Bill Johnson Accepts Full Responsibility for Raging Fires in Redding, CA

Note: This article is satire, and it is meant to take Bill Johnson's bad theological ideas to their logical (and ridiculous) conclusion. It is not my intent to make fun of the terrible difficulties that people face because of the Carr Fires; my hope is that the obvious false doctrine of how "we are in control" will be revealed in this crisis. God have mercy on us all. -Steven Kozar

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In a brief press conference at the Redding, CA fire station, Bethel Senior Pastor Bill Johnson said, "It's all my fault and I will correct these errors as soon as possible. Unlike God, I'm in control. Please just give me a little more time to speak a rainstorm into existence. Thank you, no questions." After he finished Pastor Bill ran out the door saying to his assistant "Where's my Aston Martin?? Bring it to me now! I can pray while I'm driving..."

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Bethel Co-pastor and self-proclaimed "Reformer," Kris Vallotton, could not be reached for comment, since he was out of town giving a prophetic workshop...

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Bill Johnson doesn't think we need to "deal with unanswered prayer," so why is he not simply praying the fires away?

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Bill Johnson claims that it's our commission "to rule the earth," so why doesn't he lead by example and make the fires stop?

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Bill Johnson says that too much knowledge will hinder our obedience, so why doesn't he demonstrate his unwavering obedience (and lack of education) and put out the fires?

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If it's true that God "wants to use us to do the impossible" why doesn't Bill Johnson demonstrate this principle right now and put out the terrible fires in his own town?

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Bethel is the place that claims to encounter God all the time, which means they should have lots of power, so why don't they demonstrate all that power and make the fires stop?

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The Lord does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths.
— Psalm 135:6
But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.
— Psalm 115:3
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
— Romans 11:33-36
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.
— James 4:13-16

The Gospel message is all about God rescuing us from sin and death-it's about Jesus Christ dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. The Gospel message is not about us "becoming the Gospel," trying to take dominion over the earth, and "declaring and decreeing" that God must do whatever we want Him to do. -Steven Kozar

The following video is what happens when Word of Faith teaching is really taken to its logical conclusion by someone who seems to believe it; the fire doubled in size within 24 hours of this video:

 

The marketing geniuses at Bill Johnson's publishing company, Destiny Image, sent out this advertising email on July 31, 2018:

Here's an article from Bill Johnson on August 10th as the fires continue to ravage California:

 

 


Matt Chandler, Francis Chan with Hillsong, Jesus Culture at Yet Another Conference

This is yet another New Apostolic Reformation Big Event that you must attend, because you'll never be the same... it's gonna change everything... this is the Together Conference for the Together Generation!

Experts are currently trying to determine if the "Together Generation" is really just a new incarnation of the "Pepsi Generation."

Here's the Together Manifesto, which is not a manifesto at all, but simply a loose cluster of vague ideas that sound good to the ear of the gullible, especially if they're said in a cool video:

"Something needs to shift.
There is a better way than outrage
or apathy.

In the middle of you/me/us/them
stands Jesus.
He was snubbed by politicians
and the religious.
He drew the ordinary, the misfit,
the freedom-craver,
calling all into mercy, justice,
and action.
So what if I moved closer?
Away from walls that isolate,
toward Jesus and the world
around me.

I want to influence, to build bridges,
to take risks.
I will choose to listen and seek
to understand.
I will love, especially those
who are not like me.
I am part of the radical middle—where
we meet at Jesus from every side.
And we’re on the move."

Now here's the cool video where this pseudo-doctrine can be more emotionally manipulative:

 

For some reason these two guys are speaking at this event (along with NARpostle Brian Houston, Banning Liebscher, Sammy Rodriguez, Priscilla Shirer and others):

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Even though this event is still a few months away, "Together 2018" has done one thing very well already-they're promoting this thing with unabashed confidence. Rarely have such ideals been promised so confidently by an event that surely cannot accomplish any of this stuff:

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Wow, they got some good ad writers churning out the catchphrases. So, this day-and-a-half event is not actually an event-IT'S A LIFESTYLE. That's not even a cohesive idea. Heck, that's not even a cohesive sentence! Well, this is from the people who claim that they are: "part of the radical middle—where we meet at Jesus from every side. And we’re on the move." (This is a meaningless word salad, but they copied that last line from Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia.)

There is a glimmer of hope in all of this: it appears that the guy who used to always say "Did I do that??" on that old TV show is one of the guest performers:

  Tye Tribbett (guest performer at "Together 2018")

Tye Tribbett (guest performer at "Together 2018")

Stay home and save the travel expenses. Read your Bible. Go to church. Nothing to see here... just another large group manipulation exercise.


The User's Guide to Postmodern "Emergent" Christianity

     Step one is essential: "Get in the loop!" What does this mean, you ask? Well, this thought pattern is almost everything you'll need to stay clueless within the confines of Postmodern Christianity. Once you start thinking this way, you'll never get out of "the loop." It goes like this:

     "Mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental people are bad, and whatever they believe is instantly invalidated by the fact that they are judgmental, narrow-minded, angry and mean. I get to decide if, and when, they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental."

     Once you're safely in this loop you won't need to carefully consider the truth claims of another believer with their precious little Bible verses. And, thankfully, you'll never have to learn anything about the theology and creeds that have been passed down for almost two thousand years. Remember, there are still old-fashioned Christians who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental. These dinosaurs want to conduct church the same old way and cling to antiquated beliefs that are out of step with today's social climate. You can easily ignore these people if you're "in the loop." Before you know it, you will have completely dehumanized them and it won't even faze you that you've been the judgmental one all along! 

 

      To follow step two, say something like this: "That may be true for you, but it's not true for me." In days of old, this was only used for superficial matters, like one's preference of Mary Ann over Ginger. But nowadays this simplistic catch phrase serves a vital new purpose: it enables anyone to ignore God's Word with impunity. It used to be that a Christian couldn't just go around rearranging and reinterpreting the Bible, but now it's easy! You may substitute similar catch phrases like "I just feel like it's not wrong for me" or you can even quote that great Bible verse: "What is truth? asked Pilate..."

      Step three, in case you haven't already figured it out, is this: Don't take the Bible very serious at all, just give it lip-service. I know, I know, this sounds extreme, but remember this is Postmodern Christianity. Postmodernity is a belief system that says that no belief system is true. It's absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain. The Bible is full of absolute truth claims, that's why it's so exclusive, hateful and out-of-date. However, you will still need to make reference to it on occasion, so it's good to have some overly simplistic proof-texts handy. "Thou shall not judge" is the all-time most popular proof-text, so feel free to use it as often as you want. Just remember not to read the entire passage in the actual Bible, otherwise you'll see what Jesus really meant. You can even misquote it like this: "Who are we to judge?" or "Only God can judge-that's not my job!"

