How to respond to the Carr fires in Redding as Pentecostals?
There are wildfires blazing around Redding, California that is very dangerous and it seems that some believers think now is the time to declare open season on Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding as a result. What is the Spirit saying to the churches about what is happening in the area? Be judgmental and picking apart doctrine is probably not the heart of the Father.
Let’s get this out of the way: Carr Fires is NOT the judgement of God on Bethel Redding. I know there are doomsday prophets that are saying that but this is simply not true. There is no reasonable prophetic voice that could see this as judgement.
It does provide an interesting problem with much of the eschatology being taught. Having a disaster of this level just does not fit into Partial Preterism at all. It is hard to understand major events like this when the biblical view known as Pre-Millienialism has been rejected.
The truth of the matter is we will see more disasters like this as get closer to the end of the age. Disasters are a divine invitation to the people of faith to heal the broken hearted with the gospel of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Four ways to help Bethel Redding right now
As the fires are blazing, there is many people hurting right now in need of help. There are some practical ways to help Bill Johnson and company address the issue of rebuilding the city.
Pray for Bethel Redding. They are going to need a lot of wisdom and understanding to help them have empathy for the people in the community. They have a great opportunity to reap a harvest among the locals that includes a large Wiccan population. It will take a large amount of discernment in the aftermath.
While Bethel Redding’s growth has been largely due to people moving to the city to be part of the church, the community itself has been mainly unreached for the cause of Christ. I believe that this could change if Bethel Redding seizes the moment and reaches out with arms open and chair saws ready to go to work.
Consider a trip to Redding. Many groups are going to pouring into the city over the next few weeks. Convey of Hope has two semi trailers on the way and more is to come without question. Salvation Army is using Bethel Redding as a hub. Assemblies of God will have a direct operation (besides Convey of Hope) as well. There is many opportunities to work with someone on the ground.
While the last thing the church need a bunch of “tourists” that see a mission trip as more a trip than a mission; people with chain saws in hand will be critical in the coming months. Consider being a part of it.
Invest in Redding. I realize that many have questions about Bethel Redding and might not be comfortable with giving to them; find a ministry that you are and give. Every ministry will have boots on the ground in the cleanup of this nightmare. Find one that you support their work.
There is wisdom in giving to larger ministries as they can buy in bulk which means more products for your money. While I would understand wanting a personal touch and “people helping people,” giving to large ministries actually make more sense.
Cut the Anti-Bethel bashing. I know many people, including Azusa Report, has issues with some Dominion theology and Partial Perterism. It is understandable to see some people say “how that working for you now?” However, that is the last thing that they need right now. They need people giving them hope, not people giving them hell.
Solomon made it clear there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. We are told directly that there is a time to tear and a time to heal. (Ecclesiastes 3:7) No one benefits from tearing apart the theology of Bethel right now. There will be a time for that but right now is not it.
Doomsday Prophets and Carr Fire
I have seen some people claiming there had a prophetic word or dream about this as judgement. Let’s face some facts here. A prophet’s job is to heal the people and yes, ripping them apart can be part of that but the goal must also be restoration or it is not prophetic.
Doomsday Prophets tend to be statistics. Here is the thing: If 1,000 prophetic people give 1,000 words about some disaster happening in a given city. At some point, they will get one of their 1,000 prophetic words right. It is not really they heard from God but they just happen to get one of the hundreds right. What about the other 999 disaster prophecies they got wrong?
They tend to be heartless. They have no concern whatsoever with the people that are in pain or would have their lives turned upside down by these disaster. They love to fearmonger. This is partly because they see God has the Great Fearmonger and not as a Good Father.
They want to run when it actually hits. I have noticed that most of the people who give doomsday prophecies actually are the first one out of the area when things get bad. They want no part of dealing with broken lives and shattered dreams. They just want to go on Facebook yelling “I told you so.”
Walking in power and compassion
As believers, we are called to be people of power and authority as well as compassion and empathy. We need to expression both sides of the Spirit Baptized experience in all we do. This is especially true right now in Redding.
This is where we find out how spiritual we really are? How we respond in times like the Carr Fires says more about us than how many verses we can quote.