Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Christ Fellowship Bible Church, St. Louis, MO

I returned home early yesterday evening from a five-day trip to St. Louis, MO. The purpose of the trip was to serve pastor Geoff Kirkland and the Christ Fellowship Bible Church family by joining them in street evangelism and providing teaching regarding the same. Pastor Geoff Kirkland is a graduate of both The Master's Seminary and the Grace Advance training program.  My time in St. Louis was filled with ministry opportunities, wonderful fellowship, and amazing hospitality from start to finish.


I was picked up at the airport Thursday afternoon by Pastor Geoff and my good friends, Robert Gray and Mike Stockwell. We hit the ground running. Our first stop was Barnes-Jewish Hospital, west of downtown St. Louis. Barnes-Jewish is ranked the #1 hospital in all of St. Louis. We were joined by a few other members of the church when we arrived. We set up near a busy pedestrian thoroughfare between the hospital and the Central West End Metrolink Station. There we preached the gospel in the open-air and distributed gospel tracts.


Friday began with a wonderful time of fellowship, with more than a dozen men from Christ Fellowship Bible Church. I was given the privilege to lead the time of study of God's Word by looking at a biblical understanding of leadership and evangelism in church ministry, through the lens of Paul's farewell address to the elders of the Church at Ephesus, which is found at the end of Acts 20. My time of Q&A with the men was very profitable and encouraging, and it spilled over into my conversation with those who joined us for breakfast.

A group of us then traveled to Jefferson County Community College where we heralded the gospel for more than three hours, facing considerable opposition as we did so. We set up outside the school's student center (see SC on map). Many students, as well as faculty members, security officers and Jefferson County deputy sheriffs, heard the proclamation of the law and the gospel. Sadly (and typically) the angriest hecklers on the campus were professing Christians, including a "youth pastor."

We ended the day by spending a couple hours preaching outside the Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues hockey team. We preached to those who were entering the arena for the evening's game. Again, many people heard the gospel and/or received gospel tracts.


Saturday was a very full day. The day began with a trip to Granite City, IL, to preach at the Hope Clinic for Women, the Midwest's largest late-term abortion provider.

There we teamed up with Daniel and Angela Michael of Small Victories Ministries.

From Daniel and Angela we learned that the abortionist at Hope Clinic is allegedly a Hindu who lies to the women, who's children he murders, by telling them their murdered babies will be reincarnated. The abortionist and abortuary workers allegedly lie to the women by trying to convince them they are having a miscarriage and therefore the abortion of their child is necessary. This abortuary has a history of botched abortions.

More than a dozen of us spent more than three hours outside the abortuary as dozens of women came to the death mill to murder their babies. We pleaded with the mothers and fathers and, in some cases, grandmothers. We preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. We held signs warning passerbys that babies were being murdered there.

Sadly, a large contingent of Roman Catholics were at the abortuary, too. They set up a large altar to Mary and vainly and repetitiously droned "Hail Marry full of grace..." They might as well have been chanting "Hail Satan." One man wore an 18" x 24" picture of Mary around his neck like a necklace.

We did see one young lady leave the abortuary without having an abortion. We praised God for that.

Our next stop was Busch Stadium and Game 3 of the 2013 World Series.

Nine of us formed two groups with each group taking a position on a street corner, at opposite ends of the stadium. From these positions we distributed gospel tracts and preached the gospel for the two hours leading up to the game. One dear sister in Christ distributed more than 800 tracts in just 90 minutes. Thousands of people heard and/or received the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The day ended with an evening of evangelism training and encouragement with the Christ Fellowship Bible Church family. Between two sessions, What Is the Biblical Gospel? and What Is Biblical Evangelism?, I preached for almost four hours.


Sunday morning began with a time of discipleship with the men of Christ Fellowship Bible Church who are training to be elders. I focused our time in the Word on Paul's commands to Timothy to flee from sin, pursue Christ-likeness, and fight the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:11-12).

I spent a quiet afternoon with the Kirkland Family. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by Elizabeth Kirkland (this was one of those trips during which I think I gained weight because of the superiority of the cooking). After lunch the "grandpa fix" I had experienced every day with the Kirkland children (Hezekiah, Tikvah, and Emunah) came to a wonderful crescendo as we took the kids for a time of play and hiking at a local park. How wonderfully, beautifully relaxing and joyous a time it was!

Sunday late afternoon and evening I was given the distinct honor and privilege to stand again in my friend, Pastor Geoff Kirkland's, pulpit. I preached two sermons: A Life Worthy of the Gospel and American Evangelicalism: Has it Become a Den of Robbers.

Even though my second sermon was almost two hours in length, the church family enjoyed a couple more hours of wonderful fellowship as we were all blessed to partake in the fruits of the church's first Chili Cook-Off. It was so very encouraging to spend time with a healthy (albeit imperfect) church family. My heart and soul was greatly ministered to.


My time in St. Louis ended as it had started, with a couple hours of preaching and tract distribution outside the Jewish-Barnes Hospital and Central West End Metrolink Station. Something humorously providential happened while we were at the location.

Pastor Geoff was first to preach. As he has done for more than a year-and-a-half, he stood just beyond the walkway, which is considered the hospital's private property, on the curb line at the end of a cul de sac. Where he stood is public property. Shortly after Pastor Geoff began to preach, a friendly, bike-riding security officer approached him and said, "I love the Word, too, but you can't preach there."

Pastor Geoff tried to explain to the young security officer that where he was standing is where he has stood for a long time, with no security or police officers taking issue with it. The security officer radioed his supervisor. When all was said and done, the security officer asked us to move to the metrolink platform, which is also considered private property. Pastor Geoff had previously been asked not to preach or distribute tracts on metrolink property by metroink security guards.

We complied and moved to the metrolink platform. After distributing hundreds of gospel tracts a black, female security guard exited the elevator, immediately seeing me and receiving a gospel tract.

"Have a good day." I said as I handed her the tract.

"What this? What are you doing?"

"It's a gospel tract."

"Oh, you can't do that here."

"Well, another security guard on a bicycle asked us to move onto metrolink property."

"Of course he did. That's their property (pointing to the walkway immediately adjacent to the metrolink platform). This is metrolink property. Well, I'm going to have to check to see what I should do here."

Before she could transmit on the radio, she rubbed her stomach and said. "My stomach doesn't feel good. I need to get something to eat."

"Can I buy you breakfast?" I asked.

With a quizzical look, she asked, "Are you serious?"

"Sure! I know there's a place close by. Let's get you something to eat."

"Well, all right, then!"

As we walked to a nearby student center cafe, she asked me, "Can I have that card, again?" She had given back to me the gospel tract I had given her when she stepped out of the elevator.

"Sure! Here ya go!"

We walked into the cafe. The security officer picked what she wanted for breakfast. After the purchase was made, she said she was going to sit down and eat.

"Thank you very much." She said.

"Oh, you're welcome. My friends and I will be back at the station if you learn anything about where we should stand."

"Okay. Bye."

I walked back to the metrolink platform with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. I couldn't help to laugh at the providence of God in my encounter with the security officer.

Some time later, the same security guard approached me as she made her way down to the train tracks.

"I don't actually work up here on the platform. I'm assigned to the trains. You have a good day."

"Thank you. You, too."

And many more people received gospel tracts as they entered and exited the metrolink platform.

