I will not reveal who it is, but an acquaintance of mine has expressed interest in attending the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. After reading the information posted on the school’s website and Googling Bill Johnson, the leader/founder and pastor of the Bethel Church with which the school is affiliated, I grew alarmed, and then angry.
It is evident that those who fall for garbage such as that which was put on the website suffer from spiritual deficiency and low self-esteem. The spiritual deficiency that enables them to fall for this type of foolishness comes directly from failure to read the Word of God. If someone proclaims to be a Christian, that means to me that he or she has devoted himself or herself to studying the Word daily so as to be able to “rightfully divide the Word of truth”. Studying the Word is just as important in the development of Christian knowledge and character as prayer. How can you divide the Word of truth if you do not know it or if you do not have any type of relationship with God?
My problems with this “school” are as follows:
1. Classes are taught by self-proclaimed apostles and prophets, not professors or theologians. The reason I said self-proclaimed is because, those people are obviously, self-proclaimed. The Bible specifically says that to be an apostle one had to SEE JESUS. Now unless those people are over 2000 years old, I am pretty sure that is not the case. I also explained to my acquaintance that there were prophets in Biblical times because the Holy Bible as we now know it had NOT been compiled. God used those people as His mouthpieces. And the true test of whether a prophet was really a prophet of God? If his or her prophecy did not come true, that person was KILLED. The Holy Bible is the only prophecy we need.
2. They encourage their students to practice a concept called “soaking”. This is quite possibly the dumbest, so-far-from-doctrine concept I saw on the website. In one of the paragraphs that discusses the structure of the program, “soaking” is mentioned but not explained. Basically, students lay on dead people’s graves with the hopes that the anointing of the souls of the dead will be “imparted” into them. I must admit, I was at first horrified, then I laughed merrily at the stupidity of it all, and then I was just plain confused. How in the heck could people be influenced to think this helps them?
The Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord–IF one is saved. So, these students are assuming that those graves consist of the bodies of saved people. That leads me to my second point–the only thing contained in those graves is dust. The Bible also says from dust we came, and from dust we shall return. There is nothing of substance in those graves and anyone who has ever read the Bible knows that. There is NOTHING in those graves that could be “imparted” to anyone. Finally, even if this imparting was possible, the Bible also says that we are not supposed to covet the abilities and gifts God gives to others–we are supposed to identify our own abilities, thank God for them, and use them for His glory. We should not be trying to receive ANYTHING of anyone else’s. The pictures of the people laying across the graves was both laughable and sad.
3. Supposedly, the curriculum will teach students how to heal the sick (but no, they will not be MDs), prophesy (I already covered this), and get this…cast out demons, Exorcist style. Yes, I am actually snickering right now. This is what happens when Scriptures are taken out of context, when people take bits and pieces of passages of Scripture to suit their own purposes. I explained to my acquaintance that the abilities to perform the “signs and wonders” this school thinks Christians should “get back to doing” are no longer in effect. I again directed her to 1 Corinthians, where she can read that these gifts were for the Apostles, who had a very difficult job of having to bring an entirely new message to a group of people (the Jews) who were very much set in their Mosaic ways. They would not have entertained the notion of Jesus being their Messiah had the Apostles not had the power (given to them by God, by the way, not through some curriculum) had there not been some proof.
At the end of the day and even now I am very disappointed. I have not even been focusing on getting my notes from Leviticus posted here (and I am greatly overdue, I apologize) because I have been consumed by this mess. I encouraged my acquaintance to do her own research and consider the source. I directed her to a link of the school’s founder, Bill Johnson, saying what had to be one of the most inflammatory statements I have ever heard another self-proclaimed “Christian” make about Jesus: That Jesus was born again. WOW! So this pastor does not even understand the concept of being born again, which is specific to man, who is born in sin–Jesus, with no earthly father, did not inherit the sin nature you and I have from the blood of our earthly father, therefore there was no need for Him to be born again… I was frightened when I really sat and thought about how the “pastor” of a church, and pretty influential, who undoubtedly plays a large role in how his school operates and what is taught, even screwed up basic Bible understanding.
Anyone who claims to be a Christian should already know God has warned us all throughout the pages of that Bible to beware of false teachers and false doctrines. The way to find a phony is easy–if what they say do not line up with the Record, then you must reject it. We are not supposed to judge another brother or sister’s sin, because we all have our own, but we are charged with publicizing false doctrine and false teachers if we come across them lest we play even a small role in leading others astray by allowing them to be confused and caught up in this kind of crap. I told my acquaintance to check out Revelation 22:18-19–God does not play with people who take away from or add to His Word. It is seriously nothing to play with, and I am disappointed my acquaintance, with all of the Christians around her, chose to instead listen to someone with absolutely no Biblical knowledge himself.