Why I No Longer Listen To Bethel Music

Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us. – Martin Luther

If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. – Albert Einsten

Music can change the world because it can change people. – Bono

The Language of My Heart

Had you told me a year ago that I would be writing this post, I would have just laughed, and then turned up my worship music. I loved the music of Bethel, Jesus Culture, Hillsong and Elevation! 

Music is, and always has been, the language of my heart. From life’s most joyous moments – to the very darkest moments – there has always been music. To say that “music is important to me” would be an understatement. 

Music was actually my “gateway” into the New Age. I loved everything about the music! It was easy to surrender to. I could quickly reach altered states of consciousness by meditating through the music. It was spiritual, calming and euphoric! 

And it is praise and worship – through song – that I feel most connected to God. I connect with Him through prayer and the reading of the Word, of course! But pouring my heart out, through music, has always been the most natural way of connecting, for me.

So, for years, I listened to – and worshiped God through – the music of Bethel and others who hold to New Apostolic Reformation (Modern Day Apostles and Prophets) doctrine. However, now that I have an understanding of what they truly believe, I no longer listen to them…and I no longer lift their music up to God, in worship.

An Honest Conversation

Last November, a friend, after reading a couple of posts about some concerns that I had about the “theology” of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, texted me and asked some questions concerning their music. This woman has a passionate heart for praise and worship (and a beautiful voice, I will add!), and I know that she wants to create music that is pleasing to God. For the last three months, as I have considered what I might write about no longer listening to the music of these bands…my mind always returned to the conversation we had through text, that day. So, that is what I am going to share, here. This is what she asked and how I responded:

Q: Hey Allison! I’ve been digging more into Bethel after seeing the videos you’ve posted in your last two blog posts and I was wondering if you think the music that’s coming out of them is being used to manipulate believers to strive for revival or really, just to manipulate believers in general.

A: Well, you just confirmed that I need to tackle the music issue (I was going back and forth on doing a post about it). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that until after Thanksgiving. 

The EXTREMELY short answer is that Bethel accepts a different Jesus, a different spirit and a different gospel* (and to be honest, it pains me greatly to have to say that). While I have issues with what is driving the motivation of the leadership, I don’t doubt the hearts of those who are writing the music. I believe the songs come from a genuine place. However, if our theology is not biblical, then how we view, and interact with (or even write songs to), God will not be biblically or theologically sound. 

For example, I would not praise my God to Mormon worship songs because they, too, worship a different God and a different Jesus. I believe we need to become more discerning when it comes to praise and worship…to move beyond how it makes us feel (or what our itching ears want to hear) and to really scrutinize the theology of it. This, of course, requires us to be in the Word (in context!). 

I do believe the leadership at Bethel is using the music to drive the “revival at any cost” movement. I believe Bill has even admitted as much. This is manipulation…whether the leadership realizes it, or not. 

Music is powerful because it is so emotional. It was actually music that drew me to the New Age in the first place…which then led to my digging deeper into the beliefs and practices. I see the same thing happening, here. 

We each need to take how we interact with their music, to God. But as for me, I have stopped listening to Bethel, Jesus Culture, Hillsong and Elevation. It’s not to say that all of the music is wrong or un-biblical or manipulative. But I want to be extremely discerning when it comes to what I am lifting up to God. 

I hope that answers your question. If you have more questions, or need clarification on anything, let me know! I know this subject is very near and dear to your heart. 

Q: Did you stop listening to all those groups because of the theology coming out of their houses?

A: Kind of. 

I’ve been researching (and doing some writing about) the infiltration of new age beliefs and practices into the western church for a year, now. I’ve come to realize that many of our churches have embraced teachings that I can’t find in the Bible (when read in context and as Scripture is used to interpret Scripture). Some churches have even embraced beliefs and practices that God specifically told us NOT to follow. That theology crosses over into the music. Even when I did worship along with some of that music, I would occasionally get a check in my spirit, but because I was so emotionally invested, I just disregarded it. I’ve now learned too much to disregard it any longer. There have been certain songs, books, preachers, teachings, etc… that I have never felt right about, but couldn’t quite explain why. As I’ve been searching the Scriptures, along with some other research, I’m now understanding why I had those checks in my spirit. 

