Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bethel Church - there the vultures will gather?

In case you have been asleep for the last few weeks, a spiritual manifestation of the “glory cloud” has been taking place at Bill Johnson's Bethel Church in Redding, CA. I blogged about it two weeks ago, not knowing that it had already accelerated like gasoline on a fire. Pastor Bill Johnson states that it is a “sign that makes you wonder.” Well, since he has the right to wonder, I suppose others, who may not arrive at the same conclusions, have the same right as well. I'll state right up front that any commenters who seek to prophetically warn others of blasphemy will not see their posts go through. We serve a God that is big enough to allow us to wonder about such things, and besides, we already have "Apostle" Bill Johnson's permission.

Of course, in the “river,” there has always been gold dust, gold fillings, even drippy gold-laced oil stigmata. Also gemstones appearing in churches and people's yards. And, as you might expect, there have been occasions of outright fraud, and intsances of well-meaning but totally-deceived people who just wanted to help God along by "seeding" the place.

The sheer magnitude of the current manifestation seems to rule out man-made fraud. Sure there are Hollywood effects that could be used, and Johnson's son (Bethel's worship leader) admits that he uses “lights and smoke” but perhaps that is limited to his “Jesus Culture” roadshow. Alarmingly, Brian Johnson also muses in another tweet “Do lights and smoke increase the anointing in worship?” I would have to say, based on that question, that there is a wide theological gap between Brian Johnson's understanding of the “anointing” and mine. How could anybody even ask that?


In reponse to my direct question, Bill Johnson has attested to me that they do not use smoke machines in their services, aside from youth events. I'll take him at his word.

The complexity of the current manifestation (and I say current because it changes every time) appears to be on the level of something that perhaps George Lucas or Steven Spielberg could pull off, but probably not without many others knowing it. And secrets like this are hard to keep. So, my impression is that this is a spiritual manifestation – genuinely supernatural. Take a look.


The following question was posed on a facebook discussion of this and it think it is worth looking at:

Ok my fellow Christians, let me get this straight.

We believe in an invisible God who lives in a place we cannot see, and who lives OUTSIDE of time but yet INSIDE our hearts.

We believe that a whale's belly is the place for man who disobeys and an ark on top of a flooded planet is the place for a man who listens.

We believe in talking snakes, talking donkeys, and talking bushes.

We believe that a Spirit can impregnate a virgin. We believe that God's Son came to Earth, died, raised Himself from the dead, and performed amazing miracles.

And we believe this earth will be destroyed by scorpion-tailed locusts, a lion-headed cavalry, a seven headed Beast of the Sea, and a seven headed red Dragon.

BUT

Gold flakes appearing during a church service is inconceivable?


Here's my response to that question:

YES - God can show us incredible signs and wonders.

Here's the problem:

In the recent past, many of the manifestations could be explained as being "of the flesh." Derek Prince called it a "mixture of spirits." Toronto "holy laughter" is an excellent example of such a mixture. I've seen it; we've all seen it.

This manifestation (or "sign and wonder") seems apart from the flesh (unless this is a massive fraud perpetrated by the leadership of Bethel, and I do not believe that is the case.) Although once limited to small manifestations, such as the fraud like Sylvania Machado employed at the Ruth Heflin campmeetings, this is being presented on a much larger scale.

And so I believe that we are looking at something that is supernatural.

The  question dodges the source of the supernatural. If we believe- scripturally- of the validity of signs and wonders today we also must believe - scripturally - of lying signs and wonders. Jesus promised us, in Matthew 24, that we would see – in the last days – false signs and wonders that would deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Besides its venue-specific nature, which gives me pause, the ever-accelerating nature of this phenomena is something to ponder.

1. Bird Feathers
2. A few gold flakes here and there
3. Gold, feathers and gemstones
4. Smoke
5. Smoke with a few gold flakes
6. Smoke with a few gold flakes, a few gemstones thrown in for effect
7. Swirling smoke with a few gold flakes
8. Swirling smoke with luminescent sparklies
9. Massive swirling smoke with uprising confetti sparkles

I don't see that sort of ramping-up in the miracles in the bible. The plague of locusts didn't start with a few stink bugs.

I would propose that this sort of ramping-up has a direct correlation with the insatiable desire for more and more signs and wonders - call it lust - call it a “generation seeking after signs and wonders” - and someone is playing along with that, and feeding that desire.

The facebook question is a good one, but it does not go deep enough. If it was God's nature to feed (increase) our insatiable desires, the story of the manna in Exodus 16 might have played out differently.

Satan, on the other hand, wants to fuel our lusts. We know for a fact that the secret power of lawlessness is already at work (2 Thessalonians 2). Could this be a factor here? I don't know, because the lawless one has not yet been revealed.

There seems to be a real disconnect between the nature of God and the ever-increasing nature of the manifestation plus the less-than-sober reaction of those in the congregation when it occurs.

More questions than answers, I'm afraid.

As always, let's keep things civil, I'm going to delete any responses that use the terms such as heretic, blasphemer, antichrist, Sadducee, Pharisee, or scoffer. How does the ever-increasing nature of this manifestation line up with the manner in which the unchangeable God has revealed himself in the past? Is this like God? What do you think?

70 comments:

  1. There is something else that makes me wonder about these "miracles" when compared to all the ones that were listed that have happened in the past. Didn't every single one of those have avery specific purpose, a purpose that was accomplisehed by them and that there was no question about?

    In contrast, what is the purpose of these manifestations? According to even Bill Johnson, they are "signs that make us wonder". That doesn't sound like a very specific purpose to me!

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    1. great thinking. For every biblical miracle there was(1)purpose (2)meet human needs (2) fulfils Gods spiritual goals for humanity.
      any manifestation lacking the above qualifications most likely may not be coming from God.
      I have no problem with real gold dust but fake gold dust!. whats the the purpose? why should God sent down quail feathers when what we really need is quail meat? glory feathers may mesmerize us but real meat will satisfy our hungry bellies.(purpose) Why collect an offering in the church after a shower of Gold that can translate into mission impossible. (purpose).

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  2. If an alleged sign makes the observer wonder as to its significance, in what sense can it be said to be a sign? Signs signify, it seems to me.

    Bethel reportedly understands these alleged signs as indications of divine presence and favor. Such an interpretation strikes me as gratuitous and even at least somewhat arrogant. Certainly, such an interpretation begs any number of questions. Chief among them is this: If the Spirit, through His works and gifts, testifies to the glory of God and if the glory of God is summed up in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, how can the Spirit be so unusually active in a context in which testimony to the glory of God is almost entirely absent?

    Bill Johnson and Bethel are by no means known for bold and straightforward proclamation of the Gospel. Those unfamiliar with the facts should audit his recent Easter sermons. Is it too much to expect of a minister of the Gospel that he proclaim the death and resurrection of Christ on that day even if no other?