 

      The Bible has clear rules about what is right and wrong, so you will need to avoid all of that. Remember, people generally hate God's rules, so you need to stay on their side; instead, make those Bible thumping "traditional" Christians seem like the real problem, i.e. they're bad because they think they're better than anyone else. You must ignore the fact that true Bible-believing Christians don't think they're better than anyone else, they are simply pointing to the unchangeable truth of God's Word as the only ultimate authority. Furthermore, the Gospel itself is only "Good News" because Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins... and we couldn't even have sins unless we were guilty of breaking God's commandments... and since God Himself gave us His commandments we are clearly guilty and in need of a Savior.... do you see how this all falls apart if you start reading the Bible? You'll just turn into a regular Christian-ugh!

     Instead of that, keep it simple and just say something like "I believe the way of Jesus is love" or "I believe God just wants everyone to be happy in their own way." Nobody's going to argue with that, right? For more ideas on how to misquote God's Word, just listen to any interview with Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones or any of the hip new emergent leaders. With a good dose of sincerity and direct eye contact (plus some emotional background music), you can say almost anything in the name of Jesus!

     Finally, when in doubt, always prefer ambiguity over certainty and truth. Ambiguity is the magic glue that holds Postmodern Christianity together. What does this mean? I don't know, what do you think it means? Is it possible that the ambiguity of uncertainty is really just the context from within which our sense of community can emerge? I don't know, I'm just asking the question, because the beauty of relationship reveals itself through the self-discovery process, as we all find personal meaning collectively and individually. I'm not saying that anyone's version of truth is right or wrong; I'm just asking questions so that a dialogue can be established. Maybe there's a better way, a way where all of our collective narratives can form a cohesive, yet multi-faceted story. Maybe this new meta-narrative can lead us to a place where fear and hatred will be replaced by mystery, beauty, and ongoing book sales. A place with well-attended conferences and substantial speaking fees, a place of extensive radio and T.V. interviews and, ultimately, a regular guest position with Oprah. We must dream. We must hope. We must never reach any conclusions.

(See how easy this is?)

 

Now get out there and confuse everyone! You can do it!! 


Here's a great episode of Fighting for the Faith to help you understand Postmodernism better: A Beginner's Guide to Post-Modernity

Check out this article (with a TON of links) from the Berean Examiner: Postmodern Christianity's End Game?

For a serious look at the "Emerging/Postmodern" church, please watch this extensive video:

For an extensive and serious understanding of Postmodernism please listen to this audio book from Professor Stephen Hicks:

(Thanks to the folks at Pyromaniacs for the memes)

 

 

Assertions and Assumptions are NOT the Foundation of the Church

Assertion: (noun) a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason:
Without providing any evidence, he made an assertion.

Assumption: (noun) something taken for granted; a supposition:
She didn't check the facts to see if it was true, she just made an assumption.
 

Have you ever received one of those ridiculous emails that claims you are the recipient of a multi-million dollar fortune from somebody in another country? But in order to claim your money you have to send a smaller amount of money to the complete stranger that sent you the email? Emails like this rarely fool people, but they work just enough that different versions of this scam re-emerge from time to time. 

  • The scam emailer is making an assertion. ("I'm telling the truth-really! I've got millions of dollars to give away-trust me!!")
  • The scammer hopes that the recipient will make an assumption. ("This email must be true, I believe it and will send the money") 

The reason these scams don't work most of the time is because the assertion is obviously not true and most people do not assume that it is.

Much of the bad teaching going on in churches has both of these aspects. The pastor/teacher is making assertions and the people listening are simply assuming those assertions must be true. It looks something like this:

  • The pastor/teacher makes an assertion, often quite vigorously; he says it with confidence and emotion or he even claims it came directly from God Himself.
  • The people listening make the assumption that this pastor must be telling the truth. Why would he lie? He's a super nice guy, or he seems very sincere, or he went to some college somewhere... there's a million reasons why people assume they are being told the absolute truth.

Christians often use catch phrases that appear to be true, and the more often these phrases and ideas get repeated the more often they are assumed to be true. Popular pastors often have memes with their own sayings that are nothing more than mere assertions-usually meant to make people feel good.

For example, the following Joel Osteen memes look nice and sound good, but if you click through and read them all, you'll see that they don't say anything Biblical:

All of those sayings are making assertions ("You're gonna do something great and it's right around the corner," etc.) and these assertions are largely derived from a non-Christian, man-centered viewpoint.

  • These assertions are very appealing because they tell us what we want to hear, so...
  • it's no wonder that many people assume they must be true.

If you understand the Word of Faith movement (with some Positive Thinking along side), you'll see how these sayings stem from that belief system.

Now let's click through the ideas expressed in the following memes from Bethel church, where Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton teach:

These memes express a type of mystical, gnostic belief system; really, the only thing they share with Christianity is the use of some similar Bible words and phrases. Notice how the mystical "Yoda" meme actually seems to fit in? A portion of the New Testament was written to combat the gnostic beliefs that were an ongoing threat to the early Church. Here's a basic Christian definition of gnosticism (from the Pirate Lexicon): "Gnosticism is an early heresy which replaced the Gospel with a demand for secret knowledge. Gnostics claimed the only way to be saved was for the spirit to be liberated from the material order, which they considered evil. Elements of Gnosticism remain in modern churches (i.e. personal revelation, secret knowledge and mystical experiences)." Like the previous assertions made by Joel Osteen, these assertions put man at the center of our faith, but on top of that, they denegrade the use of thinking, reasoning and the objective, written Word of God.

This doctrine teaches that doctrine is bad. This teaching teaches that teaching is bad.

This belief says that God wants to be known internally and subjectively through a personal mystical experience. In this religion, He shares His miraculous power only with those who demonstrate the most extreme intimacy, passion and surrender. This has more in common with pagan mysticism and gnosticism than Christianity, but because these assertions are rarely tested, too many people make the assumption that they must be Christian and they must be true. 

Now for a striking contrast, here are some assertions from God's Word:

Titus 2:7-8  “...in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21  “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good...”

1 John 4:1  “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

2 Timothy 1:13-14  “Hold fast (retain) the pattern of sound words (doctrine) which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”

2 Timothy 3:12-17  “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 4:1-4  “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

2 Thessalonians 2:15  "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter."

1 Corinthians 16:13  "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."

Jude 3  “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

 

  • Notice how these Bible passages teach the importance of sound teaching? And this sound teaching does not come from inside of us; God's Word is independent from us.
  • Notice how these Bible passages teach us to examine everything carefully, and test things? Nowhere does Scripture tell us to mindlessly accept a doctrine from a self-described "prophet" or new "apostle;" instead, we are to be very skeptical of the teachings of men.

