Step by step commentary on Bethel Church’s pandemonium teaching. I started making these critiques in summer 2017 largely due to a former flatmate of mine becoming part of Bethel and a fringe character in it. Episode 1 of the series starts off a bit inauspiciously but gets gradually better.
It led to a few non-Bethel episodes on more random figures, one being a certain Jacob Prasch, an episode that ultimately spawned 4 seasons and 49 episodes.
Bethel 25. In The Bethel Sleepytime LSD Trip With Kris Vallotton, Bethel’s 2nd in command shares his 1999 prophetic-dream-trip to heaven and his conversation with ‘God’ who ‘leaned over and whispered’ to Kris how he’s going to tear open Christianity and create a new religion whose members will not have to use their brains. I look at the comparisons between Kris’ experiences and both LSD trips and Astral Projection, and try to work out who the very anti-Christian ‘God’ who Kris spoke to is likely to be in reality.
Bethel 24. In When Bill Johnson Makes a Game of Theology…But Can’t Play Ball, Johnson explains to his Bethel audience in Redding, California, how Matthew 10 tells him he is to go heal everybody, so I read the text and the verses he misses out, and find he has deliberately altered the rules of reading in order to gain for him and his disciples the POWER they are all after. As Bill makes off with the power of God as Prometheus made off with Zeus’ fire, I check to see if it actually is power at all, or if it is merely the inert ‘power’ of fantastical thinking, especially in these days of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Bethel 23. In This Is America (How To Make An American Straw Man) Chris Cruz, the ‘Young Adults Pastor’ at Bethel Church in Redding, California, presents the American Christian “narrative on millennials…leaving the institutional church”, and then sets about misrepresenting the American Christianity view so he can advance a false Bethel view that puts the “power to save Christianity” into the hands of those very millennials who are leaving the “institutional church” (like the ones who end up attending Bethel who Chris is, coincidentally, addressing), asserting rather boldly that the millennials are just like the 4th Century hermits the “Desert Fathers” for some quite way-out reasons. I have a look at his claims and the creation and padding out of his straw man.
Bethel 22. In Abi Stumvoll Critique 4: Returning Bethelites to Neverland in a DeLorean Time-Machine, Abi Stumvoll is back at Bethel in Redding, California, claiming “God” has told her she is to return to being a child and never has to grow up, and “God” invites the Bethelites to do the same. So I look into her claims in light of her childhood trauma, cast a glance at Michael Jackson, look at the effects of nostalgia on people, and consider why Abi has pimped out her nostalgia ride with a Flux Capacitor.
Bethel 21. Leslie Crandall in Bethel Church in Redding, California, describes her experience of the Toronto Blessing in the mid 1990s, taking the audience through her bias to experience something, to violently shaking, to approaching it, and then “BA-BOOM!” she has a life-changing experience that alters her way of dealing with youth pastors… FOREVER!
I run through her experience and compare it with possession in the native Japanese religion of Shinto, and my own expectation-laced experience of “God” found in a Japanese Pentecostal church, and look at the powers of expectation, the crowd, music, and the mosh pit.
Bethel 20: Bill Johnson, Bethel’s guru, presents the view that wisdom can be purchased with US dollars, so I have a look at the prosperity gospel lies.
Bethel 19: Bill Johnson waffles about what he thinks happens when your ministry is attacked. He fails, obviously, to point out the difference between an attack against a valid Christian ministry, and an invalid one like Bethel is, then he rambles about speaking on the phone to Rick Joyner (whose literature I take a look at). Both Johnson and Joyner anointed Todd Bentley as a person greater than Moses (!!!!!!!!), so I look at the video of the lunatic anointing session that happened before it became apparent Bentley was a criminally convicted homosexual pedophile, something ‘Dave’ pointed out rather comprehensively discredits every single person in the anointing ‘coronation’.
Bethel 18: Abi Stumvoll teaches again at Bethel Church in Redding, California, again promoting other false teachers. This time she quotes the author of ‘The Shack’ William Paul Young, by working through his 12 phrases he believes are “Words You Will Never Hear God Say”. The video critiques each view and compares them to what the Bible actually teaches.
Bethel 17: A 2nd critique of Bethel’s Abi Stumvoll, in which she descends into greater false teaching than before, assuring the Bethelites that if God says anything that you don’t like (i.e. that you are wrong about something like He does in the Bible continually) then that’s proof in itself that it is NOT the voice of God. Unparalleled deception from Abi, who appears to be an expert in Bible cluelessness.
