Bethel Church “cult” rightly under fire (Part 1)

TonyMianoIf you didn’t know already, one of Australia’s biggest church movements, Hillsong, endorses one of America’s biggest cults. That’s Bethel Church, run by the notorious false teacher and neo-pagan Bill Johnson from Redding CA.

As some may know, Hillsong invited their very well-known band, Jesus Culture, to perorm at its annual Hillsong Conference in 2011. Australia’s other church movement, Christian City Church (C3), run by Phil Pringle, also endorses Bill Johnson personally and has had him speak at their annual Presence Conference.

If this is all new information to you, then we hope that Christians like yourself are beginning to realise how false teachers endorse false teachers to give the impression that they are legitimate.

Christians pastors, apologists, teachers and evangelists, those in positions of responsibility and leadership in the church, need to take a firmer stand in warning about Bethel’s influence, in obedience to the Scriptures, for the honor of the reputation of Christ, His gospel – for the sake of His church. The Scriptures are quite clear on what ought to be done about false teachers.

Matt. 7:15   “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Gal. 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

1Tim. 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

2John 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.

Evangelist Tony Miano is one such person who has decided to take the Bethel “bull” by its horns and shine light into its false doctrines and practices.

Miano writes,

Welcome to ‘Repent Bethel Redding’

Nadab_AbihuThis is an artist’s rendition of the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, offering strange or unauthorized fire before the Lord.

My name is Tony Miano. I am a member of Grace Community Church. I am an evangelist who leads a ministry called Cross Encounters Ministries.

With more than a little reluctance and trepidation, I am entering the world of “Discernment Blogging.” While it can be a place of great encouragement and teaching, it can also be a place of ugliness, lies, and hatred. I hope readers will determine I am in the camp of the former, and not the latter.

Why me, and why now?

I believe a group known as Bethel Redding is a cult. The group has a number of characteristics of cult, as defined by the Christian Apologetic & Research Ministry.

Bethel Redding propagates a false Jesus, contrary to the Scriptures. Bethel Redding propagates a false gospel, contrary to the Scriptures. Bethel Redding propagates a false holy spirit, with false signs and wonders, contrary to the Scriptures. The group is also involved in forbidden, demonic practices such as a strange form of necromancy known as “Soaking Up the Anointing,” “Grave Soaking,” or “Grave Sucking.”

I believe Bethel Redding is a danger to the true church, the Bride and Body of Christ. I also believe Bethel Redding is a danger to the soul of every lost person who comes in contact with the group or any of its affiliates.

I have followed and studied the aberrant activities and theology of Bethel Redding, for several years. I have already extensively written and reported about this cult. Recently, I have received an increase in requests for information about the Bethel Redding cult. Some have asked if there is a central depository of information about the group.

While others have done fine work in cataloging information about Bethel Redding, I’ve decided it’s time I lend a more organized level of assistance to the effort.

Now, this new work will be and must be secondary to primary mission–to herald the gospel of Jesus Christ on the streets around the world and to assist biblical churches in doing the same. So, the production of new, counter-cult material might be slower than some like. I hope you will be patient with me. In order to try to maintain a steady flow of the addition of new information to the site, from time-to-time I will have other people (guest writers) contribute to this site.

In the end, as in all things, I hope my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be glorified in this effort. I also pray the Bride of Christ will be edified, equipped, and protected in this effort, and that many lost people, particularly those involved in the Bethel Redding cult, will come to genuine repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

So, with that, I inaugurate the Repent Bethel Redding website/blog.

Source: By Tony Miano, Welcome to ‘Repent Bethel Redding’, Repent Bethel Redding,, Published 02/06/2015. (Accessed 03/06/2015.)

Categories: Bethel "Church"

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19 replies

  1. 2 Corinthians 13:5 Read it. The Bible speaks clearly here. How do you want to spin this?

  2. Disappointing article. Not sure if you’ve met Bill. Probably not. Have sat under his teaching and will continue to do so. Will pray for you. You seem to think that you can sit in the judgement seat solely meant for Jesus. Didn’t know he gave that seat away to you. I didn’t read that in the Bible. I don’t see your name there so your article isn’t in line with scripture. Maybe you should start to write encouraging pieces or apologetic pieces to encourage people who are not yet Christians about the love of God. The world sees enough of so called Christians who like sheep have teeth and bite. How about you stop biting your fellow sheep. We as the Church need to stop this kind of behaviour right now, beginning with you. Be the light to the world.

