Shofar B.Not Bethel…but…Beth-”HELL” (How God Rescued Me From Bill Johnson’s CULT)by Shofar B. Apostasy Watchdog.
Last year around Christmas time, I was part of a prayer group where I live. It was a small group that met 1-2 times a week. All of us were DESPERATELY seeking God. It was a good fellowship. One evening after the session ended, I was tinkering around on the drums when one of the brothers, Dan came up to me with a look of soft urgency in his eyes. Seeming not to notice that I was in deep focus trying to perfect a drum rudiment, he proceeded to interrupt me with a question…in a notch above whispering my name he asked me, ”have you ever heard of Bill Johnson??” Still working out drum patterns and attempting to simultaneously reply, I answered…”I ‘ve heard the name before. I know he’s in California but I don’t know much about him.” At this response, I saw Dan’s face light up as if he had just received a shot of adrenaline. I knew he was ready to share, so sensing this, my drumming gradually teetered off into a complete silence. It was then that Dan began to advise and enlighten me about Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding Ca. Also he gave me the scoop about the churches School of Supernatural Ministry. [Side note: I hate typing for long periods of time so this is going to be a truncated account and I’ll add more details over time.] Okay, so Dan who has no binding ties to Bethel, suddenly sounded like one of their top recruiters/ pitchmen. He began to tell me about how the presence of God permeated and saturated the campus at Bethel. He RAVED about the school. He RAVED about the music in the worship services. He RAVED about the teachings of Bill Johnson and Kris Vallatton. He raved about everything from the prayer tower to the coffee shop. After about an hour and a half of what could’ve EASILY qualified to have been a top notch infomercial, Dan made me an offer that two weeks later I found out…”I couldn’t refuse.” Dan told me that he was so confident that my walk with Christ would intensify by leaps and bounds by going to Bethel, that if I agreed to go, NOT ONLY would he pay my transportation there…he would also PAY THE $9000.00 Tuition required to attend the School of Supernatural Ministry.

At the time it really sounded cool, but I was comfy here at home and saw no need to make any rash moves. However, later, some things were being shaken up at home and I began to lose peace. I remembered Dan telling me of the intense peace that was present aroung the Bethel atmosphere. Being that he contacted frequently to pitch me on Bethel after that prayer meeting night, it was during one of the times we made contact…I succumbed. I said okay Dan…I’ll go check it out. The next day we were at the Greyhound station. However, I got cold feet and asked for more time to think about it. After all this was new territory for me, new town, nowhere to live, new people was no big deal…I’m as gregarious as they cBethel Church Reddingome.  I LOVE PEOPLE!!! Anyway, after thinking about it, I took the dive.  The next day I was off to Redding.  Set up with a nice motel, I found my way to Bethel the next day, and this would be the beginning of the road to my NIGHTMARE. Please note though, it didn’t start out that way. When I attended Bethel for the first time it was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!! And that ”love” would continue for the next two months. I immediately called Dan to tell him how right he was about everything. I even went on to tell him that he UNDERSTATED his description. I SWORE that I had died and gone to heaven. People seemed to really love Jesus. The view from the top of the mountain was ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING!!! There was something going on ALL OF THE TIME…LITERALLY 24/7. Being one that’s GREEDY FOR GOD, it was the perfect milieu for me and my insatiable appetite for HIM. There were ubiquitous house groups within the community and I loved attending them. It reminded me of the New Testament church in Acts. I went to EVERY possible function that I could, and there were ”ZILLIONS”. During a house meeting I was offered a place to stay…for FREE. And that was just in the nick of time as I began running out of money. A few days later, I began living with students from Bethel’s school. Still floating on a cloud, I just seemed to see God’s hand moving at every turn I made. Even from my first visit, I would get myriad ”words of knowledge” spoken to me by many people EVERYDAY. I still have them written down. I think maybe ONE came true, but I know NOW that it was just a lucky guess..the rest em’?? UN-lucky guesses…lol.

So to make a long story short , I absorbed every thing Bethel offered I dove in seven days a week. I had my first ”fire tunnel” experience at a house…my first impression…OVERRATED!! While everyone else that went through it laughed and convulsed hysterically, I was unaffected EVEN in spite of the countless attempts of others to ”IMPART” (one of their buzz words) into me what they were feeling. Also, I found it strange that I couldn’t even communicate with people even about simples matters like the weather or a basketball game without them jerking, shaking or convulsing…these convulsions were so profuse within the cult that for me it QUICKLY became overkill. Another idiosyncrasy was the constant belting out of the phrase…”’WHOA” OR ”WOE” This is heard constantly. Still seeing through rose colored glasses though, I overlooked the weird behavior and justified it by concluding that ”God loves it when his kids are having fun with Him” Gradually though, I started deducing that this wasn’t mere fun…it was borderline mockery, the shaking, the jerking, the laughing, the cackling, the convulsing….it just went on TOOOO MUCH!!! If it were done in moderation, it may have gone undetected by me, but this was INSANE!!!

billjohnsonLater, I started noticing a LOT of name dropping from the pulpit (mostly from Bill Johnson) of false prophets and wolves like Bob Jones, Patricia King, Todd Bentley, Heidi Baker, and a plethora of others… This was constant, and when these names were mentioned, cheers went up with the fervor and magnitude of a Super Bowl touchdown reaction. During my entire time there, I NEVER ONCE heard Jesus get even a fraction of that type of praise,worship, or delightful frenzy. I might add that NEVER ONCE did I hear salvation, repentance, holiness, righteousness, judgment, or wrath preached, neither from the pulpit nor when I’d travel the streets with them. The whole business plan (because it’s NOT a ministry) is to focus on LYING signs and wonders….impotent magic tricks. I’ve always wondered why Bill would rave about all of these so-called and UNDOCUMENTED ”miracles” happening through Bethel around the world, YET, when it comes to home, we never get to see any of em’ manifested. For instance, Bill and his wife both wear prescription glasses…where’s the healing?? Bill had a hernia surgically removed…WHAT??? No miracle?? Bill’s son Eric is deaf and has a speech impediment…C’mon Bill…that’s your son..HEAL HIM!!!…Bill and his wife have gray hair (a sign of zinc deficiency)…but no ”supernatural” intervention has taken place, yet all of this GREAT stuff is happening EVERYWHERE ELSE EXCEPT HOME ON BETHEL’S TURF!!! Gimme a break!!!.

