1. Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton (and other Bethel pastors) put their own words above the Word of God. Listen to them talk and you'll hear very few actual Bible verses, but you will hear a lot of their own thoughts and ideas that they claim to have received directly from God. This is not accidental. They believe they are a new and better type of Christian leader who can hear directly from God and get "downloads" of new information. They believe the Bible is merely a good starting point that has useful information about God, but to really know Him you must go further than the Bible-you need to go "off the map."
“None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map—to go beyond what we know. ”
— Bill Johnson "When Heaven Invades Earth-A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles"
“It’s difficult to expect the same fruit of the early church when we value a book they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have. It’s not Father, Son and Holy Bible.”
— Bill Johnson, YouTube video: "Friendship With God"
2. Go back to the previous point. Seriously, that is enough to end the discussion. If the Bible is only a starting point (because we need to get new and better information) than this is not the historic Christian church. In fact, even the Roman Catholic Church believes that we can't have a bunch of different people running around claiming to speak for God; that's why they have only one Pope. In the Bethel/NAR way of thinking, practically everyone is their own Pope! Bethel teaches that we must have a subjective and mystical connection to the Holy Spirit that allows us to receive more than the clear meaning of the Word of God, because the Word of God isn't enough.
3. Are you carefully considering how dangerous it is to degrade and devalue the Word of God the way Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton and Bethel does? Are you really comfortable abandoning what the Christian Church has taught, confessed and believed since its very beginning? On top of that, are you really comfortable handing over the Christian Church and its doctrines to men like Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton? These men are getting rich off of the sheep they claim to serve; they are constantly selling stuff and giving speeches for money. These men make no bones about it-they make a lot of money and they're happy to continue making more. Is that who we should trust with the future of the Christian faith?
4. Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton and Bethel twist the Bible to make it say what they want it to say. Bill Johnson will take the English word from the Bible and try to extract some special new meaning from it; but the original word was never in English! Here's a really embarrassing example:
The word "repent" has nothing to do with penthouses-obviously! The original Greek word transliterated is "metanoia" and it means "I repent, change my mind, change the inner man (particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God), repent," according to Strong's concordance. This is horrendous Bible twisting from a man who either has no idea what he's doing (and Bill Johnson has no training in the ancient languages that the Bible was written in), or he's so confident that he's hearing new messages from God that he doesn't care. Here's another example from the same book:
“For many years I misunderstood the biblical concept of desire. Psalm 37:4 tells us: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.’ Like many pastors, I foolishly taught that if you delighted yourself in the Lord, He would change your desires by telling you what to desire. But that’s not at all what this means. That verse literally means that God wants to be impacted by what you think and dream. God is after your desires. The word desire is made up of the prefix ‘de’ meaning ‘of,’ and sire meaning ‘father.’ Desire is, by nature, of the Father.”
— Bill Johnson, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 144
Bill Johnson doesn't even bother to consult a concordance, which is a very simple way to learn the meaning of any word found in the Bible. Instead, he demonstrates that he is horribly incapable of teaching a Biblical passage. The Hebrew word translated into english as desire is "mishalah." It simply means "request" or "petition," but Bill Johnson is telling people that "God is after their desires" because de and sire means "of the father," according to him. This is a complete fabrication and a deliberate twisting of God's Word. Why would he do that? Who knows? Maybe it's because he's appealing to the selfish desires of his gullible audience. He is definitely tickling itching ears.
5. Bill Johnson didn't have enough sense to know that he was getting scammed by Todd Bentley at The Charismatic Day of Infamy. All of the "Apostles" of the New Apostolic Reformation gathered together to commission Todd Bentley as the great new leader whose revival meetings (the "Lakeland Revival") were a big deal for a few months of glory in 2008. But Todd Bentley was a fraud, adulterer and drunk, and none of those "Apostles" (Bill Johnson being a primary member) had enough discernment to figure it out. These are the men who claim to have all sorts of special insights directly from God, but they were utterly clueless. Does that sound like the kind of guy whose direct "downloads" should be trusted to establish new doctrine? After Todd Bentley abandoned his wife and children, Bill Johnson tried to restore him back to ministry-ignoring the fact that he was utterly disqualified by his despicable, sinful behavior. Even today, Bill Johnson supports and promotes the fraud Todd Bentley. Here's something he posted on his Facebook wall just recently:
So Bill Johnson openly supports and endorses his friend, the fraud Todd Bentley. By the way, even that promo for Bentley's "revival" is fraudulent: that's a an old photograph of a Billy Graham meeting in Los Angeles.
6. Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton are both big fans of the creepy cult leader William Branham (1909-1965). Branham was so detached from Biblical Christianity that even Word of Faith founder Kenneth Hagin called him a false teacher and predicted he would die two years before it happened from a car accident in 1965. Although he died on Dec. 24, 1965, Branham's followers refused to bury his body since they believed he would rise from the dead. They finally gave up and buried him on April 11th of the next year. Branham didn't believe in the Trinity. Branham believed he was the end-time "Elijah." Branham taught that Eve and the serpent had sexual intercourse and Cain was born, and that consequently every woman potentially carried the literal seed of the devil, so he always believed women to be inferior and untrustworthy. Branham was a pathological liar who told many variations of stories for decades with conflicting details. Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton have stated that they want the "mantle" of William Branham.