I’m not saying that NONE of the songs coming out of those groups are theologically sound – some are probably fine. But because of the impact that I know music has on me, I don’t want to embrace any song that I haven’t taken the time to prayerfully and biblically consider. 

Here is something to think about: most people listen to worship music far more than they read their Bibles. Today’s worship songs are well done, repetitive and catchy. Not only are many in the church getting their theology from the songs, but that theology is sticking in their heads far more than any Scripture that they might be reading. Why wouldn’t the enemy attempt to attack the music of the Church? That seems like a pretty easy “in” to change people’s perception of God.

Q: Who do you listen to for worship music now?

A: I have been revisiting hymns. I’m moving very slowly when it comes to worship songs/bands. I’m learning to look into the theology of it all, instead of just leaning on how it makes me feel. 

*Bill Johnson, along with many in the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation movements, believe that Jesus set aside His divinity while here on Earth. This is known as Kenotic Theology or the Kenosis Heresy. Bill has stated that Jesus had to be “born again” and that everything He did on Earth was done as a man in right relationship with God. This view is dangerous because it sets up the possibility for the “divinity of man” or the “little gods” doctrine. The Word says, “For in Christ all the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9) Follow links at bottom of page for more information on Kenosis Theory, Little Gods Theology and the Hypostatic Union. (edited 8/9/2020)

Strange Fire

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. Leviticus 10:1 KJV

Aaron’s sons offered incense with “strange fire.” The word “strange” also means unauthorized or even profane. God found this offering so offensive that He consumed Aaron’s sons with fire – He killed them! Pause for a moment and think about that.  

[Gotquestions.org has an article explaining the meaning of strange fire that I encourage you to read: What is the meaning of the strange fire in Leviticus 10:1? (click on title for article)]

When we sing praises to God, we are lifting up a sacrifice. That is sacred and holy. I don’t know about you, but if I am going to lift up an offering of praise to the Lord, I REALLY don’t want it to offend Him! And like I said in my text above, there were times I was singing – in church, on Sunday morning – that I had a hard check in my spirit, and felt like what I was singing wasn’t sound theologically, but I did it, anyway. 

And with a broken heart, I repent.

Hard Truth

TRUTH is TRUTH, whether we agree with it, or not. And sometimes TRUTH is hard. Sometimes it demands a sacrifice.

I recently watched a video of a sermon called: “Why Our Church No Longer Plays Bethel Or Hillsong Music” It is a truth bomb, for sure! But instead of just beating up on Bethel and Hillsong, he lays down a solid foundation of Biblical truth. It’s a message that I think I will point to when people want to understand why listening to music that grows out of false theology is dangerous. This is Pastor David Henneke from First Baptist Church Kingsland. (Grab your Bible for this one!)

I am also including the testimony of Lindsay Davis. She attended the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), and was kicked out after she began sharing the Gospel and challenging the unbiblical beliefs of the leadership, there.

She covers a number of subjects, including the music. I include this video because it gives a broader picture of their beliefs and practices, as well as, how some of those beliefs and practices are New Age at their core.

Please take the time to watch the videos. They contain so much more information than what I can possibly write, here.

TRUTH, In Love

I hope it is understood that I do not share this post from any place other than love. My heart hurts for those blind to the deception that has made its way into the Church…deception that is being exported to the Church, worldwide – through things like music, books, false biblical “translations,” etc… And we receive it all with open arms! I know I certainly did!

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NIV

I do not question the passion and sincerity of those who are creating the music…just like I don’t question the passion and sincerity of those who are Mormon, JW, Scientologists, etc… But we can be passionately and sincerely WRONG if our theology does not line up with what is written in the Word of God (in CONTEXT).

I do long for revival! I would LOVE to see the masses fall on their knees in complete surrender to God! I would love for the depths of their depravity to be revealed to them, causing them to fully repent – turning from their sin and turning to the One who took on our sin and paid the debt that we owed!!

