Weird Christian? Check. Weird Answers? Check. Answers from the Bible? Check.
This blog is meant as a resource to answer questions Christians may have (or lack discernment on), but can't get the answers to in Church, and possibly give Biblical viewpoints on the same issues to the unsaved.
If I contradict the Bible, go with what the Bible says, and please let me know where I am wrong, and why. I won't learn otherwise.
May God's Holy Spirit lead you to Truth!
Written back in a time when Christian fiction wasn't restricted to romances amongst, or with the Amish, and just about the time that end time fever hit with "Left Behind", "Twice Upon a Time" is a novel not about about time travel.
The story is about Mike Field, advertising executive and baby-boomer, who meets with an old frenemy, Lenny, who is constantly getting him into trouble. This time though, Lenny is saying goodbye.
But Lenny isn't just leaving town. He's leaving the century.
Mike accompanies his friend on one last misadventure which has him breaking into Lenny's workplace to use the company's conveient top secret time machine. They end up in the past, and the overwhelmed Mike Field heads "back to the future."
The plot thickens.
Upon his return, Mike learns that something has changed. He learns that his son has drowned several years previously.
Lenny has somehow altered the space-time continuum, and like any other man, Mike Field hates when that happens and sets out to fix whatever Lenny broke.
After some sleuthing, Field pinpoints the point of divergence and heads back to the past and finds himself wrapped up in a conspiracy to ensure that the murder of William McKinley occurs as he remembers it from his timeline.
The plot boils as Field tries to re-re-write history and avoid other time travelers out to get him.
Will he ensure the return of his son?
I first heard of this book when I was looking for a Christian view of time travel. Needless to say, there has been little written on this subject. I happened upon a book review for this book, then forgot about it. After forgetting about it, then getting into the story of the videogame "Chronocross" which had a similar plot device of someone drowning in one timeline and not another, i recalled the plot of this book and tracked it down to read it.
So how does this book measure up?
The book is not without its faults, but I found it to be an enjoyable read altogether. It's a shame van Wey didn't put out more time travel books as there is a lot of territory he could have ventured into and I think future efforts would have only gotten better. The potential for sequels is definitely there.
But I know how life often prevents such things.
At any rate. Here are my thoughts on the book.
The book's premise is very interesting. It has high emotional investment right off the bat and it is very compelling to read. However, the novel starts off with kind of a silly or unbelievable premise, as if it isn't sure of itself as it sets up the reason and method of time travel.
Let's get the bad out of the way, because I honestly don't want to mention it as the novel's good points redeem it in my opinion.
The idea that someone would go on one more adventure with a friend prone to causing trouble is a stretch. Especially since Field dislikes Lenny so obviously. Lenny's character at the beginning is also a stretch as is the idea that he somehow found a way to time travel. It just starts out kind of weakly and honestly comes off as.a bit corny to start with.
There's not really anything wrong with corny, just get through it.
The time machine also is not especially exciting. It's a hand crank telephone in a bank vault. Its not a delorean, it's just a phone. Obviously a phone time machine was done, and done better in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and with Dr. Who's police box TARDIS. This too is excusable because the movie "Frequency" got away with using a ham radio and electromagnetic interference.
Little else will ever top the flying de Lorean as a time machine and the sooner we all get over the fact in any story, the happier we all will be.
Still, an essential part of a successful time travel story is its time machine. Often the machine is a character in itself. Even Baxter's "Time Ships" gets a pass because most of the time machines were appealing.
I digress. Van Wey's time machine is sub average, but it at least works consistently.
The last bad thing to say would be that Mike Field as a narrator uses exaggerated figures of speech way too often. Like more than Carter.has liver pills. Some are kind of irritating, but endurable.
Some of the characters are also not that appealing in how they act or speak, and Mike's come to Jesus moment didn't feel especially compelling or even necessary, unfortunately.
These really are the only bad things to say, and aren't even that bad to begin with. They certainly are not deal killers to the story.
The good parts of the story are what kept me reading.
Field's investigation and discovery of where history changed was very riveting and a decent mystery. Trying to figure it out was a slim chance, but he was able to convincingly piece it together. Some may say the whole history changed/butterfly effect notion is overdone, but really it makes for a good mystery.
Being the only one to remember an unchanged timeline is a staple of time travel yarns and it works well here.
The novel's foray into the age of 1901 is quite honestly the best part of the book, and once there makes this book a page turner. Van Wey's description of the world of yesterday was pretty convincing as was his portrayal of Leon Czolgsz (sp?). It's quite obvious that this section of the novel was where the author's heart was at. It was well researched and written incredibly. In fact, were it not for this novel, I never would have known about McKinley, his assassination or the other related events. Anyone thinking history class is boring, think again!
