Is Bethel Church a Cult? – John Boruff

The first time I heard about Bill Johnson and Bethel Church in Redding, California, was in college. A friend of mine from summer camp (I was a counselor) showed me a book from there: Kris Vallotton’s Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry (2005). I skimmed it over and read a section where Kris had an open vision of a guy and it brought him to repentance (pages 50-51). I was so moved by this, that I soon became very hungry for prophetic visions and dreams in my personal life. I also found that these experiences are not only to be expected by New Testament Christians, but that they are the primary way that the Holy Spirit communicates with prophets (Num. 12:6; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:17, etc). So, I was thankful for that little bit of Vallotton influence. I never bought the book or studied it thoroughly; I just began to pray and seek and contemplate the face of God, and listen to God, and the Holy Spirit began to speak specifically to me from time to time, in a theological framework of sermons by Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, and A. W. Tozer via sermonindex.net: a framework which I later identified as Wesleyan-holiness theology. That was in 2006.

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My friend’s campus pastor had taken a personal leave of absence for several months; and traveled to Bethel Church to learn about miraculous gifts from their School of Supernatural Ministry. During this time, my friend rented his house, and an assistant pastor took over the leadership while he was gone. I had seen this Bethel Church as a sort of charismatic renewal movement, and I could see nothing wrong…although my actual knowledge or personal interest in Bethel was very limited. This pastor was a Derek Prince fan; and I had recently read They Shall Expel Demons, so I was a fan too. So, I just thought of Bill Johnson like a Derek Prince: just another helpful charismatic teacher on spiritual gifts, but more up to date. It was in 2006 that Bethel Church broke away from the Assemblies of God.

There are some people, such as discernment ministries and heresy hunters, which are hyper prone to label any reports of miracles in charismatic churches as “New Age,” but I’m not like that. I wouldn’t say that about the Azusa Street revival, Assemblies of God (the Smith Wigglesworth era), the International House of Prayer (IHOP), the Brownsville Revival, or the Vineyard churches (the John Wimber era). While there’s always been Pentecostal leaders handling the demon possessed in such revivals, that’s not my concern here. In the case of Bethel Church, and especially after the publication of Judy Franklin and Ellyn Davis’ The Physics of Heaven (2012), one may fairly conclude that Bethel Church’s leaders in particular have been sliding into New Age views. It seems that ever since this book came out, they have gotten more off center theologically; and hundreds, if not thousands of videos have come out on YouTube about it. If this is true, then it would mean that Bethel Church might now be a source of demonic oppression and false teachings, rather than a church where people can find healing and deliverance.

YouTubers Concerns About Bethel Church

Here are the biggest problems I have with Bethel Church and Bill Johnson’s ministry. I’ll admit, a lot of these concerns have not been proven, but the top five in red have.

