This post is a brief overview of Bill and Beni Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding California. This post overlooks the history of Bethel and what it became today. Its highly influential in modern evangelicalism and is also a part of the New Apostolic Reformation. Questions remain about the relationship between Bethel Church and city government of Redding. This also includes the Redding Police Department. This post is a call for information and this blog would like to get to know people in Redding who are concerned about this church which many describe to be a cult. This blog wants to begin to slowly work this problem set.
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
Beni and Bill Johnson
This blog is putting out a call for information about Bethel Church in Redding, California as this blog will write about this topic occasionally. The denomination that this blog focuses on is the Evangelical Free Church of America, however its becoming clear to me that the influence of Bethel can no longer be ignored. This call for information is based on some research and also lean upon the Wikipedia page that exists. Below I am going to do a history of Bethel and list a number of questions that exist which this blog would like to flush out about Bethel. And this post will close as to why I think this blog is qualified in writing about some of the issues at Bethel.
History and Overview of Bethel Church in Redding
Bethel began in 1952 with its founding by Robert Doherty. After its founding it affiliated with the Assemblies of God (AOG) in 1954. In early 1996 Bill Johnson from Weaverville, California was invited to lead the church. Johnson’s only criteria is that the church be about revival with an emphasis on supernatural events. In 1995 Bill Johnson traveled to Toronto, Canada and was influenced by the “Toronto Blessing.” He wanted to make Bethel in a similar method to what happened in Toronto. When he did that over 1,000 people left Bethel but that attracted a large amount of additional people who became a part of Bethel. In 2016 Bethel had about 8,684 weekly attenders and and 11,233 have called it home in 2018. In November of 2005 the membership of Bethel voted unanimously to withdraw from the AOG to become a non-denominational church. However, Bethel’s by-laws required it to speak to the AOG from the Northern California-Nevada District. On January 15, 2006 Bethel’s membership rescinded the withdrawal and invited the AOG leadership to speak. On January 17 they did so but Bethel decided to withdraw. Bill Johnson described it as “…not a reaction to conflict but a response to a call… we feel called to create a network that helps other networks thrive – to be one of many ongoing catalysts in this continuing revival. Our call feels unique enough theologically and practically from the call on the Assemblies of God that this change is appropriate.” Holy laughter and rolling are a part of the culture today at Bethel. Today Bethel is led by Bill and Beni Johnson who bother consider themselves to be pastors.
Bethel is known for its record label and publishing company known as Bethel Music which is led by Bill Johnson’s son Brian Johnson. They are the most played contemporary worship in American churches in the United States. Their albums have reached the Billboard at least 200 times. Bethel is also responsible for the formation of of the Jesus Culture which is a youth outreach ministry. Its led to a record label called Jesus Culture Music.
Also Bethel is connected to the CHANGED movement Elizabeth Woning and Ken Williams in 2019. CHANGED is a movement to change the sexual identities of gays and make them straight. CHANGED is about conversion therapy. And while Bethel does not support it it pays for the pastors salaries and lets them operate out of their campus at Redding. In 1998 Bethel also began the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry which is run under the direction of Kris Vallotton. This school trains its students in the supernatural and miracles such as faith healing so they can lead revivals. The program lasts one academic year but students can return for a second and third. The school has over 2,400 students and attracts them from 70 countries around the world. None of this is accredited by the way. Bethel has been so influential that United Airlines has put in place direct airline service from Los Angeles to Redding. This is largely done to serve the church.
Bethel in Redding has been the subject a lot of controversy. Over the years it has done a number of things that have raised concerns within the local community. These are but some of them.
- Students at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry are trained to seek out handicapped and to pray for their immediate healing. Its led to conflict with a number of local businesses who have had to throw out Bethel students who tried to do that in pharmacies, grocery stories, and other small businesses.
- Bethel is about 10% of Redding’s population. The mayor is from Bethel who serves on the Board of Elders.
- Bethel has helped fund the police by donating $500,000 to the city’s police in 2017. They later led a campaign to raise $740,000 to fund four police officers.
- Bethel is a part of the New Apostolic Reformation movement with their “Seven Mountains Mandate” of government, media, business and education.
- There are questions if Bethel has used finances and influence to affect zoning decisions and approvals for new buildings.
- This church has been known for is Christian nationalism and its blurring of faith and politics. Its has politicized such topics as gun control, immigration, education, welfare, and globalization as being contrary to God’s. However if this blog were to ask Bill Johnson what globalization in the view of this blog its doubtful that he could provide an answer.
- Bethel’s worship leader Sean Feuchet has run for Congress and lost resoundingly.
- Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry has been the location of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Questions The Wondering Eagle Would Like to Answer About Bethel
This blog has a number of questions and topics this blog would like to explore over the course of time. If you are a resident of Redding and concerned about Bethel this blog would like to connect with you. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is the relationship between Bethel and the Redding City Police Department? Due to financials gifts has the Redding City Police Department worked to cover up any crimes that took place at Bethel?
- What is the relationship between Bethel and the Redding School District? Has Bethel influenced education policy or tried to set the agendas? Has the church tried to downplay the teaching of science and evolution in biology classes?
- Under the leadership of Beni and Bill Johnson has any sexual abuse been covered up at Bethel?
- What are the salaries and financial information of this church? How is money being used? Has the church used money in extravagant ways and above average living? Has this church pressured people to turn over inheritance or land over to Bethel?
- Has this church engaged in action that resulted in it violating its 501(c)(3) status? Has this church engaged in political campaigns directly?
- Has Beni or Bill Johnson abused their authority at Bethel and engaged in spiritual abuse?
- Has here been any incidents of abuse inside the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry?
- Has this church advocated for or denied bringing a medical crisis to the hospital out of a belief that they could raise someone from the dead?
- What is the relationship between Bethel and Redding’s hospital? Has Bethel crossed any lines within the hospital? Have they tried to raise someone from the dead inside the hospital?
- What ministries have influenced Bethel? Kansas City International House of Prayer? Others?
- Has Bethel attracted and interfered in the medical treatment of an individual dealing with mental health issues such as schizophrenia, depression, etc..?
- This blog is seeking a church directory and break down of the staff. Its also seeking internal documents as well in writing about Bethel.
- This blog is also interested in the grave soaking of Beni Johnson. All pictures and stories of her laying on any graves in the local cemetery would be appreciated.
Why The Wondering Eagle Wants to Write About Bethel Occasionally
This blogger saw the dark side of charismatic theology at a third wave charismatic church outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At Wooded Hills there was a serious attempt to raise someone from the dead. Spiritual warfare leads to a warped reality. When every flu or cold is viewed as being satanic attack and spiritual warfare that is deeply toxic. So when people approach this blog about strange or difficult stories I can relate and understand. This blog is looking for members of the community of Redding, former Bethel employees or current or former Redding employees concerned about the influence of Bethel. This blog writes about a lot o topics and to do so it leans up sources which help fill in the gaps and put together the picture. This blog is only as good as its sources. Posts can be published anonymously as well. But also I am a transplanted Californian living in the Washington, D.C. area. California is my home and issues that are affecting the state such as Bethel draw my interest and concern.
Posts The Wondering Eagle Has Written About Bethel
These are some of the posts this blog has already written about Bethel.
- “#LetUsWorship Sean Feucht of Bethel Leads Worship Protests as COVID-19 Pandemic in Wisconsin Gets Worse“
- “Large COVID-19 Outbreak at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Northern California.”
- “Beni Johnson of Bethel Church and Conflicting Messages Regarding Face Masks During COVID-19”
- “Charismatic Evangelicalism and Trying to Raise People From the Dead. From Olive Heiligenthal of Bethel in California to Wooded Hills in Wisconsin“
- “Does Bethel’s Sean Feucht Have a Death Wish for the Homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles?”
- “Bethel’s Kris Vallotton is No Different Than Mormon Founder Joseph Smith. Here’s Why…“
- “Recalling When Beni Johnson Highlighted a Character From Frozen When She Believed That God Would Raise Olive From the Dead”
- “Bethel’s Sean Feucht Will Contribute to the Death of the Homeless Through Neglect. All While Los Angeles Becomes the Epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States.”