Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bethel Redding and the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

Cults of all kinds are notorious for twisting Scripture to fit the deluded and demonic theology of the cult leaders. The Bethel Redding cult is no different.

Kevin Dedmon is one of the false teachers at Bethel Redding. Here is Dedmon's biography, which appears on his ministry's Facebook page and similarly on his website.
"Kevin has been in pastoral ministry for over 25 years and has a B.A. in Biblical Studies and a M.A. degree in Church Leadership from Vanguard University. Kevin conducts Supernatural Lifestyle Conferences in which people are equipped, empowered, and activated in miracles, healing, prophetic, and evangelism as a normal lifestyle of the believer. Kevin also oversees the Firestarter Class, which equips and empowers newcomers and new believers to live as revivalists – healing the sick, prophesying, and supernatural evangelism. He is also the director of Bethel Church’s Firestorm ministry, which sends teams to local churches for the purpose of demonstrating the revival culture of Bethel Church, as well as imparting, empowering, and activating the church to live naturally in the supernatural, so that the atmosphere in both the church and the community is transformed. Kevin also speaks at conferences and churches world wide, focusing on healing and supernatural evangelism.

"He also teaches revival theology in the School of Supernatural Ministry, and trains new believers and new members in a revival supernatural lifestyle in his Firestarter’s class at Bethel Church.

"Kevin is the author of The Ultimate Treasure Hunt, Unlocking Heaven: Keys to Living Naturally Supernatural, and his latest book, The Risk Factor: Crossing the Chicken Line into your Supernatural Destiny."
Like so many in the New Apostolic Reformation, Word of Faith, and Prosperity false movements, Dedmon shreds a commonly-twisted passage of Scripture and blasphemes Jesus Christ in the process. Here is what he posted on his ministry's Facebook page on July 30, 2014:

The verse Dedmon is referencing and eisegeting is Matthew 16:19. Here's the verse in its proper context. Proper context regarding Scripture is something the false teachers at Bethel Redding--men like Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, and Kevin Dedmon--do their best to avoid.
"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ" (Matthew 16:13-20).
This false notion that Jesus gave the "keys to the kingdom of heaven" to contemporary Christians and is somehow "locked out" of the kingdom until such time Christians let Him back in, is not only an utter failure to understand what Jesus is saying in the passage, but is blasphemy of the first and worst order. To even suggest that Jesus' sovereignty, power, and freedom to move about His creation is contingent upon the creation's permissive will to allow him such rule and reign is to worship the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever (Romans 1:25). Such false and blasphemous teaching, which would seem to me to only come from someone who knows neither the Christ nor His Word--teaching that suggests Jesus is in anyway subservient and/or limited by the permissive will of man--is influenced by the father of the author of such teach, the devil.

Yes. I said it. As judgmental as it may seem (and I'm okay with that; see John 7:24), I believe anyone who teaches what Redmon teaches in his pithy Facebook post is of his or her father, the devil. Redmon, as well as Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, and every other false teacher in these false non-apostolic movements, is the type of wolf about whom Paul warns the Ephesian elders, with the tears, the last time he would ever see their faces.
"Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears" (Acts 20:28-31).
What did Jesus actually mean in Matthew 16:19 when he talks about giving the "keys to the kingdom of heaven?"

Matthew Henry, in the "Concise" version of his Bible commentary, wrote the following about Matthew 16:13-20:
"Peter, for himself and his brethren, said that they were assured of our Lord's being the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God. This showed that they believed Jesus to be more than man. Our Lord declared Peter to be blessed, as the teaching of God made him differ from his unbelieving countrymen. Christ added that he had named him Peter, in allusion to his stability or firmness in professing the truth. The word translated rock, is not the same word as Peter, but is of a similar meaning. Nothing can be more wrong than to suppose that Christ meant the person of Peter was the rock. Without doubt Christ himself is the Rock, the tried foundation of the church; and woe to him that attempts to lay any other! Peter's confession is this rock as to doctrine. If Jesus be not the Christ, those that own him are not of the church, but deceivers and deceived. Our Lord next declared the authority with which Peter would be invested. He spoke in the name of his brethren, and this related to them as well as to him. They had no certain knowledge of the characters of men, and were liable to mistakes and sins in their own conduct; but they were kept from error in stating the way of acceptance and salvation, the rule of obedience, the believer's character and experience, and the final doom of unbelievers and hypocrites. In such matters their decision was right, and it was confirmed in heaven. But all pretensions of any man, either to absolve or retain men's sins, are blasphemous and absurd. None can forgive sins but God only. And this binding and loosing, in the common language of the Jews, signified to forbid and to allow, or to teach what is lawful or unlawful."
In his unabridged version of his commentary on Matthew 16:13-20, Matthew Henry wrote a more detailed explanation of the "keys to the kingdom of heaven" (paragraph breaks have been added to facilitate easier reading of this lengthy excerpt):
"When a city or society is incorporated, officers are appointed and empowered to act for the common good. A city without government is a chaos. Now this constituting of the government of the church, is here expressed by the delivering of the keys, and, with them, a power to bind and loose. This is not to be understood of any peculiar power that Peter was invested with, as if he were sole door-keeper of the kingdom of heaven, and had that key of David which belongs only to the Son of David; no, this invests all the apostles and their successors with a ministerial power to guide and govern the church of Christ, as it exists in particular congregations or churches, according to the rules of the gospel . . .

