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Bethel To Be Judged, 7/12/14


Before I say anything about my history with Bethel Church of Redding, California, USA, and how I feel God led me to believe he is going to judge them, let me first say that judgment is an act of love from God to teach us to live more righteously:

Isaiah 26:9
With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

God only judges when he has to because we will not repent any other way. The motivation to teach us to live holy and close to his loving bosom is always his intent.  Also I want to make clear that I do not believe Bethel is all bad, not by along shot.  I want to make it clear that I would love to turn out to be wrong about this for reasons that I hope are obvious to us all.  In the body of Christ we need to love one another and not wish any ill on one another.  I do not wish any ill on Bethel and I have prayed for them for quite awhile to break free of the problems that I am going to mention in this message.  Bethel is led by Bill Johnson, whose father planted the church and who took the helm there sometime after his dad died.  Before then Bill had been pastoring in the small town of Weaverville fairly deep in the mountains of Northern California.  I mention this because I believe that some of the strongholds of these rural communities of Northern California where I also grew up is part of the root of what I believe God is going to deal with at Bethel in this season of judgment.  I believe that until what I believe will ultimately happen comes that we need to pray for Bethel tha they will repent on their own accord.  By the grace of God I have been able to pray for some of them for eight years now and for two years for the whole organization and I hope to endure in that  until such a time as I hear clearly from God to not do so.

In fairness to Bill Johnson and Bethel they have done some things very well.  To characterize them as all bad the way so many on the internet do is very inappropriate.  They are not charletans who fake miracles and use magic tricks to fake supernatural signs and wonders as some have accused them of doing.  The thing they do best is minister powerfully in genuine, Jesus-driven supernatural healing.  The miracles out of Bethel are absolutely real and from the Lord and should never be doubted. Likewise they have very good worship there.  I can testify from over two years of attendance there that the worship is anointed most of the time and is profitable to the Kingdom as a form of spiritual warfare.  There is also good evangelism out of Bethel.  These things are real and good and are not to be sneezed at or maligned but are to their credit at Bethel and I bless them for those things.  So praise the Lord for all those good things.

It is too bad that isn't the whole story though because they are very weak in at least three major important areas: PRAYER,  inner healing/deliverance and the  true prophetic ministry.  And those weaknesses will prove to be fatal for Bethel in the end.  All denominations have religious spirit problems since denominationalism is the fruit of division which is work of the enemy.  Bethel comes out of the Assemblies of God denomination in the past and in fairness has indeed made some strides to get free of the religious problems that are common to the denominations.  I believe they arrived at the theology they have by seeking to get out from under heavy religious chains from their AOG past and in fairness did make some progress forward.  But I believe that they took their revelation that God is not only angry but is loving and in a good mood too far.  I believe they either lost or never had a full revelation of God's holiness out of which he is constantly full of righteous anger at sin:

Psalm 7:11
 God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.

I think this was very tempting to them because they very much wanted to be free of the heaviness of what they used to be under, where Pentecostal denominations can often have an overly angry and judgmental image of God.  But there is more to God than what they believe about him and have made a religion of their own out of insisting that God is always in a good mood as if he never gets angry.  This has made them a dangerous source of whom to seek direction in a time when God is angry at our sin as a nation and is moving to judge us.  Consequently I expect the vast majority of Bethel faithful are going to be badly burned as the judgments of God grow heavier and they eventually realize that the Bethel theology has left them totally unprepared for the realities of the time we are in. I believe God loves Bethel and Bill Johnson and does not want it to be this way but he cannot allow a huge popular church to go unchecked for failing to properly lead and prepare so many people who follow it for the times ahead.  I can personally testify to my own very numerous efforts, many of them admmitedly flawed, to try to provide helpful corrective input to Bethel leadership, all of which have been completely ignored.  If so many ways I see myself as a so much less mature servant of God than man like Bill Johnson but I cannot ignore that I know what God has shown me since I first experienced Bethel and Johnson in 1999.

