I understand that you probably are bombarded with email daily, so I understand if you do not or cannot respond, but upon receiving this information you were the first person that came to mind. I really have a lot of respect for you because you truly back everything up with the Word of God & indeed you are a student of the Word.
I recently was watching some Bethel Worship on Youtube and Jenn Johnson was leading and singing prophetically. I love Bethel Worship for many reasons but mainly because they convey the heart of the Father...well when I looked down at the comments, people had some really interesting things to say concerning Bethel. Calling them a cult and saying that Jenn was dressed seductively and singing in a seductive manner (she had on a dress down to her ankles). It really bothered me so I asked where these leaders got their information from or where do they base it from.
Normally I don't think too hard on people's opinions but I have heard this several times and I am bothered by it because Bethel has blessed me and they have such beautiful hearts, the ministry fruit is so healthy with signs and wonders as well. I just don't get it?
So here is the response I received from a Pastor, who was actually very kind, but nevertheless this is what he believes, maybe you could somehow address this or if you have already addressed it in some previous blog etc...I would be very grateful to be pointed in the right direction....
High Michelle!! This is not a Charismatic v Anti-charismatic issue at all. Many Charismatics believe the same basic doctrines as non charismatics - Who Jesus was - the eternal son of God, how his death on the cross paid for sin etc.. no difference. We may not agree on whether the prophetic gifts are around today - but other than that we are in agreement.
1. Bethel Church is part of something called the Word of Faith movement (WOF).
2. This group believes that christians are "Little gods" - with the same creative power as God himself - we can speak things into existence by our words.
3. They believe that Jesus did not atone for our sins on the cross but rather ceased to be the son of God, took on the nature of Satan and finished his work by being punished in hell.
4. They believe that Jesus is no more a son of God than any other born-again Christian.
5. Bethel is also a part of the " New Apostolic Reformation" (NAR) which claims that Apostles equal to Peter and Paul are around today and carry their authority to lay down new teachings outside the Bible.
6. They also believe in a teaching called the " Manifest sons of God" - a belief that end times christians will be a new breed of human that will be able to conquer the kingdoms of the world and take over the planet. jesus can't return until they have done that!! They don't believe that Jesus will come and conquer the earth at his second coming - they will do that for him. There will be no rapture - no rescue of the saints.
This is just a taste of their false teachings. This group acts as ambassadors of this teaching - and aims itself at the young and spiritually immature, those who are ripe for being mislead. Their music is excellent!! The singer is very attractive!! Their lyrics do not overtly contain their doctrine - and sound like most modern worship bands!! But when you listen to what they teach during concerts, the people they recommend to their audience, the churches they recommend (i.e.ones like Bethel with the WOF/NAR teaching) you can see how dangerous they are!! Of course, if you accept their theology etc... no problem.
7. However, if you are a traditional Christian you will recognise that they have a different God, Jesus, Gospel, theology of the church and end-times belief that is impossible to square with the New Testament. Thats why we are warning people not to be sucked in - just because they are probably the best thing since sliced bread was invented -musically. What do you think? Do your own research too - don't just believe me!!
[For integrity’s sake, I have not changed the wording of this letter; clearly it is rife with spelling and logic errors. Yet I did number the paragraphs so that I could respond more precisely. - Jonathan Welton]
JONATHAN WELTON’S RESPONSE
A1. This is an assumption. There is nothing that ties Bethel Church to the Word of Faith movement, but since the Internet “discernment watchdog hacks” have been harping on WOF for so long, it is an easy slanderous title to throw onto a church that is targeted.
A2. I could wax long here regarding Athanasius (ca 298–373AD), and his Theosis doctrine which is from early church history and accepted teaching in the Eastern Orthodox church. Yet a modern fundamentalist protestant pastor that isn’t open to learning, isn’t going to consider these concepts. Here is the famous quote from Athanasius’ perspective: “God became man that man might become God.” I am not claiming that Bethel Church is knowingly teaching the historical and orthodox doctrine of Theosis, yet I believe that they simply take Peter at his word and believe that we are Partakers of the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4).
A3. Again this is another assumption. Also this is a summary of a fringe doctrine of the WOF group, which again, Bethel is not affiliated with. From my decade+ of listening and paying attention to Bethel, I would have to say that this assumption about their teachings is dead wrong.
A4. Lies. Jesus is an uncreated equal in the Godhead, and we are made into created sons of God. That is the truth that Bethel would actually teach, like any orthodox Christian should believe.
A5. The New Apostolic Reformation is a title which represents the third largest segment of Christians behind the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. According to Renowned Missiologist C. Peter Wagner, there are 707 million Christians that are included in sharing the belief system of the label NAR. Yes there are apostles such as Peter and Paul alive and operating around the world today, obviously. Yet none of them are writing teachings which are being canonized and added to the Bible as this individual seems to think. That is rubbish.
A6. This summary of Bethel’s eschatology is so obtuse that I find it repulsive. First of all, we must keep in mind that Bethel Church has well over 300 staff members, so how can we definitively state what they teach and believe about eschatology?
We know that Kris Vallotton has bravely stated his Eschatological Core Values and has taught a series on Apostolic Eschatology, as well as in the past he had Victorious Eschatology as required reading for his second year students. Yet Bill Johnson, in my long track record of listening to him has never more than hinted at his eschatology. So to say that Bethel’s position is such and such is a mere assumption.
A7. Actually an overcoming eschatology is the only one that “squares with the New Testament,” as I have shown at Raptureless.com. Also Bethel is filled with “Traditional Christians” in the sense that they actually look and act like New Testament saints. They are not “traditional” in the modern sense, which is to say, Legalistic, without power, dishonoring toward their brothers in the Lord, etc.
P.S. Regarding this awful letter, there is only one thing I can agree with: Jenn Johnson is pretty.