Do you notice coldness in Christian circles or the warmth of Christ’s love?
“And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matt. 24:12)
How we choose to love is a tell-tale sign of whether or not we are a real Christian. I have noticed that many of the cults teach on love and promote love as they hide behind Christianity. One such cult is the Sozo cult.
Once someone crosses their path whom they do not like, they withdraw love. They choose hate instead. This makes them hypocritical like the ancient Pharisees.
As Christians, we must remember that we are to fulfill the “law of love”. In fact, loving God and others is the highest command.
I came across this in my Bible this morning:
“God is love. Since we are His children we must walk in love. In fact, John says that if we do not love, we do not know God. Love is more than just words; it is actions. Love is giving, not getting. Biblical love is unconditional in its nature. Christ’s love fulfilled those qualities and when that brand of love characterizes us, we will be free of self-condemnation and experience confidence before God.” (See source; Emphasis mine)
Are you a Christian? If so, do you fulfill Christ’s “law of love”?
I was also reading the book of Philemon the other day. This book contains a picture of the tender-hearted love that Christ wants us to possess.
The following passage is from Philemon:
“So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.” (Phil. 1:17-21)
Do you find that Christian love is hard to find these days?
I have known loving, genuine Christians and I have known professing Christians who are unloving. What about you?
Source: The Holy Bible, NKJV. (1982). Thomas Nelson, Inc. p. 1398
Listen below for a two-part interview on the Sozo Cult as Jan Markell interviews Joan and Dirk Miller. The Millers are parents of a girl who was brainwashed by the Sozo Cult at Bethel Church. Probably the most disturbing part of this interview is when the parents explain how Bethel Church threatened the girl that bad things would happen to her family if she does not go with the Bethel leaders. The cults use fear tactics to isolate their victims from their loved ones. Then, their loved ones become the “enemies” (see the “Warning Signs” list by Rick Ross on the right side of this website).
DP does not endorse all the views of Olive Tree Ministries nor all the views of Jan Markell/Understanding The Time Radio.
#churchtoo #spiritualabuse #bethelredding
“To do” or “not to do”?
Sally is a zealous Christian who volunteers at the homeless shelter every week. She visits the ill and writes books to help sexual abuse victims. Sally reads the Bible and believes that putting it into practice is key.
Sally’s friend from church, Jan, sees all the good deeds and active service that Sally does. Instead of encouraging Sally and cheering her on, Jan gives Sally a hard time and tells her, “Why are you doing so much? Take life easy, don’t worry about doing a thing”. Jan then accuses Sally of trying to win God’s approval by works. Jan calls Sally a “legalist” and a “pharisee” for believing in Bible doctrine and practicing it.
I will explain to you why this happens all the time in Christian circles. Many Christians are afraid of the word “do”. Many professing Christians believe that since God’s grace saves us, we are not to do anything else with our lives. It is a sort of “do-phobia”.
These non-zealous Christians often label the zealous ones. Sometimes, they cast false slurs on zealous Christians (like “legalist” or even worse, “pharisee”). Most of the time, these labels come from individuals who do not know the Greek meanings of these labels.
These zealous Christians are often met with statements like, “we are saved by grace, so don’t do anything else”. While God’s grace does indeed save us, this grace should not prompt us to laziness or a prolonged spiritual stupor but to loving service! In fact, “doing” has nothing to do with earning salvation, and “doing”, in this sense, is not the same as “salvation by works”.
“Doing” has a whole lot to do with what comes after true conversion. After we have decided to follow Christ, we love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). When we love God, loving obedience ensues. It’s that love, from the Holy Spirit, that propels us to “do”! Why does this matter? It matters because our society needs more individuals who love others with action. Our world needs Christians to put the Bible into practice. People like Jan confuse Christians like Sally who are trying to follow Christ.
Consider these seven Biblical, New Testament admonitions to “do”:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)
“He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise.'” (Luke 10:37)
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:22-25)
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10)
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:14-30; The Parable of the Talents)”
Greek for “do”
This Greek word for “do” is often “peripateó” which means to walk, behave or conduct ourselves. It can also be from the Greek word “poieó” which means to make, manufacture, construct or cause. The Greek word for “disciple” is “mathétés” which means a learner of the doctrines of Scripture and a doer. A disciple is someone who does the necessary life application and follow-through.
Today, ponder this word “do”. In the power of the Spirit, go out and get it done! Not to earn your salvation, but because God, by His grace, saved you!
“Go” and “do”.
