Marsha West
November 6, 2014
Bethel Church's "Apostle" Bill Johnson: A comedy of errors, Part 2
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By Marsha West

Before I report on Apostle Bill's endeavor to involve his followers in his "grave sucking," undertaking, I must tell you a brief story that involves an angel, a gift, and slaying a dragon.

May 2005

Wednesday night at half past 11, I was in bed reading when a white lightning bolt struck the floor and out stepped a dazzling creature with wings the length of a 747. "Do not fear!" he said when he saw the alarmed expression on my face. "I am the angel Archibald!" My husband was sacked out next to me with a pillow over his head so he announced in a quiet voice, "I have come with a message from the Lord of hosts."

A flood of feathers floated around the room so I covered my nose and mouth with both hands. But it was too late. "Ah-choo!"

"God bless you!" said the angel.

Now I was certain that he was the Lord's messenger. I tapped my husband on the back and whispered, "Wake up." Dead to the world. A poke in the ribs and, "Honey...you gotta see this."

A muffled voice groaned, "Whuuut?"

"We have a visitor."

The pillow came off his head and he sat bolt upright in bed. Seconds later he spotted Archibald hovering in the corner. "Holy cow!" he exclaimed.

"Cow?" said the angel, seeming a bit cross. "Hardly!" His eyes shifted from my stunned husband and settled on me. In a strong clear voice he stated matter-of-factly: "The Spirit of God has bestowed upon you a new gift. Forthwith you will become a blogger."

He eyed me quizzically, waiting for my response. When none was forthcoming, he said firmly, "You are to use your new gift to expose ravenous wolves that have slipped into the sheep pen under the cover of darkness. These wolves are teaching doctrines of demons..."

I didn't have to ask what he meant by doctrines of demons. He had to be alluding to Word of Faith...New Apostolic Reformation...Purpose Driven...Emergent...Social Justice...New Age...New Thought and other false teaching that had made its way into churches and seminaries while our shepherds snoozed. "I've tried telling people about false teaching, I said to myself, "but what I say goes in one ear and out the other."

I heard the angel say: "There are counterfeits who call themselves new apostles and prophets. These men and women are giving Him (he glanced up at the ceiling) a bad name. Expose them as false teachers!" His wings ceased fluttering and he became as still as a stone. "Are you ready to serve the King?

"Are you kidding me?" I exclaimed in disbelief. "First of all, I'm not gifted to write – or at least I wasn't, until now." I searched for excuses. "And...and I got a B in English by the skin of my teeth – "

The angel cut me off sharply. "Certainly you do not think this is news to Him (he glanced up at the ceiling)."

True. God knows all things, including my grades in college. Perhaps He wanted to get me out of my comfort zone. Writing a blog would definitely accomplish that. One last try: "But...um... I'm nobody! No one will listen to a word I say."

"Some will listen," Archibald assured me. "And others will fall for lies. It is always that way with humans."

I turned to my husband and said, "Tell him no one will take me seriously."

My husband came out of his stupor and said in a serious tone, "God uses nobodies all the time. But there's a catch. You've got to be willing." He looked me straight in the eye. "Are you?"

Am I willing, I wondered? I needed but a moment to ponder his question. Yes, I guess I am, I said to myself. I'm more than willing. Suddenly I felt as if I could go out and slay a dragon. "OK, I'll do it!" I glanced over at my husband. "The two of us can do it together."

We high-fived and he said with a grin, "We make a good team."

I gave Archibald a thumbs up. "We're in."

Poof! The angel disappeared, feathers and all.



The next morning I found a large silver feather on the floor where Archibald had appeared to us. He had left his calling card.

Bentley's Angels

In part one I covered New Apostolic Reformation's rock-star evangelist Todd Bentley and the shame he brought on the Name of our Lord and how "Super Apostles" Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner restored him to ministry despite his obvious character flaws. There were exaggerated healings and dangerous "healing" practices that included assaulting the sick with leg drops, high kicks and head punches which he claimed the Lord told him to do to people who came to him for help. Moreover, Bentley drank excessively, committed adultery and soon thereafter left his wife and children and married the adulteress. There's a whole lot more to report on the fraud evangelist, but space does not allow. So – why bring him up again? Because he says angels visit him. It's not uncommon for people who are into "signs and wonders" strange manifestations, and other esoteric experiences to boast of angel visitations. Two angels who supposedly come to Bentley are Emma-O and the Winds of Change. Winds is supposedly "a high-ranking angel over all the ones assigned to healing, breakthrough and revival unto harvest."