1. Beni Johnson does “Christian” yoga (Healthy and Free, p. 71; against Deut. 18:9-14).

2. Bill says people should follow him “off the map” of the Bible (When Heaven, p. 76).

3. Prophetic ministry is not to be focused on the sins of the world (Dreaming, p. 89).

4. Bethel Church admits they accept some New Age views (The Physics of Heaven, p. 15).

5. Bill has an Arian view of Jesus (click this link to hear a sermon clip).

6. Grave sucking (some say this is occult; it is weird; I’m not so sure: cp. 2 Kgs. 13:21).

7. Jenn Johnson compares the Holy Spirit to the genie in Aladdin.

8. Some people in Bethel apparently use the f-word and nobody corrects them.

9. Some people have expressed universalist “love” views (cp. Rob Bell’s Love Wins).

10. Painful electrical power coursing through the body (cp. kundalini awakening).

11. Seductive female musicians dancing with sexy attire; breathy singing during worship.

12. Non-judgmental tolerance of theological errors; hostility towards critics.

13. They don’t preach lordship salvation or repentance from sin…they scoff at it.

14. Seth Dahl has a vision of “Jesus” saying “please forgive Me” for a pastor’s sin.

15. Beni says “Wakey! Wakey!” to wake up some giant angels (cp. 1 Chron. 21:16).

16. Signing tithing contracts to remain a church member (against 2 Cor. 9:7).

17. Shepherding Movement / covering theology / authoritarianism (“culture of honor”).

18. No limit on the number of prophecies in church services (against 1 Cor. 14:29).

19. Deification of charismatic people as little gods (theosis / against Acts 14:14).

20. Eric Johnson said, “You’re not born evil” (denial of original sin, Psalm 51:5).

21. Young people wallowing on the floor in a “drunken spirit” (like an orgy).

22. One young man said he can use animals to prophesy words from God (cp. New Age).

23. Against open-air preaching of the Gospel (lordship salvation).

24. Bill Johnson drives an Aston Martin luxury car: materialism (James 5:5).

25. Gold dust: possibly a demonic omen for prosperity preaching (cp. fairy dust).

Universalism in John Crowders Jesus Trip Videos and the Holy Ghost Movie

John Crowder has shown signs of blasphemy, antinomianism, and universalism, as is evident on his Jesus Trip videos (see my video “Three Concerns About John Crowder”), and he is welcomed with open arms into Bethel Church as a speaker. There is a video of Brian “Head” Welch with John Crowder passing communion out to people; and then in the Holy Ghost movie (2014), Welch says that God led him to join the cussing and sexually immoral band Korn again, after years before, he said to do that would be considered backsliding. (As a previous fan, I can tell you that only about three of their songs are clean.) In the Holy Ghost movie, Bill Johnson is revered as a leader in all of the charismatic ministries represented. Bethel Church is a kind of headquarters for this movement. This movie is so…meh. Over and over, the traditional evangelical lordship Gospel is disrespected, maligned, and ridiculed. Instead, a new universalist gospel of “love” emerges as what “God” is really trying to say through these…um…prophets. There is even a time when a “praise and worship leader” named Jake Hamilton goes into a Hindu temple (click link at 16:10); and sings a song to “god” and everyone just gets along. Afterwards, he says, “We’re not trying to sit here and convert thousands of people.”

Bill Johnson Answers Some Concerns from Dr. Michael Brown

UPDATE: 10/17/16 – “Dr. Brown Interviews Pastor Bill Johnson

UPDATE: 10/27/16 – “Dr. Brown Answers Questions About the New Apostolic Reformation, Pastor Bill Johnson, and More” – says Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton reject grave sucking; Dr. Brown admits it may have been a mistake for him to have come on Benny Hinn’s show; Dr. Brown sees Hudson Taylor as a modern apostle (as I would); the Bethel “gospel” is basically telling people how “awesome” they are (Dr. Brown repudiates); spiritual experience more important than Bible study (Dr. Brown expressed concern over Todd Bentley’s angel emphasis); Bethel says God can’t make people sick (Dr. Brown disagrees, and admits that God smites people with disease); Dr. Brown says the commissioning of Todd Bentley by the “Revival Alliance” in 2008 at the Lakeland Revival (C. Peter Wagner, “THE REVIVAL ALLIANCE”: Che Ahn, John and Carol Arnott, Bill Johnson, Chuck Pierce in proxy, Wes and Stacey Campbell, Georgian Banov, Rick Joyner, and Randy Clark), was totally wrong, embarrassing, and divine punishment on the charismatic movement (basically the Toronto Blessing revival and its offspring); Dr. Brown believes Mike Bickle and Lou Engle are true men of God (as I do); Dr. Brown says you should tolerate nonessential doctrinal mistakes; Dr. Brown claims to have personally seen the cloud of the Lord once while preaching; and he is against people recklessly touting the title of Apostle.