If God is so good and powerful, why does He allow evil and suffering? A helpful lecture by Dr. Gary DeWeese of Biola University…
“We require God to remove evil after evil until a paper cut is worst evil in world. How can there be a good God if He allows paper cuts?” (Dr. Gary DeWeese)
The lecture entitled Solving the Problem of Evil by Dr. Garrett DeWeese; Biola University Christian Apologetics Department is extremely helpful when addressing the valid question, “If God is so good, why does he permit evil and suffering in the world?” I listened to this lecture a while back while in the Christian Apologetics program, and it was outstanding.
Dr. DeWeese explains the fact that there are two different kinds of evil:
- Moral evil; caused by free choices of moral agents (e.g., Nazis used their free will to cause suffering in others)
- Natural evil (Phenomena of nature; Operation of non-moral causes)
Dr. DeWeese further explains:
“Now, most concerns when we talk about the problem of evil have to do with moral evil. But when we come back to Bambi, the fawn that was horribly burned by the forest fire caused by lightning, you have to ask, ‘Why did God make a world in which natural cause and effect can bring about such suffering. And I think something like this…would give us the very same kind of answer as the free will defense did against moral evil. Conclusion, of all of this, God is a good God. He did not need evil to exist in order for His goodness to be good! He did not need to create at all. God did not need you and me. Or creatures like us. But having freely made the decision to create, and having decided to gift the creation with freedom, thereby to receive greater glory from it, God also made possible suffering and evil. God did not make suffering and evil. He made it possible. Do the existence of suffering and evil in our world count against the existence of God? I think so. I think there are arguments. I don’t think atheists that talk about these arguments are irrational. But I think the positive arguments for God’s existence together with the defenses, the rebuttals, that we can offer for the arguments from evil, are such that we can have great confidence not only that God exists but that evil can be successfully dealt with philosophically, and with using the theological resources of our faith as our understanding of God grows, our certainty of that conclusion will grow as well.” (See source; Emphasis mine)
This is such a complex subject. If you have the time, please listen to the audio by Dr. DeWeese I provided in the link above. It is okay and good to ask questions like these. God is a God of truth, and He is not afraid of nor mad at our honest questions. What is not okay is to go through life – never digging and arriving at the answer – and dying with unanswered questions. What a tragedy that would be. So, if you are digging and asking questions, good for you.
Another kind of moral evil: Suffering for being a Christian and/or doing what is right
In addition to moral evil and natural evil, there is a sort of evil and suffering that comes about by doing what is good! This falls into the moral evil category. This is what the rest of this article will be about. Crucial to note is that this is temporary. For the Christian, there will not always be suffering:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Remember, even Jesus suffered:
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Heb. 2:9)
God does not delight in evil. Human beings have free will. God did not make puppets. Rather, He made people with the ability and freedom to choose good or evil. If He made puppets, there would be no love because it would be forced love. Love must contain a free choice to be love. God chose to send His Son into the world because He loves you and me. He gave us freedom to choose Him or not, to choose right or to choose wrong. The puppets would have no choice or freedom in the matter.
There must be free will.
What does it mean to be blessed? People of the world want to be blessed. Christians want to be blessed. Everyone wants to be blessed, and nobody wants to “suffer”. We often wish people “blessings” and want them to “be blessed”. But, what does it mean to “be blessed”? Prosperity preachers (false prophets) will tell us that being blessed means health, wealth and happiness; a great job, popularity, and a lot of money. This is what most of the world thinks. The definition of blessed that Jesus gave was quite different. Jesus said that when we are experiencing such things as being “poor in spirit”, mournful, meek, desiring righteousness and being persecuted, insulted, and falsely accused…this is when Jesus says we are “blessed”. It is when we experience these issues that we are truly ‘blessed’…according to God. It is when we are “afflicted in every way”, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, and delivered to death (whether spiritually or physically) that we are truly blessed (2 Corinthians 4:1).
This is God’s truth, yet how many Christians believe this? And how many pastors faithfully preach this?
Another example is that Jesus says it is more “blessed” to give than to receive. Yet, we often equate blessings not with giving or sacrificing something of value to us, but with receiving something from someone or from God.