Although Czolgsz doesn't get a lot of face time, and doesn't really do or say much, yet his character is seems alive.
People should read this novel for that aspect alone.
While this part of the story is excellent, I would have liked to see more struggle with Mike's moral dilemma in his task to ensure the death of William McKinley. There is some, but it really is a huge thing to deal with and could have been a bit heftier.
I would also have liked to see more thought given to the enormity of time travel and changing and even restoring history. I mean, the guy has to help kill someone to save his son! That is not normal! It would also have been nice to see how the whole theology of time travel works out, but it was not to be I guess. Which is OK, because this story at least helped me to start thinking about that.
(If anyone wants to see more Christian time travel fiction, let us know and keep it in prayer. I know a guy who has a massive idea but little time to devote to it with work, life and whatnot. Maybe start a kickstarter for it. Otherwise it'll be in the ether for a while until things get worked out with this guy.)
Anyone who's a fan of historical fiction would find this an enjoyable read. It's also a good introduction to time travel fiction, though to someone who's read as much time travel stuff as I have it may be less enjoyable. I've been nitpicky so far, but its because I enjoyed it overall.
I would recommend this book, but warn that it does have its weak points especially for old bitter time jockeys like me. But then, so do other time travel stories.
As an aside, this book has some peculiar time travel connections. I cannot say that they were all deliberate on van Wey's part, some of them could not be unless van Wey himself is a time traveler.
First, the cover I have, the character to me looked a lot like Dennis Quaid. Quaid had a prominent role in the film "Frequency" which was made after this book was published. It also dealt with similar though less weighty themes.
Another coincidence or nod would be that Mike Field recognized a Beatles tune while in the past. Here, "Hey Jude," while in Tim Powers' "Anubis Gates" the song "Yesterday" was featured. Most likely this is because van Wey is a Baby Boomer and the Beatles are recognizable to that generation. But it was enough to make me wonder if he'd read Powers.
Powers may have just been cute with the double meaning of his song choice.
Other connections to time travel fiction would be the "Back to the Future" (and any sci-fi) idea of changing history. "Butterfly Effect" has some similarities as does "Donnie Darko" when dealing with predestination paradox issues though van Wey doesn't deal a lot with those.
All in all, van Wey wrote a pretty engaging and well researched historical fiction novel with time travel as kind of a tangential thing. I would recommend it as it's a decent time travel story for anyone new to the genre and is a good counter to books like Wells' "Time Machine" and Baxter's "Time Ships" both of which are great reads, but heavy-handed in their message of evolution and essentially Genesis 3 undertones respectively. It's also a needed contrast to the occult heavy Tim Powers books "Anubis Gates" and "Three Days to Never" ("Three Days" was a mess and left a lot more loose ends and felt like half a book). Those may be better in a literary sense, but their underlying messages are ultimately not the truth and are counter to the gospel.
"Twice Upon a Time" is likely out of print, but relatively cheap on Amazon. It would be nice to see it for kindle, but i dont think that's likely to happen any time soon.
Years ago when I was a baby Christian, I was being challenged in my faith by a run of the mill hedonist with pagan inclinations. Hi, if you're reading. One thing that he kept advising me to do was watch the movie "Frailty." I eventually did and thought it was an o.k. movie, and wondered why he had wanted me to watch it, because at that immature stage in my Christian walk I thought the character was somewhat justified in his actions and wasn't sure why he'd wanted me to watch.
Of course I also sort of supported the unjust wars being waged, but I digress.
The movie, for those who haven't seen it, is about a guy (Bill Paxton, the "game over man!" guy from Aliens, or as MST3K called him, former star Bill Paxton) who wakes up one day and sees light reflecting off an angel staue/trophy, has a vision, and "receives a message from God," really an angel. The dad basically gets told that the world is going to end soon, and that his family's mission is to kill people who are actually demons to help save the world. As he explains his mission to the kids, he reveals that the angel called he and his kids "God's hands," and with "magical weapons," they will "fight and destroy demons".
Endowed with ordinary, but somehow "special" gloves, a length of pipe, an axe named "Otis", and a fanatical devotion to his vision, the dad of the family goes on an axe-murder spree killing people who were actually really bad people, in an effort to save the world from the devil and fulfil his mission to rid the world of evil.
As he goes about his mission, he touches people to make sure they are demons, to see their sin, and then he kills them. In disposing of the bodies, the dad says the angel was very specific about how to do it all, and that the bodies were to be buried properly, hinting very subtly or unintentionally that this might be some sort of ritual.
