Part 2 of a three part series
As I suggested in my introduction (CETF # 63), BJ’s teaching is a mixture at best, which to God is no small issue. The Bible tells us from Genesis to Revelation that God hates the mixture. Galatians 5:9 warns, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump”. Peter warned (2 Peter 2:1-3) that false teachers and false prophets would paraxousin – mix truth with error, with the truth camouflaging error. BJ’s teaching is a mixture and the danger is that even if those Christians who follow him can actually recognise the error, which I very much doubt, they think they can digest the truth, and “spit out the error”; but they can’t, because it is all mixed together – even if they manage to recognise which bits are true and which bits are false. Imagine a cup of tea with milk in it. If you don’t like milk you can’t drink the tea and not the milk; it’s all mixed together. You can’t separate the tea from the milk.
A teaching or ministry containing a mixture will produce a mixture in others. That is my deep and grave concern for my friend and the thousands of Christians who follow BJ’s teaching and ministry. Error is often simply truth out of balance, and this can be observed regularly in BJ’s teaching; but error can also be blatant falsity which should be obvious for all to see, and BJ is also often guilty of this; obvious to all those willing to see.
People like me who expose false teachers are often accused of being a “Pharisee”. Those making that accusation should be reminded of the language Jesus Himself used to describe Pharisees, and even more importantly why he was so critical of them. Jesus described the Pharisees as “hypocrites”, “blind”, “blind guides”, “whitewashed tombs”, “serpents” and “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:23-34). Why did Jesus use such strong language in describing those Pharisees? Because they knew the truth but did not act on it; nor did they teach the truth to the people, but merely used the Scriptures to further their own agenda. Jesus spoke of false doctrine as “the leaven (modern yeast) of the Pharisees” in Matthew 16:6 and Luke 12:1.
In biblical typology, leaven represents spiritual pride and the sin resulting from it (perhaps the kind of spiritual pride that causes BJ to refuse to acknowledge biblical theology that allows for sickness, but that demands healing and blessing from God). Let us be clear that false doctrine is no small matter; it is sin and always involves spiritual pride. Most of what the Pharisees believed was biblically true, but it only took the little bit that was false to lead the people astray. In the same way, some of what BJ teaches is true, but the parts that are not true “leavens the whole lump”.
The biblical basis for purity is the truth of right doctrine. This is why the New Testament contains more exhortation to right doctrine than it does to right conduct. God views doctrine very seriously, but many evangelicals teach nowadays that doctrine is not important because it brings division. On the contrary, it is those, not adhering to right doctrine, who bring division:
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them (Romans 16:17)
BJ’s attitude towards manifestations such as gold fillings, the appearance of white feathers, “angel” dust and “jewels” etc, seems to demonstrate an attitude of “if it is happening to Christians, it must be from God”, rather than biblical discernment. This is perfectly illustrated by a video posted on YouTube (from ibethel. tv) of BJ talking on 21/10/2011 in which he described how supernatural manifestations have been happening at Bethel for the last 14 years; manifestations such as white feathers and gold dust falling in church, in people’s homes, and even whilst they eat in restaurants. To the sceptics who say these manifestations are not biblical BJ’s response was, “Well, He [God] said He would cover you with His feathers. I just didn’t know it would be literal. It also says there is healing in His wings.” Hardly a response based on sound exegetical interpretation of Scripture.
This reckless attitude completely flies in the face of Scripture, which tells us to “test all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
The Bible tells us to test everything against Scripture as this is the only way of knowing whether or not it is from God.
For example, I have a nominal Roman Catholic friend who recently read a non-Christian book about angels by an Irish mystic and spiritist (i.e. a necromancer) called Lorna Byrne. In this book the author claims that we all have guardian angels and if we pray to them they will reveal themselves by the appearance of white feathers. As a result of reading this book, my friend prayed to her guardian angel to reveal him/herself and lo and behold shortly afterwards she found a white feather inside one of her shoes. Was that from God, or a demonic deception? I think the answer is obvious, but if white feathers appear to Christians, BJ (and many Christians) naively presume it must be from God without even trying to apply any biblical test to such manifestations.
Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God – 1 John 4:1.
BJ’s refusal to test his own personal supernatural experiences in accordance with instruction given in 1 John 4:1 are littered throughout his writings. For example, in his book When Heaven Invades Earth he described a supernatural experience that I cannot find any biblical justification for. On page 113 he writes:
For months I had been asking God to give me more of Him. I wasn’t sure of the correct way to pray, nor did I understand the doctrine behind my request.
