NEW TO THIS SITE?

Welcome! If you are a BSSM student or involved with sozo and Bethel Church, please know this ministry loves you and prays for you. You are welcome here to browse this site. All the factual research on here has been conducted out of love for you with absolutely no financial gain. The research on this site is not merely anecdotal but research based on fact and careful study. Bethel Sozo Research does not hate any leaders or pastors at Bethel Church (no malice/ill-will toward them). We simply wish God's best for them - that they would change their deceptive ways and speak truthfully to people. If these leaders will not teach the Biblical truth about Christ's hypostatic union/divinity to the public, that is their free choice, but they must not call themselves 'Bible teachers' because that is not respecting the true Christian faith (Jude 1:3; Acts 4:12; 2 Cor. 11:4; Matt. 7:15; 1 John 4:1). Enjoy this site and God bless you! With love and civility, BSRJ

Monday, December 31, 2012

Proof: Three Pieces of Evidence that Bill Johnson Teaches a Non-Divine Jesus Walked this Earth

Often, when bringing up Bill Johnson's doctrines, many will say, "Bill didn't really mean that", "Bill didn't say that" or "he is a nice guy".  The irrefutable evidence shows that this teacher really does teach a non-divine Jesus walked this earth.  Bethel Sozo Research has seen these quotes directly from books, articles and a sermon.  There is no denying that this is what Bill teaches about Jesus Christ:
"He laid his divinity aside." (When Heaven Invades Earth; chapter 7; page 110) 
Direct quotations cannot be argued; they are fact.  Furthermore, when the same teaching appears in a number of places (books, articles and sermons), proof is further established - knowing that there was no mistake in speech.  When a teacher repeats the teaching and even precedes his or her teaching with the phrase, "it's vital to note", Christians can conclude that the teaching is not a mere "slip-up", but a vital teaching to the teacher:  
"While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man...it’s vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow".  (In an article from Charisma Magazine dated February 23, 2012)
Elsewhere, in a sermon entitled When Heaven Comes dated May 6, 2012, Johnson teaches that Christ is eternally God, but then he explains how Christ was not divine on earth until his (age thirty) water baptism!  Is this consistent with the Hypostatic Union?  Wasn't the real Jesus Christ even divine at conception (i.e., born of a virgin)???  Yes, we are to follow the Lord's example.  But, emptying Jesus Christ of His divinity on earth to make Him like the "average Joe" is not acceptable.  Jesus was 100% divine and 100% human on earth without sacrificing either.  Being conceived by the Holy Spirit Himself (Luke 1:35) makes Jesus very different than the normal human being!  

What matters is doctrinal fruit.  
"For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him." (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Look at Doctrinal Fruit: An Article 'Character of the Cults' by Patrick Zukeran


Character of the Cults


Article contributed by Probe Ministries

Challenge of the Cults


This church is growing so rapidly, sociologist Rodney Stark predicts that by the year 2080, it will become the most important world religion to emerge since the rise of Islam.1 What church is Dr. Stark describing? It is not a Christian church but the Mormon Church, an organization labeled as a cult. The rise of the Mormon Church represents the growing challenge facing the church, the kingdom of the cults. 

What is a cult? The greatest authority on the cults, the late Dr. Walter Martin, described a cult as “A group of people gathered around a specific person’s misinterpretation of the Bible.”2 Cults are groups that claim to be in harmony with Christianity but deny foundational Christian doctrines such as the Trinity or the unique deity of Jesus Christ. 

In Matthew 7:15-17, Jesus gives us a warning about the coming of the cults. He states, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” What Jesus was warning was that cultists will look, act, and sound like Christians. However, that is only in external appearance. One can parade as a true believer for a time, but eventually one’s words, actions, and especially one’s beliefs--their “fruit”--will give one away as a counterfeit.

The growth of the cults can be attributed to several factors. First, it is a fulfillment of the warning given by Jesus and the apostles. In Matthew 24:23-26, Jesus warns us that as His return draws near, there will be an increase in false prophets who will ensnare many in their false teachings. In 2 Peter 2:1-3, Peter warns us that false teachers will arise from within the church.

The second factor in the growth of the cults is the breakdown of the family. Cults provide the family atmosphere many from broken homes long for; the cult leader often takes the place of a father figure.

Finally, we can attribute the growth of the cults to the failure of the church. As my mentor repeatedly stated, “The cults are the unpaid bills of the church.” The cults thrive because Christians are lacking in biblical and theological understanding. Dr. Martin stated, “The rise of the cults is directly proportional to the fluctuating emphasis which the church has placed on the teachings of biblical doctrine to Christian laymen. To be sure, few pastors, teachers, and evangelists defend adequately their beliefs, but most of them -- and most of the average Christian laymen - are hard put to confront and refute a well-trained cultist of almost any variety.”3 If the church engaged in solid and in-depth Bible teaching, the cults would not flourish as they do today.

