemn anyone. The point I'm trying to make is that this style of rational indictment naturally leads to harshness, bitterness, and argument. Even if you think Bethel and Bill Johnson have gone astray, I think Paul's point in the verse is that the loving response to someone going astray is not to attack them.

    I'm sorry if Bill Johnson has treated you rudely or cut you off. Honestly, I don't know any of the details of your interaction and I wouldn't be able to speak for him even if I did. In no way do I view him as having a monopoly on truth. As I said, Jesus is the only full expression of truth. In fact, I don't think I even mentioned Bill Johnson in my post. My point is not that Bill Johnson or Bethel is perfect. Far from it. We are all flawed humans and like James says "stumble in many ways." My point is that Bill Johnson like any other human is expected to make some mistakes. My question is why the church is trying to destroy and discredit a ministry that I know from personal experience produces lots of good fruit. Even if he has insulted and hurt you, even if you are fully justified in feeling angry at him, our role as believers is to forgive the hurt. Not that wrongs don't need to be pointed out, but it seems as a church we tend to try to discredit an entire ministry and destroy it because of something we view as heretical. Every church has some mistakes in it's doctrine. But does Bethel believe Jesus is the Son of God? yes. Do they believe he died for our sins and rose again? yes. Are they trying to love God with all their beings? everyone I've met is.

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  152. We have to stop trying to destroy each other over things like feathers and gold dust. People are suffering in their sin while we debate theology. It was one of Jesus' final prayers that we be "one." Unified. Putting love and God above ourselves and our own particular versions of the faith.

    I'm not saying it's wrong to wonder. I'm saying it's harmful to accuse each other.

    I never meant to imply that we shouldn't use our minds, but what I keep seeing in our modern culture is a church that uses 95% mind, just like the rest of the world when we're suppose to be un-conformed to it. As a former atheist I can tell you that when I was approached with rational argument about God, I was rarely every swayed and usually came away offended, viewing the believer as a hypocrite (whether they were or not). My responses were often unjustified, and many times the believer had powerful arguments, but we live in a world saturated with that kind of thinking. The lost have been led into despair by it, and more of it is not what they need. They hunger for heart and faith and real life (at least I and many I know did). I'm not saying we should abandon mind, but maybe we should turn it down a few notches and develop stronger more loving hearts, and pray for faith that can move mountains!

    Something that is strange to me is that this movement is referred to as hyper-charismatic. To me, it seems that they are seeing far fewer signs and wonders than the church of Acts. It feels to me that we are just beginning to see the glory of God's power that he promises to pour out in the last days in Joel!

    I do think I'm addressing the issues. I'm specifically addressing the issue of accusing each other and our tendency to prioritize theology over love. I never addressed anyone specifically in my last post, and I certainly don't intend to insult anyone personally. In fact, I specifically mentioned that I believe everyone here is commenting because they love God and are doing so with only good intentions. If I have insulted anyone, I beg your forgiveness. My only intention is to encourage everyone here to remember what matters! That we were saved by God's love! That his kindness leads to repentance! That we are all on the same side, and that there are so many people that we can reach who are suffering because of our lack of unity.

    In love,
    Sterling

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  153. Sterling,

    My testomony is here:

    http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/p/why-name-beyond-grace.html

    I lean towards the middle road of "the spirit AND the word." It's a false dichotomy to have to choose on over the other.

    As to my commentary on the happenings at Bethel - if Bill Johnson can fill the internet with HOURS AND HOURS of a defense of the "glory manifestations" why is it wrong for me to take a few minutes of anyone's time to explain the other side? Or have you confronted Bill Johnson, who has states that anyone that does not preach the gospel of signs and wonders is preaching "another gospel" with a direct refernce to Galatians 1. In other words, he has states that anyone who does not believe as he does is DAMNED.

    That deserves a response, don't you think?

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  154. Sterling.

    Let's remember something here: that signs and wonders are not the total extent of the gospel. Jesus Christ and the saving grace of God, through simple faith in Him is.

    An example from personal life:

    I was always left handed, yet folks in my school thought being left handed was a sign from the devil, because everyone who was good sat on the right hand side of God. So they went so far as to tie my left hand behind my back to try to get me to use my right hand. I think there are probably are some who remember this practice and know exactly what I am talking about.