What a staggering statement for a Christian teacher to make! Based on the experience that followed, I would suggest that he did not understand the doctrine behind his request because what he was asking for, and the way in which he asked, cannot be found within the pages of Scripture. The experience he described can however be found at any “Toronto Blessing” or “Lakeland Revival” type meeting.
So many Christians, like BJ, seem so desperate to receive “more of God” (as it is so often described) that they jettison God’s Word which tells us how we should ask God for more of Him, and how we should experience Him. In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul warns us to not go beyond what is written, and I am absolutely convinced that when a Christian does just that in the way they pursue experience of the Almighty, they open themselves up to deceiving spirits.
On page 116 of When heaven Invaded Earth, Johnson writes:
For decades the Church has been guilty of creating doctrine to justify their lack of power...
I would suggest the exact opposite is true for Bill Johnson and most of “evangelical” Christianity, in that he is guilty of creating doctrine to justify the extra biblical manifestations experienced.
Johnson then makes a classic misuse of Scripture as do so many in the so called Prophetic Movement. He writes:
A powerless word is the letter not the Spirit. And we all know, ‘The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’.
This is a direct reference to 2 Corinthians 3:6, where Paul writes:
...who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The false implication made by Johnson is that studying the Bible will kill you spiritually. This misrepresentation of what Paul meant has been used time and time again to promote mystical practices and experiences within the Church. The true context of the passage shows that Paul was speaking of the letters written on stone, meaning the Ten Commandments, and this is clearly shown in verse 3:
...you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
In Romans 7:5-6 Paul explains how the law (letter) “kills” because of our sinful passions that it exposes, not because it is studied to understand what it means, as BJ implies.
On page 76 of When Heaven Invades Earth, Johnson writes:
Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scripture enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map – to go beyond what we know.
Johnson is basically claiming that we cannot know Scripture, but can know what the Holy Spirit is saying by other means. In contrast, the Bible claims that Scripture is the Holy Spirit speaking to the church; Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
In 1 Corinthians 4:6, Paul tells us not to go beyond what is written. But on page 93 of When Heaven Invades Earth, BJ writes:
But in reality, the Bible is a closed book. Anything I get from the Word without God will not change my life. It is closed to insure (sic) that I remain dependent on the Holy Spirit.
This is just a thinly veiled attempt to use the Holy Spirit as an excuse for rejecting biblical doctrine and objective study of the Bible in favour of subjective mystical experience. The Bible is the Holy Spirit talking to us.
How can I be so sure that these supernatural manifestations happening to Christians are not from God? Because just like the “miracle” of a white feather appearing to my nominal Roman Catholic friend has drawn her focus (and even more importantly, her prayers) towards her supposed guardian angel rather than to Jesus whom she so desperately needs, the “white feathers”, “jewels” and “gold dust” appearing to Christians, and the “gold fillings” popping up in their mouths, are not pointing Christians to Jesus. True miracles, “manifestations” and “signs and wonders” will always point people to Jesus; that is the whole biblical point to them. True biblical “signs and wonders” are performed by the Holy Spirit and in all that He does His purpose is to glorify Jesus.
The promise of John 16:14 – “He will glorify Me” – was fulfilled after the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples at Pentecost, and everything the Holy Spirit does is intended to glorify Jesus, not the Holy Spirit, and certainly not those receiving the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit glorified the person receiving Him, that would make Christianity an eccentric and egocentric religion – off centre. If the Holy Spirit glorified Himself in what He did it would make Christianity spirit-centred rather than Christ-centred. I would certainly describe these “signs and wonders” as encouraging an off-centre Christianity that detracts Christians from keeping Jesus at the centre of their lives.
Do these manifestations even make those experiencing them read the Word of God more? I doubt it very much. A. W. Tozer put it perfectly:
If this new experience does not make us read the Word more, it is not of God. If it does not make us meditate on the truth more, it is not of God. I do not care how good we feel. If we feel so good we feel brand new, we are still not being blessed by God. (The Christ-Centred Church, p213).
