One of our regular donors wrote: “How could you go to Bethel in Redding?! I can no longer support you” They withdrew their monthly support to help me win souls. Now, I will answer their question with a question.
We better start talking to each other
By Mario Murillo
One of our regular donors wrote: “How could you go to Bethel in Redding?! I can no longer support you” They withdrew monthly support that helps me win souls. Now, I will answer their question with a question.
How could I not go? Bill Johnson is my closest brother. I grew up with the Johnsons. Earl Johnson was like my dad. Earl gave me one of my very first revival meetings in 1970.
How could I not go? When Mechelle and I were divorced and churches slammed the door in our faces, it was Bill who never wavered and stood with us until, our marriage was miraculously restored 11 years ago.
How could I not go? I want to save America. I stand before thousands of young students at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry—students on fire and yearning to be used of God—students who are teachable. We desperately need young soldiers to expand our outreaches, and they need an outlet for their fervor. I would rather calm them down a little than to try to resurrect some cold, dead cynical student from a stuffy, skeptical, Christian College.
How could I not go? Bethel is a growing force in the Body of Christ that cannot be dismissed.
Our nation is in the most dangerous condition I have seen in my lifetime. Satan is raging through our culture with virtually unobstructed access to your children. The church meanwhile is sidelined for stupid reasons. The Holy Spirit is grieved that we cannot pool our considerable talents and resources to overwhelm the enemy. Signs and wonders would flow on a dramatically higher level if national eldership flowed in humble unity.
Face to face meetings automatically dial down divisions—polarity declines wherever communication begins.
I could use debate skills to make a case for glaring doctrinal error in everybody from the Assemblies of God to Calvary Chapel. If that statement offends you…look out! The greatest heresy is to believe you have achieved doctrinal purity.
That everyone is off on some point of theology is no excuse for heresy—it is motivation for hope. To correct error, let’s start with our own. Jonathan Edwards said,” A true saint is suspicious on nothing more than his own heart.”
Not only that, much of what we hear comes from unreliable sources. In other instances, words were said or written in a moment of excitement. Perhaps, with brotherly and sisterly love the people we criticize would tell us “I never said that,” or, “I am sorry, I’ll take that back. I should have said that better.”
There are many false teachers and false prophets roaming America. That is a different matter. They need to be exposed. Sin needs to be exposed. However, we will not rightly discern truth from error while we are painting with the broad brush of doctrinal paranoia. I know you have seen the hilarious websites where “truth warriors” list everyone they think is a heretic. Almost everyone is on that list and it grows daily.
Another big question is this: are we moved by anger rather than true discernment? Did that former partner of ours let their feelings about Bethel supersede their love for lost souls?
It’s not just heresy hunters that are a threat. Every preacher who grows more isolated from other leaders is also a threat. Instead of talking to each other, preachers continue to throw red meat to their base. This is why we are getting further away from each other. The grace camp keeps getting more hyper. The repentance camp keeps getting more judgmental. The prosperity camp keeps getting more materialistic. The seeker camp casts increasing doubt on the Bible to gain acceptance from the mainstream public.
Preaching your pet doctrine to the exclusion of all others helps to kill America. Ignoring the rest of the Body as you expand your empire is a betrayal of Christ—no matter why you do it.
Bottom line: If you are not alarmed by destruction of the presidency—If you do not see the iron-curtain of mind control ringing down on our colleges—If you do not see the killing fields of drug gangs expanding in our inner cities—If you are blind to the avalanche of immorality and perversion—If you cannot see that time is running out, or that business as usual means certain death…then, you my friend, are an enemy to revival and America.
We need to pray together. We need to obey God together. But first, we better start talking to each other…fast.
Mario, I’m writing this to those who would agree that you should stay away from Bethel.
I was talking to my pastor the other day (he is a prophet as well as a pastor). I know my pastor has sharp spiritual discernment and uses it with everything he listens to. I am also attentive to discerning what I listen to since we are both aware that there is a counterfeit spirit in some churches. (I was almost destroyed by partaking of a counterfeit spirit before I left it and found a Holy Spirit filled church where God started healing me). He was telling me about a song that he loves that he told me has a powerful anointing on it. I was confused by that song having the anointing of the Lord on it because we both know this group is involved in the counterfeit. All of their other songs that I have heard have a counterfeit spirit on them. I asked him how that song could be anointed since in my mind that would bring confusion. If someone discerned the Spirit of God on one of their songs wouldn’t they conclude that their other songs were okay too and partake of a counterfeit spirit while listening to their other songs? When I was telling my pastor this he told me he heard in his spirit, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.”
I brought up to him your going to speak at Bethel a few days ago. He said God’s ways aren’t our ways. I agreed. We all need to be aware that God’s way of dealing with what is happening in the churches these days is probably not going to be our way. We only see in part. God sees everything. We’re going to need to learn that we don’t know how to deal with what is happening. Jesus does. He is the head and we need to be led by Him.