A Change of Vision

Cross Encounters Ministries has existed for just 15 months. But, oh, what an amazingly busy and productive 15 months it has been!

In addition to many, many opportunities to proclaim the gospel around the world this year (nine states in addition to California and two foreign countries), the last 15 months have given me the opportunity to try to implement the ministry vision and goals I had envisioned more than a year ago. Some aspects of the ministry look just as I suspected they would. Others have not. In the latter category, the most significant area of ministry that did not take root was "The Timothy Project."

The idea behind "The Timothy Project" was to gather 3-5 men in a given area and take them through a week of intensive open-air preaching training and discipleship. Over the last 15 months, only one church expressed any real interest in sponsoring and participating in The Timothy Project. Unfortunately, work schedules and ministry responsibilities resulted in the cancellation of the first and what would be the last "Timothy Project."

At first, I was a bit discouraged, but the Lord allowed me to see that He was working to build a different kind of discipleship arm of my ministry. And this year's trips to Portland (OR) and St. Louis (MO) have confirmed in my heart and mind how He wants me to interact with local churches around the world. The strategy is a simple one, and I believe a biblical one.

Instead of plucking a few men from different churches to disciple them apart from their churches and church leaders, I will seek to come alongside church pastors and their congregations--serving under the authority and at the pleasure of the elders of the host church. At the direction of the church's pastor/elders, I will serve the church as an evangelist, assisting the pastor/elders in the edification and equipping of the congregation in various forms of biblical evangelism.

The times of ministry pastors Geoff Kirkland (St. Louis, MO) and Chuck O'Neal (Beaverton, OR) put together for me will serve as the model for all future invitational trips to minister to churches. Here's another snapshot of my recent trip to Christ Fellowship Bible Church, in St. Louis, MO.

1. Provided general discipleship training for the men of the church

2. Provide elder-specific training for prospective elders in the church

3. Taught the congregation biblical evangelism principles from the pulpit

4. Affirmed the pastor's/elders' call to and implementation of church-wide biblical evangelism from the pulpit

5. Assist the church in abortion clinic ministry

6. Assist the church in street evangelism ministry (including, but not limited to open-air preaching)

7. Remain available to the church by phone, email, and return trips to serve the church in any way I can.

While the extent to which I will provide discipleship and evangelism training to churches will vary from church to church, based on the individual church's specific needs, the above general framework should be implementable in any church that extends an invitation to me to come and help them.

I'm very excited about the clarity in vision the Lord appears to be giving me, and I look forward to assisting churches in this way for as long as the Lord allows. Please join me in praying to that end.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bethel Church: The False Gospel of Kris Vallotton

Here is the podcast of the two-hour special edition of Cross Encounters Radio, which the following article accompanies.

This article is the second in an ongoing series of articles looking at the false teaching and false practices of Bethel Church, in Redding, CA. In this article I will address the false gospel of false prophet and teacher, Kris Vallotton, Senior Associate Pastor at Bethel Church.

Here is Vallotton's biography, posted on the Bethel Church website:
"Kris Vallotton is a noted prophetic voice in Northern California, and has trained prophetic teams in this region. He is a sought after speaker with a vision for equipping an "Elijah generation" for the end-time harvest. Kathy's practical wisdom and prophetic insight combine to give her a unique and profound ministry as both an instructor and the school's administrator. Kathy is also an anointed worship leader,assisting with the training of the worship teams at the school. Both Kris and his wife Kathy have a vision to raise up a company of warriors to impact this generation for Christ. Their goal is to see the fulfillment of Isaiah 61 with their own eyes. This prophecy begins with individual people getting delivered and healed--it ends with the ruined cities being restored. Kris says it is time for the fire of God to burn up His enemies and warm the hearts of the lost. This mandate has become their mission. God has instructed them to gather together warriors with like hearts, then train and equip them, and send them into the Harvest. Holy Spirit fortifications must be established in the midst of the darkest places of the planet earth. Kris is currently Senior Associate Pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California and Kris and his wife Kathy are Overseers at Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry. They have four children and five grandchildren."
Some additional background regarding Vallotton will be helpful before we address the specific topic of this article--Vallotton's false gospel. The following information is not offered to "poison the well," but to give a more detailed understanding of what Vallotton believes and teaches.

1. Vallotton dismisses hermeneutics, exegesis, and Bible exposition, while accusing Jesus of taking Old Testament Scripture out of context in order to teach something new, "in code" (the parables).

2. Vallotton teaches the principle of "oneness with God," by misinterpreting John 17:20-21. In doing so, he erroneously affirms a unity with the Godhead in His/Their nature, as opposed to the clear teaching of Scripture that Jesus' prayer was for believers to be united with each other as the Godhead is united with each other. As a result of this false teaching, Vallotton promotes a false "law of attraction"--that since we are one with God lost people can see God in us. This teaching runs contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture that unbelievers cannot see Jesus in us (I Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:1-3).

3. Vallotton perpetuates the false notion that Christians are not to judge. Jesus made it clear that Christians are to judge with right judgment (John 7:24). While Christians cannot judge in the sense of determining where a person will spend eternity (Matthew 7:1; James 4:12), Christians are called to confront sin in believers and unbelievers alike (1 Corinthians 10:14-22; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 15; Titus 1:9; James 5:19-20). Vallotton also teaches the false idea that Christians are "salt," in this time of "ministry of reconciliation," in order to preserve cities from God's judgment. Bethel and churches like it often promote an unbiblical understanding of judgment in order to fend off criticism about the church's teachings and practices.

4. Vallotton teaches a false doctrine of apostleship and apostolic ministry. He describes Bethel's "supernatural" schools as "Holy Spirit terrorist training centers."

5. Vallotton teaches the false notion that those who are humble before God are, by default, destined for greatness in this life. This kind of thinking goes hand-in-hand with typical prosperity teaching--making promises God never made, by twisting Scripture to fit the false teacher's desired meaning and goal.

6. Vallotton and his wife are "elders" who oversee the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, a "supernatural" Mecca that is producing, promoting, and applauding false signs and wonders madness, mysticism, necromancyblasphemous anointing, and other demonic manifestations.

I could continue to provide examples of Kris Vallotton's false teaching and the role he plays in leading countless people, young and old, into following false signs, false wonders, false prophesies, false manifestations, and false spirits. However, the purpose of this article is to show that Kris Vallotton preaches and propagates a false gospel.

On July 30, 2013, Kris Vallotton (or a representative of his ministry) posted what he calls "7 Signs of a Poor Gospel." As of the writing of this article, 2,853 people have "liked" the Facebook post. 2,853. This Facebook post represents the gospel according to Kris Vallotton, Senior Associate Pastor of Bethel Church, in Redding, CA. Here are Vallotton's "7 Signs of a Poor Gospel" and seven biblical responses to show Vallotton believes and teaches a false gospel.

Vallotton's "7 Signs" will appear in "quotes." My responses will immediately follow each.

