19 thoughts on “Been to Bethel?

  1. There is a horrible, sickly spiritual elitism in these places… that to me only speaks of something just the opposite of what is in Scripture.

    1) People “seeking” the presence of God. The Bible tells us God is omnipresent.

    2) People seeking and following after specific speakers as if what they say is the end all of truth and enlightenment. (see Bill Johnson, Todd Bently, Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, and the like).

    3) Lack of discernment among the followers (never questioning them!- i.e. don’t touch the Lord’s anointed).

    4) The notion of “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” In this case they take the messages as the bathwater, the baby possibly being the preacher or parts of the sermon they don’t agree with….So there isn’t any level of actual thinking through the doctrines being taught and sprinkled into every message (i.e. you are so special, important, manifested, powerful, anointed) etc. Please tell me where the repentance is!!! Where is the GOSPEL OF JESUS?

    5) Remember even the devils BELIEVE in Jesus. (see the book of James, if you read it lately).

    6) Fruit of the spirit is overlooked..instead its about manifestations, power, experiences. Where is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control? Not seeing it. I see people in constant fear over the end times, political situations around them in the USA, looking for demons in everything, and zero self control.

    7) Unbiblical living- everything from husbands not taking care of their wives, to children running amuck. People going from one conference to the next like homeless people. Spending all their money on the next “big thing of the spirit.” That isn’t God.

    8) False prophecy/prophetic- You want to hear from God? Open your Bible. Quit trusting man! What the false prophetic does is elevate you. You will be important in the new thing Jesus will do on earth, you will be wealthy, you will be an elite. You you YOU.. Um no honey you are sinful and need to repent..When was the last time someone gave you that word? Look at the prophecies in Scripture. Jesus tells his disciples “you will drink from the same cup!” The book of revelation is prophecy, and its not feel good you will be prosperous and have happy warm fuzzy feelings.

    9) The odd prayers- “more Lord.” Ok what?? If you believe in Jesus, received the Holy Spirit, why do you continually scream and shout for more of something? Do you believe in the God of the Bible, who is always available and love us, or a god of your own making that disappears and you perpetually need more of. It is one thing to be renewed in your mind and read the word, its another to one to be perpetually seeking a “feeling” (which is what this boils down to).

    10) Strange manifestations.. I’ve seen these on some (but not all) people. The head jerks that are not controllable. Please ask yourself- would God make someone do that? How is that Jesus? The Jesus I know did not have crazy head shakes. Certainly ONE of the four gospels would have described this…or the book of Acts…or any of Paul or James or John’s letters. But its just simply NOT there. Why would God make you look like you are demon possessed? Just because someone says “Lord Lord we healed in your name, casted out devils etc.” And what is Jesus’ response “depart from me you accursed into everlasting fire.” Uh yeah..this verse makes sense to me now.

  2. I attended in May of this year (2016) the annual Bethel healing school and had a wonderful experience. Although I don’t really enjoy the musical style (I reprehend the Church’s militant rejection of hymns), what I most appreciated about the services was the time allowed for the individual to fully invest and immerse himself in the worship of God, speaking to himself in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, as it were, unto the Lord.
    I think that a source of tension between sites like this and the culture typified by Bethel is located in this dichotomy: you may attend a church that is completely orthodox, correct in all its doctrines, scripturally sound – and completely dead. These are places where the limits on the Holy Spirit’s activity are fully prescribed by man, and wherein he is strictly confined to operate only within the boundaries allowed him and his will and divine prerogative must be subordinated to that of the leadership; or he is uninvited from further attendance.
    On the other hand, there is Bethel and like assemblies which one may attend with expectancy and the bright hope that he may interact with God on his (God’s) terms, and wherein the constraints on his agency are virtually non-existent. In the latter environment people go expecting perhaps too much from Jesus in the moment; but in the former setting, people (it seems to me) attend out of an innocent but ultimately servile sense of duty, in the discharge of which they are conditioned to expect nothing at all, or little more than the satisfaction of a job well done.
    I see errors of extremes on both sides, but I think I prefer placing great hopes in Christ Jesus now, in this life and that to come, although they might be disappointed (as we reckon), rather than think him uninterested and impassive, having come and gone, leaving us a gospel of a great future and a miserable present. It appears that we have some choice in the matter.