To the best of my knowledge Todd Bentley has never met the Angel Archibald. But I have. Or have I?

Do you see the problem? I made up a story and so can you. Anyone with a vivid imagination can make up a story about angel visitations, trips to heaven, and whatnot. But there's no way to validate all the wild claims people make. Sadly, NAR leaders pitch their stories to gullible sheeple who want desperately to believe that their heroes would never lie to them. This might explain why "Super Apostle" Rick Joyner's followers hang on his every word as he looks straight into a video camera and testifies that he's been to heaven. During one of his many visits he claims the Lord handed him the key to eternal joy. Watch the video he made and you'll see that I'm not making this up. In it Apostle Rick crows that he's had a number of encounters with Elijah, and he knows many others who've had Elijah encounters too! He's quick to point out that it's not necromancy (communicating with the dead) because Elijah was taken up to heaven without dying. At 9:20 minutes you'll learn how he met Enoch.

But this is not about Rick Joyner's spiritual gift of pulling the wool over the sheep's eyes. So I'll move on.

Grave Sucking

It's hard to imagine anything more ludicrous than "grave sucking" yet Apostle Bill endorses this macabre practice. Grave sucking aka "mantle grabbing" occurs when the Holy Spirit draws powers from the bones of a deceased person who, while alive, was allegedly Spirit empowered. Since God's mission for the dead is thwarted when he dies, the Spirit passes on his powers to individuals who visit their graves.

According to Victory Ministries, Apostle Bill led a group to John Lake's grave where the following ensued:

He was looking for Lake's anointing to heal the sick by a supernatural power. The people seeking this new paranormal anointing prostrated themselves upon Lake's grave weeping, worshipping and expecting that Lake's ministry power would strike them and his spirit would infuse them with a sign and wonders ministry like he had when he was alive. Thus, a new preternatural cult was formed that day that is now referred to as "grave sucking."

Mr. Johnson testified about this bazaar act of desecration and necromancy (the practice of attempting to communicate with the spirits of the dead in order to predict or influence the future) that he and his group committed on Sid Roth's radio show, "It's Supernatural"

Johnson spun a weird mystical/Occult experience tale to Sid Roth about meeting the Late John Lake's angel in the building where Lake had previously ministered in his healing rooms. He testified that two ladies went to a back room and they met a giant angel there that healed one of the women. They called Johnson and when he came into the room, he claimed there was an angel about 10 feet tall. Sid asked him, did you see the angel? Johnson replied "No, but I knew he was there and the angel said to me, 'What took you so long, I've been here for 80 years!'"
(Source)

It should surprise no one that Bill Johnson claims that he had a tête-à-tête with an angel.

What does the Bible say about playing around in the spirit realm?:

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (Colossians 2:18-19)

Bethel School Of Sorcery

Apostle Bill runs the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding CA. According to its website:

(BSSM) is committed to the truth that God loves people, gave Himself for them and has given His Church supernatural power to bring individuals and nations into wholeness. The mission of BSSM is to equip and deploy revivalists who passionately pursue world-wide transformation in their God-given spheres of influence. Students are trained to continue in the ministry style of Jesus: to enjoy the presence of God, say what He is saying, and do what He is doing. (emphasis added)

Basically, BSSM trains people to heal the sick and raise the dead. This raises the question: why do these folks not bring dead people back to life in America, Canada and western European countries? Why only in the developing countries? If the dearly departed are coming out of their graves in the developed countries, the media would surely report on it.

Insanity

The Redding Spotlight describes one man's experience at Bethel Church (BC):

After a strange experience with an erratic Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry student who baby-sat his children, Bart McCurdy of Cottonwood decided to find out for himself what was going on at Bethel.