    • “Disappointing article. Not sure if you’ve met Bill. Probably not. Have sat under his teaching and will continue to do so.”
      Sitting with the damned at the expense of Jesus warning you to avoid wolves in sheep clothing?
      Not smart.

      “You seem to think that you can sit in the judgement seat solely meant for Jesus.”
      Not at all. Christ already condemned them in His Word. We respect Christ’s authority and are simply pointing out that Christ himself has already condemned Bill. Bill on the other hand… Maybe he can get saved before he starts usurping the official seat of pastor.

  3. I must have missed that book and chapter where Bill was condemned by Jesus. I don’t know how you can determine who is in and who is out. Interesting that truth is I read in the 2 Cor passage above seen in both word and deed. Word is declaring Christ as Lord and saviour. Belief in His death and resurrection and ascension. I hear on his podcasts and have seen people declare after listening to a sermon by Bill that Jesus Christ is Lord. If we use Luke 15 as an example. The lost are returning home to the Father and there are many who are involved in being ambassadors for Christ. And Bill Johnston is one of those ambassadors.

  4. I look forward to reading more by you, too many ‘teachers’ and christian bloggers post over and over about God’s love, not many on His judgement or on the evil in the world. I’ll take truth over sickening candy any day.

    After the incident of multiple Bethel “prophets” telling a practicing witch that “God is happy with her” and her path I was drawn to learn more of this “church”. While I’m still in the midst of figuring out if they are a cult (as you claim) or just false teachers. I would undoubtedly agree that they are not of God and are a danger not only to the true church but also to those who follow their belief structure.

    As a former wiccan and practitioner of dark arts I see much of my old ways in them and that alone makes me concerned for those being led away from Christ. While I pray for their awakening to that, I also concern over awakening since once you’ve danced with the devil (knowingly or not) he doesn’t like to let you go.

    May God bless you and keep you.

  5. Too much energy spent cutting down a brother in the faith who has done much to expand the kingdom of God? No-one is perfect. No-one fully understands the gospel. No-one has all the answers. Except of course, God. I do know the bible is explicit in how we are to treat both unbelievers and believers. I fail to find the model you use concerning your fellow believer within the cover of the book.

    • They ARE a cult, they ARE false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing….

      Question: I don’t understand why Bill Johnson and Bethel Church in Redding are not classified as a cult (along with Word-Faith). They deny the deity of Christ, they deny the Scriptures and add to and subtract from them, their schools of ministry are lessons in how to operate in the occult and demonology (I was shocked when a friend told me what techniques they used). They are false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing. What do you think?

      Response: Bill and Brenda Johnson are the Senior Pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Bethel Church is firmly aligned with the Word-Faith movement and identifies with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), or the Third Wave Movement with its “prophets,” “apostles,” and alleged manifestions. Bill Johnson is called an “apostle” by C. Peter Wagner (See TBC 5/97, 2/07). His theology has amounted to what some call a “ de facto denial of the deity of Christ.”

      By this, they are referring to Johnson’s teaching that Christ set aside His deity during His earthly sojourn. Johnson has said, “Jesus was (and is) God. Eternally God. That never changed. But He chose to live with self-imposed restriction while living on earth in the flesh—as a man. In doing so, He defeated sin, temptation, the powers of darkness as a man. We inherit His victory—it was for us. He never sinned!” (Bill Johnson, Facebook 3/21/2011).

      If Johnson had stopped at this point, his view of Christ would seem to be biblical—but he didn’t.

      Consequently, that’s not all that he’s taught or all that his followers have said. Speaking of Jesus, Johnson wrote, “He performed miracles , wonders , and signs , as a man in right relationship to God…not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us” (Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth , p. 29). That’s human reasoning, and by implication opens the way for a deification of man.

      Johnson’s view of our Lord’s “emptying Himself,” of which the literal meaning is “humbled himself” (Philippians 2:7), aligns very well with the Latter Rain/Word-Faith “little gods” teaching of Kenneth Copeland and others. Johnson has gone on to say, “God gave every believer the power to heal as Jesus did” (Johnson, “You’ve Got the Power,” Charisma Online , March 2012). In line with Word-Faith teaching, Johnson and his followers speak of these presumed abilities in a way that sounds very much like mind science and departs from Scripture.