Whilst I do not doubt that many of the manifestations happening to Christians are real, the origin of them should be questioned because there is absolutely no point to them, other than to detract people away from focusing on Jesus and His teachings; this is very clear when watching video footage of these manifestations in meetings at Bethel. The focus of the congregation is on anything but Jesus; it is all about the manifestation. BJ even admitted in an interview I watched that he had no idea why God would give someone gold fillings, and concluded that God must just “enjoy messing with our head” by giving us “signs that make us wonder”. Those may be clever ear- tickling sound-bites his followers are happy to swallow without question, but they lack any kind of biblical discernment or testing of the spirits.
In response to watching a video clip on YouTube of the so-called “glory cloud” manifestation at Bethel, someone very astutely commented if it really was God’s presence manifesting in the room, he would be falling on his face, not getting out his I-phone to film it. Proof, if you need it, that it is all about the manifestation and not about glorifying Jesus.
In the above mentioned interview BJ told the story of a man he knew who had just spent thousands of dollars getting perfect white caps and fillings, which were then miraculously replaced with gold fillings by God at a meeting. Any dentist will tell you that gold is an inferior material to use for filling teeth when compared to the modern white compounds available (for which the man spent thousands of dollars). Gold was only used by dentists in the past because it was a metal malleable enough to be used for filling teeth. If BJ is right and God is genuinely filling people’s teeth with gold, God is using an inferior material than that which any dentist can provide!
Furthermore, the so-called “jewels” that have miraculously appeared at meetings have been tested and proved to be nothing more than plastic or glass imitations; no genuine precious stones have ever been discovered. Despite these facts, people like BJ are trying to convince people like me that these gold fillings and imitation “jewels” are a blessing from God. My God does not use inferior or counterfeit materials through “signs and wonders” to detract our focus away from His precious Son Jesus Christ, but I know of a celestial being who does just that. Who do you suppose has a vested interest in making the “signs and wonders” bigger than Jesus?
Do these “signs and wonders” being experienced make Christ bigger, sweeter and more indispensably beautiful in their life than He was before the “miraculous manifestation”, or does the manifestation leave the person focused on the experience and wanting and craving more of that experience rather than wanting more of Christ in their lives?
People like BJ who claim that these “signs and wonders” do point to Jesus are in absolute denial and have been blinded by the manifestation; they have allowed their Christianity to become off-centre.
William Branham (6/4/1909 – 24/12/1965)
William Branham was THE main figure of the healing revivals of the 40s and 50s that extended into the early 60s until he was killed in a car accident. Nearly all Charismatics give “a thumbs up” to William Branham, including BJ, Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, John Wimber, Oral Roberts—I could go on and on. It is therefore worthwhile mentioning William Branham.
He is considered the “Grandfather” of the “healing evangelists” of today. He would call out words of knowledge and prophecies that were incredibly accurate; William Branham passed the Deuteronomy 18 test of a false prophet, because the words of knowledge he gave were stunningly accurate and the miracles he performed were real. He would take hold of a person’s hand, tell them their name and the illness they were suffering from and then heal them from it. He had real power.
Therefore, William Branham should be tested by Deuteronomy 13:1-5, which tells us that even if what is prophesied comes true, we should not judge the prophet to be authentic just by the fact that what he said was true. We must judge his authenticity by what he teaches, not by the “signs and wonders”.
The things Branham did were certainly impressive and supernatural, but what he taught was plainly occult. For example, he believed he was the seventh angel of the book of Revelation and Elijah the prophet. He denied that Eve ate the fruit from the tree. Instead he taught his “Serpent Seed” doctrine that Eve had sex with Satan, which produced Cain, which is where the lost come from (i.e. those predestined to hell). He described the doctrine of the Trinity as being “of the devil”. He claimed he could not perform any miracles until his angel turned up (just like Todd Bentley) and he believed in three Bibles: the Scriptures, the Zodiac and the pyramids – he preached that all three were equal revelations from God. Branham is even buried in a pyramid shaped tomb.
Here is a staggering quote taken from Discerning the call of God by Todd Bentley:
An angel appeared to me, the angel said, “I am the angel that has been assigned to your life. I am the healing angel... You are going to take miracles, signs and wonders around the world. I was with William Branham” the angel said. He told me about William Branham’s angelic encounter in 1946.
