Great post from Holly Pivec’s blog “Spirit Of Error’. Holly is an evangelical researcher of cults, sects, and new religious groups, such as the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ movement.
One of the core beliefs at Bethel Church in Redding, California, is the need for new revelation from God, which is in contrast to the so-called old revelation of the Bible as it has been understood for the past 2,000 years.
New revelation can refer to many different things. It includes knowledge about what’s currently taking place in heaven and new interpretations of Scripture that are based on direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, apart from a historical and grammatical hermeneutic. It also includes what Johnson calls “new revelation of Jesus.” And it includes creative ideas–such as fresh music lyrics that will result in mass conversions to Christianity and breakthrough inventions in science and medicine.
However, Bethel’s teachings about the need for new revelation inevitably shift the focus away from the written Word of God in Scripture, insofar as it has been understood for the past two millennia. Their teachings also place Bethel outside of historic Protestant Christianity, based on the 16th century Protestant Reformation, which has taught that the church is to look to Scripture–not new revelations–for its beliefs and practices.
On this note, consider that even Pentecostals and charismatics–who believe in present-day miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as the gift of prophecy–have held that the Bible contains all that is necessary for living the Christian life. See, for example, a position paper published by the Assemblies of God—the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination—which upholds the sufficiency of Scripture. It’s titled “The Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Authority of Scripture.” And see the post written by charismatic theologian Wayne Grudem titled “The Bible is enough.”
But, clearly, Bethel leaders disagree that the Bible is enough. To show you what Bethel teaches about new revelation, take a look at these words written by its senior leader, Bill Johnson.
Bill Johnson on the need for new revelation
“I’m convinced that the pace of revelation will increase very rapidly in these last hours of history…. That acceleration of revelation is beginning in our day… It’s about the purposes of God being unveiled on the planet. On-going revelation and encounters with the power of God launch us into understanding of things we’ve never understood before.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 68)
“It is absolutely impossible to live the normal Christian life without receiving regular revelation from God.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 58)
“The key is to be spiritually discerning–to open our spirit man to direct revelation from God.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 60)
“We are the most to be pitied if we think we’ve reached the fullness of what God intended for His Church here on earth. All Church history is built on partial revelation. Everything that has happened in the Church over the past 1900 years has fallen short of what the early Church had and lost. Each move of God has been followed by another, just to restore what was forfeited and forgotten. And we still haven’t arrived to the standard that they attained, let alone surpassed it. Yet, not even the early Church fulfilled God’s full intention for His people. That privilege was reserved for those in the last leg of the race. It is our destiny. As wonderful as our spiritual roots are, they are insufficient. What was good for yesterday is deficient for today. To insist that we stay with what our fathers fought for is to insult our forefathers. They risked all to pursue something fresh and new in God. It’s not that everything must change for us to flow with what God is saying and doing. It’s just that we make too many assumptions about the rightness of what presently exists. Those assumptions blind us to the revelations still contained in Scripture. In reality, what we think of as the normal Christian life cannot hold the weight of what God is about to do.” (When Heaven Invades Earth, Kindle edition, pages 162-163, emphasis mine)
“I am convinced that as His government and Kingdom rule increase on this earth … the Church will receive revelation like we’ve never known…. But first we must learn to hunger for and receive revelation as part of our everyday lives. That revelation will help us to carry out our earthly assignments with greater precision and wisdom.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 56)
“There are vast resources of revelation in heaven for the areas of education and business, the arts and music, and these resources have yet to be tapped anywhere near to their fullness…. Our job is to tap the revelation of the Lord in our area of talent or gifting so that we can accurately and powerfully reflect the King and His Kingdom.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 67)
“Presently, every denomination, church, and group seems to have revelation into certain Kingdom matters. Nobody has the whole picture…. But in these last days God is going to release a Spirit of revelation over the Church… We are coming into an hour where there will be a common revelation…. an hour when the people of God will simultaneously hear and see similar revelations, no matter the church or group.” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 68)
“The anointing on a coming generation will be great enough that the natural order of things will no longer apply. With a low-grade anointing and revelation, we have to live by natural principles and restrictions to get spiritual results. But Jesus brings this revelation, which is almost frightening. He says, ‘Lift up your eyes,’ meaning, ‘With the way you see things right now, you cannot operate on the revelation I want to give you. But there is something available for a coming generation where the anointing is so extreme that every person will be ready for the harvest.’” (The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, page 153)
“Revelation comes piece by piece, layer upon layer, to generation after generation.” (Hosting the Presence, Kindle edition, page 52)
“In this hour the experience will help to open up those portions of Scripture that have been closed to us. No one in their right mind would claim to understand all that is contained in the Bible for us today. Yet to suggest that more is coming causes many to fear. Get over it, so you don’t miss it!” (When Heaven Invades Earth, Kindle edition, pages 104-105)
Allegedly, new revelations will enable Christians to perform greater miracles than those performed by Jesus, reap the greatest harvest of souls in history, and bring God’s kingdom to earth. We wouldn’t want to “miss it,” would we?
But, notably, apostles and prophets like Bethel’s own Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton are the gatekeepers to these new revelations.
So here’s Bethel Redding’s bottom line on new revelation: you’ve gotta have it, and they got it. But are you willing to trust their interpretation of what God really means rather than contending for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)?
Source: Holly Pivec, Spirit Of Error blog, http://www.spiritoferror.org/2018/01/why-bill-johnson-says-the-bible-is-not-enough/7702#undefined.gbpl Publishe Jan 25, 2018. (Accessed Jan 27, 2018.)
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