Beth-”HELL”

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 🙂

62 thoughts on “Beth-”HELL”

  1. You all comment negativity yet there are no fruits from you either. It’s easier to judge and fall into religion than actually examining yourselves. But, there will be a day where all eyes will be open

  2. Louise I have no way of contacting Shofar, I posted this with his permission some time ago. You may do a search on Facebook and find him. I have lost contact with him.

  3. I need to connect with you Shofar
    B. Its important about our recent Horrific Experience at the New Jesus Culture Church in Sacramento Ca

    Thank you
    louise

  4. The only answer is Jesus Christ! One only has to be a witness, it is God who saves. Some like your friend get caught up in searching and miss the truth right in front of them. I just simply share the gospel message and leave the rest up to the Lord.

  5. Thank you for this article…
    This is crazy how I even came to read such information. I have a friend who recently met a young woman by the name of Maggy who has attended Bethel school of Supernatural Ministry…
    First off Supernatural was the big Red Flag!!!
    Which brought me to doing a bit of research. I’m grateful to have found your article.
    My friend is a Artist who at one time was a devout Christian for about 10 tens, then branched off on the other spectrum of Numerology. He’s always searching, trying to figure out why things happen in life. Personally I think he’s a control freak ( Lol ) and doesn’t have faith. I love my friend dearly and am concerned.
    He’s acting different. Are there any suggestions of where I can help. I’m not big in religion or theology. I just want to be of help if possible.
    Thanks
    Ursula

  6. David I will have to get back to you on this. I don’t have a quick reference guide but that is a project worth of an undertaking. I will consider making one however it will take some time. I do have several articles here on Bill Johnson that may help.

  7. Curious if anyone has a quick reference guide as to how to counter many of Bethel’s teachings? My Sister and Brother-in-law have become totally immersed into Bill Johnsons teachings and I need to be able to speak to my concerns, but don’t know how best to target that discussion. Any guideance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much for what you are doing. The posts have been wonderful. Need that ammunition to debate the devil’s influences…..David

  8. Thank you for this post. I’ve been trying to find more out about Bethel Church and the books written by Danny Silk and Bill Johnson on Raising Children On Purpose and A Call To Honour. I down loaded the Honour Book and became very concerned about the things I was reading. So I did a few google searches on these ministries.

    The things I began to hear about how to raise children in The Lord from the things written in the book on raising children on purpose did concerned me. I couldn’t explain why but I was being cautioned by the Spirit of God in me about the things written in that book. It seemed that the sinfulness of each child (and it is in us all) wasn’t beign addressed. They seemed to be focusing on believing that children will always choose the good choice over the bad choice and that isn’t correct. We are meant to train up our children in the ways of The Lord, they seem to not understand that a child needs to know that God has a law and Christ came to take that punishment for us when we trust in Him and are born again. It all seemed to be about choices and choosing and no training in Godly things. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time but something was wrong with what I was hearing from this book about training Children in The Lord.

    I’m a bornagain Christian for 37 (I’m 57 now) and have been involved in deception very early on in my walk with God but God brought me out. As a result I now have a very keen sense of when something is “off”. Many years ago, when i was first became a Christian I had a distorted view concerned Faith for Healing, it had been made out to be just 5 steps to follow, a procedure or a set of principles and you’ll get it. Sadly many didn’t and they died. Healing became legalistic. I believe God heals today and have experienced much in my own life and family’s life too. I know that God heals, and heals even cancer too! Because my eldest son was healed of cancer only 3 years ago now and praise God he is still cancer free. A combination of chemo and God but more God. He was close to dying but God healed him. Healing isn’t a formula to follow, it flows from a relationship with God but my journey there is another story.

    I just wanted to say thank you for this info because it’s personal testimonies like the one I read by Shofar and the information I gather from other trusted internet sites, that help me to discern ministries. And I don’t feel bad about doing that either because of my past experience of being caught up in deception. The gospel is becoming very distorted today with New Age dogma and you have helped me put the pieces together so that I can know what it is about this ministry and these books that’s been bothering.