Some believed that Paul Cain (a Kansas City false prophet and someone who participated in the Voice of Healing Revival initiated by Branham in the 1950s) has the same anointing as William Branham. John Wimber was certainly impressed by Branham. Paul Cain once called William Branham, “the greatest prophet who ever lived.” Paul Cain was exposed in 2004 for homosexual practice and alcoholism. He is a close associate of Bob Jones, who is Todd Bentley’s mentor (more on these two characters later). While defending Todd Bentley (which is almost unforgivable), BJ is quoted as saying,
William Branham - if I mention the name, William Branham, in certain circles, I mean, they almost want to, you know, stone me, because William Branham is known for heresy towards the end of his life. And yet there are few men that have ever lived, and perhaps no one that has ever lived that carried the anointing and the power that this particular man had.
BJ’s admiration of William Branham as a man of God with a true gift from God is absolutely clear from this quote. It also contains an out-and-out lie from BJ, because William Branham was not known for heresy just towards the end of his life, and BJ knows that; or at least he should know that of a man he so publicly admires. When Branham was born it was said that a halo of light shone over his head; a halo that continued to appear over his head from time to time throughout his ministry, such as the one apparently captured in the photograph below.
Even as a child Branham claimed to have visions. His parents were not Christians, but were known to be fortune tellers, meaning of course that he grew up in an environment where the occult was practised. When Branham met other fortune tellers they even told him that he was influenced by supernatural powers. Branham is quoted as saying:
...one day my cousins and I were going down through a carnival ground, and we was (sic) just boys, walking along. So there was a little old fortune teller sitting out there in one of those tents. ... She said, “Say, you, come here a minute!” And the three of us boys turned around.
And she said, “You with the striped sweater” (that was me). ... And I walked up, I said, “Yes, ma’am, what could I do for you?” And she said, “Say, did you know there’s a Light that follows you? You were born under a certain sign.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “Well, you were born under a certain sign. There’s a Light that follows you. You were born for a Divine call.” (1)
Contrary to BJ’s fallacious claim about Branham moving into heresy only at the end of his life, the historical fact is that Branham was born into the occult and preached his occult beliefs right from the start of his ministry. But whilst his “signs and wonders” packed halls everywhere he went, what he preached scared people so much that they made him agree not to preach and just continue with the amazing “signs and wonders” he was performing. This is good old Christian pragmatism at work again – “if it is happening to Christians, it must be from God”. Forget the God-given Deuteronomy 13 test, which would have quickly exposed the demonic origin of Branham’s power and would have put a stop to him being the influence he has been in the healing and prophetic movement, and to people like BJ.
This “grandfather” of the modern healing and prophetic movement failed the Deuteronomy 13 test by a country mile, but was still allowed to practise his occult powers, and is honoured and revered by BJ and his peers; and just like Branham, his spiritual offspring (‘children’ and ‘grandchildren’) similarly fail the test of Deuteronomy 13, let alone being obedient to New Testament instructions such as 1 John 4:1:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Some reading this article may be wondering why God would allow false prophets like William Branham to perform real “signs and wonders”?
Deuteronomy 13:3 gives us the answer:
You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
God allows false prophets (for now) in order to test our loyalty and obedience to Him and His Word. William Branham failed miserably that God given test, and so do the “signs and wonders” proclaimed by BJ to be blessings from God, such as the manifestations I have referred to. Branham’s followers (such as BJ) also fail the test of Deuteronomy 13:3. This is no trivial matter, because it is God who tests them.
In the quote mentioned above BJ refers to William Branham as having the “anointing”, and this is a major theme within the healing and prophetic movement, and a major excuse for trying to justify the unbiblical things they practise and preach in the name of the Lord; the excuse being that God has given them an “anointing” so their error and sin should be overlooked. How many times have you heard people declare, “Touch not the Lord’s anointed”? BJ even tells the story of when he knelt at the feet of Oral Roberts and asked him to impart on him his “healing anointing” (2). My friend at Bethel has recently posted the below photo on his Face book page of him and his wife kneeling before BJ with palms raised upwards toward heaven, whilst BJ “anoints” them with a huge sword. You couldn’t make this stuff up....
Is the whole teaching of someone being specially “anointed” biblical?
The New Testament Greek words for “anoint” are:
1. Chrio, meaning “to smear or rub with oil, and by implication to consecrate for office or religious service”.
2. Aleipho, meaning “to anoint”.
In Bible times, people were anointed with oil to signify God’s blessing, or call on their lives (Exodus 29:7; Exodus 40:9; 2 Kings 9:6; Ecclesiastes 9:8), as a precursor to the Holy Spirit anointing people in the New Testament. A person was anointed for a special purpose – to be a king, a prophet, a priest or even a builder etc.
