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Claims of Miracles

Last year, the leaders of the James River Church in Missouri claimed that hundreds of healings took place during the “Week of Power” conference hosted by their church. This conference featured “apostles” Bill Johnson and Randy Clark from Bethel Church in Redding, California.

One of the many claims was by Kristina Dines (aka Krissy Thompson), who had three toes amputated years ago. The “apostle” Bill Johnson from Bethel Church asked if anyone needed/wanted a creative miracle in their life. Dines said she did, and after several prayed for her, she claims her toes grew back.

Claims like these need proof, especially for a natural skeptic like me. Someone who questioned the claims made by the Pastor (John Lindell) of James River Church created a website titled Show Me The Toes. There, you can view several short videos concerning these individuals’ claims.

John Lindell and Bill Johnson did not provide proof to those who questioned the validity of her miracle claim. John Lindell explained they were not giving legitimate evidence because they wanted to “protect” Kristina, reasoning they were more interested in guarding Kristina than providing proof to skeptics.

I think of the story in Mark 2:1-12 when Jesus returned to Capernaum. The number of people was so large friends of the paralyzed man opened a hole in the roof to lower him down to Jesus. Jesus said to the paralyzed man your sins are forgiven. Of course, the skeptics in the crowd were thinking that no one could forgive sins but God. What did Jesus do? He provided evidence.

If they were so concerned about protecting Kristina, they should not have released her claims publicly in the first place. If you watch her public video, she has no problem making the claim herself and does not seem concerned about sharing it with others while being recorded.

Modern Day Apostles

This past month, someone I know flew to South America to participate in an evangelical healing seminar organized by Randy Clark in the hopes he would return with the gift of healing and be able to impart that gift to others.

Randy Clark is an *Apostle* with Bill Johnson and Chris Vallotton at Bethel Church in Redding, California. He is also the founder and president of Global Awakening, a worldwide ministry that offers mission trips all over the world. Global Awakening also provides a school of ministry, training in physical healing, prophecy, deliverance, and spiritual warfare. They also have conferences worldwide and in the U.S. for those seeking anointing, impartation, more power, more gifts, and influence from the Holy Spirit. Their opening invitation to all believers reads, “For all believers everywhere, Global Awakening presents an opportunity to receive power from God.” Of course, these advertised powers don’t come free. Many of these conferences, classes, and lectures cost to attend and often accompany books and other materials to purchase and study. 

Bethel Church, Global Awakening, James River Church, and many others fall into the category of New Apolostic Reformation (NAR) churches. Got Questions defines it this way, “The New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR, is an unbiblical religious movement that emphasizes experience over Scripture, mysticism over doctrine, and modern-day ‘apostles’ over the plain text of the Bible.”1

Dancing With The Stars

In her book Total Truth Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, Nancy Pearcey addresses the celebrity style of some popular evangelical preachers. She explains how evangelists in the past earned their authority by going through the long and arduous process of studying, training, and certification. Once ordained by their particular religious body of leaders, they stepped out to serve their respective congregations and local communities. Pearcey writes, “But the leaders of the populist evangelical movement made an end run around denominational structures and built movements based on sheer personality, on their ability to move people and win their confidence.”2

Author of Another Gospel and The Deconstruction of Christianity, Alisa Childers, pointed out that, to a large degree, the current evangelical culture has become fixed on personalities and not the Gospel. We are all drawn to natural leaders who are strong, outspoken, articulate, powerful, and charismatic. We tend to isolate what they are saying in snippets, ignoring the context and detachment from the Word. Childers writes, “These rationalizations send wounded sheep into the arms of progressive Christianity, where they will be validated and accepted. But ultimately they will be left to bleed out, like someone who goes to the doctor to be treated for a flesh wound, only to be given a hug and some comforting words, rather than stitches and antibiotics.”3

For Only $9.99

Some friends recently mentioned the “Open Heavens 2024” conference, which will be held at Bethel’s College View Campus this September.

I took a peek and found the cost for the in-person experience is $195 and $149 for the Online experience.

From there, I looked at other conferences they were holding at Bethel. In June, they held the BraveCo Conference for men. The cost is also $195 for an in-person experience.

If you attend, they promise a “Fresh Encounter with the Holy Spirit,” and you will reconnect to the plans He has for your life. It reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It is one of the most abused and misused bible verses.

Just six verses later, you never hear anyone claim Jeremiah 29:17-18 “Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse and an object of horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them.”

At the BraveCo Conference, they also promise, “You will implement a powerful battle plan to win at life.”

$195 is not much to encounter the Holy Spirit and to win at life. I am unclear by what they mean by “win at life,” but whatever it is, it sounds better than losing at life. For some, that cost would simply entail giving up on Starbucks for a month. Does scripture promise we will win at life? John 16:33 suggests otherwise. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Read Acts 8, we find Simon the magician offering the apostles money for their ability. How did Peter respond? “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8:20-23

Your Best Life Now As a Prophet

In August, they have five days at the School of Prophets. Your school experience will include “Transformative insights and experiences to enhance your prophetic journey.” All for only $425. Considering the demanding and difficult lives of Biblical Prophets, this sounds like quite the deal. For example, Isaiah was sent to people who heard but never understood. Isaiah 6:9. Ezekiel dealt with rebellious people. Ezekiel 12:2 A queen wanted to kill Elijah. 1 Kings 19:2 Jeremiah was thrown down into a cistern. Jeremiah 38:6 Stephen asked in the book of Acts before he was stoned to death if there was ever a prophet they (the Jews) did not persecute. Acts 7:52 Finally, Jesus said of the people in Jerusalem as those “who kill the prophets and stone those sent.” Luke 13:344

Scripture warns us about false apostles, for example, Matthew 7:15 and Matthew 24:11. One of the warnings you find in 2 Corinthians 2:17Unlike so many, we do not peddle the Word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”

Peddling the Word for profit is precisely what many of these apolistic churches are doing. They offer new experiences, new revelations, gifts of prophecy, gifts of healing, words of knowledge, encounters with the Holy Spirit, and so much more.

The entire book of Jude is dedicated to helping Christians watch out for, recognize, and avoid false teachers and their deceitful words. If you read the New Testament, you will find twenty-two of the twenty-seven books that warn us about false teachers.5 A few examples can be found in the following:

2 Timothy 4:3-4
2 Peter 3:16-17
2 Peter 2:1
Jude 1:4-8
Matthew 24:24
2 Timothy 4:3-4
Acts 20:28-30
1 John 4:1

Remember, the progressive Gospel NAR churches offer is Jesus + new knowledge + money. This new knowledge often comes at a cost, not only spiritually, but monetarily.

This Little Piggy Cried Wee Wee Wee… by James Glazier is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

 

  1. “New Apostolic Reformation.” GotQuestions.org. N.D. https://www.gotquestions.org/New-Apostolic-Reformation.html []
  2. Pearcey, Nancy. “When America Met Christianity-Guess Who Won?” Total Truth, Crossway, 2004, pg. 287 []
  3. Childers, Alisa. “Fixing What Isn’t Broken.” Another Gospel, Tyndale Momentum, 2020, pg. 46 []
  4. “What was a prophet in the Old Testament.” GotQuestions.org. https://www.gotquestions.org/prophet-Old-Testament.html. []
  5. Childers, Alisa. “Nothing New Under The Sun.” Another Gospel, Tyndale Momentum, 2020, pgs. 100-102 []

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