    After the subsequent failures, I remained a leftie, but thought I was doomed to hell by this so called 'sign'. It was years before I got over that belief, and got accurate teaching in the Bible.

    So for Bill Johnson to say we are preaching a 'different gospel' because we don't believe in his personal version of signs and wonders is wrong.

    Christ is our ultimate sign and wonder,and our only basis for salvation, whether we practice the gifts or not. Let us never lose sight of that!

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  155. Thanks for the link to your testimony. I have a lot of respect for someone that has been seeking God for so long. The bio was very summary-like though and I would definitely be more interested to know more details again if you feel comfortable.

    I'm very curious why you view people in Bethel and IHOP as trapped. I have good friends in both that helped lead me to the Lord. They are awesome believers that love God. They don't seem the least bit trapped to me.

    I agree that it is a false dichotomy to choose between word and spirit. I love the word (and the spirit), and I hope that is clear from my attempts to present my beliefs with references. On that note, Bill Johnson has expressed a deep love for scripture and fills his sermons with it. (Not that this is only about Bill Johnson, but I wanted to point it out because often "hyper-spiritual" people get the reputation of disregarding the word when he does anything but that.)

    Reading Galatians 1 I don't think that Bill Johnson's intent is to accuse people and call them damned. Again I cannot speak for him in his beliefs, but I don't think that Chapter even says that. He asks for God to curse those that pervert the Gospel, but that doesn't imply that they are damned. I don't know what reference of Bill Johnson you're making but the verse seems to be implying that the perverted gospel they are turning to is turning them away from "the grace of christ". That is a far larger issue than signs and wonders.

    That said, scripture does seem to include signs and wonders as the gospel:

    Romans
    18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.

    Paul says God created obedience through signs and owners and then calls that "fully" proclaiming the Gospel.. I would never accuse another believer of being damned because of there theology. As you stated in your bio, that is up to God, and people are only saved through grace, but this verse (along with all the examples in acts, and the verses commanding us to eagerly desire the greater gifts in Corinthians) do seem to imply that the supernatural should be a normal part of a believer's life.

    Anonymous, I'm so sorry to hear that you were treated that way. That is awful and unkind. And I agree that what they did to you is utterly unbiblical and unloving. But I would never imagine calling being left handed a sign in the sense of "signs and wonders." What I think of (and I think what is commonly thought of in the charismatic movement) as signs and wonders are displays of God's power and love! Like parting the red sea. In fact, I have heard again and again from leaders of the charismatic movement that we should avoid looking for signs of the devil and his works (like these people mistakenly thought your left handedness was) and turn our focus onto Christ and His works!

    I agree that simple faith in Christ is the root. It is the only thing that truly matters. But God shows us time and time again in scripture that He can move through that faith in miraculous ways that bring great awe and joy. Do I think God has to do these things? Never! God is sovereign! May His will be done! But do I think it is wrong to condemn these sorts of things when scripture is litered with examples of God doing wild and crazy things to show His love and power? Yes. And even more so, I think it's very hurtful to condemn other believers for pursuing this side of God.

    If that is not something that you feel called to that is absolutely between you and God. I would never presume to judge that. As believers in Christ we are all a part of His kingdom! But let us rejoice in all of the good things He is doing! Let us band together and support each other! Even when we don't fully understand or feel comfortable.

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  156. Sterling,

    There is a big difference between using scripture to back up pet doctrines- often misapplied, and undertaking a serious study of the Word. Johnson's sermons, like so many in the Charismatic, are mostly just storytelling. We used to call these sermons "This is where we have been, this is where we are going." As a result, the scriptural understanding amongst those in the Charismatic is very shallow. I know. I was there.

    Your take on Galatians 1 is an example (please take no offense) of shallow understanding.

    KJV and NASB say "let him be accursed." or "he is accursed"

    You say this does not imply that they are damned. On the contrary.

    NIV accurately states "let him be eternally condemned."

    NET probably renders it the best:

    "But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! 1

    1 tn Grk “let him be accursed” (ἀνάθεμα, anaqema). The translation gives the outcome which is implied by this dreadful curse.

    Johns emphatically stated that churches that are not part of the signs and wonders movement (95% of the Church) are preaching "another gospel." He referenced Galatians 1 in his comments. He clearly was saying the those in denominational churches are eternally damned.