One of the fascinating moments captured in the book of Acts is the very brief mention of Paul and Silas visiting the Jewish synagogue in Berea. Acts 17: 11-12 says, "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek woman of high standing as well as men."

The Bible encourages us to be like the Bereans, who "received the word with all eagerness, and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."

  • We should never just believe the assertions that somebody makes, we should examine the Scriptures to find out if it's true. Period.
  • We should never just assume something is true, instead, we should examine the Scriptures to see if something is true. Period.

God has given us His Word.

He didn't "sort of" give us His Word. He didn't give us His Word with a bunch of exceptions and exclusions, and cause us to become dependent on new "prophets" and "apostles." And He certainly didn't give anyone permission to add or subtract from his Word.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
— Ephesians 2: 19-22
Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
— Matthew 7: 24-25
And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.
— Jonathan Edwards

Here's an article that explains the false assertions in the messed up church:

 

 

 

 

 

-This article by Steven Kozar

Kris Vallotton: "We Shouldn't Confess Our Sins to Each Other"

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Bethel "pastor" Kris Vallotton thinks it would be wrong to confess our sins to each other, because that would "create a culture where we are always looking for what is wrong with each other." Instead, Vallotton says we should look for the "goodness, the GODness, the gifts that God has given us."

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
— James 5: 16

Kris Vallotton says that sometimes his group of disciples had to invent sins because they really didn't have any sins to confess that week. While it is not necessary to spell out the specifics of our sins, we should always be willing to "confess our sins to one another." Kris Vallotton teaches a twisted form of theology that believes "we just don't know how good we are." Check out this article and video to learn more: The (False) Gospel According to Moana.

But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
— 1 John 1: 7-10

Here is one of the things that Jesus instructed us to ask for in the Lord's prayer:

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
— Matthew 6: 12

Why would Jesus want us to ask for forgiveness? Doesn't Jesus want us to look for the GODness in each other??


We Remember: The Charismatic Day of Infamy, June 23rd, 2008

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It's the ten year anniversary of June 23, 2008: "The Charismatic Day of Infamy," but you are NOT supposed to know about it (or even talk about it). 

If everyone knew about what happened on this day (and stopped making excuses for it) a whole bunch of false teachers would put their tail between their legs, pack up their bags and go home. The "New Apostolic Reformation," the "Signs and Wonders Movement," the Hyper-Charismatic Movement (whatever it's being called at the moment) should not even exist. 

Here's a video showing part of what happened on live television that day:

The "Super Apostles" were so proud of themselves that day; they could hardly believe that they were even gathered together at the same place. C. Peter Wagner (who does the official "commissioning" here) is the man who made up the name "New Apostolic Reformation" and then appointed himself God's leader of it. Other important "Super Apostles" on stage were Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, Che Ahn, John and Carol Arnott, and the Super Star of the whole, messed up day: Todd Bentley.

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These men were all gathered in Lakeland, Florida, to officially "commission" Todd Bentley to become part of the "Super Apostle" club. This is what the founder of the New Apostolic Reformation, C. Peter Wagner, said:

"I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to you, Todd Bentley:

  • Your power will increase.
  • Your authority will increase.
  • Your favor will increase.
  • Your influence will increase.
  • I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry.
  • A new life-force will penetrate this move of God.
  • Government will be established to set things in their proper order.
  • God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error.
  • New relationships will surface to open the gates for the future!" 
  • And rainbow-colored unicorns will spread golden pixie-dust and shift the atmosphere!! (Okay, I made up that last sentence...)

But within two months Todd Bentley's "revival" completely fell apart and these men were proven horribly wrong; they were proven to be false prophets on television for all the world to see!

  • Todd Bentley was having an affair with a woman from the church and abandoned his wife and children.
  • He was also found to be a fraud who couldn't provide any evidence for his claimed "healings" on national television. 
  • And, it was revealed that he was showing up to these "revival" meetings drunk, as he went on stage and told elaborate stories about raising people from the dead, kicking people in the face and having regular contact with an angel named "Emma."

Here's Bentley telling the audience to call down angels at the Lakeland "Revival:"

 

 

ALL of these "Super Apostles" claim to hear directly from God and claim to have special "powers" and "anointings." They claim that they are part of a new and better church-not like the old, stuffy Bible-focused churches. They claim to "move in the prophetic" and some even claim to be "seers" who can predict the future. Rick Joyner claims to go to heaven on a regular basis-he evens claims to talk to the original (real) apostles, and he claims they wish they were him! Why didn't God tell any of these people the truth about Todd Bentley?

They were 100% wrong about Todd Bentley, and they were clueless about it! They stood up on that stage like blathering buffoons, talking all about how great Todd Bentley was, and all about the great things that were going to happen. Stacy Campbell even went through the trouble to hiss like a snake as she violently jerked her head back and forth, while she "prophesied over" Todd Bentley:

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A few years later, Todd's new wife (the woman he had an affair with) showed that she could hiss and shake her head, too.

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C. Peter Wagner should have tried to disband this New Apostolic Reformation, but he didn't; instead, he made excuses for what happened. Rick Joyner and Bill Johnson should have admitted that they don't really hear directly from God, but instead they decided to take Todd Bentley under their wing and tried to "restore" him to ministry. You can read more about this (and see more videos of the entire bizarre "commissioning") here: Grace to You.

These men and woman have all proven that they do not know what they're doing.

They do not know what they're talking about.

They do not rightly handle God's Word.

They do NOT speak for God.

 

 

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

— 1 John 4: 1

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”

— 1 Corinthians 14: 33

“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?”

— Jeremiah 5: 30-31

“And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord has not spoken.”

— Ezekiel 22: 28

“Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity
to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading.”

— Lamentations 2: 14

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

— Matthew 24: 24

Lastly, it needs to said that not all Charismatics and Pentecostals are in agreement with the leaders in these videos (The NAR leaders). They've fought against the ideas in "The New Apostolic Reformation" and they are to be commended for that. Unfortunately, their voice is largely being drowned out by the much more prominent and popular leaders who've declared themselves the Super Apostles. God help us all to be faithful to His Word, and to ignore the teachings of men.