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  3. Anonymous,

    If these signs show God's favor and presence, it kind of begs the question why we were never made aware of any thing like that in the NT churches, doesn't it? Did they not have His favor and presence with them?

    It seems to me that they are at the very least assuming a whole lot here without seeming to have much or any convincing Scriputural evidence to back it up with.

    If they are free to make such assumptions, it would seem to me that the rest of us ought to be free to make our assmumptions too. Assumptions that I think have a whole lot more Scriptural backing then their assumptions seem to have!

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  4. Good post...and good response. Very familiar with the precept that undergirds this movement -- "Creating a place for God's Presence to dwell", what have you. Is it any wonder that IHOP, Bethel, and Toronto Vineyard (John Arnott) are now all part of the same stream in "the river" (boldly proclaimed by a whacked Carol Arnott while "toasted" in the spirit)? "Creating a place for God's Presence to dwell" -- sounds Old Testamenty doesn't it? Of course! That's why people sympathetic to this stuff appeal to the Old Testament ad infinitum in order to attempt to establish a precedence for...for what? For stuff that in the grand scheme of things, for the true believer, isn't really all that important! The greatest miracle is a changed life, being sanctified by the Spirit, and the "greater things" are helping to bring about the same effect in others lives by serving them, meeting their needs, ministering to their brokenness, showing them the love of Jesus...not by bringing them to grandiose displays of spiritual fireworks, so maybe they can get some gold dust on their sleeve. Your displays of signs and wonders will mean nothing in these last days. The true believer will not put much stock in them, they are rather insignificant. Conversely, the increased frequency of them signify the coming apostasy, deception, falling away. The Atonement with a changed life in Christ apparently is just not sufficient enough for people anymore. Now the battle cry is "More", and they feel they need to do more,,,to call God down from the heavenlies to dwell with them. No amount of charismatic calisthenics will do this. What they seem to forget is the obvious -- Christ already accomplished this.

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  5. Perhaps a little bit of Biblical perspective is called for. The intensity and magnitude of the shekinah glory cloud varied much in the old and new testament. Moses first saw the shekinah resting on a single tree. His reaction was puzzlement and curiosity and his response was, “I must turn aside and see this thing.” Much like the response of some today. Did it provoke Holy awe? The angel had to tell him to take off his shoes, that he was standing on holy ground. Moses did not intuitively know it. The next time the Glory cloud appeared it was a massive cloud that overshadowed the camp by day and pillar of fire by night. Technical descriptions were not of interest then, so we don’t know if the fire consisted of glowing, swirling, flashing phosphorescent particles as we see today. The next display recorded actually covers Mt. Sinai and is accompanied by lightning flashes. The shekinah that filled Moses’ tabernacle appeared as smoke and was localized to fill the temple. Standing in the phenomenon for extended periods of time would impart to Moses a phosphorescent glow upon his skin. Israel had to learn to live with the visible, daily appearance of the shekinah glory and yet get on with their lives. The glory cloud obviously didn’t guarantee their holiness or even keep them from sickness. But it was an encouragement that His presence was with them and would urge them on.

    Solomon experienced the shekinah as a localized smoke as well.

    Isaiah predicted that the glory cloud would cover the city of Jerusalem in the future “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. Isaiah 4:4-6”

    More than that, the glory would appear upon people. “For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you.” Isaiah 60:1-3

    To Ezekiel’s eyes, the Glory of God looked like a shimmering rainbow “As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.”

    “Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD.” Ezekiel 10:3-5

    Prophets of every stripe have always described the visible glory of God resting in the temple, over the city and upon people in the future. “For I,’ declares the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.” Zechariah 2:4-6

    On the mount of transfiguration a bright cloud overshadowed Jesus, the two disciples and Moses and Elijah who “appeared in glory”.

    In Acts, the shekinah glory that filled the large room the 120 were sitting in rested on each head and had a fiery appearance. We are not told how long the phenomenon persisted, whether minutes or hours.

    Paul suggests that the glory of the New covenant will be even greater. “But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? ” 2 Corinthians 3:7

    John talks about the visible cloud of glory in several places in Revelation. Suffice it to say this was a fairly common manifestation down through history, up to our time and into the future. We see it increasing with multiple reports at Asuza Street in 1906, in churches in intervening years and now with more frequency in places across the globe.

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    1. Yep :) Awesome...... Let your glory fall God. Our God is Awesome truly Awesome!

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    2. Anonymous...Moses didn't see a glory cloud he saw a bush on fire... You need to be very clear in what you are saying if you want to justify this glory cloud phenomenon..

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  6. 1. Bird Feathers 2. A few gold flakes here and there 3. Gold, feathers and gemstones 4. Smoke 5. Smoke with a few gold flakes 6. Smoke with a few gold flakes, a few gemstones thrown in for effect 7. Swirling smoke with a few gold flakes 8. Swirling smoke with luminescent sparklies 9. Massive swirling smoke with uprising confetti sparkles.

    -- betcha Crowder is loving this, ya think?

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  7. Can anyone tell me why some of you have seemingly come to the conclusion that what is being seen in Bethel and other similar places is the glory of God? The shekinah glory? It seems to me that is a HUGE assumption at best.

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  8. For those unaware, Bill Johnson sometimes ‘heals’ by the power of…well…Bill. And, when he messes up, God “covers him”. No, I’m not pulling your leg. From Release the Power of Jesus[2009, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 107] Johnson recounts a botched healing in which he attempts to heal a man, whose leg was 1.5” longer than the other after having been broken 25 years earlier, by lengthening the uninjured (shorter, regular length) leg:

    …Then I paused for a moment and a thought occurred to me, “Should I shrink the long leg or lengthen the shorter leg? Most people wouldn’t mind being a little bit taller.” I caught him (and myself) completely off guard when I said, “Right leg, grow in Jesus’ name.”

    The right leg began to grow out slowly. Then all of a sudden it shot out past the other leg three or four inches and the guy screamed in pain! It was as though years of growing pains were hitting him all at once. On the outside I’m sure I looked very calm, but on the inside I was wondering, “What have I done! This guy thinks he hobbled in here…wait until he tries to walk out!


    “Should I shrink the long leg or lengthen the shorter leg”?! “What have I done”? Are we to actually BELIEVE the above? This is most disturbing.
    Continuing with the above:

    I began to search my heart to figure how to pray when I remembered studying the word shalom. It means “peace.”…soundness of mind, health, prosperity…I thought, “This situation has to be covered in that word.” So I prayed, “And now Lord, just let the shalom of Heaven, your peace, rest upon this man.” His right leg then shrank back to perfectly match the other one…[p 107]

    So, Johnson gets it right the 2nd time with the right (formerly uninjured) leg shrank back after praying the “shalom prayer”? In a subsequent account on the very next page of the book Johnson relates another leg length disparity healing recalling:

    Because of my recent experience, for which God covered me, I took her leg and commanded the one with the metal rod to shrink. It yielded to the command… [p 108]

    It’s a GOOD THING God ‘covered’ Johnson!