    I'm NOT against signs and wonders, although I would not define them as the spiritual fas that sweep through Bethel such as "glory smoke," gemstones or feathers. I'm far too old-school pentecostal to fall for that. But Johnson has taken it too far in his divisive manner (and remember HE split form the Assemblies of God) and the situation demands a response.

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  157. Note- the same word "Anathema" that is used in Galatians 1:8-9 (let him be accursed) is also used in 1 Cor 16:22. I think this should make the meaning explicit, but I would note that the context in Galations already did.

    When God says "Damn you!" it is not a good thing.

    NET © Let anyone who has no love for the Lord be accursed. Our Lord, come! 1

    NIV ©
    If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!

    NASB ©
    If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha.

    NLT ©
    If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come!

    MSG ©
    If anyone won't love the Master, throw him out. Make room for the Master!

    BBE ©
    If any man has not love for the Lord, let him be cursed. Maran atha (our Lord comes).

    NRSV ©
    Let anyone be accursed who has no love for the Lord. Our Lord, come!

    NKJV ©
    If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!

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  158. Sterling,

    Thanks for your be willing to listen to both sides. I appreciate that. because it's not not usual in Bill Johnson followers I find.

    Just to let you know I am a continuationst. However, where I and others get off with Johnson is his belief that folks who don't agree with his particular views on the gifts are 'anti-christ'. This is reflected in his books. for eaxmple. " Where Heaven meets Earth" and his other sermons.

    Yes we can preach salvation through Christ, but does it have to be salvation plus, as in signs and wonders? I think that is a serious question.

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  159. Mr Fawcett,

    I appreciate that you were heavily involved in these charismatic movements but with no hint of disrespect the fact that you were there doesn't give you a monopoly on truth about it either. Many people were there and still are there, so obviously observing what you observed doesn't inevitably lead to your conclusions about it.

    I agree that there is a difference in taking up a serious understanding of scripture. What I find shocking is that you feel no hint of reproach when casting that sort of accusation on a fellow brother. Johnson often tells stories in his sermons, which are testimonies of what God has done. I think doing so is expressly biblical (they overcame by the blood of the lamb and word of their testimony, among others). But he also delves deep into the scriptures, relating them to each other. I don't know how intimately you know Bill Johnson, but I find it hard to believe that you are suited to judge the quality of his time spent in study of the word (the amount of which, unless he is a flat out liar, is quite large).

    No offense taken about the shallow understanding, but a perfect example of what I'm talking about is this focus on the Galatians verse. You quoted that the NIV got it right by translating it "eternally condemned," but that translation is from the 1984 NIV. In the newest translation that group of dedicated bright scholars changed it back to "cursed"! Obviously they felt there was enough doubt that it meant damnation that they explicitly changed the wording based on the most recent research! None of the translations from Corinthians you noted mention damnation either. Because you have assumed your conclusion already you inferred that not loving the Lord must lead to damnation, but one of the translations you quoted gives a different interpretation: "If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come!" This could be read that the person is already cursed! And of course anyone who doesn't love the Lord does live in a state of emptiness and suffering. I know I did. I was most certainly cursed before I loved Him.

    I'm not saying I know for certain that the verse doesn't imply damnation. Let me not be wise in my own eyes! What I'm saying is that there's clearly enough uncertainty about it to allow Bill Johnson to quote it without having to imply that everyone who disagrees with him is damned! You drew that conclusion not him.

    That said you never responded to the quote from Romans that seems to imply very strongly that the full gospel does include signs and wonders.

    Am I saying that anyone who doesn't see gold dust in the church is damned? of course not! and neither is Bill Johnson! In fact, he repeatedly states that we must remember that Christ's death and resurrection must be our only foundation. What I am saying is that we should humble ourselves from being wise in our own eyes. God uses the foolish things to baffle the wise! He has hidden truth from the wise and revealed it to little children! If he wants to dazzle his children with gold dust and feathers, who are we to tell him that's not proper?

    I've thought about you many many times over the past few weeks. It seems you are always in my thoughts. I have been reading through the Bible at the same time, and many many verses jump out at me stating that God is "too wonderful" for us. That he baffles all of man's understanding of Him (that is throughout proverbs). I agree that there are things we can know about God. First and foremost that He is the very essence of Love. But scripture seems clear that we cannot fully understand him. That he is prone to doing new things. Jesus himself is a great example of a radical shift in our understanding of God that deeply offended most of the religious leaders of the day. Sometimes God offends us, but blessed is he that is not offended on account of Him.

