3 Reasons Christians Can’t Get Enough of Bethel’s Heresy

Over the past few years, Bethel Church in Redding, CA, has gained immense popularity among mainstream evangelicals. Most know them for their chart-topping worship music including hit songs, “Reckless Love,” “Raise a Hallelujah,” and “Goodness of God,” but are not aware of their affiliation with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

You might recognize them as the church that made national headlines during their attempt to resurrect a deceased child of one of the leaders. She remained in the morgue unburied for more than 6 days while the church gathered on behalf of her parents to sing, dance, decree, and declare. They said that her time on earth was not done, commanded her to wake up, and decreed that God would raise her from the dead. Tragically, after a week of publicly declaring these things, the family had to bury their child. All this happened despite the church having a “dead raising team,” who claim 12 resurrections but offers zero witnesses to these alleged miracles. This instance alone should have been enough to allow onlookers to see that Bethel is full of charlatans and false prophets (2 Peter 2:1-3). However, there’s more.

There are several false teachings promoted at Bethel, and it can be overwhelming to address them all. However, many of them can be understood as overflow from one primary heresy: syncretism. Bethel combines Christianity with the occult and New Age practices and ideologies. In case you’re unaware, these are arguably two of the most demonic religions in the world, advocating all kinds of wickedness. At Bethel, they openly welcome and encourage the use of strictly forbidden occult practices (“Christian” tarot cards, astral projection, incantations, speaking things into existence, etc.).

Their New Age teachings can be found in the pastors’ book, “The Physics of Heaven,” wherein chapter 2 it’s written, “Now we are beginning to hear more and more revelation that is in line with what New Agers have been saying all along and we are hearing more and more teaching about Christians ‘taking back truths’ from the New Age that really belong to citizens of the Kingdom of God.”

The mere notion that historic Christianity needs improvement or could somehow benefit from demonic religions denies Jesus as the only way, truth, and life (John 14:6) and denies the Bible as sufficient for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4).” It’s an insult to the cross of Christ to think the simple gospel needs a revamp.

While many Christians may find themselves discouraged by the notion that some of their beloved celebrity Christians may be false preachers, the Apostle Paul was no stranger to the idea that false teachers are quite common.  “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17).” So the question remains: why can’t earnest Christians see the problem with Bethel? I believe the issue is threefold.

1. They value emotional experience over truth.

Despite public rebuke from sound preachers who have followed the biblical mandate to “mark and avoid” false teachers, some Christians cling tightly to their love for Bethel because of the emotional experience they offer. I’ve often heard Christians who are aware of issues therein defend the church as “doing more good than harm by encouraging greater faith.” They value the emotionalism of the worship music and the mystery of “glory clouds,” which are merely made up of gold glitter in the ventilation system.

2. They don’t know the Scriptures as they should.

Put simply, these Christians aren’t rooted in God’s Word. They are easily deceived by false doctrines because they don’t know the truth of Scripture well enough to discern truth from lies.  As I’ve written about before, biblical illiteracy plagues the church. Because they do not know Scripture, they cannot follow the biblical mandate to, “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).”

3. They prefer teachers who preach what they want to hear rather than sound doctrine.

Not only do they not know the Bible, but they also don’t want to hear the truth. Having “itching ears” they embrace Bethel’s nonsense because it suits their preference. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).”

May God have mercy on those in deception to draw them out and into the light.

Why Christians Should Ditch the Enneagram

I’ve listened to and been a part of more conversations about the enneagram than I care to admit. I resisted them at first because – like any personality test – they inevitably perpetuate self-centeredness through deeper self-awareness and end up being wrongly used to downplay the seriousness of personal sin.

However, I generally try to find a healthy balance in using personality tests as a neutral tool. After all, it can be extremely beneficial to our relationships to have better understandings of how we all relate to each other. So, I went all in. I read lots of articles and chuckled at all the personality-specific memes. I loved learning about the types and found them very insightful. I even learned about my struggles with nutrition and exercise through the lens of the enneagram. Crazy, right?