I had a major life crisis in 1997 that really tore me up and I limped home to California very broken and hurting.  Not long after I had been back in CA I sank into such a deep depression and I thought I had forever lost my salvation despite being saved since age 6.  I had been through very great torment from the enemy and well knew how real hell is so I was terrified.  Although I thought, on the one hand,  I had blasphemed the Holy Spirit and could not be saved again, I could not stop myself from desperately seeking to be saved again and avoid hell.  One time as I was searching for rescue I went to Bethel from nearby Oroville where I grew up and attended a Sunday morning service.  I tried to respond to the invitation to receive salvation and prayed as I was lead to and they took note of me.   I felt no peace or relief from my deep inner anguish and stood there feeling heavy with condemnation.  Bill Johnson came up to me to shake my hand and reacted to me very strangely.  In fairness to Bill I was in a very bad place and was feeling very condemned and unworthy to be there.  But I was a hurting soul in need of love and tenderness and compassion and help connecting again with the Lord. Unfortunately this is far from what I received.  Johnson's reaction to me, as I have reflected on it in the years since then, told me that Bill had some very real undealtwith issues himself.  Bill was VERY scared and horrified of me.  He crept up to me in very stooped posture and very tentatively held out his hand to shake mine.  He shook my hand at as great a distance from me as he could and looked at me with eyes that were wide with discomfort and fear.  This was my first indication that there was something very wrong at Bethel.  But since I was in such bad shape at the time and so full of self-condemnation and focused on blaming myself, I did not pay much attention to the strange unloving treatment Johnson had given me.

In the fall of 2001 the Lord gave me huge breakthrough and healing from my state I have just described and which freed me to live for him in relative freedom and I was on fire after feeling rescued from hell.  In the next few years I very much respected Johnson and Bethel and focused on the good things I believed they were doing out of there and did not focus on the very strange way Johnson had reacted to me.  I defended Bethel to any critics and as a Northern California native I was grateful to have what I considered to be such a healthy church from my part of the country.  During these year I was on fire with a vision for a massive move of God in the prison system of California in which I was serving my time for a case.  Bethel was on my list of ministries that I wrote to often in my efforts to get prayer and support for my vision from ministries that I believed were the most anointed in our country.  In 2005, after being paroled,  I attended a meeting with Johnson in Chico, CA where he ministered in healing and there were a lot of miracles.  I very much enjoyed it and still delight in that memory.  It was Bill Johnson at his best, moving in the gift of healing as he is genuinely and powerfully anointed to do.  But in those days I was under a confusion that many American christian have: I thought that great spiritual gifting was a sign of spiritual maturity.  The Lord has corrected my thinking about this primarily through the ministry of the very very mature prophet Neville Johnson, and I have come to understand that it is not.  I believe this is one of the main reasons why Bethel has become so famous when it is really not nearly as solid as so many think it is.  It has to do with the American church being so immature that we do not know how to recognize what true maturity in a leader really is.  I have learned very clearly that spiritual gifts are a free-money gift from the Lord that require no significant maturity and must not be confused for it.  They are not the same thing at all.  It is the fruit of the spirit that is the measure of maturity, not gifts and power.  I believe this is one of the great problems with Bethel and indeed much of the spirit-filled church of America amongst whom Bethel is popular with so many.  In those years I had only just begun to hear from the Lord myself that America was on the fast track to judgment and I did not know that Bethel was of a theology that would deny such a reality.  Having read America's Last Call by David Wilkerson in 1998 I knew that we were headed for judgment eventually and I would not have been so impressed with Bethel if I had known that they we of a theology that would lead them to actually try to use their influence to resist the message of judgment now coming from God's most authoritative prophets.

