Here at Azusa Report, we have talked about Bill Johnson’s Bethel Redding in both praises and criticism. I think they do are going a lot of good things and among them has been starting a wide discussion about healing ministry in the Post-Brownsville Pentecostal movement. That is very important and thank you to Bethel Redding to be the gas on that fire!
However, there is something that they are doing that is just hurtful to true Holy Ghost revival. If I am to honest, the free for all culture in Redding has probably done more to stop true outpouring than help it happen. A major part of this is their bent on Dominion theology as well as some very odd eschatology.
With that said, this article is not about Kingdom now, eschatology or even Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. What is on the table today is the lexicon of Bethel Redding. There is something to say about the understanding of lexeme among Pentecostals, especially what is becoming known as the New Apostolic Reformation.
The truth is that words do have meaning and the words we use to define things can not be changed on a whim. This redefinition of theological terms is only creating harm to the Pentecostal movement.
3. Apostolic is way over used
It seems that everyone and anyone claims this is apostolic and that is apostolic. There is now Apostolic writing and apostolic worship. I would not be surprised if someone said that they were working an apostolic job if they had a dream job. It is really that crazy in Redding these days. Just because a Pentecostal is doing something does not make it apostolic. In fact, no major Pentecostal movement (including the Assemblies) even officially embraces Apostles.
There are some requirements to be apostolic but there is one that shuts down 99% of the apostolic craziness. Does what they are doing work in line with 2 Corinthians 10:16?
so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory.
If the answer is no, then we need to realize it is NOT apostolic in nature. There is nothing wrong with writing an article and realizing it is not apostolic in nature. It is really fine, guys.
This matters because misuse of the term is cheapening down what is apostolic and what is an Apostle in our generation. Apostles are far and few between. In fact, the New Testament tells us about more false ones than true ones. The casual use of the term makes us forget what being truly apostolic is all about. I have yet to see a A.G. Garr come out of Bethel Redding. Heidi Baker is the closest I have seen.
In my view, there needs to be a major repentence concerning the ideals of apostolic ministry and then a massive study into what make an apostle one and why there is and will continue to be few of them in the earth.
2. Everything is not prophetic
I remember the 1990’s in Mike Bickle’s church where people were getting carried away with prophecy. Everything was prophetic and people were trashing each other’s character in the name of “words of knowledge.” The same thing is happening today in Redding in many ways. People getting a prophetic job, driving a prophetic car, living in a prophetic house, and writing prophetic blogs. You would think some of these people think the breathe prophetically.
How some of this happened is bad theology about prophecy in general in their school. Bill Johnson’s free and loose view of scripture has create a problem. As much I love Bethel Redding, I am not even sure that many in the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry even understand the role of the prophet in today’s Pentecostal movement.
One of the challenges that I see is that many do not understand the difference between encouragement and prophecy. (Romans 12:6-8) Most encouragement is not prophetic and most prophecy is not encouraging. When people are not teaching this, it gets very touchy theological about prophecy in general.
This culture of wrong and sometimes false prophecy is actually demonic in nature. Scriptures tells over and over to be careful with people who go overboard with prophetic ideals. In multiple places, we are told not associate with them.
As far as what is happening in Redding, I do not suggest to disconnect from them but I do think they need to publicly correct the prophetic craziness going on among the students and call for repentance of the damage they have done in the process.
1. Revival is not better services!
I firmly believe that the most over used word among people connected to Bethel Redding is revival. Everything is revival and there is also this revival and that revival. This has completely cheapened revival and made people downright sick of hearing about it. There is little in common with what we call revival today with the Topeka Outpouring or the Azusa Street Revival. I consider this as part of the departure from sound eschatology.
People want revival so bad that they convince themselves that anything a little anointed must be revival. The truth is 99% of the services I have seen that are suppose to be “revival meetings” are really just long church services. Better worship songs and longer preaching does mean the revival fire is falling.
It seems that the student have little to no understanding of historical revival. Outside of the names like Jonathan Edwards, Peter Cartwright, Charles Finney or Smith Wigglesworth; they know very little of what happened in these times of open heavens. It is unacceptable how little history of Azusa Street that many coming out of a school of ministry have.
When you have people talking about revival here and revival there without any historical context of what revival even is; it will get goofy very quickly. This is exactly what is happening.
I hope that Bill Johnson understands these things are serious and need addressed!