First it is important to determine what Vallotton means by the term "poor gospel." Vallotton helps us to understand what he means by "poor gospel" in the last statement in his post. Vallotton wrote:
"The poor gospel isn't the gospel Jesus preached! He preached the GOOD NEWS of the kingdom where nothing is impossible with God! Do I believe in a prosperity gospel? You bet...it is the only gospel that has the power to transform us into the image of Jesus and destroy the works of the devil."
According to Vallotton, a "poor gospel" is one that lacks manifestations and provisions of prosperity. As shown above, Vallotton is a master Scripture-twister, without citing so much as a single verse to support his claims. In this concluding statement, he plucks Matthew 19:26 out of its context, performs eisegetical surgery upon the text, without anesthetic, and twists it to fit his false prosperity gospel.

Let's look at Matthew 19:26 in its proper context.
"And behold, a man came up to him, saying, 'Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?' And he said to him, 'Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.' He said to him, 'Which ones?' And Jesus said, 'You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' The young man said to him, 'All these I have kept. What do I still lack?' Jesus said to him, 'If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.' When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

"And Jesus said to his disciples, 'Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.' When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, 'Who then can be saved?' But Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.' Then Peter said in reply, 'See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?' Jesus said to them, 'Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first'" (Matthew 19:16-30).
Nothing that is consistent with the perfect nature, perfect character, and sovereign will of God is impossible for God to accomplish. Nothing. However, there are many things that are impossible for man: creation, atonement for sin, and raising oneself from the dead, as well as achieving by his own power or merit that which is the subject of the above conversation between Jesus, a lost and wealthy man, and Jesus's disciples: salvation. Yet all that is impossible with man is possible with God.

Before evaluating Vallotton's "7 Signs of a Poor Gospel," it is important to note that the reasoning and construction of his seven signs is built upon the sandy foundation of a fallacy known as the "No True Scotsman," which is defined as follows:
"No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim ('no Scotsman would do such a thing'), rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule ('no true Scotsman would do such a thing').

"A simple rendition of the fallacy:
Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "I am Scottish, and put sugar on my porridge."
Person A: "Then you are not a true Scotsman."
"An example of a political application of the fallacy could be in asserting that 'no democracy starts a war,' then distinguishing between mature or 'true' democracies, which never start wars, and 'emerging democracies,' which may start them. At issue is whether an 'emerging democracy' is actually a democracy or occupies a differing conceptual category."
Atheists love to hurl the "No True Scotsman" fallacy at Christians. Why? Christians assert that not all who profess to be Christians are, in fact, Christians. Contrary to what atheists believe, such an assertion is not fallacious because there is an objective standard by which Christians can assert who they believe are saved and who they believe are not saved. Granted, no one can know the heart of another person with 100% certainty. However, the Word of God, the objective standard by which Christianity is defined and the validity of one's faith is weighed, does make it clear that both Christians and non-Christians are known by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20; Galatians 5:16-26), and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45). In addition, Christians are called to examine and test themselves to see if they are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5), and to examine one another for the same reason (2 Corinthians 13:6-10).

The reason I assert that Vallotton's "7 Signs of a Poor Gospel" is erroneously built upon the "No True Scotsman" fallacy is that he does not have as his standard the objective Word of God, but rather his subjective opinion based on an eisegetical mishandling of the Word of God.

Sign #1: "A poor gospel identifies with people's pain but has no power to deliver them from it."

Now to Vallotton's first "sign." He describes a "poor gospel" as one that has no power to deliver people from physical or emotional pain. Vallotton begins his seven-point false gospel by showing either his ignorance to what the true gospel is, or his intentions to redefine the gospel to fit his needs and his chosen beliefs. One thing is certain: he employs yet another logical fallacy in an attempt to make his case. This time it is the fallacy of equivocation. Vallotton equivocates by changing the pain from which the now-saved person is relieved, the pain of sin and death (Romans 8:1-11), to mere physical or emotional pain. God promises salvation from the former (sin and death), but never promises relief from the latter (physical and emotional pain).

Does God heal? Does God, at times, relieve his beloved, born-again children from the physical and emotional maladies that come with living in a fallen world and still being clothed in fallible, finite, sinful flesh? Yes he does! But such temporal relief is not a promise of the gospel, and to assert that it is (as Vallotton and others and Bethel Church do) is to present an anathematized gospel contrary to what Jesus and Paul preached (Galatians 1:6-10).

Men of God, faithful men of God--men like Paul, Epaphroditus, and Timothy--men who were saved when they responded by faith to the gospel they heard (Romans 1:16; Romans 10:14-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; 1 John 1:1-4), were not promised by Christ perfect emotional, spiritual, and/or physical health. Paul had his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7), Timothy had issues with his stomach (1 Timothy 5:23), and Epaphroditus almost died during his mission of mercy to Paul, who was imprisoned in Rome (Philippians 2:25-30). None of these men suffered illness or hardship; none of them suffered privation or persecution because they lacked faith. None of them had believed what Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton would see as a false gospel of sickness and lack. They believed the true gospel of Jesus Christ--a gospel of Jesus's propitiatory sacrifice for sinners (Romans 3:21-26), a gospel of a future hope secured for them in heaven by God (1 Peter 1:3-9), a gospel of present-day joy in the midst of trials (James 1:2-4), a gospel that includes God-ordained endurance in the midst of the temptations of life (1 Corinthians 10:13), a gospel filled with the promise of predestined justification and glorification (Romans 8:29-30), and a gospel filled with the promise of never being separated from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

What great and glorious news the true gospel is!

The problem with Kris Vallotton and false teachers like him is that the gospel is never enough. Jesus is never enough. Salvation is never enough. And God's grace is never sufficient for Vallotton, false teachers like him, and those who have been duped into following him. But for the true Christian, God's grace is more than sufficient in any circumstance (2 Corinthians 12:9), especially when God sovereignly and, yes, lovingly allows His children to experience pain, suffering, sickness, tragedy, persecution, or any other form of sorrow.

What Vallotton describes as a "poor gospel" is the only gospel that has the power to save. Tragically, untold numbers of people flock to false teachers like Vallotton and false churches like Bethel Redding. They make professions of faith in Jesus, based on an anathematized gospel that rejects the true Jesus. They see Jesus as little more than a conduit for reaching what they really want--false promises of health, wealth, prosperity, authority, and power from the Holy Spirit whom they do not know, but yet treat like a divine butler or a genie in a bottle.

Sign #2: "A poor gospel loves the sinner but can't transform them into a saint."

Once again Vallotton employs the fallacy of equivocation. He uses a common Christian term, "saint," but uses it in a way contrary to its biblical meaning in order to support his claim.

The only explanation for Vallotton's assertion must be seen in the light of the Dominion Theology to which he and other false teachers in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) ascribe. In other words, Vallotton is asserting in Sign #2 that a "poor gospel" is one that does not transform the saved sinner into a dominionist. Dominionism, while in my opinion is aberrant theology, it is not heretical. However, Vallotton and Bethel Church use Dominionism as a means to their unbiblical end--as a means of convincing people they can attain a level of greatness, power, and authority in this life that God does not promise in His Word. Bethel Church in Redding is going as far as to propagate the lies of the NAR brand of Dominionism upon small children, go so far as to "impart anointing" on children to take dominion.

I want to be careful, here. At this point a distinction needs to be made. Since I have several Christ-loving, gospel-believing, gospel-preaching friends who ascribe to Dominionism, it is important to note that my friends would be very quick to separate themselves from Seven Mountains Dominionists like Vallotton and others in the false NAR movement.