In the spring of 2007 I was in prison at San Quentin State Prison in California, USA for a parole violation. I had a believing bunkmate and we would pray together every night. One night he felt he had word from the Lord for me. The word seemed to mean that God was calling me to go to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, or so I thought at the time. With some help and a lot of prayer from my faithful mother and some other friends I got a parole transfer a year later to live in Redding, CA where Bethel is, and apply to the ministry school. To make a long story short, I had a head to head battle with the Jezebel spirit working through the secretaries at the ministry school and not only did they mistreat and reject me as a student but they actually contributed strongly to my going back to prison again on an unnecessary and totally undeserved parole violation. It was very very hurtful. But I still thought God had told me to go to the school. In 2010, when God delivered me out of the prison system for good, I began to try to work out the problem with Kris Vallotton, the Bethel associate who runs the school but he has been unwilling to talk about it to this day. I wrote to him many times on his church email, Facebook, and his own ministry website, trying to work it out. In fairness to Kris he did respond briefly one time and said, "I am sorry for your pain," which, in fairness, was better than nothing but sadly he has totally refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing on the part of his secretaries. So, anyway, I still thought I was to go to the school and in 2011, when I was living in Oroville, CA, an hour and a half south of Redding,  I talked with my mother about moving to Redding for that purpose. We began to come up to Redding and attend Bethel every Sunday morning and night and heard clearly from the Lord to move up here. We thought at the time he was telling us to plug into Bethel and be involved there.

In May of 2010 we made the move to a house that God clearly chose and continued going to Bethel and I joined a men's group there. But before long we started seeing real problems at Bethel. I continued to be stonewalled by chief associate Kris Vallotton in my efforts to talk with him and reconcile about how his ministry school secretaries had treated me and was met with self-righteousness. Not long after the move, on a Sunday night, Danny Silk, the 2nd associate there preached a message on the 'Bethel culture' and practically boasted about once threatening to call the cops on a woman who, from his description, was clearly mentally ill, rather than minister to her. During the message he also shared without any sense of remorse, how Vallotton had referred to he the woman as "weird." My mother and I were shocked at the lack of love and total absence of wisdom, discernment, and sensitivity about how to handle someone who was mentally ill. This poor woman, had surely come to the house of God to find the love and healing of Jesus and was met with rejection, oppression and more wounding when she was obviously already very hurt inside, it was awful. My mother, a Clinical Psychologist with decades in the field of treeating mental illness, wrote an excellent letter to the leadership addressing the problem, they never responded.   Our respect for the leadrship at Bethel took a ral hit from this, but we kept going there becaue we felt God had told us to and because we enjoyd the worship and seeing the miraculous at work.

Somewhere in that same window of time on a Sunday night, Kris Vallotton said he had a prophetic word for the near future of America.  In fairness to Kris I think he may have gotten part of it right when he said the something very good for the nation was going to come out of Pennsylvania.  That may very well be true and praise God is if it is.  But along with that Kris hit a major foul ball.  He claimed that God had shown him that the economy was going to improve in the near future. Instantly I knew this was not the Lord.  His saying this flies in the face of all manner of prophecies from true prophets who are much more mature than Kris.  This incident told me clearly that Kris does not hear the voice of he Lord clearly all the time.  I do not pretend to always either.  But no one in touch with natural reality or present prophetic revelation about the direction of the country would ever think God would say that when we are headed for a depression that will make the 30s look like vacation.  Please do not get me wrong, I do not want to beat up on Kris who does other things well, but this was  a very clear indication to me that he is not a reliable voice for prophecies  about the future, which mature prophets are.  The economy will improve years down the road and in the meantime those who participate in the New Kingdom Economy that will arise will prosper, but that is not what Kris said. He clearly indicated that he felt God had said the regular worldly economy would improve in the near future.  He was dead wrong. I need to grow in knowing the voice of God as most of us do so I am not trying to pick on Kris for this, but unfortunately there is more to this picture.  It would not be problem were it not for the fact that Kris presents himself as an authority on true prophetic ministry.  He teaches the very confused idea that any prophecy that makes someone afraid is not of God because God is love and there is no fear in love.  This teaching is very tickling to itching ears but is far from the truth that there is such a thing as God's Holy Anger and God's Holy Fear.  Kris also teaches a very confused message about the nature of True Prophetic Ministry.  So, I believe it is abundantly clear that Kris is not an authoritative voice on the true definition of the prophetic ministry as are Neville Johnson and Terry Bennett.  Also, there is the very huge problem of that Bethel Promotes Harold Eberle As A 'Prophet'.  Eberle teaches a very confused message on Biblical Eschatology that is very misleading and does not respect the prophetic scriptures adequately and consequently sets up all who believe it for disaster in the long run.  Eberle twists scripture to fit his construct and makes unbilbcal claims like saying that "even Jesus did not know the signs of his own coming" so he can support his misleading argument.  I believe it is profoundly irresponsible and also disrespectful to all True Prophets Of God for Bethel to promote Eberle as a 'prophet.'