One of his sons though, understandably has some misgivings about this mission and in particular, the killing people part. That makes perfect sense. But because of his doubts, dad suspects he's a demon and locks him up until he sees a vision. This son fakes a vision, then kills dad when it's his turn to destroy a demon.
Years later the "demon son" has become a serial killer trying to get his "holy" brother arrested because holy brother has taken up dad's mantle as demon killer. Holy brother eventually kills demon brother and leads a cop (who is also a murderer) to the site of demon destruction, then kills him. It's revealed at the end that dad and holy brother actually seem to have some sort of supernatural power as video cameras can't identify him and no one recalls his appearance. The film also does a reveal of the evil that the demon folk/Paxton's murder victims had done, which is what was seen when they were touched pre axe murder.
We're left with the impression that the supernatural serial murders, aka, demon destruction was actually God's mission and the dad and holy brother were doing God's work.
At the time, I hadn't thought much about it. After all, the people he killed were child molestors, or other baddies, and figured maybe he had been justified and given a real mission by God in the fictional context of the movie.
In retrospect, I think the reason this "friend" had wanted me to see the movie was to undermine my faith and show me that faith in God is irrational, and can cause people to do crazy things if they think God told them to do it. He perhaps wanted me to see that faith in God brings out fanaticism. Certainly at that time people were using God as an excuse for war, and people often say that God told them to do things. Not to mention the horrors of history like the cruades, inquisition, and so on. On a surface level for those who don't do their homework or understand the Bible, there is that issue to deal with.
It's not unit recently when I was hit with a realization, out of nowhere as I hadn't seen the movie in years.
This realization is that if you view this movie with a Biblical perspective, Bill Paxton's character and his son were being used by a demonic spirit or fallen angel. And it's quite obvious once you realize it.
The Bible admonishes us to:
1 John 4:1 - 3
"1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already"
Nowhere in this movie does anyone even come close to attemping this. Paxton sees a shiny light, thinks he hears a message from God and off he goes.
However, we should also add a little more check to the above test, because a spirit that doesn't emphasize the Gospel and Christ's deity, humanity, death and resurrection isn't to be trusted. Especially if they coerce one into murder.
Apostle Paul warns:
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
And we know already that had Paxton's character read his Bible, and examined his mission in light of that, he would have seen that the angel who gave him the message wasn't on the up and up. The angel instructed him that in order to save the world, he had to destroy "demons". In other words, the angel gave him a different Gospel because the world (that is the people of the world) has (have) already been saved by what Christ did. This angel wanted Paxton to add to that or do something else in place of that.
And of course, "the gospel message is simple: "That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).
Anything else beyond that, especially if coming from a supernatural being is not the Gospel.
So although these guys are on a mission, and in fact ridding the world of evil people, they are completely out of God's will. If they had really received a message from God or His angels, they would have preached the Gospel to these "demons" instead of killing them.
Yet another case of Hollywood getting wrong in the supernatural realm, though admittedly they do leave a lot open to the interpretation of the viewer.
In walking with Jesus, and accepting Him as Lord and Savior, it's perfectly natural to come to a place where you want more than just the once a week Sunday worship, or daily check in with prayer and Bible study. After all, the Christian life is more than a religion, it is a lifestyle and personal relationship with the creator of the universe.
As one reads the Word and contrasts the supernatural and amazing acts of the early church to what we have now, the current church model doesn't quite measure up. Of course we don't always realize the book of Acts was actually many years of exploits, but that doesn't reduce our hunger for supernatural phenomenon and the desire to experience God's power in our daily lives. It doesn't eliminate the desire to see prayer answered and miracles worked.
For some, those Christians who take their walk seriously and those who posess good sense and discernment, this hunger for the supernatural should hopefully draw you closer to God in prayer and study of the Word and in sharing the Gospel with others. For those on the opposite end, like me (years ago, anyways) this desire and hunger for the supernatural outpouring of God's power can lead us down the path of Simon Magus, the pursuit of God's power for our own amusement, gratification and so on. For pride and vanity in other words. When pursued in the wrong motive, I believe (and in my own experience this was true), pursuit of supernatural power as an end in itself can lead you into New Age teachings, or worse, to false Christian teachers (perhaps teaching New Age as something of God). The pursuit of signs and wonders can cause us to wander into deception of one sort or another.
That is not to say that I think God doesn't work miracles today, or that every supernatural manifestation is demonic, but what I do mean to say is thay we need to be careful if we see evidence of supernatural manifestation happening among the Body of Christ, or those who claim to be such. Before accepting a miracle as a God thing, we need to test it (1 John 4) and make sure it actually is.
