Category Archives: False teachers

“Jesus Calling” is still being recommended by people who should know better

Tim Challies has a great post called 10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling.   There are two very disappointing things about that book:

  1. That people are so biblically ignorant and/or desperate that they can’t see what a fraud Sarah Young is.
  2. That church leaders are equally fooled and/or too cowardly to tell their flocks how awful the book is.

In one of the many reasons you should not trust CBN (home of Pat Robertson), look what book they put at the top of their recommended “Christian” best seller list.

Walk into a Christian bookstore and you will be greeted with shelves and shelves of faith-based novels and Bible teaching books. Log onto an online store and even more titles are at your fingertips. So how do you know what to buy?

Take a look at these best-selling Christian works. They are ones you should definitely keep in your book collection at home.

1. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Missionary Sarah Young shares uniquely inspired spiritual insight in memorable, thought-provoking daily devotionals. Jesus Calling is written from Jesus’ point of view in a touching first-person format that enables readers to experience the Savior speaking directly to them through scripture.

“It felt a little awkward the first time I tried it, but I did receive a short message. The content was biblical, and it addressed themes that were current in my life: trust, fear, and closeness to God. I responded by writing in my journal as usual; at that point my journaling changed from monologue to dialogue. Day by day, messages began to flow more freely.” – Sarah Young, on beginning a “dialogue” with God

A leader at my former church (one of the reasons it is my former church) though it was a good book and read it often.  Sad.

Please share Challie’s link and help educate people on how to improve their discernment.

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Rachel Held Evans claims that the Bible “fails massively at getting to the point”

It would be true if she said that the Bible fails to get to her points – that is, her basic “Christian” Left views that God approves of LGBTQX perversions, abortion, coveting, egalitarianism, etc.  But the Bible doesn’t fail at all in what it God wants to teach us.

The Domain for Truth has another review on her latest disingenuously titled book, “Inspired” — Analysis of Rachel Held Evan’s Book “Inspired” Part 6.  I admire SlimJim for reading it all so we don’t have to!  I’d read excerpts that Evans posted and analyzed them here.

The link notes how Evans, as usual, works overtime to undermine the authority of scripture.

It [the Bible] fails massively at getting to the point.

That is spoken like a non-Christian. The Bible teaches over 100 times that Jesus is the only way to salvation (it isn’t just John 14:6, though that would be enough). What could be more clear? But a spiritually blind wolf like Evans can’t see that — and obviously doesn’t believe it.

And she is wildly pro-LGBTQX perversions, even though the Bible couldn’t be more clear and consistent about God’s views on sex.  Consider the following truths and how Evans’ perversion-affirming god teaches the opposite:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Even two out of three types of pro–gay theologians* concede those points, yet the “doubt-filled” Evans has zero doubts about affirming every sexual perversion in the LTBTQX spectrum.

She once again tips her hand that, despite her disingenuous book title, she absolutely does not think the Bible is the inspired word of God. She’s worse than a Bart Ehrman or a Richard Dawkins, as she says the same sorts of things about the Bible that they do.  But at least they are open about not being believers.

She also creates a straw-man argument where she pretends that we don’t think that different situations may require different actions.  Of course we know better.  An ectopic pregnancy may require an abortion to save the mother while the child will die either way. But wolves like Evans use that to dismiss truly universal truths that killing children for the other 99.9% of reasons is evil.

The Bible doesn’t fail at all.  It accomplishes just what God wants it to (Isaiah 55) and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3) — all things that Mrs. Evans and her followers desperately need!

As usual, run, don’t walk from wolves like Racist Held Evans.


*Pro-gay theology tends to fall into one of three categories. They are all wrong, but for varying reasons. Sometimes they overlap categories.

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t. This view claims that we can ignore the prohibitions against homosexual behavior because they were written by homophobic Jews.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong. This view holds that people just aren’t reading the Bible properly, and that God’s Word is actually affirming of gay relationships.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful. However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable. This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.