    We are called to study to show ourselves approved unto God and that I am doing. Studying! As a Christian I am called to do just that by God.

  9. Simon you will be in good hands with Craig. He has done extensive and detailed work on this topic, among many. I’m sure you will find it interesting and prayerfully enlightening. God bless

  10. Simon Harris,

    I’ve been reviewing Johnson’s work for quite a while now. As far as Christology he has some statements that are ambiguous, and some that are self-contradictory. Looking at his entire corpus, something is definitely amiss. If Johnson believes Jesus kept his divine attributes, he wouldn’t say things such as “He had no ability…” He had so emptied Himself that He was incapable…” (see this article here for source and more quotes).

    This one begins explicitly self-contradictory, but this can actually be explained through the lens of the Manifest Sons of God teaching:

    While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Philippians 2:7). It is vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow.

    See here for source and lengthy article, and its 2nd part:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/assessing-bill-johnsons-eternally-god-declarations-amidst-his-other-christological-statements-2/

    If Jesus emptied Himself of divinity, He’d no longer be God at all. The rest of the context merely states that He was “a man yielded to God”, which doesn’t mean He was actually God. However, the initial dependent clause “While He is eternally God” should cover that, right? No, as it’s self-contradictory, as stated. HOWEVER, when read through the lens of MSoG, it works out (see immediately preceding article and its follow-up).

  11. Mike – sorry to bang on, but have you presented Bill Johnson with your argument – not in anger as we might all like to when we disagree with someone, but as an honest challenge to what they purport to believe? It’s a well-reasoned account; perhaps you should. This would at least be consistent with Mark 11:25, Matthew 5:23-26 & 18:15. Love conquers all.

  12. Thank you for clarifying that Mike – and thank you for presenting such a logical objection. I think I can see what he was trying to portray though (looking at the man generally and not focussing on one thing he said), by making distinction between Christ the eternal Word and Jesus the man. In Phil 2:7 Paul is not saying that Jesus laid down his Divine attributes – and I don’t think Bill Johnson is saying this either. Neither do I think that he is in any way claiming that Jesus had sinned when He became sin. I think he is challenging people to think about what they believe by presenting a different perspective. I can see that in dying as Jesus the man and being transformed back into His Glory as the risen Christ, He was in in one way born again, though not in the way that you or I would by convention define being born again. I have read When Heaven Invades Earth, but I will re-read it to see how it stands in the light of what you have said. All the very best, Simon