Before we start, I lay my bias out plainly: on the whole, I would agree that cessation of spiritual gifts does seem to be a reality, and i would agree with the general consensus that its because we have the full, revelation of God's word here in the First World. It is also easy here to fake and doubt a purported miracle, and so God doesn't seem to work that way here because His Word, the Bible is sufficient evidence and testimony.
However, I do believe God can and does work miracles today, when needed, and when they glorify Jesus and bring people to faith in Christ, especially in areas of people where God's revelation and Gospel has yet to reach. Perhaps on the mission field or frontiers where the Gospel hasn't gone before. I know i have personally been delivered from demonic attack and sleep paralysis by calling on Jesus Christ, so I cannot deny that God intervenes supernaturally from time to time.
But if you really want to see signs and wonders, go out and be a missionary, preach the Gospel and make disciples.
The Bible gives us many warnings not to be taken in by hucksters, false teachings or false signs and wonders. Many of the following verses certainly have a proper context (so make sure you understand what that is), often related to Christ's return, but they have the same underlying, unambiguous message. Don't get tricked into leaving the faith to follow a false teacher.
Do not be deceived.
1 Timothy 4:1-2
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
(Regarding Christ's second coming and antichrist)
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; and verse 9
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Verse 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
1 John 3:7
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Because of the possibility of deception, we need to put Acts 17:11 into practice daily, and especially whenever we see someone claiming God's power is at work. You can go look that one up.
With that preamble in place, I now arrive at the main point of this article.
I don't normally like to call out names (though i guess this is not the first time I've done it) and in fact have gone out in the past and removed Creflo Dollar's name from a blog, but I have recently come across the teachings of one Kevin Dedmon by the providence of God and the meeting of a friend.
Mr. Dedmon is one of at least several pastors at Bethel Redding in California, he has written several books, teaches and travels around teaching and giving conferences teaching folks how to heal and do supernatural wonders of a sort.
At first glance, nothing seems obviously amiss, aside from an overuse of catchphrases, until one takes a look at the man behind the curtain. I won't dive into a personal attack, as I bear no ill will to Kevin, nor do i want to tear him down, but I will seek to show where his teachings stray from the Bible. To do this, we shall examine the fruit (Matthew 7:16) borne of Kevin Dedmon in light of God's word and let you decide for yourself, prayerfully. This alone is hard enough to know where to start, so we'll go with what seems to be most Biblical and work out from there.
First off, healings. One of the most obvious signs in the Bible of God working was through healing of physical ailments. Jesus healed many in his ministry, and the Apostles (Acts 1:20 - 26 suggests that an Apostle is only someone who had seen or interacted with the Lord Jesus Christ after His death and resurrection, which Paul did in Acts 9 and he defends in other places) also healed the sick as they went about preaching and spreading the Gospel.
Kevin Dedmon also claims to have many healings under his belt as well, probably rivaling even Smith Wigglesworth. While Dedmon likely has many testimonies of healings on his site, I would guess that these couple are representative of many, if not all of them.
This first one, from one of his Firestorm Conferences (an admittedly awesome name, from a worldly perspective, for a conference) by Dedmon's own admission this account is pretty much an average experience. Dedmon describes it as a testimony, likely from one of the attendees. The testimony of the witness states they watched with "wonder" as healings took place (at the conference) though the witness remained skeptical, and asked themselves what I would classify as healthy questions. Not long after, this the healing skeptic had an opportunity to try their ownhand at healing. The party to be healed by the skeptic had recently injured their knee.
The skeptical healer prayed over the lady with the knee injury, following whatever steps they had learned at Firestorm. What happened next is where things get interesting.
The pray-er had to pray for healing of the knee FIVE TIMES, and each time something more fantastic happened. From slight movement, to heat (intense heat at one point) in the knee, laughing (yes, laughing) and finally, an allegedly complete healing after the fifth prayer and laying on of hands.
This next account, a couple went to someone's house to pray for a cancer patient. During the prayer, the cancer patient felt heat and electricity, then the pray-ers began to sing Dedmon's "healing song" (more on that shortly) and the cancer patient "sang it over themself" and everyone started laughing. Of course, healing allegedly took place. And yet, so many die of cancer each year.
One last example details a baby recovering from a potentially deadly spider bite, the healer allegedly laughed at it over the phone. Other healings were reported; people with metal plates and screws were said to be healed and the implants gone (if true, one would like to see some before and after MRIs, but still, thats not totally unbelievable or even supernatural because some implantable screws and such are designed and made to be absorbed into the body after a set time).