Prior to publishing this article, I advised several of my brothers in Christ who hold to reconstructionist or dominionist theology that I would be making mention of not only the theological construct, but the distinction between the NAR and Christians who hold to it. In response, I received the following email from my brother in Christ, Marcus Pittman, which I share here with his permission:
"I to stand with you in the fight against the NAR.

"The distinction is pretty clear. One one hand you have Charismatics looking for Super Apostles to lead. They are looking for men to rule who speak to God directly and hear from them as the Old Testament prophets [did].

"On the other hand, you have reformed brethren, who want to use Scripture as the authority for all things and run their businesses, jobs, and families accordingly as good stewards.

"Thanks for being willing to make that distinction."
I know a number of men like Marcus--men who are born again, love Jesus Christ, love His gospel and all of His Word, love the Church, and love the lost--men with whom I have eschatological and philosophical disagreement in some areas, but who are no less brothers to me than those with whom I seemingly have full theological agreement. And the glue that binds us together is the common bond of worshiping the same Jesus and believing and preaching the same gospel. There is no such adhesive to bind me to those who lead the NAR and/or ascribe to its teaching, for the NAR presents a different Jesus and preaches a different gospel. My Dominionist friends worship Jesus in spirit and in truth. The "Seven Mountain" dominionists in the NAR do not.

The issue is not whether or not the kind of Dominionism to which some reformed Christians ascribe is a valid theological construct. At least that's not my purpose for addressing Dominionism in this article. The issue is that Vallotton and other NAR teachers hold to their brand of Dominionism and hold it out to professed Christians and unbelievers like some kind of power-giving, super-spiritual carrot--as if it is a gospel-relate promise to all who are called "saints"--born-again followers of Jesus Christ. It is not.

Returning now to the subject of biblical sainthood: Matt Slick, of the Christian Apologetic and Research Ministry provides a succinct and biblical definition of a "saint."
"A saint is a very holy person with a special anointing from God. The word 'saint' comes from the Greek hagio which means holy ones. Christians are holy because of the work of Christ. In the New Testament the word occurs numerous times (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1, etc) and is a designation of Christians.

"The Bible speaks of saints in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament it is found such verses as Psalm 16:3, Psalm 132:9. Sometimes it is translated as 'godly ones.'"
Again, Vallotton is guilty of the fallacy of equivocation as he uses the term "saint" in a way that strays from its true meaning by asserting that a saint is not merely a person who has been made holy by God (as if that were not enough), but one who must take dominion. According to the biblical definition, a saint is made a saint based solely on what God does through His sovereign, saving, redemptive work. A person is not, as Vallotton asserts, "transformed into a saint" by the quasi-spiritual and/or physical act of taking dominion.

Even a cursory look at the post-resurrection, apostolic, first century church reveals that biblical history does not support Vallotton's notion that saints were/are those who took dominion or are taking dominion in this modern-day world.
"I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities." (Acts 26:9-11).
Before Jesus caused Paul to be born again on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19), Jesus had been crucified (Luke 23:26-43), died (Luke 23:44:-49), was buried (Luke 23:50-56), rose from the grave (Luke 24:1-12), and ascended to heaven (Acts 1:6-11). The Holy Spirit had fallen upon the Jewish believers during Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41), as well as the believers in Samaria (Acts 8:14-17). Were the thousands of spirit-filled followers of Jesus Christ taking dominion over Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Rome? No. A man named Saul (later to become Paul) was leading the persecution of the saints, with raging fury. Christians were being mistreated, imprisoned, and martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit would later fall on the God-fearers (Acts 10:44-48) and the Gentiles (Acts 19:1-7). Did the rapid growing communion of saints put an end to the persecution by taking dominion over their oppressors? No. The persecution increased to the point that the one who once was their chief persecutor would soon become one of their most beloved martyrs. Saul-become-Paul died not as a "seven mountain" dominionist, but as one set apart, made holy, called "saint" by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Where is the Church flourishing today? It's not atop seven mythical, societal, cultural, agricultural, artistic, political mountains upon which saints have taken dominion. It is in places most of us in the west would consider "the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8)--places like China, Nigeria, India, North Korea, parts of the Middle East--places where Christians have anything but dominion over the world around them. And who receives the glory? Christ. And who receives the blessings of a Christ-glorifying, gospel-preaching life, death, and martyrdom? The saints of God.

Sign #3: A poor gospel is one that has compassion for the sick but has no gift to heal them.

With Sign #3, Vallotton is merely continuing his line of fallacious argumentation he employed in Sign #1. In this case, he equivocates by replacing or overshadowing the spiritual healing the gospel provides (Isaiah 53:5; Romans 1:16) with a physical healing the gospel never promises. He makes a fallacious argument by redefining the term "healing," as it pertains to the gospel, in order to put forth the assertion that any gospel that does not provide physical healing to the recipient is a "poor gospel," or no gospel at all.

Once again, Vallotton finds himself at odds with the Word of God and the God of the Word.

To Adam and Eve, God gave the following glimpse of the gospel:
"The Lord God said to the serpent,
'Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[e] and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel . . .'
"And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them (Genesis 3:14-15, 21).
Isaiah explained the gospel to the nation of Israel this way:
"Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
"By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
"Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:1-12).
To the Corinthians, Paul explained the gospel this way:
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me" (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
To the Romans, Paul explained the gospel this way:
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:21-26).
To Titus, Paul explained the gospel this way:
"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7).
To the believers in and around Ephesus, John explained the gospel this way:
"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world . . . In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins . . .

"This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 2:1-2; 4:9-10; 5:6-12).
The gospel is pure. The gospel is glorious. The gospel is beautiful. The gospel is rich with abundant, eternal blessing. The gospel is salvation by the grace of God alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.Sadly, Vallotton--as well as other "Word of Faith," "prosperity," "signs and wonders" preachers--sully, taint, and misrepresent the gospel by adding something to it that will appeal to man's carnal, sinful nature, something the gospel does not promise--the promise of physical health, the promise of physical healing.

Vallotton tramples under foot the blood of Jesus Christ by presenting a false gospel of physical healing. By propagating such a false gospel, Vallotton reveals that God's grace is not sufficient to him--that regeneration, redemption, and reconciliation with God the Father, through faith in God the Son, by the power of God the Holy Spirit is not enough. It's heartbreaking to see Vallotton and others used by Satan to give God-haters what they want--tickled ears with messages of health, wealth, prosperity, authority, power, and dominion while they remain comfortable in their unregenerate state, seeing the word of the cross, that beautiful and terrible cross, as foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Sign #4: A poor gospel loves heaven but can't bring it to earth.

With Sign #4, Vallotton is merely continuing his line of fallacious argumentation he employed in Sign #2.

Bill Johnson teaches that "our [Christians'] assignment is to bring the reality of [God's] world [heaven] into this one . . . Our destiny is to go to heaven. Our assignment is to bring heaven." This is in keeping with their "seven mountain" dominion theology.

While this is a bit off point, it is critically important to make you, the reader, aware that in the same message, Johnson proffers the heretical teaching that Jesus gave up his divinity as Son of God to become the Son of Man, and then He re-inherited it all, as a man, through His death and resurrection, so that sinners can have an inheritance. In the same message, Johnson also denies the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union when he says that while Jesus is eternally God, He was not God when he made the Great Commission statement about the authority given to Him. At that moment in time, after His resurrection, Jesus was merely our elder brother. This heresy, among others, to which Johnson and likely Vallotton (his right-hand man) subscribe is called Kenosis.

Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetic and Research Ministry (CARM), provides the following definition of Kenosis:
"'Kenosis;'is derived from the Greek word kenoo which means 'to empty.' It is used in Philippians 2:7. The text of Philippians 2:5-8 is worth recording here.
"'Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.'
The kenosis theory states that Jesus gave up some of His divine attributes while He was a man here on earth. These attributes were omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. Christ did this voluntarily so that He could function as a man in order to fulfill the work of redemption. This view was first introduced in the late 1800s in Germany with Gottfried Thomasius (1802-75), a Lutheran theologian.

Philippians 2:5-8 does not teach that Jesus gave up any of His divine attributes since it says nothing of those attributes. Instead, it is speaking of His humility that moved him, according to the will of the Father, to leave His majestic state in heaven and enter into the humble position of human nature . . .

The Kenosis theory is a dangerous doctrine because if it were true then it would mean that Jesus was not fully divine. If Jesus was not fully divine, then His atoning work would not be sufficient to atone for the sins of the world.

The correct doctrine is the Hypostatic Union, that Jesus is both fully God and fully man (Colossians 2:9) and did not give up any divine attributes while as a man on earth.
Johnson and Vallotton also proffer the idea of an open heaven (the ability to not only bring heaven to earth, but to move back and forth between heaven and earth), going as far as to teach even small children they can take fields trips to heaven. Bethel followers are often brought into this altered state of believing they can encounter the "third heaven" (a misapplication of Paul's testimony in 2 Corinthians 12:2) while on earth, through music.

Sign #5: A poor gospel embraces humility but resists being exalted at the proper time.

With Sign #5, Vallotton changes the the true meaning of Luke 14:11 and 1 Peter 5:6 by ripping them from their contexts to assert as a promise of God something that is, at best, only alluded to in the text. Valotton's position is that God exalts humble people by rewarding them with greatness. Humility is therefore seen as a conduit to earthly greatness and personal gain, as opposed to fruit of salvation--a salvation that will be completed in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-9).

Let's look at 1 Peter 5:6 in its context.
"And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 5:4-11).
John Gill, the great Puritan theologian, offered the following in his commentary on 1 Peter 5:6.
"That he may exalt you in due time: the Arabic version reads, "in the time of exaltation": when his time to exalt is come, either in this world, or more especially at the appearance of Christ and his kingdom . . . It is the usual way and method which God takes to abase the proud, and exalt the humble; for humble souls honour him, and therefore such as honour him he will honour; and this he does in his own time, in a time that makes most for his glory, and their good; oftentimes he does it in this life, and always in that which is to come."
Theologian Albert Barnes offers the following explanation of exaltation in his commentary on 1 Peter 5:6.
That he may exalt you in due time - When he shall see it to be a proper time:

(1) They might be assured that this would be done at some time. He would not always leave them in this low and depressed condition. He would take off his heavy hand, and raise them up from their state of sadness and suffering.

(2) this would be in due time; that is, in the proper time, in the best time:
(a) It might be in the present life.

(b) It would certainly be in the world to come. There they would be exalted to honors which will be more than an equivalent for all the persecution, poverty, and contempt which are suffered in this world. He may well afford to be humble here who is to be exalted to a throne in heaven.
Does God bless His people for their humility with tangible rewards in this earthly life? Yes He does. Should 1 Peter 5:6 be interpreted as a promise of certainty that tangible rewards of exaltation will be experienced by every person who humbles themselves before the Lord? Absolutely not.

The recipients/readers of Peter's first letter must be considered in order to understand what Peter predominantly means when he uses the word exaltation as a reward for humility.
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

"To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

"May grace and peace be multiplied to you" (1 Peter 1:1-2).
Those who received Peter's letters were "elect exiles." They were believers who had been scattered throughout the known world, exiled by the sovereign will of God, via the winds of persecution. The exaltation of which Peter speaks is a lifting up of their spirits and countenance in times of sorrow and trial as they humbly submit to the Word and will of God. Like the recipients of James' letter, Peter's readers, as a result of their humility, would experience exaltation in the midst of their trials and an endurance-producing faith that would result in a level of spiritual maturity and wholeness that would lack nothing.

Again, the kind of exaltation I just described often happens in this life. I experienced it while sitting in a London jail cell. In the midst of that trial, not knowing when I would be released, I was filled with the peace of God that passes all comprehension. I was exalted as I exalted my Lord and Savior with hymns of praise and worship. I was exalted as my confidence grew with every thought of scenes similar to my own in the Book of Acts. So lifted was my spirit and countenance that I proclaimed the gospel to the police officers milling about on the opposite side of my cell door. For seven hours of incarceration, I lacked nothing.

And yes, God sometimes rewards His humble servants with exaltation in the form of tangible, physical blessings. But such temporal exaltation is not an irrevocable promise of the gospel. The exaltation that carries with it an irrevocable promise, a promise to which the Christian can cling and hope with the certainty of a future consummation, is the exaltation that will come when each of Christ's beloved saints are glorified with Him in heaven. On this, Peter and Paul agree:
"The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:16-18).
While present-day exaltation by way of physical rewards is possible for the humble saint, it cannot compare to what the guaranteed exaltation will be like when The Lord's born-again saints are with Him in glory, in heaven.

Provided we suffer with Him...

The gospel of Kris Vallotton, Bill Johnson, and Bethel Church is a rudderless ship weighed down by the want of earthly treasures and temporal power, tossed to and fro by the winds of false teaching, without the compass of Bible truth, and a denial by the ship's officers that storms exist.

Provided we suffer with Him...

A "poor gospel," Vallotton's gospel, is a gospel that denies the reality that God allows suffering in the lives of His beloved children. As such, Vallotton and those who follow his teaching will never truly humble themselves before the Lord in times of suffering. They will arrogantly and pridefully shake a fist at the devil, claim dominion over the trial, instead of humbly seeking true contentment and joy in Christ, in the midst of the trial. They will scoff at future exaltation in heaven while waiting for a temporal exaltation that may not come. They will desire personal exaltation by way of temporal reward instead of desiring to glorify Christ as He exalts them out of times of tribulation, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

Is it any wonder why so many people, literally around the world, who ascribe to Bethel's false gospel and other false gospels such as the Word of Faith and Prosperity non-Christian movements resemble "rocky ground hearers" (Mark 4:16-18)? They are lied to with the easy-to-believe-and-swallow mantra that God doesn't allow His people to suffer. So when those duped by Vallotton and other false teachers experience the least bit of suffering or (Bethel forbid) persecution, "they immediately fall away."

How do I know this? I know this because I regularly experience the wrath of those who hold on to such unbiblical notions as prescribed in Vallotton's "7 Signs of a Poor Gospel" or of those who came to realize they were duped by the spiritual used car salesman on the well-lit, well-appointed stage. They are the angriest hecklers I face when I preach the gospel on the streets--false converts believing false gospels or apostates who once claimed to know Christ, only to turn from Him with the now-exposed-hypocrisy of their "teachers" serving as an excuse for denying Christ. On more than one occasion while open-air preaching, I've been contacted by "Bethelites," students or graduates of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry when preaching the gospel. And what do they do? What is their modus operandi? They passive-aggressively mock the preaching of the law and the gospel and then try to distract people from listening with offers of prophetic prayer, supernatural healing and, if that doesn't work, free hugs--all in an effort to discourage the preacher and distract those who are listening.

