Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Emergent Monday - Yes, Bethel Redding and Bill Johnson are part of the New Apostolic Reformation

Bill Johnson
Once again Holly Pivec at The Spirit of Error blog exposes more information on one of the most dangerous cults of all times, the New Apostolic Reformation. This time she exposes Bethel Redding and their leader Bill Johnson and their ties to the NAR. Bethel Redding is all about Matthew 24:24, when Bill Johnson took over in 1996 he changed the teaching of the church from Jesus to training people in prophecy, healing and other "supernatural gifts of God". Bethel is a Word of Faith movement that teaches that faith is a force through which anything can be done. The goats at bethel come not for the gospel but that warm fuzzy feel-good feeling and miracles. They come for signs and wonders like speaking in tongues, gold dust, diamonds, and angel feathers...
Following Christianity Today’s recent cover story on Bethel Church in Redding, California, I’ve been contacted by people wondering about Bill Johnson’s statements made in that article distancing himself from the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The two specific statements he made are that his church does not have any official ties to theNAR and that he’s “not completely clear on what it is.”
Despite Johnson’s distancing himself from the NAR, he very clearly is part of it. Let’s look at his two claims.
What makes the NAR the NAR?
One of Johnson’s claims is that he’s not completely clear on what the NAR is. Interestingly, the author of the Christianity Today article said he laughed with disbelief. I. too, find Johnson’s claim hard to believe because the NAR is all about apostles–and Johnson clearly sees himself as one. 
What makes the NAR the NAR? While there are a number of associated teachings, the core NARteaching is that present-day apostles and prophets must govern the church. By govern, I mean they claim to hold formal offices in church government–like pastors or elders. Except NAR apostles and prophets wield much more authority than pastors and elders because they get direct revelation from God. Pastors and elders are supposed to submit to apostles and prophets, receive their new revelation, and implement the revelation in their churches. Also, unlike pastors or elders, many apostles and prophets have jurisdiction over multiple churches, and not mere oversight of a single church. And the authority of NAR apostles and prophets can extend beyond churches–to workplaces, cities and nations–among institutions that have no connection to the church. Only when churches embrace a government led by apostles and prophets will they be able to transform culture. 
So, does Johnson believe that apostles and prophets must govern the church? You bet. Take a look at the Bethel Redding website. Under the tabs “About” and “Our Mission,” you will find these words: “We embrace the biblical government of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.” Here’s a screen capture from the current site.

Bethel Church biblical government belief

Later in the interview, Johnson said, in his view, the NAR is merely about a desire to see the culture change. He told the reporter: “I’ve seen my name on the list, but if it’s what I think it is, all we’re saying is, we want the culture around us to change.” This is misdirection. Many Christians desire to see the culture change. But Johnson forgot to mention a crucial difference in the view held by him and otherNAR leaders: to see the culture change you need apostles.
“No official ties”
The second thing Johnson claimed is that Bethel Church doesn’t have any official ties to the NAR. But Johnson didn’t tell the whole story. What he didn’t mention is that it’s impossible for any church to have official ties to the NAR because the NAR isn’t an organization or a denomination. So there’s no official listing of NAR churches. It’s a large movement in which participants are unified by a shared set of beliefs (beliefs in present-day apostles and prophets who govern the church). And you can’t haveofficial, organizational ties to a set of beliefs. However, many of those in the NAR, including Johnson, have developed intentional networks with one another.
Johnson is unquestionably, if not officially, tied to the NAR. One incident in this regard is very telling. In 2008, Johnson was heralded on international television via GOD TV–along with two other prominentNAR apostles, Che Ahn and John Arnott–as “apostolic pillars of today’s church.” This description of Johnson, Ahn, and Arnott was given by NAR apostle C. Peter Wagner, who also likened them to three of Christ’s twelve apostles–Peter, James, and John. This all took place during a commissioning ceremony for NAR evangelist Todd Bentley, during the Lakeland Revival in Florida.
The purpose of the ceremony was to celebrate the formal “apostolic alignment” of Bentley with these three apostles, who represent an apostolic network called Revival Alliance. By becoming apostolically aligned with these three apostles Bentley was agreeing to come under their authority. This is in line with the NAR teaching that all offices of the church, including the office of evangelist, must submit to apostles.
If that commissioning ceremony doesn’t tie Johnson to the NAR, then what possibly could? Watch the ceremony here.
For a more detailed explanation of NAR teachings, including documentation on how Bethel Church and Johnson promote these teachings, see my co-authored books, New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement (an in-depth examination of the NAR) and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement (a beginner’s introduction to the movement containing practical advice for those who have loved ones in the NAR).
Johnson at Bentley commissioning
Bill Johnson speaking on the platform at the 2008 commissioning ceremony for evangelist Todd Bentley, when Bentley agreed to submit to the apostolic authority of Johnson and two other prominent NAR apostles.