But I will not sacrifice TRUTH on the altar of “revival.” I will not lift up revival as an idol. If revival comes, it will be a move of the Holy Spirit and not a “movement” from us…no matter how much we command God to do our will.

My prayer for the Church is that we would be more discerning. That we would test the spirits. That we would ask the Holy Spirit if what we offer up to God as a sacrifice of praise and worship is pleasing to Him or if it is, indeed, strange fire. And I pray that we would always be ready to repent when correction comes. 

As always, please take what I have shared, here, to the Lord, in prayer. 

I will close with a question and a story…


The family rule was no PG-13 or R-rated movies, yet the three teenage children wanted desperately to see the newest release which was a hit with their peers. In an effort to convince their father to let them see this blockbuster, they set up a list of pros and cons. They researched and found that there were only three bad words, no explicit sex (though some implied), and the only violence was a building exploding which could be seen on TV. These teens noted that all their friends had seen it; that the movie had a great plot-line; that Hollywood’s finest actors were in it; that people at church said it wasn’t “very bad;” and that it would probably win many awards.

Their father asked to have time to think about it, and the following day, he had his reply. Calling in his teens, the father said that they could go to the movie if they would eat a brownie from the plate that he had set on the coffee table; yet he warned them that like the movie the brownies had pros and cons. The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe. And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.

The brownies only had one con. The father had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well he assured them, so they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop, and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed.

Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a “little bit of crap” and not be effected by it, then he knew they would also be able to see the movie with “just a little bit of smut” and not be affected.

What does this story have to do with what I have been talking about? Where the story talks about the rated PG-13 movie, just replace it with “popular” worship music that has been written with just a little bad theology in it. Not only should we not be consuming it… but we certainly should not be lifting it up to GOD who, make no mistake, knows exactly what the ingredients are.

Please follow links for more information on:

Kenosis Theory

“Little Gods” Doctrine

Hypostatic Union

When Theology Runs Off The Rails

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Know that you are not alone. There are many who are becoming aware of the error that is being taught in these churches and the music that comes out of them. It is hard, their music is really good, and gives you all the feel goods. But the theology is all wrong, and it is coming in through the music. Do you think it is possible they are using mysticism as well, through beats, and strobe lights that have a hypnotic effect? That is something I am looking into myself. Keep up the good fight. The Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is worth it.
    Deanna Taylor


    1. Thank you for the encouragement!!

      I do believe they are using mysticism. Bethel is admittedly open to (and promotes) New Age beliefs and practices through books such as Physics of Heaven. Bill Johnson believes his mission is to usher in revival, at any cost. In this case, it seems he is willing to sacrifice TRUTH on the altar of “revival.”

      Melissa Dougherty, along with Lindsay Davis-Knotts and Zack Knotts, break down some of the issues with Physics of Heaven here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG2GueeiBmE

      When I was in the New Age, I loved using music and meditation to help me reach an altered state of consciousness. I, oftentimes, would reach that same state during worship at church. Music is definitely an excellent way to manipulate large groups. Notice that some speakers within the NAR and WoF movements will have someone continue to play music during their “preaching.” It keeps the group in that relaxed (hypnotic) state and makes any false teaching easier to swallow.

      I don’t claim to know whether, or not, they KNOW that they are being manipulative…only God can make that call. But the fruit of what is coming out of Bethel, and churches like it, doesn’t really line up with Scripture in many cases. It breaks my heart. I pray for these leaders and their followers, especially since I used to hold to some of the same beliefs.

      I will continue to contend for the faith. Praise God that He opened my eyes. I am praying that He continues to open the eyes of those still blinded by deception. I totally agree – the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is definitely worth it! Thank you, again, for your encouragement. Grace and peace to you!


  2. Melannie says:

    Hey, i have a question. How do you know Mormons praise another God and another Jesus? What do you mean by that?