Reason #96

You don’t need any new reasons to leave the Catholic Church.  Luther’s 95 theses covered everything you need to know.  But the Catholics’ unrepentant homosexual priest situation is yet another reason to leave.  Not only youths but adults were serially abused throughout the world, leaders deliberately covered it up and continue to do so, and many leaders live in open relationships of sodomy.  This has happened with the knowledge of Bishops and the Pope and their distractions are pathetic. (Look! We’ve discovered weather! The climate changes, so we have to deal with that right now! We don’t time to talk about that pesky homosexual infestation in the church!)

The media is schizophrenic when it comes to Catholics.  Usually they reflexively bash them, but this vast network of homosexual priests has little, if anything, to do with pedophilia.  Therefore the media is ignoring the story.

This article, The Catholic Church Is Breaking Apart. Here’s Why., is good news.  It outlines the situation well, though you have to ignore some of the pro-Catholic assumptions of the author (e.g., it still isn’t “Peter’s throne.). Ironically, as open as he is about the homosexual situation he seems tone-deaf as to how it undermines so many assumptions that Catholics have about Popes, doctrine, etc.  But his premise is sound: The Catholics have the biggest problem they’ve had in 500 years.  Their only hope is to hide and deflect, which they have been doing along with their media accomplices. The Pope is indistinguishable from any other pro-LGBTQX / pro-Communist “Christian” Leftist.

During his time on Peter’s throne, Francis has worked to dismantle many orthodox positions in an attempt to radically reorient the church toward—by total coincidence—the long-held preferences of those four radical cardinals. For instance: He has criticized Catholics for being “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. He has derided Catholic women for having too many children and behaving “like rabbits.” He sent a papal blessing to the lesbian author of the Italian version of Heather Has Two Mommies—a tract for children extolling the virtues of same-sex parenting.

All of this is in addition to his bizarre insistence that “never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake” and that the benefits of free-market growth have “never been confirmed by the facts.” (In case people didn’t get the message, Francis posed for pictures with a crucifix made of a hammer and a sickle.) Yet as bad as free market capitalism is, the pope insists “the most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.” Which is a . . . curious view of our fallen world.

. . .

At the same time, the math is pitiless: According to our best data, a mammoth CDC study done in 2013, 1.6 percent of Americans identify as gay. Yet 80 percent of the abuse cases involve priests abusing other males. You can include all the caveats you like—maybe there’s selection bias, maybe the percentage of homosexuals in the priesthood is many times higher than 1.6 percent, maybe not all male-on-male abuse is perpetrated by men who would identify as gay. But the correlation is still high enough that it is impossible to ignore.

And despite the fact that everyone wants to insist that abuse by priests has nothing to do with homosexuality, it’s strange that the people who most want to open the church sacramentally to homosexuality are the ones strenuously ignoring the abuse. Priests such as Cardinal Cupich are certainly acting like they think there’s a linkage and that if the church were to crack down on abuse and the bishops who enabled it, it would somehow endanger their project.

I still hold that some in the Catholic church are saved because they have somehow heard of the real Jesus and have repented and believe in him (and of course there are countless people in Protestant churches who aren’t really saved – I know, because I used to be one of them!). Yet even those Catholics are still living under an exhausting works-based salvation theology and can’t enjoy the assurance of salvation that Christianity provides.

I encourage people to get out. The Reformation happened for a reason – actually, 95 of them – and the Catholics still get vitally important doctrines like justification completely wrong. And the Mary-worship, indulgences, purgatory, praying to the dead, the lie that you need the church to interpret the Bible for you and should’t read it for yourself, etc. all mock Christ and the cross.  Their recently unmasked pro-perversion doctrines are just another reason to go.

If Protestants were smarter they’d leverage this and make a major outreach to Catholics.

P.S. If any Catholics are wounded by this, remember that your faith explicitly says that Protestants are anathema because of our views.  I’m not offended if you think that, but I am amused if you didn’t know it and then take offense that I’d criticize Catholicism.

P.S.S. This is just a side note, but if/when Francis comes out as gay I won’t be a bit surprised.