"Only the keys were first put into Peter’s hand, because he was the first that opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, Acts. 10:28. As the king, in giving a charter to a corporation, empowers the magistrates to hold courts in his name, to try matters of fact, and determine therein according to law, confirming what is so done regularly as if done in any of the superior courts; so Christ, having incorporated his church, hath appointed the office of the ministry for the keeping up of order and government, and to see that his laws be duly served; I will give thee the keys. He doth not say, 'I have given them,' or 'I do now;' but 'I will do it,' meaning after his resurrection; when he ascended on high, he gave those gifts (Ephesians 4:8); then this power was actually given, not to Peter only, but to all the rest (Matthew 28:19-20; John 20:21). He doth not say, The keys shall be given, but, I will give them; for ministers derive their authority from Christ, and all their power is to be used in his name (1 Corinthians 5:4).

"Now, 1. The power here delegated is a spiritual power; it is a power pertaining to the kingdom of heaven, that is, to the church, that part of it which is militant here on earth, to the gospel dispensation; that is it about which the apostolical and ministerial power is wholly conversant. It is not any civil, secular power that is hereby conveyed, Christ’s kingdom is not of this world; their instructions afterward were in things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts. 1:3).

"2. It is the power of the keys that is given, alluding to the custom of investing men with authority in such a place, by delivering to them the keys of the place. Or as the master of the house gives the keys to the steward, the keys of the stores where the provisions are kept, that he may give to every one in the house his portion of meat in due season (Luke 12:42), and deny it as there is occasion, according to the rules of the family. Ministers are stewards (1 Corinthians 4:1; Titus 1:7). Eliakim, who had the key of the house of David, was over the household (Isaiah 22:22).

"3. It is a power to bind and loose, that is (following the metaphor of the keys), to shut and open. Joseph, who was lord of Pharaoh’s house, and steward of the stores, had power to bind his princes, and to teach his senators wisdom (Psalm 105:21-22). When the stores and treasures of the house are shut up from any, they are bound, interdico tibi aquĆ¢ et igne--I forbid thee the use of fire and water; when they are opened to them again, they are loosed from that bond, are discharged from the censure, and restored to their liberty.4. It is a power which Christ has promised to own the due administration of; he will ratify the sentences of his stewards with his own approbation."

"It shall be bound in heaven, and loosed in heaven: not that Christ hath hereby obliged himself to confirm all church-censures, right or wrong; but such as are duly passed according to the word, clave non errante--the key turning the right way, such are sealed in heaven; that is, the word of the gospel, in the mouth of faithful ministers, is to be looked upon, not as the word of man, but as the word of God, and to be received accordingly (1 Thessalonians 2:13; John 12:20).

"Now the keys of the kingdom of heaven are, (1.) The key of doctrine, called the key of knowledge. 'Your business shall be to explain to the world the will of God, both as to truth and duty; and for this you shall have your commissions, credentials, and full instructions to bind and loose:' these, in the common speech of the Jews, at that time, signified to prohibit and permit; to teach or declare a thing to be unlawful was to bind; to be lawful, was to loose. Now the apostles had an extraordinary power of this kind; some things forbidden by the law of Moses were now to be allowed, as the eating of such and such meats; some things allowed there were now to be forbidden, as divorce; and the apostles were empowered to declare this to the world, and men might take it upon their words. When Peter was first taught himself, and then taught others, to call nothing common or unclean, this power was exercised. There is also an ordinary power hereby conveyed to all ministers, to preach the gospel as appointed officers; to tell people, in God's name, and according to the scriptures, what is good, and what the Lord requires of them: and they who declare the whole counsel of God, use these keys well (Acts. 20:27).

"Some make the giving of the keys to allude to the custom of the Jews in creating a doctor of the law, which was to put into his hand the keys of the chest where the book of the law was kept, denoting his being authorized to take and read it; and the binding and loosing, to allude to the fashion about their books, which were in rolls; they shut them by binding them up with a string, which they untied when they opened them. Christ gives his apostles power to shut or open the book of the gospel to people, as the case required. See the exercise of this power (Acts 13:46; 18:6). When ministers preach pardon and peace to the penitent, wrath and the curse to the impenitent, in Christ’s name, they act then pursuant to this authority of binding and loosing.