The real thing that got me though was the death of little J.C. the infant of two dear Korean friends of mine. He died from cancer at two years old. Prayers went out for him every second of the day. People jerked, shook, laughed, convulsed, spoke in (FAKE/DEMONIC) tongues over him…the works…and when he died, we were left with feeble excuses like ”God needed him more” kind of CRAP!!! Around this time I had already stopped going to the church. When I first got there, for the first two months, because God gifted me with charisma, celebrity looks (and I don’t say that arrogantly) and the ability to draw people, I instantly became EXTREMLEY popular. By the time I left Redding, I was considered a pariah in some circles and cliques within. Even though I lived with Bethel students, I began to expose Bethel, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallaton, Danny Silk, and ALL of the celebrity WOLVES in their within their evil and deceptive cabal. People that used to ”love” me (so they said), snubbed me on the streets. They unfriended me on facebook. They’d give me looks of sheer disdain whenever we’d cross paths…we’re talkin’ some of the same people that I’ve prayed with, broke bread with, and had gotten venerably intimate with. When I stopped going to the church and began staying home and listening to REAL MINISTERS OF GOD like Michael Boldea and Mike Hoggard, Paul Washer and David Eells, I got flack from my roommates saying that those guy were mad and didn’t know God.They asked me not to play their sermons But I’d ignore their comments and continued to feed on what was REAL GOSPEL. I would often challenge my roomies and other Bethel ”robots” on Bill and Kris’ theology and their twisted new age ”sermons” WITH SCRIPTURE and it ceased to surprise me anymore that they’d rebuttle my challenges with quotes from one of Bill or Kris’ books. IMAGINE THAT!!! They ALWAYS tried to refute GOD’S WORD with quotes from books written by their false teachers. Can you say MIND CONTROL???

So after 2 months, I stopped going. I continued to live with the students because it was a ”phat crib” OR, a nice house for those who are linguistically challenged in ”SLANG”…LOL 🙂 I was paying rent by this time in a new home and different students. The landlord approached me one day while shooting ball in the yard and told me that if I didn’t start attending Bethel and doing what they call ”SOZO” classes (which is simply /new age mysticism/chanting/ contemplative prayer or ”soaking” kinda stuff) that I would have to find somewhere else to live. It was my 4th month in Redding and that was my ”Q” to leave. My wife was on the phone when this happened. I had my bluetooth in my ear and the landlord wasn’t aware that I was on a phone call at the time. My wife COULD NOT BELIEVE HER EARS!!! We both knew it was time to ”GIT OUTTA DARE”.

I became good friends with Mike Hoggard while going through that trying period, and he REALLY helped sustain me in prayer and encouraging words. I initially was going to relocate to where he is and get some discipleship and restoration. But God led me home. Let me give you one more story here before I close. There was a class held every Sunday called ”Fire Starters” birthed out of the Toronto Blessing movement. This class was supposed to ..get this…”TEACH” PEOPLE HOW TO PROPHESY…LOL!!! Yes…I laughed too!! So anyway, every class people were randomly called to the front of the room, they were lined up, and asked to pick someone in the room and give them a word of knowledge…BUT THERE WERE RULES…WHAT EVER YOU SAID HAD TO BE SWEET, KIND, AND MAKE THE PERSON ”FEEL” GOOD…Those are the rules verbatim!!! After weeks of seeing this nonsense and people stating the obvious and touting it as hearing from God, out of frustration, one Saturday night, I decided to MAKE UP, FABRICATE a ”word of knowledge” just in case I would be picked out to prophesy in tomorrow’s class. And whaddaya know…I get picked. When my turn came, I shared my FABRICATED ”word’. It was this, ”there’s someone here who’s been strategizing suicide, and the devil is tormenting you. If you’ll raise your hand, we can pray for you and you can be released.” Much to my surprise, a hand went up…WOW….I’m like okay God, you used my prank to REALLY get someone’s attention. ”Praise You”. But I was about to get an even BIGGER surprise, because, I immediately thought the room would shut down and people would bombard this poor girl who planned to take her life, so they could pray and labor over her soul, but NO!!! That’s NOT what happened. Instead, I got reprimanded by Kevin Dedmond, one of the ”leaders” (you can see his crap on you tube w/Sid Roth),and I was told that I’m to only say things that make people feel good. And they resumed right back into letting people perform their exercises of divination, cause that’s what it REALLY is. More upsetting is that when class dismissed, out of a room of about 150ppl, I only saw 2 people (excluding myself), a couple go minister to that girl…everyone else??? Well, they were too anxious to go through the FRUITLESS ”fire tunnel” so that they could appease their flesh…and so they did…THEY LAUGHED, THEY JERKED, THEY SHOOK, THEY CONVULSED, THEY WRITHED IN THE FLOOR, and to this very day…they call it GOD. When they finally DO meet God they’ll not be laughing anymore!!! I’d like to thank Pat Rogers from ”ANGRY SHEEP” for encouraging me to share this with you all. Believe me, there’s soooooooooo much more to share and I’ll add on as things come to mind. You have to realize that I only hunt and peck 20 wpm, so typing , for now anyway, isn’t my forte. Getting ready to take classes though. Please forgive any type-o’s. Love You All in the Lord and I pray that in some way you were blessed, edified, or educated through this writing. God Bless You, Shofar 🙂

81 thoughts on “Beth-”HELL”

  1. Ruth you ask “If you really believe Bethel and the leaders there are not Christians, then why spend so much time judging them, when you yourself say that God judges those who are not Christians.”