  13. Simon, the best way to Identify the true from the counterfeit is to view how a person views Jesus Christ. In Matthew 16:13-17 Jesus asked “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? His disciples said some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said to them, But who do you say that I am? Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
    Now, if you study Bill Johnsons view of Jesus Christ you will find a very different opinion of who He is. Johnson taught in several of his sermons that Jesus was “born again.” I’ll give you his quote here so you can see exactly what he said.
    “…Did you know that Jesus was born again? I asked… the first service and they said, “No.” But I will show it. It’s in the Bible. He had to be. He became sin.
    In Hebrews 1 it says this, “For to which of the angels did he ever say, ‘You are my son. Today I have begotten you’?” And Acts 13 explains that: “God has fulfilled this for us, their children, in that he has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my Son, Today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption.” He was born through Mary the first time and through the Resurrection the second time. He was ‘born again.’”
    This clearly does not ascribe to the orthodox view because, if so, Johnson would not state that Jesus had to be born again.
    Did Jesus become sin? If so, when? Was it at His incarnation? Was it on the cross? Was it some time in between?
    As we examine Scripture we find, of course, that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life.[5] However, Scripture does say He ‘became sin’ as substitution for ours:
    21God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. [II Corinthians 5:21 NIV]
    Please note that Jesus Christ did not ‘become sin’ in that He did not become a sinful being with corruptible flesh but, rather, our sins were imputed to Him by the Father to atone for the sins of all who believe on Him. The following explains this:
    “God used the principle of imputation to benefit mankind when He imputed the sin of believers to the account of Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for that sin – death – on the cross. Imputing our sin to Jesus, God treated Him as if He were a sinner, though He was not, and had Him die for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2). It is important to understand that sin was imputed to Him, but He did not inherit it from Adam. He bore the penalty for sin, but He never became a sinner…” [6]
    We’ve established the correct interpretation regarding how Jesus Christ ‘became sin;’ but, what is Johnson’s belief? Apparently, he does not ascribe to the orthodox view because, if so, he would not state that Jesus had to be born again. Regarding this apparent view of Johnson: who would be worthy to atone for Jesus’ supposed sin in order for Him to be born again?
    Going back to the second paragraph of the transcript, Johnson quotes the question from Hebrews 1:5a, then attempts to answer this question over in Acts 13. The trouble with this is that these are two completely different contexts. Why did he do that? It just leads to potential confusion.
    Logic would lead us to think that Johnson was making a thesis statement in the first paragraph while explaining it in the next. So, to paraphrase Johnson: Jesus ‘became sin’ and thus had to be ‘born again’ which can be proven using Scripture.
    Therefore, if we take Johnson’s words in the second paragraph as a strict chronology in the context he provides by isolating the verses in Hebrews and Acts, we should find the answer to his thesis statement. In addition, we may be able to determine his underlying theology. First, he quotes the first part of Hebrews 1:5:
    For to which of the angels did God ever say,
    “You are my Son; today I have begotten You?”
    Next he states:
    And Acts 13 explains that…
    Explains what? Explains ‘to which of the angels did God ever say…’? No, that’s not what Johnson answers (it was a rhetorical question in the context of Hebrews and, hence, did not require an answer) as he has shifted to a completely different context over in Acts as pointed out above. So, which question IS Johnson attempting to answer?
    …God has fulfilled this [“You are my Son; today I have begotten You” from above] for us, their children, in that he has raised up Jesus [at the Resurrection]. As it is also written in the second Psalm:
    ‘You are my Son, Today I have begotten You.’ [Jesus is the Father’s begotten Son, today at the Resurrection.] [Bracketed comments mine for explanation.]
    If we take his words at face value here he seems to be inferring that Jesus became God’s Son at the resurrection. Johnson appears to solidify this thought by continuing with the following:
    …And that he ‘raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption.’
    Johnson now states that Jesus was ‘born again’ “through the Resurrection:”
    He was born through Mary the first time and through the Resurrection the second time. He was ‘born again.’
    So, can we conclude that Johnson believes Jesus was ‘born again’ through the Resurrection, and subsequently, or simultaneously, became God’s Son only then? The view of Jesus being God’s Son at or through the Resurrection is only unorthodox if the belief is that Jesus was not the Son of God before this event.
    Another interesting point is Johnson view that Jesus was not God in Flesh, he became God in the resurrection. In his book When Heaven Invades Earth Johnson further defines his theology, and I quote:
    “Jesus lived His earthly life with human limitations. He laid his [sic] divinity aside as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin, and then die in the place of mankind for sin. This would be essential in His plan to redeem mankind. The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb, (powerless), and had to be spotless, (without sin).”
    This is bad Christology. When did Jesus lay aside His deity? And when, if ever, did He pick it back up? This also contradicts Johnson’s words in the transcript. How could Jesus have been spotless and without sin yet “become sin” thus making it a requirement that He be born again?
    Scripture is clear, Matthew 1:23: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”
    Jesus was born God, remained God during his earthly life and was still God on the Cross and resurrection. Hence, Johnson holds to a counterfeit form of Christianity.

  14. Simon, I have a busy week, give a few days and I’ll outline some points, I do have several articles here on the Sozo Ministry, just type in Sozo in the search box. It might be worth your while to read some of the comments from people directly effected by Sozo.

