ABOUT REDISCOVER BETHEL Rediscover Bethel is a video series that addresses common questions and misconceptions about Bethel Church in Redding, California. This series specifically covers Bethel’s theological beliefs, teachings, and practices—featuring Senior Leader Bill Johnson, Senior Associate Leader Kris Vallotton, and Associate Pastor and Dean of BSSM Dann Farrelly. This series includes videos on Bible translations, Jesus’ Deity, Physical Manifestations of the Holy Spirit, Theology of Healing, The Gospel of Repentance, Prophecy, and much more.

heretic is it’s such an overused word

totally it’s just it’s like if you can

create a label for someone call them a

heretic then you don’t ever have to deal

with them yeah exactly you mark them you

categorize them

that’s it’s just so it’s foolish


so let’s talk one of

one of my pet peeves a little bit or

actually i get fired up about this so

i’m gonna ask you questions and answer

them myself

that’s the safest way to do it but i um

i’m always perplexed you know

when people think we’re a cult and again

what defending yourself saying you’re

not a cult is almost like right away

you’ve lost the argument you’ve lost the

moral ground and yeah we’ve talked about

this forward have you stopped beating

your wife you’re like you can’t answer

that question right you know so

even this question is difficult but


been saying never beat my wife yeah me

neither yeah

sorry you had to ask yeah

but this idea i mean i’ve been saved

since four raised in interdenominational

church uh that came probably out of an

assemblies uh somebody’s without the

holy spirit was maybe kind of the flavor

of the theology which which is not quite

assemblies but uh

um and then bible school you know


love the gospel believe the gospel uh

you know i was raised uh by jonestown

and uh not by jones county but that

whole that uh uh the the cult in san


yeah yeah where those many uh hundreds

of people died in the jungles of guyana

i’m saying like so you know it was

played out right there

i forget his name yeah i want to say

james earl jones but that’s not that’s

that’s darth vader darth vader’s voice

and so

not a cult leader either but the uh

um so it’s just like oh it just drives

me nuts it’s a bit of a trigger word for

me so i have to kind of dial down you

know when i when i think about it

because i know

i know the gospel and i know we teach

the gospel faithfully

do you want to jump in before i go on a


well i i like what you say if we’re a

cult we’re really bad at it we’re


you know cults are just by by nature

are just about control about being

exclusive uh you come join us you break

up ties with everybody else

and it’s the opposite of what we do we

live to empower people we don’t uh

we don’t control them at all we really

want people to become individually


as a part of a church part of a

community if they

come and say you know we really feel

that we’re called to go down the street

to such and such a church we bless them

as they go

there’s just this not like cheer you can

do that if you want to abandon the true

faith that’s actually no go be a part of

that body of christ because those those

folks are part of the body of christ

exactly yeah

it’s like so we we’re terrible at

keeping track of our people you know we

you’ve said at our at our introductions

to bethel like when we’re talking to

newcomers you’re like there’s a lot of

great churches in town you might want to

go there and it’s

you mean it

you know you mean it so

uh we we want folks to be salt and light

everywhere so it’s a very strange

accusation to kind of have

partly there’s also um cults generally

tend to um when they’ve done

psychological assessments of them they

tend to start thinking completely alike

you know you tend to kind of get a

dominant personality you know like

they’re all like these either you know

what i mean a dominant personality like

the average member is trying to become

like a particular sort of personality

style or so and like i’m like we have

so little that on our own leadership


we have such a wide variety we we don’t

all agree as a leadership team and we’re

going through stuff right now because we

don’t agree about you know certain

things and we

we try to go to great lengths to give

space for each other to think

and be a part we’re heading into a

political season where

we have people in our congregation who

love president obama will vote

democratic in this election coming up

people who

love president trump that will vote

republican they’re in the same church


now i’m not sure a lot of folks would

like being in a church like that because

it gets uncomfortable it’s it’s actually

nicer to be in a place where everybody

thinks like me

and group think and this ain’t that


it’s true so that’s true so it’s a it’s

so it’s so uh frustrating to me that

this kind of cult controls thinking

controls people and we’re like yeah hey

we have folks who are really embracing

black lives matter other folks who are

like hey we’re concerned about some we

understand the marxist underpinnings of

that like we’re all doing church

together yep we’re all holding on to

each other we’re all believing the best

trying to like help me hear your sorry

help me hear your heart and stay

connected because i love you

so we’re protecting the connection in

the midst of it

is that your experience too i mean yeah

absolutely it’s just

you know we value truth we value

theology you have to it’s the revelation

of god in his nature some ideas are

truer than others so yeah exactly so

we’re in the dialogue about those we’re