    This is a ridiculous question/statement to make, there are countless scriptures that speak to false teachers within the church walls, as with Bethel. So for you to even state this goes beyond the pale of scriptural truth. There is no avoidance in addressing you, it is simply that you come from a place of blindly seeing Bethel/Bill Johnson as believers and not addressing their false teachings. You say “ We cannot excuse criticism, mockery or judgement, nor slander for that matter by turning a light away from the log in our own eye and instead focusing on the speck in others”, yet they are excused for and given a pass for false prophecies not coming to pass, for mocking God, Himself in their teachings, for teaching and preaching another Christ. We’ve seen and heard Kris Vallotoon state that we can talk to the dead and then give a couple of examples where he has talked to the dead, one being Bill Johnsons father. Scripture is clear we are not to:
    Deuteronomy 18:11 Or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,
    Deuteronomy 18:12For whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.
    This is contradicting scripture and is mocking God’s Word. As stated before you are expecting the author of this article to have a Christian maturity that they certainly weren’t taught within the walls of Bethel School, as is exhibited by the treatment the author received from those around him and the leadership. How can we reasonably expect someone coming out of false teaching to have it all together? On the contrary, this is usually when everything falls apart, due to the realization that most of what one is being taught is false. It’s interesting that you insist on pointing out the “wrong” behavior of the author with no mercy or grace and yet give it to the leadership at Bethel, who by their own false teachings make a mockery of God. This is not “friendly fire” by fellow Christians, these are false teachers, wolves, shattering and shipwrecking the sheep. We are done here Ruth, this is the last response from us, our only hope is that you will study out Bethel’s teachings in light of the Scripture.

  2. If you really believe Bethel and the leaders there are not christians, then why spend so much time judging them, when you yourself say that God judges those who are not christians. There is confusion and contradiction in the responses written in reply to my posts. You avoid addressing the key issue I was highlighting – that which has not been written from a heart of love but of anger, judgement etc cannot be justified , and you have responded instead by saying Bill Johnson or Bethel are not brethren? We cannot excuse criticism, mockery or judgement, nor slander for that matter by turning a light away from the log in our own eye and instead focusing on the speck in others. – John 3:16 tells us ‘For God loved the world so much, that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life’. We are on a dangerous playing field, if WE decide who God loves and who he doesn’t. ‘The world’ in the context of John 3:16, includes everyone, not just the cherry-picked few who believe they have the truth – that was what the pharisees believed they had and they missed it, they missed the saviour himself when He was among them and condemned him as a heretic.

    With all due respect, in relation to your last comment, I have seen lives of people changed who have been at Bethel, and I am encouraged by the fruit of the spirit I see in their lives. Dear Mike and Pat, I pray you may you be able to see others’ with His eyes, even when you don’t agree with all they are doing. The judgement inside the church the bible was in relation to incest, adultery, debauchery, sexual deviance, embezzlement, lies etc which was going on and needed addressed, in other words, people claiming to be christians who were living sinful lives without repentance. Neither you or I can decide who is living a life of repentance in Bethel, and I implore you to direct your focus (if you feel that is your call) to those calling themselves Christians but who are blatantly turning away, and intentionally living sinfully, rather than to a church which is producing good fruit, and doing their best to lead people to Jesus, even if they do not do it perfectly every time. Was the grave-soaking controversy justified? Yes, it was important that this was dealt with. Bill Johnson has addressed this, and yes clearly it has done some damage, but he did address it and defused the idea that Bethel supports this practice. If Bethel are not promoting that which the bible calls us to judge within the church, i.e. adultery, fornication, embezzlement and the likes, but for example, preaching a Jesus from false motives (if indeed that is what you believe) then I suggest it best to rest your minds and hearts and focus on other more fruitful activities, taking into account what apostle Paul said -Philippians 1:15-18

    15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, ……………… 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice……

    Dealing with many wounded soldiers in ministry means I meet those hurt by ‘friendly fire’ by fellow christians. Judgement, slander and criticism create some of the deepest wounds. I have learned I cannot judge a person’s motives, only the Lord can. I have also learned that love draws people to repentance. Romans 2:4 tells us that ‘God’s loving kindness leads you to repentance’ , not our judgement of others, nor criticism. I have also discovered that those who judge the most, are often hiding skeletons in their own closets, of unforgiveness, addiction (porn, alcohol, drugs) and focusing on others’ mistakes, sin or perceived wrongs, helps them feel better about themselves. A weight falls off dear brothers and sisters shoulders, when they are able to be real, and let go of judging others’, and allow the Lord to restore them, as they deal with the log in their own eye first. I have the privilege of seeing this often, and the freedom it brings is beautiful. It was for freedom Christ set us free, and when truth comes and we receive it in our hearts, change takes place, and we are transformed into His likeness.