Doctrinal Character of the Cults

How do you know if a religious group is a cult? Jesus said that you will know false prophets by their fruits. In stating this he was not only speaking of their words and actions but of their doctrinal beliefs as well. Cults deviate from biblical Christianity in several key areas of doctrine.

Cults promote false teaching on the nature of God. The Bible teaches there is one God revealed in three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The central feature that distinguishes cults from biblical Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity. All cults have a distorted view of this doctrine. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses condemn the doctrine of the Trinity, and Mormons teach tritheism, three gods who make up the godhead.

Second, cults teach a false view of Jesus. The Bible teaches that Christ is 100 percent man and 100 percent God. This has been called the hypostatic union. In 2 Corinthians 11:4, Paul warned about false teachers teaching another Jesus. A modern-day example of false teaching is Christian Science which teaches that Jesus was not God but a man who displayed the Christ idea. He neither died for sins, nor was He resurrected.

Third is a false teaching on salvation. All cults have a works-oriented Gospel. The death of Christ is believed to give followers the potential to be saved. So after believing in Christ, one must serve the organization to attain salvation. Salvation is found in the organization and one is never really sure if one has done enough to be worthy of salvation. In the International Church of Christ, for example, disciples are scrutinized by their discipler daily to determine if they performed as worthy disciples. Failure to meet the standards may result in discipline. Disciples can never be certain they have done enough for salvation.

Fourth, there is extra-biblical revelation and the denial of the sole authority of the Bible. Cults claim that extra revelation is given to the leader whose words are seen as inspired by God and equal to the Bible. If there is a conflict between the Bible and the leader’s words, the latter takes precedence. So in reality, the leader’s writings take precedence over the Bible. When interacting with cultists, I often hear them claim their teachings are consistent with the Bible. However, when I point out where their teachings deviate from the Bible, they eventually claim the Bible to be in error. In most cases, cultists claim the Bible has somehow been corrupted by the church.


Sociological Structure of the Cults


Not only do cults deviate doctrinally from biblical Christianity, they have distinctive sociological characteristics. The first is authoritarianism. The leader or organization exercises complete control over a follower’s life. The words of the leadership are ultimate and often considered divinely inspired. Going against the leadership is equivalent to going against the commands of God.

The second characteristic is an elitist mentality. Most cults believe they are the true church and the only ones who will be saved. This is because the group believes they have new revelation or understanding that gives them superior standing.

Third is isolationism. Due to their elitist mentality, cultists believe those who do not agree with them are deceived or under the influence of Satan. Therefore, many feel their members must be protected from the outside world, and physical or psychological barriers are created. Members are prohibited from communicating with those outside the organization who do not agree with the teachings of the group.

Fourth, there is closed-mindedness and the discouragement of individual thinking. Because of its authoritarian nature, leaders are the only ones thought to be able to properly interpret the Bible. All members are to turn to the organization for biblical interpretation and advice on life decisions. Therefore, individual thinking and questioning is discouraged. There is an unwillingness to dialogue and consider other viewpoints.

Fifth is a legalistic lifestyle. As mentioned earlier, salvation is not based on grace; cults teach a works-oriented gospel. This leads to a lifestyle of legalism. Followers must live up to the group’s standards in order to attain or maintain their membership and hope for eternal life. Followers are required to faithfully serve, and attend meetings, studies, and services. As a result, there is tremendous pressure to live up to the requirements of the organization.

Finally there is a difficult exit process. Since salvation is found in the organization, leaving the organization is considered by many to be leaving God. All former members who leave cults are shunned by members which often includes members of their own family. Many are warned that if they leave, they will be condemned to hell, or seduced by Satan. Many ex-members are harassed by the organization even after they leave. Exiting members often end up distrusting any religious organization and end up feeling isolated and alone.

Life in the cults is marked by fear of judgment, pressure, and legalism. This is a far cry from what we are taught in the Bible. Jesus and the apostles taught that the new life in Christ is one of grace, love, and freedom from the law. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The peace and rest promised by Christ is seldom experienced by those in the cults.

Cultic Methodology


When you receive a knock on your door in the mornings, who do you assume it to be? A salesman? A Girl Scout selling cookies? For many of us, we assume it to be a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon missionary looking to tell us about his or her organization. One of the reasons cults have grown is their methodology.