Another meaning for the word “anointed” is “chosen one” and this is where people like BJ start to veer badly away from New Testament biblical truth about true anointing and teach that certain special people (like William Branham and Todd Bentley) have a special “anointing”. This is utter garbage and needs to be exposed as such.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit to spread the good news and set free those who have been held captive by sin (Luke 4:18-19; Acts 10:38). After Christ left the earth, He left us the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). As a result, now all Christians are anointed, chosen for a specific purpose of furthering God’s Kingdom:
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things (1 John 2:20).
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
Every believer has the anointing of the Holy Spirit. There is no “special anointing” in the way people like BJ claim, other than in reference to Christ, who is The Anointed One. This is extra-biblical nonsense that allows false prophets like William Branham, Bob Jones, Todd Bentley et al to spread their poison throughout an ignorant church that is hooked on experience rather than truth, because they are told to “Touch not the Lord’s anointed.” This is the very same error that John was writing against in 1 John 2:20, because people were coming into the church claiming they had a special anointing.
Now let us look at just one or two of the people Bill Johnson associates with and shares his doctrine with. You can tell a great deal about someone by the company he keeps.
Bob Jones is a friend of BJ and has spoken at Bethel. Jones reveres William Branham and was one of the Kansas City (FALSE) prophets, together with the previously mentioned Paul Cain and Mike Bickle to name but a few. These so-called prophets were a group of men who came together around a church known as the Kansas City Fellowship, which was pastored by Mike Bickle. They declared that God was spearheading a new revival, from their churches, that was restoring the office of prophet.
Bob Jones was regarded as the true visionary of the bunch, who was said to have been especially anointed (that good old special “anointing” again) with supernatural visions from God and a prophetic gift. However, he made so many bizarre and unbiblical claims and prophecies that did not come true that it is difficult to know where to start.
He fails the Deuteronomy 18 test so badly that he should have been thrown out of ministry decades ago. In his teaching tape, Shepherds Rod, Jones rationalises his and other people’s false prophecies by claiming that the Rhema (the spoken word of God) would be two-thirds accurate in the days to come. If only he was that accurate!
Bearing in mind Jones’ in(1)fluence at Bethel and within the Prophetic Movement in general, it is perhaps not surprising that this totally unbiblical attitude towards false prophecy is echoed by teachers and leaders at Bethel. For example, Kris Valloton is an integral part of the teaching and ministry staff at Bethel (and someone whom my friend is being tutored by whilst there). In a YouTube video entitled False Prophets posted 7/9/2010, Valloton initially appears to express much needed concern over what he sees happening within the Prophetic Movement, but ends up missing the mark by a country mile by making the following statements:
There’s a difference between a bad prophetic word and a false prophet.
You can get the [prophetic] word wrong, and not be a false prophet.
Because you give words that aren’t completely accurate, it doesn’t mean you’re a false prophet. It just means that you have prophetic words that need help.
I can tell you that there are people who’ve been wrong for thirty years. I’m not saying they’re false prophets. I’m just saying they are bad ones.
There’s a difference between a false prophet and a bad prophet. A false prophet has an evil heart. A bad prophet just gets everything wrong.
Valloton’s double-talk is no better than trying to make a distinction between a thief and a robber, or a liar and a fibber. Compare Valloton’s statements against the biblical definition of a true and false prophet and you quickly see how deeply compromised his teaching is; the lack of credibility and integrity is clear to all those prepared to see it.
What of Bob Jones’ conduct? He was found in 1991 to be having women undress in his office in order to “receive prophecy” (3) He was exposed to be working out of a demonic spirit later in the 1990s by Clifford Hill (4); something his associates acknowledged, but rather than deal with him in the appropriate biblical way, he was allowed to continue in ministry after a short period of “reflection” by people who chose to be blinded to the demonic origins of the “signs and wonders” he was performing, instead of testing these against Scripture. Jones claims to have his own “portal” to the third heaven that he can use whenever he likes. (“Beam me up Scottie!”) During these many “translations” to the third heaven, Jones claims to have been given revelations that are not only contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture, but can in fact be easily identified as being New Age in origin (5).