we’re committed to truth but we’re also

committed to people and i don’t want to

sacrifice my relationship with you

because we think different about this

yeah i don’t want if it’s especially if

it’s not an essential aspect of the

gospel yeah you know if if somebody

denies the deity of christ well then we

need to have a conversation yeah no no

you you’re disempowered in our

environment and so there are

yeah i’ve talked about this like i don’t

know if somebody’s in another

another denomination someone’s in the

mormon church uh i’d be like

your relationship with jesus i i don’t

know about that you god alone knows your


i do know i’m not going to empower you

to preach and teach in in my church like


have a fundamental difference about who

god is uh that that that he’s one and

not many um and so be like those are

those are things like i can appreciate

that god might be or christ might be

reaching for you or connected to you i

can’t empower you in our environment

that’s true we we empower people

according to

trust you know measure measure of trust

and uh and trust in their fidelity to

scripture as we understand it absolutely

yeah the god god alone is one absolutely

one of my um

one of my favorite ones about this is uh

i i don’t i think this was a story i was

told no it didn’t happen to me so um but

somebody’s walking by a man who looks

like a parent uh in our environment so

he’s whatever he’s in his 40s or

something like that and and um i think

the the gist of it as somebody’s

eavesdropping on their telephone

conversation as they walk by but they

their phrase is this honey these people

aren’t occult they’re just happy to be


that’s awesome it was a most awesome

thing because i’m like yeah the joy of

the lord we really do enjoy each other

we think life’s a gift yeah and some

people you know there’s a cynicism in

america like anybody too happy he’s like

if they’re on something or they’re you

know they’re part of something weird or

whatever americans kind of have this

love of cynicism like yep the weather’s

good today

today but maybe not tomorrow you know we

have that odd don’t get too high don’t

get too low and

we actually love the lord we like him we

like his presence yeah um we laugh

together a ton and it it does so like

you people are a little too good to be

true like i love it the english they

call it the happy clappy crowd it’s not

just us but any charismatics the happy

clappy crowd

did i say clappy or crappy but i think

it was i think it’s clappy was the word

i wanted

which they also call our school

supernatural ministry hogs hogs uh the

the harry potter school oh that makes me

giggle too that’s funny i forget the

name of the school

it’s because i’m so pure i don’t know

the name of that school but uh

i’m reaching for it it’s not coming

um so those are some of the things for

me we don’t have the personality change

we i’ll tell you the other one is that

uh you know the lack of group think

which i find so strenuous in our

environment because we don’t all

think the same way and the lack of

demand that you believe like we believe

to stay connected to us we’re just like

hey if if you’re a

i think in our statement of faith it’s


the church is all who put their faith in

jesus christ yeah

i mean that’s that’s our understanding

of the church so

um we’re trying to look for ways to stay

connected to honor the work of god as

you put your faith in jesus not demand

you have to think just like us


sometimes i’ve heard folks say bill

expects us to have a gospel of

supernatural power which i don’t have so

therefore he thinks i’m a heretic

therefore i think he’s a heretic

i know it was an interesting like and

that made us all crazy but

let’s just talk about that do you do you

think people that don’t move in signs

and wonders are heretics or don’t have

the don’t have the gospel oh goodness no

no no not at all i i just think

you know the miracle lifestyle is for


it’s available to everybody i’m not

going to call you a heretic because you

don’t do it

heretic is

such an overused word totally it’s just

it’s like if you can create a label for

someone call them a heretic then you

don’t ever have to deal with them yeah

exactly you mark them you categorize


that’s it’s just silly it’s foolish

it’s foolish no no i don’t believe that

at all i i have friends

you know i’ve had for i’ve grown i was i

didn’t have any

but yet i was i didn’t have any miracles

in you oh in my early years no goodness

no no but i love jesus with all of my

heart i thought the miracle lifestyle

was reserved for very special especially

called people and i do believe there are

people uniquely called but yeah but one

of the things that was such a wake-up

call for me is that it

is that it was for everybody yeah you

know it’s for it was for those who

followed jesus and so i’m not going to

use that as a point of shame for someone

who doesn’t think that way or doesn’t

have that in their life i just try to

use what i see in scripture to push

people forward in a sense to encourage

them listen you could you could do this

you know uh jesus when he uh nicodemus

said we know that you’re a teacher

come from god because no one can do

these signs that you do unless god is

with him so all through the new

testament there is teaching and doing in

the same phrase in the same sentence


for jesus the teacher

he taught what he was about to do or

he’s explaining what he just did there

was a connection there wasn’t a divorce


thought and action behavior they were

they were brought together yeah and so

he would teach

the word and