It would be nearly impossible to review every reported healing testimony attributed to Dedmon or his song/followers, but these should suffice, especially since one of them by Dedmon's own admission was a typical example. By looking at these few healings, we see a couple common elements.
First, the feeling of heat, sometimes with electrical feeling (or twitching/jerking), second the healing event is accompanied by laughter and in these two respects bear an unsettling resemblance to manifestation of Kundalini (Yoga, demonic) "energy". One former follower identifies Bethel's practices as Kundalini and explains Kundalini as "physical manifestations, such as jerking and shaking, and feelings of heat, energy, and pleasure."
Despite the ambiguous, and possibly sinister nature of these signs, they are believed to be evidence that God is working. But if it is God working, we should be able to see the same things happening in the Bible, because God never changes.
Although these signs seem to be prevalent in Dedmon's (and his followers') healings, they are not prevalent in the Bible, and in fact do not appear at all. Whenever someone was miraculously healed in the Bible, no sensation was reported, the healing was instant, obvious and verifiable. It was also absolutely clear God was behind it.
Certainly some of the Hebrew Scriptures (aka Old Testament) the Lord asks people to do various things to be healed, but those healings are not attributed to the act alone, nor are they repeatable.
Numbers 21 details the Israelites being healed from snake bites merely by looking at a bronze snake. 1 Kings 17:17 - 24, the widow's son was raised from the dead. Naaman the leper had to wash 7 times in the Jordan (2 Kings 5:10 - 14) to be healed and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20) put figs on his boil, and i get the feeling that the healing was so sudden andv possibly anticlimactic that he had to ask God for an additional sign that he was going to keep living. In the end it was God doing the healing, and no mention of any sensation, heat or jolting, or laughter accompanied the miracle.
When we get to the New Testament, things have changed a bit. Jesus Christ, as God's Son and God in human flesh healed people merely with a touch or by His word. In all of these instances, people were instantly healed or raised to life. No sensation, just healing because of faith in Him. People looking for a show would have been sorely disappointed.
Later, in the book of Acts, we see healings as well. The apostles (again, only those who were witnesses to Christ's resurrection or those who had seen the glorified Christ), were able to perform healing by calling on the authority of Jesus Christ, or if not directly calling on Christ or commanding in His name, using the authority granted them as a believer in Christ to perform a miracle as a way to lead someone to salvation in Christ and to the true God. When attention or credit was given to the apostles, they directed it back to God.
The point of the apostles' healing and probably Christ's miracles were to validate the message they were proclaiming in a time when God had not yet revealed His entire word to us. It was a sign of their authority and the validity of the Gospel message. The Biblical gift of healing is expounded on here.
The article demonstrates that biblical healings are always verifiable, and always glorify God and bring people to Him through His son Jesus.
Contrasting Dedmon's purported healings and the Bible, one can see some interesting discrepancies. In the Bible, the healing is an inroads to Jesus Christ, and restoring a life to Him. It is the stamp of approval on the Gospel message, changes a life, it's merely the catalyst to getting someone right with God. Consider that Paul (who had worked miracles) prayed for healing for himself and never received it.
Looking at the testimony's on Dedmon's site, the healing seems to be an end in themself. Furthermore, Kevin Dedmon often gets credit. The method gets credit. The person praying for and doing the healing gets credit. Even Dedmon's healing song gets credit. But you know who doesn't get credit?
Which should be our first clue that if the healings are legitimate, they are not coming from God, simply because there is no evidence they are leading people to Christ and Him crucified. Further, Christ receives no credit while man receives it all.
"Healing Song" by Kevin Dedmon... er...Michael Stipe
Associated with Kevin Dedmon and his healings, there is mention of his "healing song". You can see a good analysis of it here (with the great point that if it works, why not take it to the children's hospital), but really all you need to know is that it is a phrase repeated to the tune of R.E.M.'s "Its the End of the World as we Know it". This offends me as a music fan. This offends me as a Christian.
To say nothing of the fact that Jesus told us:
"5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."
(Matthew 6:5 - 8)
What Dedmon is promoting as a healing song, aside from being an outright plagiarism of R.E.M. (Stipe should sue, really), is a vain repetition. Also known as a mantra.
A mantra (example from Kundalini Yoga) is basically a phrase one repeats (usually in eastern religions) and this phrase, and repetition thereof, is supposed to have certain powers. Say, the power to heal for example. Really what this repetition does is empty the mind so that one becomes susceptible to contact with demonic entities. These entities, when a "miracle" occurs, would likely be the ones behind the sign and wonder. Recall 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
To contrast the methods of Dedmon, here are a few looks at Biblical healing. One, two and three
Symptom of a Larger Problem?