Bethel 16: Bill Johnson teaches the Bethelites that God cannot give away sickness because He doesn’t have sickness. This is despite God striking all Egypt with illness, King Herod with worms, and Zechariah with dumbness. Johnson also claims Jesus just hid somewhere whenever things got tough for the disciples. Barmy beliefs, all, like usual, not lining up with Scripture. Kris Vallotton, Johnson’s 2nd in command at Bethel, turns up and overturns his master’s position through relating a family experience.
Additionally Johnson quotes Yonggi Cho, the Korean financial huckster and false teacher.
Bethel 15: Paul Manwaring asked God to give him assurance he should go to Bethel. “God” gave him a verse that says Abram went to Bethel, so Paul went to Bethel, and has this evidence of “God” speaking to him. Trouble is the verse he cited says clearly Abram DIDN’T go to Bethel. Oops!
Bethel 14: Abi Stumvoll teaches Bethelites in Redding, California, how to know God is with you, using the teaching of Graham Cooke (so 8 minutes is an overview about Cooke). Graham Cooke teaches a dunce’s method of determining if a voice you are hearing is God’s, which is basically if the voice says something nice, it’s God, and if it speaks anger of judgement, it’s not God -and he uses a passage of the Bible to back up his claim, despite the passage proving he’s wrong. So from that foundation of quicksand, Abi builds a false teaching out of a deck of cards:
Bethel 13: John Bevere teaching at the 2017 ‘Open Heavens’ Conference in which he full on lies about what Acts 1 records:
Bethel 12: Kris Vallotton teaches on an “untranslatable” Greek word in the New Testament. Fortunately Kris has the skills to translate it for us, resulting in a word which magically overturns 2000 years of teaching, and informs us that the Apostle Paul thinks the idea of barring women from authority over men in church is “stupid”:
Bethel 11: Bill Johnson, the pastor of Bethel Church, teaches us “everything” Jesus taught, and then reduces that “everything” down to going around doing miracles. It is extreme cherry-picking:
Bethel 10: Kris Vallotton encourages Christians to get tattoos, and pretty much do whatever you want so long as whatever you do is “you”:
Bethel 9: A real oddity this. Donta Nelson (in darkness, fittingly in Bethel Church in Redding, California) recites a poem with passion about becoming a friend with God, mangling Scripture along the way, and concluding that he still hasn’t become a friend with God. The goats applaud. Exit Donta stage right:
Bethel 8: Bill Johnson is apparently told by lots of people that Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21-23 refer to him (the people who tell Jesus, “Lord, Lord…” and boast of doing miracles, but who won’t enter heaven). Here he tries to turn that around and say the ones who won’t enter heaven are the ones who tell him he’s a false prophet, which he achieves through painful eisegesis:
Bethel 7: The infamous ‘Glory Cloud’ that appeared at Bethel Church several times (which is obviously Christmas glitter) gets explained by Danny Silk, who basically tells you if you are rational and therefore don’t believe the Christmas glitter was Jesus, then you should just “Shut up!”:
Bethel 6: Danny Silk (again), teaches Bethel people about what Biblical discernment is, which he explains is the art of not discerning. He also ridicules Christians who do question (discern) things by doing an impression of a lunatic:
Bethel 5: Shawn Bolz teaches Bethel people how to prophesy over others, and gives the example of when people prophesy their own good intentions rather than God’s intentions, which is basically saying that a lot of the time when you prophesy, you are wrong, despite that being the Bible’s criteria for spotting that someone is a false prophet.
Bethel 4: Bill Johnson’s son Eric describes Jesus as an American idiot taking selfies and being so slow that he is taken off guard by a sarcastic woman. Bizarre:
Bethel 3: Heidi Baker prophesies over the Bethelites that God is speaking to them with the voice of an eagle, and wants to give them some super-powers, and implies that God is calling the brave Americans who have travelled all across the earth for the sake of Christ are “chickens”. She does her schtick of shouting “WHOAH!” and babbling in tongues:
Bethel 2: Seth Dahl relates to Bethelites one of the most ridiculous and idiotic visions I have ever heard, in which a giant angel appeared in a Bethel “cubicle” and had the name of a bank, and said it protected Bethel’s finances. Utterly stupid:
Bethel 1: Brian Simmons attends Bethel and explains his reasons for making a new translation of the Bible, in which he cannot hide the financial motivation which underpinned it.