and miracles and he would demonstrate he

would bring deliverance he would just he

didn’t just talk about freedom he’d set

somebody free yeah he didn’t just talk

about you know divine health or

something and then leave people sick he

didn’t do that he didn’t have the

resurrection of the life and leave dead

people around him he always he raised

whoever you know he was he was exposed

to so the point is is that uh it’s

available there’s stuff available for us

yeah we’re not separating uh based on

that and we and as far as back to the

cult conversation that

the you have to do this in order to be a

part of the church of jesus christ

you’re like no these are available to us

they’re ways to manifest the kingdom

yeah so which

heads leads me to probably the my

biggest pet peeve in some ways which is

the demand for conformity

it’s almost like we get told you’re

demanding conformity and we’re not and

yet they are demanding conformity to

their particular understanding of

something or other true and it’s like

wow i mean who’s the cult when you are

saying we’ve narrowly defined this and

as i mentioned earlier in another

podcast there’s 33 000 33 000

denominations now some of those are

because of an anointed leader you know

um ab simpson the cma or

uh you know i’m trying to think of

another one

amy simple mcpherson yeah yeah

foursquare so that sometimes it’s not

like i’m against and i’ve got a new deal

there’s like a new expression of the

lord that we are really resonating with

and we’re going to follow

but a lot of the denominations are about

we just can’t agree

we just disagree about communion we

disagree about baptism we disagree about

the end times we disagree like so this

this drive for conformity is really

scary it’s super scary that’s scary yeah


i think unity true biblical unity is

impossible without diversity

have you can have uniformity or you can

have unity unity requires diversity i

think yeah and i i don’t i don’t think

we really are challenged in the subject

of unity if we all think alike the

church of rome had had jews who had

newly come back to town after or for a

couple years after being expelled

they’re a torah observant jews and

they’re with the gentiles who


there’s probably some anti-semitism in

rome anyway and now the jews haven’t

been here we’ve been in charge and now

the jews are back in these house

churches and you’re trying to figure out

how do we get along with each other yeah

and paul is trying to in the book of

romans trying to help them not just in

14-15 he’s trying to help them get along

all through the book he’s like saying

you guys are not allowed to separate

yeah but you guys are going to eat

kosher food and you’re not and you just

can’t kill each other over there

well but it’s like you just can’t do it

and partly because paul’s like i need

that church functioning because you guys

are going to you guys are going to love

me and send me to spain you know that’s

kind of in his mind as well i can’t have

a dysfunctional church that’s

not representing christ

so they’re practicing different he’s

like you still need to love each other

even though you’re practicing this

different uh differently from each other

so this unity does require a diversity

it’s actually proven in its diversity

yeah it’s absolutely it’s uh the eating



eating meat is biblical

said the hunter yeah exactly

eating meat is biblical but he says if

somebody doesn’t then you adjust what

you’re going to do to accommodate them

it’s just simply i have respect for what

you’re thinking what you’re feeling i’m

not going to live that way in my home

yeah but when i’m with you at your home

i’m going to honor that yeah and it’s

just that’s the whole thing of diversity

the unity and diversity is needed it is

and paul often i am going to limit my


for the sake of this

in some ways and i would say in timothy

not everybody’s going to love this

interpretation but in timothy you know i

think he asked the women to limit their

freedom to teach in ephesus at that time

like because of the crisis in ephesus i

don’t think it was permanent but i think

he’s like i need you to limit your

freedom in this area for this particular

thing so this is what it is to be a

christian is we protect the connection

with each other

and we will go the extra mile to stay

connected yeah so

not going the extra mile to stay


not great it’s not good not great and so

i one time and i only got half the quote

in christianity today

uh and i think because i only gave half

the quote let’s be clear i think that

was they did a good job on that article

years ago but i think i said something

like um

hey you might uh

what does chris call us chris calls us

hyper charismatics at some point it’s


we’re less weird than we were that’s

still in there it’s still in our roots

at some level but he’s like we’re not

just charismatic we’re hyper charismatic

so and somebody’s like yeah i mean some

stuff happens that we do i’m like huh

all right well that’s

that’s unusual uh you know that would

not be how i would have thought that

would go

but um the the deal was um i think my

quote something like you might not you

might not like us but we love you

and there’s a little bit of that whole

thing of trying to say

we might not be your cup of tea but we

are not looking to separate from you

yeah yeah which i think actually makes

people more mad sometimes like well i am

going to separate from you because i

need to have this line of purity you

know in in my environment so

by saying that i’m not trying to like

make anybody bad but i am saying we are