    Romans 5:8. tells us ‘ But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ – Many of us are better at showing grace to people before they become christians than after. We place expectations on them after conversion, and forget to show them the loving kindness of the Lord, the loving kindness which helps us ALL walk in repentance, including repenting for our judgement, criticism and slander of others. (even those who we question are christians or not – that is not for us to judge, unless they claim to be christians and are promoting a life of debauchery or living it out, then we have clear biblical guidelines for that)

    May God bless you both as you continue your walk with him.



  3. Ruth with all respect you missed our most important point, Bill Jonson, bethel, are not brethren, are not Christian therefore are judged by God and His word as heretics and heathen. Bethel Redding Cal is a pseudo Christian cult. The law of love does not apply accept in repentance.

  4. Blessings to you Mike and Pat. I understand from what you have written, that you have missed the heart of what I have been saying. I can not see anything scripturally which would justify posting critical, demeaning, and judgemental posts, which are not from a heart of love, and this was my point. A person writing out of pain, can write in a harsh way, but to post it, ‘outting’ a church or a leader in such a way, is not loving, especially when the person is clearly still in a state of anger/disillusionment/criticism/ etc. Without love, we are but clanging cymbals, and what we do amounts to nothing, if it is not done with the right heart motive. Most people will recognise the need of the author of this Beth-Hell post to work through issues, I don’t think I am alone in my observations. My point was not to argue for or against Bethel, but to address the ‘fruit’ of what is being promoting through what is written. Your defence of Beth-Hell, and not accepting that the fruit promoted is that of criticism, mockery, judgement and harshness towards brothers and sisters in Bethel is very saddening, but I accept it is where you are at and I bless you, and pray for the Lord’s love to surround you, and anyone else on a journey of recovery from any form of disappointment and disillusionment. Blessings galore in Him, Ruth.

  5. Although it has been mentioned more than once in this thread, it will be pointed out once again that Bill Johnson/Bethel and a host of others that adhere to like teachings and doctrines are not brethren but are false. Scripture is also very clear on calling out false teachers and has some very “unkind” words to describe them and their end. The preaching and teaching of these men are public and so any testing of what they teach should be also. Even Paul was publicly tested by the Bereans in Acts. Much of the New Testament were letters written to churches that were then read publicly to the body for all to read and hear. There are some pretty harsh words and even anger within the pages of the New Testament concerning this topic.
    Bethel preaches and teaches another Jesus. Why would anyone think that someone coming out of false teaching would have it together enough to not be hurt or even angry at being deceived? God is gracious and if someone is awakened to the fact that they are in a cult or under false teachings, then it is God who has brought them, by His Holy Spirit, to that realization. It stands to reason that God is also merciful and long suffering enough to allow those to go through the painful process of healing, recovery and relearning the truth of His Word. It takes a lot of courage to share a testimony of coming out of false teachings. Not extending grace and mercy and understanding towards the victim is also a normal response from those who support said ministries. The victim is still maligned rather than prayed for and embraced. The majority of believers that come out of false doctrines such as Bethel are Sheep who have been led astray. The leadership are not true shepherds and are false and that is the point that you continue to deflect from and cycle back around to them being part of the body when they are not. The preaching is public, the testing is public, and the testimonies are public. Some may read better for you that others but again that is for you to work through. Ruth you seem unwilling to acknowledge the fact that we deem Bethel and its teachings as error and cultish. You attempt to correct us and the author of this article as if they nor us have recovered from, healed and experienced growth in God. As was stated earlier in the comments, this article is over eight years old and since that time we know that we have been blessed by God beyond measure in growth and understanding of His word and because of His love towards us we have been used by Him. Now, we cannot speak for the author so if you are so inclined, you could look him up and dialog with him concerning your issues.

    Mat 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
    Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

  6. I hear what your saying, although I have never said I was offended. I have just been highlighting the principles set forth for us in the bible. The promotion or endorsement of the ‘raw, unhealed, critical account of a person, is not a good witness. It needs to be dealt with in a confidential manner, not posted on a website to paint a bias or distorted picture of Bethel, through mockery or criticism – this is not the fruit the bible speaks of, and to endorse it, puts you and me in the same category, as critics and judges, something the bible clearly tells us to steer clear of. I don’t believe we can justify posting a bias, critical, mocking post by saying, ‘oh the person just needs to be shown grace and mercy’. This is true, but a public forum is not the place to do that, nor it is loving towards Bethel, who also need to be met with grace and mercy. If my promotion of what the bible says in my posts is offensive, I can only say that I share what I share in order to bring the heart of the Father to this dialogue, and do not wish to offend you any way. I understand that only ‘Love never fails’ according to scripture. Judgement, without knowing the heart motives of Bethel church, namely Bill Johnson, or any other leader for that matter, is a dangerous and very unwise thing to do. I support fully the need to share when we have ended up confused, hurt and where there is a cause for concern in relation to a church. This can be done without criticism, one-up-manship, judgement and mockery. Nothing can justify promoting, or endorsing ‘bad fruit’ publicly and only serves to highlight a bad attitude from the wounded person sharing. Those who have found this post to echo their own experience, are also on a journey of needing healed and restored, and this can be done in a loving, confidential way, without laughing at. criticising and mocking Bethel. Bethel are trying to point people to Jesus with their teaching, and programmes, but I have to say that I have not been pointed to Christ through this post. The writer of this post needs healed, rather than their brokenness highlighted through criticism and mockery of others. I stand before the Lord and if I am guilty of saying something which does not please His heart, may He show me, and lead me and I pray the same for you. Blessings galore to you guys, Ruth.

