Should Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding be rejected as heretical?

A question many have is what to do with the teachings of Bethel Redding in light of their eschatological bent toward Partial Preterism and promotion of Kingdom Now theology?

Let me state it very directly: Partial Preterism is not just wrong, it is a doctrine of demons. The doctrine of Kingdom Now is just as dangerous and must be rejected.

However, I believe that many true believers are believing things such as them and many ministries doing amazing things for the cause of Christ are promoting them. Do we really throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Bill Johnson and the people at Bethel Redding have fully adopted the Partial Preterism heresy as their preferred estachology and there is very strong Kingdom Now features. The problem is many are confused at best.

While it is true that Bethel Redding has rejected classic Pentecostal eschatology (Thus, why they are no longer Assemblies of God), they are still faithful to the gospel and a core conviction that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for all.

It is also important to note some leaders within the church and especially the school seem to teaching Open Theism or “moral government of God.” This concept has gathered a following in recent years among missionary groups such as YWAM as well.

Understanding Partial Preterism

It is a teaching that has been on the edge of the doctrine concerning the end times since 1620’s. It has never been widely accepted, especially within the evangelical churches. Selective priests in the Catholic tradition has taught it.

It is also important to understand that this is not the same things as people like George Eldon Ladd and later John Wimber taught. The emphasis on the Kingdom of God was known as Inaugurated eschatology. This is different.

In its’ simplest form, Partial Preterism teaches that everything negative such as the Great Tribulation happened when the Roman empire feel in 70AD. As believers born afterwards, we are just going to see more and more positive things and increased spiritual manifestations.

The first problem is that it puts way too much emphasis on one event that is not even directly discussed in the New Testament, only heavily implied. While many people who believe in dispensationalism ignore much of what happened in 70AD; partial preterists think it is the end all of everything theologically. Both are wrong.

The second issue with the teaching is that they remove any desire for the imminent coming back of the Savior. Some of the people who actually teach it have a very mocking attitude toward any mention of the catching up. They are full blown scoffers.

As people of faith and power, we can not allow ourselves to be deceived by the smooth words of teachers who try and convict us that Jesus is not coming back for the saints. 1 Thessalonians 4 tells us to encourage others in the catching up. Partial Preterism discourage people from it and even are known to mock any type of a “rapture.”

Kingdom Now in Redding?

Once they have laid the eschatological foundation to explain away any negative events; they build on it with what is known as Kingdom Now theology. This doctrine from the late 1980’s is very tempting to be people confused about their eschatology.

R. J. Rushdoony started preaching this concept in the 1960’s in his very radical Calvinism and was passionately a supporter of cessationism. It is amazing that so much of this damnable doctrine came from someone who was an enemy of Pentecostalism. It is also interesting that it is Post-Millennial in eschatology.

It seems that the idea came out of a prophecy related to the Latter Rain revival of the late 1940’s and later, some of the writings of C. Peter Wagner. It is noted that Wagner did celebrate the writings of Rushdoony. This is how the doctrine got rooted in Pentecostal churches that are Arminian in nature.

In its’ current form, it is a doctrine that states that as believers we are to be the leaders in the “Seven Mountain of society.” In the case of Bethel Redding, they believe they are “to bring the Kingdom of God to every sphere of life.”

It is important to note that this is not New Testament theology and it is actually goes against the clear teachings of it. We are to be the salt and light of this broken world. The church has always been strongest when marginalized.

Our friends that are part of Bethel Redding seem to disagree.

Bethel’s love for Trump

One thing that is alarming is the fixation on Donald Trump that many in Redding have, Bill Johnson included. As one would listen to them speak of the President; you can only think of a core conviction of Kingdom Now doctrine at its’ core.

It seems that they believe that Donald Trump and his platform is going to bring a new era of faith for Pentecostals. That he is preparing the government to receive us and that we are moving politically “from glory to glory.” It has concerned me more than once.

The gospel does not change based on who is in the Oval Office. The message of a bloody Savior is still the same and it does not alter. Nothing that a political leader can do will change the spiritual climate of sin and wickedness in the land.

If anything, history shows the greatest advances of the gospel has been in the face of some of the most wicked of men in politics. The gospel spread in Acts despite the government, not because of it. The same is true in every century since.

It is important for us to realize the Kingdom Now is actually keeping us from revival; not preparing the way for it. The Church will only lose its’ voice for repentance and righteousness as we lay in bed with politics in the nation.

It is one thing to support people that agree with you philosophically; it is another to publicly state God put a wicked man in the presidency for the “purposes of the Kingdom.”

Is Bethel Church bad?

The truth is that there is some amazing things they are doing and they are touching a lot of people. The emphasis they have on miracles is something that the scriptures encourages to have. They are going a lot of good things.

So what do we do about the doctrine of demons that is coming out of there in the form of Partial Preterism and Kingdom Now? We rebuke it. We correct it. We address it. This is the model given to us in Revelation 2-3.

I tend to agree that many seem to rubber stamp approval on what is happening in Redding and in doing so, they are leading a generation into deception. It is time to stand up and say, “but these things I have against you.”

I can not understand how some leaders look past these issues and just stand smiling for the picture time. It is important to have things like soteriology and estachology right! After all, when we miss these; all our theology will be screwed up!

I am aware that many that follow Azusa Report are also friendly to Bethel Redding. I still have many relationships in Redding. However, I am not going to stop that from asking the hard questions about what is happening.