P.S.S.S. There are also huge problems within Protestantism, of course, which is why I spend most of my time on them (I rarely write about Catholics). But those problems aren’t with Protestantism per se, but with bad doctrines and behavior within the church.

The “Christian” Left can’t make it past the first chapter of the New Testament without rejecting essential doctrines

I say that without exaggeration.  If you were reading a book that claimed to be the word of God and the explanation for this life and for eternity and for how to be on right terms with God, yet you completely rejected two of the religion’s foundational premises in the very first chapter, wouldn’t you just give it up and find another religion?  Not the “Christian” Left.  Consider these simple passages, clearly not written as illustrations but as specific truth claims (they immediately follow the genealogy of Jesus so it would be a non sequitur to shift genres).

Matthew 1 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

So we have two claims that the father is not human but that the conception was from the Holy Spirit.  The Left’s opposition to the virgin birth isn’t some side issue, because it goes to Jesus’ claims of deity that they typically deny.  Wolves like Mark Sandlin explicitly deny his divinity.

Then there is Jesus’ purpose for entering his creation.

21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

So Jesus’ purpose was explicitly stated: To save his people from their sins.  Yes, He came for other reasons, but the opening of this Gospel focused on the main reason.  Also note the additional claim to the virgin birth.

Of course, the more you read the Bible, the worse it gets.  The “Christian” Left thinks they like the Sermon on the Mount, but they’d hate it if they understood it.  They only agree with a few parts of it because they get them wrong.

Run, don’t walk, from the “Christian” Left.  Their beliefs are indistinguishable from the world’s.

Another blasphemous book by Rachel Held Evans

Mrs. Evans has made a career out of being an “ex-evangelical.” (sort of like Bart Ehrman, except he’s a bit more honest than her).  She mocks the word of God for profit and once again insists that the Bible’s authors were blasphemous liars and that the text did not turn out as God wanted it to.  After all, if the Holy Spirit had been involved then she wouldn’t have to edit it.

The world loves her messages because she poses as a Christian who tells them just what they want to hear, namely that the Bible is a silly book that they do not need to read or take seriously.  And of course she fights for legalized abortion to the child’s 1st breath (and without anesthetic, of course, because compassion), is wildly pro-LGBTQX, etc.  Her primary self-description is “doubt-filled believer,” but she has no doubts that her conscience trumps (heh) the Bible and that Jesus agrees with all of her Leftist politics.  This is the “Christian” who demands that her conscience be the guide as to what is really from God.

Here’s a sample from her latest book.

Got that?  Your conscience is God, and it sits in judgment of the Bible.  What could go wrong?  It is classic “Christian” Left rationalizing and creating a god in her own image. The real Jesus doesn’t fit her sensibilities, so He must be wrong. Uh, sure.

Her followers will think it is so poetic blah blah blah but it is the same old rebellion.  She can’t possibly see how God just might understand something better than her.

Isaiah 55:8–9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Also see the end of Job. Did he get to understand everything about God’s ways?  (Ironically, she appeals to the story of Job for why she gets to demand answers from God.  Did she read the beginning or ending of Job?  Not sure that will turn out for her like she planned . . .)

She blasphemously claims the following:

It [the Bible] fails massively at getting to the point.

That is spoken like a non-Christian. Here’s a simple example: The Bible teaches over 100 times that Jesus is the only way to salvation (it isn’t just John 14:6, though that would be enough). What could be more clear? But a spiritually blind wolf like Evans can’t see that — and obviously doesn’t believe it.

And she is wildly pro-LGBTQX perversions, even though the Bible couldn’t be more clear and consistent about God’s views on sex.  Consider the following truths and how Evans’ perversion-affirming god teaches the opposite:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Even two out of three types of pro–gay theologians* concede those points, yet the “doubt-filled” Evans has zero doubts about affirming every sexual perversion in the LTBTQX spectrum.

And note how she insists that her sitting in judgment of the Bible is what it truly prescribes, as if we should all trust our consciences.

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Here’s more:

Non-Christian Mrs. Evans quotes non-Christian Thomas Paine to attack the Bible. Seems about right.  No, wait, at least Paine was honest about his beliefs. I’d take Richard Dawkins over Evans any day – at least you know where he really stands.