Awhile after that, my mother, an elderly seasoned intercessor, took a part-time job in a mental health facility and wanted to connect with Bethel leadership on praying for the needs of the mentally ill in the community.  She wrote a letter to Bill Johnson on her professional letterhead and gave it to his son Eric to pass to Bill.  Eric very kindly agreed.  Awhile later, one day during the week, she received a letter ostensibly from Bill Johnson asking her to keep him up to date on the situation.  The letter had a copied signature, not an originally penned one.  So that Sunday morning after church as Bill was greeting people at the door as they leave the sanctuary, my mother came up to him and introduced herself by name, fully expecting him to recognize her name since he had just sent her a personal letter.  Johnson looked at her like a deer in the headlights and stared at her in silence clearly totally unaware of hwo he was and confused by her manner of thinking he should know who she is.  In an instant she discerned that he had no idea who she was and had clearly not written the letter she had received.  She had received a letter from a Bethel staff person in Johnson's name when he never had any idea who she was and clearly had no personal knowledge of the letter.  Our respect for him and Bethel took another great hit that day.

So anyway, I encountered problems at the men's group I mentioned before and eventually left and as time went by we kept discerning more and more issues that really were not good. Finally, in early summer of 2013, we left Bethel completely and began praying for them according to what we had seen and experienced. My primary living spiritual father, was very helpful to me in all this because I kept asking him if I was being disobedient to God by not going to the school but he kept praying for me and hearing from God that I needed to stay away because they would not understand me. I also personally witnessed the consistent mishandling, by Bethel staff, of the needs of someone I knew who was hurting and in need of inner healing and deliverance. Finally, someone in this persons life with a great deal of authority in the spirit and in deliverance ministry finally began to protect the person from the hurtful, inadequate things the Bethel staff were doing to them. I learned by watching that situation that Bethel was pretty weak in the areas of inner healing and deliverance and totally uninterested in any serious effort to improve that part of their ministry. It was very obvious that they were very satisfied with their ways of doing things and didn't care to change. An authoritative prophet from Southern California, some of whose books the Bethel bookstore sells, once told me in person that he and others he knows, who, like him are deep in inner healing and deliverance ministry, have ministered to enough people who have been hurt by Bethel to well know that "Bill Johnson and Danny Silk and can be heavy-handed." Sadly, this proves that the mentally ill woman's case that I referred to above is not the only one and that is no surprise to me due to my own personal experience of the underbelly of this organization.

So as the months went by after leaving Bethel, my mother and I prayed a lot for them according to the discernment we felt God had given us on the problems there. We came to understand that we had not been brought to Bethel to plug in there but rather to be shown the unpleasant realities of all that is amiss there so that we could pray about it from a discerning view on the matter.  One time we went back just for a visit and met with a woman with whom we had made friends a little when we had first come. We met her new husband for the first time that day. She related serious frustration there and told of how her husband, a security guard on the staff there, with a heart for the lowly and unwanted folks on the fringes of the community, had tried to mobilize the evangelistic teams to go down into a creek canyon in town where there is a large tent city of homeless folks but they had refused to go, citing their fear as their excuse not to minister to our homeless neighbors. By this time I was well enough aware that Bethel was not what it thinks it is and I was not at all surprised by this report. I reached out to the friend's husband over email at that point and tried to make friends with him, telling him of my interest in participating in such an effort and also thinking we might connect well since he also had done time in prison. He was unresponsive and I picked up on something real bad in the spirit realm between us: it felt like old convict baggage to me.  So, I called my best old prison brother Tony, a dear trusted brother in the Lord, and talked with him about it, he got a word of "Joab and Abner."  I contemplated this and marveled at the possibility that God was calling Bethel 'Saul' because I well know that I am in the David camp because of things that God has done in my life that confirm that very powerfully. I mentioned this possibility to my spiritual father and he said "UGGHH!" And indeed it was not a pleasant thing to contemplate.

