I went to seminary at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California where Pastor Bill Johnson serves at Bethel Church. I would not trade one day there for another.
It was an absolutely glorious experience. I went there for three years and attended the church for about four. I had such amazing experiences with God that I can barely touch on with each article I write. It shaped me as a person and helped me to grow closer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who all I give glory to in everything.
Since I have left there, I started to notice that not a lot of people are enthusiastic about the movement that Bethel Church has started.
I have seen articles written by so-called heresy hunters who use snippets on YouTube and then throw a random verse on the screen to try to prove their point.
Bethel is what some consider to be a Charismatic-Evangelical church, that promotes the five fold ministry and believes miracles are still for today. These kinds of Christians have been under attack for years by other so-called Christians who believe miracles come from the devil.
To my surprise though, I have found that attacks have been levied against many other Christian leaders, some are very different from the leaders at Bethel.
Men and women like Andy Stanley, Havilah Cunnington, Erwin McManus, Beth Moore, Francis Chen, John and Lisa Bevere, Joseph Prince, Joel Olsteen, Joyce Meyer, Banning Liebscher, and the list goes on and on.
Andy Stanley gets attacked for having a church where they try to bring in the unchurched. Joyce Meyer gets attacked for saying God wants to bless you. Banning Liebscher gets attacked for saying we need to experience God.
The sad thing is, the Bible is very clear about this. I know I’ll be accused of misquoting this verse, but Jesus made a profound statement about judgement. Here it is in the HCSB:
1“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? 5Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Here comes the next argument: “But aren’t we supposed to be like John the Baptist? He called out hypocrites and we’re also supposed to be wary of false prophets and warn each other of them, right?” First of all, again Jesus makes it pretty clear that John the Baptist was under the old covenant, not the new covenant. Second, yes, we should be weary of false prophets and what not, but the Bible says to use the discerning of spirits and to judge their fruits. Judge their fruits, not the people themselves.
It’s true, there have been frauds and ministers have fallen from grace, but I also believe we should not jump to conclusions. Just because an opposing minister, a heresy hunter, or an internet video tells us to.
I read books from many sources, but I also read books by ministers I disagree with. Not for the sake of judging them, but because I know they might have a grasp on something else other than our points of disagreements. I do not make internet videos taking one thing they said out of context or make memes about them. I look at their life and how they serve Jesus.
For example, I like to study about the life Aimee Semple-McPherson. She was not a perfect woman and I disagree with many things she said and did, but I will not condemn her because of some mistakes she made in her life. I believe she was a Christian who was under Jesus’ grace, and why would I doubt that?
Now will I write about a false doctrine that I think contaminates the church every now again (for example the Four Blood Moons), yes, but I will never accuse them of heresy unless I have very strong evidence. I will simply state why I think they are wrong and break down why based on my understanding of the Bible.
No one is perfect (especially me) and no one has everything completely figured out (again, especially me), but I trust Holy Spirit to guide us to truth and to help us be united as a church.
We don’t have to squabble, let’s discuss things like a Christian family should. That is what I am suggesting. If someone wants to have a discussion, let’s be willing to listen and give grace to each of our points of view, so we can work together to advance the cause of Jesus Christ.