    1. Hi Melannie!

      While Mormons use a lot of the same terms that Bible-believing Christians use, the definitions of those terms vary, greatly…and oftentimes completely contradict one another. This includes their views on the nature of God and who Jesus was. Here is a link that can provide some basic insight into the differences: https://www.gotquestions.org/Mormons.html

      I have family members who are Mormon, so this subject is near and dear to my heart. I have poured over various teachings on the differences between Mormonism and Christianity. There is a lot of information available! The link that I share is a very basic (but hopefully, helpful) explanation.


      1. Adrienne says:

        I am a Mormon and I am a Christian. I appreciated reading your post, but I just wanted to add a friendly reply and let you know that the link you posted is not accurate information. It is easy to create a reality based on posting bits and pieces of things, without seeing the full picture. Mormons are 100% Christian and the Jesus we believe in is no different than the Jesus that you believe in.


  3. Ed says:

    I understand that your friend states that Bethel worship “a different Jesus, a different spirit and a different gospel.” Unfortunately, your friend, whom you trust, didn’t give me, a total stranger, any basis for that statement. Can you make it a little more clear how that is so? Maybe a back-of-the-napkin bullet point or two in how they’re foundationally different in belief from what Scripture says? I appreciate your taking the time to get into this subject. Those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth. I, too, would prefer to know the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ed,

      Thank you, so much, for your feedback! I was actually the one who mentioned that Bethel worshiped a different Jesus/different spirit/different gospel. I didn’t elaborate in the conversation I had with my friend because I knew that she had already read “When Theology Runs Off The Rails” which was a post I had written about Bethel, previously. I’m glad, however, that you brought this to my attention so that I could add the pertinent information about what Bethel believes, especially for those who haven’t read my other posts or watched any of the videos. I hope what I added provides some clarification. Thank you, again! Have a blessed day!


      1. Mom says:

        Thankyou for this article- my Aspergers son doesn’t want to attend any church now because he read this article and many others saying similar things. We go to a sound church but because they play a few different songs it’s now evil in his eyes. We have homeschooled for years and attended church our whole lives- Thankyou again for being a part in leading him astray. He loves Jesus but now will sit home- he is of adult age even though he cannot live on his own. You have taught him to not want to be a part of any church Congratulations! I should have worked and put him in public school.


  4. Peabody's Cow says:

    I attended a Baptist Church as a kid,I got saved during the Jesus Ppl movement at 18. I received the infilling of the Holy Spirit in my 40’s.in a penecostal church. The God of the Bible says it’s better to live the example rather than judge, other people. it really saddens my spirit when I see ministers in the pulpit standing in judgement of other ministers. Not one person on God’s green earth is without sin , Jesus is the ONLY person who lived a sinless life.i see in the OT God says that it’s God who gives us the power to get wealth. If we pray to get our needs met and don’t pray for increase,how then can we help those with needs.? Also the scripture say that money is a necessity. it is the currency we live with here on earth. Paul stated he had learned to be content with much or with little. if having money is evil why would God have allowed Abraham to give tithes in the bulk to Melchesedeck? You stop singing worship songs because a well-known praise leader returned to the Catholic faith. This song honored God,yet you diss it on worldly critical attitudes. You rob your own worship to God. it doesn’t seem to bother ppl to allow country music to infiltrate the church.or as stated the church has to pay royalties to the person who penned the music and lyrics. As I’ve changed through the years I have found the church and her ppl are the quickest to be condescending If ppl don’t behave,think,adhere to her ways. Literally the church is not to be there for a condemnation yet let a person in the church make a mistake or divorce the church has become #1 in majoring in the minors. Why do you think AA has little if any to do with the church? When AA first started,the church turned away ppl who could have been made whole yet instead of showing God’s love &mercy they condemned the alcoholic, the same as I see ministers who stand in pulpits condemning others instead of setting an example , reaching out to others who seem to be in error. You can’t build a building without brick, just as you can’t help others without positive input. Trashing prosperity messages proves someone has what you don’t but secretly want. The Bible does speak about money. King Solomon had enormous wealth that the Queen of Sheba was mesmerized by his wealth & wisdom .The vast amount of silver &gold that the ppl gave to build the temple I wish above all things you would be in health even as they soul prospers. Also,lay not up for yourselves treasure here on earth but lay up for your self treasure in Heaven,for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. I believe that what God did for me through Jesus,in the 3.5 yrs He was here ministering to ppl. I believe I as His disciple, should walk upright, being a conduit of His love so God’s love eminates through me to others. I believe my time is better suited living &loving as Jesus did,and as He gave His children the authority Jesus took back from satan,when He made an open show of him Jesus gave us everything we would need to do what we are called to do. We are to be Jesus’ hands &feet just as in the good samaritan,The 1st two ppl who saw were religious leaders they passed by not wanting to be involved yet a samaritan,a halfbreed by the standard then, he was willing to live his compassion to a stranger.because we are called to always be ready to give an account to others but I in no way believe we are meant to walk with a critical spirit. A church or church ppl who walk in legalism not only are quick to condemn but are very hurtful and unkind. I enjoy worship music because I direct it to God I don’t disect everything . Get a grip.
    judge not,that ye be not judged for with what judgement ye judge ye also will be judged!