Remember Acts 20:35, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Being falsely accused of evil, being persecuted and insulted because of Christ – yep, that’s blessed in God’s eyes. There are future rewards for those sufferings. Some of us are blessed and don’t even know it. Jesus says, “for great is your reward in heaven”. Life’s temporary happiness is worth nothing compared to eternity. The Apostle Paul called his troubles “light and momentary afflictions”, and he went through nothing that we would call “light afflictions”! He was beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Cor. 4:17)
Jesus explains true blessings. God sees blessings differently than the way we see them, for His understanding is higher than ours. He even conveys in Scripture that suffering for being a Christian is a blessing. He goes so far as to say all true Christians will be persecuted: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus believes that if we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings (suffering for being a Christian; doing or saying Godly, Biblical, Christian things), then we are to “REJOICE”, that when His glory is revealed, we will have exceeding joy. We are to be happy when we are reproached. This is opposite of the worldly view.
Here is a passage from 1 Peter 4 about suffering: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator”.
Did you know that people hated Christ?
“Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3:13)
Christ made it clear that people of the world (and that includes worldly, Christian-in-name-only people) would hate His disciples. In fact, Matthew 10:25 makes it clear that if we truly are His disciples, then we could even be called worse things than Jesus: “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”.
Disciples will love others, but they will be hated in return.
Jesus calls this blessed.
He even goes so far as to say, “woe to you” (how horrible it will be) for some: “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). Wow. Being praised by the crowds, in God’s eyes, is not a blessing, but a woe? This, again, is a completely opposite view of what the world calls “blessed”.
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. This was the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew, chapter 5. Jesus explains more of what it is like to be truly blessed:
“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.
Are you blessed? Count your blessings! This will be comforting to some. I pray this is enlightening and comforting to Christians who suffer for Christ and an eye opener for those who refuse to. Be blessed.
The Loneliness of a Christian by A.W. Tozer
The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world.
His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorptions in the love of Christ; and because with his circle of friends there are few who share his inner experiences, he’s forced to walk alone.
The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord himself suffered in the same way.
The man (or woman) who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk.
For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided, and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for the friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none, he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.
It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.
Source: DeWeese, Gary. (n.d.). Solving the Problem of Evil. [Lecture and transcript]. Biola University Christian Apologetics Department. Accessed October 1, 2018.
This article was originally published September 8, 2011
Is Sozo healing safe and biblical? The real roots and history of Sozo: Randy Clark of Toronto Blessing, jungle and barnyard animal behaviors, Bethel Church, Argentina and more…
September 2019 Update: From now until October 1, 2019, I am actively seeking contributors to my book that exposes Sozo. If you have had a bad experience with Sozo, or have lost a loved one to Sozo, please email me ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can get your testimony into my book. I would love to share your testimony and will not reveal your identity. Thank you.
HISTORY OF SOZO
“In 1997, Randy Clark, a healing evangelist, held meetings at Bethel Church. At that time, Pastor Clark would send a team to train a congregation how to be prayer servants. A small portion of that training was a model of ‘deliverance’ from Argentina. This model became our first tool ‘The Four Doors’.”
The above is a direct quote that www.bethelsozo.com provides in their history section. Elsewhere in this section, it states that the “Lord introduced” these tools for this healing ministry. Interestingly, the Word of God (the Bible) does not support this at all.
Why didn’t the Lord introduce these tools a long time ago so that others could have been using these tools for the past twenty centuries or more? Why did “the Lord” wait so long to introduce these methods if this is what “sozoes” (saves, heals and delivers) a person and “makes them obtain a connection to the Father”? What did the early Christians of the previous centuries do to get “saved, healed and delivered”? Did they rely on these Sozo tools, or did they rely on the shed blood of Jesus? Why would the Lord wait 2000 years to introduce these tools to save, heal and deliver?
Here are the seven tools introduced by “the Lord”.
- Father Ladder
- Four Doors
- Presenting Jesus
- The Wall
- Trigger Mechanisms (Advanced Tool)
- Divine Editing (Advanced Tool)
- Shabar (that is, if the above tools fail to work)
According to this official source of Sozo, Randy Clark of the Toronto Blessing is part of the roots of this movement (as well as an Argentinian healing ministry). According to my research, it is public information that Sozoers collect a “suggested donation” sometimes as much as $150.00 (or more). Interestingly, the cross (the message of “Christ crucified”) is found nowhere on the official Bethel Sozo website. I spent a good amount of time going over every page, and no cross! Therefore, this is yet another good reason to believe that Sozo is a false gospel. Also, I contacted several official Sozoers and Sozo leaders and asked them how I could know I am saved. Most of them told me that Sozo [rather than Christ] is “the way to obtain a connection to the Father”! One of them told me that if I do Sozo, it’s like a “three in one deal” and that I would surely get connected to God via Sozo. Another Sozo leader told me that if I can hear an actual voice (i.e., of God), it is a sure sign of being saved. Most of them (all but one) could not explain to me the real Gospel message of Christ crucified, but instead told me to just do Sozo to get connected to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2:5)
Who is Randy Clark and what is the Toronto Blessing?
