a little bit of history – from Branham to Jesus culture


 

From william Branham to  Kathryn kuhlman to Benny Hinn to Rodney Howard Browne to John Arnott to Bob Jones to Todd Bentley  back to Bob Jones – through God TV –   more Bob Jones  ( with the idea of a billion soul harvest)   to Bill Johnson to Jesus culture  to the NATIONS….     this movement is moving…   no one can deny..

 

 

How does it happen- How does a church get “Bethelized” ?


This is a great question –  that I have spent a very long time  thinking through.. the how exactly – did that   all happen..

I think to start with  its an important to understand that there is no single reason & no sole identifier of “this” led to “that”  its  complex & most probably different in  each people group/church/ ministry –  the how come’s…  All I can share is from my own experience & observations  – your own correlation & confirmation is required  if there are any dots to be joined…  I cant really do that on your behalf..

so these are my thoughts on it & it starts  for me waaaay back in 1986… those of us who have been around long enough will remember… In 1986   there began much talk of the coming revival…  there was a feeling in the wind  that  something “amazing” would happen in our generation   (I was a teenager then)   we were promised mass revival – people at large gatherings  spring harvest &   the forerunnners of New wine & Kingdom Faith weeks  & the similar  what we termed “bible weeks”  back then talked in these terms… it was an exciting hyped up time where we were told anything was possible…  long prophecies were shared about the UK  coming back to God..  “heal our nation”   from the christian band “heartbeat” was a big thing – when they got on top of the pops because we teens had all been urged to go out & buy 5 copies each of their record to get them there….. well we thought  we were on the cusp….  what we had been promised was beginning to look like reality…

there were books written called “preparing for revival” & taking our cities for God….  Peter C Wagner’s name was just surfacing in the UK  as an “expert”  in  matters of spiritual warfare  along with his books…  by 1988  we had national march for Jesus  events in every major UK  town & city held on the same day..

then ..   John Wimber…    was literally idolised by the UK church  —  everyone it seemed at that time in charismatic circles put that man on a pedestal..  He came & preached in the UK..   at Spring Harvest I think too..  I saw people literally run into the meeting to get the best seat at the front…

the local church though  –   ho hummed along as before;   all the focus was what was happening nationally-   the BIG events that localised down so that individual churches & people could plug into …   all these things were bubbling along percolating  from 1988 -1994  until a man called Rodney Howard Browne arrived on the scene…   me & some friends went to see him  at Wembley  – late 1994-   he spent the entire meeting trying to get people laughing…. he succeeded….  but I have to say  I left feeling hurt & confused as I felt that whatever God had poured out  did not touch me… instead of laughing  I just cried & cried….  people were sliding off their seats & a woman close to me was laughing but in a mocking way…   because I had seen it before…  I recognised that it was a demonic manifestation…   which RHB  & team did nothing about  – they let it continue…  that was confusing to me as the church I was in had had a few people manifest demonically  – the elders/leaders  did not let that persons feet touch the floor… they had it dealt with & stopped  as soon as you could say booo.   see there is no place for anything of the demonic realm  when the household of God meet together – we have to give it no room –  so I knew from that time something was very very wrong  with RHB   ministry..  being young & inexperienced & not grounded as well as I should have been in the word  –  I wasnt able to put my finger on it until the bethelization of our church 2010/2011

then the Toronto Blessing  Hit  —   like a brick…  people were going to meetings at HTB  & other places to get a blessing & a bit of Gold dust.. but to a large extent   it was all “out there”…   people went out to go to  it…  it wasn’t actually something that was being promoted by church leadership in the local church…  it was an accessible event just like we had been used to with everything else..  through 1990’s we had big events from the Call – to the 24-7 prayer movement   all of these things were promoted in the town…  the town wide (charismatic) leadership at this point got together & became a lot more unified –  togetherness…unity  – one heart  etc etc…  this just bubbled away…

so from 1996 ish – 2008    people were seeking the new thing of God  all of the time…  there were people who were very into everything going…   I have noticed that there is always a core group of people  in each church   who push for more & more “things of the spirit”   & by this I mean   manifestations  really    – the falling over slain –  the trance like states – before we called them that – the odd prophetic   ( prophetic art//dance/ flag waving/ & even prophetic needlework…)  Guided visualisation  presented as a journey with God… invite jesus in what does he say to you – tell us… the Gold dust…  nothing is ever enough – the call is always  for MORE

so what I think happens is this –  we were promised something special of God – we were/are the generation  to “bring it in”   so when anything “spiritual” at all happens we, corporately are so hyped for it by then – we corporately accept anything  with out stopping to weigh & discern…   those that did were considered as “party poopers”   spoiling the fun…

then April 2008  – Lakeland Florida – the Lakeland Outpouring with Todd Bentley –  screened nightly…  we must have watched most of it….  by july 2008   our church started weekly meetings that mirrored the revival…  becasue we had a united town – many flocked from other churches in …  to come get some…  some people we know went out to Lakeland – came back & prayed for fire over everyone at the meetings…  this all stopped tho once the revival came to a crashing halt…  

needless to say – people where I was felt bereft of the “good times” the soaking in God’s presence… etc. etc…  until  BJ came to town for a church wide event… from that point on the church leadership got totally into BJ & Bethel.. one by one each leader flew out to Redding to get plugged in..  & slowly brought absolutely everything back to us…