The methods cults use to win converts are moral deception, aggressive proselytizing, and Scripture twisting. By moral deception I mean cults use Christian terminology to win converts. For example, New Agers use the term born again to support reincarnation. Mormons use terms like the Trinity and salvation by grace but these terms have different meanings than what the Bible teaches. Therefore, many untrained Christians are deceived into believing these groups are actually Christian.

Aggressive proselytizing is another method of the cults. Although many Christian groups use aggressive evangelism, they do so out of a love for God and a desire to see others come to know Christ. Many cultists proselytize for much the same reasons but added to this is the desire to win God’s approval. They work for grace rather than from grace. The cults require their members to evangelize. Many groups hold their members accountable for the number of hours they spend witnessing for the organization. Many members feel guilty if a day or so goes by without them proselytizing.

Scripture twisting is another method of the cults. Cultist quote verses in the Bible that support their position, but skip over the verses that do not. Often, there is gross misinterpretation of Scripture so that contradictory verses will better fall in line with their views.

For example, Jehovah’s Witness and Mormons try to use verses to show Jesus is a created being. However, their position is easily shown to be incorrect when you explain the context and correct meaning of the terms. Also, when you show additional verses that contradict their position, they are often surprised and realize they have never seen those verse before or that the organization’s explanations of those verses are unable to be supported.

To successfully engage in conversation and effectively witness to those in the cults, Christians must be prepared in the following ways. First Peter 3:15 states that we must always be “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” We must be prepared by knowing the word of God through diligent study of it. Second, we must be prepared to overcome our fears and lovingly reach out to cult members, exercising the fruits of patience and gentleness as we share the truth.

Danger of the Cults


The rise of the cults pose a serious challenge to the church because they present several dangers to the church and families involved. First, there is a spiritual danger. First Timothy 4:1 states “...that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Ultimately the spirit behind all lies and deception is the devil, so the ultimate force behind the cults is the evil one.

Galatians 1:8 states, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other that than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” The false gospel of the cults cannot lead anyone to salvation. There are eternal consequences for false beliefs. For this reason Jesus and the apostles are very harsh on false teachers.

There is also a psychological danger. The mind controlling techniques used by the organizations can cause immense damage mentally and emotionally. Living under the pressure, guilt, and dependence on the organization has proven to have tremendous negative effects on individuals.

Third, there is domestic danger. Individuals are taught that loyalty to the organization is equivalent to allegiance with God. Therefore, loyalty to the organization supersedes loyalty to family. Thus, if a family member begins conducting himself in a way the organization does not approve of, the cult will often separate the family from the individual member. Isolation can be emotional or physical. Numerous families have been separated as a result.

In some cases there is a physical danger. The teachings of David Koresh cost the Branch Davidians their lives. Hobart Freeman taught that believers did not need medicine for illnesses, and told his followers to throw all theirs away. As a result, he and fifty-two of his members died from curable conditions.

In light of this threat, what are Christians called to do? First, we are called to study and know the Word of God. Paul writes to Timothy and all saints saying, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the world of truth.” Christians should master the Bible so that they will not be deceived by any false teaching. Second, Titus commands us to be able to confront and refute false teachers. Finally, in Acts 20, Paul exhorts the leaders of the church to protect their flock from the false teachers that will prey upon the sheep. Every Christian is called to know the truth so well they can confront false teaching, and protect their church and family from it.

Bibliography


Cults

Ankerberg, John and Weldon, John. Cult Watch. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1991.
Boa, Ken. Cults, World Religions, and the Occult. Wheaton, lll.: Victor Books, 1990.
Martin, Walter & Hank Hannegraph. Kingdom of the Cults. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House Publishers, 1997.
Geisler, Norman and Rhodes, Ron. When Cultists Ask. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 1997.
Rhodes, Ron. Challenge of the Cults. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 2001.

Mormonism

Ankerberg, John, and Weldon, John. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Mormonism. Eugene, Ore: Harvest House Publishers, 1992.
Blomberg, Craig and Robinson, Stephen. How Wide the Divide? Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1997.
Oslting, Richard & Joan. Mormon America. San Francisco, Cal.: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Bowman, Robert. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1989.
_______. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1989.
Rhodes, Ron. Reasoning From the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1993.
1 Richard Ostling, Mormon America (San Francisco, Calif.: Harper Collins Publishing Inc. 1999), p. XVI.
2 Walter Martin & Hank Hannegraph, The Kingdom of the Cults (Minneapolis, Mich.: Bethany House Publishers, 1997), p. 17.
3 Norman Geisler, When Cultists Ask (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1997), p. 15.
© 2003 Probe Ministries

Friday, September 28, 2012

WARNING - BILL JOHNSON and BETHEL CHURCH by Andrew Strom

WARNING - BILL JOHNSON and BETHEL CHURCH by Andrew Strom 
September 27, 2012

 
I am really hoping to make this the last of this type of article for 
awhile. Some people think I "love" putting out this stuff. But I 
honestly wish it would all go away, so we could get on with the 
'real' work of building the kingdom. 
 