This isn’t a nuanced debate on a meaning of a Hebrew word. We all agree that the text says God said to clear out the Promised Land, among other things. But Evans’ sleight of hand is to conflate her conscientious objections with the fact that there are some legitimate debates on some Bible passages.  But the net of it is that she claims those are blasphemous lies that don’t belong in the text.  And we aren’t talking about a couple verses, but literally many hundreds of verses tied to the prediction, execution and references back to the taking of the Promised Land.

So once again Mrs. Evans claims that the Holy Spirit did not inspire the writings and that the human authors were blasphemous liars. That’s her prerogative. We even have a precise theological term for people like her: Non-Christian.

Jesus affirmed the Old Testament and authorized the New Testament. You can agree with him or with Mrs. Evans and the “Christian” Left. Choose carefully.

Mrs. Evans et al are such transparent wolves.  They must have gotten too warm, because they took off the sheep’s clothing long ago.  Their followers are getting what they deserve.

At least that’s why my God-given conscience tells me, so I must be right!


*Pro-gay theology tends to fall into one of three categories. They are all wrong, but for varying reasons. Sometimes they overlap categories.

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t. This view claims that we can ignore the prohibitions against homosexual behavior because they were written by homophobic Jews.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong. This view holds that people just aren’t reading the Bible properly, and that God’s Word is actually affirming of gay relationships.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful. However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable. This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.

Leopard Theology: Not as fun as it sounds

Leopard on tree stump
Image via Wikipedia

Many Christians teach Leopard Theology*, because they believe that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.   They don’t call it that, but that is exactly what their theology is founded upon.  And, like the leopard, they camouflage themselves and they are dangerous predators.  They take on church leadership roles even though they teach the opposite of the Bible.

Saying the Bible isn’t fully inspired by God may seem like a humble premise, but it actually makes several strong and unfounded claims.

It implies that God couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver His word to us in a reliable way, and that despite God’s alleged failings flawed humans are able to discern which parts were inspired and which parts were not.  Are we to believe that humans are to correct for God’s errors?

Why is this a serious problem?  It is hard enough to follow the teachings of the Bible without having “Christians” choose what “really” came from God.  Worse yet, they ignore some parts of scripture so they can teach that the opposite is not only acceptable but desirable.  Some may do it accidentally or out of laziness but others are just blatant false teachers.  They have made up their own god and their own religion.

If someone claims the Bible is only partly inspired, ask a few questions:

  • How did they come to this conclusion?
  • Do they think their favorite verses are inspired?  If so,  how do they know?  How about John 3:16?  How about “love your neighbor?”  Whenever “Judge not, lest ye be judged” is quoted, I never hear the liberal theologians question whether Jesus really said that.
  • If the Bible is only partly inspired, how can they be sure that their preferred verses aren’t the ones that are uninspired and the ones they don’t like are the “real” verses?
  • Why is it that God couldn’t inspire the original writings of forty writers, but He can inspire billions of people to properly determine which parts are right and which aren’t?
  • If He couldn’t get Paul, Luke, Matthew, John, etc.  to record his word accurately, how can He get you to do it?
  • Why should I trust your “inspiration” over those who penned the Bible, or over my “inspiration?”

Then there is Advanced Leopard Theology.  It is just like basic Leopard Theology, except God is also changing spots and adding or removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.   They use phrases such as “God is still speaking,” but they don’t mean He still speaks through his Word (that would be a true statement).  They think He is still revealing new truths to the church and changing doctrines taught in the Bible.  They may also say things like, “The Holy Spirit is moving in a new direction.”  Indeed.