Though Dedmon's healings (faked or demonic) are not Biblical, this should really come as no surprise, mainly because he is a pastor at the controversial "church", Bethel in Redding, CA. The "about" page for Bethel mentions Jesus thrice (once as Christ) and in those they don't really say or affirm anything about Him, the virgin birth or the Gospel (salvation by grace through faith, though they mention a "gospel of power") or anything that one would recognize as a core tenant of the true Gospel message.
Other sources (all linked below for other reasons) tie Bethel to the New Apostolic Reformation, a group of self appointed apostles and prophets covered extensively in the archives of View from the Bunker. Here are a few, (and last) but you'll want to dig a bit on your own to find more.
As if that wasn't concern enough, Bethel is host to signs and wonders that aren't even Biblical, much like those performed by Dedmon. The following video shows clouds of gold dust floating from an area of ceiling with bad visibility, meaning that the possibility of fraud and chicanery are pretty high.
They also report "angel feathers" which have been proven to be bird feathers in the few instances where they were analyzed. The linked article also highlights other areas of concern including a Bethel intern that was possibly possessed, and a worship service that featured bizarre activities and repetition of a song possibly to induce a trance.
This article takes a fair and critical look at the Bethel ministry and links to videos of alleged signs.
In addition to these items, Bethel seems to have some obvious signs of another kind. Signs of being a cult or under the sway of dark powers.
A testimony of someone who was under the influence of Bethel's signs and wonders, and a testimony of one saved out of Bethel by the true Gospel.
This testimony highlights many important indicators that the Bethel "church" is not Biblical and not of God.
Given that Bethel is teaching false doctrine, entertaining false signs/wonders and possibly demonic powers; in addition to being part of the New Apostolic Reformation, one should do everything in their power to avoid them, their teaching and miracles (fake or real/demonic). This should be extended to anyone who is part of their leadership structure like Kevin Dedmon. Dedmon is part of Bethel and his "healings" and teachings follow the same unbiblical and dangerous methods. If Dedmon or any other Bethel personality is coming to your town, have no part of it.
2 John 1:9 - 11
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
If you want to get closer to God, place your faith in Christ, accept the Gospel. Pray. Read your Bible. If you need provision, healing, or a miracle, heed the words of the late J Vernon McGee. He advised to pray, and have others pray for your healing (or needs), then go see a doctor. Dr. McGee is a great man of God who suffered from cancer, and ultimately died like all men. But he will take part in the ultimate healing, the resurrection of the body when Christ returns, because he believed the Gospel message that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead according to the scriptures.
And there is no more miraculous healing than that which Christ will give us who have received Him and His Gospel.
just checking in to let you know I'm still around.
I've taken some time off from thIs blog to focus on a few other projects as welk as job searxhing. all of whIch seems t have hit a wall of sorts. I would covet your prayers for these items.
I also plan to take some time away from this blog to seek the Lord and grow in faith and wisdom a bit. looking back, I wonder if I could have done any of these r rposts better, or pointed to Jesus more eeffectively. to help me in this, I'll be reading the Word, praying and listening to J Vernon Mcgee. most of all, seeking Christ the more i've looked into speculative things, the more i've realized how much I need Jesus.
I recently posted about Hurricane Sandy being a possible instrument of God's judgment. I didn't give much evidence or thought as to why I thought that. Doing so is labor intensive and needs much prayer and discernment. At the moment I didn't have much of either but really felt a burning need to get that message out.
I am not a prophet, nor do I definitively say it was a prophetic word of God. I hope what I wrote was of God and that He uses it, but I claim no gift of prophecy. I know it certainly is a departure from my previous stance when I blogged about Japan. I have sort of moved my position on whether or not I believe God judges nations.
As far as I know it was pure speculation based on what I've read in God's word about His judging of sinful nations and His own people Israel, as well as news developments, old podcasts and david wilkerson's "america's last call" which I urge you all to read as I will be going through it here. Wilkerson's book was written in 1998 and the last 6 to 12 months I've been feeling that it is highly relevant now, especially given the economic collapse of 08. Even writing this, I admit I may be subconciously borrowing from it, though not for mal intent.
The point I'm trying to make is that I think we should prayerfully and repentently consider the fact that not just hurricane sandy, but Katrina, the 2011 tornadoes and other events were God judging us so we'd repent. We didn't, so they continued and got worse.
And likely will continue to do so.
If I'm wrong and we're not under judgment, then turning from sin and turning to the Lord never hurt anyone. And I'm not asking for money, selling books or trying to get followers so i'll have no trouble admitting it if I'm wrong.
Since i think its important, I'd like to take time to build that case. I haven't done an intensive multipart effort in a while and this looks like my one for the year.