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  160. I'm saying this to you because for some reason having read this stuff I just feel for you and I can't seem to let it go. I'm sure you know this already, but I just wanted you to know that God loves you. That he still has incredible plans for you. I hope and pray that you will be fully released into the freedom that Christ died to give us (it is for Freedom sake that He set us free!). I'm sorry if you've been hurt by the charismatic movement. No group of people is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. On behalf of them I apologize to you.

    We could go around in circles all day debating (which is one of the reasons I don't think this approach to truth is very fruitful), so I think it's probably time for me to let this go soon. But I truly and genuinely wish you all good things. I know you are a good man with a heart for truth and for Jesus. May He give you all the best.

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  161. Sterling,

    First of all I consider several ofg the other versions to be more helpful than the NIV, but I think even the most simple person knows what it means to be cursed by God. Just ask the fig tree.

    As to your little "prophecy," please spare me. There is no bitterness there; I'm not hurt. I am compelled to snatch brands from the fire- that IS the plan that God has for me.

    Your diagnosis is wrong, your prophetic flow charting is wrong, and I judge your prophecy to be of the flesh. But thanks for your concern.

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  162. Sterling,

    I don't think you really get what we are really saying. The orthodox Pentecostal church still believes in the gifts, however we believe that they and the anointing is not a stand-in for the gospel, or equal to it. or even necessary to preach it. We do not need to prove the gospel by these things. as Christ is now our proof.

    No matter how anointed we think we are, corporately or personally. that will not change. The gifts are just that, and given by the Holy Spirit to the church, as He sees fit, not as Bill Johnson or others of his peer group define them as necessary for sa;vation.

    Imagine standing before Christ on our final day and saying those who believe in practicing the gifts, as Johnson has defined yje way they should be, should have an advantage over others. Yet, this what Johnson is saying us in the here and now. And would you really want to tell Christ what Johnson has said that those who don't agree with his methods are 'anti-Christ.'. After Him dying on the cross, do you think that is going to fly?

    If you do, I would be very very afraid to think that you think your salvation hinges upon that.

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  163. Mr Fawcett,

    Not all curses lead to death. Job is a good example.

    I never said I was prophesying, I was praying and attempting to express love toward you. I said "if you've been hurt." If that was the case I wanted to apologize, if not that's fine. I don't know what you mean by flow charting. I was simply trying to make a nice gesture.

    You say you're not bitter but just listen to your tone: little "prophecy". What about gentleness and kindness?

    I'm sorry if I've offended you. I really am. It wasn't my intention.

    God bless,
    Sterling

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  164. Hi Baker,

    Johnson et al don't believe the gifts are necessary for salvation. Christ is that wholly. I think it's more accurate to say that they believe the gifts to be a natural outpouring of salvation, something that should be celebrated and saught (eagerly desire the greater gifts 1 Corinthians 12:31). As opposed to condemned.

    I think the reaction is when people try to point at cool or amazing things God is doing as heresy that the issue arises. Johnson is not going around denouncing churches for not having glory clouds. It is exactly the opposite; he is denounced for having such things occur in his church.

    Anyway, my original point which seems to have been lost in debate is that Love is what matters. It doesn't matter if I prophecy or have perfect theology or sacrifice myself for the sake of God's glory if I don't have Love. I meant to try to express some of that here and I think I have unfortunately become argumentative instead.

    Regardless of what you believe may God bless you and keep you :)

    Sterling

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  165. Sterling,

    Thank you for your blessing as a brother in Christ. i return that.

    However, Johnson HAS stated in his book where Heaven Invades Earth, and in other places, that those who don't believe as he does are 'anti-christ's" Please check it out.

    Whether we are on the side of whether the gifts continue or not, calling someone an anti-christ because of that is a pretty strong statement to make since only Christ knows who are really His.

    I don't think anyone, on this blog anyway is saying that or trying to be deliberately argumentative. Just trying to bring out the facts. I do believe that those of kinds of statements made by johnson and others are not only against other brothers and sisters, but against Christ Himself, who is our only route to salvation, no matter what theology we hold to regarding the gifts personally.

    I strongly urge you check out Johnson's statements in that regard.

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  166. Hey Baker,

    Is this the line you meant?