However, Bill Johnson is doing such damage to the Body of Christ 
around the world that I simply cannot stay silent. In New Zealand 
(where I am currently) he holds a huge Conference once a year 
called "Manifest Presence". This is amost certainly the biggest 
and most influential Christian conference in the whole country. 
And likewise in other nations, such as UK, Australia, Singapore, 
and many others. His influence is enormous. 
 
Bill Johnson is a very charming man. He also emphasizes a 
number of things that I heartily agree with - such as street 
evangelism using the gifts of the Spirit, prophecy and healing 
on the streets, etc. But the problem is that he endorses and 
promotes an "anointing" exactly identical to the one that Todd 
Bentley promotes. The "drunken glory", fire-tunnel, laughing, 
jerking, gold-dust, "Angel-mania"-type anointing that has done 
such damage to the Charismatic movement around the world - 
and in many cases reduced it to a shocking travesty of what it 
once was. What would Derek Prince or Keith Green think of the 
things these men are into - spiritual drunkenness, "portals", 
'visualization', spirit-travel, fire-tunnels, angel-orbs and the like? 
(Found all the way through the New Age movement, but not in 
the Bible). 
 
Bill Johnson was one of the biggest supporters of the Lakeland 
revival led by Todd Bentley. And even after the fiasco that it 
became, he publicly endorsed Todd Bentley's ministry again in 
2011. But Bill does it all with such "down-to-earth" charm and 
wise-sounding words - "how could this be deception?" That is 
what makes him so dangerous. 
 
His wife Beni is co-pastor with Bill of Bethel church in Redding, 
California. And interestingly she is even more open about the 
bizarre things that they are into. She even puts it in writing on 
the Internet, for all the world to see. 
 
For example, in her "Life and Wellness" blog on July 6 this year, 
here is what she wrote in an entry called 'Love Shack Time': 
"I was talking with Ray Hughes the other day and was telling him 
about using a 528 HZ tuning fork as a prophetic act. Someone 
told me that this tuning fork is called the tuning fork of LOVE..." 
(Please note that crystals and tuning forks are used in NEW AGE 
therapy - and have nothing to do with Christianity in any way). 
 
Beni continued: "Recently I got up to speak at a meeting and 
walked up to the song "Love Shack" by the B52's. I was calling 
people to more love. It was so fun." 
 
I guess we are now beginning to get a sense of the strange 
spiritual world that these people inhabit. Another blog post that 
Beni wrote about 'WAKING UP ANGELS' in March 2009 was 
also very revealing: 
 
"In the last couple of months, I personally have become more 
aware of the angelic activity in this realm. One of those times 
was when we were on a prayer trip to Arizona... One morning as 
we were driving up over Tehachapi Pass and coming down into 
the Mojave Desert, I began to feel angels. The closer we got, 
the stronger the impression felt. I could see them everywhere!.. 
I announced this to the group and said, "We have got to stop! 
We have to stop somewhere..." As we drove around a corner I 
said, "I think that we are going to wake up some angels here..." 
 
"We knew we were to turn around, get out of the RV and wake 
up the angels. I wish I could convey to you the energy and the 
quickness of how God was working. We jumped out of the RV, 
I blew the shofar and rang the bell, and we yelled "WAKEY 
WAKEY." We got back into the RV and drove off. As we drove 
off, hilarious laughter broke out! We were stunned at the speed 
at which this all took place and were spinning from the adventure 
and the angelic activity. What in the world had just happened?! 
Heaven collided with earth. Woo hoo!! 
 
"Since that time, there has been a stirring in me to awaken the 
angels for use in this Kingdom reign that is upon us here on earth. 
I have shared these two stories in other places and have done a 
prophetic act of waking up the angels: having everybody cry out, 
"WAKEY WAKEY!" I know it is strange but it is very effective... 
One of our gals who enjoys God's angels... gets pretty wacked 
when they are around..." 
 
The reference that Beni makes here to "Heaven colliding with 
earth" is of course directly tied to Bill Johnson's most famous 
teaching on "When Heaven Invades Earth". Clearly, this is the 
kind of thing they mean when they use that phrase. So if we 
get with their program so-to-speak, we too can go around 
"waking up angels" and getting "pretty wacked" when these 
'angels' are around. 
 