      Though differing from Jehovah’s Witnesses, who deny the deity of Jesus, Johnson’s view of Christ is confusing at best, and he endangers his followers by leading them away from the security of the Word.

      Johnson writes, “Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scriptures enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map—to go beyond what we know” (Johnson, When Heaven, p. 76).

      In conclusion, Johnson is advocating extrabiblical revelation. Going “off the map” is forsaking the safety and sufficiency of Scripture.

      This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua:1:8)

      The human tendency is to focus on experience, which then can lead to a number of problems. The charismatic movement is full of examples of people who did not “prove all things” (1 Thessalonians:5:21), and it eventually led to pride, an attitude of superiority, imitating and covetousness by followers, and ministries full of error and imbalance. The works of God are indeed splendid and hand tailored , but how we handle them must glorify Him and Him alone.

  6. Not exactly heavy on proof here.

  7. Thank you for the article. Johnson is obviously a false teacher. He said that the Gospel must include healing, otherwise you’re going to hell.

  8. I do not regularly attend Bethel, but I do occasionally and for their free classes. I recently attended their healing training weekend, and adored everyone! They love God, and follow the Bible to a t! Including the gifts from God, yupp even the gift of healing! But, don’t take that wrong they also made clear that noone is doing the healing but Jesus, He uses his people to heal thru.
    I mean some people who feel they have the right to judge may think that this is wrong, but even Jesus himself tells us that we will do as He did and even greater….. Hmmmm, not sure why Bethel is so wrong in obeying our Lord? They also listen to God when it comes to judging…..

    • “They love God, and follow the Bible to a t!”
      Some of us have been invited to eat with Bill Johnson because we worked in these so-called healing/seeing ministries.

      It took us a while to realise we did not love God or follow the bible because we surrounded ourselves with teachers who continually twisted it.

      Rosebrough and a few other faithful pastors and teachers helped set us free from the lies of Bill Johnson and all this healing nonsense.

      It then becomes apparent how others who love Bill Johnson then elevated his jesus and false teachings above the word of God. That man is a fraud. He knows it and he has to live with himself. We know the culture he has created and we know people fake manifesting in the spirit to encourage the Holy Spirit to manifest themselves in them.

      The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth. You’d be wise to abide in the Spirit of Truth instead of the spirit of error.

  9. Hi. I am a just a new Christian and I don’t understand why there is so many division in the church. I wonder why is it the case? Let me think, is it men who are causing this? How can you only see the dust in the eye of your brother when the big problem is just in front of you? Are you so blind like this? What would your God say if He were on Earth now?

    “Look at these people to whom I have sent the Holy Spirit for them to walk in love and they are condemning their brothers and sisters in Christ. I came to proclaim the year of the Lord and they are proclaiming the day of condemnation against their brothers and sisters of the same Spirit, who are ignorant of what they are doing.”

    For this, woe to the ones who are condemning the beloved children of the Heavenly Father. Woe to them. They shall perish. And a double portion of curses from the wrath of God will be for those who would have heard the Word of God but would prefer to dwell in their old sinful ways.

    Just be mindful that the seven eyes of the Spirit see everything and see above all what you think in your heart. If God has gifted you with the gift of discerning spirit, use it for edify yourselves before. Clean your house. Clean your heart. Be a vessel of honour before God. Lead a life of consecration and of holiness. Be holy in the eyes of God for without holiness no one can see the Lord. If you are dirty in the flesh and garments of sins, which you are surely ignorant, purge you with the blood of Jesus, sanctify you with the Word and ask the Holy Spirit to justify you. Then let God empower you to speak the truth through the Holy Spirit.

    By labelling people as being heretical, you are doing the work of the enemy and grace be unto the Lord Jesus Christ that He is willing to continuously your sins because He understands that you are still ignorant. If it were only the Spirit of God, you would surely be disappeared, as if you never existed, because once you would condemn the children of God, you would be immediately thrown in the lake of burning sulfur.

    So repent of your sins. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 and ask the anointing of the Holy Spirit. And never lift a single stone again against any people unless will you be crushed as Babylon the Great will be.