  15. Hi Mike – I’m still interested in what you say constitutes the counterfeit nature of Bethel, I mean what in particular is or are the heresy(ies) please? I guess I’m looking for specifics. All I’ve heard and read appear to be vagueries. Thank you.

    Simon

  16. Hey Simon, I have no desire to be contentious, but for me it’s not a matter of controversy but heresy. I may be just my opinion in the eyes of others but Bethel Church, Redding CA. is a counterfeit form of Christianity leading multitudes away from the simplicity of Jesus Christ and the truth of His word. I have studied enough, read many testimonies from those directly involved, and have had personal conversations with several who where linked to Bethel who have since left the movement. You are right, the truth will find an echo in the ears of those who are Christ’s. Many already have, and they have left the influence of Bill Johnson and are now searching God’s Word for its truth. I know some, and they are precious souls, some are hurting, some are angry, some have recovered and are strong in their faith in Jesus Christ. I guess the point is, no matter their condition, they are still leaving, to which I say A-men.

  17. Hi Mike. Thanks for your reply. But there is a difference between making a judgement and judging and I am persuaded that the bible encourages us to do the former, of course measured against scripture precedence, but also by the Spirit. This keeps us safe. But to make accusations publicly without qualifying what the subtle and not so subtle anomalies are, is unhelpful. If vulnerable people are susceptible, then they need to be educated – the truth will find an echo in their hearts if we believe what is written in John 10 “My sheep hear my voice”. I do read my bible by the way – this is not intended to be contentious, but to put love above controversy.

  18. Simon, I am not Shofar, I posted his testimony with permission. He actually has written a follow up since this one was written. I have researched Bethel for many years now and most of what is taught and practiced is not inline with Scripture. Unfortunately, what is esteemed to be from scripture is also distorted. In my opinion and based on Scripture the false doctrine permeating from Bethel is at best, cultic in nature, and is not established doctrine taught by scripture. This is why people misunderstand someone speaking out against a particular ministry as bitter. I know that Shofor, nor myself are not bitter at all. It is our responsibility to warn others of pending dangers ministries have to the body of Christ. Rather individuals understand it or not, I believe preserving the integrity and truth of Biblical Doctrine is critical to ones faith and understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what He came to do. We are commissioned by God’s Word to warn others, that does not make us judge, jury, and prosecutioners. We just warn! It seems that people who are illiterate to Biblical truth always play the “do not judge” card. Nothing is further from the truth, we are taught to judge all things in Scripture. Read your Bible.

  19. Hi Shofar – I’m so sorry your experiences have left you so bitter and angry against Bethel and its leaders. But I also know that embracing and cultivating bitterness ultimately destroys our own hearts. I’ve been a Christian for 32 years and in that time I have been anonymously and also falsely accused by fellow believers, let down and betrayed by others, rejected and blanked by yet others. But in the depths of my despair, God has always challenged me on embracing bitterness because of its cancerous effect on the soul. He has also graciously given me true friends, mentors and pastors at the times I have needed them most. We can always find good in what we consider to be the bad if we choose to – and I believe it is a choice.

    A lot of good comes out of Bethel; I have had the privilege of spending time with Bethel teams in the UK and have seen people led to Jesus, people healed, people broken for greater intimacy with Jesus and experienced amazing fellowship. But there will always be those who walk in excess – revival also attracts the demonic and can excite the flesh in susceptible individuals. And criticism of God’s work is no new thing. Think the book of Acts for example. Azusa Street was also no exception; the following is part of the Times report of April 18, 1906 :

    ‘ . . . breathing strange utterances and mouthing a creed which it would seem no sane mortal could understand, the newest religious sect has started in Los Angeles. Meetings are held in a tumble-down shack on Azusa Street, near San Pedro Street, and devotees of the weird doctrine practice the most fanatical rites, preach the wildest theories and work themselves into a state of mad excitement in their peculiar zeal.’

