I was asked to review a three part testimonial relating to ‘defecting from Bethel Redding’
I have not attended Bethel Redding. However, Bethel Redding is not unknown to me. I am also aware that many youth are attracted to It instead of more traditional churches. There is an awareness that traditional “church” is mostly void of meaning and is beset with error since at least 500 AD is growing and not just with the youth. Unfortunately, finding a group following Scripture as closely as possible is very difficult to find, hence churches/ groups like Bethel Redding are becoming very popular.
Bethel in Hebrew means House of God. Bethel is also a toponym, see Genesis 12.
Lindsay Davis is the defector.
She states that she attempted to voice her concerns, to Bethel leaders, to correct what she believes is error. She was eventually asked to leave. Her testimony was captured in three sessions or parts.
God’s Word emphatically warns all followers of Messiah Jesus to be on guard for false teachers and error in general. Every group, fellowship and church must be active in correcting error and sin. It is sad that Bethel Redding or any group should ever reach this point.
John 17:20–22 – 20 I ask not only on behalf of these men, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their message, 21 so that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.
22 “I have given them the glory that you gave me, so that they may be one, just as we are one. (ISV)
Jesus desired that all His followers would be one. All Believers in Messiah Jesus have the same Holy Spirit and written Word of God and have been warned by Jesus and the 12+1 Apostles to be on guard. How many believe the Christian community is one?
The ground rules I use to search out Truth before reaching a conclusion or judgement follow.
By definition a Christian accepts the Bible, the Word of God, as without error and The Truth. The Holy Spirit councils, teaches and guides on the journey to Truth. Denying, adding to, ignoring any part of Truth, the Bible, is a departure and another Gospel, Galatians 1:6–8, 2 Corinthians 11:4. If this fact is in partial or full disagreement then there is no point in reading further as these assumptions are the basis for comparing, discerning Truth. Without the above, Truth is ambiguous and unattainable – “relative”!
2 Corinthians 11:4 (ISV): For if someone comes along and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or should you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you are all too willing to listen.
Galatians 1:6–8 (ISV): I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of the Messiah and, instead, are following a different gospel, not that another one really exists. To be sure, there are certain people who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel about the Messiah. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that person be condemned!
It is hard to explain, but when searching through the Scriptures as a way to uncover Truth, I find I am drained and troubled how so many are misled and turn away from the Truth – myself included. Error is imminent when not following the Foundation set by Messiah Jesus and the 12+1 Apostles, God’s Word.
The links for the interview follow:
While obtaining the URLs for these videos one popped up, in response to the defection video. Two students at Bethel, if I understood correctly, were attempting to refute Lindsay Davis’ testimony. So far I only heard up to the point where they questioned the term “Gospel” – they were just beginning to interpret the meaning! I always believed the term Gospel was simple and a given as explained in the following reference.
These two view points exemplify precisely what is plaguing Christianity today. “Christians” are taught/ discipled with differing interpretations of words and Scripture. Who is right? Nobody wants to be wrong or admit that maybe they really did not hear the Holy Spirit. Who would continue to follow them. However, following a man/ woman is wrong anyway. How many ways can Scriptures be twisted – indefinite? Not only that but no one seems willing to take a step back and for once seek Counsel from the Holy Spirit. Maybe there are other motives for creating new interpretations!
Question everything, be Bereans! Never follow any man or woman just Messiah Jesus. Jesus only authenticated 12+1 Apostles to finish His plan to establish the Church Foundation in writing by means of the Holy Spirit. [ No future Foundational changes allowed and no new meaning or new understanding is needed.] It should be obvious from 2000 years of “church” history that man has distorted God’s Truth with Satan’s help (not the Holy Spirit).
That being said, my response is not limited to just Bethel Redding but to Catholicism, Mormonism, New Age, NAR, NAR-like and post-Reformation churches. The following issues are pertinent to error in general. Error correction should always be in progress – following the Foundation written by the Apostles, Breathed by the Holy Spirit. If there is error among you it must be corrected. One symptom of unresolved error and undiscipled church attendees, is rampant church hopping.