    • Koolaid… A wicked generation seek for a “sign.” At least that is what my Bible states… The idea that one place has more of “God” or not is never found in Scripture. If you believe that God is omnipresent, that He is all-knowing, all-loving, and does not show favoritism, then there is an automatic conflict with what is taught at most New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) churches. The idea that other churches are “dead” and their members “dead” because they read the Bible, pray, but do not have manifestations, or give out prophecies or operate in “the prophetic,” is no where in Scripture or historical Christianity. People are not conditioned to expect or not expect something. If one believes in the Jesus of the Bible, they should expect to know and follow in His footsteps, but with a sober mind AND the fruit of the spirit (not elitism).

    • I agree with you! Back in 2010 we were able to attend a conference there, it was amazing and God grew us in amazing ways afterward, it was like a launchpad!

  3. I ended up in your blog seeking answers for a sister who is involved in Kundalini but all I found here is a bunch of hate toward Bethel Church and anyone who moves in the Holy Spirit.. I personally think you should be careful that you don’t blaspheme the works of Holy Spirit calling them demonic. I do understand that there is a demonic presence sweeping through with practices like Kundalini , but a lot of your words are just that… WORDS.

    • Not quite sure what you expected on a blog where the only medium available is indeed words.. but hey ho…

      If you would care to delve a little deeper you would find that we have tried very hard not to be hateful towards individuals or even churches.. there is a huge difference between using blogs as outlets for personal angst or accurately processing observations in light of what the bible actually teaches…

      & remember that the word does indeed state that it’s quite permissable & therefore healthy to expose the works of darkness.. how exactly would you propose that this be done? If balanced discussion is automatically perceived as against the works of the spirit because it seemingly is negative against a mega church with global influence. Remember that NO church has the final authority.

      • I was “enslaved” by a church for almost 15 years that held us in fear by that very quote “be careful you don’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit” or “Don’t speak against God’s chosen ones.” …It took about 5 years of running from the “god” (of this church). ( I didn’t realize til years later that I had some PTSD because of the fear and condemnation.) Then another decade of studying the Word of God for myself…I mean REALLY studying, not just reading. Then another 5 years for me to know the Word well enough, and to be set free enough to call BS on the church I grew up in… as a total cult. Imagine a slightly mellower Bethel, but with about 30 totally brainwashed people and another 20 too scared to leave…that was my church.
        I agree, the word of God says not to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, but we are to seek His Word, His Wisdom, to know the Holy Spirit, and to discern the spirits.
        I used to teach yoga…and got really into New Age during my years of running. Kundalini is real, blissful, wonderful, enlightening, powerful, full of love….but it is evil. Every yogi that has experienced Kundalini will tell you the same thing about the spirit at Bethel. It’s totally intoxicating. But it is not Holy Spirit. I speak out of love, not condemnation. I used to practice transcendental meditation, and have had amazing experiences, beautiful wonderful! But these were not Holy Spirit. Chakras, uncoiling the snake to open your third eye, etc, are amazing. But they are deceiving too. Remeber that the snake deceived Eve in the garden by tempting her with wisdom? (Third eye opening). Holy spirit is wisdom, and His is the wisdom we should seek. Not the energies and Chakras and manifestations. These are real, my friend. Which makes it a bit scary as to which spirit you are allowing to control you. Holy Spirit is a gentleman. Jesus is a gentleman. Pray for wisdom, not signs and manifestations. Pray for right relationship, not earthly wealth. Seek first the Kingdom of God… in context, what is Jesus talking about? Please read Matthew 6 In context…what do verses 1-7 say right before? Read and pray. God bless. He will lead you into Wisdom James 1:5

  4. Also, (I’m currently back in Redding..) I was talking to a friend, Christian lady. She recommended to me – to meet a 70-year-old woman, who lives in Redding, and she calls her “the real deal” (She was a missionary to Uganda)

    Anyway, the problem that we have is the actual “witness” sometimes. E.g., a friend had a house – which he rented to BSSM young women. He was cleaning out the house & my friend asked him about what happened. He said,- they not only left all of the furniture, which he had to clean out, but they also did not pay the last two months of rent, on the house – that is not a very good witness, for the ministry school.