    ‘Colored people and a sprinkling of whites compose the congregation, and night is made hideous in the neighborhood by the howlings of the worshippers who spend hours swaying forth and back in a nerve-racking [sic] attitude of prayer and supplication. They claim to have the “gift of tongues,” and to be able to comprehend the babel.’

    The essence and core of the gospel message is love; always love. Jesus invited those who were burdened and heavy-laden to come to Him and receive rest. He also exhorted us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us. If we don’t, then we remain in turmoil, bitterness, anger, self-justification etc. Simply, we were never designed to carry those burdens – and Jesus wants us to be free. So free in fact, that he also said that vindication is His, not ours.

    So I would encourage you to pray for the leadership at Bethel, that they may have greater revelation, experience a deeper and more profound love from God, see more conversions, miracles etc. This shows a generous heart and not one that is crushed by disappointment. Again, I am so sorry you were hurt, but I also believe that putting out this blog is not the best way to deal with your pain and anger.

    If any man sins, let those who are mature / spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of humility lest you also be caught in the same sin. We must be mature in our dealing with offence; there is great risk and danger in becoming judge, jury and prosecution ourselves.

    Simon

  20. There is an unseen aspect to these cults which most people are not aware of. False Christs are often promoted or mentioned in the media even including using the word cult to describe them. Upon first glance it appears the media is being accurate, but in truth there is a cunning deception going on by the media. The intent is to thwart new people from learning about and following when the REAL Jesus Christ comes along. This is a well played zionist trick as per their protocol #14 which states: Forbid Christ. The result is that when the real Christ comes, the brainwashed public will think that the followers of the real Christ are the ones who are brainwashed. Neat trick eh? Want to see if it works? Here’s some news to test you:

    In March 2013 Pope Benedict announced the return of Christ. The Pope issued an Apostolic Letter and was about to make a televised announcement but it was prevented by Francis. Francis then proceeded to kidnap Pope Benedict’s staff. Pope Benedict has been under secret house arrest for the last 5 months. Worldwide media coverup. The REAL Christ gets zero media coverage. He cannot even get listed on the Wikipedia page of those claiming to be Christ. Since I am a disciple of him, and I am his messenger, I am well versed in the public assuming I am brainwashed in a cult. More info can be found at YahwehAirlines.com.

    The above info is absolutely true. But if you have been properly brainwashed by the media, you will reject the news.

    And if you want to know the truth about websites and blogs that discuss Jesus cults, post my news about Pope Benedict and observe if your comment gets deleted or not. If it gets deleted, there is an excellent chance the website or blog is a zionist shill site, meant to misdirect people away from when the real important news comes along.

    A screenshot of my comment has been made..

    Gabriel

  21. Rob, the article you read was a testimony of someone who had come out of Bethel, if you want to delve further into the error they teach you may want to read some of the other article on this blog. I could also recommend several other pages that cover the false teachings that come out of Bethel, http://mkayla.wordpress.com/ http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/assessing-bill-johnsons-eternally-god-declarations-amidst-his-other-christological-statements-2/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bethel-Church-and-Christianity/148396958530669 these are just a few but they be of some help to you. God Bless

  22. After reading the article I realized that the author has not stated one scripture that identifies Bethel as heretical in their teachings or ministry.

    I have heard several teachings about repentance, sacrifice, death to self and other teachings. And yes, what is the purpose of prophecy in 1 Cor 14? That’s right! Edification exhortation and comfort! And dud you know that in the OT they had a school of the prophets? Why would they need that? Perhaps to teach the young prophets how to “hear from God and prophesy”. Now there’s a novel idea!!!

    So, once again for all of us, what exactly did Bethel do that makes it a cult? And just because you didn’t like it and it didn’t fit your ministry philosophy cannot be one of your reasons.