    "The spirit of antichrist is at work today, attempting to influence believers to reject everything that has to do with the Holy Spirit’s anointing"

    I haven't had time to read the whole book but I found this in a review. If it is, I think the claim that he's calling these believers anti-christ is untrue. He says that spirit is attempting to influence us. Many evil spirits are trying to influence us all the time, and to lesser and greater extends we come in to agreement with them. The fact that I am victim to the deception of a spirit in a moment and say, lash out in prideful anger doesn't condemn me as an angry and prideful person at all. In fact I have been made new and righteous in Christ, but I can still be fooled at times by those deceitful voices.

    We know there are demons from the bible. And we know that the devil is pacing around like a roaring lion trying to deceive and mislead us. Why would this statement of Johnson's be surprising? Of course the enemy would want to try to convince us that we should reject God's power and spirit.

    He's not condemning those believers. If anything he's exhorting us not to listen to that voice. Not to fall prey to cynicism and fear.

    Maybe I didn't get the right quote, but if i did, it seems clear to me that this idea that Johnson has accused believers of being anti-christ is simply a misunderstanding, probably resulting from a misunderstanding of Johnson's view of the spiritual realm.

    When I read stuff like this that could unsettle me and the enemy brings to mind a whole array of possible accusations I just remember that Christ loves us regardless of our (many) mistakes! Even if we do fall prey to the deceptions of evil, He is faithful to complete the work in us. His love never fails. And he never ever gives up on us. I know that from very real experience.

    Much love and thanks for returning the blessing!

    Sterling

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  167. Flow Charting - I actually learned this technique at a Vineyard prophetic ministry conference- although they did not call it that.

    You start with something general - Like "the Lord sees your hurt". You throw out hints and when you get a physical or eye reaction you start honing in on that with even more specifics.

    It is very easy to do this and hit the nail on the head and the victim usually does not know you are doing this.

    Another name for this is a "cold Reading."

    It doesn't help that those in the "prophetic" like to use terms like "That Paul Cain is really something - he really read my mail."

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  168. What an embarrasment to the Body of Christ - here's Todd Bentley using "cold reading" techniques. Except this time it doesn't work too well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZPdS77Z3MBY

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  169. I would Just challenge you, to ask some other questions about some things God did in the bible.
    I believe God will do anything he wants to do because anything he wants to do is good, is of his nature, he doesn't WANT to do evil things. But anyway. Why do you think Jesus turned the water in to wine? Why do you think God chose mana, why did God of all things use a bush on fire to speak to moses? We can't logically or necessarily biblically back those reasons up any more than we can Gold dust.

    But in reference to your completely unnecessary and inappropriate comment about naked women and God using what ever he wants to show his Glory and get our attention, think about it... God used a bush... on fire. To get moses attention.

    Idk maybe I don't really know a lot about the bible or what I'm talking about but it's hard for me to think that there would be a demonic manifestation of Gold dust followed by the miracle working healing power of God healing physical illnesses.

    Much Love! Keep seeking the lord brother!

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  170. Oh ya I know about cold reading. Classic con artist stuff. I have numerous friends who from the beginning of my walk were very on guard about that very idea, who would only claim someone had "read their mail" if that person had prophesied accurately without any leading from them. It is a shame that this technique would be taught in churches. I don't know if Bentley is intentionally using this technique. I know that impressions from the Lord are not always crystal clear depending on how attuned we are (and how loud He speaks), so I imagine (and myself have experienced) that there are circumstances were someone might say something like "do you have any children?" because they felt a leading towards children but genuinely didn't know what it means. Like many of the devil's deceptions around religion this reaction looks the same as cold reading. I'm not saying I can vouch for Bentley's integrity, but I am saying that the fact that some people do foolish and deceptive things doesn't have to color our view of every other circumstance that remotely resembles their actions. In fact, this is precisely the argument you get from many non-believers who point at some of the horrific things done in the name of God as evidence of his failings when obviously they don't reflect his heart or a deep relationship with Him. It is in my opinion a classic ploy of the devil to devise perverted caricatures of things God has intended for good and cause destruction and deception through them in order to drive people away from the very things God made them for. But God's truth will always shine brighter.

    All that aside, I was not practicing any sort of cold reading on you. I mean this with all due respect, but it doesn't take a prophet or any strong sensitivity to see that you carry bitterness toward the charismatic and anyone that resembles the people that have deceived and disappointed you. You superimposed those experiences onto me, treating me harshly, when my only intention was to extend kindness. I really am sorry that you have seen that kind of crap in the church and I hope and pray along with you that God's truth would prevail.