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/by-whose-power-does-bill-johnson-perform-healings/

    If indeed this 'gold dust' is supernatural, in view of the above, I think it prudent to question the source.

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  9. Craig,
    That is downright creepy. I forgot all about that story. Not much else to be said, I'm afraid.
    -Bill

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  10. First of all, this is an example of humor. Second of all, Bill prayed in the name of Jesus, asking "Lord, just let the shalom of Heaven, your peace, rest upon this man" not by what Craig calls "the power of Bill". The first time Jesus prayed for the blind man in Mark 8, the man said "I see men as trees walking" That's no way to leave a guy. "Thanks for the prayer, I see men as trees walking." So Jesus prayed a second time and his eyes were completely healed. You have no scriptural basis for your criticisms, in this story. Why do you constantly want to besmirch the guy?

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  11. Sorry, but I fail to see any humor in this whatsoever.

    Johnson made it clear that the first botched ‘healing’ was done by Johnson as he goes on to make the explicit claim that God ‘covered him’ in the very next account. I don’t see how this can be any more plain.

    Do you truly believe that God would extend someone’s leg 4.5” to 5.5” [3” to 4” beyond the other leg which was already 1.5” longer than the uninjured leg] with the individual screaming out in pain leaving the leg in this lengthened state (and presumably the individual still screaming in pain) and only subsequently returning it to match the other leg once Johnson prayed the right prayer?

    Just because someone tacks “in Jesus’ name’ on the end of a prayer/command does not obligate God to oblige their command. It’s not a magical incantation (or at least it should not be!). When we pray in Jesus’ name it should be in accordance with the character of our Lord and Savior; i.e., by adhering to His Holy Word. There is more than one ‘Jesus’ [2 Corinthians 11:4]…

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  12. I believe that God heals today. I also believe that a man who asks "“Should I shrink the long leg or lengthen the shorter leg?" is delving into places he should not go. I would not call this humor, at best I would call this presumtion.

    So what, did God botch the healing at first just to humor Bill Johnson? Or was Bill Johnson healing ("should *I*...") in some other power?

    At any rate, I fail to see the humor. I've met plenty of people who think its funny to play with what they think is the holy spirit- run after each other to slay each other in the spirit. Wow, that is really sick.

    Didn't work out too well for Nadab and Abihu. This is not stuff to play with.

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    1. why not? if it belongs to children they can play without any worry,otherwise they would not be free a Gods children.the same God that said He wont give his glory to anyone,latter gave His glory to us in Christ.
      2-but if children want to grow up and behave like mature sons then it is different-there comes a time when they are asked to decide to follow the spirit as jesus did..
      but there is nocondemnation if they dont.just imaturity..
      vedran

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  13. That is interesting you bring up Nadab and Abihu. Nadab and Abihu did not care about doing things in the “name of Jesus”. They were not calling on the name of the Lord. The started a fire the same old way they had always started a fire, ignoring Moses. Human tradition. What I am finding on this site is a dependence on feelings, on tradition, on doing things the way we’ve always done things. Unlike the Bereans who searched the scriptures daily, there is a dependence on common sense. It is no wonder the church in America is shrinking. We have a man-made religion that has a form of godliness but denies the power.

    We have been talking much lately here in Portland about encouraging a culture of faith. We have forgotten who our parents are. Let’s just consider the culture of faith in the new testament. The 500 who saw Jesus ascend into heaven aso saw and heard angels. The 120 all experienced the fiery shekinah glory filling a large room and resting on heads. They all spoke in tongues and prophesied. Leter when they prayed for even more miracles at the hands of the apostles, the room actual began to shake. Peter fell into trances. He talked and walked with angels several times. Peter and John actually saw Moses and Elijah (who had been dead for hundreds of years) and witnessed the glory cloud overshadowing them and Jesus. Stephen saw into heavan. Paul traveled to heaven. John was transported to heaven. Phillip was transported to another location. Angels ministered to Jesus several times. The troops that tried to arrest him all fell to the ground. Paul talked with angels, warned against false angels, encourage people to be hospitable because they could be entertaining angels. Peter’s very shadow healed the sick, Paul loaned out his handkerchiefs and aprons (which were soaked in the power of the Holy Spirit? or?) to heal the sick. According to 1 Corinthians 14, Church meetings typically contained at least 3 prophesies or a tongue and interpretation. Accurate words of knowledge would reveal the secrets of a man’s heart causing him to fall to the ground and say, “God is in your midst”. Of course the greatest miracle is to be born again. But we are birthed into a heavenly kingdom and unless we understand that, we risk devolution of Christianity into a philosophy, a collection of human traditions, ethics or a german theological exercise. The last book of the New Testament is a wild vision from beginning to end. We don’t follow signs and wonders but, signs and wonders are supposed to follow us. Philip, the deacon who bused tables, led a revival in Samaria with signs and wonders and great joy. Stephen, the other bus boy, “full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people”. I really don’t think the disciples or early church would recognize the emasculated, powerless church that we (I include myself here) take for normal.
    Rick

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  14. Rick,

    That's a strawman. No one in the OT did things in the "Name of Jesus." LOL!

    The point about Nadab and Abihu was that they were doing things in the flesh, not unlike a "healer" who wonders if *HE* should shrink the leg.

    They were not following tradition, in fact the "problem" arose because they did not follow the ways that God had established.

    Presumption was the chief error. They did not wait for God's direction.

    If Bill Johnson had waited for God's direction, his story would have been different. Instead he presumed that he could determine how the healing could be effected and the result was not good until God stepped in.

    And then to laugh about it?

    Strange fire, indeed.

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    1. dont you think God was in control all the time..?and that bill learned something from that? i learnedthat the freedom God gives us in operating in anointing is beyond our comprehension and that the only way to realy grow is to learn in practise what he meant when he said:if you dont become like children...
      and i realized that reading your blog now
      i encourage you to choose your words in a way that will show love and honor for everyone :)
      ( i am also still learning,often trough guys from bethel church )
      vedran

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  15. I agree. Nadab and Abihu were performing temple service in the flesh. They were starting a fire the way humans had started fires for thousands of years. This is the way we've always done it...in their own power. Whereas Moses had a new revelation that we use the supernatural fire that God had just started. I put "in Jesus name" in quotes because they used the name of the Lord in the OT.

    Craig's accusation was that Bill used his own power to heal the man. Balderdash. As he says, he prayed in the name of JESUS and asked "LORD, just let the SHALOM of HEAVEN, YOUR peace, rest upon this man." Then I gave you a scripture about Jesus praying for a blind man in which the first prayer only left him perceiving men as trees walking. So Jesus prayed a second time till both eyes were completely fixed. Scripture.