  • Anon
    March 12, 2019 - 3:00 pm

    I think you’re off track on your “love for Trump” section. I’m not on the ground in Redding and never have been, so I have no idea what is spoken beyond the reaches of the internet, but I do follow them and include them in the many teachings I watch from various Christian groups. I’ve never heard any endorsement of Trump from Bethel that is any different than what you hear from every other Evangelical group in the States. If you google “Bill Johnson Trump” one of the only pieces of information you’re going to find is an article he pinned on his blog and subsequent media coverage. Bill goes over the same talking points (abortion, sanctity of marriage) that has been the base of the Evangelical political spectrum since the 70s! Your article seems to make Bill Johnson and Bethel the extreme position here, when in reality I believe you’re the one who differs from the majority of the American right (referring to a recent article on your site where you endorsed “no one” in midterm elections).

    I agree with what I presume you believe, we as Christians shouldn’t thrust our faith into the political system, but in a world where many “Christian” denominations are openly endorsing political opinions that Biblically unsound, it’s okay to open up politically in the pulpit for the truth.

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  • Andrew Pratt
    March 12, 2019 - 7:54 pm

    This is a sad article written by someone who espouses Dispensational Premillenialism. Partial Preterism “Doctrine of demons”. Foolishness. Someone who has a very little grasp on church history. Someone who is taking a run at the greatest movement on the earth today finding it roots in the Toronto Vineyard Church in the 1990’s. Partial Preterism has been the proper understanding of the NT Bible since it was written by the Apostle Paul and other writers of the first century. Unfortunately underlying this article is a person who believes in Dispensationalism who believes in a doom and gloom future and a church which has disempowered by the devil. People like RJ Rushdooney, Pastor Bill Johnson are some of the greatest thinkers and minds who are standing against the flood of filth the pit of hell has promoted in the last 150 years. Tell us now won’t you lets escape this world, get raptured out, preach the anti-christ, and the great tribulation. Let’s look forward to Christ return leaving the world in the hand basket. I serve a God who cares and is concerned about every individual on the face of the earth not to mention the earth itself. God is not finished with us or this world yet or ever will be. I suggest you go back to school and learn about the victorious God his name is Jesus Christ who sits on the throne and those who know Him with Him and rule this earth until the Kingdoms of this world become the Kingdoms of our God.

    Matthew 28:19-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
    “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

    PS – I am not sure why Bethel left the Assemblies of God but I don’t doubt that God gave had a bigger vision than placed in a new wine skin which would not fit within the one the Assemblies of God had.

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    • Azusa Report
      March 13, 2019 - 3:22 pm

      Dispensationalism? I actually do NOT support it as it has too many issues. However, partial preterism is demonic. I find it interesting that even Mike Bickle is talking about the problems with the view.

      Doom and gloom? Are you joking. Stadium Christianity is where this thing is heading!!!!

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  • Andrew Pratt
    March 12, 2019 - 11:02 pm

    To answer your question “Should Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding be rejected as heretical?
    NO. It’s one of the greatest moves on earth birth out of the Toronto Airport Church Revival awakening the church out its sleep.
    You shall know them by their fruits. Look at the miracles and transformation that Bethel is having along with the others they have partnered with in the world today. Bethel is one of the most multifaceted churches today excelling in every area.To make a home for God and His Presence can only produce blessing. Isn’t funny how those who were in previous movements of God criticize each ensuing movement or revival?

    You mention RJ Rushdooney was against Pentecostalism yet later came to appreciate the blessings of the Spirit Life before his death.
    He spoke in our church in the 90’s and some of works are phenomenal and he was one of the greatest minds of our age.
    He believed in Dominion Theology and that the Kingdom age is now not futuristic.

    “The Holy Spirit thus has a more general as well as a more specific place in our lives and world than is generally recognized. The doctrine of vocation or calling must be seen as essentially related to the Holy Spirit. We are therefore not alone; whatever our gifts or vocation, however, great or small, we are the instruments of the Holy Spirit. To limit the Spirit’s manifestations in our lives to dramatic or ecstatic experiences is to limit severely our relationship to Him. He is very much present in all our daily tasks, and we have the duty to recognize His presence and power.” RJ Rushdooney The Spirit Filled Men August 31, 2011
    Republished from Exodus [Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2004], 457-461)

    One day you Dispensationalists will shake off that rapture coat looking for an imminent return of Christ and learn to live with the rest of us who believe that the Glory of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

    Then we can join Christ when it is proclaimed:

    “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
    1 Corinthians 15:24 New King James Version (NKJV)

    “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
    Revelation 11:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

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  • Andrew Pratt
    March 13, 2019 - 4:27 pm

    Regarding your comment with respect to Pastor Mike Bickle, I love Mike and the work he has done with the IHOP but sadly his belief in premillennial dispensationalism is the downside of the doctrine he hold’s to and a detriment to the work he is involved in.
    Covenant Theology believes we are in the Kingdom Age now and Dispensationalists believe that we are in the so called Church Age or Age of Grace and the Kingdom Age is coming after the so called rapture leading into a literal 1000 year rule with Christ. The Church age, the Rapture and Dispensationalism invented by Darby, C.I. Scolfield is entirely without support in scripture. We are in the millennial age now until Jesus comes and then the judgement.
    Jesus is returning to a victorious bride without spot and wrinkle. Believe me we have a lot of work to do as a church in seeing this world transformed for His Glory through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the church coming into the unity of Christ before Jesus returns. I have attached a link of the a cursory explanation of the “Sevenfold Errors of Dispensationalism”

    Stadium Christianity or should it really say Stadium Evangelism. I didn’t know that was a sin. Explain???

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