Here’s an example: A Methodist pastor named Laurie Hays Coffman did a pro-gay theology piece that made the argument that she wants to “unfurl our corporate sails to catch today’s winds as the Spirit blows afresh.”  She said she was challenged by the vision God gave to Peter in Acts 10-11 where God makes it clear that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, too, and that the Israelites’ ceremonial dietary laws are no longer in force.  Her reasoning is that in the same way that God overturned those laws that He is now overturning the prohibitions against homosexual behavior.  If that looks like a non sequitur to you then you are correct.  The problem is her poor Biblical analysis.  There are at least nine things wrong with this view:

  1. The person with the revelation was Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle and a key leader in the early church.  It wasn’t made to you, me or someone like Ms. Coffman.  That doesn’t mean God couldn’t reveal something important like this to us, just that it is highly unlikely.
  2. The visions were clear and emphatic.  Peter was given the vision three times and the incident is mentioned twice.
  3. Peter was inclined to reject the meaning of the vision, whereas these Advanced Leopard Theologians have views on human sexuality that are virtually indistinguishable from the prevailing culture and they are glad to accept this allegedly new revelation.
  4. There was external validation for Peter from the Roman centurion, which also included a supernatural intervention.
  5. This lesson showed up in the Bible, not outside it.  I’m not saying miracles don’t happen outside the Bible.  It is just that things appear in the Bible for a reason.  God communicating that the ceremonial laws had been fulfilled was one of those “big deals.”
  6. This vision overturned a ceremonial law, not a moral law.  There are zero examples in the Bible of God reversing his moral laws.  In fact, the more Jesus talked the stricter the laws seemed to get, because He emphasized the spirit of the law and not just the letter (i.e., lust was akin to committing adultery, anger was akin to murder, etc.).  The dietary laws never applied to Gentiles.
  7. The “God has changed his mind view” is primarily being “revealed” to theologically liberal Christians in the U.S. . . . the very ones who often deny the authority of his Word to begin with!  So we can’t trust the accurate transmission of the original writings but we can trust their new revelations?  I’m skeptical.
  8. If God is revealing a change, why is it necessarily more liberal?  Why couldn’t God make his laws more stringent?
  9. The Bible gives strong warnings not to add or take away from its teachings.

But the orthodox can fall prey to this in a more subtle way by claiming full inspiration but conveniently ignoring passages we don’t like.  Consider this passage on church leadership, where some exaggerate “not given to drunkenness” to mean no alcohol whatsoever but ignore the “must manage his own family well . . .” part.

1 Timothy 3:2-4 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

Another example is correctly teaching about the sin of homosexual behavior while neglecting to give proper emphasis to Biblical admonitions against divorce, adultery and fornication.  We need to teach all of scripture with balance.  Grandstanding on sins that aren’t temptations to us and soft-pedaling those that are are not attractive or Christian things to do.

There are plenty of reasons and resources to defend the accuracy and integrity of all of the original scriptures.  We don’t need to get sloppy and just follow the parts we like.  And we truly miss out when we cast doubts on every passage and question if it is really the word of God.

I’ll close with some friendly advice: Don’t mess with God’s Word.

Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.

Proverbs 30:5–6 Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18–19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

*Also known as Dalmatian Theology.

Also see

Bill Johnson, Bethel Church and the Jesus Culture band: Super-creepy, super-false

Also see Most Charismatics Are Closet Cessationists

Bill Johnson is the pastor of Bethel Church, and Jesus Culture is their band.  I hadn’t heard of them until recently, but they are popular, blasphemous and dangerous.  Whether you hold the view that the “sign gifts” (miracles, signs and wonders) ceased at the end of the apostolic age or not, you should still steer clear of them.  Here’s a good overview of them and many of their theological errors and dangers.

Bethel Church of Redding, California was founded in 1952 and was affiliated with the Assemblies of God until 2006, when current pastor Bill Johnson led the church to dissociate itself from the denomination. The current attendance at Bethel’s Redding location is just under 8,700 each Sunday. The now denominationally independent church operates on a $9 million annual budget.

We downloaded a Bill Johnson book (“God is Good”) and scanned it.  He got an ejector seat from me in his introduction, claiming that God “mandated” that he write it.  That’s rather passive-aggressive, as if to disagree with the book is to disagree with God.  God told me to tell you to ignore the book.  He gets original sin wrong and ignores obvious teachings like Job and 1 Peter 4:19 when trying to get God off the hook for the existence of evil.

But it gets much worse than that.  Johnson claims this his church gets hit with gusts of wind, angel feathers and gold dust falling on them regularly, and that they had a glory cloud come and hover over them (start at the 2:20 mark for all that).   Sounds to me like they have an issue with their HVAC system.  I assume that the angel feathers were identified with DNA tests.  Seriously, how would you even know what angel feathers would look like?  Those claims alone should send you scurrying from this wolf.  This video also tells you about the Jesus Culture band.

Even when they defend themselves they concede their weirdness.  This came from an article that describes some wise people in an Irish church who opposed Bethel.

One of its leaders, Kris Vallotton, wrote an online article in 2012 addressing what he believed was miscommunication about the church by its detractors. In the article he said that while he had personally tried to raise people from the dead twice, he was not successful. He added that some of the church’s students had formed DRTs (Dead Raising Teams) and that he had personally witnessed the manifestation of gold dust on followers’ faces and hands “hundreds of times”.

You can make appointments for them to give you prophecies psychic readings.  I listened to part of one that someone had recorded.  It was Psychic 101, with vague comments such as someone being from the East Coast (uh, the place where 1/3 of people currently live, where many more have lived or want to live, etc.) — as if the Holy Spirit speaks that way.  And the people I know who believe in Johnson’s ministry said the same things about the “prophecies” as this witch does.  Yes, a witch who self-describes as a polyamorous pagan.  She went to Bethel and recounted her experience.  And you can go here to read how their “prophecies” are just like the “East Coast” gibberish.

Annika: When the children waved their scarves in front of us, I thought about how I was just  like them when I was their age, completely involved in whatever ministry was happening at our church, dancing, performing pantomime, praying, worshipping. Suddently the woman sat next to me, placed her hand on my knee, and said she “had a Word” for me. I was excited to hear it. Just a few months ago I had met a couple of women from Bethel and they gave me an amazing prophecy, astonishingly accurate and full of things they couldn’t have known about me.

“I feel the Lord saying to you that He is very pleased with you. You have been so faithful to Him. You have been faithful to His Word, even when though there are many people telling you that you are now going the wrong way. But God knows it isn’t true. He wants you to know that He is proud of you. God knows that you are walking with Him and He is so proud of your faithfulness.”

I smiled and nodded, and said “I know”. Then she looked into my eyes, repeated how important it was for me to know that God approved of how I lived, and implored me to keep doing what I was doing. When she stood up and the girls wrapped up their scarves, I sat there speechless. This was essentially the same prophecy I had received from the two women several few months back.

Got that?  The witch wasn’t told to repent and believe, and, by the way, to stop being a witch!  She was completely affirmed to do exactly what she is doing and to ignore those who would tell her otherwise.  Did they know things about her?  Sure, but so do Satan and his demons, and the “prophets” can pick up the rest with basic fortune-teller techniques.  As I like to say, Satan knows where your car keys are, so if you pray to the patron saint of lost stuff and get an answer you shouldn’t assume it was from God.

The people who seek things like this insist that the prophecies must be positive because 1 Corinthians 14 speaks of prophecies “building up” the church.  But the passage never hints that prophecies are for individual bits of good news.  These people are basically going to see fortune tellers — only with the restriction that the fortune tellers can only tell them good news!  How can they be so blind?

There is an old trick that stock hustlers can use, where they tell half of a list of people that a stock will go up and the other half that it will go down.  If it goes up, they split that group and tell half that another stock will go up and the other half that it will go down.  They repeat until a small part of the original group thinks the broker is a financial genius, because they don’t realize he stops contacting anyone to whom he gave the wrong advice.  Prophetic predictions are similar!  You don’t hear about the false ones.  Via a great overview of Bethel’s false teachings:

“Bethel was the beginning of realizing, like, this is all bullshit.”  Chris was a good prophet, his teachers told him. While he was studying at Bethel, he once had a vision from The Song of Deborah as he prayed over a woman whose name he did not know. As he told her this, she cried out in surprise: Her name was Deborah.  “What I see now is, those are random thoughts,” Chris says. “Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, your prophecies are horrible misses. But you don’t remember them being a terrible flop — you remember the one time it worked.”