  1. These are dangerous men.

    I wonder if they know history, or just assume that it does not apply to them.
    When people take political authority in the name of a particular religion, bad things happen. Look at Calvin in Geneva. Or the RCC. Or Islam. Or the religion of atheism. Etc.

    The quote from the Bethel Redding website above is chilling.

    I'm nothing but a sinner saved by grace. People who claim more than that scare me to death.


    1. I think the scariest part is the fact that they get their church governance from Ephesians 4:11 which is completely unrelated to Church governance. The last line where it says that they pledge allegiance to self appointed apostles, false prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is very telling. Biblically Christ Himself is an Apostle (Hebrews 3:1) so these people are elevating themselves to the same status as Jesus Christ. Another requirement is to actually have seen Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:1). Prophesy is a gift, not a postion (1 Corinthians 14:37) Evangelist is not a position in the church, in many ways we're all Evangelists. Pastor is only used once in the bible and is not a position in the church, and teachers are everyone in the church (Colossians 3:16)

      Biblical church governance is Overseers or bishops (1 Timothy 3:2), Elders (1 Timothy 5:17), and Deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13). This isn't some dark deep secret, this is Paulian Epistles 101 and the NAR ignores is completely

    2. I'm at odds with so many people around me because of my views on bethel and hillsong. I try to explain to pastors that church would better be off without any of their influences, but they look at me like I'm crazy.
      I'm looking for a more orthodox, traditional, Christ-centered church that's humble and effective

    3. Keep looking for that orthodox traditional church - they're out there. They're getting fewer and farther between but they're worth the wait. I used to suggest Calvary Chapel but not any more, look for a small country church if you're in or near a rural area, a cowboy church if you're in a western area.

    4. Doug,

      I'd have to disagree about sending people to Cowboy Churches. From what I have read on the 'net and in the media, there is a lot of market-driven/seeker-sensitive mentality with entertainment, and some teach of lot of charismania including tongues and the health and wealth gospel. We have one about an hour west of us, and one about 45 minutes east.

      Looking on the 'net I see there are Cowboy Churches with women co-pastoring with their husband, such as the one east of us.

      I realize these are all individual assemblies and not all subscribe to the same things in this regard, but that fact that so many do would make it a bad idea to recommend the "denomination."

      Any time you have a "church" focused on a particular culture/demographic (cowboy, motorcycle, etc) you tend to add much of the world into the service. There is no need to have any particular culture as the focus of an assembly, (we could have pilot churches, scuba churches, skydive churches, et al) because the focus on that particular culture distracts from the "culture" of Christ.

    5. I didn't realize that there are unbiblical cowboy churches! Out here in cattle country where the cowboys are real live, no fooling cattlemen, the churches that cater to them are solid, biblical, and orthodox in their theology. They're truly God loving Christians and I wouldn't trade a one of them for a county full of self loving money sucking social clubs that call themselves churches. They're cowboy churches because that's what's out here - cowboys.

  2. I read this when it was first posted and just shook my head over the gullibility of those who are following this heretic. I'm thinking I might have to give Bill Johnson and Bethel the same treatment I gave Brian Houston and Hillsong -- a one-stop shopping post.

    1. Please do! Your collection of Hillsong deceit and heresy is a solid work of shining the light on evil. I don't know how Holly Pivec can do all the articles that she does at Spirit of Error, I do one a week and have to spend 2 days with Spurgeon and WWUTT to feel clean again