    But, anyway, this lady (Ugandan missionary) said – she has observed the BSSM students evangelizing and she says that the problems is: “they are too aggressive and not sincere.” SURE, there’s a learning curve….

  5. This is a really good article on the Sozo ministry.

    http://www.truthforfree.com/?p=1348

    “The church that sponsors this program can’t even get basic Bible doctrine right… Why on earth would anyone trust the struggles of their soul to them? GO TO JESUS INSTEAD! He’s more powerful and won’t charge you a dime… and He’ll spend unlimited time with you for no extra fee!”

    “One thing that a lot of these inner-healing programs tend to emphasize are things like spiritual warfare, renouncing curses, and exposing lies… but they rarely focus on the simple Gospel of Jesus or the doctrine He taught. There is almost no emphasis on repentance from sin. These programs tend to suggest that everyone is a victim of either a lie or a curse or of a spiritual attack, rather than acknowledging that sin works death in us.”

    “Talk about your “microwave generation”… Now we’ve got groups selling “addons” to Jesus. “When God just isn’t enough… When He’s taking to long to meet your perceived need… there’s Sozo.” It’s like a commercial for fuel additive. “Just pour this into your spiritual tank and vroooom! God works much better in your life with Sozo additive!”

  6. If 1 in 30 people go to the church, and the number of “SOZO” conferences/trainings they have (with the students, etc.) Everyone is the city should be “sozed up” by now!! healing/saved/delivered. WHY NOT???

    (I mean, if it really worked, come on…)

  7. The strange thing is: Redding, CA is the 5th most dangerous city (in the U.S.) for women to live in. Meaning, violent crime, etc.

    If cultural transformation is the goal – then just look at the city of Redding.

    You’ll know a tree by it’s fruit.

    http://www.krcrtv.com/news/Redding-Ranked-5th-Most-Dangerous-City-For-Women-In-U-S/-/14286064/14165654/-/76saq8/-/index.html

    And we’re like 4 FROM THE BOTTOM on “Saddest Cities in America” in terms of: life evaluation, physical health, healthy behavior, emotional, work, and basic access to heath care providers.

    The city of Redding pretty much *can not* get any worse (and still be an American city – and still be actually part of this county) Sadly, in the school, they tell the students (and by “tell the students” I mean, “feed them this line” ….) “Since God is working so much in the church, we have the opposite happening in the city.” Okay??? Or is that more of that witchcraft manipulation Bethel Church leaders are so famous for imposing on “sheep”. (Is that more of that “wolves in sheep’s clothing” talk?)

    Hmm, that’s funny because that is not what my Bible says…

    “When the righteous are in charge the city flourishes.” Proverbs 29:2

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-41142308/the-10-happiest-and-saddest-cities-in-the-us/

    there needs to be some kinda “tangible fruit”

    Not just a conference on City Transformation, but actual *City Transformation*

    So, if Bethel church has been in “revival” since 1995…

    Are you saying those “declarations” do not work? 15 + years later.

    Again, I’m going to reference Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, those students have a reputation of going out into the community and doing actual city transformation. Even atheists admit they do good work.

    It is a beautiful city though – surrounded by mountains : )

    Bethel church’s so-called “Cultural Transformation” does not translation (it would be safe to say) with “quality of life” as far as jobs, opportunities, access to health care, etc. etc. etc.

    In a town of 90,000 people a church with 3,000 attendees – that would mean 1 in 30 people in Redding attend the church.

    • be careful u r not straining at gnat, cuz jesus said u might swallow a camel….. and that u will b judged as u judge….. and u will reap what u sow….. even if they r not perfect, but they might still b doing more of what christ wants than ur church…..

      • This is NOT a tit for tat my church is better than your church…. Kinda blog.

