Tagged in: Kingdom Now

My problem with Bethel Church!

Bethel Church in Redding, California is amazing and I love a lot of what comes out of there but I am not a blind dog that takes everything hook, line and sucker. The reality is that we are called to be Bereans who test the teaching against the New Testament.

I have a lot of their books and one that I bought (but never read) was Walking in the Supernatural: Another cup of spiritual java. In this book, I read something that is alarming at best that came from the main leader of Bethel Church, Bill Johnson.

One of my primary jobs is to teach Christians how to discover and spend their inheritance. This basically means teaching people to use the unlimited promises given to us by God to bring about a manifestation of His dominion for the sake of humanity…

While this sounds all great, it has a major flaw in both soteriology and missiology. The purpose of preaching the gospel is to save souls. It is to preach about the bloody Savior on a hill far away to quote the Old Rugged Cross. The primary role of any preacher is to win the lost at all cost. Period.

Any pastor or teacher that is not passionately engaging the lost for the sole purpose of seeing them washed in the blood of the Lamb has lost their way and their reason for even being in ministry. Christianity is not psychology and it is not the latest self-help scheme that quickly becomes sanctified Wicca thinking.

Secondly, the focus of the Christian life should never be “Dominion.” Our goal should be to seek and to save that which is lost. It is what Jesus came to do and it is what we should be doing as a continuation of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke 19:10 makes this very clear.

The goal of the faith is to redeem people from hell; not bring Kingdom Now theology to confused believers.

…We offer people the taste of the Kingdom, over and over, with endless variations. We are like Holy Spirit baristas offering (free) samples of our Father’s excellent  coffee, educating people to appreciate the good stuff and how to bring others into that experience…

I have a serious problem with this comparing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to a coffee of Joe from Starbucks. The power of the Spirit is holy and should be respected. You don’t treat the Ancient of Days as a latte from Gloria Jeans. The preaching of the gospel is not being a barista!

I have the same problem with John Crowder and others who think you can “toke the ghost.” Having deep respect for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is critical to walk in power and authority like the early church did.

Another major error that many like Bill Johnson and John Bevere are teaching is about the gospel is just “good news.” The gospel is the best news a person can hear if they receive it. It is the worst news they can hear if they reject it. Heaven is real but so is hell. Hell is still hot and people are still going there.

The focus of the believer is to bring people to the Cross of Christ, not into spiritual highs caused by “divine lattes.” The Cross changes everything for everyone!

Too much of the Church has left the riches of Heaven sitting in the bank, thinking that we only get them when we die and go there. The belief that Heaven is a future reality has reduced far too many of God’s declarations in Scripture to positional truth that people acknowledge but never experience.

While I agree with this as far as divine healing and deliverance; it seems they want to make the gospel about prosperity (which I do believe in). Healing is the children’s bread and it is a integral part of the gospel. It is not secondary to the salvation. Healing is part of the message. It is miracles that win the masses to Jesus around the world. Jesus saves, heals, delivers and fills!

Bill Johnson holds that believers should expect “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done.” I have no problem with that to be honest. We should expect the manifestation of the atonement to break into people’s lives. The issue is that Bethel Church thinks this is for the believer. It is not for them but through them. This is a big game changer.

The one thing that bothers me here is the disregard for “positional truth.” That is the Bill Johnson way of talking about sound doctrine. Like it or not, sound theology is pretty important. A lot of people have went nuts in the end because they did not have positional truth. Knowing what you believe keeps you from becoming a heretic. Just ask William Branham.

At the end of the day, the gospel is an experience but it is not just that. I do not need to feel saved every morning to know I am saved. I do not feel God’s mercy when I wake up but I know His mercies are new every morning. Being led by feeling is a dangerous place to be.

Many believers stay immature because they never progress beyond the revelation that they are sinners saved by grace…Those who progress are those who understand that God’s highest purpose was not to merely to forgive us of sin….

I am not even quite sure where to start with this. The soteriology of Bethel Church in Redding, CA is just completely out of wack. We never graduate from being saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. There is no progressing from that. That is always where we stand and on what basis we operate spiritually.

There is no moving beyond the salvation experience and it is something that must be valued at every turn of the faith. It is what redeemed us from the flames of hell. It is what keeps us and makes us children of God.

I love the risk culture of Bethel Church and I realize value the heart of Bill Johnson for people to expect the supernatural to break through in their lives. However, a honest look at the soteriology of what is coming out of the pulpit and their books is concerning to put it lightly.


Mike Bickle is wrong about Ted Cruz

I generally respect Mike Bickle but this thing with Ted Cruz is out there. I am not sure why Mike is even getting into this “endorsing” business. All it does is make the critics look justified when they cry “Kingdom Now” looking at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.

I am calling it what it is: a bonehead move. I know that Bickle is not the only one making this bonehead decision either. I am completely blown away that Dr. Michael L. Brown, a very level headed theologian in most cases would buy into all the hype as well.

