Jesus Culture Experience

Alright, so I have always enjoyed  Jesus Culture band and have found their music to be very worshipful. I had never really taken the time to explore the backgrounds of Bethel Church in Redding, CA to see where they were coming from in doctrine. Instead I decided to go to a Jesus Culture Conference in New York City with some friends. 
I am a Baptist. Bethel Church and Jesus Culture are more charismatic. They fall most in line with the Pentecostals.  For the most part, the conference was not too scary or difficult for me. If the band and preachers and followers where mostly Pentecostal (or Charismatic) then they were really watered down during the conference. There was not a lot of people falling over slain in the Spirit and those sorts of things. 
Although, there were miraculous faith healings. I still cannot stop thinking about one instance. A deaf lady from birth, was prayed over with the laying of hands and everything. After the prayer, she started hearing things. I talked to her and her friends, it was a crazy thing.  I believe God can do healings, like this on Earth, if He desires to.
Bill Johnson, the pastor of Bethel, laid out an argument for faith healings….basically firstly, the disciples did it:
Mt. 10:8- Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Then in John 1: 50 – Jesus says that greater things are yet to come than these [things you have seen me do].

There were some areas I could not completely agree with Bill on, but why aren’t we out in our communities/streets praying for healing for people in our local communities?
Obviously I have some warnings:
1. This is NOT about works. It can easily begin to look like and feel like works. But it is only God who does the healing, not us.
2. God may not always heal every single time we ask for healing in our prayers. Sometimes He has a greater purposes that we do not understand. Remember home is NOT on this earth.
3. Theology. One thing Bill Johnson said that is the most debatable is his understanding (or lack of it) in Christology. For me, Jesus was 100% man AND 100% God.
For Bill, Jesus was 100% man who forfeited completely ALL of His God-abilities and did the miracles as a complete man. Meaning any man can perform the same miracles if they rely completely on the Father as Christ did. 
This gets sketchy for a couple of reasons. Again, as with point one, it can easily start to become a works based system. But second and worse offense, is centered on Christ.  Christ had to be 100% (as well as 100% man), in order for His offering for our sins, as our substitute, to be acceptable and infinitely valuable (1 Pet. 1:18-19). 
So all of this has got me thinking all week and it is an amazing God thing. I see, not only at this conference but through-out history that God  can use us despite our bad theology and even despite our differences in beliefs/theology. I hear reports that Redding, Ca is a safe haven, a cancer-free zone and that the presence of the Holy Spirit is there. All of that sounds wonderful, I do not have any data to prove it but I believe that God can work in that way if He so desires. 

He is bigger than our human understanding of theology. I do not know who is more correct in a lot of areas in theology. I see good arguments on my areas of debatable topics and yet while it seems that the two sides can not agree and work together….they can. God is bigger. God does the Healing. He does the saving. I am just glad to be a part of it. I want to continue to work out my faith and continue to study these things. Do not get me wrong I desire truth and solid Biblical answers and I believe that a foundational worldview with essential doctrines is essentials….this is why I am willing to debate Bill Johnson on the points I did above. 
While on many non-essential, I am willing to hear the other side of the argument. I give grace and I agree to disagree and agree to say that “Wow, God is working through that, despite my understanding or belief.” 

One thought on “Jesus Culture Experience

  1. Peter says:

    Hi Alex,
    Your comments on your jesus Culture experience are interesting. I am glad you took the time to look into their teaching theology a bit to see where they were coming from. I was curious to see you use the phrase, “for me” about Christ's divinity, as though it were a matter of personal opinion. We know from Scripture (1 John, John 1, John 5, John 8, Col 2…many others) that Jesus is eternally God. Jesus Culture is the outreach ministry of Bethel Church whose 'mandate' (according to teacher Bill Johnson) is to export the “message of Bethel Church”; see YouTube video Mandate Bill Johnson Bethel).

    This, among other heretical teachings, is a denial of Christ. It as though Jesus had said to Jesus Culture: “whom do you say that I am” and the answer that they teach is–a great guy, but not God.”

    This is not a small matter. In fact, these are precisely the “another Jesus” and “false Christs” that Jesus, Paul, and John condemn and warn about–they are the spirit of anti-Christ. Paul said men who teach such are “accursed”-twice. (Gal. 1:8).

    There are many more heretical and aberrant teachings that constitute jesus Culture's parade of error, if you will do some minor looking into it, but what I've referenced already is enough. We really need not look much further.

    Whether there are miraculous healings is of no import; Jesus and Paul both warned of lying signs (Matt 24, Matt 7, 2 Thess, 1 Tim 4) that lead away from Christ. The person of the anti-Christ will perform miracles that will deceive (Rev 13), and Pharoah's magicians performed actual miracles through the power of Satan.

    The point is, do the signs point to the gospel and person of Jesus Christ, or to another gospel, and another jesus? Clearly, in the case of jesus Culture, it is another jesus, who cannot save, because He is not the Christ, the God-man, Immanuel. He is just a man, and that man is not God.

    As Paul said earlier, such men who teach this are false apostles and servants of satan, because they lead away from Christ and to another gospel, hence leading those who follow them to their destruction.

    I would encourage your further research on this matter, Alex. You would be serving the Lord in warning the brethren. I can also put you in touch with actual Redding residents – followers of Jesus–who will tell you directly what they observe through the presence of Bethel in their town of Redding, CA. It is not the portended cancer-free zone filled with the Holy Spirit that you allude to (and admittedly are wary of).

    Thank you for your research. Keep up the good fight, brother!

    Here's one source:

    I think there are over 200 articles and videos there, drawn from lots of different sources, so you'd need to commit a lot of time to this. I can also send you a list of questions that I'd encourage you to pursue in your own research that allowed me to find much of what I learned about them. Their backstory is frightening, to say the least).

    God bless you!

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