UPDATE: 1/1/17 – Bill Johnson’s God Is Good is in stores; and in it he speaks against universalism (yay!) (p. 104) – this makes me respect him just a little more; hopefully more people in his movement will follow his lead on that point; because universalism is a major dividing line between charismatics and New Agers.


YouTube Exposé Videos on Bethel Church:
References, Summaries, and Notes

I personally don’t agree with everything on these videos. For instance, I believe in Christ-centered contemplative prayer, but I reject centering prayer. I believe people can be slain in the Spirit during true Gospel preaching; and I believe all of the miraculous gifts are for today. I just side against some of the “lawless enthusiasts” (to use Samuel Rutherford’s expression), that might be attending Bethel Church; and I am against them trying to hijack Pentecostal Christianity with antinomianism and universalism. I also want to say that I don’t agree with the insulting tone that permeates a lot of these videos. Although I summarize what these people are saying in these notes below, I have tried to personally avoid getting myself pulled into a belittling tone. I understand that there are people out there who are angry at Bethel Church; and it makes them feel better to slam them with harsh words. I also understand that there are Biblical conservatives out there who want to defend sound doctrine, and believe that to do this, they have to take on the character of “exposing a heretic” and labeling a “false prophet” for the demon-possessed maniac that he is. Look, this kind of rhetoric is not Christlike and is not productive. It will only distance Bethel people from the truth. The Bible says that we should “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15); not using insulting and Bethel-bashing hate speech. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not calling evil good here (Isa. 5:20). I believe its necessary to label things like blasphemy, antinomianism, universalism, lawlessness, authoritarianism, New Age, kundalini, etc. But these are not meant to be insults; they are names for sins and problems, and they should be brought out into the open and dealt with by whomever. 

1. Bethel Church Horror Story – 5/11/16 (Yoga and f-words).

2. Bill Johnson on Wretched Radio with Todd Friel – 3/26/09 (Man cusses on stage with Todd Bentley at the Lakeland Revival and everyone laughs; Bill Johnson compares Todd Bentley to the woman caught in adultery; however, Todd wasn’t told “go and sin no more,” he’s still “married” to the adulteress: no regard for 1 Timothy and Titus).

3. New Apostolic Reformation Heresy – 2/15/12 (The NAR is the continuation of the Latter Rain movement started by William Branham, and continued through Paul Cain and Mike Bickle (IHOP): see DVD called The Life, Teachings, and Legacy of William Branham; in 1949 the Assemblies of God condemned the Latter Rain movement and again in 2000; I disagree that charismatic prophecy needs an open canon; I disagree with his rejection of contemplative prayer as only Catholic and not Biblical; the NAR thinks that doing special charismatic prayer is a better way to impact society than Gospel preaching and Bible teaching; dominionism is the NAR idea that they need to take over all world governments through NAR influence (like Rick Perry).

4. Bill Johnson’s and Mike Bickle’s False Teachings – 12/28/12 (I disagree with some things in this video. I think that Bickle himself has kept himself safe from supporting heresies that have cropped up by some of his friends; anti-theological attitude; charismatic cult followings of Johnson or Bickle due to the downplaying of Biblical authority; I disagree with this video’s cessationist view of Christ, as if the Scripture never said, “He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12); quotes Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth, p. 76, where he says charismatics should be willing to go “off the map” of Bible knowledge in order to experience supernatural things; a man acting like a turkey at the Toronto Blessing, from which Bill Johnson got his power (“power animal” / New Age); Bickle and the “manifested sons of God,” sensual “bridal paradigm,” revelations for an elite end-times “Joel’s Army” (Latter Rain).