I guess the obvious question is whether they are "serious" about 
all this. Sadly, the answer is "Yes." When you get so completely 
deceived that you think "drunken glory" and 'tuning forks' and 
getting "wacked" are normal Christian behaviour, you are open 
to anything. Tragically, if we look at all that these people have 
said and done now for years and years, we have to conclude that 
one of Christendom's biggest leaders (Bill Johnson) inhabits the 
most bizarre quasi-spiritual universe that you can imagine. And 
he is spreading this deceived foolishness in the Body of Christ 
on a mass scale. It might seem almost "funny" if it wasn't so 
'New Age' serious. 
 
One young lady named Johanna who had been a student for many 
months at Bill Johnson's 'Bethel' school wrote to me the following: 
 
"In August 2008 I moved to Redding, California to attend Bethel 
School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). I graduated in May 
2009... Almost right away I began to question the bizarre behavior 
that is so normal there. 
 
"At Bethel, there are many sayings that are tossed around daily... 
"God only has nice things to say," "There´s no high like the Most 
High." There would be all kinds of distracting behavior (random 
shouting, laughing, etc.) during school sessions and church 
services. When any guest speaker came to school, students 
would flock to the front to get as close to the speaker as possible. 
We were taught that any anointing we wanted could be received 
by simply "claiming it" for ourselves. Students would rush the 
stage and the front of the sanctuary so the speakers could lay 
hands on them. 
 
"Among the guest speakers were Bob Jones, Heidi Baker, 
Georgian and Winnie Banov, Randy Clark, John and Carol Arnott... 
We also had regular sessions with Bill Johnson, Beni Johnson... 
and other Bethel pastors. The drunken behavior and questionable 
teachings from some, if not all, of these speakers was shocking 
at times. I can safely say that I never heard the word "repentance" 
once in any teaching. 
 
"I remember when the Banovs came, the whole place was complete 
chaos. When they touched someone, that person would jerk 
violently or stumble around as if they were drunk. The Banovs 
minister to people in trash dumps around the world... What I 
remember them talking about was love, joy, bliss, and the new wine. 
 
"Angels were often talked about. I remember Beni Johnson actually 
took an RV across Arizona and New Mexico to wake up angels 
that were supposedly sleeping. (Another one of the common 
phrases, "Wakey wakey"). I would always hear people talking 
about their encounters with angels and how they visited heaven. 
One young woman I knew said she could see angels everywhere, 
she talked to them all the time, and she would help her friends to 
do the same... God becomes like Santa Claus. Without the 
preaching of the true gospel, the fear of the Lord is lost." 
 
ANDREW AGAIN:  As you can see from all these reports, the 
ministry of Bill Johnson is highly suspect. Sadly, because the 
deception is not as "obvious" as Todd Bentley, people are 
charmed into thinking he's "fine". Charismatic leaders around 
the world flock to his meetings and openly endorse his teachings. 
For this reason I believe he is far more dangerous than Todd 
Bentley ever was. The Bible says that in the last days will come 
false teachers and "lying signs and wonders" to deceive if 
possible the "very elect." And what do we see today? New Age 
practices and spirits are flooding the church. And it is men like 
Bill Johnson that have become the "acceptable face" of this 
invasion. Please, friends, steer well clear. 
 
Please forward this email to anyone you feel may be in danger 
from this deception. And please comment at our website below- 
 
http://www.johnthebaptisttv.com/ 
 
God bless you all. 
 
Andrew Strom. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Digging Deeper into Doctrinal Fruit: Does claiming 'Jesus is God' make a church or practice Christian?

In a sermon dated May 6, 2012 - Johnson says that Christ is eternally God but then delves into how Christ was not divine on earth until age 30 water baptism.

Some Christians accept teachers simply because they say "Jesus is God" or they "have faith in Jesus".  It seems rare that Christians actually obey the command of Jesus to "test the spirits" (1 John 4:1).  Not testing the spirits can lead us down the road to apostasy and shipwreck our faith.

Here is a great example.  The Jehovah's Witnesses, on their official ministry page (www.jw.org), claim that "Jesus is the Son of God".  To most Christian observers, this would be "enough" to "follow" their religion and go to their church.  Some may believe that the JW's are Christian because they have the "essential doctrine" (of Jesus being the Son of God) covered.  The Word gives no distinction between essential doctrines and non-essential doctrines, in fact, all of Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and we must not pick and choose which words Christ said that were essential or non-essential.  Titus 2:1 says, "You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine".  Christ spoke of sound doctrine quite frequently and stressed the importance of hearing and doing His words in many places throughout scripture including the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders.  If it came out of His mouth, every word is essential. When the faithful Christian goes further and digs deeper and really "tests" the spirits, there is way more to be found.