Randy Clark is a friend of Bill Johnson according to Bill’s public “friend list” online. Many people say, “you can’t believe everything you see on the internet,” but direct quotes from official sources are true and undeniable. Also, the official sources do tell others that “the Lord” sends barnyard and jungle animal manifestations and even drunkenness and uncontrollable laughter (see the photo provided). These are the types of notions Randy Clark teaches, and it doesn’t seem like Bill Johnson has a problem with it! The following photo is from www.catchthefire.com:
The answer is Jesus, not Sozo. He alone can sozo (i.e., save, heal and deliver) a person. Furthermore, He has been doing it (free of a suggested donation) for centuries. Sozo is not the mediator between God and men.
“Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (Proverbs 30:6)
Sozo suggests that you need to keep doing Sozo sessions in order to be set free, but what does the Bible say?
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11)
Answer: The Toronto Blessing refers to the supposed outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the people attending the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship Church, which at the time was the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church. On January 20, 1994, a Pentecostal pastor named Randy Clark spoke at the church and gave his testimony of how he would get drunk in the Spirit and laugh uncontrollably. In response to this testimony, the congregation erupted in pandemonium with people laughing, growling, dancing, shaking, barking like dogs, and even some even being stuck in positions of paralysis. These experiences were attributed to the Holy Spirit entering people’s bodies. The pastor of the church, John Arnott, referred to it as a big Holy Spirit party. The moniker “Toronto Blessing” was given, and the church was soon in the international spotlight. When this “blessing” is held to the light of Scripture, however, it can scarcely be called a blessing; abomination, maybe, but not blessing. Absolutely nowhere in Scripture can one find any precedent for what was happening at the Toronto Airport church, except, perhaps, the physical conditions demon-possessed people suffered. In fact, the Toronto Airport church became so embroiled in emotional outbursts and psychological displays that Pastor Arnott ceased preaching salvation, and instead preached about the party of the Holy Spirit. Experiences were being held in higher authority than Scripture. This was even too much for the already extremely charismatic Vineyard movement, which severed ties with the Toronto Airport church in 1995, prompting the name change to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. A believer’s focus needs to be Jesus Christ, the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), not on oneself, one’s experiences, or even the Holy Spirit. The Toronto Blessing focuses on the last, to the detriment of biblical faith. Believers can have fun, dance, sing, even shout to the Lord. However, when a worship service resembles the dream of a demented schizophrenic and attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit, only one word comes to mind: heresy.
This article was originally published on April 26, 2013 and has been updated.
#churchtoo #spiritualabuse #bethelredding
In this new article from the San Francisco Chronicle, a former 50-year resident of Redding, California and licensed clinical social worker explains why she made the choice to leave Redding. This says a lot:
“I recently chose to leave Redding after nearly 50 years in this community, where I raised my family and where many I love remain. I left almost entirely because of Bethel and the city’s passive complicity in the real factors that ail Redding. Did you wonder why Bethel gave $500,000 for law enforcement but not homeless shelters…did anyone ask what happens to the hundreds of people who come from all over the world to have their serious mental or medical illness “healed”? When they don’t believe “strongly enough” to be healed, they end up on the streets of Redding, sick, alone and far from home. Please do some research. Begin with the “seven mountain mandate,” which teaches that the church should take control of seven important aspects of society, and the New Apostolic Reformation (a growing movement in the U.S.). Review Bethel’s history in the nearby community of Weaverville (Trinity County). Look at the net worth of Bethel’s leader, Bill Johnson. Ask some questions. Find the answers.” (Roxanna Zalesny; Emphasis mine)
Also, in a previous article, it is noted that many of the town’s residents are not happy with the cult. That is, a cult which looks eerily similar to Scientology and disregards healthy separation of church and state. The article explains:
“Suffice it to say that church leadership rake in untold millions of tax-deducted dollars. Apparently, leader Bill Johnson’s wife, his two sons and their wives are all on the payroll. Bethel Church is the perfect example of why churches should be required to file the same annual reports as every other nonprofit organization. It won’t happen because Congress is scared to death of Christianity, Inc.”