To start, God is the same in the past, now and forever. He is unchangeable. That is one of the infinite number of good things about God. It means He can be trusted.
But it also seems to mean that He has to act the same way all of the time, because He cannot change, so far as I know. If He cannot change, then how He deals with sinful nations and the world as a whole should be consistent.
From Genesis to Revelation, when a nation or the world continues in unrepentant and flagrant sin, God is forced to pass judgment, possibly in an attempt to get our attention to get us right with Him. Not because He is vengeful or petty, but because He is just and must punish sin. In my experience, it seems that God hates it when we sin because He loves us and when we sin it not only hurts Him, but it hurts us even more. So like a loving father (which He is) He punishes us so we don't do wrong next time.
We see evidence of the sin being more harmful to us than affecting God, when God talks about sexual sin.
"1 Corinthians 6:18
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body."
It doesn't have to be that way, God has given us a chance to get right with Him and avoid His wrath and punishment through His son Jesus Christ.
So back to God passing judgment on nations. In the Bible, God has judged nations in the past and He will do it again not just against nations, but the whole world as laid out in Revelation. He will send disasters and allow calamity as judgment, but also to get us to turn from our sinful ways to Him. This demonstrates consistency. And if He does it in the old and new testaments, and will do so in the future, why not in the intervening timespan?
Especially since His grace in Christ is readily available to nearly anyone in the world who chooses to accept it. Especially since we are "a Christian Nation".
This article lays out, with scripture references how God has judged nations in the past.
The Genesis 6 flood, lots of bad stuff, covered extensively in many places. Basically, angels mating with human women, bloodshed was said to be occuring everywhere as well.
Sodom and Gomorrah, homosexuality of course, but also pride, fullness of bread, ignoring the poor. I've heard on a podcast, not sure which one or when, but it was said that sodomites were also excessively wicked in dealing with foreigners. There was something about how they would give poor foreigners a gold bar as a sick game, but no one in the city would use that bar for currency, thus keeping poor folks from buying food despite having money.
Ninevah, I believe Chuck Missler said was quite cruel and brutal in their war tactics. Whatever their crime was, they were due to be judged. But they repented and judgment was avoided.
The canaanites (who God judged through Israel) were said to have indilged in child sacrifice, and given the sins Israel was given to later on, idol worship and sexual immorality. There is also speculation that at least some Canaanite tribes were descended from nephilim.
When God judged Israel, it seems that they had violated the laws given by Moses and were punished according to what God had said would happen if they disobeyed. It occurs in multiple places, but Leviticus 26 is a perfect example and sets the stage for the judgment that occurs in Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah and other prophetic books. These books also describe God's judgment on the pagan nations for their treatment of Judah/Israel as well as other things.
A good summary can be found here. I won't be going through all the reasons here, but you should acquaint yourself with the old testament. Also, I am not as familiar with them as I'd like to be or should be.
According to that article, Isaiah pronounced judgment on the pagan nations (and Israel/north kingdom) for oppressing Judah/south kingdom.
Jeremiah prophesied against the sins of Israel.
Ezekiel prophesied against Israel and surrounding nations and foretold the destruction of Jerusalem.
Some of the sins that God has judged nations for in the Bible and the prophets told were the cause of judgment for Israel/Judah, and pagan nations:
* the men were adulterers, liars and treacherous.
* rampant deception preventing knowledge of God
* human sacrifice (Jeremiah 19)
* forsaking God's law and pursuing idols (baalim) (also Jeremiah 2)
(All in Jeremiah 9)
* blood of the innocent has been spilled (Jeremiah 2)
* worshipping other gods/idols (Jer. 1:16)
* calling evil good, wisdom in own eyes, rewarding the wicked, mightiness to drink wine (Isaiah 5:20 - 23)
* open displays of sin (pride?) (Isaiah 3:8 - 12)
* oppressing/cruelty to the poor, prideful and promiscuous women (Isaiah 3:13 - 23)
-- Shedding blood in her midst
--Defiles herself by making idols
--They have treated father and mother with contempt
--Oppressed the alien
--Mistreated the fatherless and the widow.
--You have despised my holy things
--Desecrated my Sabbaths.
--Slanderous men bent on shedding blood
--Eat at the mountain shrines and commit lewd acts
--Dishonor their fathers' bed
--Violate women during their
period, when they are ceremonially unclean
--Commits a detestable offense with his neighbor's wife
--Defiles his daughter-in-law
--Violates his sister, his own father's daughter.