Mike Bickle believes that Cruz is best

In this article to a news outlet, he said the following, “I observed that no candidate for president has a stronger record than Cruz on standing with Israel, fighting radical Islamic terrorism, and combating anti-Semitism in the world.” 

This is an example of what I just do not get. I am sure Mike Bickle knew that a personal friend of his, Mike Huckabee, was still in the race when he came out of this endorsement of Ted Cruz (January 21, 2016). I am sorry, Mike but Huckabee is much more pro-Jewish than Ted Cruz ever will be.

It was Huckabee that went to battle for the people of Israel when things were in hot water with the Iran deal. It cost him royalty to do it too. I just do not understand how Mike Bickle could forget this stuff. Maybe, it was all that amazing Misty Edwards worship at the prayer house.

Only Mike Huckabee is a real conservative

Cruz is using the Church to try and get elected. It is very sad that the prophetic leaders that see it for what it is. I do not recall seeing Ted Cruz in the prayer lines at the Call when there was no cameras and no elections coming up. It was Mike Huckabee that was there. I remember seeing Sam Brownback put his neck on the line for what he believed but I do not remembering seeing Ted Cruz risk his politician career for what he believed.

Come to think of it, is Ted Cruz even baptized in the Holy Spirit?

Mike Bickle believes in Kingdom Now?

There is a debate in a corner of Facebook about IHOP, Mike Bickle and Kingdom Now theology. Some people believe a few quote or a short clip on God TV is the basis for the all of the theological position of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.

Before we get started on this, let me say this: I know Mike Bickle. I know his theology on the End Times. I left IHOP over it and will not be part of the ministry because of it. However, Mike Bickle is not a subscriber to Kingdom Now theology and never has.

I have to confess: I think half of the “Mike Bickle said” lines are funny. People take and put all types of things in his mouth that is far from anything Mike said or believes. Mike might hold some different ideas on some things but can we at least only blame him for what he actually does believe… not what we want to make him look like he believes?

What is true is that Mikes does believe in the post-tribulation rapture. He does not hold the classic Pentecostal view on the rapture and considers it and the book series, Left Behind, to be heresy. I completely disagree with him on this and left IHOP over it to be honest.

Mike Bickle and Kingdom Now

At the core of the discussion is Wes Martin spoke on God TV. I have not seen it, to be honest, and said that Isreal is critical to revival. The truth of the matter is this is true and it has nothing to do with Kingdom Now. Revelation tells us about the importance of a revival among the Jewish people. God is looking for one new man and that is the Word of God.

What I find funny about this is two things: Wes Martin is not Mike Bickle and Wes is not even currently part of IHOP. He has sold his farm and is serving as a pastor in St Louis, Missouri now.

I think it is foolish to say Mike Bickles believes…then quote one of the other 1,200 people that serve on the staff of the International House of Prayer. Mike can’t be do quality control on that. He just can’t.

According to the IHOP website, here is what Mike holds to.

We affirm that God’s purpose is for Jesus to come back to fully establish His kingdom rule over all the earth. After the second coming, the saints will rule the earth under the leadership of Jesus Christ when He sets up His government on earth in Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom (1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 5:10; 20:3–6). We believe that believers in this age are called to serve Jesus in politics and to help establish righteousness and justice in legislation. We do not have the assurance that all laws and governments will be changed until after the second coming of Jesus when He establishes His millennial kingdom.

We deny that the Church will take over all the governments of the earth before the return of Christ.

Explanation: Some believe and teach that all governments on earth will be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Jesus.

Mike does believe we need godly leaders

He does hold, as I do, that we need to see people in the leadership who value what God values. We need senators and congressmen that will finally win abortion and defend religious liberty. If that is what you call being Kingdom Now, I do not think you understand what the doctrine is.

In that same page, IHOP goes on to say, “Our primary mandate as an organization is prayer and humanitarian action; it is not political. We are not involved in US politics, let alone politics in another nation.”

If they do not get involved in the political process and not try to alter the political landscape; they can not believe in Kingdom Now teaching. It is just that simple.

Why I left YWAM (but I still love them)

A question that I get alot is why I left YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and why I am not working with them currently. I still love Jesus. I still love missions. I still love evangelism. I do not tie my passion for the harvest to YWAM. That is part of the problem, actually.

Too many people get tied up in what “group” they are part of and have more loyalty to it than they do to Christ. When you find your identity in being a YWAMer, Assemblies of God, Church of God or Baptist; you have believed the lie and become part of the evil we know in the western church. It is lie that tells us to rally to men and not the Holy Spirit. The “being planted” deception is run deep in American Christianity.

YWAM is great and I love the heart of Loren Cunningham. However, I believe that Loren does not know, or does not really think it is that serious, how bad some things have become on mission bases in America and parts of Asia Pacific. I can not speak for bases that are in places that I have not visited.

The issues that I see is organizational, theological, and missiology.

YWAM has witchcraft at work

I know some will disagree with using the term but I believe anytime that you use faith as a form of control; that is spiritual witchcraft. Jesus came to set people free; not to bind them as slaves to groups and leaders in the name of “christian service.” Any time that a person feels a need to serve, they have lost their passion to live like the Freedom giver, Jesus Christ.

