The catastrophic fires raging in California have resulted in Christians all over the world to pray for God’s sovereign intervention and protection for everyone affected, both victims and responders.
An article at Pulpit & Pen had this to say concerning the California wildfires and the leader of Beth, Redding, Bill Johnson:
Bill Johnson, the leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California, claims that God has given complete power regarding what happens on Earth to man. Charismatics, like Johnson – especially those who teach Word-Faith theology, believe that they can exercise control over disease, sickness, and even weather. Bethel Church is the leading proponent of “teaching the miraculous” in the world. With the Carr fire consuming land near their headquarters and in their home county and outskirts of the city, Bethel leaders and members have been decreeing and declaring their power over the fire, calling down rain and demanding that wind stop. Unsurprisingly, their ability to control that which is controlled by God alone has proven futile, and 25 Bethel leaders have lost homes in the fire.
Bill Johnson has even told his congregation/followers that God is in charge, but not in control:
The article continues:
The Bible likens prophets and supposed miracle-workers who claim to perform feats that they cannot and false teachers as being like “clouds without water,” an analogy that is fitting as Bethel pastors call down rain that doesn’t come.
They are clouds without water, carried along by the wind; fruitless trees in autumn, twice dead after being uprooted – Jude 1:12
The proven track record of being incapable of performing miracles did not stop Bethel Church from crying out to the weather, like Jesus in places like Mark 4:35-41. The Internet has abounded with examples of misled charismatics feeling they control the weather. While we all should rightly understand that God both controls the weather and does answer prayers, it is different than individuals claiming authority over the wind and tempests under the assumption that they are little gods.
Obviously, the decrees and declarations have not worked. Several homes of Bethel staffers have been destroyed, as well as the homes of dozens of members.
Certainly, God can bring beauty out of the ashes. Some at Bethel are predicting and hoping for a great move of God, the likes of which have never been seen. Such revival would indeed be a wonderful thing.
What we have not seen are articles expressing doubt concerning the validity of Bethel teachings concerning the miraculous and how believers are supposed to operate in the ‘supernatural’ as a normal part of their Christian walk. How will this effect the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM)?
One might think that the failure of all the decreeing & declaring that the wind and fire cease would cause a bit of reflection on the part of those attending BSSM, as well as those trying to get up enough money to attend and become miracle workers. Perhaps some will be driven to really study their Bibles and come to realize they have been hoodwinked into drinking the poisonous Kool-Aid served up regularly by Bill Johnson and the other leaders at Bethel. One can only hope and pray. Time will tell.
In the meantime, continue to pray for the situation in California, all those affected by the fires, all of the first responders and firefighters. Pray also that God would remove a great cancer from the professing church, as the true children of God who have been deceived by all that is Bethel (including the Pied Piper that is Jesus Culture) are awakened by the Holy Spirit and flee from the flames of heresy.