  7. Ruth, we understand what you are saying. However, there must also be much grace, mercy and compassion given to those coming out of error. The damage of false teaching and damning from those who continue on in it, the shunning, shame and condemnation that comes from the group can be devastating. The realization that one has been lied to and deceived, especially concerning God is very possibly the highest form of deception and hurt to go through and recover from. Most, as we can attest too, are raw, crushed, confused and add to that, the before mentioned list of tactics from those who once were considered friends and spiritual family. No one is ever ready or prepared to navigate through such trauma. It is shattering to the soul and spirit, so it stands to reason that in sharing their story it is rough and raw. Growing out of hurt and pain is difficult and looks different for everyone. Some recover quicker than others. So, if you are offended by this article that is something you will have to work through. Others have been helped by it and have not felt so alone and shattered.

  8. I appreciate what you are saying and that you both have had bad experiences in relation to charismatic churches. I am not saying we shouldn’t highlight error, but it needs to be after we check our hearts, ensuring we are doing it with the right heart motive. Without love, we are as resounding cymbals. It is not advisable to justify writing a post, or sharing a post which is not laced with love while sharing truth. Truth without love leads to legalism, love without truth leads to licentiousness. Love and truth are needed in equal measure. I accept you don’t perhaps see what I am trying to say about the heart behind what’s written, and what it promotes. I did not feel edified by this Beth-Hell post, rather shocked that there’d be such judgement, criticism and mockery. I am a supporter of truth and gently leading people from errant teaching but if love isn’t the source of the writing, it ends up laced with prejudice, criticism and judgement on the part of the person writing it. I’ve read posts filled with love AND with truth regarding concerns relating to Bethel. I have researched the concerns, because of what was written in a loving way. This Beth-HELL post dear friends has not been written from a loving perspective and that is what I have been trying to highlight.

  9. Ruth, we know very well, the false doctrines and teachings of Bethel and others, because we came out of it. We know what they believe, why they believe it and the sparse twisted, cherry picked scriptures used to try and validate these “signs and wonders”. What you seem to miss is the fact that WE believed and lived all of this too. We taught it and have since repented and asked forgiveness for doing so. So, while you take such care in trying to explain it all to us, we get it and more than you understand. You are in effect preaching to the choir here, except we have awakened to the deception and lies being taught. We bought into it hook, line and sinker. We were “sold out” to these false teachings and teachers. While we don’t dispute God ability to show himself through signs and wonders, we know firsthand that it turned into specifically seeking signs and wonders. Which clearly is talked about in the scriptures by Christ himself as not something to follow after.

    Matthew 12:39-40 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    John 4:48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
    That is the one thing that we have always marveled at, is many come at us as if we don’t truly understand the teachings and are inept at truly understanding it, when in fact we know it inside and out. Bethel is not the first nor, we are sure, will they be the last to spread false teachings and doctrines of this type. Scripturally they are proven false teachers, we’ve done the work we understand the error in their doctrines, and we have spent several years deprogramming from it, again God has been gracious to us.
    Concerning Bethel and grave soaking, they most certainly did promote it. Yes I recall Bill Johnson in an online interview saying it’s not something he would endorse but he did and so did his wife Benny, who if you fact check will find several pictures of her laying on and hugging grave stones. It’s not unusual to have them contradict themselves with what they promote and teach, especially once there is to much light and attention cast on them. There are also countless pictures and articles on the internet of many of their “students” doing the same trying to get an “anointing” from some dead preacher/prophet.
    We pray God continue to wake others up to this deception and we are thankful that He is and has and that He has used us to help others recover. While you may not like or agree with the author of the article, it was and is this person testimony of the error and deception he became aware of during his time at Bethel. What should be understood is that they are false teachers, which means they are false brethren.

  10. Dear Mike and Pat. I agree we need to expose that which is not of God, but I do not see in scripture where God cannot and would not show himself through signs and wonders, as the bible talks of, on the contrary. I cannot see Satan wanting to provide gemstones or gold dust. And to which end if he did? Satan wants to lead people away from truth and Christ. If the fruit of this happening in Bethel draws that person closer to Jesus and they become more Christlike in the process, who are we to stand as judges? Have you interviewed people who have experienced first-hand this type of wonder? Can you or I say with 100% conviction that people who experience this are driven further from God? There are clear instructions in scripture in this regard. We need to look at the fruit. We cannot judge this at all from a distance. I have met people who have experienced wonders and miracles and it has drawn them closer to the Lord. There will probably be some people who disregard it, as there also was in scripture, even when the Lord did wonders and miracles- as in his home town for example. Matthew 13:58 states that Jesus ‘ did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief’.

    To state that Bethel is promoting grave-soaking, means that you have not researched this matter at length. I too was concerned regarding this, and researched it, and to my relief, heard Bill Johnson himself, in an online interview, explain that it is not something he would endorse. There were some students posting stuff about it, and it is not and was not in line with Bethel’s teaching. Bill can be heard addressing this on the following interview –

    Regarding the fruit of the spirit, and the attitude behind some of what was written in ‘Beth-HELL’, – I detect mockery, belittling, and judgement in what was written. It appears it has been written by someone with unresolved gripes, who was shown kindness by a brother in Church, paying for his course etc, things which show me that he was greeted with kindness and love along the way, also in Bethel, but that is not highlighted, and much is written of in a demeaning, subjective and judgemental way. I cannot say what your motive is in posting this, but it would indicate you have no issue with brothers and sisters in Christ being spoken of in this manner, and that would be sad, if this is so.

    Galatians 5:22-23
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    May God bless you both in all that you do, and bless your hearts for leading people to him, through truth and helping people avoid been ship-wrecked by errancy. I would just strongly urge you to research well before making statements that do not reflect the heart of the person being mentioned, as we too must give an account before the Lord of every word we speak, and a public platform like this can reach many people, both to enlighten, but also slander and mislead, IF we do not research properly and speak from a heart which reflects the character of Christ. God bless you abundantly.