    You need to be clean, anointed, and backed up by the Holy Spirit to declare these truths. Unless you will be afflicted by death in the flesh, for the flesh will use this gift to accuse your brothers and sisters of the same Spirit as you, born from the same Father.

    So now I command you to lead a life of holiness and consecration and to fulfil God’s promises to you and remember that before telling the truth, choose to be set apart for the ministry of reconciliation that God has foretold in Malachi 4:5. It requires holiness and only holiness so that you can stand face to face in the secret place of the Most High to be in permanent contact with Him. If not, ask for it, crave for it, for it is written: ‘Seek me and you shall find me.’

    To you who read this comment, let him who has an ear listen. This word is a double portion of judgement against all children of disobedience. Those who will choose Jezebel and reject God’s law. So be mindful of what you do and what you say, for He knows everything.

    Shalom Shalom

    • Micha says “I am just a new Christian”.

      Sadly her comment reflects just that, she has a deep misunderstanding of scriptures. Cherry-picked, out-of-context scriptures all over the place.

      Cheers, Team ChurchWatch

  10. I was in Bethel for five years (1994-1999) as it transitioned from a Bible teaching solid people of faith to something very different under Bill Johnson who completely stopped using scripture in his “enlightenings”. I saw many things and experienced the lack of love personally. There are still scars in my heart and spirit. I would like to tell you my story by email if that is possible rather than posting it publicly. Is there another way to contact you?

  11. The Church I go to in Kent England has links with Bethel Redding California.
    I posted something on my main facebook page warning them about Bethel Redding California but some of them from the Church did not like it so I took it off my main facebook page.
    Now I have a new page calld Writer Writing And Articles. Some of the Writing is about false Christian doctrines and some of the articles from the internet are about about false Christian doctrines.
    The link to my facebook page is below.

  12. A little over 20 years ago, the local church I was attending was infected with the ‘Toronto blessing’. Shortly afterwards, I moved away. Only in the last year have I learned about the NAR movement and its leading lights, such as Johnson and Bethel Redding. I was recently dismayed to learn that Bethel now has several satellite works going in the same area I left years earlier. A few weeks ago, the son of a good friend who attends a Bethel-affiliated church was left in a coma after a tragic accident. The family’s Facebook page was flooded with so-called prophecies, visions, words of knowledge, and people ‘speaking life’ over this young man. A video clip was posted of a church ‘worship leader’ praying, and these are the exact words he spoke: “(He addresses the young man by name), your days are numbered and they are long. You have a lot of days in front of you. We just declare you’ll live and not die says the Lord.” Many other such ‘prophecies’ were given. But the young man died, so every such word was proven false and therefore not of the Lord. It makes me sick to my heart to see the numerous Bethelites posting at sites like this and defending their twisted apostle. It makes me angry that these people would dare to speak for the Most High God and show not a lick of repentance when their words are shown to have no substance. How dare they attack discernment websites like this one when they PROFANE the One who CANNOT LIE with their false utterances. Keep speaking the truth with boldness, brothers!

  13. The spirit told me to go to Bethel Church when I was without a church. I did a google search and found one 30 mins away called Bethel Atlanta. It is a branch of Bethel Redding and the first time I attended I was under the teaching of Bill Johnson. He was there during church service and I attended the conference he was holding there. That church seemed to be all about deliverance ministry and the spirit, but not about the bible at all. I kept thinking week after week, “why would the spirit send me here where there’s no teaching of the bible?” They literally tell personal stories for sermons and never read from the bible. They talked about the physical manifestations of God in glory clouds and mists of gold dust, and that their followers would find diamonds and other precious riches in the oddest places as rewards for their service to God. I did one of their sozos. I finally concluded after attending Bethel for 3 months that the spirit led me there, not to find my pasture, but to see the spirit of Jezebel that has infultrated the church. If any of you think this man has no right to claim this church is teaching falsely you are undisciplined and undiscerning of the word of God. We are to expose wolves in sheeps clothing and if they don’t teach the bible they are not sheep. We are to worship God in spirit and truth. The truth is the bible. That church was all spirit and no truth and since they didn’t have the truth they couldn’t discern that they had the wrong spirit. Study the bible so that you have the eyes to see and ears to hear our God.

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