7. Bethel Church claims to be special place where the "Presence" is tangible, and miracles happen every day, yet when a coven of witches went there to get prophetic words spoken over them, they were told nothing but positive things and were actually encouraged to continue in their witchcraft. Seriously. Read about it: Bethel Church Tells Witch that She's "On the Right Path" and "God is So Proud of Her!"
8. Bill Johnson has established new doctrines that are not taught anywhere in Scripture, and these new doctrines have become foundational beliefs that have caused a great deal of confusion. For example, a foundational belief at Bethel is that "we must create a culture that welcomes risk-taking." Once this belief is established, people feel free to make stuff up and do things that are weird, harmful and unbiblical. Another foundational belief is that "we owe people an encounter with God."
This "Encounter Gospel" teaches that people cannot believe in God unless we do some supernatural miracle for them, and it eliminates the need for a sinner to repent of their sins. This idea adds a great deal of confusion and it conflicts with the Bible's teaching that the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God to convert people. On top of these new doctrines, Bill Johnson & Co. are always degrading the use of reason and elevating a mystical/gnostic approach to knowledge. This is a recipe for utter confusion, and it lays a foundation for people to abandon their Christian faith, which should be based on God's Word. Check out these Bethel sayings and notice how murky, unbiblical, anti-intellectual and Dominionist the thinking is:
9. Although Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton and other Bethel pastors will claim to be focusing on "nothing but Jesus" the truth is that they don't. Listen to these people "preach" and you'll hear lots of talking and stories, but the emphasis is never on the simple and finished Gospel message that Jesus Christ came and gave His life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. The Apostle Paul said "I preach Christ and Him crucified," but the Bethel message is focused on what they're doing and what's going to happen next. This is no accident. Bill Johnson has repeatedly said that he wants Bethel to focus on only one thing: "revival." This is not what the Bible teaches-but it's what Bill Johnson teaches. Why? Because Bill Johnson had an experience at the "Toronto Blessing" that caused him to devote himself to this form of "revival." The Toronto Blessing was so controversial that the founder of the Vineyard movement, John Wimber, went to the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church and told them they were in serious error. Wimber then cut the church out of his Vineyard fellowship for being too far removed from Biblical Christianity. Bill Johnson took over Bethel Church and steered it into the very controversial Toronto Blessing kind of teaching, and that caused the Assemblies of God to cut them off in a similar way. Bethel Church is so far on the fringe that it is creating its own new and unbiblical doctrines.
10. Benny Hinn. He's an obvious false teacher who is known for his outlandish and luxurious lifestyle, his highly staged "Miracle Crusades," and his Prosperity Preaching (which only makes Benny Hinn prosperous).
Bethel loves this guy.
There is no excuse for this, and if you are trying to justify this in your mind right now, you are part of the problem. Benny Hinn is a showman and a huckster, and he knows what to say in order to retain as large an audience as possible. Benny Hinn recently made a special appearance at Bethel.
Here's an "NBC Dateline" segment on Benny Hinn from 2005:
Bethel Bonus section:
Heidi Baker imparts demons at Bethel (no big deal...)
What a Bargain-Bill Johnson's $400 Thumb Drive!! (Maybe that's how he can afford an Aston Martin?)
Bethel Redding's Liturgical Prayer to the God of Mammon (it's just the heretical prosperity "gospel" rearing its ugly head)
The Lord Grabbed Jenn Johnson by the Hair and Sent Her Into Outer Space (This is Bill Johnson's daughter-in-law "preaching" at Bethel)
Jenn Johnson: "The Lord Has A Reflector Mirror Under His Armpit" (This is normal in the world of Bethel)
Jenn Johnson Got More Cute By Believing What God Said About Her (Yes, she really said this)
Kris Vallotton: "Wealth is the Magnetic Attraction to Prosperity" (Kris Vallotton is getting more and more wealthy as he tells everyone: "But it's not just about money!...")
Kris Vallotton: Prosperity Preacher Exchanging Love for Wealth (This guy really loves to talk about getting wealthy, but remember, it's "not just about the money!...")
Kris Vallotton LIES About the Bible (And Carey Nieuwhof loves it)
Topless Dancing at Christalignment "Workshop"-Does Kris Vallotton Approve? (This is so weird, creepy and unbelievable it should be another whole series of articles, oh wait, it is. There are many links in this article)
Bethel Redding Fire Tunnel with Puppets (Bethel Pastor, Seth Dahl, is selling and biting a man on the neck with his $100 puppets, just watch this video because it can't be explained...)
Victims of Bill Johnson’s SOZO Ministry speak out (This is another can of worms, and articles...)
In summary, Bethel Church, Redding, has bad Christology, bad Pneumatology, and bad Soteriology. If you believe that "theology doesn't matter," you're a perfect candidate to fall for this bad theology. Theology is just a word that means "teaching about God." By definition, Bethel teaches theology, but they disguise it as something so totally new and fresh that people are fooled into thinking it's something "better" or "more spiritual." But it's just their version of teaching about God. Remember, as soon as someone starts teaching about God, they are doing theology.
So, Christology is what you believe about Jesus Christ, Soteriology is what you believe about salvation and Pneumatology is what you believe about the Holy Spirit. Those issues can be discussed in another article.
Do your homework. Take your Christian faith seriously and stop following these false teachers. Here is another article that can help you think more about this:
Bethel is part of The New Apostolic Reformation:
Steven Kozar started The Messed Up Church; he is an artist, musician, blogger and stuff.