5. Exposing the False Teaching of Bill Johnson at Bethel Church – 8/13/13

6. Bethel Church and the False Gospel of Kris Vallotton – 10/23/13 (Miano thinks Bethel Church is a spiritist cult; Paul Washer and Tony Miano met together in Norway in 2013 to denounce Bethel Church’s influence there; John Crowder’s meetings are blasphemous, orgy like, bong party like (see 2 Peter 2); Vallotton seems like a really nice guy, but Miano doesn’t know if he’s born again; we have to judge the fruit and words of prophets (Matthew 7:15-19); Bill said Jesus once taught Scripture out of context to make a point; Vallotton teaches non-judgmentalism (hence prophecies won’t be judged either); reply to Vallotton’s “7 Signs of a Poor Gospel” on Facebook; Vallotton: “Do I believe in a prosperity gospel? You bet”; materialism is against salvation (Matthew 19:16-30); Bethel Church believes sickness serves no sanctifying purpose; Reformed cessationists would be more persuaded to become charismatics if they would just be provided with documentation of serious physical healings: see Dr. David Lewis’ Healing: Fiction, Fantasy or Fact? (1989), provides the oft-requested documentation: about 30% of the people prayed for by JOHN WIMBER experienced total physical healing of serious sicknesses at the November 1985 Harrogate Conference; see also similar medical documentation of before-and-after cases for KATHRYN KUHLMAN‘s healings: I Believe In Miracles (1962), God Can Do It Again (1969), and Nothing Is Impossible with God (1974);  Bill believes in kenosis (Arianism): that Jesus was not fully God while on earth; “honor theology” (shepherding / discipleship / covering theology / unquestioning submission to the pastor = “humility”); James 1:2: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds”; Luke 9:58: “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head'” (in contrast to Bethel Church’s health-and-wealth triumphalism); Vallotton’s “gospel” is man-glorifying rather than Christ-glorifying and is not cross-centered).

7. Escaping Bethel Church, Bill Johnson and Jesus Culture – 10/29/13 (Probably kundalini spiritual power that electrically shocks, burns, and hurts your body; sensual women in worship; non-judgmental tolerance; no lordship salvation).

8. The New Apostolic Reformation – 11/11/13 (Mike Bickle says most of what is said by charismatic prophets is false, nauseating, and disgusting: and this makes me respect him more. Yes, there have been Latter Rain influences, but I still respect Bickle the most out of all the charismatic leaders today. I’ve never heard of antinomianism or universalism coming from IHOP like I’ve had with Bethel Church, but IHOP’s Onething 2016 conference features Bill Johnson and Todd White (both in the universalist Holy Ghost movie): so, is there is a guilt-by-association thing going on here? I reject the “sufficiency of Scripture” cessationism expressed in this video).

9. Bethel Church’s Statement of Faith: They Don’t Believe It – 11/27/13 (I disagree with the cessationism of this video. $450 per year membership fee to be recognized as an “apostle” in the International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (ICAL); reportedly, Todd Bentley was told by God, not to preach about Jesus, but to talk about angels and the supernatural; Nightline found no verifiable healings in Bentley’s Lakeland Revival; Bentley’s adultery, alcoholism, and remarriage to mistress, and endorsement by Bill Johnson and others to go back to ministry in that condition; grandiose prophecies made about Bentley, and the cover-up that followed; Bill Johnson wears glasses and yet, he claims walking in perfect “divine health” is the true gospel (positive confession view); Bill does not believe God is fully in control of the world, but that Christians have some control over events and circumstances through prayer; Bill depreciates the Bible and exalts the Holy Spirit instead (57:00ff); Miano believes Bill Johnson is a cunning deceiver: cunning means to “show skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion”; Bill said Jesus lived as a mere man emptied of all divine attributes while on earth (Arianism): denying the hypostatic union (fully God and fully man) (1:15:00ff); street praying, not street preaching (charismatics don’t really preach the Gospel much); charismatic experiences are like heroin is for addicts, and for this reason, they don’t have much of a desire to preach the Gospel; Eric Johnson said, “You’re not born evil” (denial of original sin, Pelagianism, Ps. 51:5) (1:34:00): from his sermon: “The Joy of Consecration” at 14:45; Miano: “We have to care more about the souls of these people than whether or not they want to be our friends”).