BUT Lakeland was very definately a primer   for what came next & indeed – after the leaders returned from Bethel that first time – there was much talk of re opening the well.    This leadership never asked the permission of the church about any of it – they just did it with no room for discussion  – consultation – nothing…  so then to stop &  question makes such a one the negative – anti unity – un submissive – unteachable one….  that was over my head as I left …

  • So at a basic level  at the beginnings of  bethelization – there is a core group of people pushing for  “spiritual experiences”  & a church leadership who are totally open & accepting of anywhere that desire is going to go.
  • Then there occurs a subtle shift in emphasis:    slowly  Christ  as a risen saviour- redeemer – GodMan  is decentralized

other pointers are:

  • The language, ethos & emphasis  increasingly  focuses  on a miracles, signs & wonders/supernatural  culture/…   this is pursued earnestly.
  • The process of proper discipleship with living a Godly life  day to day – working out salvation – dealing with long suffering & trials with great accountability  begins to get replaced with a drive for “in the moment”  restoration against all things that are not desirable..(in the life of the believer).  instant debt cancellation/instant healing/ restoration of relationships//   basically  the discipline of working things through & walking things out & facing up to natural consequences of actions & taking proper responsibility –  is considered  un desirable  under the context of – pray & declare  all   “bad” things away
  • The teaching – which becomes storytelling anecdotes based,  centres around one or other of these themes:  

                             >   living in the Presence of God

                             > the culture of heaven- the culture of honour

                              > relating to Father God  with intimacy   (regarding him as pappa or daddy  whilst at the same time    sidelining Jesus)

                            >  Heaven joining with earth

                            > the prophetic

                            > signs & wonders & the supernatural realm

                            > Kingdom dominion ruling & reigning as Royalty

                            > the 7 mountains mandate.

  • The worship  reflects these themes – the continuation of  prophetic elements completely spills over into what is now defined as worship   (such as prophetic art & prophetic dance)
  • Individuals who propel themselves into Bethel ways-  tend to be identifiable, any insights or corporate prayer they offer is likely to be on the same themes as above-  there is a unique way of phrasing & describing concepts – “bethel speak” –  this might include phrases such as: turn our affections…/host the presence/ get whacked/ Jesus getting what he paid for/ getting activated/ receiving Fire/God is in a good mood +  all manner of other one liners that these top leaders tweet out…  
  •  additionally, bethelised people tend to have a very high view of themselves spiritually – when full blown this leads to  such a person appearing so bold they expect to & do  take charge  in any & all “spiritual situations”  when a few get together on this basis – the noise level of the shouting, stomping & wooooah s   are extraordinary…  its like they give unsaid “permissions” to each other  to carry it on & on…  sometimes this boldness comes across as extreme arrogance & haughty superiority…  I have noticed too that they take it on themselves to have their own personal prayer & ministry session  with individuals  without  necessarily referring to an Elder or a designated pastoral team member —   some churches  dont have a prob with this but others do…   Bethelized people   tend to minister as they think fit anyway… regardless… this attitude is also taken out to the streets.

I  had a little check in my spirit at our new place as one person prayed in a meeting a lovely prayer about wanting more of the Holy Spirit & how we had to open to his leading etc etc..  & that might mean accepting things we weren’t too sure about but to trust HIS leading  etc etc…   on the face of it   – nothing wrong with this prayer…  BUT   i know from experience now that this person is exactly the type of person who I would describe as one “pushing it”   over a long time of people jumping on this “churchview”  with leaders  “waiting to see or  join in with this rolling wagon”  its only a matter of time…  similarly- the more people who get ministered to at events & other churches & manifest kundalini style the more “normal” accepted & expected it becomes…  churches who have no idea about it will have people manifesting in this way  whether they like it or not…along with everything else.. that Bethel teaches, promotes & merchandises…..

now is the time to stand together & see it for what it is…   this is the window –  in 5 years it will prob be too late.