  5. Kate says:

    Hi! I just wanted to know what theology/lyrics/ideologies Bethel has displayed in their music/teachings that haven’t lined up with scripture? I’m writing my senior thesis on a similar topic and am trying to find sources haha. Thank you


    1. Hi Kate,
      I apologize for only, just now, seeing this. I did not receive a notification for your comment. =(

      The links that I provide at the bottom of this post (Kenotic Theology, “Little gods” Doctrine, and When Theology Runs Off the Rails, specifically) help in breaking down the “theology” of Bethel. I will also include, here, some additional resources that I hope can be helpful in your research.

      It is easy to identify blatant falsehood but, unfortunately, this particular topic deals with deception – which is usually not so obvious and is oftentimes buried in some truth (like a wolf in sheep’s clothing). On the surface, what is being said (or sung) may sound good, and maybe even “biblical,” but when more deeply discerned, it falls short of actual biblical TRUTH.

      This is a link that helps to define what is, and is not, a worship song. https://www.pastortheologians.com/articles/2020/2/4/what-is-and-is-not-a-worship-song-a-case-study-of-raise-a-hallelujah Surprisingly, many do not give thought to what a worship song actually is.

      This link tackles using songs for worship from sources (church, individual) who base their theology on unbiblical teachings. https://www.gotquestions.org/unbiblical-worship.html

      Here is a video of Mike Winger biblically breaking down the lyrics of “Reckless Love.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79rjZLjh-cI I like his approach to addressing the concerns many have about the song. I believe he is kind, but scripturally firm, in his analysis.

      I wish that I could give a simple breakdown of songs/lyrics that are bad – and exactly why they are bad – but it is a complicated subject with many variables (and I, sadly, do not have time for that level of research and writing, currently).

      Not all of their songs are unbiblical. And even within the unbiblical songs, not all of the lyrics are wrong. Some of those lyrics may speak truth. This is where Christians need to decide what they are willing to sing, as worship. Not as a matter of preference – but choosing biblical truth over a song that makes them “feel good,” and choosing Scripture over a common “Christian” slogan that may sound biblical, but isn’t in the Bible, at all.

      I hope this is helpful! And praying you do well on your senior thesis!



  6. Rick Thompson says:

    If you look at “The Goodness Of God” and you sing it to God. How is it wrong. As it was once said eat the meat and spit out the bones. God is moving across out land. New songs are rising up.
    Yes, it is our responsibility to discern what songs we are willing to listen to and the be willing to lead the body of Christ with that song.


  7. Sarah says:

    Bill Johnson does not believe that Jesus “set aside his divinity” in so much as he ceased being God. He believes as do I bcuz the Bible says this, that Jesus, being God, chose to fully operate as a man and only rely on the Power of the Holy Spirit to do the things he did. Matthew 12:28 days If I cast out demons BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD then the kingdom of God has come upon you. So, Jesus as the ultimate example of a man walking in perfect communion with God filled with the Holy Spirit showed us what life should look like as a believer. The Bible literally says to lay hands on the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper (Mark 16). And this “little god theology” just further proves how far we as the church truly do not understand The scriptures Or the power of God (matthew 22:29). The little god theology comes from a misunderstanding of a verse Jesus quotes in John 10:35 which comes from psalm 82, in which Jesus is referring to the fallen sons of Elohim who fell during genesis 6 and became the principalities and fallen angels we know today who will now die like mere men.
    The truth is that the Pharisees and saducees accused Jesus of the very same thing, calling himself God, performing miracles by what authority and accusing him of doing through the devil. The devil ain’t got new tricks. I pray your eyes are opened to the truth.