    "If Bill Johnson had waited for God's direction, his story would have been different." Nice monday morning quarterbacking. However, his story had a great ending. If Jesus had stopped with the first prayer, the man would have spent the rest of his life trying to avoid blurry trees walking. Yikes. But Jesus prayed the second time. Do you always wait for a word of knowledge every time you pray for the sick? Does your pastor ask the Lord how He wants him to pray every time prayer for the sick is requested? Be honest.
    Rick

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  16. Funny, what no one has mentioned up to this point
    is what's gonna happen when the "glory cloud" (w/dust, w/o dust, swirling, non-swirling, w/cream filling) stops appearing? Is this like going to be a regular occurrence now...? You'd think eventually this is going to stop, and of these Friday or Sunday nights it's just not gonna "show up"...or whatever. Or are we to believe this is going to go on forever until Jesus comes back. Well, then what. I think they're gonna have a lot of disappointed people on their hands, clamoring for more. The dynamic taking place seems to be not all that unlike classic cult techniques -- creating an extremely heightened sense of expectation and anticipation amongst the followers, cranking up the emotions to ultra-hyper levels. This is classic manipulation used to instill the groups (or the charismatic leader's) agenda. I know, because I believe I experienced this same dynamic before, at Amway conferences. Now, they didn't have these kinds of spiritual light shows, but the same techniques were/are in place. I think this place has no idea what they're messing with...and may be heading towards "the point of no return" so to speak. You're wasting your time trying to rationalize all this Rick, good luck with that. You do know your Bible, and for that I commend you. I think there are other explanations, and if we don't explore these we may be seriously deluding ourselves. Let's all come back to Jesus, and Jesus alone. Quit worrying about bringing back the Apostolic era and creating "cultures of faith". Just fix your eyes upon the Cross...set your hearts on things above. Let Heaven remain in it's Rightful place, instead of trying to re-locate it to earth.

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  17. A footnote to my Amway reference: manipulation on a massive scale occurs at these organizational conferences, spiritual and otherwise. I found myself overwhelmingly emotional during one of their "Sunday morning services", with tears streaming down my eyes, during the charismatic leader's "altar call". I was being manipulated...and it is their goal to do this (whether knowingly or unknowingly), the culmination of a weekend's worth of an all out frontal assault on the senses. They don't save people to Christ, it seems they save them to an Amway Christ, which is a different Jesus, in order to solidify their allegiance to "the business". (Their altar calls are straight out of the Kenneth Copeland/Joyce Meyer playbook.) That's why these kenosis discussions have been invaluable. Do you see what I'm getting at here? Yeah, get them saved whatever, but then get them inculcated with Bethel...and their allegiance to Apostle Bill Johnson. My take...that's all.

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  18. Rick,

    It was BJ that saaid "should I shrink the long leg or lengthen the shorter leg" but this does illustrate a point in which I think the hyper-charismatic has it all wrong.

    I get really annoyed with ministry team members who think that have to gather all sorts of medical information so that they can pray in a certain way. And yes, I've been through the vineyard training where you gather information and them pronouce that something like "root of bitterness" is the problem.

    When I pray for people, I get the 10 second version and just pray that God will heal. God knows what the problem is, I'm just fooling myself if I think I do.

    If I was Johnson's victim, I sure would not want some goofy preacher trying to decide which leg HE should lengthen.

    The whole story smacks of presumption; once again we are back to Nadab and Abihu.

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  19. Rick, you wrote:

    Craig's accusation was that Bill used his own power to heal the man. Balderdash. As he says, he prayed in the name of JESUS and asked "LORD, just let the SHALOM of HEAVEN, YOUR peace, rest upon this man." Then I gave you a scripture about Jesus praying for a blind man in which the first prayer only left him perceiving men as trees walking. So Jesus prayed a second time till both eyes were completely fixed. Scripture.

    You seem to have a penchant for misreading/mischaracterizing what I write. As you’ve noted, the first ‘healing’ was a two step process. The first was the botched portion, the second one was the ‘shalom’ prayer in which Johnson states the individual was healed. In the first half Johnson states “What have I done…” indicating it was Johnson who performed this ‘healing’– even though he prayed ‘in Jesus’ name’. Now, and this is the important part which you seem to overlook, in the next account of healing Johnson states emphatically (it’s italicized in the book) regarding this previous (initial) botched healing, “God covered me”. Covered who? Covered Johnson. Johnson did the healing as he very plainly claims. Now, the question is: by which ‘Jesus’ did he heal? To reiterate, note that the first half of the this ‘healing’ states ‘in Jesus’ name’.

    And, to compare this to Mark 8 is not applicable. Was the individual whom Jesus healed “screaming in pain” in healing process? No. Can you cite a single Scripture in which anyone was “screaming in pain” in the process of divine physical healing? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

    You’re continued defense of Johnson’s plain anti- and extra-Biblical writings displays either 1) the depth of your own deception, or 2) your dishonesty.

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  20. Rick, you wrote:

    Does your pastor ask the Lord how He wants him to pray every time prayer for the sick is requested? Be honest.

    Do you not have this book? The individual, a contractor, who was healed specifically asked Bill Johnson if he had ever heard of a leg shrinking. Johnson recalls that this HAD in fact occurred to another individual [p 106].

    Since it was the formerly-broken-but-'healed' leg that was 1.5" longer than the other, the contractor figured, logically, that it would be best to shrink it back to the other uninjured leg. Yet, Johnson thinks to himself:

    …Then I paused for a moment and a thought occurred to me, “Should I shrink the long leg or lengthen the shorter leg? Most people wouldn’t mind being a little bit taller.” I caught him (and myself) completely off guard when I said, “Right leg, grow in Jesus’ name.”

    So, Johnson goes against what the contractor specifically asked for AND against logic. Also, if you read carefully, the result is that the shorter, uninjured leg, which had initially shot out past the already too long leg in the first botched 'healing', was, in the 2nd 'shalom' prayer, shortened back to match the already too long by 1.5" leg. This means the guy was 1.5" taller as a result of this 'healing'.

    Pardon me if I call it, to use your word, balderdash.

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  21. Craig, you said, “Bill Johnson sometimes ‘heals’ by the power of…well…Bill. “ I said “Craig's accusation was that Bill used his own power to heal the man.” Then you claimed “You seem to have a penchant for misreading/mischaracterizing what I write.” Please don’t say I am dishonest. I would rather you called me stupid. Nor do I think I am deceived as you allege. I gave you an instance from scripture where the man wanted healing from blindness. He got an unexpected, incomplete result. I won’t call it a botched prayer. Jesus could have left him to go through life seeing men as trees walking, but He didn’t. I suppose if he were an eye surgeon we would call the first prayer a botched eye surgery, leaving someone with wierd, indistinct vision...not the expected outcome, right? However, Jesus prayed a second time and both eyes were made absolutely perfect. Obviously I am not going to find the exact example that matches in every detail. In fact, we don’t even read of any person’s leg being lengthened in scripture. To call any of this “botched” is ridiculous. God makes everything perfect. Botched is your word, Bill never used the word in the book (I just found it in my library)...he was giving a wonderful testimony. Healings aren’t always pleasant or fun, as the man with spit in his eye or mud in his eye or spit on the tongue can attest to. But the end result is always joy.