Bob Jones has subsequently become more and more influential in charismatic circles to the point where he is now treated as a wise old “elder- statesman” figure, whereas in fact he is the epitome of a false prophet and false teacher; he even uses a form of palm reading to discern matters! (6)
Forget the Bible’s instruction to test all things, the attitude displayed towards such obvious occult practices by Bob Jones could be described as “Christian pragmatism”, meaning “If it works, do it – if it works, it must be from God.”
Having people like the demonically influenced Bob Jones speak and teach at Bethel School not only exposes a serious lack of biblical knowledge and discernment on the part of BJ and his ministry team, but also exposes a disturbing sympathy for the false teachings Bob Jones espouses. This in turn exposes those enrolled at the school to this demonically influenced man.
In addition to Bob Jones, Bill Johnson is one of the men responsible for “restoring” Todd Bentley to full- time ministry. Todd Bentley should never have been in the ministry in the first place; a ministry based on the “anointing” given to Bentley by a female angel named Emma; by Bentley’s own admission, the same angel that was with William Branham! Furthermore, this is the same angel that Bob Jones claims started the whole prophetic movement in Kansas in the 1980s, i.e. the Kansas City FALSE Prophets. Bob Jones described the angel Emma as “a mothering- type angel that helped nurture the prophetic.” (7)
Bentley is quoted as saying about this angel:
She glided into the room, emitting brilliant light and colours. 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 putting gold dust on people. “God, what is happening?” I asked. 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.”
See, when angels come, they always come for a reason; we need to actually ask God what the purpose is. 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! Even though the entire community consisted of only three thousand people, weeks after I left the church the pastor testified that the church offerings had either doubled or tripled.
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. She would tell them that God gave her their telephone number and then would give them words of knowledge. Complete strangers. Then angels started showing up in the church. (8)
This is just one of many, many quotes I could have used from Bentley to make my point.
Bill Johnson’s wife and co-pastor at Bethel, Beni Johnson, has a no less bizarre and unbiblical view of angels. For example, on her blog in 2009 she wrote:
In the last couple of months, I personally have become more aware of the angelic activity in this realm. One of those times was when we were on a prayer trip to Arizona... One morning as we were driving up over Tehachapi Pass and coming down into the Mojave Desert, I began to feel angels. The closer we got, the stronger the impression felt.
I could see them everywhere! I announced this to the group and said, “We have got to stop! We have to stop somewhere...” As we drove around a corner I said, “I think that we are going to wake up some angels here..."
We knew we were to turn around, get out of the RV and wake up the angels. I wish I could convey to you the energy and the quickness of how God was working. We jumped out of the RV, I blew the shofar and rang the bell, and we yelled “WAKEY WAKEY.” We got back into the RV and drove off. As we drove off, hilarious laughter broke out! We were stunned at the speed at which this all took place and were spinning from the adventure and the angelic activity. What in the world had just happened?! Heaven collided with earth. Woo hoo!!
Since that time, there has been a stirring in me to awaken the angels for use in this Kingdom reign that is upon us here on earth. I have shared these two stories in other places and have done a prophetic act of waking up the angels: having everybody cry out, “WAKEY WAKEY!” I know it is strange but it is very effective... One of our gals who enjoys God’s angels... gets pretty wacked when they are around...
Shouting “WAKEY WAKEY” at angels? Where in Scripture does it say that angels even need sleep, let alone it is our job to wake them up? You will also note that Beni’s reference to “heaven collided with earth” is a direct reference to her husband’s book When Heaven Invades Earth.
Frankly, this kind of behaviour just makes me want to shout “WAKEY, WAKEY” at all those Christians who go to Bethel and put themselves under the authority of such obvious false teachers.
“Third Heaven” Trips
Bentley has been a major promoter within the Prophetic Movement of “Third Heaven” trips, and has even held seminars on how to reach the “Third Heaven” through “guided visualisation” techniques. The “techniques” used by Bentley (and also Bob Jones) are the same techniques found in the Eastern practice of Astral Projection and are common in all the mystery religions of the East. They are utterly unbiblical and deeply demonic.
These “Third Heaven” trips allow false teachers and false prophets like Bob Jones and Todd Bentley to justify their extra-biblical revelations. For example, in one of his own “Third Heaven” trips, Bentley claimed he literally visited a small cabin where the apostle Paul lives in Heaven - small cabin? Doesn’t sound very “heavenly” to me. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions“ (John 14:2), not “many small cabins”!