Here’s a Bethel youth pastor who says Jesus apologized to him and asked for forgiveness.  That previous sentence is so ridiculous that I had a tough time typing it.  Yet here we are.  He is either making up the entire experience or he was visited by a demon and thinks it was Jesus.  Either way, that’s really bad.  And Bethel put this up on their own site, so they obviously support it.

Their youth ministry is demonic, coaching kids to interact with alleged angels.  This may be the creepiest video of all.  They also coach little kids – who may not be saved – to interact with Jesus in their imagination.  He falsely says that the Greek for heart also means imagination, and then twists it for his purposes.  Praying to Jesus would be fine, but not imagining his response.  Saying otherwise is really bad for adults and even worse for kids.

They teach kids how to prophecy?!  (2:25 mark)  They claim you have to learn how to hear his voice.  That is transparently false.  Either God is talking or He’s not.  If He is talking you cannot miss it.  If He isn’t there is nothing to hear.

The church thought it was cute that the kids were practicing raising the dead.  They claim to take kids on visits to Heaven on a regular basis.  Their “proof” was that kids separately shared the same vision – as if Satan couldn’t plant that vision in the minds of unbelievers or that the “tour guide” didn’t plant a similar vision.  This leaves kids wide open to demonic influences.  This is Satanic and child abuse.

She claims to teach the prophetic, but if it is an authentic gift then you don’t need to teach it.

Again, they take their youth to Heaven, and apparently the adults get to go as well.  Just your average field trip, eh?  “Angels are out of a job . . . angels are being assigned to you  . . .”  Who believes this?

Johnson’s daughter (she is in Jesus Culture) says the Holy Spirit is a sneaky blue genie?!

They are your basic prosperity pimps — and purveyors of gibberish — as well.

Bethel Pastor, Kris Vallotton, has revealed an important principle:

“Wealth is not just a condition, it’s a power. God is the one who gives people the power to make wealth, which is the magnetic attraction to prosperity.”

“His celestial mission was to make us wealthy. He didn’t become poor so He could demonstrate the power of poverty; quite the contrary. Actually, He became poor to demonstrate the process to prosperity.” -Kris Vallotton from his blog

Johnson is so busy with his prosperity gospel / healing ministry that he distorts or ignores the real Gospel.  Jesus’s death on the cross atoned for the sins of the believers, not the sickness, but Johnson teaches otherwise.

As John Piper explains, The prosperity gospel in action “minimizes sin, minimizes pain, and only talks about how well things will go for you if you follow Christ.”  In listening to Bill Johnson’s sermons, I noticed all of these trends. Specifically, Johnson teaches a doctrine known as “healing in the atonement.” This view holds that in Christ’s death, all true believers are given physical healing and can expect deliverance from all disease and infirmity in this life.

On this topic Johnson declares “I refuse to create a theology that allows for sickness” arguing that “The price Jesus paid for my sins was more than sufficient for my diseases.” But Johnson goes a step farther. Referring to 2 Corinthians 12:7, where Paul refers to his “thorn in the flesh” Johnson states “[this] has been interpreted by many as disease allowed or brought on by God… That’s a different gospel.” Johnson believes a gospel that allows for Christians to suffer from disease is a form of the false gospel Paul warns about in Galatians 1:8.

Via John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference that addressed charismatic errors and excesses, here’s more on Jesus Culture at the 43 minute mark.  And see the “fire tunnel” at the 51 minute mark.  And the International House of Prayer (IHOP) at the 58 minute mark.  The trademark charismatic spasms are straight from Hinduism.

Not surprisingly, Johnson associates with and supports a Who’s Who of false teachers like Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley, IHOP, and more.  I put that in as an aside, not wanting to use a guilt-by-association comment as a primary argument.  But it is a huge red flag.

