The following article is being posted on my blog for these reasons:
1) I have known about this false “prophet” for some time now and every Christian should know the dangers that he and those like him present.
2) My dad is in the hospital and I have been with him a few days now. I think he’s going to be OK. Just because one gets a flu shot doesn’t insure that the flu isn’t going to happen. When it and complications from it happen to an 88 year old, all kinds of strange things can happen.
Anyways, I was talking to one of the nurses who happened to mention to me that his brother had gone to California for Bible School. Always interested in topics like these, I asked: “Which Bible School did he go to?” The young man thought for a moment and I almost said, “Is he at Biola?” Instead, for some reason unknown to myself, I asked, “Did he go to Bethel Bible in Redding?” The young man’s eyes brightened with a look of recognition. “Yes,” he said. “That’s where he is.”
So, a young man traveled half way across the country to attend one of the most deceptive “training centers” one could choose. I admired the young man’s willingness to seek God’s will for his life. I was deeply saddened about the place he chose. I asked this young nurse who obviously loves his brother to search for information about Bill Johnson on the internet. And then I told him a bit of what I knew and told him not to listen to me but to research it himself.
The long arm of Bethel has reached farther than Arkansas to bring youth from all over the world to its campus and “church” with its warped view of God and its serious wrong beliefs. It and the many “ministries” like it must be exposed for what they are…ungodly heretical doctrine.
3) That a place like Bethel can have such a following demonstrates the lack of simple Bible knowledge among the masses in our world today. Things that were once common knowledge have become lost in the new age, emergent, mystic, post-modern mess that comprises much of the “church” today. People need to be warned.
4) I did what I recommended to the young nurse. I simply did an internet search for Bill Johnson. This is one of the first articles that popped up, it is easy to read, and it clearly points out a few of the main problems at Bethel. Here is the article I found:
WARNING – BILL JOHNSON and BETHEL CHURCH
by Andrew Strom
I am really hoping to make this the last of this type of article for awhile. Some people think I “love” putting out this stuff. But I honestly wish it would all go away, so we could get on with the ‘real’ work of building the kingdom.
However, Bill Johnson is doing such damage to the Body of Christ
around the world that I simply cannot stay silent. In New Zealand
(where I am currently) he holds a huge Conference once a year
called “Manifest Presence”. This is amost certainly the biggest
and most influential Christian conference in the whole country.
And likewise in other nations, such as UK, Australia, Singapore,
and many others. His influence is enormous.
Bill Johnson is a very charming man. He also emphasizes a
number of things that I heartily agree with – such as street
evangelism using the gifts of the Spirit, prophecy and healing
on the streets, etc. But the problem is that he endorses and
promotes an “anointing” exactly identical to the one that Todd
Bentley promotes. The “drunken glory”, fire-tunnel, laughing,
jerking, gold-dust, “Angel-mania”-type anointing that has done
such damage to the Charismatic movement around the world –
and in many cases reduced it to a shocking travesty of what it
once was. What would Derek Prince or Keith Green think of the
things these men are into – spiritual drunkenness, “portals”,
‘visualization’, spirit-travel, fire-tunnels, angel-orbs and the like?
(Found all the way through the New Age movement, but not in
Bill Johnson was one of the biggest supporters of the Lakeland
revival led by Todd Bentley. And even after the fiasco that it
became, he publicly endorsed Todd Bentley’s ministry again in
2011. But Bill does it all with such “down-to-earth” charm and
wise-sounding words – “how could this be deception?” That is
what makes him so dangerous.
His wife Beni is co-pastor with Bill of Bethel church in Redding,
California. And interestingly she is even more open about the
bizarre things that they are into. She even puts it in writing on
the Internet, for all the world to see.
For example, in her “Life and Wellness” blog on July 6 this year,
here is what she wrote in an entry called ‘Love Shack Time’:
“I was talking with Ray Hughes the other day and was telling him
about using a 528 HZ tuning fork as a prophetic act. Someone
told me that this tuning fork is called the tuning fork of LOVE…”
(Please note that crystals and tuning forks are used in NEW AGE
therapy – and have nothing to do with Christianity in any way).
Beni continued: “Recently I got up to speak at a meeting and
walked up to the song “Love Shack” by the B52’s. I was calling
people to more love. It was so fun.”
I guess we are now beginning to get a sense of the strange
spiritual world that these people inhabit. Another blog post that
Beni wrote about ‘WAKING UP ANGELS’ in March 2009 was
also very revealing:
“In the last couple of months, I personally have become more
aware of the angelic activity in this realm. One of those times
was when we were on a prayer trip to Arizona… One morning as
we were driving up over Tehachapi Pass and coming down into
the Mojave Desert, I began to feel angels. The closer we got,
the stronger the impression felt. I could see them everywhere!..
I announced this to the group and said, “We have got to stop!