Even King David under King Saul (who was evil and vile hatred toward David) – David had opportunity to slay / kill King Saul but even David said ‘do not touch the anointed.’ If a man is making mistakes and possibly turning away from TRUTH of GOD – it is not up to any of us to come against that person at all – but to pray for that person (not for harm to come against him, but for the Holy Spirit to speak to a brother’s heart with God’s great mercy)… We must NEVER speak against a brother / sister in our Lord Jesus… NEVER or else it will come back against us… we are NEVER called to JUDGE – NEVER.
1 SAMUEL 26
7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.
8 Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.
the BEST thing we can do for any person that possibly may be going into error is to #1 remain loving that person; #2 Pray for God’s mercy and blessing upon that person and allow GOD through the Holy Spirit to be the person to change / correct that person in error. We are not chosen to be the conviction of people or their JUDGES… this is GOD’s job only. GOD knows what to do that would be best for that person (not us).
Example of a Personal Experience: My husband, Mark, and I, were called of GOD to ‘go’ for Mark to become the Executive Director at Albuquerque Rescue Mission. The Rescue Mission was near to be closed as they were in great financial debt. When Mark and I came to Albuquerque for Mark to lead this Rescue Mission out of debt, we were people in a new land (had no connections) only GOD… we were not even guaranteed a salary (as no money); Mark and I were the only staff in a Christian outreach to serve the poor / homeless / street people in society which were about 600 daily. The help we received in the kitchen for the meals were men who were off the streets and needed a place to stay to get off the streets. (Of course this should not be how a Christian organization should be run, but it was all we had)
Through GOD’s provisions daily, Mark and I never went without at all and ALL our needs were always met. The Rescue Mission then prospered under God’s direction to which we were able to hire 18 staff. Never one time did we ever go without.
Mark through GOD’s direction also purchased a large warehouse building next door and expanded – to which our debt then became 1.7 million for this expansion according to City codes. During this same time period, Mark had hired a new staff person to become the Director of Programs for the men on program.
It was at this time, that this man (whom I will call / refer to as Mike (not his real name). Mike started complaining and gossipying bad against Mark who was the Executive Director (Leadership)… He (Mike) convinced some staff, two board members, and even clients that Mike could do a far great job as Executive Director then Mark was doing. He was stirring up strife and division for Mark in wanting to gain control and be the one who became the Executive Director instead. So Mike along with some staff and these 2 board members started working against Mark in causing problems for Mark.
Mark became aware of this and instead of coming against Mike, Mark took action with PRAYER in asking God what to do and Mark even shared with some board members (who also learned of this division) that he (Mark) was willing to give up this position if they chose him to do this, however Mark shared ‘But if I do give up this position in Leadership and the person then being placed in this position of Leadership, he needs to know for certain that GOD is placing him or else he will be in great danger as it would be like taking a 440 electrical box if that person is coming up against who GOD has placed in that position.
But instead, the remaining board members did not go along with Mike who was causing division and strife for Mark in that leadership and they agreed for Mark to fire him.
This was super hard for Mark to fire him as Mark has a heart that never wants to see others (Especially brothers and sisters) to fail.
However, Mark with his kind of heart God has given to him, Mark with great compassion and mercy in sharing with Mike about being fired, Mark said to Mike ‘You are always open to come and talk to me should you ever need to’.
Mike started his own homeless operation himself. However it failed. Mike started drinking and getting on horrible drugs. Mike’s wife of about 20 years due to the drugs, she divorced Mike.
One day Mike with his new girlfriend came to the Rescue Mission to obtain a food box as they both were now living on the streets and were homeless. Mark gave them this food and told Mike, I am here Mike if you should ever need a friend.
Mark and I have seen with our own eyes what can happen should a brother come against another thinking that person is in error or not doing things correctly. When you tough the ‘anointed’ even as King David treated King Saul (and Saul was looking to hunt David down and kill him)… as Mark and I often tell others ‘If you play with fire of the anointed that GOD has placed in that position, regardless if that person is in error or right, the person coming and placing JUDGEMENT on that person will be the one burned…
Do not play with the anointed of GOD even if that brother is stumbling …. Allow GOD to be GOD and pray for the MERCY and have a heart of COMPASSION for that brother… allow GOD to do the work, through prayer of Compassion, and trust me GOD can do a better job than you or I.
GOD through the work of the Holy Spirit may bring that brother around through conviction of the HOLY SPIRIT or GOD may choose to ‘judge’ that person… however, we are not called to be the one bringing the conviction or the JUDGEMENT – only GOD knows what is best to do for our brother.
Thanks again Mario!!! So good??
Mario, I like your quote of Jonathan Edwards…. it reminded me of what a dear Pastor friend of mine said to me many years ago. “If you ever find a perfect church, please don’t join it, you will just mess it up. ” I’ve heard some things about Bethel that concern me, gold dust falling from above etc. but I’ve never been there so I don’t have first hand experience . I read Bill Johnsons book “when Heaven touches Earth” ( I think that was the title ). His stand on believing God will heal you if you have no doubt whatsoever ( and if you doubt it will block your healing,) doesn’t bear out in real life. I know and have seen God heal people. He has healed me many times, but if we are honest, there are many people who do not get healed. Why, I don’t know. The fact is we all age and die of something and maybe, just maybe God uses sickness at times to temper us or get our attention.