Whilst visiting Paul in his “small cabin” in Heaven, Paul allegedly told Bentley that the authorship of the book of Hebrews was unclear because he wrote it with the personal help of Abraham. In A Face To Face Encounter – Part 2, Bentley states:
Paul said, “When I was in the third heaven, Abraham was with me like you are with me now. Abraham himself shared (information) with me and I simply wrote it” (in the book of Hebrews). “The authorship isn’t clear because it was Abraham and I; Abraham shared the content with me.”
Allowing that these experiences are authentic, which is very doubtful, and supernatural, they have absolutely nothing to do with biblical Christianity and could be proven so by applying the biblical tests given to us by God. However Bill Johnson and others, such as self-professed prophets Bob Jones and Rick Joyner, believe Todd Bentley should be restored to ministry.
Bethel- the name says it all
Bearing in mind the obsession with angels and visiting heaven that Beni Johnson and the people associated with Bethel have (such as Bob Jones and Todd Bentley) the choice of the name Bethel for Bill and Beni Johnson’s church and ministry makes perfect sense (at least in their minds). In Genesis 28:12 we are told of Jacob’s dream:
Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
As a result of his dream Jacob declared:
“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:16-17).
Jacob declared the place where he had the dream was no less than the House of God and the Gate of Heaven and verse 19 tells us he renamed it Bethel, literally meaning House of God.
Todd Bentley is a false teacher who headed up the so-called Lakeland “revival” which was full of unbiblical teaching and practices, false testimonies, demonic manifestations and the worship of angels.
Whilst people like Bob Jones, Rick Joyner and Bill Johnson were declaring Todd Bentley to be anointed of God and being used by God to usher in the “Third Wave” of world revival, he was having an affair with one of his aids and regularly getting drunk in bars. He subsequently left his disabled wife and children and married his mistress, which as far as God is concerned, means that Bentley continues to be in an adulterous relationship:
Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her (Mark 10:11).
As difficult as this statement from Jesus may be for many Christians, it nevertheless clearly reveals God’s attitude towards divorce.
I have absolutely no problem with Bentley potentially being restored to fellowship if he is truly repentant, as Galatians 6:1 states:
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
However, Scripture does not allow him to be “restored” to ministry, even if that ministry was of God in the first place. Scripture gives us clear guidance and instruction of the character required for church leaders:
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of an overseer, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behaviour, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:1-7).
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a overseer must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:5-9).
These passages make abundantly clear the moral character required by those in leadership. They not only need to be one who protects and preaches sound doctrine, but someone who also serves as a moral example to the church. When a church leader succumbs to sin, the faith of the church is shaken and the gospel is ridiculed by unbelievers. When a leader of a church is guilty of some serious moral failure as Todd Bentley was (ignoring for a minute his demonically influenced false doctrine), he must be removed from his position in order to protect the moral integrity of the church.
Yet despite all this being very clear in Scripture, people like Bill Johnson are actively rehabilitating this wolf in sheep’s clothing into a position of leadership and ministry. Why would Bill Johnson do that? The answer is simple: they share the same doctrines and practices.
BJ believes Todd Bentley (who by the way, contrary to the instruction of Leviticus 19:28, got all his tattoos after he was supposed to have been saved) has a special anointing from God; he believes Todd Bentley is part of the “Elijah generation” or “Elijah list” specially anointed by God! This is part of an unbiblical and dangerous doctrine that BJ has bought into. Let us remind ourselves who originally claimed to have the “Elijah anointing”: William Branham!
NEXT – Great End-Times Revival, Elijah Generation, Joel’s Army & Jesus – Man, Not God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James (Jamie) Smith is a financial adviser who gives specialist advice to doctors and dentists based in Sheffield, England, where he was born in 1970. He was raised in a Christian family and became a believer in his childhood. Jamie is married to Emma. They have two young daughters, Holly and Heidi, and are members of a small independent evangelical church in Sheffield. Jamie writes on various matters of the Christian faith with the aim of encouraging and equipping fellow believers to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3) by being able “to give an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope within us” (1 Peter 3:15).
1. William Branham: The Man and His Message pp22-23 – quoted from FOOTPRINTS ON THE SANDS OF TIME: MY LIFE STORY p77
3. Olathe Daily News, USA 13/11/1991
4. Clifford Hill audio tape, Occult Links with Toronto Blessing
7. Angelic Hosts (2003) by Todd Bentley (exerts printed in The Berean Call 29/5/2008 and in True and False Revival by Andrew Strom.
8. As above