    I am not sure why William introduced the subject of people who have to “who think that have to gather all sorts of medical information so that they can pray in a certain way”. That is not what is reported here. Or the “vineyard training where you gather information and them pronouce that something like "root of bitterness" is the problem.” Johnson’s church is neither a Vineyard church nor does he mention a psychological counseling element to this healing.

    I know of very few churches that have an altar call for salvation at every single service. I am always amazed when the prayer team unfurls the freedom banner to the left of the platform and invites sinners to give their lives to Jesus. I wish we did that. I have the highest respect for Bill Johnson and the ministry at Bethel Church. I have seen the thousands of new believers born into the kingdom, I have seen the thousands of answers to prayer and healing, I have seen the obvious love and devotion to Jesus. My closest friend, an MD and his wife who owns a nursing business gave their lives to Jesus and were healed at a service there this year. What can I say? praise God! To Him be the Glory.

    Your brother Rick

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  22. Apparently, I didn’t make my point clear regarding Mark 8. Jesus actually improved the blind man’s condition in the first step; whereas, the contractor’s was clearly worse in Johnson’s first try as made evident by Johnson’s words “This guy thinks he hobbled in here…wait until he tries to walk out!” Also, Jesus did not cause the blind man to scream out in pain. In fact, there is absolutely no Biblical record of any person who “screamed in pain” in the process of divine physical healing. Bottom line: Mark 8 does not apply and this does not qualify as a Biblical healing. That is, if this account is to be believed in the first place.

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  23. Rick,

    just sincerely asking ,after reading all this back and forth, because I don't understand why we even need a glory cloud with the advent of the miracle of Christ Himself. Why is it that things which preceded his coming have actually taken over, at least in some folks eyes nowadays for Him? Why isn't the cross enough any more?

    I absolutely believe the gifts exist for today, but here's where I see that going wrong, in the case of BJ of others. Why do we have to prove to folks that Christ exists, vis a vis signs and wonders? Aren't we missing the whole point of the cross itself as being sufficient, whether we are healed here or in heaven?

    If we are only offering healing, or a glory cloud, as a substitute, or the just promise of eternal life as a carrot, aren't we, as Charles Stanley has said ,buying tickets to the Super Bowl, and just sitting in the parking lot instead of really encouraging folks to enter into the full participation of real life in Christ?

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  24. My wife and I were just at Bethel Redding this last weekend,Nov.20th. I am by nature very skeptical of anything that does not line up with scripture, ie feathers, gold dust.But I must say, I witnessed the sparkling particles floating around towards the top of the building. It was amazing. I don't have a explanation.There was alot of healing going on when this happened. What bothers me is that people become so entranced by the experience the focus becomes the cloud, and not Jesus. I also am disturbed by the notion that things only happen at this kind of Church , that Gods Spirit only manifests himself at such meetings. God is alive and well in our small Church, when we are gathered in his name , he is with us.Everything does not need to be an event or show, it is addicting.

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  25. (beatruthlover) - I am so confused about this whole thing. Our daughter was persuaded to go to the Bethel school - now she has cut off all communication with us and all her friends and claims that it is 'unhealthy' for her to see any of us. I am terrified - this is a single girl alone in California with 'friends' and 'Christians' who are telling her to not talk to her family? I have not talked to her for over 2 months - no coming home for holidays, now she has 'memories' of abuse in our home that are absolutely false - she has 4 siblings that will defend us - but how do we get our daughter back?

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    1. There is a perfectly good explaination for this dear lady ..anyone who has studied cults know this is how they operate .. They get the person in and then break off all communication between them and the outside world .. This is typical cult activity

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  26. Well, that sounds rather cult-like, doesn't it? I'm perplexed - as the so-called "culture of honor" apparently does not extend to parents (and the bible is emphatic about that).

    The Sozo inner-healing methods, as does Elijah House, depends a lot on "repressed memories." History has shown that this sort of "therapy" can recover memories that never happened. Sad.

    Keep praying that your
    daughter will see the light.

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  27. AND MANY OF US WILL PRAY TOO

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  28. We should look to The Manual for guidance. What I find there is that on the few occasions when people were allowed to see the Shekhinah or Glory Cloud they invariably fell to the ground as if dead.  They didn't squeal and applaud and reach for their cell phone cameras shouting Gnarly Dude!

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  29. I am with God all the way. To me He is amazing and His power stands alone. He stands alone. If I am in a position to receive it, I will take all He has to offer me. I have seen gold dust, glittering angels, I have heard an angel speak, and I want more. My God is huge and as such He can do anything and everything. I was reading the posts before mine, and the in my opinion, they question and disbelieve because the God they believe is small, possibly human-like.

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  30. All that glitters isn't gold. All that glitters isn't God. For Satan masquerades as an angel of light [2 Cor 11:13-15].

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  31. Arthur Adam Haglund3/10/12, 2:57 AM

    "SIGNS AND WONDERS"
    SIgns, by definition point to something else. Lying signs point to anti-christ, true signs point to God. The problem, BOTH claim they point to god, hence LYING.
    Wonders are to make you say, think, "WOW!" and "HOW?"
    Teh wonders of God, in the Bible, were truely magnificent! Parting a sea? Reasing the dead? Casting out demons into pigs!!!

    Does any of Bethel's CLAIMED wonders scrape the bottom, so to speak, of the least of the Bible's recorded wonders?
    Not by a long shot!
    What about signs?
    Jesus showed many through sings, like healing, showing that he was the master of creation, having created it. His ability to heal was directly connected to his ability to forgive sins. Please note that we see at least two account, biblically, where sins were forgiven without the death on the cross being a past tense event!

    We do not see bible healings of hidden illnesses, which the the only domain the current crop of 'healing gift' hlders operate in.
    So, we have not very impressive wonders and signs that give no direction. Who but the blind following the blind could confue the two groups of signes and wonders?

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  32. I stumbled across this blog spot last night and it broke my heart. No wonder the world has little use or desire for Christians or the Gospel when all they see is open condemnation of each other. I find it odd that your spot is called Beyond Grace. Seriously? Are you kidding me? There is no apparent grace or mercy found in this location. Only condemnation.

    Although everything should be based on the Word of God since it is our true foundation and source of life, I’ve found that anyone can take any scripture and make it prove whatever point they want, interpreting it from their point of view in order to fulfill their specific purpose. It saddens me to see how the Word of God has been used in this spot in order to condemn fellow Christians. Wise up brothers and sisters. It is the love of God (which we are all called to demonstrate) that leads people to repentance, not arguments. Could our lack of love, and possibly our lack of God's power be the reason non-believers want nothing to do with the church?