  23. Claims are just that, claims. PROOF is what is needed. Psycosematic pain reduction is seen in the plecebo effect and other practices, as well. Claims of pain healing, while possibly true, are and can only be anecdotal, because without a pain study showing pain nerve signals and then an elimination of the same, no one can even validate that the person was in pain to begin with. Many fake pain for attention, sympathy etc. Again, I am not saying this is the case, but it easily could be.
    Cases of claims of true physical damage can be verified via medical examination, including MRI, X-RAY, Cat scans, etc… The usual case is a claimed and unverified injury and then a claimed and impossible to verify healing. That and a rebid cae of refusal TO VERIFY. Funny, because the bible shows verification of such healings.

    Claiming a NEW paradigm, is the hallmark of ALL cults, a NEW thing or a restoration and then the restoration is ALWAYS a thing that never existed previously.

    as for b. J’s amazingly correct dividing of scripture,
    VOMIT!

    One final note, the Bible says there WILL be, (not might be or appear to be, but WILL BE) false signs and lying wonders. Even Pharaoh’s magicians DID some of the miraculous things Moses, through God’s power, did.

  24. From your comment “….Bill Johnson helps us to see the Bible clearly without allowing religious infection to compromise the Word ofGod based on out experience where nothing happened so we have to make up excuses instead of trusting God’s Word over our circumstance.”
    I may be going out on a limb here but I’m assuming this comment is an indication that you believe I have never witnessed healings, nor believe that God still heals today’ and because of that this blog is basically to make excuses for my experiences (or should I say lack of) in this area. Let me reassure you that this is not true. I do believe that God heals today. I also believe that there is a great deception going on in many churches today, based on the Word of God I encourage you to really dig into the Word and compare what you are experiencing with what the Bible says.
    If you read through many of the articles here there is scripture, in context to confirm that what is coming out of Bethel and the teachings of Bill Johnson does not line up with the Word. I have only two questions for you.
    How much time, energy and money do you put into reading, watching videos, listening to teachings/sermons on how to get the power of God ….. etc. by Bill Johnson ?and how much time to you spend comparing what is taught to you with the Word of God? And in context, not just a scripture here and there but a true understanding of it used in context with the content. It’s obvious that you love the Lord, I pray that you know also that I do as well.

    I have been where you are. Please understand that this is not written with any disrespect to you, nor is it meant to be condescending in anyway. I would greatly appreciate a well balanced conversation and discussion on this topic with scripture.

  25. It’s really amazing because we began using Bethels amazing rightfully divided Word of God to step into a new paradigm of church. We had 4 physical healings in our small 60 person church just today! A girl who was delivered from homosexuality tore her rotator cuff Thursday and couldn’t move her arm. But after praying for her in service, she left throwing her arm around lie nothing ever happened. Another lady who had a sciatic nerve problem for 9 weeks who went to the doctor and tried pain medication, muscle relaxers, heat pads, exercise, along many other things had NO relief, but rag instantly healed during service. Remember, R are a small church, we all know each other. And we all see each other come on with these ailments and leave without because ministers like Bill Johnson help us to see the Bible clearly without allowing religious infection to compromise the Word of God based on our experience where nothing happened so we have to make up excuses instead of trusting Gods Word over our circumstance.

  26. You lost me when you started talking about your alleged “celebrity looks.” You may have been popular because of your looks, but your writing probably won’t get you anywhere… Lose the caps. There are a bunch of places that are wacky that attract the wacky. People won’t get it unless they focus on the bible and not on speakers. If you bring down Bethel, there are tons of other ministries who will take their place.

  27. Indeed experiencesinwordoffaith, I did the same for years until the Lord slapped me and woke me up lol. Now, the truth of God’s Word is all the matters! God bless!

  28. Wow! That is a lot of craziness. I really is sad that people will embrace man over God’s word. I hear it all the time and just pray that their response will prick and nag at them until the seek the truth.