10. Why I Must Speak Out Against the NAR and Bethel Church – 12/13/13 (I disagree with Miano labeling Mike Bickle a false prophet; states that John Piper associated with Jesus Culture once at an event; they have a false Jesus (2 Cor. 11:4), false gospel, false Holy Spirit; Word of Faith prosperity gospel; Beni Johnson mocked Tony Miano’s call to repentance and faith (the lordship salvation gospel); they deny original sin (Eric Johnson); “honor the leaders” (authoritarianism / shepherding movement); John Crowder identified as a friend of Bethel Church).

11. Bethel Church and the NAR’s False Ideas of Glory – 12/21/13 – No limit on number of prophecies in church services (1 Cor. 14:29); I disagree with Miano’s cessationism; deification of charismatic Christians; Arian view of Jesus; still friends with Todd Bentley.

12. Jesus Culture: The Next Generation of Heretics – 5/31/14 – Exalting the presence of God over Bible study; I disagree with labeling John Wimber as a heretic, simply because Jesus Culture was influenced by Vineyard music (but they do say they are partnered with Bethel Church); Heather Clark (seductive musician); Bill Johnson blessed Todd Bentley at the false Lakeland Revival (and after); ecstatic prophecy by Jessa Bentley; they respect Benny Hinn.

13. Women From Bethel – 7/1/14 (Yoga; universalism; scoffing at lordship salvation).

14. THE BETHEL DESTINY – 7/19/14 (Bill Johnson says, “Prophetic ministry is not to be focused on the sins of the world” (Dreaming with God, p. 89): contradicts 1 Corinthians 14:24-25: “If an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!'” (thankfully Gary Wilkerson’s David Wilkerson shows that his words of knowledge often operated this way); and also the words of Jesus in John 16:7-8, KJV: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Bill Johnson is wrong whenever he may blatantly contradict this sin-exposing principle of the Holy Spirit’s ministry through New Testament prophets. Jesus’ way is to comfort people with the love of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 13) as their sins are exposed by visions and dreams and words of knowledge (1 Cor. 14:24-25). Jeremiah said that FALSE PROPHETS are the kinds of guys that prophesy smooth things; and absolutely refuse to share revelations about other people’s sins, and they refuse to preach against sin, because they want to flatter people in order to gain more popularity. “Beware of the Flatterer,” John Bunyan said in his Pilgrim’s Progress.

Jeremiah 14:10, 13-14: “This is what the Lord says about this people: ‘They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the Lord does not accept them; He will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.’ But I said, ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in My name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.'” Jeremiah 23:11-12, 14-17: “Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickednessI will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished…among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness…I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.’ This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.'”

FALSE PROPHETS WILL ALWAYS SPEAK COMFORT TO SINNERS LIVING IN THEIR SINS, JUST LIKE BILL JOHNSON DOES IN HIS BOOK DREAMING WITH GOD, ON PAGE 89; Bill admits on Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural that he experienced a painful electrical power that coursed through his body (he thought it was a Holy Spirit baptism he received from Toronto Airport Vineyard, but it sounds more like a kundalini awakening); it is believed that the Assemblies of God’s 2000 position paper on “Endtime Revival” was a veiled rebuke to Bethel Church and the New Apostolic Reformation (prophetic movement); Jesus Culture musicians have sort of a high-minded attitude about their band being a movement; Bill rejects “He must increase, I must decrease” in Hosting the Presence (spirit of pride).

15. Lying Signs and Wonders – 10/26/14 (Universalism connected with many charismatics and their miracles; Beni says salvation comes by angels ringing bells; Benny Hinn teaches that born again Christians are little gods: refers to John Lanagan’s The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson; money-centered preaching and gold dust, gold filling miracles, jewels, diamonds).