Here are few more articles about this event:

Here's recent case where Todd Bentley claims to be raising the dead with absolutely no proof: My Phone Conversation With TMU RE: Bentley's Resurrection Claim (Audio)

Here are some things the Super Apostles do NOT want you to know: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know

"Smart phone prophet" Shawn Bolz and Todd Bentley together at "Azusa Now" in April 2016:

Here's a recent video showing Bill Johnson endorsing his good friend Todd Bentley:

 

-This article by Steven Kozar

Stupid Pastor Tricks-How You're Getting Fooled

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The Juvenilization Category of Tricks: 

  • The "Turn to your neighbor and say..." trick. Mr. Mega Pastor, we are no longer in the second grade, and we shouldn't be treated as such. This is just a way to force people to agree with you.
  • The "end every other sentence with AMEN?!" trick. Amen is not a question. You are putting that word at the end of your sentence because it forces people to agree with you, as they shut down any critical thinking.
  • The "make your church look like a children's TV Show" trick. Mr. Mega Pastor wants his followers to revert back to adolescence in order to instill obedience. But just how far will he go as he belittles his audience? How about this far:

                         Or how about this far:

                          Or how about this far:

  • The "my expectations of you are so low that I'll repeatedly insult your intelligence in order to hold your gnat-like attention" trick. Mr. Mega Pastor thinks most people are pretty stupid and need to be treated as gullible spectators. Worse than that, he thinks God needs the church service to be an adult pre-school in order to accomplish His will on earth.
  • The "listen to me repeat a catchphrase as if it were a Bible verse" trick. Because he needs these people to remember something, but he just can't seem to fit an actual Bible passage into his frantic yet meandering 45-minute speech...

 

The Cult of Personality Category of Tricks:

  • The "we started this church in our living room 6 years ago and look at what God has done!" trick. You bought a mailing list, hired a graphic artist and a web designer, you mailed out a slick postcard to 10,000 people that made promises & claims that your church can never deliver, but you're giving all the credit to God? Don't blame this thing on God.
  • The "aw shucks, can I just talk about myself for a while longer?" trick. You are trying to act humble but it's only working on the truly gullible.
  • The "our church is really great, and just in case you don't know how great it is, I'm gonna talk about it some more" trick. Why is it so important to continually prop up your church? You're not a pastor, you're a salesman making a pitch.
  • The "I don't have time to read the Bible, but I've got time to talk about sports/TV shows/personal stories/jokes/useless drivel..." trick. Everything that happens in your sermon is by your design, and you're deciding to cut out God's Word to make more room for yourself.
  • The "here's a really catchy name for my new sermon series that I'll keep repeating (I hope it gets me a book deal)" trick. We get it: without a new book you've got nothing to sell at the merchandise table when you go on the speaking circuit.
  • The "we are just so blessed and honored to have Pastor Whoever He Is with us today!" trick. And if you suck up to him enough, you'll get a speaking invitation at his (much larger) church.
  • The "watch me do that dramatic... pause... just like Rob Bell or Andy Stanley" trick. This is just cheap theatrics, and you've cheapened the house of God by pretending to be profound.
  • The "let me show you how cool and relevant I am while I pretend that I'm not trying to be cool and relevant" trick. Again, this only works on the truly gullible. You're really scraping the bottom of the barrel, aren't you Mr. Mega Pastor? (And Mr. Cool Music Guy on the worship team, maybe you should look into joining a cover band to satisfy your need for attention.)
  • The "let me brag about my luxurious lifestyle in front of the struggling people who paid for it" trick. You're not setting an example of success, you're taking money from people who will never live out the fantasies you sell them in the name of God.

 

The Super Spiritual Category of Tricks:

  • The "I hope you don't notice that I'm just making up this prophetic utterance" trick. If you want people to believe that God is speaking through you, shouldn't you construct sentences that actually mean something? How ridiculous can these "prophetic words" get? This ridiculous:
  • The "this is gonna be the year of acceleration! (or breakthrough, or increase, or visitation, or whatever...)" trick. Don't worry, after you make your New Year's proclamation you've got 11 months of useless blathering to distract everyone from your vague, yet false prediction.
  • The "I can make outlandish claims without any authentication" trick. Why does every supernatural event that you mention occur in some remote country... without cameras?
  • The "my Bible fell open and this is the verse that God showed me" trick. Wait a minute, is this a Christian church service or a tarot card reading??
  • The "I had my sermon all planned out but God gave me something different at the last minute" trick. Wow, we've never heard that before...
  • The "something REALLY big is coming... (eventually)" trick. How many decades have to pass before you finally cancel this ambiguous, confusing and useless "word from the Lord?"
  • The "healing service that's actually just a guy telling stories about all the healings he supposedly did somewhere else" trick. Lucky for this guy, the people who come to get healed are usually so desperate and confused they stay the whole time anyway. When they don't get healed they often blame themselves, too.
  • The "watch me talk very very fast, as if the sheer quantity of my words equated to Godly wisdom" trick. I suppose if you slowed down everyone could see that you're not really saying anything.
  • The "shift in the atmosphere" trick. Is this the Christian Church or an episode of Ghost Hunters?
  • The "Holy Spirit Tourette Syndrome" trick. Really? That's supposed to be the result of the Holy Spirit?? 

 

  • The "don't put God in a box" trick. This is how you turn the sovereign God of the Universe who has revealed Himself in His Holy Word into your own weird little creation. 
  • The "Law of Attraction" trick. Well, if you don't want to preach the Gospel from the Bible, I guess you might as well steal ideas from Oprah...
  • The "God spoke to me, so you pretty much have to believe whatever I say" trick. Don't worry, hardly anyone will notice that this is exactly how all cults get started.

Stay tuned for more Stupid Pastor Tricks!

 

-This article by Steven Kozar

Podcast Interview With Marcia Montenegro: "One Thousand Gifts" Review

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In this episode of the podcast Steve talks with Marcia Montenegro about the very popular book "One Thousand Gifts." 

Here is Marcia's article (with more links) that we used as an outline for this podcast: "One Thousand Gifts" Christian Answers for the New Age

Here is another helpful article from Bob DeWaay: Romantic Panentheism: A Review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Here's an episode of Fighting for the Faith where Chris Rosebrough talks about Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" book: Mystical Estrogen

 

Andy Stanley's "Aftermath" Series: Rejecting the Bible to Foster Faith?