on staying connected yeah

we’ll uh we’ll talk to the students i’m

like listen you might love bethel now

but you you might be heading you might

become an anglican uh christian you know

you might be i i think i mentioned some

other place but hank hannahgrav who’s

the bible answer man didn’t love renewal

and holy spirit laughter as i remember

quite well in those days but he has

become an orthodox christian and joined

the orthodox church

well that blew a bunch of people’s

brains like they’re like why did you

leave the faith and he’s like i didn’t

leave the faith

i became an orthodox christian so it was


delightful moment you know when uh part

of that i’ve got the right answer crowd



didn’t quite understand the breadth of


that my brother hank was moving to uh

and so

it just shows how we’ve really got to

stay full of love towards each other

keep our love on yeah as we’re having

these discussions we can disagree but we

gotta have our love on no that’s exactly

i talked a lot do you wanna

no just fix any of that bill

nothing to fix i just i’m laughing i’m

laughing at you and with you yes now we

just need to be with people that stretch

us you know it’s it’s it’s it’s

legitimate it’s

if if i want to influence everybody then

i’m kind of in the position where i say

i’m i’m pretty much where i want to be

wow and uh

yeah kind of i’ve learned everything i

need to learn yeah i’m just there and

that’s not healthy we we just need to be

with people who challenge us in our

thinking our lifestyle you know heidi

baker is a great example i mean i she’s

she so challenges me and how i think and

how i live and

and being with people that uh you know

in sports you don’t want to just play

basketball with somebody you’re better

than you want to play with people better

than you because you want you want your

game to improve and that’s what we need

with each other we we can really learn

from each other and just become better

better at everything there’s an

interesting thing when you leave an

environment some people think i’ve got


denounce that or


i no longer believe that or that was

terrible or that sort of deal i i don’t

understand the need to do that it’s a

bit of that cancel culture again

uh but i say to my tribe look at the

purity that i’m i’m walking in yeah

what do you want your take on that

well it’s a waste of time


we don’t think that way we don’t live

that way we don’t practice that we don’t

tell anybody else to do it they may do

it to us but it’s not going to cancel

any value we have for them as an


we you know we just try our best we try

our best to celebrate people for

the grace they have some people you know

they’re the way they were raised they

have a completely different view of

church life that’s true of life itself

of the scripture of everything

and it doesn’t mean they’re a heretic it

just means they were

they were raised to think a certain way

when this subject is brought up or when

this opportunity comes

and and if you don’t have respect for

the way they were raised you’re never

going to be able to to really it doesn’t

mean i have to approve yeah it doesn’t

mean i have to say yeah you’re right

yeah it just means yeah you were raised

in that environment

i probably would think that way too i

wouldn’t tell them that but i in my

heart i would say yeah you know if i

were raised in that denomination i

probably would think the same way you

did that makes sense

more gracious than i would would not

than i would be or was being but in some

ways yeah your ability to go that need

you have to separate like i probably get

that because

that’s how your

how your circle ran how you understood

it exactly and it is like i i don’t know

about you but when i was raised um in

some ways we weren’t sure about the pope

that potentially he was the antichrist i

mean that was partly a part of the

christian deal

my church was awesome by the way just to

be clear

i love these folks that was probably not

an awesome idea we had but it was an

awesome environment

um but yeah you can’t have suspicion

suspicion i one of our um one of our

people in our congregation went to

travel somewhere uh in uh eastern europe

or somewhere like that and was they were

a little concerned about having her

speak not because she was a woman

but because

chris valatin had actually met with the


oh interesting yeah yeah do you

christmas pope or maybe i imagine that


he was in a meeting yeah

he was yeah not personally yeah but he

was in a larger meeting yeah yeah 40 50

people some 30 people maybe with uh with

the pope yeah francis and i think spoke

highly of him and appreciatively of him

and so they were almost not going to

have her talk because of that

and uh thankfully this environment was

like listening and said tell us more

tell us what you’re thinking and they

weren’t listening for a denunciation of

the pope thankfully yeah but they were

listening for do you have the gospel of

jesus christ you know um that you’re

articulating and she articulated and

they’re like at the end they felt like a

genius having her speak and were

appreciative and it went super well but

it was an interesting litmus test that

she kind of ran into interesting like

you’re saying that sometimes you’re


in an environment or even a culture or

society that has a very big

bright line you cannot cross this bright

line yeah that’s true and so uh that

does lead to some of our separations

it does i think just understanding

another person’s perspective helps you

to be a little bit more patient you know

it doesn’t mean i’ll ever agree you know

people who are