  11. Just an added comment here. The growth, grace, and mercy that God has extended to us during our journey has been miraculous. Those whom we have meant along the way and have been able to minister to and have received ministry from have been a tremendous blessing that God has given us. Our hope and prayer continue to be for those God is pulling the blindness off and that they are able to recover. Sadly, many remain shipwrecked by these false teachers.

  12. Bethel along with many Charismatic church’s today are and do continue to teach false doctrine. Gold dust and cut gemstones appearing along with getting drunk or “high” in the spirit, grave soaking to get some dead persons anointing is simply not Biblical. Not to mention the fact that they promote the videos of gold dust and gemstones, post the pictures of grave soaking and yet what do they do with the gold dust and gemstones? Do they collect it or does the janitor just come and sweep it up and throw it in the trash? The scripture used for grave soaking is taken so far out of context and twisted beyond any true meaning of it.
    “2 Kings 13:21 21Once 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.”
    They teach another Jesus. As for your reference to our being “burned” this too is just another deflection from addressing the false teaching. As if some how, we haven’t healed because we call them out, this is also a typical response in defense of their teachings. You speak of fruit and yet have you considered the person who wrote the article? And ourselves who God rescued from this type of false teachings and yet still being chided and criticized for speaking out and warning others? This reaction is a one type of blind deceived fruit that is produced by these ministries. It’s deception.
    We do believe that God can and will do what He pleases but we also know that is within the confines of HIS WORD. It is by His Word that we know and learn to discern right from wrong, truth from error. By His Word we know and learn who is aligning with His Word and who is not, who to not listen to, who to avoid and mark and who to warn others about. If some experience goes outside of His Word, then how will we test it?….by His Word. Anything accepted as being from God that is outside the confines of His Word, would then make His Word void and the experience or thing untestable. This is where twisting scriptures and cherry picked verses comes in to make it appear to be scriptural.
    Certainly there is enough within the confines of God’s Holy Word that still remains a mystery and learning and growing in the Word is endless, hence the need to test and discern all things so that we stay within the confines of His Word.
    2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
    Praying that you will take the time to look at their teachings in depth and compare them with scripture.

    1Jn 4:1 BELOVED, DO not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world.
    1Jn 4:2 By this you may know (perceive and recognize) the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [actually] has become man and has come in the flesh is of God [has God for its source];
    1Jn 4:3 And every spirit which does not acknowledge and confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [but would N1annul, destroy, N2sever, disunite Him] is not of God [does not proceed from Him]. This [N3nonconfession] is the [spirit] of the antichrist, [of] which you heard that it was coming, and now it is already in the world.

    Act 17:11 Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [N1concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so

    Rom 16:17 I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them.
    Rom 16:18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites and base desires, and by ingratiating and flattering speech, they beguile the hearts of the unsuspecting and simpleminded [people].

    Jud 1:3 Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all N1handed down to the saints [the faith which is that sum of Christian belief which was delivered N2verbally to the holy people of God].
    Jud 1:4 For certain men have crept in stealthily [N1gaining entrance secretly by a side door]. Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality, and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

    Jud 1:10 But these men revile (scoff and sneer at) anything they do not happen to be acquainted with and do not understand; and whatever they do understand physically [that which they know by mere instinct], like irrational beasts–by these they corrupt themselves and are destroyed (perish).
    Jud 1:11 Woe to them! For they have run riotously in the way of Cain, and have abandoned themselves for the sake of gain [it offers them, following] the error of Balaam, and have perished in rebellion [like that] of Korah! [Gen_4:3-8; Numbers 16; 22-24]
    Jud 1:12 These are hidden reefs (elements of danger) in your love feasts, where they boldly feast sumptuously [carousing together in your midst], without scruples providing for themselves [alone]. They are clouds without water, swept along by the winds; trees, without fruit at the late autumn gathering time–twice (doubly) dead, [lifeless and] plucked up by the roots;
    Jud 1:13 Wild waves of the sea, flinging up the foam of their own shame and disgrace; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of eternal darkness has been reserved forever.
    2Co 11:3 But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ. [Gen_3:4]
    2Co 11:4 For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough!
    2Pe 2:1 BUT ALSO [in those days] there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among yourselves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines (destructive heresies), even denying and disowning the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
    2Pe 2:2 And many will follow their immoral ways and lascivious doings; because of them the true Way will be maligned and defamed.

