Two weeks ago something quite unusal happened: Bill Johnson, pastor in Bethel Church, Redding, which is one of the most influential charismatic churches in the US, opened his Sunday sermon with publicly warning against prophetic evangelist Jason Westerfield. Westerfield has been a student at Bethel, and both he and Johnson were filmed in the amazing charismatic documentaries Finger of God and Furious Love, that covers miraculous stuff that God is doing around the globe.
Now, Johnson said, “There has actually been a spiritual deception welcomed in his life to such a degree that it’s absolutely frightening. In over 40 years of ministry, I’ve never seen one individual being able to spiritually contaminate so many in one night…. The deception is crazy, there’s a real insanity involved.”
Darren Wilson, who has made the documentaries mentioned above, comments this on his Charisma blog (which I really recommend). He says that since Furious Love he hadn’t met Jason until a brief meeting two years ago, which perplexed him:
…the longer we talked, the more my heart sank. This wasn’t the same guy I had known. In fact, he was hardly recognizable to me anymore.
I won’t get into the particulars of our meeting or what we talked about, but suffice to say that Jason steered it into very odd and bizarre territory (aliens, interplanetary travel, etc.) and the whole time I just kept thinking, “What does any of this have to do with the gospel?“
So, what should we do? Pray for Westerfield’s repentance of course, and abstain from listening to the stuff he says because it isn’t about Jesus but aliens. Now, here’s some things we should not do:
1. Don’t accuse Bill Johnson for being a bad leader who “judges” others
Some are upset that Bill publicly condemns Jason like this, but I don’t get that criticism. Johnson and other Bethel staff have clearly talked to Westerfield in private – Johnson mentions that he knows seven people who have spent at least an hour with him trying to bring him back to Jesus. If that fails, Jesus clearly says: “If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan” (Matthew 18:17). Of course, the condemnation becomes extra large since Bethel is such an internationally recognized church, but so is Westerfield’s ministry. They have clearly tried other pathways, but now they had to do this to stop the new age message of this self-claimed Christian.
2. Don’t claim that this is proof that Bethel Church teaches New Age
If Johnson would have liked new age he wouldn’t have said that what Westerfield preaches is demonic deception. Every claim about how this shows how Bethel church breeds New Age, since Westerfield was a student at Bethel, falls on the fact that Bethel Church condemns this and tries to correct him. It’s like saying that Darth Vader is proof for the jedi order training evil siths, when in fact the opposite is true.
3. Don’t flee from Jason and everything he touches with
Jesus said that we should treat those who leave the church as pagans. Now, how did Jesus treat pagans? He loved them, shared the Gospel and prayed for them. Christians who spend hours and hours on the internet warning for false prophets rarely care about the people they accuse for being demonic, they just warn people not to come in touch with them. But it’s really important now to pray for Jason and this whole situation.
As James says: “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (Jam 5:19-20)
Here’s a response to some of the comments you’ve posted down below and on YouTube 🙂
It’s official, Jason is sadly a new age consultant. Please pray for him.