The Jehovah's Witnesses explain on the questions page:
The Bible identifies why Jesus has had a greater impact than any other good man who ever lived. When Jesus asked his closest followers who they thought he was, one of them correctly answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”—Matthew 16:16.
On another questions page, they even tell others that they are Christians:


Yes. We are Christians for the following reasons:
  • We try to follow closely the teachings and behavior of Jesus Christ.—1 Peter 2:21.
  • We believe that Jesus is the key to salvation, that “there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”—Acts 4:12.
  • When people become Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are baptized in the name of Jesus.—Matthew 28:18, 19.
  • We offer our prayers in Jesus’ name.—John 15:16.
  • We believe that Jesus is the Head, or the one appointed to have authority, over every man.—1 Corinthians 11:3.
To most readers, this would seem to be a Christian organization.  But when one digs deeper, they deny essential Christian doctrines like hell, the Trinity, and Christ's dual natures after His resurrection to name a few.

Likewise, Bethel Church says sozo is a Christian practice.  They claim to be a Christian church.  Bill Johnson says that Jesus is eternally God, just like the Jehovah's Witness religion says Jesus is the Son of God.  Everything looks peachy on the surface, but what do you see when you dig deeper?  James 2:19 says that the demons also believe there is one God.  The Greek word for believe is pisteuo.  The definition of this word is to have faith in/to believe in (click on hyperlink on word to view the Greek Concordance)!  This is the same word used for believe in John 3:16.

Some have said, if a church says they believe in Jesus than that is good enough for me!  What they do not realize is that the doctrine must be "sound" or correct to be a true Christian church.  Jesus said you will know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:20).  The Bible says that truth is a fruit (Ephesians 5:9).  

Remember in Matthew 16 when Jesus warned His disciples of unsound doctrine (bad leaven)?
Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?[c] Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 
How important it is to come to know how tricky and deceptive satan is.  Remember what the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians?
Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity[a]that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested[b] among you in all things. Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows! 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11)

Source:

http://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/jesus-good-man/

Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Strange Manifestations in 'Christian' Circles - from God or not? Feathers in Church? Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, Redding California...by Anne Heers (Christian Post Blog)