From my observation and experience the biggest problem, or similarities, among error prone groups whether apostate, fringe or cultish groups is the moving away from GOD’S Word, whether it is extra Biblical writing, media or speech. The Truth is often subtly twisted and taken out of context and then repackaged as a “new” truth, “revelation” or “better interpretation” with one or more persons often with charisma selling the deception.
Three issues that plague the Christian Faith :
The Church or churches and “Christians” continue to be severely fragmented
The Bible is the Word of God –
Churches not holding fast to the Apostolic Foundation (12+1 Apostles) as breathed by the Holy Spirit. This includes discipleship, structure/ organization and discipline.
I attribute much error to pride. One ignored Foundational truth is that all believers are equal, no one is above the other, especially the “pastor”. This error has caused great distress ruining and deceiving many. Pride is Satan’s popular tool in which the target sees money, popularity or control in passing error to as many as possible. Sprinkle in signs and wonders and the error spreads very quickly.
Back to the defector’s testimonial and learning the jargon.
The defector claims that the students were learning how to hear God’s voice (Not God’s Word, but claiming what is in your mind as God speaking)
Spirit of religion – basically not letting go of what one learned in a “traditional” church by not letting go with your mind. In the testimonial, the defector stated that in her case not following what others were doing such as manifestations of the “Holy Spirit” not found in Scripture.
Do not put God in a box – that is, just because it is not in the Bible does not mean it isn’t God’s plan/ idea.
similar to “Off the map”
Specially adapted music.
Parts two and three go into more detail with discussion of theology and attempting to bring correction
What draws people to Catholicism or Mormonism for example? Why do newer groups like Bethel Redding spring up? Why do post-Reformation churches adapt to “what works for others” to keep people attending?
For the sake of brevity a few reasons might apply. People are searching for meaning, belonging, being involved or active, seeing or feeling something out of the ordinary. Are the post-Reformation churches following the Foundation as set by the Apostles? My opinion, based on experience and observation, is that churches in general are remis.
I find it very troubling that we have a high tendency to follow a man/ woman (or group ) without much hesitation.
The defector mentioned material for training and associated costs. Although it is possible to receive a free Bible, someone initially purchased it. Many Bibles are given away especially by missionaries. How many extra Biblical items , including training and discipleship material are free? Again, sometimes a church will buy them and ask for a donation to cover the costs. Technically, God’s Word with the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, Guide and Counselor is all a Christian should need. Is there a line where payment for services has exceeded what Messiah Jesus intended? Is the material given or sold under the guise of “Christian” even Biblical? I dare say most material is at best error prone and deceives unsuspecting readers/ hearers. When re-reading past material, I too discovered I was deceived, albeit subtle and maybe unintentionally. It may even sound good and seem reasonable! Do not be hasty in accepting information as truth. I find it helpful to put information to the side for a day or two while checking with Scripture and seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit.
1 Timothy 5:17–18 (ISV): Elders who handle their duties well should be considered worthy of double compensation, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox while it is treading out grain,” and “A worker deserves his pay.” However, there is then the question of content of services. Unfortunately, many churches are already not following the contents of God’s Word. Is it possible that too many churches do not know or understand enough of the Bible to help their congregation? Are the services, training, media, discipleship Biblical? If not and payment is rendered this is a serious perversion of Truth.
The defector stated that it is not uncommon to have 1,500 students enrolled at Bethel Redding to teach them [NAR] apostle Bill Johnson’s knowledge, methods and interpretation of the Bible.
Extra-Biblical claims and “wisdom” is nothing new. It has been going in since at least 100 AD. Even the Apostles had to warn Believers about false doctrines, apostles, prophets and signs and wonders. Not enough Christian Believers take the Foundation the 12+1 Apostles established serious enough, especially today.