"(2.) The key of discipline, which is but the application of the former to particular persons, upon a right estimate of their characters and actions. It is not legislative power that is hereby conferred, but judicial; the judge doth not make the law, but only declares what is law, and upon an impartial enquiry into the merits of the cause, gives sentence accordingly. Such is the power of the keys, wherever it is lodged, with reference to church-membership and the privileges thereof. [1.] Christ’s ministers have a power to admit into the church; 'Go, disciple all nations, baptizing them; those who profess faith in Christ, and obedience to him, admit them and their seed members of the church by baptism.' Ministers are to let in to the wedding-feast those that are bidden; and to keep out such as are apparently unfit for so holy a communion. [2.] They have a power to expel and cast out such as have forfeited their church-membership, that is binding; refusing to unbelievers the application of gospel promises and the seals of them; and declaring to such as appear to be in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, that they have no part or lot in the matter, as Peter did to Simon Magus, though he had been baptized; and this is a binding over to the judgment of God. [3.] They have a power to restore and to receive in again, upon their repentance, such as had been thrown out; to loose those whom they had bound; declaring to them, that, if their repentance be sincere, the promise of pardon belongs to them. The apostles had a miraculous gift of discerning spirits; yet even they went by the rule of outward appearances (as Acts. 8:21; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:20), which ministers may still make a judgment upon, if they be skillful and faithful."
While not inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore subject to the fallibility of man, do you notice the sweetness and the breath of fresh air of the depth and breadth of Henry's doctrinal precision? If you find yourself caught up in the false doctrines and false teachings of men like Dedmon and other Bethel Redding false teachers, you likely did not notice it. Why? One of the demonic tactics of Bethel Redding and other false churches that ascribe to the false teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation, is to to strip the Word of God of its authority, by marginalizing and even mocking the importance of biblical doctrine. They hold Bibles in their hands and even read from the Book. Then they undermine the authority of Scripture in the hearts and minds of their hearers by misinterpreting Scripture and then focusing their hearers' attention on false signs and wonders, emotionalism, and other subjective experiences--all of which they hold up as authoritative, like the Roman Catholic Church does with its slew of unbiblical traditions.

Matthew Henry is correct in his explanation regarding the "keys of the kingdom of heaven." Kevin Dedmon is wrong--deceptively and blasphemously wrong.

The "keys of the kingdom of heaven" are not keys that have been given to hyper-charismatic, professing Christians, somehow giving them the authority to allow "heaven to invade earth" (a common, unbiblical saying and belief among Bethelites). They are not keys that have been given to men, in the sense that men are in full possession of them and have thus stripped Jesus Christ, the Rock, the Head of His Church, of His authority, power, and access. Jesus does not sit in yonder heaven waiting for created beings to invite him back into the earthly realm (another common and blasphemous teaching throughout NAR, WoF, and Health-Wealth-Prosperity circles). The "keys of the kingdom of heaven" have nothing whatsoever to do with some kind of supernatural unleashing of signs and wonders--alleged miracles performed by people who go to a "supernatural school" in a small city, in Northern California, to learn how to "walk in them."

It is very important to note, here, that nowhere in the Word of God do we see any of the apostles, or anyone else for that matter, including Jesus, teaching people how to exercise miraculous gifts or to perform signs and wonders. This ridiculous philosophy of developing schools in order to train people to do things that, if they were still operative among God's people today, could only be given by the Holy Spirit, is to rob the Holy Spirit of His glory, as the Third Person of the Triune God. The Holy Spirit bestows spiritual gifts upon God's people. Man does not and cannot teach man to "do" that which the Holy Spirit alone "gives" as a gift.

The authority given to the apostles 2,000 years ago, which is the same authority given to the leaders (pastors/elders) of biblical churches today, is a gospel-driven, gospel-centered, Christ-glorifying, Scripture-based, and doctrinally-sound authority. Sadly, this is an authority that the leadership of Bethel Redding and the leaders of other similar false churches cannot know until they repent and believe the gospel they do not preach--until they submit to the lordship of the Jesus Christ they do not know.

Neither King Jesus nor the Holy Spirit is anyone's "genie in a bottle." King Jesus is not subservient to anyone. He is not constrained by anyone. He is not answerable to anyone. He is not relegated to the role of "key master," handing out keys to His kingdom to anyone who believes they should have them, or who has been told by false teachers the keys are theirs for the taking.

Kevin Dedmon: sir, I call you to repent. Repent of your false teaching. Repent of your blasphemy. Repent of being a blind guide to the blind--a wolf in sheep's clothing. Repent of misleading those who may, in fact, be saved (in spite of, not because of, the demonic false teachings of Bethel Redding). Repent and believe the true gospel of Jesus Christ, while God has given you time. I do not want you to perish in your sins, even though, at the moment, you are an enemy of Christ. Repent, sir, and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Until you do, you are not even a resident of the kingdom of heaven, let alone a holder of its keys.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent stuff, Tony. This Bethel cult is deadlier than the Ebola virus.

    Louise, SA


Thank you for sharing your comment. Your comment is under review.

Comments that are profane and/or blasphemous in nature will not be posted. Comments including links will not be posted. Comments deemed otherwise inappropriate will not be posted.