Source:
"...for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness"? (2 Corinthians 6:14)  
In chapter 12 of When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles, Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California writes:
I have seen the small gems that suddenly appeared in the people's hands as they worshipped God. Since early in 1998, we have had feathers fall in our meetings. At first I thought birds were getting into our air conditioning ducts, but then they started falling in other rooms of the church not connected with the same ductwork. They now fall most anywhere we go - airports, homes, restaurants, offices and the like...He [God] wants to take us farther, and we can only get there by following signs. Our present understanding of scripture can only take us so far. (Page 204,205)
Johnson convinces people that these signs are from God and the Holy Spirit and our present understanding of scripture cannot take us far enough. On the same pages, he says that laughter, gold dust, oil and a cloud (appearing in the church building) are also signs of God's presence. He further explains in the same chapter that these signs and manifestations "are simple indicators of God's presence and purpose". He calls these signs God's "personal notes" to us. He clearly links these signs to our holy God and the Holy Spirit.
But are they? In scripture, believers are commanded to be scrutinizing (not blindly accepting) by putting what they see and hear to the test instead of accepting a teaching, sign or wonder right away, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
Are all signs from God? Clearly scripture teaches that the apostles did signs and wonders. God is still powerful just like He was back then: "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders done among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch" (Acts 5:12).
However, scripture also contains warnings about following signs and wonders: "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him" (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
Johnson preaches this about Jesus: "He laid his divinity aside" (When Heaven Invades Earth; chapter 7; page 110). Johnson also preaches that Jesus did His miracles as a man and not as God. Remember in John 10:30 when Jesus said, "I and the Father are one"? What about the immaculate conception and the virgin birth? That was divine, so Jesus had to be divine since conception, even before that - and forever for that matter! In an article from Charisma Magazine dated February 23, 2012, Johnson writes: "While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man...it’s vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow". The proof text he gives is Philippians 2:7 (which does not state that Christ's divine nature ceased, but basically that Jesus humbly became a servant despite His divinity).
In the same paragraph from When Heaven Invades Earth, Johnson explains that Jesus was "powerless" as well (in addition to being a non-divine man): "The sacrifice that could atone for sin had to be a lamb (powerless)".
Is this the Jesus you know, saint?
Jesus walked on water. Was that powerless and done as a mere man with an anointing? Was He non-divine during His incarnation? Or both divine and human in nature? Wasn't the real Jesus divine and human at the same time?
Is this the same Jesus of the Bible that is preached here - a Jesus who was a non-divine man? I personally believe that Jesus was and is always divine in nature and never ceased to be divine in nature and one with God (because God is divine) for a split second. If someone is divine, it is in their nature and cannot be changed. Divinity cannot be laid aside or stopped. I am human in nature, and I cannot lay that aside. Jesus was and always will be divine in nature, so how could He lay His divine nature aside as He has always been divine, Godhead and deity forever?
Interestingly, there are no records of feathers falling on the apostles in the Bible, though this is an occurrence happening in occult religions and practices. According to a new age ministry called Krysalis Training Academy, which supports the Dalai Lama, psychic practices, reiki, new age spiritual healing, hypnotherapy, eastern meditation, shamanism, Wicca, mysticism and more - feathers are indeed a sign.
Angels often send us little reminders of their presence as angel feathers, which are small white feathers. These seem to appear from nowhere when we are down and in need of comfort. I remember sitting in a café, watching the rain falling on the pavement outside and feeling blue. Suddenly, a small white feather floated down in front of me and landed on my table. I smiled, knowing the angels were around me, with their comforting presence.
Feathers falling - from God or not? As we see here, feathers do appear as signs from other spirits of the occult.
The Apostle Paul spoke in 2 Corinthians 11:4 on "another Jesus" and "another spirit". Could this be?
Another peculiar manifestation in professed Christian circles these days are uncontrolled animal behaviors/sounds, hysterical uncontrolled laughing and drunkenness. Bill Johnson endorses John and Carol Arnott (Catch the Fire Ministries and Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) on his own website's friend list (see this list and all the ministries he has not turned away from; Romans 16:17). In fact, Johnson and the Arnott's are together having an upcoming conference in the UK in August 2012 called the Revival Alliance Conference. The Arnott's promote jungle and barnyard animal sounds as a manifestation from the Holy Spirit on their official website. Interestingly, we do not see any apostles being "overcome" by a lack of self-control with animals behaviors/sounds in the entire history of Christianity nor from our plumbline, the Word of God (remember, self-control is the fruit of the Spirit, not a loss of self-control; see Galatians 5:22).
According to the same occult ministry mentioned above, animal sounds are characteristic of spirits of shamanism.
The Arnott's, friends of Johnson, explain:
The Toronto Blessing is a transferable anointing. In its most visible form itovercomes worshippers with outbreaks of laughter, weeping, groaning, shaking, falling, 'drunkenness,' and even behaviours that have been described as a 'cross between a jungle and a farmyard.' Of greater significance, however, are the changed lives.
Bill Johnson attributes these manifestations to the Holy Spirit when he states:
Our new list includes falling, shaking, laughing, etc...we must learn to recognize his move by recognizing his presence. (When Heaven Invades Earth; chapter 12; page 205)
The Apostle Paul said that if all spoke in tongues and an unbeliever walked in, they would think everyone was crazy (and turn around and walk right out!). "So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?" (1 Corinthians 14:23; NIV). Are these manifestations from God? If you walked into a church and one or more people were barking uncontrollably like a dog, hissing like a snake, moo-ing like a cow, or jumping around like a monkey, would you stay to hear the message? What would God say about this? What about the Apostle Paul? Some things to ponder.
The Apostle Paul said, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:12-17).