With my background in communication, I’m very familiar with personality tests and their creators. But after all my digging, I have concluded that this one is far different and should be weighed far more seriously as to whether we should embrace it.

Unless you have managed to avoid the current trends, you’ve probably heard some pastors or Christian teachers/writers discuss the enneagram as it relates to the Christian walk and how we can use it to better ourselves. For example, just this week I read The Gospel Coalition’s new article, “Personality Tests Don’t Excuse Your Sin,” which was nearly the gist of this article. Unfortunately, I have seen Christians use their enneagram number to excuse personal sin on numerous occasions. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the enneagram.

I recently came across this in-depth podcast episode about why Christians should exercise extreme caution when it comes to the enneagram in particular. They take no occasion for spewing out opinions, but rather simply consider its factual roots and influences. If you’re going to listen, I recommend skipping to the 15-minute mark. Until then, it’s just random chitchat. The actual enneagram symbol has been around for quite some time.

But the personality side of it has only existed since the 1960’s when Oscar Ichazo, a New Age teacher heavily involved in psychedelic drugs and shamanism penned them. He claimed to have discovered the deeper spiritual and personality meanings of the Enneagram when it was taught to him through automatic writing by the “Archangel” Metraton while he was high on mescaline. The whole group studying with him were gnostics in pursuit of higher mystical knowledge. Their religion was the worship of “Self” with a capital s and their philosophy was that wisdom is learned from inside yourself and observing the natural universe, a clear contradiction to Scripture which says,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10

Even more condemning of the underpinning philosophical and theological teachings of the enneagram is that the Bible says that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,‘ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ So let no one boast in men…” 1 Corinthians 3:16-20a (bold added for emphasis)

The New Age movement is spiritual, yes. But there are many spirits in this world and as Christians, we’re to exercise biblical discernment and wisdom about who we listen to and learn from. Spiritual enlightenment can very well be earthly, sensual, and demonic. The influence of the being Metatron sounds an awful lot like a demon, wouldn’t you agree? While the enneagram initial insights and observations may seem an accurate depiction of reality, their conclusion is so far from biblical teaching on who we are.

I’m afraid more and more Christians today are ditching time spent with the LORD studying His written Word which has all the riches and spiritual insight we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4) in favor of a sprinkle of a Jesus, a proverb a day, and loads of worldly wisdom to tell them about themselves. Brothers and sisters, if that’s you – you are robbing yourself of great treasure found in God’s Word – the Holy Bible.

Many of my dearly loved brothers and sisters in Christ who use the enneagram have said that it convicts them and shows them where they need to improve. I honestly felt the same way at times. But, given all the information I shared above, my question is this: who brings conviction and how? Does an occult tool with gnostic meaning bring it or does Holy God bring conviction through the Bible? The answer is simple to me. I only wish all God’s people would see the seriousness of this. It’s not a joke. The “Christian” authors advocating for its use in the church are seriously misguided.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:11-12 (bold added for emphasis)

Christian, we are not called to sit idly by soaking up every bit of information without first testing it against God’s Word. We are to make war against the devil and his crafty schemes. Our armor for the battle is His truth, His righteousness, His gospel of peace, the faith and salvation given to us, His Word, and His Spirit (Ephesians 6:13-18). We do not need wisdom or insight from a self-worshiping group of people influenced by drugs and demons.

“If the Enneagram were another version of What Color Is Your Parachute or Strengths Finder, that would be fine,” Kevin DeYoung says. “But it has been, from its inception (whenever that was), infused with spiritual significance. And therein lies the danger.”

I’m naturally drawn to debate, so I welcome your opposing perspective, but I ask that you come with the same Christian love and respect I have for you. Many will cite Romans 14:14-23 as their basis for continuing to use the enneagram. If you are totally convinced through the Word of God that it is of no harm, I can respect your conclusion. We can agree to disagree on this for the glory of God if it comes down to it, but I certainly hope I’ve at least made you aware of what you formerly were not.