Who would not want to be healed, know hidden secrets or have a power (like Thanos in the Avengers) to change or control something on Earth or in Heaven? In reality, not everyone is healed in any church including NAR/ NAR-like groups of which Bill Johnson is a member. I have asked but have not heard a logical reasonable explanation for this reality. My own experience through the several generic and denominational churches I attended is that Christians expect to be physically healed and if not it is usually due to unresolved sin! Where did the idea that people and/or Christians should be healed come from? I was mistakenly taught that “by His stripes we are healed” meant physically healed but that is out of context.
One of the reasons the Older Testament is part of the Bible is to show Newer Testament followers what happened in the past. In this case “Christians” tend to exemplify Israel and go a whoring to other man’s religion (pagan), mysticism, doctrines and theologies.
Instead of accepting the Bible which stands the test of a millennia of scrutiny claiming to be God’s Word, men and women quickly put it aside for some man’s words written or spoken based on a whim or “sounds good”. Sometimes the “new” wisdom implies there is some new revelation or mystery left out or hidden in the Bible which only they, a mere human, can decipher. Even though the Bible warns of this, it is quickly forgotten.
To be fair, these errors and trends apply not just to NAR and NAR-like groups, like Bethel Redding, but to, Catholics, Mormons, and any post-Reformation church or group. Research which religious groups have their own extra-Biblical traditions, books, rules, doctrines. Despite the fact that the United Methodist and the Southern Baptist conventions are trying to prevent further watering down by man’s wisdom, it is going on in individual churches anyway. I approached one Southern Baptist church of a wrong direction and an elder said the church follows the Southern Baptist documents which give individual churches the “legal” ability to follow various theologies!
Catholic churches and post-Reformation churches refuse to follow the Foundation set by the Apostles regarding how a Christian gathering should be. Instead of all Christians being equal they have an elevated priest / pastor set apart and higher in authority than the rest. This makes it easier for Joseph Smith(s), popes, Bill Johnson(s), Jim Jones, David Koresh(es) and local pastors to move their followers away from the Truth. When elders and pastors are asked why the do not follow God’s Word in this matter they claim there would be chaos, become unmanageable. My response to theirs would now be, so, man’s way is better than God’s? How is that working out? I believe God’s way is the best, especially seeing the damage man’s way has done just in my lifetime!
Closing statements from God’s Word
1 Corinthians 10:19–20 (JFB): Satan’s dominion as “prince of this world,” he and his demons are in fact the powers worshipped by the heathen, whether they are or are not conscious of it (De 32:17; Le 17:7; 2 Ch 11:15; Ps 106:37; Rev 9:20
Deuteronomy 13 discusses how to tell false prophet:
Deuteronomy 13:1–5 – 1 “A prophet or a diviner of dreams may arise among you, give you an omen or a miracle 2 that takes place, and then he may tell you, ‘Let’s follow other gods (whom you have not known) and let’s serve them.’ Even though the sign or portent comes to pass, 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or that diviner of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to make known whether or not you’ll continue to love the LORD your God with all your heart and soul. 4 You must follow the LORD your God, fear him, observe his commandments, listen to his voice, serve him, and cling to him. 5 That prophet or diviner of dreams must be executed, because he advocated rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and because he lured you from the way in which the LORD your God instructed you to live. Purge the evil from among you.” (ISV)
In response to the claim that “New Apostles” have more authority (…) than Jesus – “speak things into existence in heaven”, Scripture has this to say:
Ephesians 1:20–23 which he brought about in the Messiah when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realm. 21 He is far above every ruler, authority, power, dominion, and every name that can be named, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 God has put everything under the Messiah’s feet and has made him the head of everything for the good of the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills everything in every way. (ISV)
In response to NAR-LIKE apostles or the continuation of the 12+1 Apostles:
The 12+1 Apostles are unique never to be continued. They laid the Foundation which is closed (finished). (See also:
Always be on guard!