  (The "aftermath" of this sermon series should be the complete rejection of Andy Stanley's heretical teaching) 

(The "aftermath" of this sermon series should be the complete rejection of Andy Stanley's heretical teaching) 

In Andy Stanley's latest series, called "Aftermath," he suggests that Christians can unhinge their faith from the Bible while attaching their faith to the historically reliable resurrection of Christ (which is something we learn about from the Bible). Along with propagating doubt in God's Word, Andy Stanley is teaching a modern version of Marcionism, which is an ancient heresy that eliminates the Old Testament. Here are some recent articles that explain this in greater detail:

Andy Stanley's Modern Marcionism by Wesley Hill

Moralistic Therapeutic Marcionism by Rod Dreher

Marcion and Getting Unhitched from the Old Testament by Kevin DeYoung

 

Here are some direct quotes from this truly bizarre and confusing "sermon" series:

Jesus’s most devout first-century followers never owned a Bible, never read a Bible, they couldn’t have read the Bible if there was a Bible because most of them couldn’t read and there was no Bible to read. And yet, these men and woman turned the world upside down, they’re the reason we’re here today worshipping Jesus but they never held a Bible because there was no Bible until the fourth century. Why are you so quickly persuaded to walk away from faith because of a book that didn’t exist when Christianity began?
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
In order to remain irresistible, I noticed something we needed to address. And it had nothing to do with how we do church, it had everything to do with how we talk about the Bible, and specifically what we point to as the foundation of faith, which for most Christians, unfortunately, is the Bible.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
Many of you-I’m in this group-we were raised to believe that the foundation of our faith is the Bible; that as the Bible goes, so goes our faith, and if some of it’s not true then none of it can be trusted; it’s a house of cards.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
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It only took about ten minutes into the first sermon for Stanley to dismantle the authority of the Bible and give high praise to the sincerity and intelligence of atheists like Sam Harris, but then he spends the rest of the "sermon" talking about the ministry of Jesus and the early church while quoting from the Bible. But the obvious question should be: why is he using the Bible at all? 

Here is an excellent podcast from Matthew Garnett that carefully dissects the flawed and dangerous content of the first sermon, which was called Aftermath Part 1: Stand Alone:

Andy Stanley: "Christians Created the Bible" In Layman's Terms by Matthew Garnett

 

Here are some more direct quotes:

The first-century Christians had a very different kind of foundation for their faith than many of us have. Many of us were raised to believe that the foundation of our belief is the Bible, but they didn’t have a Bible, the Bible wouldn’t come until the early fourth century. What they based their faith on was an event-specifically the resurrection of Jesus, and this should be the reason we choose to follow as well.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
When Paul’s eyes were opened he had extraordinary clarity around the incompatibility of the Old and New Testaments.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
The Bible teaches that God mostly loves Jews AND the Bible teaches that God loves everybody; they are two incompatible covenants.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
I’m telling you, you take Old Testament values and imperatives and you mix them with New (Testament values and imperatives), you end up with a mess, and you end up with a message that unnecessarily drives people away from the Gospel. And once upon a time this wasn’t all that big of a deal, because once upon a time nobody knew that much about the Bible and they couldn’t find out much about the Bible unless they went to a library, but now everybody is one click away from whatever information they need to dismiss their faith, including your children and grandchildren.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
(On the public display of the Ten Commandments:) Jews aren’t for this, and it’s their law. You don’t see Jewish groups saying ‘We need the Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn!’ Jewish people are like: ‘It’s over, it’s over...’ and the Christians are like: ‘No! It’s not over, we wanna keep it alive!’ And the Jewish people are like ‘I don’t think you’ve read it carefully.’ Cause they’re smarter than us about THEIR scripture.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
The gig is up. The truth is out there. We can’t hide anymore. So let me be super honest: We can’t hide behind the Ten Commandments anymore because everybody has discovered that the Ten Commandments aren’t the only commandments; the Ten Commandments are the table of contents for the whole Jewish law.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
Originally in my notes I was gonna put a screen up here that said ‘In other words that means thou shalt not obey the ten commandments,’ but I knew someone would take a picture of that and it would define me for the rest of my life, so I’m not gonna put that up there...
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 3, April 28, 2018

Here is a terrific video from Chris Rosebrough reviewing Andy Stanley's third sermon in the series called Aftermath Part 3: Not Difficult:

 

This latest series from Andy Stanley is not much different than some of the other disturbing things he has been teaching for years. For much more information see: 

The Andy Stanley Cornucopia of False Teaching, Fast Talking & Postmodern Ambiguity

Enter at Your Own Risk: The Fire Tunnel "Encounter Gospel!"

Do you feel that Church is not enough? Are you bored with the Bible? What you need is to directly contact God in a sorta creepy, yet experiential way. That's right, it's...

THE FIRE TUNNEL!!

(Click the GIFs to see more)

Make sure the hypnotic and emotionally manipulative "praise" music is cranked up and prepare to get zapped!

If the chaos, confusion, and scariness remind you of a haunted house, then you KNOW it's a movement of God! You can FEEL it!! 

Here's a fire tunnel at Bethel, where they've got a "prophetic puppet," which Bethel sells for $100. If the puppet isn't weird enough, there's also a guy biting people on their necks.

This is from Bethel "pastor" Seth Dahl, who is selling this prophetic puppet on the Bethel store (we posted this article about it in February, 2016):

In summary: Fire tunnels are a terrific way to spread germs, spirits, demons, weirdness and puppets (if you've got $100).

 

We hope this was helpful in your pursuit of the Encounter Gospel, but if you need more information:

The Fortune-Telling "Encounter Gospel" of Bethel & the NAR Explained

The Hypnotic Worship "Encounter Gospel" of Bethel & the NAR Explained

The Creepy, Drunk and Weird "Encounter Gospel" GIF Gallery!

Here's a related, serious article:

"Not Feeling It"-The Gospel for Everyone Else

Gallery of Cultish Comments: The Benny Hinn Display

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This begins a new series of posts on Messed Up Church! 

After interacting with people on social media (mostly Facebook and YouTube) it's become painfully obvious that plenty of the "Christians" who are making comments are more like cult-members than anything else. When the bad doctrine of a false teacher is pointed out, these followers feel compelled to step in to defend their revered leaders. Most of the time this becomes a demonstration of how poorly they've been taught, how Biblically illiterate they are, and how confident they are in their foolish thinking.

Let's take a look at how Benny Hinn's followers react to a YouTube video of a brief TV news segment where Costi Hinn is interviewed. In this video, Costi gently refutes the "prosperity gospel" of his uncle, Benny Hinn. Here are some comments against Costi; you'll notice that I lost my temper and decided to confront some of these people, after getting so many horrible comments:

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Note: This next comment should be taken seriously, since it comes from Eden Menastrees:

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Here is what it looks like when Benny Hinn followers try to defend him:

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This next guy was really on a roll...

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Although this video has plenty of comments displaying subjective, unbiblical, feelings-based thinking, the following comment is a really shocking example of delusional, cult-like thinking: 

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Stay tuned for further displays in The Gallery of Cultish Comments!