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  33. For 48 years, I was part of a mainstream denomination that did not believe in signs and wonders. Very much like you William, if someone did not believe like I had been taught...if their theology didn't fit into my neat little box…if their experiences were not the same as mine, I automatically deemed them as "wrong." Having no grid for their beliefs and practices, I had no grace or value for them. I could find scripture after scripture to prove their stupidity and err of judgment. But then one day, I simply got sick of my religious self and my empty life and became Assembly of God, looking for more.

    After a few more years, I began to wonder where was the Acts church and the power of God? Isn't He the same today as He was yesterday and will be forever? Although skeptical, I decided to find out for myself, giving up everything in the pursuit. I moved to Redding California and in my fifties, humbled myself to become a first-year student at Bethel with kids many years my junior…something I doubt you would be willing to do in order to seek the truth about Bill Johnson and/or strange manifestations first-hand. It is much easier to throw stones from a distance…much safer to never remove familiar filters, but to always see things from the same perspective. Unless you are willing to pay the ultimate price to find all the truth, shouldn’t you consider applying some grace to the situation?

    William, why the apparent hatred for Bill Johnson? Do you personally know his heart? I do, and you are dead wrong about this man. In one of your blogs, you called him prideful, as well as many other choice words. Johnson is the most humble man I’ve ever met. He also knows God's Word backwards and forwards.

    John Maxwell: "Jesus declared that the entire Law could be reduced to loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. Jesus summarized His vast kingdom using two simple phrases. Can you do that with your life and work?" Mark 12:28-34

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    1. LW, if you know Bill personally could you ask him why he said that "Did you know Jesus was born again?" "He had to be I will show you it's in the bible"? After saying that he went on to show us where in the bible he was born again and uses the scripture referring to his resurrection to justify the basis for his false claim. But the resurrection was not Jesus being born again, it was him being raised up. Also Bill said that Jesus laid his divinity aside in his book 'When Heaven invades earth' first page in ch7. So could you ask him to humbly explain why he openly denies the divine deity of Christ if he knows the word backwards and forward like you claim?

      Furthermore he also blasphemes Jesus Christ another time on the first pg in ch2 of the same book when he said "He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship with God...not as God" This is a blatant denial of who Jesus Christ was and sadly the list I have of things Bill says in opposition of Gods Holy Word is much longer than these three quotes. I have started to pay attention to this man because I believe he needs to be exposed so that he will not continue to lead the body of Christ astray. -Heather

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  34. I was a Bethel student for three years, traveling at times on a team with Johnson. Not your typical student, I am mature in years and in God’s Word, an ordained minister, highly educated, and strongly gifted in the gift of discernment. Unlike you, I was there 24/7 for three years. If there were a rat, I would have smelled it; I am not easily deceived.

    I did not agree with everything that happened at Bethel. However, I didn't agree with everything that happened in the first two denominations I was involved in prior to Bethel. Denominations are man-made, not God-made or God-ordained. All come with imperfections; none have perfect theology. Although immature students at Bethel did crazy things and made some messes, they were always filled with love and compassion for one another, going after God in the most passionate way they knew how. I loved watching their zeal for the greater and deeper things of the Lord, even though their methods might be vastly different from mine.

    Sadly, I had left Redding to serve at another church before the glory cloud appeared at Bethel. However, each of us can enjoy His manifest glory, no matter how it appears as we become closer in intimacy with Him. He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Long before the glory cloud appeared corporately at Bethel, I regularly experienced the cloud, fog, smoke (whatever you want to call it) during my personal times of worship. His sweet manifest presence/glory is like nothing else on earth...it is healing, refreshing, and overwhelmingly intimate, full of liquid love. Does that sound like something the enemy would replicate? No. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

    If you or your readers haven't experienced the manifest glory for yourself, then why be so critical? Why try to be an expert in an area that you have no experience? I'm sick and tired of denominationalism that does nothing but condemn people outside their "box" of theology and divide the Body of Christ. We are called to represent Christ...to represent His love, His power, His character, His forgiveness, His compassion. I would love to see your blog do just that instead of fulfilling your personal agenda.

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  35. LW, Here we do come from different perspectives, because I come from a background beliveing in signs and wonders AND still do.

    I don't think frank and open discussions of pertinent church issues keep non-believers from recieving Jesus. Generally that is attributed to the hardness of thier hearts. However, frank and open discussions may help them to avoide the pitfalls of the Apostolic movement and its abberant doctrines.

    Blessings.

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  36. "keep non-believers from recieving Jesus..."

    Hmmm, I believe God will save whom he will save, even if we have contrasting differences in what we believe to be biblical truth or not.

    Maybe he doesn't have control after all....

    TJ

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  37. I say go to Bethel and see it for yourself!Then comment. Talk to Bill Johnson in person than make your assumptions but before you do ...... Have Bill Lay hands on you and pray for you to let the Holy Spirit open the eyes of your heart which is the real problem.....and please stop giving us your opinions Get Gods opinion on this....pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you ... That is why He was given to us....to lead us to ALL Truth!

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  38. Stefanie,

    In the article I noted that I was in the river for many years. Probably longer than you have been alive. :) I don't need to travel across the country to comment on this; the Gold manifestation started here in Virginia ar Ruth Heflin's campmeetings.

    And as noted, I HAVE had direct conversation with Bill Johnson. I certainly don't need him to lay hands on me; I've already got a High Priest and He is the best!

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  39. Stephenie and LW, Im 53 and have spent my life in this "movement",my mother was singing the song of the Lord and Prophecing before I was born,dad was in BattleFord Canada during the initial Latter Rain movement , our pastor for most of my youth was James Watt the last living elder from there (Sharon Bible School were it originated) Ive been exposed to "Five Fold Ministry" Holy Laughter, Prophets and the whole nine yards....I traveled with one of the top Prophetic Voices in the pacific NW helped to establish Healing Rooms for 2-3 years so please, please "honor" my warning...we have a " more sure word of prophecy " in the Scripture and signs,wonders,miracles,angels,visions,feelings of liquid love, unity,promise of a wonderful future,annointing,revealation etc. etc. MUST NOT VIOLATE SOUND DOCTRINE no matter how dynamic it is. I have been fully convinced thru study ,research, prayer and my life experience in the movement that there is mixture in this present movement (and Bethel in particular) that is of such a nature that even though I am still fully Charasmatic, believe in and function in the the Gifts of the Holy Spirit I MUST not affirm what is being promoted, practiced, and planned. There is much that you are likely not aware of that is not being "pushed" as yet but even much of what is, is mixed with a fatal dose of deception. Please dont blow these brothers off as just angry,nit-pic,jealous,unexperienced,anti annointing,anti charasmatics,I tell you from the bottom of my heart they are pointing out Truths that are essential,foundational, critical to your Christian Faith.Experiences and feelings will come and go but Gods WORD is a sure foundation. Coming to terms with the idea that I could be seriosly wrong even with all the experiences I had over many many years was and still is very tough but it is the TRUTH and that can have no price put on it. I challenge you to at least set aside one "week" and allow the "prosecution" to fully state its case - if nothing else you'll be more informed to help those you think are misguided. Please consider a brothers genuine concern. and prove it out one way or the other. In Christ, Tim

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    1. Tim, thank you for this response. I have had a similar experience at Bethel. Quite often the leaders work under the wrong spirit and there is little accountability.