“…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:14)
When we anchor our faith on the Word of God, we won’t be “carried around by every wind of doctrine”. These various doctrines come to us by way of the false prophets. The false prophet’s agenda is to attack the truth of God’s Word. Since right doctrines lead to right living and false doctrines lead to bad living, having right teaching is paramount. Jesus explained how even a little error is very damaging (Galatians 5:9). Many friends I have had believe that Christians are to “eat the meat and spit out the bones” when it comes to listening to teaching. That is, to take what is good and discard what is bad or false, and to keep listening. Where do we see Christ teaching this?
The Bible also likens false prophets to wolves. They seek to destroy the flock with their false teaching. In fact, they have an inner drive to bring down God’s sheep, and often this drive is well disguised. The Bible says false prophets are crafty:
“These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted…” (Jude 1:12)
So crafty are false prophets that they seek to get to the sheep by infiltrating our churches and homes (this can be through radio, TV, books, online sermons, etc.):
“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:6,7)
One of the commands of Jesus is to beware the false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Please notice in the Scripture above the word, “creep”. How many people have you known who look and seem like Christians, but who turn out in the end to be teaching false doctrine and their own ideas over the truth of God’s Word? It was the ancient Pharisees who nullified God’s Word in order to follow their own ideas:
“…thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:13)
This is why Jesus had a problem with the Pharisees (an ancient Jewish sect). They were overly lax and liberal with the truth and commands of God and invented their own false teachings instead. They set themselves up as religious representatives to the people. The Bible says to beware the false teachers, but it is also the command of Christ to seek to reconcile with others whom we have offended or who are offended by us, to put out those fires in our lives, and “leave your gift at the alter”:
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23,24)
Reconciling with others is an act of worship. Being the one who actually seeks the reconciliation is spiritual maturity; however, does God even want us running after certain people He has removed from our lives? Based on my own personal experience, sometimes it is painfully clear who is a false prophet and sometimes it is not so clear. There is great danger in mistaking a wolf for a sheep, but there is also great danger in mistaking a sheep for a wolf. Jesus wants us to have peace with our brothers, and we must not call our brothers what they are not (see Matthew 5:22). Jesus said we can know them by their fruit and of course, whether or not they are teaching truth or lies. What happens when there is a false teacher in the family? Would God ever call a believer to reconcile with a false prophet? Why or why not? And, do false brothers or “tares” also fall into this category (i.e., the category of “beware”)? Paul said he was in danger of false brothers in 2 Corinthians 11:26. I have come across false teachers, and it is a mind trip when it happens. The shock of it feels a bit like being a “deer in the headlights” when the individual you thought was a dear friend or pastor turns out to be a massive semi truck about to run you over and devour you swiftly with lies and false accusations rooted in lies.
Another command of Christ is to let your light shine because God is good to all:
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:44,45)
Was Christ referring to the false teachers too when he said “enemies”? With all the multitude of exceedingly stern warnings in Scripture about false prophets and false teachers, not to mention, the one which commands us to “mark and avoid” such people (Romans 16:17), how do you personally reconcile all these verses together? For example, what if there is a false prophet in your family? How would God want you to treat them? What if they got sick or needed money? It seems as thought there is a vast disconnect between “loving enemies and letting your light shine” and “being weary of, marking and avoiding” such individuals. When light shines, it shines on all. Light is not exactly selective on who or what it shines on. I am not suggesting shining light on the false prophets nor casting pearls before swine, but I am raising some real questions.
One time, years ago, I was actually exceedingly nice to a false prophet. I bought them gifts for all their children and expressed my love to them in many acts of service. Of course, I didn’t actually know they were a false prophet at that point. It didn’t turn out for my benefit at all, but ended up being massively, spiritually damaging. The guy ended up severely verbally abusing dozens (if not hundreds, actually) of sincere “sheep”. Wolves don’t exactly care if you are nice to them – it does not phase them – I have noticed. They are still wolves by nature. I am not suggesting that you make the same mistake I did.
What has been your experience, and how do you weigh all these verses together in your quest to obey the commands of Christ? Do you think the false prophets go after the empathetic and merciful types of “sheep” more than others? How do you know when God wants you to “go and reconcile” and when God wants you to “run and shun”?