McCurdy said he attended a Friday night service at the church, during which he saw people painting on stage, dancing and flailing around on the ground. He found their worship music unconventional when one line of the same song was played for at least 11 minutes, he said.

McCurdy said the repetitive music, dancing, painting and excessive stimuli serve to get people worked up into an emotional frenzy where they're expecting to see miraculous things.

"They come looking for that feel-good feeling, that high, for supposed miracles, supposed signs and wonders, speaking in tongues, gold dust, diamonds, feathers
[floating down from the ceiling]. ... It seems like they're just ready for it," he said.

Once, as she ran through her house frantically searching for her journals, the baby sitter told McCurdy the anti-Christ was in her house and Jesus was in hell saving people, he said. Shortly after that, she went into a trancelike state and said she felt 20 feet tall before losing consciousness.... The behavior made him believe she was demon-possessed, he said.

McCurdy said he regularly downloads podcasts of Bethel messages and hasn't heard the Christian gospel message taught at Bethel. ...


Then what gospel does Apostle Bill preach if not the gospel of Christ taught in the Bible? He teaches the Word of Faith/prosperity gospel (WoF) that saves no one. What is the true gospel message?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph 2:8-9)

See also 1 Cor. 15:1-8

Despite the fact that Apostle Bill teaches a false gospel he's hugely popular with many professing Christians. His book sales are in the millions. He's become so popular that a large number of churches around the globe are affiliated with BC. This speaks volumes as to the current state of evangelicalism. Sadly, a growing number of believers have zero discernment, thus they accept every "wind of doctrine." Translation: Every sort of false teaching that blows their way.

A Challenge

Christians have been warned that charismania, as some call it, represents a danger to millions of people around the globe, especially to LIEs (low information evangelicals) and the unsaved. Because of self-professed apostles and prophets such as C. Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner (mentioned in part one), Bill Johnson and a slew of others, we've seen an unbridled abuse of the Holy Spirit. After reading this series, I challenge you to do your own research (links below). Before starting, pray that God will reveal truth to you. What you'll discover is that WoF/NAR teaching isn't remotely close to historic orthodox Christianity – and it certainly isn't the Christianity for which the martyrs shed their blood! Flee from it!

Part 1

Resources:

Strange Fire Conference Q&A – Phil Johnson interviews John MacArthur

The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church's Bill Johnson – By John Lanagan

C. Peter Wagner launches WLI Seattle, Sonrise Chapel, Feb. 3, 2008 – Around 54:00 minutes into the session, Wagner responds during the Q&A. He tells the audience that when the Holy Spirit stopped revealing things through the written Word, He kept on revealing new things to us through the "Rhema Word." He claims that the Holy Spirit still speaks to us today by giving us information that you cannot find in the 66 books of the Bible; info that the Bible doesn't address, but it's not contradictory.

NAR "Apostle C. Peter Wagner teaching its key doctrine of Dominionism

Todd Friel of Wretched Radio/TV on Bill Johnson – 2:14 min.

Why I Must Speak Out Against the NAR and Bethel Church – Tony Miano, host of Cross Encounters radio, discusses, among other things, the music of BC's music team Jesus Culture (more below). Listen to Tony tell of his Twitter chat with Beni Johnson, Bill's pastorette wife.

Bill Johnson...scroll down – Apologetics Index

All About Angels – On Solid Rock resources

New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism – On Solid Rock Resources

Bethel Church's Music & Entertainment:

Jesus Culture of Bethel Church and Practicing Raising the Dead – Ken Silva

The Holy Spirit Makes A Movie? I Don't Think So... – Amy Spreeman

The "Jesus Culture" – a petri dish for growing young new heretics?

Watch And Weep:

Try this Bethel Redding Snack Pack – My Word Like Fire

Gold dust rains at Bethel service

Bethel Church Dance

Bethel Church children's director and "trips to heaven, with kids"

Creative Miracles at Bethel

Bethel Church Dance

Kundalini Spirit at Redding

School of Worship – Prophetic Song

Helpful Scripture:

Matthew 7:13-16,

Acts 20:25-31,

Eph 4:14,

1 Thess. 5:21-22

© Marsha West

 

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