Podcast Interview with Robert Bowman Jr. "The Word-Faith Controversy: A Fair Critique"

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In this podcast Steve talks to Christian author & apologist, Robert M. Bowman Jr. about his book "The Word-Faith Controversy." Does the Word of Faith movement really have its origins in the New Thought movement, or is there a more accurate way to understand this gigantic movement?

Bowman clears up some misunderstandings and over-simplifications that other Christian discernment ministries have perpetuated, based on incomplete research. If you are trying to understand the New Apostolic Reformation, you need to hear this podcast.

The Word of Faith Cornucopia of False Doctrine

The Institute for Religious Research

Robert Bowman's book is easy to find used; (www.abebooks.com is often the best place to find used books) 

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10 Reasons Why You Should RUN AWAY From Bethel Redding

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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" https://youtu.be/P4RZ_ctiwlE
  (Huh?)

(Huh?)

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?

Please check out A Biblical Guide to the Prosperity Gospel.

 

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:

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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:

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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.

 

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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 and anti-intellectual 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.

 

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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: 

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:

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-This article by Steven Kozar

The (False) Gospel According to Moana

(This is an incredible article & video by today's guest author, Brandon Kimber)

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The (False) Gospel According to Moana

If you have young children or are a Disney fan, then you’ve likely seen the movie: Moana (Disney, 2016). Quite a few people in my life have brought up their love for the ending scene where Moana restores the heart of Tafiti because it reminds them of the Christian gospel. On a surface level, I would agree that there are some similarities; the imagery of an evil monster transforming into something beautiful can be compared to the doctrine of regeneration (what Jesus calls being “born again”). But if you dig a little deeper into the details you’ll see that this aligns more with the false gospel coming out of Word of Faith or NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) theology. I noticed a lot of similarities in the phrases and imagery used, so I decided to make a quick edit. I used clips from William Paul Young (author of ‘The Shack’), Oprah Winfrey, Kris Vallotton (Bethel Church), Todd White (Lifestyle Christianity), and Kenneth Copeland.

Check out the clip and then my explanation below: 

 

1. Deifying man, demoting God

In the film, Moana (the human) is playing the Christ/savior role:

"I have crossed the horizon to find you. I know your name.”

She’s the hero who restores (or transforms) the heart of the monster. The goddess is playing the role of the monster (or sinner). This flip in roles is what first grabbed my attention and made me realize that this wasn’t like the true gospel at all. If you’re familiar with some of the Word of Faith/NAR teaching (Kenneth Copeland, Bethel Church, Todd White, William Paul Young, etc.) you’ll see some striking similarities; they demote the deity of God by teaching that Jesus did not live as God, but only as a man. They don’t deny that Christ was eternally God prior to His incarnation, but claim that in His incarnation “He laid fully God aside”. This is called kenotic theology- a Christological heresy. The miracles that we see in scripture were signs that pointed to, or proved Christ’s deity, and showed that he had the authority as God to forgive sins:

“But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins”- then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” (Matthew 9:6)

NAR theology flips this upside-down, claiming that Christ’s miracles were merely an example of what we can do and the power we can have. This view is problematic because if Christ had no power within Himself to physically heal the sick, then how would he have the power to provide our spiritual healing (forgiveness of sins)? Scripture teaches that Christ could only do this because He was fully and truly God, and fully and truly man while He walked the Earth. 

This theology not only diminishes the deity of Christ, but it elevates and deifies man by claiming that we’re ‘little gods’ with ‘divine DNA’ who can do greater miracles than Jesus did.

Copeland: “You don’t have a god in you. You are one.”

Todd White: “You have the divine DNA of Abba!”

Copeland: “You have the exact same spiritual DNA as Jesus! You are a twin to the Master Himself!”

For more examples of Copeland and White’s view on this, checkout this video: 

In sum, this view of God and man is directly connected to the first lie in the Garden of Eden, “…you will be like God” (Gen 3:4)

 

2. The nature of man: Are we sinners because we sin? Or do we sin because we’re sinners?

William Paul Young (The Shack), Oprah, and Todd White all teach a similar self-esteem message; they diminish the seriousness of sin and reject what the Bible teaches about man’s nature.

WPY: “I think the lie is that all we are is a piece of crap.”

Oprah: “That’s a lie some religions tell people. You are born in sin.”

WPY: “You’re depraved. You’re worthless.”

Todd White: “The cross isn’t just the revelation of your sin, the cross is the revealing of your value. Sin was an issue, but something underneath that sin was of great importance for heaven to go bankrupt to get you back.”

Let’s compare these ideas about the nature of man to Holy Scripture:

  • "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)
  • “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” (Matt 15:11)
  • “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23)
  • "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
  • “So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)
  • “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…” (Ephesians 2:1)
  • “…we were by nature children of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3)
  • “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:11-12)

 

3. The Gospel call: Knowing who you truly are? 

Moana: “This is not who you are. You know who you are. Who you truly are.”

If you are familiar with Kris Vallotton, Todd White, Dan Mohler or a bunch of similar teachers, you’ll recognize that this “knowing who you are” is the foundation of their evangelistic methods and their teaching on sonship (“knowing who you are”, “sonship”, “seeing your value”, etc.). When Todd speaks to an audience of struggling Christians (and even in speaking to non-Christians) he says that their problem is that they just don’t know who they are. They don’t know that they’re a “son” or that they’re amazing or valuable to God. 

First, what does the Bible mean when it talks about being a son? In Scripture all those who have been born again are called adopted sons and daughters of God:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16)

Jesus says those who are not Christian are sons of the devil:

"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44)

Essentially Todd, Kris and all the other teachers are saying that the way for a sinner to be made right with God is just give mental assent to knowing that they are born again (because they're so valuable). It doesn’t work like that; just thinking that we are born again doesn’t make us born again. The act of regeneration is a mystery and a work done by the Holy Spirit through the hearing of the (actual) Gospel. Jesus compares this work of the Spirit to the wind (something we can’t see, or have control over): 

“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8)

In evangelism, the first thing someone needs to hear isn’t “God thinks you’re amazing and you have a purpose! He’s so in love with you and thinks about you all the time!” (If you’ve ever watched a documentary by Darren Wilson-Holy Ghost, Furious Love, Father of Lights, etc.- this is the extent of the content of their "gospel"). A person who is not a Christian doesn’t need a boost in their self-esteem, but they need to understand that they have broken the law of God and are currently under His wrath (an enemy of God). The Biblical call of the Gospel is to repent (which is granted by God);turning from sin towards Christ, and trusting in His finished work alone. 