  13. I understand Mike and Pat, that you have been burned by this type of church situation. Thank you for encouraging people to go back to look at God’s word and weigh things up with it, which I whole-heartedly support and do often in relation to this type of thing. I appreciate you did not write the article, but you have posted it, indicating you endorse the title and message, otherwise it wouldn’t be on your website. Regardless of your personal views or opinions of Bethel, there is still a demeaning tone and mockery in Shofar’s post and I do not see any fruit of the spirit in it. Having read through the book of Job recently, I am realising that it is we as God’s people who can be quick to judge out of our own experience, disappointment, and lack of knowledge and it is us who want to decide God’s limits, which we cannot do. Job 42:3 states –
    You asked, “Who is this who conceals My counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Jesus was accused of driving out demons by the power of beelzebub, of being a wine bibber because of who he hung out with, of committing sacrilege because he dared heal someone on a sabbath, and we can fall into the category of critics, if we don’t look at the fruits of peoples lives, instead of judging them on what we do not understand or know. I cannot say that God would not choose to send gold dust, or give someone gold teeth, just because he is God and I am not! We cannot put God in a box. Sometimes, we need to humbly accept there are things we do not understand, and we cannot judge a church based on what we do not understand, or on a mocking, demeaning post by someone who stayed there for a few months, nor indeed our own disappointments, lack of understanding or misunderstandings. God’s word says ‘By their fruit, you shall know them’. I am very careful to weigh things up with God’s word, and have met christians from all walks of life, and some of them endorse things I don’t believe are scriptural f.x. ‘Christian yoga’, but I do not doubt their salvation and I pray for the Lord to show them clearly His ways in all areas. I highlight to them in a loving manner the reason for Christian yoga being incompatible with christianity. There is no church that is perfect, nor person -only Christ can claim that title. I have met some of the most precious people who have been on Bethel schools for several years, and they have been transformed into Jesus’ likeness. That is the fruit I am looking for, and I have yet to find bad fruit in their lives. I can not claim that all that Bethel does is perfect, but good fruit results from the lives of the people I have met. I have however through the years, experienced bad fruit in the lives of those who have left churches and not resolved their gripes, issues, grudges and dealt with concerns in an upright fashion. Their unresolved issues become the fuel for demeaning, and judging the church, work place, or person they speak against, and this can never produce the precious fruit of the spirit. Forgiveness is key. Speaking ill of brothers and sisters never leads to healing in our own lives, but can create a wedge between us and God, others and even hinder healing. James 5:15,16 reflects this truth -“And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick. The Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” The sin of wrongful judgement, and unforgiveness can stand between us and being healed. I bless you on your walk and all your endeavours and encourage you also to ask the Lord for help to see churches like Bethel, and people through His eyes. God bless you abundantly, your sis in Him, Ruth

  14. Ruth, again all we can do is encourage you to look at the doctrines and teachings of Bill Johnson and his church and hold them to the light of the Scripture. If you will note the article along with the title was NOT written by us but rather shared by us with permission from the author. So your issues with the title are misplaced here on this blog. This article was written by Shofar B. over eight years ago. Before and after this article by him, we have posted several articles concerning the false teachings of Bill Johnson and his church, from SOZO to gold dust, angle feathers, cut gem stones and a host of other ills that have been promoted and sold to the body of Christ. I would encourage you to continue to investigate these things. They are wolves in sheep clothing. We are to always be looking within our own camp to see if what is being taught is true. We too came out of this deception and are so thankful to God for His mercy for snatching us out and waking us up to the false teachings.

  15. Your response is making assumptions about those commenting, that they don’t check things out with God’s word – judging without knowing the heart of the writer. Only God can judge that. Just for the record, I am a firm bible-believing, bible-reading believer who wants to champion God’s truth at all costs. My concern is the judgement wielded out, rather than a humble approach laced with discernment and love. The title of this very thread ‘Beth-Hell’ is demeaning, even if you think they are on a wrong path, I am grieved to see this twist on the very name Bethel. I just cannot imagine Jesus being in any way treating his brothers and sisters in this way. Where is the love in that title?

    We are to grieve and pray for those in our family who we believe are errant, not slander and criticise. And we start by restoring them gently, as we can all sin, and need restoration. Galatians 6:1 states ‘ Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.’ Judging those inside the church was and is in relation to where there is sin -adultery, fornication, slander, lies, etc, It is not in relation to judging believers you deem to be living out their christian walk differently than you believe is correct, or who have understood scripture in a different way. 1 Cor 5:11 -12 states ‘ But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer a drunkard or a swindler…………Are you not to judge those inside?’ (and this is after trying to restore them as in Gal 6:1 has failed and they are in rebellion) If you can lay claims to Bethel promoting anything from this list, and denying Christ and him crucified, then you may have a good reason for concern. On the list is ‘slanderer’ and that is what we become, when judging wrongly with an aim to expose or destroy the reputation of another assembly of believers, just because they believe in the gifts of the spirit in a way we don’t, or because they meditate on the word, or Jesus in a way we don’t. And the list continues.

    I think time would be better spent on rescuing those who call themselves christians but are peddling Jehovah Witness’ doctrine, and the likes. There is much more danger there, otherwise we can end up like the pharisees – knowing the word so well, and being clean on the outside, but stained inwardly with criticism and judgement of others, others who display more of the fruit of the spirit in their lives as they continue to focus on Him, and walking right before Him, instead of being more concerned with the walk of other brothers and sisters who are doing their best, and trying to follow the Lord as best they understand and know how. Do Bethel make mistakes. Sure. Do I make mistakes. Sure. Are either done purposely in rebellion or contradiction to God’s word? I don’t believe so.

    Luke 6:37
    Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

    Luke 6:41
    Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?

    John 8:7
    When they continued to question Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.”

    Romans 2:1
    You therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on another. For on whatever grounds you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

    Romans 14:10
    Why, then, do you judge your brother? Or why do you belittle your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

    Romans 14:13
    Therefore let us stop judging one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

  16. Our only recommendation to you Ruth, is that you weight the evidence and their teachings according to the Scripture to see if what they say is so. They preach and teach another Jesus. So many times we have comments come through such as yours and all we can do is point you to the Word to fact check those you are defending. Continued prayers and we do hope that you take the time to hold these things to the light of scripture.

  17. If I look at the fruit of the lives being discussed, I would have to say I see more fruit of the spirit in the lives of those being judged and criticised than those ‘exposing’ the deception. Bless you guys, and I pray that you will walk free of any wrongful judgement and criticism to your brothers and sisters. Your sis in the Lord, Ruth

  18. Why would someone want to deceive fellow Christians? They themselves are deceived and so they believe the lie and teach the lie. 2 Timothy 3:13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
    We are to warn others of false teaching and false teachers, which scripture specifically speaks of that lead others away from the truth. Scripture also speaks of false brethren and we are to judge within the church.

