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Open Heavens Conference
Bethel Church held its annual “Open Heavens” conference from October 4-6. For anyone who might be unfamiliar with Bethel Church, it is pastored by Bill Johnson, and according to Lighthouse Trails, it is “a combination of the Word of Faith error and the prosperity gospel of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, the signs and wonders of Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn, the false assumptions of the “spiritual warfare” and hyper-deliverance movement, the “prophetic movement,” and the gnostic mysticism of the Toronto Blessing.”
Two thousand people attended the event which featured Brian Houston, Bill Johnson, and Shawn Bolz. Worship leaders included Brian and Jenn Johnson and Jeremy Riddle.
The overview link of the conference’s website had this to say: “When Jesus bridged the expanse between Earth and Heaven, He empowered us to live like He did–tapping into the power and glory of His Kingdom. What is God’s has become ours! As Heaven permeates our lives, the extraordinary becomes ordinary, and the supernatural becomes natural. Encounters with glory become our new normal.
Open Heavens, one of our main conferences, captures the heart of Bethel Redding. It’s a response to our mandate to live in light of His reality, a call to converge our daily lives with Heaven. Through three powerful days of teaching, worship, and testimonies, you’ll walk away with a mind renewed and a life transformed, equipped to carry the power of the Kingdom with you, wherever you go.”
However, even though Jesus is mentioned, we can immediately see the purpose of this conference was not to preach Christ and Him Crucified. It was not to preach about who Jesus is and what He came to do for mankind. It was not to preach the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior. Besides the obvious problems presented by the description of Bethel at the beginning of this blog, the lack of preaching of the true gospel of salvation should be the major reason a true believer would not want to attend such an event. Additionally, the terminology used concerning “the Kingdom” is problematic. If the reader unfamiliar with Dominion Theology and such phrases as the “power of the Kingdom,” I urge you to read this blog that explains dominionism and the terms used in this false teaching.
Other red flags are raised regarding the speakers and worship leaders. Information and links may be found exposing the false teachings of Brian Houston, Bill Johnson, and Shawn Bolz by clicking on their names. Here is some information concerning the worship leaders, Brian and Jenn Johnson, and Jeremy Riddle, as mentioned above, from their public bios:
Brian Johnson, son of Bill and Beni Johnson, was raised to make worship and praise before God his life's greatest pursuit. He is a founder of Bethel Music and has produced seven albums that have influenced the culture of worship in many churches around the world. Brian facilitates an atmosphere of faith in worship and pursues fresh expressions of God's heart through his songwriting. He has written anthems such as "Love Came Down" and "One Thing Remains," which was awarded #1 song for ASCAP Christian Music as well as the #1 Radio Single in 2013.
However, the fact that Brian Johnson is the son of Bill and Beni Johnson shows us he has been indoctrinated in the culture of Bethel. This is a church which seeks experience over God’s Word and considers angel feathers, glory clouds, and gold dust as perfectly normal occurrences in church services. Additionally, we must ask why anyone is pursuing “fresh expressions of God's heart” since Malachi 3:6 says God does not change.
Jenn Johnson is a worship leader and songwriter with Bethel Music. Known for her powerful vocals and unique prophetic sound, Jenn's lyrics flow straight from the heart. She has authored songs such as, "O Taste and See," "God I Look To You," "Come To Me," and "Who You Are," written with her daughter, Haley. Jenn is committed to raising up worshippers who will take hold of their true identity and pursue intimacy with God above all else. However sincere she may be, as the worship leader and wife of Brian Johnson, her beliefs would certainly line up with the Bethel culture as well. In this video we hear her describe the Holy Spirit as a sneaky, blue genie.
Jeremy Riddle –He is a songwriter and worship leader at Bethel Church. Jeremy attended Anaheim Vineyard throughout his teens and later joined their staff as a youth pastor and worship leader. In 2007, Jeremy released his first full-length album, “Full Attention,” and is known for his song, “Sweetly Broken.” Jeremy has written many songs on Bethel Music albums, such as “This Is Amazing Grace.”
Here is a video featuring this song. While the words are beautiful, we have to consider the spirit behind music written by someone who believes the teachings coming out of Bethel Church. Here is a video and some additional information regarding a ministry for young people which is out of the Vineyard movement. This will show the type of ministry with which Riddle was familiar.
According to the Vineyard resources site, “Cultivation Generation is a ministry that is focused on empowering, envisioning and sending out the next generation of the Church. They wish to see young people all over the world come into their destiny as children of God and ambassadors of His Kingdom. They desire to radically pursue God's presence as well as make His presence known to the world through evangelism, signs and wonders, and acts of justice. They believe true worship is an act of offering one's whole life for the cause of God's Kingdom and His purposes.” So, we can certainly see why Riddle would have been attracted to Bethel considering some of the similarities between the two organizations such as the focus on signs and wonders.
Of major concern is the occult influence so blatantly displayed in the facebook promotional video for the event with the use of the phrase “as above so below.” In the book by Ronald S. Miller, entitled “As Above, So Below” we read the following concerning this phrase: “Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the great master alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, believed to be a contemporary of the Hebrew prophet Abraham, proclaimed this fundamental truth about the universe: "As above, so below; as below, so above." This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked.”
The Message “Bible” by Eugene Peterson also uses this phrase in Col. 1:16, ““For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels - everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” Additionally, in the Message version, the Lord’s Prayer begins: “Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below.” The Message, however, heavily promotes New Age mysticism as excellently explained in this link.
Below are some pictures of Bethel Church’s “Alabaster Prayer House.” This statement concerning the prayer facility is by Beni Johnson: “It is a 24/7 prayer house-a place of peace and finding God's presence. People come here to soak in God's presence. They come to just be with God. There are no corporate prayer meetings in this building. We built it so that we could have a place to host the presence of God. We want people to experience God's presence in an intimate one-on-one way. Heavenly activity is present there. Just recently I was in my office, which is in the same building as the prayer house. My door was open, and a lady came out of the prayer room. She asked me if there was a room below the prayer room. I told her no and asked why? She told me that she kept hearing people laughing and talking. I told her that was normal and that other people have heard that same thing. Being a visitor to Bethel, she was blown away, and it messed her up-in a good way. She was hearing the sound of heaven. We do hear the sound of heaven all around our prayer house. It always seems to be one of joy and laughter. There seems to be a party going on. In my opinion, I think that heaven really likes to hang out in our prayer house.” (http://benij.org/heaven.php) It is quite concerning that what is obviously demonic activity is considered normal by Beni Johnson. Evil spirits are obviously operating at this location, but these people are deceived into believing these sounds are of God.
I pray for people to research the conferences they plan on attending. Many are a complete waste of time and money and can be damaging to your walk with the Lord and possibly send you off into apostasy.
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15508 New Age propensities of Bethel
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=20820 Beware of Bethel
Mrs Connie Wright - USA
Miss Tammy Cheetham - UK
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