Vallotton's poor gospel, which is no gospel at all, is a gospel that seeks the exaltation of self, not the exaltation of Jesus Christ.

Sign #6: A poor gospel loves generosity but doesn't understand the principle of reciprocity.

In an article titled Giving and Tithing, posted on the Christian Broadcasting Network website, a definition of the Principle of Reciprocity is given.
"As Pat Robertson stated in his book, The Secret Kingdom, Christ's admonition to 'give and it will be given to you' defines a remarkable spiritual principle. It can also be called the law of reciprocity, which is quite evident in the physical world: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Smile at another person, and he'll probably smile back at you. Be critical of others, and they'll respond in kind. As you give, you will receive. Give generously, and you'll receive in like measure."
In another article on the same site, Pat Robertson explains the Principle of Reciprocity this way:
"The law of use, coupled with reciprocity, makes an unbeatable combination. Whatever talent God has entrusted to you, use with all your might. To illustrate, some years ago I talked one Sunday night to a volunteer receptionist who was completely upset. She was partially disabled, but under revised guidelines she no longer qualified to receive welfare assistance. Her world had collapsed around her. I knew that despite her physical disability, she was uniquely gifted in making exquisite Christmas ornaments with religious scenes. I challenged her to use her talents. In fact, I offered modest financial backing to get her started in her own business. The backing was never called for, because her creations were an instant success. Not only did her new income considerably exceed her previous welfare payment, she was able to employ four people to assist her.

"Perhaps you have a small amount of money. Why not use it to make more money? If you can begin an investment program where you can set aside $100 or $200, and then $400, pretty soon, you will have $800. After a while, the money will begin to work for you. The law of use and the law of compounding interest will begin to build up an enormous amount of money. If a person could simply double $100 every year for twenty years, it would become $50 million!

"As you give, God will begin to pour His blessing upon you. As you use your talents, under His direction, and allow your resources time to grow, His blessing will multiply beyond anything you can now imagine."
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-8), not a giver who gives for the sake of receiving a return on his investment.

People are still falling for the charlatan-led, "but wait, there's more," hundredfold-blessing "praise-a-thons" produced by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Reasonable people look at non-Christian organizations like TBN as the blasphemous parody of true Christianity. But Bethel Church and the New Apostolic Reformation do the same thing. They are simply more subtle and sophisticated about it than the hucksters on local cable television. They partner with and promote NAR darlings like Todd Bentley and Shawn Bolz who talk about an "Angel of Finance" or  "Angelic Minister of Finance."

In one video, Vallotton gets so enamored with the idea of reigning and ruling and kingdom wealth that he blasphemously utters the words "I AM" in describing himself.
"Do you realize what this war of the world is over? Who you are . . . Baby, don't you understand. You were born like God. You were born in his likeness and his image. You don't have to eat a tree to be like God. You were born like God! 'If you're really the Son of Man, turn these stones into bread. Do something the sons of man, the sons of God would do.' '[Speaking as Jesus] I don't need to impress you Satan because I AM. I AM.'

"[Speaking again of himself] You know why I don't have to wear those nice suits and all that fancy stuff, and pretend like I'm rich? Because I AM! My father owns this kingdom. He's going to give this kingdom to me and all, and everybody from everywhere is going to serve me, us, them, him. I was raised up. You know why I was born? I was born, I was raised up to rule and reign. He's making all this stuff and he's like, 'We got to have somebody rule this stuff. We need some managers of the universe. We better born some sons and some daughters.' And the devil, he's still running around trying to figure out how to get you not to believe you're a king, and a prince, a queen, and a princess!"
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a gospel of earthly prosperity. Vallotton's gospel, a poor gospel, which is no gospel at all, is nothing more than a Paul Crouch, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, "little god" retread designed to cause people to love the falsely advertised bennies of the Christian life, namely money and power, rather than loving the Giver of Life (John 5:21) and Author of Faith (Hebrews 12:2), Jesus Christ.

Sign #7: A poor gospel embraces the cross but resists the resurrection life it provides to live powerfully.

There's little reason to spend much time on Vallotton's last "sign." Vallotton is simply presenting the same dominion, prosperity, signs and wonders, Word of Faith theology by using yet another term: "resurrection life."

In a video clip titled "The Ascended Life," Bill Johnson says the following:
"He [Jesus] summons us into something that is beyond all comprehension. And it is to be as a resurrected child of God, on planet earth, bringing that reality into this world."
Two resurrections are discussed in the Word of God: the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the dead--most being raised for judgment, with God's Elect being raised to eternal life. One familiar passage in which Jesus talks about the resurrection is found in Luke 20:27-40.
"There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, 'Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.'

"And Jesus said to them, 'The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.' Then some of the scribes answered, 'Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question'" (Luke 20:27-40).
Jesus doesn't speak, here, of any present-day "resurrected life." The resurrection is seen as a future event.

Even Martha, sister of Jesus's close friend Lazarus, understood that the bodily resurrection of the dead was a future event. Like Jesus, Martha did not speak of a "resurrection life" in this present world.
"Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day'" (John 11:23-24).
So where does Bill Johnson and leaders of Bethel Church, like Kris Vallotton, get this "resurrection life" vernacular?

Maybe Vallotton's "resurrection life" theology is drawn from Philippians 3:8-11. It's hard to be sure because he doesn't use Scripture to support any of his "seven signs." Paul wrote:
"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
Marvin R. Vincent, in his classic work Word Studies, provides the following explanation for Paul's desire to know Christ and the power of His resurrection:
"Power of His resurrection and fellowship of His sufferings furnish two specific points further defining the knowledge of Him. By the power of Christ's resurrection is meant the power which it exerts over believers. Here, more especially, according to the context, in assuring their present justification, and its outcome in their final glorification. See Romans 4:24, Romans 4:25; Romans 8:11, Romans 8:30; 1 Corinthians 15:17; Colossians 3:4; Philippians 3:21."
Vincent rightly states that the power to which Paul refers is not a power that he exerts in his life. It is the power Jesus exerts over the life of the believer.

As is so often the case in NAR, prosperity, and Word of Faith theology, Valllotton's seventh sign expresses a minimization of the cross of Jesus Christ. In these non-biblical, non-Christian movements (I refer to these as "non-Christian" movements because of the false gospels they preach) the cross is seen as an afterthought. Jesus is treated like a "yeah, but" on the way to getting the fix of spiritual heroin the adherents to these movements truly desire--desire more than Jesus Christ. And men like Kris Vallotton are the spiritual drug dealers.

Vallotton's gospel is a poor gospel, which is no gospel at all, because each of its seven hollow doors swing upon equivocating hinges. In this case the equivocating hinge is Vallotton's redefining of "resurrection power" so that a cross-centered gospel, biblical gospel appears "poor" when compared to his gospel--a gospel that focuses on the glorification of man instead of the glorification of Christ.