Here’s an account from a reporter who visited Bethel.  Whether by design or not, the constant pressure to affirm these “healers” led the woman to lie and say she felt a little better.  Bethel documented that as a miracle.  Keep that in mind when they make claims about how many they have healed.  It is another one of the downsides of the word of faith / healing movement: Making people feel like it is their fault they aren’t getting better.  Nothing like a little guilt to make your cancer/injury/sickness worse!

I can tell I’m a tough case, because a third healer comes over to us, and then a fourth. Soon I’m surrounded by people praying for me, one woman’s hand on my shoulder, another on her knees in front of me, and the force of their expectation — desperation, almost — is palpable. Unrelentingly, every few minutes, they ask me how I’m feeling, whether I’m better.

I try to deflect some of their questions, but it never works. When one healer asks me what I feel, I tell her I feel “your energy and prayers.” She jumps back, “But what about your knee?”

“Well, it’s a really serious injury,” I try. “So I think it might take some time.”

The woman seems almost offended. “Time?” she says. “Jesus doesn’t need time! Jesus can heal you right away.”

We start praying again, and I start feeling a little desperate, like I’ll never get out of here. The next time they ask me how my knee feels, almost automatically, without thinking, I lie.

“I think it’s more flexible now,” I say. I move it back and forth, and I can see my healers’ eyes light up. “I think it’s getting better. Thank you.”

“Thank you, Father!” one of them cries out, taking my hand. We’re both, I think, relieved, though maybe for different reasons. “Thank you for beginning this journey to healing.”

It’s finally over, and my healers ask me to give them my intake form. When I take the paper off of the clipboard, I notice there’s a back side, too, meant to be filled out by Bethel staff: a checklist labeled “Miracles Performed.” It includes healed shoulders and knees, zapped tumors, cured cancer, and limb-straightening, as well as soul-saving. At the very bottom of the list is the very miracle that the Stanford professor told Stefan would convert him: “Limb regrown.”

I hand the form over, wondering if they’re going to check me off as a Miracle Performed. As I leave the room, I think I see one of my healers do just that.

I initially didn’t include anything about Bethel’s grave-sucking / grave-soaking and their belief in the power of soaking.  It was so outlandish that I feared people would think I had made it up.  But one of my favorite people mentioned it as his top Bethel creep-factor so I added it.

There’s more, but you get the idea.  Run, don’t walk, from anything tied to Bill Johnson, Bethel Church or the Jesus Culture band.  They are dangerous and bring mockery to the name of Christ.  Just because they allegedly do some good does not mean you should get involved with anything by them.  Using that standard would let you partner with any religion or cult.  And recommending their not-as-bad-as-their-other-creepy-stuff resources is like offering a gateway drug.  If someone likes an author of a book, don’t they often see what else he has to offer?  The discernment starts to drop when trusted people position the author as “respected.”

The more I learn of Bethel, the more I think they use the strategy of those employing the iconic “Nigerian Prince funds transfer” email scam.  We know those emails are ridiculous, but they write them that way on purpose.  If they made them more plausible they’d attract too many responses from people who would eventually figure it out.  So they make the emails so extreme that only the truly gullible would reply.  Same thing with Bethel.  They say and do such ridiculous things that only someone with a discernment vacuum or some deep emotional needs would give them a second glance.  God’s word isn’t enough for them, so they seek experiences and “new revelations.”  It is one of God’s graces that He makes these phonies so obvious.

Before anyone seeks the “greater” gift of prophecy — however one defines it — he should seek the “lesser” gift of discernment.  I’ve never had a strong position on whether certain spiritual gifts have ceased or not.  I see merits in both arguments.  But while I left the possibility open that they could remain, I can’t avoid two truths: I’ve never seen them applied properly (i.e., those who focus on tongues as evidence of salvation brutally misuse the few and clear verses that address them) and I’ve seen countless examples of abuse (false teachers, fake healings, guilt over “not having enough faith” to be healed, etc.).  But this post wasn’t about which side is right on that debate, it was a warning against a ministry that has serious issues either way.

P.S. Here is a recommended reading by John MacArthur on miracles, signs and wonders.