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  40. Tim you are Awesome! Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I believe my Lord can show me all things even if I am being deceived. I fully TRUST in Him. I have been a Christian for 22 years and yes I am sure you have been one longer. I was saved in a charismatic church at 8 years old and filled with the Holy Spirit while on vaccation at my Aunt +Uncles only to go back to Chicago and to catholicism. Went through lots and came back to the Lord in 1990 broken and in need of my Saviour. The Lord met me and brought me back in a Powerful way, Holy Spirit filling, tongues, gifts of the HS. Truly amazing time. Since that time I have gone back and forth with all manner of HS gifts charismatic stuff to Bible AnswerMan freaked about anything remotely sounding off to Messianic movement and I am a Homeschooler too. I have been there and seen and done some.All I can say is that I have lived a lot of my life as a Christain and I have lived closer to the Father, been more healed, more Love poured out, seen more people touched and delivered(my Len family) Than I did just focusing on Phariseeistic finger pointing and fearing that I am being deceived. I truly believe that we need to KNOW what the Bible says and allow the HS to guide us teach us and draw us to the Truth. I really don't think we need to freak about a lot of what this blog page is upset over. Keep our eyes on JESUS and alow Him(HS) to convict us of sin an draw us. Blessings to you Tim and Mr. Blogger. Let us fix our eyes on the Author and prefector of our faith. :)

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  41. I've posted additional info about this blog, about my self, and why the name, here:

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

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  42. I would caution everyone here as a friend. When a so-called move is not of God, it will die out, if it is God it will bear out. I've been a pastor for 17 years and saved of almost 30 ( I only say this to let you know I am not a newcomer to church) and I have seen goofy things in all camps. Some are goofy because they are weird and some are goofy and we don't recognize it because what we have done is brought worldly thoughts and ideas and traditions into our services. Now, one thing I do know. There is no ministry of expose' and blogs and websites that cater to gossip and that is what most of this is, under the heading of concern, are not birthed from God but rather from annoyance or offense and the originators usually claim to be "watchmen" on the wall and support it with O.T. scripture because there is no reference to any such activity in the N.T. There is this scripture however:Romans 16:17 ESV / 14 helpful votes

    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
    I do not agree with a lot of what Bill Johnson says but the fact that I disagree does not cause division. Blogs like this do.

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  43. Anonymous,

    There is no ministry of anonymous internet rebuke cited in the Bible. And "friends" do not caution others anonymously.

    I for one have never claimed to be a "watchman." That would be the height of arrogance. Plenty of my brothers over at IHOP have, BTW. I have huge concerns and hear from people who have been hurt by hyper-charismatic nonsense on a regular basis.

    You cite the Gamaliel principle. Was Gameliel a Christian? I didn't think so.

    How is that Gamaliel principle working with the Mormon church thing?

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  44. Regarding the the anonymous factor, that's easy because you can say what you want to say WITHOUT being identified. How easy and convenient is that? Seems to me you are getting the best of both worlds.

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  45. Anonymous,

    Have you ever had friend's that are a part of this movement? Are you still close friend's with them? Can you fellowship with them in the same way that you can other Christians?

    It just doesn't work out that way. We are not on the same page. You can't even discuss a lot of thins in the spiritual realm and be talking about the same things. And they are not always pleased if you try to point out to them that they are in error.


    So please don't tell us that these false doctrines don't cause divisions. And don't tell us that "avoiding them" as we are told to do in the Romans verse you cited isn't a division. Seems to me if we avoid someone that is the very essence of division from them. And whose fault is that division? The one following Scriptural commands or the one that went off on a tangent in false doctrine and made the division necessary?

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  46. I wonder why they are so excited about seeing signs and wonders? I mean, Jesus rebuked the Pharasees for insisting on being shown signs. Why? Because Salvation was right there with them, in the flesh! Why would they need a sign or wonder?

    And why now, if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, would we need a sign? What other sign or wonder do we need? Is a Holy God's assurance of our salvation in our spirits not enough? Do we not believe? Have we not the faith of things unseen...or must we see to believe? Have we not been given scripture to teach us?

    Talk about idolatry...

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  47. Just purely from the POV of physics, Gold is twice as heavy as lead. It doesn't float like dust. It certainly doesn't swirl upward.

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  48. Thank you for that wonderful bit of knowledge. Do you have any idea how much an Airbus A380 weighs? That think will NEVER get off the ground.

    Or, are you suggesting it is mylar?

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    1. I also wanted to answer your rhetorical question from 8/6 - the A380 weighs more than 1,000,000 pounds when fully fueled and loaded. I saw one at JFK in June - absolutely incredible!

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  49. Mr. Fawcett,
    I am part of a church that has recently gone thru a division partly as a result of the pastor's interest in a movement with ties to Bill Johnson. At present, we are still in fellowship with the group who is seeking for a greater revelation of the HS power. But I am concerned about how far down a road of emotionalism and experientialism some may want to go. I received the HS as a teenager and firmly believe in the power of the HS and the gifts that HE gives, so I am not fundamentally opposed to spiritual things at all. I have not read all of the comments on your blogs, but in regards to this issue so it is possible that this person and his book has been mentioned before - Watchman Nee's book(let) "The Latent Power of the Soul". It is available as a free PDF download (just Google it) and is a fairly short read. It was written many many years ago and yet seems to have alot of applicable truth to today's issue. I do not dismiss the powerful work if the HS. I know of a family member who was slain in the spirit and was delivered from 30+ years of alchaholism that very moment (she was in her 60s when this happened and she was not a "sign seeker" in the least. Unfortunately it did not deliver her from her tobacco addivtion and she died many years later from lung cancer. Why did He deliver her from one and not the other? I don't know or pretend to know, but I am thankful for what He did!) I mention that to say that I am not at all against the manifestations of the power of the HS, but I do get a serious check in my spirit concerning the seeming disconnect among many in this movement between the supposed manifestation of the power of the HS and manifesting the Gifts of the Spirit. I don't claim to have all the answers nor do I want to judge individuals. I just want to offer Nee's book as a possible source of understanding SOME of what we may be seeing on the fringes of the charismatic movement. Your thoughts??

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  50. Thanks, Bob, I will take a look at Nee's publication. I'm not a great Nee fan; I think he missed it on the "city church" idea, but it's usually though-provoking reading.

    The other day someone, NOT a Bethelite, told me that all they needed was a Bible and Holy Spirit- that no futher training was needed to rightly divide the Word. The problem is - when we lean heavily on direct revelation- as Bethel does- there is no restraint. We've all seen situations with two people whom the Lord "told" contradictory information. (The discussion ended, BTW, when the other person stated thay had to leave for Bible Study. LOL).