If you never tell people this bad news about who they truly are apart from Christ, then the good news is meaningless and has no power (it’s just news). If your message is all about boosting the ego instead of calling people to “die to self” and turn from their sin, then you aren’t preaching the Biblical Gospel. The Gospel can not be two different and opposing messages; either we were saved by Christ in spite of our sin, or we were saved by Christ because of how "valuable" or "good" we are. But if we're so valuable or good, why did Jesus die? 

 

4. Regeneration: An unveiling or transformation?

WPY: “I think the process of transformation is not about becoming something that we weren’t, but unveiling what we were the whole time.”

Oprah: “So there’s nothing to transform, but all of this to uncover.”

Todd White: “Something underneath that sin was of great importance for heaven to go bankrupt to get you back.”

Sin isn’t just something that is external that covers us, it actually flows out of our corrupt hearts (see verses in #2 above). Our hearts don’t just need a cleanup or a makeover, but they need to be replaced or resurrected. 

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stonefrom your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

I believe Scripture says the process of transformation IS about becoming something that we weren’t: a dead sinner, now made alive in Christ!

 

5. What is God’s motivation for saving man? 

All of these details may seem unimportant, but they have a huge impact on how someone responds to the gospel and our understanding of why God loves us. If we look to God’s relationship with Israel we can get a better picture:

"The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deut. 7:7)

God loves Israel (and us) because He loves us. He doesn’t love us because of our value, but He loves and has compassion on us in spite of our lost value. Yes, we were created in the image of God, but after the Fall we lost our value in our sin. And now apart from Christ we are described as worthless (Romans 3:11-12), tares to be burned (Matthew 13:29), branches to be burned (John 15:6), deserving of hell. 

If I believe that God’s motivation for saving me is because of my value or how amazing I am, then my self-esteem or pride is fueled. I now have something to boast about before God. Grace is now seen as something I deserved because of how amazing I am. It’s all about me. But if I see that God, out of His compassion and love for a people who didn’t deserve to be loved, chose to love us because He chose to love us, then I am deeply humbled. There’s nothing in me that is worthy, and therefore my focus is fixed on Christ and His worth and value- not my own. Remember this isn’t about whether or not we’re valuable to God. This is about why we’re valuable. God doesn’t love me because I am valuable. I am valuable to God because He loves me.  


Brandon Kimber is a filmmaker currently working on the film: American Gospel.

Francis Chan: "God Might Kill You If You Criticize Church Leaders"

There's a recent video sermon from Francis Chan which has eerie similarities to a cult leader indoctrinating his followers. His basic argument is this:

  • God told the Israelites not to speak or act against God's temple in the Old Testament, upon penalty of death.
  • In the New Testament, people are now the temple of God. 
  • Therefore, we must never speak or act against God's temple-His people.
  • Rick Warren, Mike Bickle, and Mark Driscoll are men of God who should never be criticized, because Francis Chan knows them personally, and they have good hearts.
  • If you speak out against these "people of God," Chan wouldn't be surprised if God took your life, because that's what He promised in the Old Testament.

In this sermon, Francis Chan merges and tangles two different topics into a frightening blend of confusion; on one hand he talks about people who gossip and complain about their fellow believers, but on the other hand, he talks about all doctrinal differences as if they were mere preferences. While his comments about gossiping apply to personal relationships, his comments about unifying with everyone who claims to "love the Lord" are very concerning to anyone who takes the Bible seriously.

Are you gonna bash Rick Warren? Are you crazy? This is a guy who loves the Lord. You may not agree with everything he does, but man I’m telling you he loves Jesus-everything I can tell, a supernaturally spirit-filled man.
— Francis Chan
Are you gonna attack Mark Driscoll? Are you gonna attack John Piper? Are you gonna attack Mike Bickle? Are you gonna attack some of these expressions in the body of Christ that may look a little different? I’ve met these people and I see their hearts and I hang out with people from these different denominations and I’m like ‘they love Jesus,’ it looks different to me but I can see the spirit in them, so we better be careful.
— Francis Chan
And I’m reading this and I’m like ‘God, how come more people aren’t dead?’ And here’s what I heard from the Lord: THEY HAVEN’T BEEN WARNED.
— Francis Chan
It’s gonna be the unity of the Church that’s gonna get the world to believe.
— Francis Chan
...And now He says ‘you’re that temple.’ And if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. You wanna be on the right side of His protection.
— Francis Chan
You better not criticize any popular preachers who claim to love me, or I might have to ‘knock you off,’ (if you catch my drift)...
— Jesus The Mob Boss

Sorry Francis, but these are the thoughts and ideas of a controlling cult-leader.

 

Here are some passages from God's Word that tell us to be on guard against false teachers in the Church. Please notice that false teachers will appear to "love the Lord," and we are told to judge them by their doctrine:

Matthew 7:15-23  “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'”

Matthew 24: 3-14; 24-25  “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Vs. 24): For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (25) Behold, I have told you in advance.”

2 Peter 2:1-3  “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

2 Corinthians 11:13-15  “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”

Acts 20:28-31  “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

Titus 1:7-11  “For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.”

James 3: 1 "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." 

Titus 2:1 “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.”

1 Corinthians 5:11-13  "But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of a brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those on the outside. Remove the evil person from among you."

Here's a much better sermon: The Sheep Judge Their Shepherds by C. F. W. Walther

Here's another helpful article on this same sermon/video: Lighthouse Trails

 

-This article by Steven Kozar

A Biblical Guide to the Prosperity Gospel

 

These are Bible verses that "Prosperity Preachers" hope you never read.

If you follow Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Brian Houston, Jesse Duplantis, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Todd White, T. D. Jakes, Steven Furtick, and most of the other "Super Pastors" of today, you will not hear these verses hardly at all.

  (Kenneth Copeland)

(Kenneth Copeland)

If you believe that all Christians are supposed to be rich and successful, you've been lied to in the name of God. And if you think that pastors can get rich by peddling the Word of God, you've really been bamboozled!

Here's what Jesus said about earthly riches:

Matthew 6: 19-21 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Matthew 13: 22  "The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful."

Mark 8: 34-37   "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"

Mark 10: 17-25  "As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 6: 20-26  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets."

Luke 12: 13-21  "Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12: 13-15  "Someone in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.' Jesus replied, 'Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?' Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'"

Luke 12: 16-21  "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

Luke 12: 32-34  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Luke 16: 13-14  “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at Him.”

 

Here's what the Apostle Paul said about preachers getting rich:

2 Corinthians 2:17  “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”

1 Timothy 6: 5, 9-11  “...and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. (9) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.