  8. avie says:

    Hi INTHERIVERBLOG, hope you read this.
    Theology in the modern church has changed so much to allow for modern evil practices in church. and many study the bible and through away some truth which they consider old fashioned or useless according to them. Music in church is important. Hymns are good to use for worship but even them you need to choose which hymns you use. Its like every thing in Christianity has a choice. so choose the best so your mind is at peace.

    As i read your post I Noticed that you worship on Sunday. Have you ever thought about the truth behind Sunday Worship and Theology about it. I say you read and research about it like how you’ve really done a good job about Bethel Music. God says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15. God’s will is in His word, His commandments. … God is looking for people who love Him enough to obey Him instead of doing their own will. For this is where most trouble comes from. We have cast God’s commandments aside and that’s why the devil can come and stay in our churches. for if our churches had God. Why would the devil manipulate the church so much that all worship is longer directed to God.
    1John 2. 3-5 [3] And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [5] But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
    the Ten commandments include the commandment of Worshipping on God’s true Sabbath. [the Saturday sabbath]. May God show you the light as you dig more into Christian virtues.

    “To know a fake Dollar note, study the True dollar note]


  9. Sarah says:

    I searched for this answer and came across this article (below) before yours. If we go down this road, there will be nothing we can truly sing, read, listen to, watch or even purchase. I’ve been listening a lot to Justin Peters. He also says we shouldn’t sing this music. He also says prayer isn’t two way communication. That God doesn’t speak to us, not literally an audible speaking but doesn’t impress upon us, through prayer but only through his word. My point is, even Justin, who seems to teach literally by the book (Bible) says things that confuse me. So now I’m more confused than ever. On both ends of the spectrum, I find things that lead me to a lot of confusion. So I don’t know which side to believe. But if you think the hymn writers all had what you believe is sound doctrine, you may want to go thoroughly research every author of every hymn and see exactly what they believed or taught to others. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous to have to do all of that? I’m certainly not going to boycott Target because of things they support. And yes, my money goes to support those things. But we live in a fallen world. We have to do the best we can and make sure our best lines up with Gods word. A song is just a collection of words made up of letters and set to instruments. That’s it. It’s message and impact it has on your heart and it’s biblical truth is what matters. Does it allow you to genuinely worship God? You cannot worry about the rest. It is too much to ask of you as just the singer in a congregation to worry about whether your tithe is being used to buy the music and that money being used to fund Bethels “Supernatural Ministries”. And take what people say with a grain of salt-that interview with Doreen Virtue is what I’m referring to.
    You cannot track your money all around the country and the world like that. Leave that to God. Sing music that is true of His word with your whole heart and stop there. Please read another perspective down below.

    ASK BOB: “Should we sing Hillsong or Bethel music if there are doctrinal differences with those churches?”
    Written on March 1, 2020 by admin in Uncategorized
    Occasionally people ask my opinion on various personal or church issues. I recently received the following question which I have reprinted below, followed by my response.



    Recently I watched some youtube videos stating we should not use worship songs from Hillsong, Bethel, and Elevation because their churches teach some questionable doctrines. I wonder if you are familiar with the teachings of these churches and could give your opinion on this issue? I think their songs are good, but by singing these songs in worship are we supporting the wrong gospel? I would love to know the correct way to evaluate this and appreciate your wisdom.


    I am not familiar enough with all of the doctrinal positions of those who produce worship and praise music to comment on their orthodoxy. Regardless of the source, I think it is wise for worship leaders to examine the lyrics of every song to ensure it is doctrinally sound and worthy of congregational participation.