        Bottom line, are they preaching the Gospel of Christ crucified.?

  8. From another website, http://mkayla.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/a-note-re-sozo/#comment-8197

    just1ofhis on November 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm said:

    “A quick trip to ibethel store answers the question for me of whether SOZO could be a move of God or not. If this is what God had in mind, then the book of Acts would tell the story of Peter and John and Paul and how they set up an awesome store with all the books they wrote on miracles, their trips to heaven, running a deliverance ministry, healing, and getting “drunk” in the spirit. It would tell of how they sold those books all over the world, made a ton of money, built a lavish church for God, and put on great stage shows.

    Just compare what these people are doing to the account that we have of the early church in Acts. That will clear it up in a hurry.”

  9. well, I live in Redding, so I see a sort of different side to it.

    Namely, I think the students often take resources that they *should not be taking* (and the leadership should have something to say about it – but they don’t)

    California is, without a doubt, the welfare state. Esp. if one has children – you pretty much can write your ticket, because the state will pay for *everything* Offering loads more resources than other states in terms of housing, cash, etc. However, if a student is paying the $4,000/year tuition to attend the school – isn’t the responsibility to have a job, first and foremost (not taking the resources…that are for people who actually need them) because doing the actual Bethel program (sometimes just laying on the floor “drunk” …) is very rarely going to lead to full-time employment. and if they are paying the tuition – clearly they have some funds. Why don’t they just look for employment and attend the church? Instead of living off of the Welfare State. Somehow it is the state’s responsibility to pay for housing food healthcare for [some] BSSM students?

    So, I have a problem when the leadership doesn’t speak up on these things – because if the students are paying their tuition (if they can afford that) they shouldn’t have “the State” picking up the tab for (really only eligible if one has children) everything else.

    So, there was general disdain last fall when Bethel got labeled a “training program” (I don’t know who they paid…) meaning that Bethel students would be eligible for even more Welfare programs. It just seems irresponsible. No one *has to* go to the school. The church should speak up about such things and say, “Hey, we want you to be responsible citizens and if you are not able to support yourself, and go to the school, we want you to make yourself available for full-time work, and attend the church when you can. But you don’t have to go the school, if you can’t buy groceries, etc. on your own.) Those are my thoughts.

    But what was hated – at Social Services – was this *attitude* where people come from all over the world to leach off the state in California so they can attend Bethel’s school – and believe me it is happening. somehow *the word* is spreading.

    So, do Bethel’s students stimulate the economy. Yea. But they also take a lot of resources that they should not take. (that really are not meant for them, they don’t pay taxes. Esp. if they’re from another country…) there’s another side to it, that’s what I’m saying.

    Case in point – this is why my co-workers did not like BSSM saw them a leach to the county. A couple, with 2 or 3 kids (I can’t remember exactly) flew from New Zealand – family of 5 – to attend Bethel’s school, and then shows up the next day at the county’s social services office, asking, you know, what can you give us? Wait a second here….did they not just pay how many THOUSANDS of dollars to fly to Redding? And how many THOUSANDS of dollars are they paying to attend the school. But all the rest (food/housing/healthcare) is going to be from the State?

    And I think it’s just CORRUPT that the leadership doesn’t speak out on such things. I mean, come on…those services are there for people who really need them. But as long as they’re still making a big profit on that tuition, they don’t care : (

  10. Reposted from Jupeter24

    jupeter24 | February 4, 2013 at 6:30 am
    HI, I have a very complicated/complex story. Like I said, I want to write a book because I think there is some false teaching. on this subject/the area of sexuality.

    I was attending a very small “revivalist church” that (I believe) was a part of Bethel’s network. (If not officially a part of Bethel’s network, then they still attended many conferences there, and knew a few of the leaders – Danny Silk, etc. on an acquaintance level) My problem is really with the Transformation Center, BUT…in trying to deal with what occurred with them…I got (I don’t know how to say it..) “pulled in further to some bigger mess.” and I dealt with some leaders that were (at that time) the things that they said/did was *not of the Lord* trust me.

    (more to come…)

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