Acts 17:10–12 – 10 That night the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 These people were more receptive than those in Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive the message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if those things were so. 12 Many of them believed, including a large number of prominent Greek women and men. (ISV)
Acts 17:24–28 – 24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in shrines made by human hands, 25 and he isn’t served by people as if he needed anything. He himself gives everyone life, breath, and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth, fixing the seasons of the year and the national boundaries within which they live, 27 so that they might look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. Of course, he is never far from any one of us. 28 (ISV)
Does God mind that Christians go “off Map”, “out of the Box”, [“rogue”] for any reason?
Ask Ananias and Sapphira.
Acts 5:1-11 : 1 But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold some property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back some of the money for himself and brought the remainder and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 Peter asked, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you should lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back some of the money you got for the land? 4 As long as it remained unsold, wasn’t it your own? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? So how could you have thought of doing what you did? You didn’t lie only to men, but also to God!” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized everyone who heard about it. 6 The young men got up, wrapped him up, carried him outside, and buried him.
Then ask the man in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5.
1 Corinthians 5:1–5 – 1 It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, and of a kind that is not found even among the gentiles. A man is actually living with his father’s wife! 2 And you are being arrogant instead of being filled with grief and seeing to it that the man who did this is removed from among you. 3 Even though I am away from you physically, I am with you in spirit. I have already passed judgment on the man who did this, as though I were present with you. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are gathered together (and I am there in spirit), and the power of our Lord Jesus is there, too, 5 turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of his body, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord. (ISV)
But removing the man per Apostle Paul caused this man to repent – see:
2 Corinthians 2:5–8 – 5 But if anyone has caused grief, he didn’t cause me any grief. To some extent—I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you. 6 This punishment by the majority is severe enough for such a man. 7 So forgive and comfort him, or else he will drown in his excessive grief. 8 That’s why I’m urging you to assure him of your love. (ISV)
This action probably prevented future mistakes/ sin.
2 Corinthians 12:19–21 – 19 Have you been thinking all along that we are trying to defend ourselves before you? We are speaking before God in the authority of the Messiah, and everything, dear friends, is meant to build you up. 20 I am afraid that I may come and somehow find you not as I want to find you, and that you may find me not as you want to find me. Perhaps there will be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly conduct. 21 I am afraid that when I come my God may again humble me before you and that I may have to grieve over many who formerly lived in sin and have not repented of their impurity, sexual immorality, and promiscuity that they once practiced. (ISV)
The Apostles were not soft on sin and going “off map”, “out of box” is not consistent with Scripture. Christian’s are to fill their mind with the Word of God, the Bible. The Holy Spirit will not contradict itself. The Holy Spirit breathed the written Word of God. The 12+1 Apostles relayed what the Holy Spirit told them. Each Christian has the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 (ISV): You, too, have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed in the Messiah, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, ….
Therefore, each Christian can know Truth and be taught, guided and counseled properly. The Holy Spirit gives the same guidance (Truth) to all Christians.
Ephesians 1:17–21 (ISV): …. would give you a wise spirit, along with revelation that comes through knowing the Messiah fully. Then, with the eyes of your hearts enlightened, you will know the confidence that is produced by God having called you, the rich glory that is his inheritance among the saints, and the unlimited greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his mighty strength, which he brought about in the Messiah when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realm. He is far above every ruler, authority, power, dominion, and every name that can be named, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:15–23 (MHCWB:CUOV): Not that they might be freed from persecution; nor that they might possess the riches, honors, or pleasures of the world; but the great thing he prays for is the illumination of their understandings, and that their knowledge might increase and abound: he means it of a practical and experimental knowledge. The graces and comforts of the Spirit are communicated to the soul by the enlightening of the understanding. In this way he gains and keeps possession. Satan takes a contrary way: he gets possession by the senses and passions, Christ by the understanding. Observe,
In Whence this knowledge must come from the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, v. 17. The Lord is a God of knowledge, and there is no sound saving knowledge but what comes from him; and therefore to him we must look for it, who is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ (see v. 3) and the Father of glory. It is a Hebraism.