One More Look at Vallotton's Concluding Thoughts

I will close by taking one more look at Vallotton's final thoughts in his "7 signs of a poor gospel." Vallotton wrote:
"The poor gospel isn't the gospel Jesus preached! He preached the GOOD NEWS of the kingdom where nothing is impossible with God! Do I believe in a prosperity gospel? You bet...it is the only gospel that has the power to transform us into the image of Jesus and destroy the works of the devil."
In the beginning of this article, I accused Vallotton of taking Matthew 19:26 out of context. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Let's go so far as to say Vallotton did not even have Matthew 19:26 in mind. Let's say he was instead referring to Philippians 4:13 when he wrote: "He [Jesus] preached the GOOD NEWS of the kingdom where nothing is impossible with God!"

Philippians 4:13 is one of the most popular and most often cited verses of Scripture. "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Lest Vallotton and the thousands of people who "liked" his Facebook post forget, Paul penned Philippians 4:13.....wait for it.....while in prison.

Needless to say, Paul was unable to get himself out of prison. Vallotton and those who follow his teaching must see Paul as a failure, as a man who lacked faith, as a man who did not live in "resurrection power." Maybe Vallotton and others see Paul as a hypocrite. After all, he wrote about how nothing is impossible with God, yet he experienced not moments, but years of "tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and the threat of the sword" (Romans 8:35). So, where was Paul's power? Where was his victorious living? Why didn't he take dominion over all of his oppressors and the cultures he invaded? Why was he such a puny saint, in the dimming light of NAR theology?

Of course none of the above is true. Paul wasn't a failure. He didn't lack faith. He understood the power of the resurrection and its direct and immediate impact on his life. Unlike Vallotton and others who believe his poor, man-centered, man-exalting, and false gospel, Paul understood, possessed, and lived a truly Spirit-filled, Christ-exalting, Gospel-driven, and God-glorifying life. He lived in anticipation of Christ's triumphant return. He lived a powerful life--a life empowered by an alien righteousness not his own. So attuned to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ was Paul that he was able to not only endure, but flourish in a life filled with the harshest treatment and persecution. Paul lived a life so conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) that every Christian since Paul's day should seek to emulate it.

Today's Christian should follow and imitate Paul, as he followed and imitated Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Vallotton's gospel, which is no gospel at all, has no power because it has no life. It has no life because it is not the gospel of the Giver of Life. And it is not the gospel of the Giver of Life because it is a gospel that is contrary to the gospel of the Word of God.

A Final Word to Kris Vallotton

My hope and prayer is that Kris Vallotton (and all those who have been misled by his teaching, certainly his teaching regarding the gospel) will repent, turn to Christ, and live. I pray the Lord removes the veil from his eyes (2 Corinthians 4:3) that, at present, prevents him from seeing the truth (1 Corinthians 2:14)--the truth that will set him free (John 8:31-36). I pray that the word of the cross will no longer be foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 1:18), and he will never again trample under foot the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:26-31) by making a mockery of the true gospel, by proffering a gospel that has no life or power outside of his sinful mind.

Do I know with certainty that Kris Vallotton is not saved? No. But based on what he calls the gospel, based on what he speaks from the abundance of his heart, I have no confidence he knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Again, I am praying for him and all who wrongly believe he rightly teaches the Word of God.

And To Kris and All Who Have Read This Far, Please Keep Reading.

Jesus Christ as Lord. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He was with the Father in and at Creation. All things--all things—were created by Him, and through Him, and for Him. Nothing has ever been made that was not made by Jesus Christ. He is the sinless Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. He is also the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who will judge both the living and the dead. He is King of kings and Lord of Lords. He is sovereign over all things. He owns every person, just as He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and it matters not if, at present, the person is in wanton rebellion against Jesus Christ or one of His born-again, beloved children. Jesus owns it all. Jesus owns us all. God is. God is one. God is Three in One—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—One God in Three Persons—the Triune One—the Trinity—God. And this God, for there is only one God, is the God before whom every person will one-day stand to give an account for their lives. Because God alone is truly and perfectly good, He will judge each person according to the perfect moral standard He has written on every human heart.

Everyone knows it is a sin to lie because they know God is Truth. Everyone knows it is wrong to harbor bitterness, resentment, and hatred in their heart toward another person because they know God is love.

Everyone knows it is wrong to fornicate (to engage sexually with a man or a woman outside the bonds of marriage between one man and one woman; they know it is wrong to look and think with lust; they know it is wrong to commit adultery; they know it is wrong to engage in homosexuality, lesbianism, or any other form of sexual depravity because they know God is Faithful.

Everyone knows it is wrong to take the name of the Lord their God in vain, to bring his name down low and use it as an adjectival term of excitement, anger, sorrow, or fear, because they know God is Holy.

For the above reasons, and others, everyone who stands before God to give an account will do so without excuse. No one will be able to claim innocence or ignorance of violating God’s law--whether in thought, word, or deed. Because God is good, because He is holy, righteous and just, He must punish sin. The punishment God has ascribed for sin, all sin, is eternity in Hell. It matters not whether you, the reader, believe this. What matters is that it is true. Truth is not determined by what one believes. God is truth, though every person is found to be a liar. Truth is that which comports to reality, and any attempt to live life apart from the reality of God is to live a life of chaos, absurdity, arrogant denial, and sin.

This same God--again, for there is only one God--who is angry with the wicked every day, whose wrath abides upon the ungodly, who will judge the world in righteousness, is the same God who is loving, merciful, gracious, and kind. And He showed His great love for mankind when He sent His Son to earth in the Person of Jesus Christ—fully God and fully Man, yet without sin.

Jesus of Nazareth, born of a virgin just as the prophet Isaiah declared more than 700 years before Jesus’s literal, physical birth, lived the perfect, sinless life you cannot live. For some 33 years, Jesus lived a life in perfect obedience to the law of God--in thought, word, and deed--a life you and I could not hope to live for a mere 33 seconds. And then He voluntarily went to the cross.

Yes, it was the Jewish people who hatefully and viciously demanded Jesus’s execution. Yes, it was the Roman government that carried out the despicable act. But they were all merely instruments in the hands of another. For it pleased God the Father to crush God the Son under the full weight and fury of His wrath against sin. God the Father made God the Son, who knew no sin, to become sin on behalf of those who repent and believe the gospel so that through the sacrifice of His Son many would be made righteous in the eyes of Almighty God. In other words, on that great and terrible day God the Father looked upon God the Son as if He had lived the depraved life of a sinner and in exchange--a great exchange--God the Father looks upon those whom He has caused to be born again, to repent and believe the gospel, as if they had lived His Son’s perfect, precious, and priceless life.

Jesus shed His innocent blood on the cross. He died a literal, physical death on the cross. And He was buried in a tomb not His own. Three days later, Jesus forever defeated sin and death when He physically, bodily rose from the grave. And unlike every false god created in the imaginations of men--whether the false gods of Islam, Catholicism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oprah-ism, or Atheism (a religion like every other spiritual “ism”)--Jesus Christ is alive today and He will return at a time of the Father’s choosing.

What God commands of you, the reader, is the same thing He commands of me and all people everywhere, and that’s that you repent. Turn from your sin and turn toward God--and by faith alone receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You must come to God on His terms. God does not negotiate with sinners. God will not be bribed by your religious practices or what you may perceive as "good works" acceptable to God. God will not weigh your “good” against your "bad," for God does not see you or anyone else as good--good in keeping with His standard of moral perfection. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

If you do not read the gospel of Jesus Christ and see it for what it is, good news, it is because you love your sin more than you love God. It is because you love yourself more than you love God. It is because the love of God and the Truth of His Word is not in you. But if God causes you to be born again and extends to you the gifts of repentance and faith, which only He can give, then He will take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. You will begin to love the things God loves and hate the things God hates. You will stop presuming upon God’s forgiveness as if it is something you have earned or deserved. Instead, you will have the confident assurance He has forgiven you--not on the basis of any deeds you have done in righteousness, but based entirely upon God’s mercy, grace, and love.