The pressures placed on young people to serve is unrealistic and it has a major problem: YWAM didn’t start that way. If there is one thing that Loren Cunningham is known for, it would be writing Is that really you, God? The core of YWAM is hearing from the Holy Spirit; not blind obedience to a leader. What ends up happening is YWAM mission bases become little more than mini-kingdoms build by smart men; not the hands of the Holy Spirit.

I was raised to put complete confidence in only hearing from the Holy Spirit for myself. If a leader asked me to do something because it would help grow the YWAM base; the answer is simply no. If I haven’t heard from the Holy Spirit, I do not care what some leader wants. I am not going to do under any condition. I am about being the Kingdom of God. I am interested in building YWAM. Sorry.

The constant pressure to put the organization over the leading of the Holy Spirit is the biggest reason that I left YWAM and will not be part of the movement until something radically changes. It is sad but I really do not think it will change in my lifetime, either.

The spiritual witchcraft is very deep and it runs across the network of mission bases in alot more ways that people realize.

What about Moral Government?

The term Moral Government of God is actually known as Open Theism. As much as I hate radical Calvinism; I also am sickened by radical Arminianism and that is what Open Thiesm is.

For those who do not know what Open Theism is and why it is so dangerous; it is basically a belief that God does not know the future but can only “guess” based on historical trend. Prophetic ministry is just divine guessing. I completely and wholeheartly reject it as outright heresy for many reasons.

To be fair, many within YWAM even strongly question this teaching as well as Kingdom Now theology. I know one leader who was ready to leave YWAM and take his base with him. It is mainly alive in the mission bases in North America from what I understand.

I am as strong of a Arminianist as you find but God is very much a prophetic God and He knows what the score is. Revelation is not a guess but it is a book about the prophetic vision of the people of God.

The reality is we are not God’s plan; we are part of God’s plan. The mission of God is use us but the emphasis must be on the central point of the gospel: the savior Jesus Christ. When we think we are the hero of the story; we have lost the whole point.

I am open to differences in thought about theological stuff. I am Pentecostal and I have Baptist friends.

DTS is bad missiology

If you are not part of YWAM or know much about them, they really believe in what is called Discipleship Training School. If you believe that Matthew 28:19 should take importance over the five other Great Commission passages; you still have a problem. Discipleship should be done in the context of the church. YWAM is a not a church but a missionary group.

The problem become when people replace the great commission with DTS. Many YWAM make doing a DTS, a money maker for YWAM, into the gospel. It is sad but when the emphasis is on a program and not the blood of Jesus; that is idolatry. It is simple as that.

I could never bring myself to promote the program when I was with YWAM. Most people do not need to do a DTS; it is not a replacement to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. What people need is a Acts 2 Pentecostal experience more than some programs full of men teaching people what they think God said about Himself. The Holy Spirit alone will form young believers into mighty men and women!

I still love YWAM!

I left on good terms (for the most part). I still have many friends in YWAM and have worked with them in crusades in Africa as well as spoke in their school of missions before. I am against them but these issues are too big for me to sign on the dotted line and say I am with committed to Youth With A Mission.

In the end, we make better friends than family.

Healing Ministry & Revival

First of all, before I write any more, let me say this: I move in healing ministry and believe like Jesus did: the power of the Lord is present to heal. Healing is not optional for the believer and every Christian is healed by the same blood that saved them. I know some believer, myself included, that are not walking in the fullness of the price paid for me at Golgotha but truth does not change based on my experince.

We, Christians, have a way of downgrading the truth of God’s word to meet what we experince in our ministries but we should upgrade our experinces to match the Word of God. Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God to earth destroying sin, sickness and the curse of them. Satan is under our feet and as Paul said, “the God of peace will soon crush satan under our feet.” (Romans 16:20)

While some are denying the innement return of the Lord in the air; some are teaching what is called “Kingdom Now” theology where basically we are trying to “prepare the earth for the second coming.” However, the truth is God is not interested in saving the world, He is only interested in saving humanity. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying “The heavens and the earth will pass away…” John tells us of the vision where this happened in Revelation. We are to be about saving tree, whales or anything else Al Gore tells us we should. We are to be about four things: preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.

Several years, I was given an opportunity that I will never forget all my days. I had coffee with Dr. Oral Roberts. He told me several things but one of them is worthy of stating here, “Expect a miracle TODAY!” He did not tell me to believe for miracles or pray for miracles but to expect them. Those words live in my life and ministry all my days. When I travel to the nations and pray for the sick and demonized, I do not believe for signs and wonders, I expect them.

Today, after the “Lakeland Outpouring” mess that end in the worse possible way; many are questioning if healing ministry is a valid expression of the Kingdom of God in the 21st century. However, God is not moved from his position during Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John or Acts. He is the God of the gospels and He is the God of the Now. If He is God, He still heals. If He still saves, He stills delivers. If He still delivers, He still heals. It is a package deal.

The problem with healing ministry is not on God’s end!