As I typed out the title to this article I could instantly sense the eyerolls, sighs, and grumbles of “Ugh! Not more talk about Bethel Church! We are SO TIRED of the “judgy” complaining about their music!” While I have in the past given various words of warning on social media against Bethel Church, I have never written a blog article about the California “church” that has swept an entire generation up in its emotional and seemingly heart-felt “worship” music.
I would venture to say that there isn’t a Christian alive today who hasn’t heard of Bethel Church in Redding, CA.
If you haven’t heard of this mega empire, you have without a doubt heard their music on your favorite Christian radio station or even sung their music in your worship services. Songs such as “One Thing Remains”, “Reckless Love”, and “King of My Heart” dominate the culture of Christian radio, youth camps, and conferences, as well as songs from the Bethel spinoff movement Jesus Culture such as “Holy Spirit” and “Your Love Never Fails”.
Why do concerned and discerning Christians warn against Bethel? After all, aren’t they just singing about Jesus? How can singing their music be bad if we don’t necessarily believe ALL the things they believe? I plan to lay out the reasons here, and there are a multitude of hyperlinks for you to explore in more depth.
Paul says in Galatians 1:6-9:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Paul thought that what he said in verse 8 was so important that he repeated it in verse 9.
The word for “accursed” in the original Greek is ἀνάθεμα, or anathema. This term generally means condemned, destroyed, or even damned in the eternal sense. Preaching a different gospel, or different Jesus is something God takes SERIOUSLY. It isn’t to be taken lightly. So when an entire “Christian” movement is based on a completely false representation of Christ it is something to be concerned about.
*Bethel Church is part of what is commonly described as the New Apostolic Reformation. ( NAR ). This is an unbiblical and dangerous movement that focuses on miracles, mysticism, signs, and wonders. The goal of the NAR is to take over the earth before Christ’s return. Read more in the hyperlink above.
*Bethel Church practices “grave sucking”, where participants lay on the graves of the “great prophets of old” and “soak up” the anointing leftover in that dead person’s body. Got Questions describes grave sucking this way:
“Grave sucking or mantle grabbing is based upon the idea that the spiritual calling of an individual who has died may be reclaimed and used by another person. The theory is that God uses the Holy Spirit to “anoint” certain believers with a specific purpose, such as healing or prophecy, but, when the person dies, God’s work is thwarted. Thus, the Holy Spirit is “wasted,” lying upon the bones and unable to continue the calling. Unrecovered anointing is apparently available to anyone who would physically come and claim it. This superstitious practice is blatantly unbiblical, spiritually dangerous, and tremendously misleading for uninformed believers.” ( The video link above shows Bethel Pastor, Bill Johnson’s wife, Beni Johnson practicing grave sucking. )
*Bethel Church has it’s own “school” called the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry ( BSSM ). Here students pay an exorbitant amount of money to learn to perform miracles, especially healing. One young lady named Lindsay Davis has come forward with her story of being saved out of the BSSM, and essentially being kicked out of the school after deciding to stay and try to convert fellow students to true Christianity. Her fascinating and jaw-dropping testimony of what she experienced is in two parts here and here.
*Bethel Church practices what is called “The Encounter Gospel”, which says that in order for people to believe in God they must “encounter” the supernatural. In this “ministry” tarot cards or destiny cards are used as a means to make prophecies over people. Read more from Pirate Christian.
*Bethel Church has disturbing and blasphemous videos right out there for everyone to see on YouTube. It’s not as if this stuff is hard to find. It’s widely promoted. They even have their own YouTube channel. Here are a few clips that should be enough to convince any true believer that Bethel must be avoided at all cost.
Bethel’s Shocking and Inappropriate Sermon: ( Warning: extremely offensive )
Jenn Johnson- Holy Spirit is Like a Sneaky Blue Genie
Jenn Johnson- Angel Farting Contests Around God’s Throne
Beni Johnson- Wakey, Wakey!
Jesus asks Bethel youth leader for forgiveness:
So, when Bethel music sings, “What a Beautiful Name”, is it singing about the TRUE Jesus? Or a “Jesus” that asks US for forgiveness? Are they preaching a different Jesus as Paul repeatedly warned against?
When they sing the song “Holy Spirit”, WHAT Holy Spirit do they mean? The one who is blue like the Genie from Aladdin? It most certainly is NOT the Most High God of the Bible.
Do you see why this issue is of utmost importance? The blasphemies that carry on at Bethel under the guise of “church” are jaw-dropping to put it mildly, and to me it is absolutely nauseating. Yet so many Christians want to defend singing music by these false teachers because maybe they mention the word “Jesus” or the Holy Spirit. They ask questions like, “Isn’t it better to listen to these songs than non-Christian songs?” Or they say, “I would rather my kids listen to Bethel than the other stuff that’s out there.”. I would emphatically say NO! It’s not better. And why should it be an either/or scenario? If it’s bad, it’s bad, no matter the genre. Bethel makes a MOCKERY of our holy triune God. But still there are those who are so bent on singing this music because it appeals to their emotions.
Let me put this plainly: The things coming out of Bethel Church are 100% Satanic.
Let me reiterate, The Apostle Paul says that those who preach a different gospel are accursed. Condemned. Damned.
Bethel Redding absolutely without a doubt preaches a different gospel than the true gospel put forth by Jesus, Paul and the other Apostles. These are lost, deceptive people writing music about a god of their own making, and saved people want to sing it? It is incomprehensible. Not to mention that every time you stream their music or sing their songs in church you are putting money into their pockets to produce more of the same excrement that is only leading people to hell. There is a severe lack of discernment in those who defend Bethel and shrug off the blasphemy I have shared here. If you are one of those who thinks it’s no big deal, then I urge you to search yourself to do as 1 Corinthians 13:5 says:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
There was a time I enjoyed music by Bethel, Jesus Culture, and Bethel’s unholy cousin Hillsong. BUT when I learned better, I DID better. When you learn the truth, you ACT in the truth and put behind you the things that you were doing that were dishonoring to God. It’s understandable when you are unaware of the origins of the songs you are listening to that you would continue listening. What is not understandable is when Christians KNOW the ungodly practices of Bethel and continue to listen and sing these songs in their worship anyway. This is unacceptable.
I might also add, that if a Christian speaker or music artist PARTNERS in ministry with Bethel, you should mark and avoid them as well. A few of those are:
Kari Jobe-Guest Worship leader at Heaven Come Conference
Lauren Daigle-Guest worship leader at Heaven Come Conference
Steven Furtick ( Elevation Church )- Speaker at Heaven Come Conference
Craig Groeschel ( Lifechurch.tv ) -Speaker at Hillsong No Other Name Conference, featuring Bethel Music
Christine Caine-Guest speaker BSSM
Lisa Bevere-Guest speaker BSSM
Rebekah Lyons-Guest speaker BSSM
Author Ted Dekker-Guest speaker BSSM
Matt Maher-Roadshow Tour with Bethel Music
Francesca Battistelli-Guest worship leader, Live Album with Bethel Music
I could go on and on. It is a web of artists and speakers that partner and associate regularly and without hesitation.
I have not even scratched the surface of all of Bethel’s problems. I didn’t even get into the gold dust, angel feathers, glory clouds, and jewels that supposedly manifest during Bethel’s “worship” services ( claims that have been proven false, by the way ). But this information is out there. If you care about what you are allowing into your heart and mind I would encourage you to be proactive and do your research. Don’t be lazy or indifferent to what you are taking in as a follower of the true Christ. Do the work of a Berean. Test everything against scripture!
As the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”. Stop putting in blasphemous garbage. Put in what is right, true, lovely, and good, and praiseworthy.
For further reading and watching:
Lindsey Davis talks to Doreen Virtue
10 Reasons Bethel is a False Church
Bethel’s False Gospel
BSSM-Soaking, Declaring, and Spinning Into Delusion
Melissa Dougherty talks about Bethel SOZO Ministry
Bethel Exposed: Interview with Justin Peters at Shepherd’s Conference