    God bless,
    Sterling

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    ReplyDelete
  172. So after reading numerous comments. A lot of you, including the poster. Think life with christ is supposed to be
    1. strict 2. Boring 3.natural realm permanent etc. You all think that we are all supposed to pretty much have a simple, plain, sunday church life. Yea, then we go to heaven and experience the signs and wonders and supernatural. So you're telling me.. that jesus gave us eternal life, where in heaven there will be such amazing things going on that we can't even fathom...And basically we're supposed to not want a piece of heavens manifestation on earth. You're pretty much saying in your own words that you don't believe in the 4th dimension.. In the bible it says that all things happen in the spiritual before they hit the natural. Seriously open your eyes, we are connected to the spiritual realm. We have the authority through christ to have the heavens manifested on earth! Now, what you are doing is very biased. If there should be any pastor you should be "calling out" it should be benny hinn. He is so full of heresy that it's very obvious. He contradicts himself, one minute he is saying that someone was risen from the dead in his church, the next he is saying that he heard about it but did not see it. He is reaching 10x more people than bill.. Yet you focus so hard on Bill. Even if the gold dust was a facade that does not mean that God would not manifest his presence however he wants to. God is a unique god! You are in FACT putting him in a spiritual box. And the "Does that mean he will do anything he pleases? No" quote made me confused.. God will do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants. That is why, when we pray to god for provision it is not our business how he will do it. Because he is unique. Maybe you have more of a studying mind than you do a logic according to christ mind.

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  173. @ previous anonymous, you said, "In the bible it says that all things happen in the spiritual before they hit the natural."

    Where does the Bible say this?

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  174. @ anonymous of 2/14/13

    My friend you are soooo off base here. Many of us posting here are of pentecostal backround, believe that the gifts are for today and have been there and done that. God has graciously opened out eyes and set us free.

    I would ask, if Jesus says that those who look for signs and wonders are of a perverse generation, do you think that shoe fits for today? Just saying...

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  175. I wonder if someone is trying to take the wonder out of a wonder?

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  176. How come the gold dust only happens on the right side of church & always supposedly in the same spot. I am a new doubting Thomas

    2 weeks ago I tried to talk to Kris V. about something and he basically told me he didn't have time for me because he had 500 employees, I was shocked and disgusted because 20 mins later he was preaching about being there for your brothers & sisters in Christ, and yet he did not have time for me I was hurt and said as much on my fb page which they all promptly deleted me. They are running a business not a church it's all about money!!

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    1. Sadly you may be right Laurie. Business always must come first. In a business world that is. The delete is the give away.

      Delete
  177. Just got done reading a chapter in a book called The Secret Place by Dale Fife. He has nothing to do with Bethel Church in Redding. In one chapter he is describing a Enoch walk he had taken with Jesus. Jesus reaches in a bowl standing in a place of honor at the front of the throne room, that contained special holy incense that had the supernatural ability to ignite the prayers of the saints. He tells Dale to take some of the incense and cast it by the Spirit upon the hearts of His people. It contains the essence of all Jesus' prayers of intercession while He was upon the Earth. It is finely ground,pure incense. pg 198 praise God a bit of dust just appeared on the page as I typed this! Jesus continues on to say" I have compounded it from the prayers in the wilderness of resting when I resisted Satan.My High priestly prayer for My disciples and the church is part of the incense. The entire night of travailing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is contained in its fragrance,along with the drops of tears and blood that were released there. The prayers that i prayed from the cross are most costly:ingredients;they are pure spiritual frankincense and myrrh."
    "I was unable to release this holy incense in its fullness until I rose from the dead. I have sprinkled it upon the hearts of a few individuals down through the centuries,but I have saved most of it especially for now. This is the incense of My prayers." (see Matthew 14:23;Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12, for example.) It is the cry of my heart for the world.
    "Take it, and pour it fourth! As you sprinkle it upon the hearts of My people, I will ignite it by My Holy Spirit. I will release supernatural prayer in My house. (Matthew 21:13) My church will be filled with the prayers of My people:this anointed prayer will accomplish My will."
    Dale says"He reached into the vessel and drew some of the sacred incense out. Turning toward me, He sprinkled the fine golden particles upon me. I was instantly and completely covered with it, even though He had taken only a few grains of incense from the urn."
    "I have made you the incense,"He said. "Now you have become one of the vessels I have chosen. There are others whom i have also called here to be commissioned to carry this Holy burden. I will disputes you and the others throughout the earth. As My Spirit anoints you, you will be used to impart this incense of prayer. It is the cry of My heart for the world and church. Now go! this is My strategy. Only the prayer of My heart can avert the impending judgment!"