  29. I left this group as well, I also noticed this. Thank you Arthur I’m glad I came across your post, this group is fake.I would not advise anyone to join.

  30. Shofar is on Facebook. I have a phone for him as well, but won’t give out that info without his permission. email me at mymicsadaisy@yahoo.com I will see if I can connect you to him. mic

  31. To the moderator!! I’d really like to get connected to Shofar! I lost my son recently and believe it’s connected to this group. Can you help?

  32. Thanks to Shofar for writing this and to Closing Stages for posting. What a travesty that so many are caught up in this. I suppose it’s “itching ears”.

  33. I hear ya Jeffrey, but that’s how deception draws the unsuspecting in, it allure’s through what is familiar, even with an element of truth. This is what makes deception so dangerous, it mingles truth with error, it’s candy coated, but inside it is lased with poison. It has a sweet smell but is toxic, the only way to detect it is by knowing the truth very, very well as non of us are immune to deception.

  34. One thing that I am troubled about is that the worship music associated with Bethel is so attractive…being a worship leader myself for many years I find [most of] their material to be moving. That it’s connected with such error in teaching and lifestyle shows it to be a trap. No wonder that God says “by their FRUIT you will know them”…not “by their songs” or “by their worship”…

  35. And yet, Shofar has a FaceBook page where he refuses to remove heretics and anti-semites, lol

  36. I had removed myself from a “church” here in Reno Nevada, called Horizon Christian Church run by Tom and Linda Anderson and their children. Linda Anderson runs His Way Ministries in Sparks. They followed the ministries of Bill Johnson and the rest of his ilk. Bethesda Reno-Tahoe (founders Tom and Sherry Poundstone) also follow Morris Cerullo and Danny Silk. Another women’s fellowship called “Opening His Gift” follows Tom Scarrella who teamed with Todd Bentley in 2007, also linked to His Way Ministries, Horizon, and Bethesda. I was a part of these deceivers for a few months before God put the hammer down on me. When He says you belong to Him and nothing can take you out of His hand, He means it. I’m embarrassed by my weakness for signs, wonders, and experiences from God, and like Shofar, fell head long into it. I am grateful for the dunking, but pray God never allows me to fall into stuff like this again. To think of all the people deceived and loving it because they lust after the experiences, signs, and wonders. Our flesh wants to be “anointed of God”, “prophets”, “healers” etc. etc. etc… We long to be told that God wants to prosper us and heal us, that we too have power like God and that Jesus must listen because “He’s hand-cuffed to our prayers” (bleh). It makes us feel important and useful, and that’s the deception. God wants you wholly set apart for Him, not healthy, wealthy, and the rest of the garbage these guys push. It’s wrong and unbiblical what these churches and groups are doing. I’m glad Shofar was delivered, I pray many more would come out. I’m especially grateful that he was strengthened and encouraged enough to blow the whistle on these guys. It’s not easy, but it is to the Truth and glory of our GOD. I know… You’ve encouraged me, Shofar. In Spirit and in Truth, a fellow Servant and Sister in Christ Jesus.

  37. I was just wondering about the timing only because the beginning of his testimony started out with “last Christmas”. After reading through and seeing he had been involved with them for 4 months, the math wasn’t adding up. I got it now. 🙂

  38. Mic, Shofar is a friend on facebook who attended Bethel. I know it has been recently, within the last few years that he left. My wife encouraged him to write about it and he did, so I thought it necessary to share it here as a warning and as a testimony to deception and God’s deliverance out of it. I’m glad it was a blessing to you and I’m going to contact Shofar to encourage him to continue to write on the subject. God Bless!

  39. Hi Shofar, Thanks a ton for sharing this information. I attended a church here in Nevada that is infected with this man’s ridiculous teachings and people are falling for it or being tricked into it by the pastors of these churches. Anyway, I was curious as to when this happened to you. What was the date? Glad you are out of there. Your witness against this garbage is powerful and much needed. Blessings

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