Below is my response to a video posted by Apologia Studios – a Calvinist/Reformed apologetics ministry. The basic gist of the interview is that since there are “strange” things going on in the Bethel culture that it is therefore cultish at best and demonic at worst.
“Reformed folk: Jonathan Edwards himself said, “Nor are many errors in judgment, and some delusions of Satan intermixed with the work, any argument that the work in general is not of the Spirit of God” (p 103 – The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God).
I am no big fan or defender of Bethel – BUT, you are making critical assessments through the heavy filter of your “reformed” theology. For example, Your “Sola Scriptura” is a profoundly circular rationalization. Nowhere in scripture (ironically) are we taught “sola scriptura”! Instead we are taught BY SCRIPTURE that revelation of God comes to us in many ways (e.g. through the heavens – “the heavens declare the glory of God… day to day they pour forth speech” – and another, Romans 1:19 “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”). YES – scripture is profoundly authoritative – but (again) nowhere in scripture are we taught to call the Bible the “Word of God” – this equivocation is dangerous because it takes away from the reality to which scripture is a witness – and that “reality” is above all else Jesus Christ – THE WORD of God! As Jesus said, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40 ( I highly recommend a neglected book by C.S. Lewis – “Reflections on the Psalms” where he considers the question of what is the “word of God” when it comes to scripture…)
You profoundly confuse what YOU (or maybe Calvin) have to say ABOUT scripture with what scripture itself actually says. Consequentially the Bible becomes almost the 4th member of the Trinity – and no longer a witness pointing us to the real Truth and reality of God – and not merely “ideas” about God. And it leaves us wondering about all those Christians who for 1500 years had no Bible (as such) since it did not exist as a single hard-bound book prior to Gutenberg’s press.
Whenever I hear anyone say, “The Bible says…” red flags go up because what is more likely to follow is what THEY interpret the Bible to MEAN – not what it actually says….
When I was a Calvinist (for over 15 years – and 12 of those as a Presbyterian (PCA) pastor) one of the most precious truths I was taught was, “All Truth is God’s Truth”. A case in point: Acts 17 where Paul quotes twice from Greek philosophers and poets (to assert some very NON-reformed truths, BTW) – i.e. 1. God is not far from any of us – for in Him we (ALL) live and move and have our being – and, 2. We are ALL God’s “offspring” (or, as the NASB puts it, “For we also are His children.”)
Perhaps you should dig more deeply into the “cult” of Calvinism before you appoint yourselves judges of the likes of Bethel. I wonder if you, like Calvin, would have approved such “heretics” as Bill Johnson worthy of execution – as Calvin did of Servitus and many others?
Be cautious – and, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” 1 Cor. 4:5″