1 Corinthians 5: 11-13  "But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of a brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those on the outside. Remove the evil person from among you."

Titus 1:7-11  “For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.”

 

Here's what James has to say about earthly wealth:

James 1:9-10  "But let the brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position; and let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away." 

James 5:1-3  "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!"

 

Here's what the Apostle Peter said about preachers getting rich:

2 Peter 2:1-3  “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

 

  (Benny Hinn)

(Benny Hinn)


Here's what the book of Hebrews says about getting rich and earthly success:

Hebrews 11: 13-16  "These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."

Hebrews 11: 32-40  "And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak,  Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated-of whom the world was not worthy-wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect."

Hebrews 13: 5  “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” 

 

Here's what the Apostle John says about getting rich:

1 John 2:15-17 "Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. And this world is fading away, along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."

 

Here's what Jesus says in the Book of Revelation:

Revelation 3: 16-19 "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent."


-This article by Steven Kozar

What's the Point of Billy Graham's Ministry? "God Has a Dream for You" Says Rick Warren

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 11.45.28 AM.png

Recently, Saddleback Church had a service where Rick Warren was teaching the importance of "choosing the right team for your dream." Mention was made of Billy Graham's ministry, since he had just recently died. After the last video montage about Billy Graham played, Rick Warren told his audience the importance of "fulfilling your dream-just like Billy Graham." After just a minute of his pep talk, he tells everyone to listen to message of the next song. The worship team then performs the pop song "This Is Me," which Billboard Magazine describes as: "a beautifully uplifting tribute to self-acceptance and self-love." Here are some of the lyrics:

I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ‘cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
— Lyrics from the song "This Is Me"

This bizarre combination of a Billy Graham tribute and a self-exalting secular song is a difficult and painful thing to watch. After the song ends, Rick Warren takes the mic and tearfully pleads with the audience to not waste their lives, and warns them not to live for the approval of others.

Wait, is this a church service... or the plot of every Disney film from the past twenty years?

Watch this edited version from the Saddleback Facebook page at your own risk:

Rick Warren also does his incredibly weak version of an "alter call" and suggests that people need to "accept Jesus" if they are to accomplish their dreams.

There is NO Gospel message here. This is a truly saddening pep rally of feel-good catch-phrases that belongs in an Amway rally from 1993. 

It sounds like Warren listened to this episode of Fighting for the Faith and did the exact opposite of everything that was said: How NOT to Shipwreck Your Faith

Rick Warren is a leader of the seeker-friendly takeover of Evangelicalism: The Seeker-Friendly, Purpose-Driven Cornucopia of False Doctrine

A Hyper-Charismatic Guide to Losing your Mind

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 9.37.10 PM.png

If you want to abandon your Christian faith and become mentally unstable, just follow these simple steps:

  • "It all starts with a Dream! A God-Sized Dream!" To get started, you must believe that God expects you to dream up some outlandish desire in order to accomplish your Destiny. Because if you attempt to "do the impossible," God will miraculously answer your prayers and thus "get all the glory." You must take risks, step out in faith, and do something impossible. You and your dream must become the focus of your faith.
  • You then step out in faith and do something really stupid. (Often, this involves giving money to someone who teaches this stuff.)
  • Next, this ridiculous thing you've attempted doesn't work and you've got big problems. (Wow, what a surprise.)
  • Instead of admitting your big mistake, you will now focus all of your attention on the future and the great things that you'll accomplish after you get your breakthrough (your "Destiny"). Because the finished work of Christ dying on the cross to pay for our sins happened a long time ago, you will forget about it. Christianity gradually becomes a magic wand you keep waving around in order to get God to do stuff, and the "holy spirit" will demand more and more attention as he continually confuses you, embarrasses you and demands that you become more hungry, desperate and broken. He also wants you to be on fire. 
  • At this point you'll latch onto all of the sermons about fighting battles, getting a fresh new word from God, and fending off demons, pythons, and sneaky squids. "The devil knows about your Dream/Destiny and he wants to stop you!" You take your last few bucks to buy yet another book/DVD/CD/conference ticket, hoping to learn the "secret" to getting your breakthrough; you know, the breakthrough you wouldn't even need if you hadn't done something stupid...

  

  • Here is where you'll probably find people to "prophetically" declare something over you, in order to give you a "breakthrough." Nothing will really change, but you'll try really hard to pretend otherwise. You might go to see famous "prophets" who claim to be "anointed," because you believe they can help you, but they only help you to lose more money.
  • You have a suspicion in the back of your mind that you've entered a cult-like state of mind, but you don't want to admit it to anyone. There's a part of you that would like to go back to being a "normal" person, but you've been told that thinking that way is a direct attack of the devil.
  • The Bible is no longer the story of God redeeming sinful mankind (The Gospel); it is more like a book of incantations to ward off evil spirits and make your dreams (finally) come true. You've largely forgotten about the simple Gospel message in your attempt to get secret knowledge from God (this is called "Gnosticism," by the way).
  • You're (secretly) willing to skip the whole dream/destiny thing and just have some stability in your life, but the experts you're listening to tell you to "press in to get your miracle!" or something like that, and you still believe them. So, the very people whose bad ideas got you into this mess are the people you continue to listen to. How's that working for you?
  • The one thing you don't want to do is have a "have a religious spirit." This meaningless catch-phrase keeps you locked into all of this chaos and confusion. How's that working for you?
  • There are a number of bad ideas that you've been taught, and they all work together to prevent you from seeing the very obvious fact that you've become delusional. If you don't want to lose your mind, please read this article to see these bad ideas described and refuted: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs
  • You refuse to acknowledge that a collection of bad ideas ("doctrine") has replaced the clear teachings of the Bible. In fact, you believe the doctrine that says "doctrine is not important." You like the teachers who teach you that teaching is bad. Here are a whole bunch of Bible verses that you are deliberately ignoring: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know!
  • But you stick with those bad ideas because you like them. 
  • You continue to listen to false teachers because you like them.
  • You continue attending a church that teaches false doctrine because you like it
  • Congratulations! You have lost your mind. 
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
— 2 Thessalonians 2: 11-12

Here are a few more articles (with links to more articles) that discuss this difficult issue:

Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs

The Hyper-Charismatic House of Cards: Let It Fall and Be Free

Here's a recent episode of Fighting for the Faith where the author of this article (Steve Kozar) talks with Chris Rosebrough and @Aspree about this topic: How Not to Shipwreck Your Faith; here's the YouTube version: How Not to Shipwreck Your Faith

 

Here's a great little video from Chris Rice on this topic:

 

-This article by Steven Kozar