    As so while churches like Bethel depreciate the word (some call it "stale manna") and take an anti-intellectual approach, we can see that there is great freedom to move into anything, no matter how little biblical support it has.

    Beni Johnson wrote the other day that she had never heard of the Latter Rain movement. Yet, she was part of the AG when it published a paper outlinging the recurrance of the latter rain movement amongst revivalists. Either she was lying or she is incredibly stupid. And she is a leader in this Bethel movement.

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  51. BTW, about the time that more people started paying closer attention to the "gold dust" at Bethel, it seems to have stopped.

    The roughly correlates with the visit by Jack Hayford in late March. Which is a pity, because I was looking forward to Hayford's comments after he saw it.

    I'm not sure what conclusion to draw from this (again, Johnson says "It's a sign that makes you wonder") but it is extremely interesting and relevant to the discussion.

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  52. Anonymous: in Bill Johnson's book, release the power of Jesus, He tells of a time that at a prayer service a teenager was brought in with a serious bone fracture. He was called over to pray and upon seeing how bad it was, he said"Go to the emergency room"He then states that since he had seen many bones healed instantly, that his decission was not responsible. (Really?)He refers to his responce as illegal since he has experienced so many bone healings. So let me ask you, if your child has a severly broken bone where are going to take them, church or the ER? I am going to the ER and praying all of the way. I know God will honor that decision....everytime! I have taken a class that was started at Bethel "Fire starters" In this class we were instructed that when praying especially to the Holy Spirit, that we should automatically go with the first thing that comes into our head. So does that mean that Bill Johnson doesn't believe that, what his church teaches? The ER was his first though and decision.I'm sorry I have lost my ability to follow him and all of his satalite churches. This is dangerous stuff, and bit extra-scriptural. I now question most of what he woos and wows with. I have several loved ones gone from my life due to our not being able to come together on him.I am saddened by all of this,and disappointed that he has so much power over other churches and people. I don't feel that having the people I love seperated from my life can be viewed as any type of fruit.Again I am saddened.

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  53. I was a BSSM student in 2012 and was there on Oct 30 to witness the glory cloud in the auditorium. It was 100% supernatural, no doubts there. Was it from the Lord or the deciever, I'm not sure. However, leaving the school in November was one of the best things I could have done- I may not be super spiritual (able to throw glory bombs at others, slay in the spirit through a wave of my arm or kick of the leg, or can bind hammers to the wall in Jesus name). Although Bethel would not approve of my style of ministry my culture of "love and honor" is through forming long term relationships with others, no I don't have the masses, just the few the Lord put in my life purposefully, I'm not the person they go to for their healed knee pain or limbs growing out needs, and I'm ethically bound as a licensed therapist to not prescribe Jesus as the answer to all of my client's hardships, but just maybe the seeds I'm sowing in their hearts are just as deep if not deeper revaling of Christ's nature then my drunkenness in the spirit and encountering them with a miracle lengthening of their hair on a treasure hunt). Yes, this is the last days, and God's spirit is poured out and when he uses me in the prophetic or healing encounters, Glory to Him, but the 95% of my life, it's just through the non-glamorous, non-freak out methods, maybe that's not so far off from Christ's actual character. The bible says you can have prophecy, tongues, and wisdom- God has given me all of those things for his purposes, but without love (which implies the kind that has NOTHING to do with the supernatural or even ministry efforts), you have nothing. I wish Bethel would switch from 90% emphasis on signs and encounter, to love- if you're looking for it in the Holy Spirit encounters or only in ways that propel ministry on the streets, you're going to miss ALOT of opportunities, and have a lot of broken hurting people with no physical pain, that did not appear on your treasure hunt map, and will take longer to minister to than a popcorn prayer in public. Just what the devil would want. What if the way we treat people is the strongest reflection of the genuineness our relationship with Christ... Does each 5 minute encounter count?

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  54. Generally speaking, most of the failures of prior evangelistic moves have been when money becomes the driving force for the leaders of the movement. The love of money is the root of evil, period. Take away the money, and see what's left. Some even say that though they believe in the supernatural, yet they cannot do God's work without money. hmmm

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  55. Phweew, after reading through all those comments I am surprised that no one is talking about the things this man has actually said that blatantly denies our Lord Jesus Christ. Here are three things among many that Bill Johnson has said that goes against the omnipotent Jesus that we know. In a youtube video titled 'Bill Johnson false teacher' hes says that Jesus had to be born again. On page 29 in chapter 2 of his book 'When Heaven invades Earth' he said "He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship with God...not as God". On page 79 of chapter 7 of this same book he said "He laid his divinity aside..." Do his followers know what he is really saying? Does he know what he is really saying? William thank you on your effort to address the issue you did. I think we have an even greater issue concerning this man and what is being taught a Bethel. ~Sincerely Heather

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  56. Reading these posts just grieves my heart. The Kingdom of God has become a completely intellectual pursuit for the Western Church and because of that anyone who actually asks God for more has websites and radio shows set up to destroy their character and Good name. The church needs a bigger God - one Omnipotent and mysterious. If God and everything He does is completely explainable - that's not God, that's an idol created by man...

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  57. Anyone remember Earl Paulk? Biggest fish in the pond on the East Coast... church now gone, died in disgrace, exposed as a sexual abuser and father of his brother's son while pastoring one of the largest churches on the Eastern Seaboard near Atlanta. And many of the things he taught are being expressed at Bethel. I have the books, kids, both Johnson's and Paulk's. And I've read them. I went to a church that came under the covering of Bethel. Bill came and personally prayed for me after the service. The guy tried to push me over. Literally push me. One of the people who endorses his 'When Heaven Invades Earth' book (Leif Hetland) did the same thing a few years later, but he caught me off guard and succeeded, also pushing over our sound man, who told me after the service. Not the real thing, I don't care how many people are on the bandwagon. Leave the hype. If you need to feel God to have a relationship with him, chances are you don't have one.

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  58. Dave,

    Amen!

    Feeling God is NOT faith....

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  59. This is blasphemy of the Holy Ghost period. All these men are is con men after sex, money and adoration and use whatever stage tricks (in this case ebay available powdered colored dust particulate) and manipulation techniques that are centuries old since the days of Mesmer to scam their victims, many of whom also after some time also become part of the leader's scam shamelessly since they are led by their similar lusts and greed. None of these people have anything whatsoever to do with God, they are con men running a scam to fulfill their various desires, nothing more. Watch the documentary Marjoe to see one of the very few in history of these atheists who actually felt guilty one day and decided to come clean and admit how he ran the whole scam and why it works so easily.

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  60. Funny stuff. I wonder why there is never healing of something that is concrete.. like the regrowth of a severed limb? It's always something vague and hard to prove. Why is that? Hmmm

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