And why would God allow His one and only Son to die a sinner’s death He did not deserve in order to take upon Himself the punishment sinners rightly deserve for their sins against God, so that sinners could be forgiven and saved? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Please repent and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, while God has given you time.

If you now realize that Bethel Church, and churches like it are not safe places for those who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (or anyone else, for that matter); if you need help finding a solid, Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, Christ-exalting, spiritually healthy church, please let me know. I would be blessed and honored to help you find a good church in your area.

Questions and comments regarding this and/or any other article on this blog can be sent to: info@tmiano.com.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Joni Eareckson Tada and Joyce Meyer: An Example of Biblical Womanhood and an Example of a Manly Woman Preacher

I recently attended the Strange Fire Conference at Grace Community Church, in Sun Valley, CA. Grace Community Church has been pastored by John MacArthur for more than 40 years. It was an excellent conference that dealt with Charismatic Theology. My favorite preachers and my favorite Christian radio host provided the teaching. And one of my favorite sisters in Christ, Joni Eareckson Tada, greatly blessed me with a timely word of encouragement.

I've been made aware that some of the detractors of my book, Should She Preach? - Biblical Evangelism for Women, are trying to stir the pot. Some have asked on Facebook if I plugged my ears while Joni spoke during the conference. Sadly, the immaturity of some Christians doesn't surprise me.

Did I listen to Joni speak? Yes, I drank in every word as if they were sips from a cool glass of water. I am blessed every time I listen to Joni speak. She is a wonderful example of biblical womanhood and a true encouragement. I listened to Joni speak during the Strange Fire conference without so much as a twinge of discomfort, apprehension, compromise, or hypocrisy.

Joni Eareckson Tada did not preach.

For those who are late to the discussion, and for those who cannot seem to bring themselves to understand and accept the biblical definition of "preaching," let's review. The following is from my book (page 83):
"One of the most common affirmative arguments concerning women open-air preaching stems from the biblical appearance and use of the Greek word kerusso, which is usually translated in the verb form 'to preach.' Kerusso appears 60 times in the New Testament. The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon defines the word this way:
"'To be a herald, to officiate as a herald; to proclaim after the manner of a herald; always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed; to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done; used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers.'
"Having read all 60 New Testament verses in their context that use the word kerusso (to preach), I did not find a single use of the word by a woman, of a woman, or as instruction to a woman. To point this out is not to put forth an argument from silence. Not only is the primary Greek word for preaching never used in the New Testament in relation to women, there is not a single instance in the New Testament of a woman engaging in the biblical practice of heralding the gospel in the open air."
Joni did not bring instruction from the Word of God to the men in attendance. Joni did not exercise any form of authority over the men in attendance. Joni did not herald the law and the gospel. Joni did not exercise authority by publicly calling men to repent and believe the gospel.

Did Joni reference Scripture in her testimony? Yes. Did Joni testify of the goodness, graciousness, mercy, and love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? Yes. Was I edified as I listened to Joni's testimony? Yes. Did I learn a thing or two as I listened to Joni speak? In all likelihood, yes. But Joni did not authoritatively instruct me or any other of the thousands of men present. She did not stand over me as a teacher or leader. She was not serving the Lord as a herald, teacher, or preacher wielding the Sword of the Spirit, as she shared her testimony.

Joni Eareckson Tada did not preach at the Strange Fire Conference. Oh, but she was powerfully used by God as she testified about her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And she did not sacrifice an iota of the beautiful femininity God has given her to do it.

While detractors cannot undermine the thesis of my book by misinterpreting and misapplying Joni Eareckson Tada's session at the Strange Fire Conference, they would have a case if after saying women should not preach in pulpits or in the open-air I announced I attended a Joyce Meyer performance.

Joyce Meyer could serve as the poster child of validation for my book's thesis. Everything feminine, godly, and biblical that Joni Eareckson Tada is, Joyce Meyer is not. Joyce Meyer is a well-documented false teacher. She carries herself like a man, sounds like a man, and preaches like a man. In this clip, Meyer exercises authority over her audience (which includes men), telling them what to say, commanding them to do this or that, reading and explaining the Word of God, and so on. Like Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Juanita Bynum, Marylin Hickey, Jenn Johnson (who views the Holy Spirit as the Genie in the Disney movie Aladdin), and many other women preachers violate God's created and intended order for men and women, God's intended role for women in the Body of Christ (not only in church services), and sacrifice aspects of their femininity by not maintaining the beauty of a God-given, gentle and quiet spirit.

But for the false teaching, Christian women who open-air preach do the same thing as Joyce Meyer and women like her. They violate God's created and intended order for men and women. They violate God's intended role for women in the Body of Christ (not only church services).  They also sacrifice aspects of their femininity by not maintaining the beauty of God's intended gentle and quiet spirit for godly women.

Joni Eareckson Tada was the epitome of biblical womanhood as she spoke at the Strange Fire Conference. The same cannot be said for women preachers like Joyce Meyer and the other before-mentioned women.

The detractors of my book (most of whom have not yet read it) will have to try to find another example to justify the unbiblical view that women should preach (whether in the pulpit or the open-air). Joni Eareckson Tada is not an example of a woman preacher. She is an example of a godly woman who honors the Lord as she shares her testimony with millions of people around the world.

Oh, one more thing.

To those who think Joni's session was an example of a woman preaching to, instructing, and/or exercising authority over men you are forgetting something extremely important--where the conference was held. I can confidently assure you that pastors John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Steve Lawson, R.C. Sproul, Tom Pennington, Conrad Mbwewe, and the elders of Grace Community Church would not allow Joni to preach/teach in that setting.

Some will no doubt ask, "Well, if it's okay for Joni to do what she did at the Strange Fire Conference, would it be okay for her to do it in the open-air?" The answer is yes, but with significant qualification. Joni could certainly share her testimony in the open-air, but the moment she began to engage hecklers, the moment she began to teach from Scripture, the moment it would appear that she was going to call people in the crowd to repent and believe the gospel, the moment she began to exercise even a modicum of authority over the people listening, she would be obligated to give way to a man to preach.

Joni Eareckson Tada did not preach at the Strange Fire Conference. The men did that. But Joni's participation in the conference should not be seen as second-rate, unimportant, or as an afterthought. She served a different role than the pastors who spoke. She glorified Christ and edified His Body as she testified to God's grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, longsuffering, and care toward and for His people, with her beautiful life of biblical womanhood as an example.

Lastly, Joni Eareckson Tada serves as a wonderful example to all Christian women of what it means to live a gospel-driven, gospel-centered life. She takes the opportunities God gives her, in the context of the life He has given her, to make Jesus Christ known to a lost and dying world, through communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ, in biblical ways. Joni's example does not lead Christian women to the pulpit or the soapbox. Her example leads Christian women to a better place--the place of biblical design, role, and femininity.

Comments regarding this or any other article on this blog can be emailed to: info@tmiano.com.