“Mantles” laying on graves & transferable anointings


A whole teaching has sprung up around the area of  “having a mantle” —   A mantle is a cloak  or a covering cloth.

because it is a big thing taught in this river –   we need to investigate where this comes from biblically:  so  here we go-  it is found in 2 Kings 2   with the story of Elijah & Elisha

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah andElisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for theLord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.  (ESV)

Here we see  a “passing over of the baton  of anointing” from one righteous & Holy man to the other   – we also notice from this passage that the same supernatural spiritual power is effective   in the parting of the water when the mantle or cloak struck the water- both men demonstrate this..  with the spiritual transference of “power”  & a double portion of Elijah’s spirit on to Elisha..

In the teaching in the River – this whole idea of mantles, transferable anointings  is based solely on this OT  passage…  it does not occur elsewhere in scripture.

 Elisha, having received the “double portion,”  goes on to supernaturally multipy oil, raised a child from the dead, made  a poisonous stew edible & multiplied food rations….  these things are echoed in the miracles that Jesus later does in the NT..

from my heart here is the question that cuts to the chase of  this teaching  .

Are we pursuing the POWER  demonstrated   or  the HOLINESS…?

both Elijah & Elisha  were considered OT prophets…   We know that the NT  is the new covenant & in a sense overwrites the OT-   the OT adds weight & understanding to the new…  whereby this story becomes a “foreshadowing of what is to come”

We have the Holy spirit – poured out amongst us  Acts 1 v 8  says: (ESV)

 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 

Now we see, that the context of that POWER  is to do with making Jesus known to the ends of the earth –    it has nothing to do with power  for “powers” sake…

my concern with this emphasis  of teaching we are presented with in the “river”  is that it promotes  individuals to the understanding that they can have & wield supernatural power around…  my observation is that this can produce fleshy attitudes of elitism  “im more spiritual – than the next”   & superiority   “I have more ability to perform supernaturally  than you”  thinking…

It would never be admitted to of course. Coupled with immaturity – of one who has been sold this power trip as a hook to get in & get further on in this movement – it is completely evident that this is the case …

  Elijah & Elisha  were humble & holy men-  completely mature in  the things of God… notice that the sons of the prophets in 2 kings2 v 3  were not endowed with this mantle or anointing–   yet they would have been operating as maybe apprentices to the Holy men of God   – in the context of learning the ways & words of God they would have been in the loop so to speak…&  look at v 5  – these sons were instructed to hold back their prophetic knowledge  of that which  was to occur…   such self control…I believe if they had not done so they would have got busy whipping up a crowd to observe the supernatural happenings-  the whisking away of Elijah up into heaven,, A totally amazing sight which they were not permitted to observe –  standing some distance away…   how different from the attitudes of today when every Bethellite  sign & wonder seeker rushes in & pushes for more…  Awesomeness/wow factor

 On balance I think the teaching on mantles we have been sitting under is off base…. not in the least because a whole prophetic practiced has emerged from just one portion of scripture & also because the context we just discussed would most likely never be taught .     The aspect of “covering”  is a whole other issue.

Under the new covenent – with us being saved by grace – entering in to the inheritance of the saints & receiving the Power- the Holy Spirit  in order to make Jesus known to the ends of the earth – why do we need a transference of an anointing or a mantle back & forth between each  other?…  If we truly want everything God has for us – surely Christ Crucified & the precious Holy Spirit available for each one is enough? Furthermore, it is HE who gives these things-   In the River – the teaching is that the need for mantles & anointings are prophetically perceived –  people desire any anointing they want & then pray to receive it-  or have another suggest it is theirs & pray over them in a manner such as to receive it……   I know from my own circumstances that this whole mentality leaves the door wide open for control & manipulation- high suggestibility & panders to the desires of the flesh…  I have seen these things happen & play out…  in the end – when full blown-  it leads to spiritual abuse & demonic outworkings

Ultimately, the body, as a group of individuals is made vulnerable & weak instead of strong & established-  but at the same time a delusion ensues that the power obtained is “world overcoming”…  the reality is that people are enslaved to this perspective of needing a mantle or anointing before stepping out into anything &/or the teachings & touch of  the “spiritual ones”/ Gods Generals / Giants of the Faith-     who simply have demonstrated “spiritual power”  as a a sole authenticator  (If that is a word??) – instead of just being obedient to the word of God & living Holy & pure.  This is exactly why we saw people en masse rush from all over the world to the Lakeland outpouring in 2008  &  why they continue to pour in to Bethel Redding-  the mentality of that is recognised & honed by these leaders-   people are manipulated into getting to these “power hubs”  –

Is this teaching on mantles effectively saying that – that which father God has provided for us is not enough? when we must have the anointing at any cost-    where does that leave us?