I have also heard a lot of good reports about Bethel and know a number of people who have been blessed there.
So I guess what I’m trying to say, is that God has always used imperfect people to do amazing things !
My prayer is for real Holy Spirit filled Churches and real revival that will bring the changes we so desperately need in America and the world !
I wish You, Bethel and all Gods children God’s absolute best ! And you are right, we better start talking to each other !
Aloha from Hawaii.
I thoroughly agree! Well thought out reply!
With regards to those who have commented on Bethel, in addition to this article I would suggest we all keep these words of our Lord in mind….
Mark 3:22-27 (NKJV also paralleled on Luke 11)
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”
23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26 “And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.
27 “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
We have often heard this passage quoted in reference to the church, which I believe is a valid application of the principle He espoused, but we must remember that Jesus here is specifically referring to the works of Satan.
Might they have doctrinal error at Bethel? That is a very real possibility, just as it might be at any other church in any other city in any other country. But I believe that we must ask ourselves this, “To whom is glory being given because of the things happening there?” The nature of our enemy is, as our Lord told us in the above passage, NOT to give glory to God in the slightest but to seek that glory for himself… so much so that he would not even feign the casting out of his own demons to gain followers for one of his false prophets or teachers. I would be very wary of taking a chance of attributing the working of the Holy Spirit to the enemy as that proved to be the cause of a HUGE turning point in Jesus’s ministry to the Jews of His day… so much so that He no longer taught them the truth openly, but only in parables that their blinded hearts could not grasp any more!
I like Mario’s approach to this as it really fulfills the command and words of our Lord…
John 13:34-35 (NKJV see also John 15:52)
34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Loving words, attitudes, and actions towards each other, even when there is error perceived in one or the other, will reap a FAR greater reward than any of us can imagine… and that reward will be the love of God shown to a lost and dying world that is desperately seeking that very thing… AKA revival!
Thank you brother for your heart and work for the Kingdom of our God and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I am so proud of your stance and conviction to go preach where Jesus is still Lord! Every time I enter the doors, or I should say presence on that campus I am amphrehended to kneel and adore my King, Jesus.
We were impacted by his dad too, in the Assembly of God churches in the Bay Area, my husband will never forget his influence. You , by the way laid hands on him to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at Capital Christaian. I am ordained under Dr Iverna Thompkins, who impacted Bill Johnson and Redding. Thank you for expressing your concern to our nation’s churches, so torn apart by doctrine and yet have never set foot on the grounds. May a ” holy hush” apprehend us all and may we bow low and listen to what HE is saying to us before we ” throw the first stone”.
Thank you Mario for this powerful reminder which should not be dismissed in a cavalier manner.
I submit that you are highlighting the religious spirit, such as what was expressed in the Sadducees, Pharisees, the current leftists, and now sadly by those who call themselves “Christians.” It’s extraordinary to me that among such is the subtle/not-so-subtle DEMAND that you think, act and do all to which they subscribe and if you don’t align how they approve, you’re out, called names, accused, ad nauseum. This is NOT the character of Jesus Christ.
To each who cannot/will not align with those who hold a different perspective, I say GO FIND YOUR TRIBE. There were 12 tribes in Israel each of which carried specific anointings, assignments. In my many years of meandering among many of the groups in the body of Christ there was ALWAYS something/someone of value to be embraced. I submit our Father God’s table presents many kinds of “dishes” on it. It’s not always, meat, potatoes, mac & cheese, etc because one doesn’t usually eat just one of choices available. There’s a variety which is even in the natural essential to human growth.
We’re all at different levels of growth, in varying seasons of life, Ultimately we will each stand accountable for what we say and do in the end. While I believe we’ve a personal enemy, sometimes it is we ourselves who are the problem! But in the meantime stop throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
The bible does tell us to test everything. In order to grow spiritually in the Lord Jesus we need to follow His true, pure teaching from the bible – Spirit of truth -doctrine of truth found in the Word of God is very important – it brings healing, deliverance, freedom and peace. I can testify to this in my own life. 1 John 4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. Acts ch16 verse 16-18 ‘…. a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.’
Not able to judge that move without more info and prayer but perhaps if there is somthing wrong there its best they have a connection to mario.
Right on Mario! Decades ago you ministered at our church in NJ, detailing how God was raising up a “Lazarus generation”, what was happening in your meetings-often set up across the street from Satanic meetings. You used a term of where you stand on so many of the issues you mentioned here in your post–“THE RADICAL MIDDLE” is how you termed it! I believe you were quoting or paraphrasing Tozer. Anyway, thank you for who you are, what you’ve stood for and continuing to stay fresh with God’s Presence, power, purity and the love of God and for the Body of Messiah.
Watched some clips from the bethel church,yeah its a good thing they know mario.