16. Bill Johnson Exposed – 2/25/15 (Word of Faith, name it and claim it, and positive confession).

17. On the Road: The Dangers of Bethel Redding – 5/26/15 (I disagree with Miano’s statement “I don’t have a problem with a guy being rich” driving a ridiculously expensive sports car; Johnson drives a $250k Aston Martin; no preaching of repentance and faith (no lordship salvation); false claims of healing; Beni Johnson is co-pastor, exercising authority over men; Beni “earthing”; Beni says she can wake up giant angels in the desert by saying “Wakey! Wakey!”; Bethel an annoyance to their community; against open-air gospel preaching; one kid said he can use animals to prophesy words from God (sounds like “power animals” / New Age: this originated with John Arnott’s The Father’s Blessing, ch. 11: “The Prophetic: Animal Sounds and Insights” (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 1995): and it was because of this that John Wimber excommunicated the Toronto Airport church from the Vineyard).

18. BILL JOHNSON & THE NEW AGE – 9/14/15 (Grave sucking; young people wallowing on the floor in a “drunken spirit” (looks like an orgy); Beni likes reflexology; Physics of Heaven; mentions 2015 edition of Andrew Strom’s Kundalini Warning with updated material on Bill Johnson).

19. Bethel Blasphemy Alert – 9/22/15 (Seth Dahl, the Children’s Pastor, has a vision of Jesus holding him, and then says, “Please forgive Me,” on behalf of a pastor who said emotionally abusive things to him: JESUS ISN’T TO BLAME FOR ANYTHING…JESUS IS SINLESS! (1 John 3:5).

20. The Heretic Bill Johnson of Bethel Church – 12/24/15 (Says that Bill Johnson denies the deity of Christ (Arianism); signing tithing contracts for church membership; “apostolic” authoritarianism; reference to R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec’s A New Apostolic Reformation?).

21. Heidi Baker: Demonic Impartation – 10/9/14 (Heidi Baker at 3:53 at Bethel Church lays hands on a young man and imparts a painful spiritual power into his body, possibly a Christianized New Age demon experience known as a kundalini awakening, Baker expresses a universalist view in Holy Ghost). There is nothing painful or universalist about the baptism in the Holy Spirit!

22. While a Guest Speaker at Bethel Church, Dr. Mark Chirrona Says Christians Are the True “New Agers,” and That God Speaks Through the Constellations, Like in Astrology – 3/6/16 – I will admit, there seems to be Biblical basis for God speaking through constellations (Job 38:31; Matt. 2:1-2), but not through horoscopes. Its a totally inappropriate comment about identifying with the New Age. He should know better. 1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Chironna wrote the foreword to Jim Goll’s The Seer.

23. Bethel Redding Exposed – 5/18/16 (Yoga; scoffing at lordship preaching; universalist).

24. Todd Bentley’s “Emma” Angel (Demon) – This is not from a video, but an article. It contains a quote which is found on many apologetics websites, and because the quote is exactly the same, it leads me to believe it is a true quote: but was later deleted, and publicly denied by Bentley at the Lakeland Revival. (In this video Bob Jones refers to a 3 foot spirit he saw called “ERMA,” not Emma, that represented the ascension of women into ministry (anti-Biblical; feminism; Jezebel spirit); at first he asked if it was an angel, but she said, “I AM NOT AN ANGEL–I AM A ‘BEING’ FROM AROUND THE THRONE”); The original article says that Bentley saw a vision of a young female angel named Emma who started the Kansas City prophetic movement (Mike Bickle and Bob Jones); the gold dust manifestations, and helped Bentley heal people at the Lakeland Revival. There is evidence that Bentley, like William Branham, was very angel-focused during his revival, rather than Christ-focused or even Holy Spirit focused. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 says that healings and miracles through prophets come from the Holy Spirit, not from their personal angels. While John 5:4 does mention angelic healing at the Pool of Bethesda, that is hardly the New Testament norm. The concept of angelic healing pervades the New Age, the occult, and all witchcraft cults. “Fairy dust” is also a real occult phenomenon that witches and psychics say can happen. Here’s the quote, originally from Todd Bentley’s 2003 article “Angelic Hosts” and its subtitle “EMMA, ANGEL OF THE PROPHETIC”:

“Now let me talk about an angelic experience with Emma. Twice Bob Jones asked me about this angel that was in Kansas City in 1980: ‘Todd, have you ever seen the angel by the name of Emma?’ He asked me as if he expected that this angel was appearing to me. Surprised, I said, ‘Bob, who is Emma?’ He told me that Emma was the angel that helped birth and start the whole prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s. She was a mothering-type angel that helped nurture the prophetic as it broke out.

“Within a few weeks of Bob asking me about Emma, I was in a service in Beulah, North Dakota. In the middle of the service I was in conversation with Ivan and another person when in walks Emma. As I stared at the angel with open eyes, the Lord said, ‘Here’s Emma.’ I’m not kidding. She floated a couple of inches off the floor…Emma appeared beautiful and young–about 22 years old–but she was old at the same time. She seemed to carry the wisdom, virtue and grace of Proverbs 31 on her life. She glided into the room, emitting brilliant light and colors. Emma carried these bags and began pulling gold out of them. Then, as she walked up and down the aisles of the church, she began distributing gold dust. The Lord answered: ‘She is releasing the gold, which is both the revelation and the financial breakthrough that I am bringing into this church. I want you to prophesy that Emma showed up in this service–the same angel that appeared in Kansas City–as a sign that I am endorsing and releasing a prophetic spirit in the church on people.’

“Within three weeks of that visitation, the church had given me the biggest offering I had ever received to that point in my ministry. Thousands of dollars! Thousands!…During this visitation the pastor’s wife (it was an AoG church) got totally whacked by the Holy Ghost–she began running around barking like a dog or squawking like a chicken as a powerful prophetic spirit came on her. Also, as this prophetic anointing came on her, she started getting phone numbers of complete strangers and calling them up on the telephone and prophesying over them…Then angels started showing up in the church.’” 

25. MANY, MANY, MORE

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About John Boruff

John Boruff is a husband, father, blogger, and insurance agent.
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8 Responses to Is Bethel Church a Cult? – John Boruff

  1. Araceli says:

    Sorry, but I cannot understand all your judgement and critiques to our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. You are violating one of the most important commandments: Love your neighbour as you love yourself. If you disagree with some brother or sister you need to first pray for them and ask the Holy Spirit for help..but never never never promote hate or division…that is not coming for our loving Father. We are called to be witnesses of our Father in heaven and encourage unity in Him despite our differences. Second, did you tell him personally? I think it’s very rude not saying things you have against someone. Jesus encourages us to be honest and talk with the person we have problems with and not talk bad things about them. I encourage you to fly to Bethel and talk to him in person and bring to light all the critiques and judgements. What if is it really a movement of God? You are against God not to the people of God. But if you are against of some people of God you are against Him too because they are created by Him.
    “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2).
    I really encourage you to consider this and may God bring unity to the body of Christ. If we are not united, how we can preach Jesus to the whole world???.
    much love,
    Ara

    • John Boruff says:

      Ara I appreciate your concerns for love and unity. Matthew 18 says I should tell Bill Johnson directly, which I have. I have emailed my articles and videos to him and his staff took the time to reply. I apologized to them for my arrogant attitude in my first video which they forgave me for. The information in this article, however, is a discovery or truth searching article. Truth is just as important to speak as love. If anywhere I lack gentleness, please point it out, so I can reconsider editing a portion.

      With that being said, Ara, take a look at 2 Peter 2. And see if there’s anything in that chapter which resonates with the tone of my article. If so, you might want to adjust your view a bit.

