Bethel Church has redefined the term 'religious spirit' and has wrongly labeled many sincere believers with this term. A new term I thought of when thinking of Bethel Church is a 'resistant spirit'. I was scrolling through Beni Johnson's page on Facebook recently where she teaches thousands, and these two posts startled me. For those of you who don't know, Beni Johnson is Bill Johnson's wife. Bill Johnson is the lead pastor of Bethel Church in northern California where many unorthodox and peculiar practices and teachings take place. This is the same Bill Johnson who claims an anointing by God and that small, white angel feathers fall on him when he goes somewhere (like the grocery store, the bank, etc.). This is also the same Bill Johnson that has taught in his writings (books, articles, etc.) that Christ laid his divinity aside (this is heresy; see my notes on the hypostatic union). He still sells these books. I have listed direct quotes and sources throughout this website with regard to these statements.
These two posts concern me. The reason is that Beni and her husband claim to be Christian teachers. This can be misleading. Biblically, a true, Godly teacher will be open to correction from others. That is part of humility. There is a wall that many people at Bethel Church put up when all that others are trying to do is to lovingly wake them up to the apostasy of the movement and the error of the teachings they believe. If only they knew that their loved ones are trying to warn them of danger.
They do claim to be used by the Holy Spirit, but I have noticed that they usually will not accept correction from others because they believe the misleading notion that only the Holy Spirit is allowed to do that. This creates a resistant spirit in Bethel Church's followers to much-needed correction and help. These statements from Beni could dangerously cause her followers to not accept correction from others, which God and the real Holy Spirit call "stupid" (Proverbs 12:1; Yes, the Bible does use that word). Isn't it resisting the Holy Spirit when we won't accept a truthful correction from somebody? Stephen told the members of the Sanhedrin that they were stiff-necked and always resisted the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). Bold words. They did not like all that he was saying because it was the truth. They did not like all the people God sent to them in the past because they brought the truth. Stephen says in verse 51 that their ancestors persecuted and killed God's messengers in the past. The members of the Sanhedrin were enraged and stoned Stephen to death. They were just like their ancestors. Biblically, these are the people that had a religious spirit and a resistant spirit. They resisted the truth. Stephen brought the truth (sound doctrine). Therefore, he did not have a religious spirit, but God's Spirit! The Bible says he was full of the true Holy Spirit. And, he boldly spoke the truth and brought correction and rebuke. These leaders thought they were good enough and didn't need to hear truth from Stephen. I don't think Stephen would have lasted too long on many Facebook pages. He would have been blocked.
In my opinion, the following statements cannot be further from the Holy Spirit of the Bible. Even more concerning is that over 1,000 followers agreed with her thinking that this is something the real Holy Spirit would teach.
Look at the following:
When a teacher who claims to be anointed by God is teaching "out of line" with what the Bible says, Jesus calls him or her a false teacher (Matthew 7:7). God wants us to give others "our two cents" if it is the truth. Proof of this can be found in James 5:20 (and elsewhere) where it says God wants us to attempt to turn people from their error if they have wandered from the truth. I will add, if you suspect a person is a false prophet, extra caution should be taken and act with wisdom (maybe Matthew 7:6 and Titus 3:10 apply here). Anyhow, the Holy Spirit uses people as His tools to reach people. Proof of this is found in Romans 10:14 where it says people can hear the truth if other people preach it to them. How will they hear without people? Quite simply, the real Holy Spirit uses people, and He has done that for centuries. That is why it is always good to listen to and consider advice from others who are Christians. It may be truth or maybe not. But, if we reject the corrections people bring automatically without thinking it through, we risk rejecting God's message to us. The Bible is story after story of God using people to reach people. That is the theme of chapter after chapter in the entire Bible! The devil also uses people (even professed Christians; 2 Cor. 11:15), so we must be able to discern and compare what is said to the Bible.
Romans 12 speaks of Christians having different gifts according to the grace that is given to us and says basically that he that exhorts, teaches, etc. should exercise these gifts. Acts 13:4 says that the Holy Spirit sent two men (Barnabas and Saul) to Cyprus. The Spirit sent them to talk about the word of God to certain people. Ephesians 4:11 says basically that Jesus Christ gave certain people certain callings in order to speak and edify the Body of Christ. The goal is so "we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive..." (Ephesians 4:14). These are just a handful of scriptures that show that the Holy Spirit does use people to bring the truth and to correct so that we will not be deceived. God uses people to reach people because of His grace and as a safeguard to deception.
Now compare these statements above from Beni Johnson to the words of the true Holy Spirit in the Bible. Do you think Beni teaches another spirit that the Apostle Paul warned about in 2 Corinthians 11:4? It seems to me that her holy spirit will not use people to give some correction if a teacher is out of line, but will correct in some other direct way only (without people). Using people as correcting tools does not seem like a characteristic of her holy spirit (based on her Facebook teachings). Remember, the true Holy Spirit does use people and wrote the Bible (2 Peter 1:21) including these words:
- "I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
- "Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he that hates reproof is senseless." (Proverbs 12:1)
- "Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed--without remedy." (Proverbs 29:1)
- "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16)
- "Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue." (Proverbs 28:23)