--Men accept bribes to shed blood
--Take usury and excessive interest
--Make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion
--And you have forgotten me declares the Sovereign LORD
--There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; and they devour people
--Take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her
--Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things
--They do not distinguish between the holy and the common
--They teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean
--They shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them
--Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain
--Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says'-when the LORD has not spoken
--The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.
And which of these sins has America not committed?
Deception is everywhere, preventing people from accepting the truth. Ancient aliens, evolution eugenics and many other lies are believed above God's word. The occult is everywhere. Not to mention duplicitous motives in politics and business.
Bloodshed, so much bloodshed is on our hands. How many unjust wars have we been part of? Many in recent years. Iraq, drone strikes in countries we aren't at war with. Vietnam, started by an incident, Gulf of Tonkin, that never happened. And what about slavery?
The slaughter of the Indians? To say nothing of the millions of babies murdered since Roe V Wade. That blood all cries out to God for justice like Abel's did!
(Perhaps God has given some judgment on the Indian/slavery thing with the Spanish flu and other things.)
Foreigners, while generally well treated, are still looked down upon and discriminated against. Immigrant (illegal or otherwise) labor is always taken advantage of. How many are paid less than minimum (or a fair) wage?
Usury and excessive interest. Do I even need to talk about credit card debt and student loans? Or the money we loan other countries at excessive interest?
Oppression of the poor. A few years ago, "bum fighting" videos were in the news. The homeless are often victim of violence.
Adultery and sexual immorality. How many people have affairs outside of marriage? Young men (and probably women too) especially consider it an honor and duty to have as much sex as possible. Casual sex is celebrated in film and television. Pornography is everywhere. Then there's homosexuality, the push to normalize it and now even gay marriage. Gay pride as well. the threat of AIDS or STDs has done little to make people think twice about any of these.
All of which brings us to...
A lack of humility and prideful boasting of sin. The sex especially, but people are often proud of other sin. The drunkenness, lack of faith in God. People are proud to support the murder of babies as "choice". People blindly support or turn a blind eye to the unjust wars. People support the exploitation of charity by wearing pink. (See revelation radio news a couple weeks back.)
And the list can go on!
America, we continue to pile sins upon our heads! Yet say we are a Christian nation. A claim, by the way, that is not true as I've said before here.
America, i believe God has been judging us for some time,
to urge us to repentance. God has blessed us, and has used some of us for His work, but on the whole, we are a wicked people. i believe His judgment has been coming upon us for years, and getting progressively worse each time we reject our chance to repent and turn to Him.
I believe future calamities, disasters and ultimately destructive judgment can be avoided if we but turn from our sin and accept God's free gift of mercy found only in His son Jesus Christ.
In the coming weeks, i'll be going through Wilkerson's "America's last call" to further demonstrate that even in the 90's, God's judgment of our people was nigh. How much mores so now!
Following that will be a look at events that were were possibly instruments of God's judgment, with a look to other possible items God may use to wake us up.
all. please pray for new York and those hit by hurricane sandy. many are without power and food and dangerously close to barbsrism. and its only been one or two days. many in NYC at least aren't expected to get power for another week.
pray also that we as an American people will have a true heartfelt repentence of our sins through Jesus Christ. I believe we must accept the fact that hurricane sandy could well be the hand of God judging america. perhaps its a lessened form of it to warn and woo us back. but lets be honest, we do deserve judgment if we don't turn from our wicked ways as a country.
I'm not the first to say God is due to judge america. david wilkerson gave a potentially prophetic word YEARS ago about fires burning all throughout NYC as a result of God's judgment. I wonder if this is the beginning of that.
Chuck missler always paraphrases someone by saying if God doesn't judge america He'll have to apologize to sodom and gomorrah.
here's a few things we are responsible for that God could and should judge us for, using His example in the Old testament and the preaching of other biblical teachers.
aborting millions of babies
using virtual slave labor for our many products, including ipads
the continuation and starting of unjust wars
our corrupt business and political processes both of which work together against the good of the common man
lack of compassion for the poor
the celebration of homosexuality
the continuation of human trafficking and pornography
the fact that we didn't repent after other "warning sign" acts of judgment (9-11, Katrina, the 300 tornadoes of 2011, the gulf oil spill, etc.)
it should be no shock that we had another. i'm no prophet and I have no prophetic word thst I know of but if we don't repent after this, something far worse will happwn and soon. maybe the big one in california. the new madrid. maybe somethig else entirely. what will it take for us to wake up? to recognize our sin and humble ourselves in repentance before our God? after all we're a "Christian nation" aren't we?
its not too late yet. turn from you sin, turn to Jesus. God took care of our sin at the cross. if we don't accept that and turn to Christ we are doomed.