This is a portion of a helpful article written by Victory Ministries, but please note that this ministry does not necessarily support all the beliefs of all the ministries listed in the links. Nevertheless, many of these links were helpful. The article is called GRAVE SUCKING BILL JOHNSON:
THE BLIND DECEIVED ONES IN THE THIRD WAVE CANNOT SEE OR UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ARE FULL OF KUNDALINI DEMONS AND SERPENT POWER. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE DEVOID OF REAL POWER, NEVER MIND HAVING TRUTH, INTEGRITY AND LOVE. THAT IS ALSO WHY THEY FALSELY SUED FOR $50 MILLION AND CHARACTER ASSASSINATE THE MESSENGER BECAUSE THEY ARE DEMONIC AND DON’T WANT TO HEAR THE TRUTH ABOUT THEMSELVES.
BILL JOHNSON IS THE DECEIVER http://www.scribd.com/doc/25418818
BILL JOHNSON & the NEW AGE
GRAVE SUCKING BILL JOHNSON http://wp.me/p2M7AJ-1mT
WARNING BILL JOHNSON AND BETHEL CHURCH http://moriel.org/MorielArchive/index.php/discernment/church-issues/warning-bill-johnson-and-bethel-church
THE BIG MISTAKE OF COPELAND AND FRIENDS http://wp.me/p2M7AJ-1Jc
GOD WANTS YOU WELL http://wp.me/p2M7AJ-1ry
THE FALSE BROWNSVILLE REVIVALhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/211818062/
NATIONAL AWAKENING http://www.scribd.com/doc/226939087
THIRD WAVE SEDUCERShttp://moriel.org/MorielArchive/index.php/news/with-real-concern-for-the-third-wave-word-of-faith-signs-wonders-laughing-charismatics
GOLD DUST http://wp.me/p2M7AJ-1Mm
DRUNK AND LAUGHING https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HBXGPAhd24&
More Deception, Back by Popular Demand! Paul Goulet’s Prophetic Conference 2019 at International Church of Las Vegas starring Malik and Ashley Edwards, Chuck Pierce and Jane Hamon…
The following is an old article from years ago, but looks like the Vegas “apostles” are back at it again!
There is nothing new under the sun! January 27, 2019 will mark the beginning of another extremely deceiving, cultic and mind-controlling “prophetic conference” at ICLV, the International Church of Las Vegas. If you are a Christian planning on attending, please do your research first like a noble Berean. You could save yourself and others from a lot of spiritual and emotional harm. That is, careening off the narrow path of being a disciple of Christ to unknowingly becoming a disciple of a false prophet.
Furthermore, false prophets are those who would lead you astray from the faith and sound doctrine of Christ. Jesus loved us so much that He warned us, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Jesus also warned us that the false prophets would have a massive following (and, these guys do; see Luke 6:26).
As it is, history repeats itself (the following is an article from years ago):
A few churches in the Las Vegas area openly support and are publicly affiliated with Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California. One of these churches is International Church of Las Vegas (ICLV). ICLV’s pastor (or some say apostle) Paul Goulet can even be found in Johnson’s public favorite friend list which lists many questionable ministries, even some who have promoted strange manifestations in Christian circles such as acting totally drunk and acting like a (quote from their own ministry website): “cross between a jungle and a farmyard” animal.
Neither of these manifestations are Christian (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22,23; 1 Cor. 14:23; 1 Peter 5:8). Rather, the fruit of the Spirit is self-control not a loss or lack of self-control. Here is a direct quote about a “transferable anointing” from one of Johnson’s ministries that he promotes:
“…transferable anointing. In its most visible form it overcomes 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.” (John and Carol Arnott, Catch the Fire, History of the Toronto Blessing)
Teachers involved in the Jesus Culture band and affiliated with Bethel Church (like Banning Liebscher) have spoken at ICLV in the past at the “Holy Spirit Conference”.
Therefore, please be very careful with letting anyone lay hands on you who has this “transferable anointing”. You could do strange things afterward.
Another upcoming tour scheduled in March 2013 to stop here in Las Vegas at ICLV is the Jesus Culture Still Believe Tour with Kim Walker-Smith.
Remember that Jesus Culture has come directly out of Bethel Church (Bill Johnson). Another church that gives their support of Bill Johnson is Encounter Community Church in Henderson, Nevada. This church even participates in Bethel’s “sozo” inner healing ministry (which originated at Bethel Church) and has promoted their sozo conference right here in Nevada. The inner healing ministry was started by two ladies just a few years ago. One of these ladies is also a “Liebscher” (Teresa Liebscher). So, why does this matter? Please read the article link at the top of this post. May God bless you and give you wisdom and discernment.
“For he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 1:11)
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)