So we went on praying for them all. Then in June of 2014 we made another visit to Bethel to check on things. Kris Vallotton, the 1st associate preached a very confused message about how to recognize a real prophet from a false prophet and said that if a prophetic word gives you any fear then that was proof that it is a false word. That made the hair stand up on the back of my neck because it was so far off the truth. We went over there on a week night and prayed and I felt God was leading me to pray for a whole new authority structure to come in and take over the Bethel facility and assets and run it God's way, and my mother got a word about judgment. A few days later I emailed Kris and admonished him that his teaching was a very dangerous message that could lead people to reject true words from God and I cited:

Jude 1:22-23New King James Version (NKJV)
22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction;[a] 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,[b] hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

This scripture very clearly shows us that God most definitely does use fear to save people from destruction.  I also cited the story of Jonah at Ninevah as another scriptural indication of God's righteous use of fear to lead people to repentance. Kris did not respond. Soon after that I sent him a short message I had written warning about judgments that are coming to America that have been prophesied by mature prophets. The email I sent him was an almost identical copy and paste of my message, West Coast Warnings.  Without naming any of them in the message, I had referred to prophecies by Neville Johnson, Bob Jones, Bobby Conner, Rick Joyner and John Paul Jackson all of whom are mature prophets of God.  Kris wrote back that he did not believe these things were from the Lord and that he was going "break the power of them off America." I responded by telling Kris that he did not have the authority to break off true words of prophecy brought by men who were way more mature than him in the prophetic ministry(Kris thinks he is a prophet). I told him that his thought that he could do so was absurd and I confronted him with several things that he has been doing that God has given me discernment to recognize. Kris asked me not to email him anymore and I readily agreed and told him I would also discontinue my intercession for him which had begun in 2008 when his secretaries mistreated me and I would hereafter leave him in God's hands.  I said this hastily and have not held to it but rather have been compelled to continue to pray for them mostly out of great concern for the very many who follow them and are not getting the leadership they need for the times we are in, especially as it pertains to being in touch with present prophetic revelation and truth.

On June 18, 2014, I commented
on Facebook to Ben Armstrong, a leader at the Bethel ministry school :

"Ben, I have many times seen Bethel security guards stop people from prostrating themselves before the Lord in worship because the fire marshal doesn't like it. Why is Bill Johnson so interested in pleasing worldly law enforcement at the cost of free worship for his flock? If you are a real man of God I challenge you to broach this question with him and in the meantime God have mercy on all of you in leadership there for this and many other compromises."

In fairness to Ben I was pretty hard on him, but in fairness to me, the point I was making is a very real problem at Bethel.  Ben never responded to this query of mine about this very disturbing pattern I saw at Bethel for the whole two years I attended there.

Then, in the first 2 weeks of July 2014, God continued to confirm what I felt God was saying what our attitude should be about judgment and prophetic words that contain fear from him and just how very far off Kris Vallotton's teaching was. Then on the morning of July 11, 2014 God totally blew my mind with a shocking but undeniable confirmation from the highest authority: as I was reading in Amos I was amazed to find that, in what to me has become the definitive scripture on the function of true prophets, God says that FEAR comes along with his voice in prophecy:

Amos 3:7-8New King James Version (NKJV)
7 Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
8 A lion has roared!
Who will not FEAR?
The Lord God has spoken!
Who can but prophesy?

I thought: "My Lord, there it is again, plain as the nose on my face! How OPPOSITE is that from this confusion Vallotton is teaching to his worldwide Bethel audience on the internet and TV! OPPOSITE, EXACTLY OPPOSITE..."  That's what I thought. What a confirmation!   So, I highlighted those verses at the bottom right on page 1311 of my bible with my yellow marker, then meditated on that for awhile and then read on, turning the page because those verses were the last on the page 1311. And then God really blew my mind even more! As I read on and got to the place on the next page, page 1312, that was exactly OPPOSITE those verses on the back side of the page( page 1311), such that yellow from my marker was coming through on to the verses on page 1312, which I was now reading, I saw this!!!:

Amos 3:14New King James Version (NKJV)

14 “That in the day I punish Israel for their transgressions,
I will also visit destruction on the altars of BETHEL;
And the horns of the altar shall be cut off
And fall to the ground.

I took these photos of those verses on opposite pages of my bible that day: