GRACE UNDER FIRE

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Posted 6/15/18 at 12:39 PM | Becky Moore, BCCLC, BCMFC

A comical look at immigration and the Bible: Is Attorney General Jeff Sessions properly quoting Scripture? Taking another glance at dominionism, the NAR and the fascist fusing of church and state

Is Attorney General Jeff Sessions a dominionist? What is going on here?

In a recent article at Market Watch, it is noted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has cited the Bible to justify the separation of families at the U.S./Mexico border. Children are being taken from their parents.

Is Sessions a dominionist like Rick Perry? The problem is that dominionists are a militant, theocratic, fascist group calling for world rule. By force.

According to this article a while back by journalist Mark Russell at Newser, "Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are far more than just two hard-right Christian candidates angling for the GOP presidential nomination—both have ties to a scary, theocratic movement called Dominionism, writes Michelle Goldberg at the Daily Beast. While many have pooh-poohed those worrying about a Christian sect bent on world rule as paranoid, Goldberg says that this presidential nomination cycle has brought 'the most theocratic Republican field in American history. It turns out we weren't paranoid enough'".

For those of you who do not know, Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California is a part of the leadership in the NAR and dominionism. Most sincere people involved in this group have no clue how their beloved gurus are shaping modern politics and society, for the worse, taking away our freedoms and the much-needed separation of church and state.

According to the article from Market Watch aforementioned, Sessions explained:

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. If you cross the Southwest border unlawfully, then the Department of Homeland Security will arrest you and the Department of Justice will prosecute you. Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution.” FULL POST

Posted 6/3/18 at 12:04 PM | Becky Moore, BCCLC, BCMFC

Surprise! Is the tithe for today? In a nutshell, 3 eye-opening reasons why the tithe is unbiblical for today's Christian and is correlated with clergy abuse

Is the tithe even biblical?

Is the "tithe law" for today's Christian?

Like many concepts in the Bible, not every single one is necessarily for today. While generosity to the poor is a Biblical, New Testament ideal, tithing - giving a consistent ten percent of one's income to church leaders - is not for today. Here is another example: Leviticus 19:27 tells men to not shave their beards.

It would be nutty to tell others today that they must not shave their beards lest they incur a curse from God Himself.

The tithe is also found in Leviticus 27, for instance, and it is equally nutty to tell Christians to "test the tithe".

Journalist David Cary Hart recently penned an article about a controversial church called Bethel Church in Redding, California. Hart explained, "Suffice it to say that church leadership rakes in untold millions of tax-deducted dollars. Apparently, leader Bill Johnson's wife, his two sons and their wives are all on the payroll. Bethel Church is the perfect example of why churches should be required to file the same annual reports as every other nonprofit organization. It won't happen because Congress is scared to death of Christianity, Inc.". FULL POST

Posted 6/2/18 at 2:14 PM | Becky Moore, BCCLC, BCMFC

The stealth rise of fascism in evangelical Christianity and politics: A brief look at the fascist and dominionist roots and history of sozo from Bethel Church and its ties to Latter Rain, NAR and Dominionism

What is sozo? Why does it matter, and what ever happened to separation of church and state? Sozo is a new age, unique, inner-healing practice which is tied to Bethel Church in Redding, California, which has strong affiliation with the Latter Rain Movement and Dominionism. Dominionism is also known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Joel's Army or the Seven Mountains Mandate. Bethel Church is the subject of public debate and is an extremely controversial "church" led by Bill Johnson. All these movements can be likened to separate, polluted "rivers" which may look different at first glance but truly come from the same muddy source.

The following is some rather helpful information on the "sketchy" history of sozo's related movements:

"The origins of the movement are sketchy, but trace back to at least two influences, the Latter Rain movement and Dominionism. The Latter Rain movement gained traction in the 1950's as a movement holding Pentecostal beliefs but largely outside the existing Pentecostal denominations, teaching the imminent rise of a victorious church that transcended denominational organizations and endowed with supernatural power through miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. The early Latter Rain movement is sometimes linked to William Branham, although most reject Branham's Jesus-only baptism beliefs, and may have also had some influence on parts of the Jesus Movement and on the Discipling and Shepherding movement. Among the Latter Rain movement's teachings were that the rise of a victorious church of "overcomers" endowed with supernatural power to wage spiritual warfare and perform miracles would usher in the second coming of Christ. The terms 'Manifest Sons of God' and 'Joel's Army' referred to these 'overcomers'. Dominionism is a movement that began in the 1970s with Calvinist roots, teaching that the Biblical admonition for Christians to 'take dominion' over all the earth includes taking dominion over civil government and law, and that civil law should be based on Biblical teachings." (1) FULL POST

Posted 3/29/18 at 6:52 PM | Becky Moore, BCCLC, BCMFC

Do you really know what your Calvary Chapel believes? It's not just the Bible, it's the "Distinctives". Is Calvary Chapel a cult?

Is Calvary Chapel a cult?

Have you ever had a strange feeling in your gut about Calvary Chapel? If so, you will want to read this (it has been my most-viewed article on my website).

You walk into the church on a Sunday morning. Everyone is worshipping God with hands raised. You greet smiling faces. The message is delivered from the Bible (word for word) in a powerful, authoritative manner by the senior pastor. Greetings are made. You drop some money in the "tithe" box. Great day at church, and you do this year after year after year. The pastor says his church only goes by "the Word". Indeed, that's how it appears on the outside. You sense there is something wrong at the church, but you just cannot pinpoint it and doubt yourself. After all, the Bible is taught word for word from the pulpit, and there are a lot of members.

This church movement that claims to "simply teach the Word, simply" also follows a set of teachings they say are simply "foundational", written by a man named Chuck Smith. Oddly, these extra-Biblical doctrines are not brought up. Why? This set of "foundational" teachings that most Calvary Chapel churchgoers are kept in the dark about is (drum roll, please):

The Calvary Chapel Distinctives by Chuck Smith (PDF)

So, what is this "Distinctives" document, exactly? You thought that you were being taught by leaders whose allegiance, leadership models, practices and doctrines were solely based upon the Word of God and sound doctrine rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15)? FULL POST

Posted 6/16/12 at 4:50 PM | Becky Moore, BCCLC, BCMFC

Is it a Cult? Strange Manifestations in 'Christian' Circles and Sozo, from God or not? Feathers in Church? Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, Redding California

"...for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)  

When I first heard of Bethel Church years ago (when someone was urging me to join), it was simply a small organization (claiming to be a Christian "church") in northern California. Now, its influence has grown worldwide. Its influence, along with "sozo" (their mystical, new age practice), has expanded to Russia, the UK, Australia and beyond. It is part of the nefarious NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) which has ties to a few conservative politicians. The leaders of NAR, like Rick Joyner, are rather militant and threaten to wipe out Christian denominations, creating one denomination (under their leadership, of course). Jesus said to "beware the yeast of the Pharisees". The Pharisees were an ancient sect of Judaism who were very lax and liberal (as opposed to strict and conservative) when it came to written Scripture and Bible interpretation, nullifying God's words while adding on their own clever and deceptive twists, rules and "traditions of men" (see Mark 7:13). They went "off the map" of truth and put their twisted interpretations onto others. Jesus had a problem with that. Like yeast in bread, a little yeast (lies/error/false teaching) spreads and can do a whole lot of damage. Likewise, the teachings coming out of Bethel Church have spread and are now harmful on an international level. I get emails from around the world from people (the ones from the grandmothers and mothers are the most heart-wrenching) who have lost family members to this cultic sect (or, should I say cult?).

In chapter 12 of When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles, Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California writes:

I have seen the small gems that suddenly appeared in the people's hands as they worshipped God. Since early in 1998, we have had feathers fall in our meetings. At first I thought birds were getting into our air conditioning ducts, but then they started falling in other rooms of the church not connected with the same ductwork. They now fall most anywhere we go - airports, homes, restaurants, offices and the like...He [God] wants to take us farther, and we can only get there by following signs. Our present understanding of scripture can only take us so far. (Page 204,205)

Johnson erroneously convinces people that these signs are from God and the Holy Spirit and our present understanding of scripture cannot take us far enough, and people eat up this nonsense. I (and multitudes of others) find this disturbing (and also a bit comical). On the same pages, he says that (uncontrolled) laughter, gold dust, oil and a cloud (appearing in the church building) are also signs of God's presence. He further explains in the same chapter that these signs and manifestations "are simple indicators of God's presence and purpose". He calls these signs God's "personal notes" to us. He clearly links these signs to our holy God and the Holy Spirit.

Is this correct? Most people who use their intellects would see through this garbage. Sadly, many drink up the Kool-Aid that Bethel Church is serving up. In scripture, believers are commanded to be scrutinizing (not blindly accepting) by putting what they see and hear to the test instead of accepting a teaching, sign or wonder right away, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). FULL POST