    However, if we eliminate a hymn or praise chorus because we disagree with a doctrinal position of the individual who wrote it (or the church they attend), we probably wouldn’t have many songs left to sing. I don’t agree with composer George Frideric Handel’s view on infant baptism, but that doesn’t prevent me from worshipping and humming along when Handel’s Messiah is performed at an Easter service.

    The Bible says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay.” That means God uses very imperfect people, including me, to communicate His truth. So, I think each individual song should be evaluated on the truth conveyed as well as its “singability,” not on the individual who originally wrote it or the church they attend.

    One of my favorite praise songs from Hillsong is “What A Beautiful Name It Is.” The lyrics accurately express basic Christian beliefs:

    You were the Word at the beginning
    One With God the Lord Most High
    Your hidden glory in creation
    Now revealed in You our Christ
    What a beautiful Name it is
    What a beautiful Name it is
    The Name of Jesus Christ, my King
    What a beautiful Name it is
    Nothing compares to this
    What a beautiful Name it is
    The Name of Jesus

    To refuse to sing that song because the composer’s home church holds to a doctrinal position that’s somewhat different than mine would deprive me of the benefit of expressing praise to God through a song that I find highly inspirational.

    The Apostle Paul advised those who felt it was wrong to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols, “…eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience” (1 Cor. 10:27). I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrased that verse in THE MESSAGE, “Eat anything sold at the butcher shop, for instance; you don’t have to run an ‘idolatry test’ on every item. ‘The earth,’ after all, ‘is God’s, and everything in it.’ That “everything” certainly includes the leg of lamb in the butcher shop.”

    In other words, don’t go looking for things to object to. There are enough real problems to deal with that we don’t need to search for additional issues or make a mountain out of a molehill. There may be a few dramatic exceptions, but we don’t have a responsibility to run an orthodoxy test on everyone who writes a hymn or a poem. If it is doctrinally sound in itself, sing it without feeling the need to investigate the history of the individual who wrote it.

    All truth is God’s truth and love “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6).

    – Bob


    1. bigoled says:

      Bob seems like a wise person. I can call myself a Christian, that is I have a relationship with Jesus who is lord and savior, but I’m still imperfect. If I waited to serve Him until I was perfect, then I would not serve Him this side of Heaven. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful words and Bob’s.


  10. William says:



    1. bigoled says:

      I took a very short minute to look up the men you mentioned, and aside from Bishop Wright arguing against a literal rapture, I couldn’t tell much of their theology. They seemed pretty mainstream. My question is as follows: do these gentlemen have anything to do with Bethel Music?


  11. Louka says:

    Hi ‘intheriver’ and thanks for sharing honestly and earnestly. After reading your supporting articles I respectfully disagree.

    (Btw I’m no big fan of the new apostolic Movement thing. )Sure, bethel and Hillsong sometimes get it wrong. Sometimes things can get quite exciting. Any movement or denomination must admit to imperfection: a sermon that doesn’t quite work, a song that- out of context can be misconstrued to be theologically off.
    I think the bigger issue is a theological misunderstanding. Having read a few of Bill Johnson’s books I can’t honestly say he believes that we’re little gods, (used in psalms and by Jesus to refer to rulers, spiritual and otherwise). Rather, I think it’s a misunderstanding of kingdom theology. Like covenant theology, kingdom theology is another lease to view the bigger narrative of scripture through. Have a look at George Eldon Ladd, or NT Wright. Sadly because they run afoul of traditions of the last 400 years, many of my theological heroes have even called these guys heretics. Both Fuller and Wheaton Theological colleges have had a lot to do with these men so they can’t be too bad.
    As far as Kenosis goes, again, I don’t think that accurately represents what Bill is putting out there. Instead he is yet another Christian trying to understand how Jesus (with the spirit) caused miracles to happen, and how the spirit in us will lead us to do ‘even greater things’.
    I love the impatience of Bethel and I think it’s a godly desire to ‘see all people saved’ and that none should perish. I think the truth is that we all want a revival and a reformation of our society that sees many sons and daughters come to a saving relationship with Jesus the Christ. Yours sincerely


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