  2. vanschaikblog says:

    Thank you

  3. Pingback: The Seven Mountains Apostasy | Reasoned Cases for Christ

  4. mywebsite says:

    I am not positive where you are getting your info,
    however good topic. I must spend a while studying more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for magnificent info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

    • John Boruff says:

      YouTube videos are my main source of information on Bethel Church. Some are better than others so far as documentation. Others are clips of sermons or personal testimonies. See the bottom of my article.

  5. Trish says:

    When Bethel’s staff took the time to reply, did they refute many of the accusations/research/discoveries? I am curious because I have listened to the Michael Brown interview with Bill Johnson and Bill does deny some of those things and seems to stand firmly rooted in the foundations of the gospel. When I listen to Bill, which is occasionally, I never hear anything I would consider heresy or dangerous doctrinal error. I would like to know where you stand now at this time versus a couple years ago. Do you consider Bill a brother in Christ? I know he and Mike Bickle have developed a friendship. I did struggle with Lou Engle seemingly supporting and asking Benny Hinn to the recent The Send in Orlando Florida last weekend. So many charismatic leaders were there, Mike Bickle, Bill Johnson, Lou Engle, Michael Koulianis….and it seemed, from what I viewed online that God was indeed glorified. I am coming out of a cessationist camp and only want truth. What I do know is God cannot be kept in a Calvinist box or cessationist box and won’t be. I have been blessed by my trips to Oklahoma Word and Spirit conferences led by Sam Storms and a visit to IHOP. I would just like to know your present thoughts on our brothers and sisters in Christ. Love Michael Brown!

    • John Boruff says:

      Hi Trish, I appreciate your question. They never replied to the rest of the accusations I listed. I think Bill Johnson’s interview with Michael Brown could have actually been a response to this article. As a matter of written record, this is what we have to consider:

      1. Beni Johnson does “Christian” yoga (Healthy and Free, p. 71; against Deut. 18:9-14).

      2. Bill says people should follow him “off the map” of the Bible (When Heaven Invades Earth, p. 76).

      3. “Prophetic ministry is not to be focused on the sins of the world” (Dreaming with God, p. 89).

      4. Bethel is okay with some New Age ideas (The Physics of Heaven, p. 15).

      I would encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus, first and foremost, because all charismatic people are only human, myself included. But yes, it is very helpful to have charismatic teachers in the church that you respect. The people that I currently endorse are on my Ministries page – in the charismatic world, that means Mike Bickle, John Paul Jackson, Andrew Strom, Torben Sondergaard, and Michael Brown. I understand that Bickle meets at conferences with Bill Johnson and they are considered “friends,” but they have two very different churches; and are separated by about 1800 miles. The latest teaching piece that I would recommend to you is Michael Brown’s “Authentic Fire.”

      As with all preachers, you’re never going to agree with everything every preacher says. There’s always the non-essentials. But there are very many people on YouTube that have reported seriously bad things going on at Bethel Church in particular, more so than normal charismatic churches. I don’t think charismatics should ignore that; and I especially would stay mindful of the 4 things listed above, in books they wrote. A recent example can be found on a Google review of their church that was posted only 3 weeks ago: “There is a reason that the top rated reviews are all negative. This is an evil place full of magic tricks and smoke. No Gospel. Just cult worship and money grubbing tactics, telling people what they want to hear over what they need to hear.” Yikes! That’s quite an accusation. And I think if you spent an entire week listening to nothing but Bethel Church sermons, you’d get the same sort of impression. But I bless them and pray God’s best for them in Jesus’ name.

      Is Mike Bickle “guilty by association” with Bill Johnson? Ehh. I’m sure that’s something he struggles with. But without reservation, I can tell you that Michael Brown, Mike Bickle, and Sam Storms are the most evangelical and conservative leaders in the charismatic movement right now. So far as Bill Johnson, I don’t know where he’s at with God, but he’s not a teacher that I would personally recommend listening to.

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