Have you ever looked up the Greek meaning for seducers ('imposters')? This word is translated from the Greek word "góēs". Here is how the HELPS Word-studies defines the word 'imposter':
Originally, a sorcerer (in ancient Greek literature); in New Testament times, 1114 (góēs) is a swindler – a shameless cheat pretending to use supernatural power; an actor (cheap imposter), looking for self-gain, i.e. posing to be someone he isn't. "A charlatan", used only in 2 Tim 3:13, refers to a seducer (properly, a wailer) – a fraud who "sounds off" like a whining enchanter. This person uses their verbal spells and incantations to give the (false) impression they can do miracles.
Are these signs and wonders from the real Jesus and the real Holy Spirit? Or is this another Jesus and another spirit bringing "lying signs and wonders" as prophesied? What do you think? I know what I think, and that is based upon the scriptures.
The Intellect
It is important to note that Johnson uses interesting statements about the intellect (that is, using the God-given intellect/brain), from a section of his book entitled Following Your Leader Off the Map: "Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of the scriptures enjoy a false sense of security" (When Heaven Invades Earth, chapter 6, page 105). He also says, "to follow Him [the spirit], we must be willing to follow off the map - to go beyond what we know". In the very next sentence, Johnson again speaks negatively of the intellect: "The Church has all too often lived according to an intellectual approach to the Scriptures, void of the Holy Spirit's influence".
Christians, we know that the Holy Spirit wrote the scriptures. He is the very author! "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21). Furthermore, scripture encourages the importance of being smart and discerning: "Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" (Proverbs 23:23). Proverbs is a great book to read about the importance of getting Godly wisdom into your mind (from the scriptures). "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16).
Also, the Holy Spirit does work with our minds (Romans 12:2), for the scriptures even say that He "re-minds" us of things: "But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). To remember is to use the mind. Friends, don't think for a minute that God does not want you to use your brain, mind or God-given intellect and discernment (1 John 4:1).
Johnson also explains in the same chapter that Christ is not part of Jesus's name (his last name): "Christ is not Jesus' last name. The word Christ means 'Anointed One' or 'Messiah'. It is a title that points to an experience. It was not sufficient that Jesus be sent from Heaven to earth with a title. He had to receive the anointing in an experience to accomplish what the Father desired".
The problem with this teaching is that even an angel of the Lord called Jesus "Christ" approximately thirty whole years before His water baptism (clearly, making it a part of His title). Because Christ means Messiah, and Jesus was and is always the Messiah, He had that title before age thirty. Remember Luke 2:10,11 says, "Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'". Keep in mind, Jesus was only a baby at this point, long before His water baptism experience ('the smearing', as Johnson describes), yet the mighty angel of the Lord calls Him..."Christ the Lord"!
"Therefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3).
Johnson explains, "the word anointing means 'to smear'. The Holy Spirit is the oil of God that was smeared all over Jesus at His water baptism. The name Jesus Christ implies that Jesus is the One smeared with the Holy Spirit".
1 John 4:1-3 says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."
Christ came in the flesh, even before his anointing at age thirty. Jesus is the Messiah (Christ), and was the Messiah even as a kid. Remember when Jesus Christ, the twelve year old, was teaching the teachers in the temple in Luke 2? While Johnson says Christ is "a title that points to an experience", we see in scripture that Christ was his title even before that experience at age thirty (Luke 2:11).
Johnson here clearly links the term "Christ" (the smearing) to His water baptism (approximately age thirty).
To further prove this point, a simple Bible search of the word 'Christ' will reveal to you the numerous scriptures where Jesus was indeed called...'the Christ'...even long before age thirty. Jesus is called Christ as His title because He alone is the Messiah. Galatians 3:27 says, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ".
Furthermore, Luke 1:35 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit was upon Jesus' conception in Mary's womb, with power (not without power): "And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God".
What is this teaching? Jesus was and is a part of the holy trinity! That means He was and is always divine. But Johnson explains in chapter seven, "The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine". Remember, the anointing here that Johnson is referring to in his chapter is the water baptism (at approximately age thirty).
What about before this "smearing" - was Jesus divine then? Or, just a powerless, non-divine man who had yet to get his link (smearing) to the divine?
Jesus did not need a "link" to the divine to become divine at age thirty, for He was already deity and Godhead (part of the trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit). Jesus said that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). If they were one, then they were (and are) both divine. Nowhere in scripture does it say that Jesus Christ was non-divine before age thirty or that He gave up His divinity ("laid His divinity aside" as Johnson explains) before age thirty. God cannot cease being God; deity cannot cease being deity. True divinity cannot be stopped. The Bible says that Christ does not change: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17). This is what happened at His water baptism at age thirty: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up immediately out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matthew 3:16).
The Spirit of God descended on a divine Messiah (Christ) who was already "one with God" (John 10:30).
Encouraging you to study the Greek meaning of divinity (divine nature) and how it cannot be removed from somebody who is truly Godhead and deity.
Johnson claims that Jesus was eternally God but teaches these other doctrines contrary to that statement. To call someone God is not enough (Mark 5:7; James 2:19). If we are a teacher, we must teach accurately about Jesus Christ and who He is because this is the command from the Spirit and from the Lord: "speak thou the things which become sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1; 2 Timothy 4:3; Revelation 22:19) and we are commanded to turn away from those teachers who do not teach sound doctrine (please read Romans 16:17). We must not mess with Christ's two natures, the very person and identity of the real Jesus Christ.
"For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth" (Ephesians 5:9).
"Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them" (Matthew 7:20).
Thank you for reading, may the Spirit give you ears to hear, and God bless you.
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