    ( John 1:1-2, 14, 18 )

    This is an explanation I was led to share All glory be to God the Father through the works of His Son Jesus done through His the power of His Holy Spirit and His Word! For it became flesh in His people also.

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  178. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. If Jesus allows us to have special experiences, let us get our eyes off of those, and keep our eyes on Him. My father-in-law saw Jesus, but that experience was personal, and He kept it that way, telling only a few people. Jesus wants to change our lives and our hearts. That is always His purpose.

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  179. Why has no one performed a detailed, scientific analysis of the gold dust. It seems that this would go a long ways towards settling the "glory cloud" issue. It's happened often enough, that surely someone has collected some of the dust and submitted it to a lab. I've scoured the web and I can find no definitive evidence that anyone has done that. Why?

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  180. Hi, I don't know much about all this, but after reading/skimming for a couple hours, I have a headache and I think I'll focus on the fruit of the Holy Spirit, against which there is no law....

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  181. " do what thou wilt" or do what you want shall be the whole of the law. You guys justify what ever you want and it's all about you, don't listen to sound wisdom or argument, no just do what you want, that is bill Johnson's and all the false teachers do, they do what they want and then justify it by twisting some scriptures around. Well again do what you want and take your spin on the wheel of life because a day is coming when you will stand before almighty God and be judged. What you really believe that a Holy God plays parlour tricks as a sign of His Holy presence. When God wanted showed himself to Paul, Paul was flat out on his belly crying out...not watching magical feathers float down from the air. The satanist have you all in there power and you guys actually believe that you are saved. Well I will leave you with your pride. " it's my life and I will do what I want" if I say it's god then it is, yes I really do agree it is YOUR god.

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  182. Dear Sir/Madam,

    We are Local miners based in Tarkwa, Ghana-West Africa.we have 500kg alluvial gold dust in stock ready for immediate sale.If you are interested in our gold or want to

    partner us to develop our mining site your are welcome.

    Find bellow the specification of our AU Gold Dust:
    PRODUCT. . . . .GOLD DUST
    QUANTITY. . . . 500 KG PLUS
    PURITY. . . . . 96% {Non-refined}
    QUALITY. . . . .22 carat +
    PRICE. . . . . .$20.700usd (Negotiable)
    ORIGIN. . . . . Ghana(West Africa)
    hope to hear from you soon.

    contact me with my private email: golddustonline@gmail.com

    Yours faithfully
    Harvard Bryant

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  183. BF, really advertisement here?

    Tim

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  184. Just recently, the Spirit brought me here to use Bethel to teach me stuff. I was a part of the Vineyard 20 years ago and I left when they started teaching baby Christians how to cast out demons. I came from an occult background having an inside view of "the wiles of the enemy" and these experiences weren't thrown out with the proverbial bath water. God used my experience and took some things putting Kingdom Principles as He saw fit.

    Since I have been here staying at a house. sharing a room, having several first year BSSM students living with me, I have found it to be an elitist mentality: they have the revelation that no one else carries (The Elijah Group), and they are going to Christianize the world in order to make it "clean" for Jesus to arrive. I was in contact with Kris Valloton's secretary asking about his Eschatological view and I was told the Kris is a "pre-preterist". Look at Theological Statements All of Kris views center on what he refuses to believe rather than what he does believe. It is very confusing.

    The worship music is loud, more like a concert performance (which in that venue, I would attend) but in this situation, it seems to develop emotions more than the anointing.

    After my experience in the Vineyard I understood that when "signs and wonders" trump the scriptures you have a very serious problem which can extend into the occult.

    One of the older roommates here at the house has been very aggressive when talking about the Church. So I collected a few different articles about the "Third Wave Movement", " The Revival Church" and "the Elijah Group". He refused to look at them saying that due to the shear numbers of people who are involved in Bethel around the globe proves that it is God moving in the Body today.

    ReplyDelete

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