We have to stop somewhere…” As we drove around a corner I
said, “I think that we are going to wake up some angels here…”
“We knew we were to turn around, get out of the RV and wake
up the angels. I wish I could convey to you the energy and the
quickness of how God was working. We jumped out of the RV,
I blew the shofar and rang the bell, and we yelled “WAKEY
WAKEY.” We got back into the RV and drove off. As we drove
off, hilarious laughter broke out! We were stunned at the speed
at which this all took place and were spinning from the adventure
and the angelic activity. What in the world had just happened?!
Heaven collided with earth. Woo hoo!!
“Since that time, there has been a stirring in me to awaken the
angels for use in this Kingdom reign that is upon us here on earth.
I have shared these two stories in other places and have done a
prophetic act of waking up the angels: having everybody cry out,
“WAKEY WAKEY!” I know it is strange but it is very effective…
One of our gals who enjoys God’s angels… gets pretty wacked
when they are around…”
The reference that Beni makes here to “Heaven colliding with
earth” is of course directly tied to Bill Johnson’s most famous
teaching on “When Heaven Invades Earth”. Clearly, this is the
kind of thing they mean when they use that phrase. So if we
get with their program so-to-speak, we too can go around
“waking up angels” and getting “pretty wacked” when these
‘angels’ are around.
I guess the obvious question is whether they are “serious” about
all this. Sadly, the answer is “Yes.” When you get so completely
deceived that you think “drunken glory” and ‘tuning forks’ and
getting “wacked” are normal Christian behaviour, you are open
to anything. Tragically, if we look at all that these people have
said and done now for years and years, we have to conclude that
one of Christendom’s biggest leaders (Bill Johnson) inhabits the
most bizarre quasi-spiritual universe that you can imagine. And
he is spreading this deceived foolishness in the Body of Christ
on a mass scale. It might seem almost “funny” if it wasn’t so
‘New Age’ serious.
One young lady named Johanna who had been a student for many
months at Bill Johnson’s ‘Bethel’ school wrote to me the following:
“In August 2008 I moved to Redding, California to attend Bethel
School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). I graduated in May
2009… Almost right away I began to question the bizarre behavior
that is so normal there.
“At Bethel, there are many sayings that are tossed around daily…
“God only has nice things to say,” “There´s no high like the Most
High.” There would be all kinds of distracting behavior (random
shouting, laughing, etc.) during school sessions and church
services. When any guest speaker came to school, students
would flock to the front to get as close to the speaker as possible.
We were taught that any anointing we wanted could be received
by simply “claiming it” for ourselves. Students would rush the
stage and the front of the sanctuary so the speakers could lay
hands on them.
“Among the guest speakers were Bob Jones, Heidi Baker,
Georgian and Winnie Banov, Randy Clark, John and Carol Arnott…
We also had regular sessions with Bill Johnson, Beni Johnson…
and other Bethel pastors. The drunken behavior and questionable
teachings from some, if not all, of these speakers was shocking
at times. I can safely say that I never heard the word “repentance”
once in any teaching.
“I remember when the Banovs came, the whole place was complete
chaos. When they touched someone, that person would jerk
violently or stumble around as if they were drunk. The Banovs
minister to people in trash dumps around the world… What I
remember them talking about was love, joy, bliss, and the new wine.
“Angels were often talked about. I remember Beni Johnson actually
took an RV across Arizona and New Mexico to wake up angels
that were supposedly sleeping. (Another one of the common
phrases, “Wakey wakey”). I would always hear people talking
about their encounters with angels and how they visited heaven.
One young woman I knew said she could see angels everywhere,
she talked to them all the time, and she would help her friends to
do the same… God becomes like Santa Claus. Without the
preaching of the true gospel, the fear of the Lord is lost.”
ANDREW AGAIN: As you can see from all these reports, the
ministry of Bill Johnson is highly suspect. Sadly, because the
deception is not as “obvious” as Todd Bentley, people are
charmed into thinking he’s “fine”. Charismatic leaders around
the world flock to his meetings and openly endorse his teachings.
For this reason I believe he is far more dangerous than Todd
Bentley ever was. The Bible says that in the last days will come
false teachers and “lying signs and wonders” to deceive if
possible the “very elect.” And what do we see today? New Age
practices and spirits are flooding the church. And it is men like
Bill Johnson that have become the “acceptable face” of this
invasion. Please, friends, steer well clear.
Please forward this email to anyone you feel may be in danger
from this deception. And please comment below-
God bless you all. – Andrew Strom.
Posted in Articles by Andrew on June 26th, 2012 at 7:32 pm.
It is now November 3rd, 2021. Today, a friend’s blog had an “Interview with Jesse, a Former Charismatic and Bethel Grad.” It is an interesting testimony of one person’s experience at Bethel. HERE IS THE LINK IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING IT.