so strongly opposed to us in certain

areas because they perceive us a certain

way it’s too much work to convince them


you know i’ll just i’ll do as best i can

and honor them but uh

um but it just understandings sometimes

helping it helps you be a little bit

more patient having some generosity and

grace in the way you’re hearing even

your critics or other people yeah right

exactly well yeah you’re a better man

than me no i’m kidding

oh yeah so

yeah so we have folks that that leave

our environment some uh just called

other places some happy some sad uh

what’s your

like what’s in your heart when people

leave our environment or leave our


mad or not it’s like

what are you thinking

um what i want them to do well

you know i want them if there was

something that we


that could improve their life i hope

that they got it

um i have no need to

address them or to speak evil of them or

to somehow hope they learn their lesson

or whatever that’s that’s that’s not in

the yeah that’s not in the in the

in the way we do it but but i’m gonna i

don’t know i’m just gonna try to honor

them the best i can my dad taught me

this very well he would uh the church

here uh you know it was 50 years ago or


went through a horrible split

and and my dad

uh treated those who i mean they were

angry and almost on the edge of violence

very very nasty he treated him with

honor and respect


it so happens that the ringleader of the


many years later his wife got very very


my dad was the one that he called to

come and to pray for her

and when she died

he asked my dad to do the funeral

oh goodness what i that you know you you

watch stuff like that happen


you know you don’t have to have a sermon

to back it up you just saw life lived in

a way that demonstrates jesus and that’s

what he did and so that’s my my ambition

my goal is to represent that approach


so that i don’t burn those bridges but

live with real honor towards people yeah

was that the

sunday i think we talked about the day

that cadillac’s left the parking lot

yeah is that that same guy

but part of that as a matter of fact it


i mean just that those these folks who

left were the wealthy and the uh and so

it’s a very it’s painful emotionally


in all these ways it was there and and

then the threat of violence even was the

menacing nature of the leaving yeah yeah

it was your daughter was kind of

manifesting it

yeah it was you know sanctuary of of uh

that would see 600 people the next

sunday was 65

65 people in that

wow empty cavern but something

you know the lord honored his


and uh

and and that’s when the whole jesus

people movement charismatic renewal all

was brewing at the same time and it just

exploded wow and it just became a


haven of rest for a lot of people

and we had something like that in 95 and

96. yes yes with the move of the holy

spirit we had about a church about 2000

or so

and then when through the move the holy

spirit was so uncomfortable to sound

that we about a thousand of our folks

went to other churches or started

another church but again that was in

your heart i remember constantly we

spoke well of them you blessed them yep

uh it was just part of your unders

the way you you handled it yeah

yeah i still talk and meet with one of

the main ring leaders he’s a good friend

ringleader’s kind of loaded phrase

i don’t know how to say it one of the



i guess that’s derogatory i think he’s a

ring leader but i understand your point


i didn’t mean it quite that way but but

you understand he is one of the one of

the individuals leading the charge yeah

and you know he’s a good friend we still

talk we’re supposed to connect here

sometime soon and yeah so it’s beautiful

so yeah there’s long time jesus

relationships that we hold on to

and you can have these disagreements uh

over the move the holy spirit or

whatever holy laughter it doesn’t mean

we’re done with each other that’s true

yeah it’s beautiful it’s been part of

the i think the grace on our house um

yeah and then to continue some of these

relationships or have them be restored

or just have them be mutually respectful

from a distance at some level yeah you


it’s interesting we’re here for each

other that’s that’s right we’re just

interesting just a

a few months ago one of our former board

members died a wonderful man but he got

real uncomfortable with the whole

movement and he left and there was no

conversation it just he just took off

and he and i sat down and had a

wonderful healing conversation

probably a month maybe six weeks before

he died wow and it was just you know

he’s home yeah he’s home and he’s with

his wife you know i mean he’s all that

heaven means he is there

but uh but i’m so thankful that the lord

gave us an opportunity somebody talked

to me and said hey you’d love to talk to

us i would love to meet with him let’s

so we set up the time and we sat down

together and he told me what he had a

problem with and i explained what

actually it was 20 years after or

something oh yeah yeah i see you but

yeah all right yeah he told me he told

me which i had no idea he told me what

he had a problem with and i i explained

he went oh he says i always wondered

about that

and it was dude asked earlier

maybe before you leave but your point is

the the reconciliation

mutual respect was was there so you can

actually have the reconciliation he he

had it that’s why he’s willing to meet

yeah and of course i i welcomed it when

i saw

uh what he was carrying oh i’m so glad i

had the chance before he died to kind of

put healing salve on that wound you know

because i had no idea