    “1Co 5:12  What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? 
    1Co 5:13  God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].”
    We need to continually discern, test and try the spirits. Who you perceive as brothers, I would encourage you to test and hold their teaching to the light of the Word of God. Keeping you in prayer Ruth.

  19. Why would someone want to deceive fellow christians in a prophecy situation as mentioned, and laugh at these dear peeps in Bethel, who are aiming to seek Him and find Him? God doesn’t like mockers, so I do pray for you dear brother who has written this, that you find a peace with the Lord. Love covers a multitude, and if you really do believe these people are errant, I am not feeling that love the bible speaks of in what is written, rather mockery, criticism and judgement. If I was looking for understanding, love, and to meet the Jesus of the bible, it would not be the author of this blog I would be contacting I am afraid. Better spending energy in combating things which are on God’s heart like poverty, reaching out to the widows and orphans, and being Jesus to all those we meet, than tearing apart other brothers and sisters. Sometimes those who are themselves in error, can shout the loudest against their brothers and sisters -deception leaves us thinking everyone else is wrong. James 4:11 states -Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. Bless you. Ruth

  20. I went there as well in 2003 and 2004. There are definitely problems there. Divination is a good word. It is the embedded control and domination for “more” Lord that is darker and uglier than anything else. The root issue is little men looking for big….fill in the blank…johnsons….so they will do anything for the…Money Power or Fame….whatever keeps the money coming in.

  21. What you fail to realize is that no one is denying 1/3 or any part of God. You are misplaced in your assumption that this article denies the Holy Spirit or healings or miracles. If God indeed seeks those that say yes, then we must be absolute and correct in what we are saying yes to. In order to do that we should fact check with the scriptures don’t you think? We are instructed over and over to test and try the spirits, to discern truth from error; we are warned over and over in God’s Word that many will fall and follow deceptive teachings and teachers and to watch and warn…this is the church my friend. True the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ: however, they are teaching and preaching another Jesus so yes, they are denying Him truly.

  22. I would say demeaning a spirit filled church is the spirit of Jezebel. And I hope and pray you understand what it means to say the works of the Holy Spirit are from Satan. I have never seen such loving, people that have died to the wants of this world and walk in such great faith and love for the people around them. There is a silent divorce between the church and the Holy Spirit. I’m not ok with denying an entire 1/3 of God and writing an article to make myself feel good about it. God only seeks those that say yes. His spirit is poured out for this time, and undeniably amazing. I’ve seen miracles and I’ve seen God not heal, it doesn’t make either situation not credible. Healing for all is Heaven not earth, but we are always called to pray first and foremost. I really don’t understand the motive here, if we are all Christians why do we find the need to bash our brothers and sisters in Christ…it is the wrong battle. Last I heard the only way to heaven is Jesus and no one is denying Him there.

  23. Great article from someone on the “inside.”
    I want to encourage you on something peripheral but maybe helpful…
    I didn’t START to learn “touch typing” until I was 47. It was a slow process at first, but sticking with it, I now consider myself “pretty good” (whatever that means). What I know is that I type several times faster than I write. Maybe six or seven times faster?
    Anyway, be encouraged and don’t give up.
    Keep speaking the truth, exposing the falsehood as necessary. Generally it is the truth that exposes the darkness.

  24. Eugene, I can relate to what you are saying, I haven’t been in a church for eight years now after leaving the ministry myself. For a long time we felt alone, but dove into God’s Word, found direction, corrected all the false doctrine we had been taught and now rely on the Lord completely. We have connected with many via the net, did some skyping, but mostly through FaceBook. We do have a group if your interested, Your more than welcome to join if ya like. I do plan on reading Faith Undone at some point, just don’t have the time at the moment. At some point we can skype if you like, weekends are best for me as I work during the week.

  25. Mike,

    We are feeling very isolated from our church and people that do not read the word or pray about the things Jesus spoke about in his Word. We Love God’s Word both the old and new testment.

    We are having problems connecting with people who Love his Word as much as we do. To often men want to give their own opinon concerning the word, rather than just trusting in Jesus to reveal his whole word through his Holy Spirit.

    The reason, I asked if you read Faith Undone was to determine if there are any other people that are experiencing the problems that have arisen in our local churches. We currently are not attending any church at this time. We are in need of fellowship and finding people who will just trust the Word for what it has to say.

    I am looking for brothers like yourself and Shofar who are responding to the Voice of the Holy Spirit concerning the dangers of being trapped by the local churches agenda.

    In the book Faith Undone Rick Warren is one of many people laying the ground work for the emerging church’s new reformation that rejects the return of Christ.

    I am looking forward to your response.

    Your Brother in Chirst,

    Eugene Perrine

  26. Faith Undone

    I would like to know if you have read the book: Faith Undone by Roger Oakland.
    The book is about the emerging church a new reformation or an end-time deception.
    Just wanted to know how many other people are feeling abandoned by what most of the churches are doing in America!



  27. I wish I knew how to put you in contact with him. He was on fb but he must have deleted his account. I can no longer find him on fb. Sorry, if he resurfaces I will pass along his info.

  28. Jenny, it’s clear that you have a misunderstanding of negativity, fruits, judging and religion. This article and many more on this blog are and do speak out against the false fruits, false man centered religion and are warning others to wake up and come out of it. It’s only by God’s grace shining the light of His truth into our hearts that we saw the error we were, that’s pretty much a real hard self examining experience. Is it only negative because you don’t like it? Doesn’t make it any less true. Hope you take some time to reflect, God bless.

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