Bethel Church: God is Not in the Mood for Trump’s Impeachment

This White House photo was taken in December and was widely shared on social media. It depicts members of the evangelical Christian community, including at least 14 people who are closely affiliated with Bethel.

A few days ago I read an article titled God is Angry and Will Put an End to Impeachment about a recent Bethel Church sermon. Since the article was posted by Right Wing Watch, not exactly the most unbiased news source, I read it with a grain of salt. I then went to the source, clicking on the link to listen to Pastor Kris Vallotton’s sermon for myself.

I listened at double speed because I know from experience that Kris’s sermons are mostly comprised of personal anecdotes coupled with “get ‘er done” and, “are you getting this?” — two of his favorite sayings. I wasn’t wrong about the anecdotes, though disappointingly there was no “get ‘er done”. There was a whole lot of skipping from Bible passage to Bible passage, prefaced by the statement that while Pastor Kris’s sermons are all prophetic (meaning that they offer supernatural insight into the future or the unknown) this one is significantly more prophetic than usual. In fact, he tells us, it’s the direct word of God to us, a message he was instructed to give.

It was approximately 45 minutes long, but fortunately I’m slightly more direct than Kris is, so I can give you the message a whole lot more quickly and in bullet points:

  • We are in a sovereign moment in time when we are to follow God unquestioningly.
  • Do not go against God in the sovereign times (some people died when they did so).
  • God says that every tongue that accuses Trump will be condemned.
  • God will step into the impeachment process and bring it to a close.
  • God will give Trump another term.
  • Don’t resist God’s will in this or he will be angry (some people died when they did so).

While these bullet points may appear political, Kris was quick to preface some of his most partisan statements with the words, “This is not about politics.”

This is not about Republicans or Democrats . . it’s time to step up and have our loyalty to the Kingdom. If you have a political spirit you will miss this . . . moment.”

Meaning, I infer, that if your politics differ from the ones espoused in this sermon you have a political spirit, are disloyal to God’s Kingdom, and have missed God’s moment. And remember now, this isn’t Mr. Vallotton’s message, this is God’s message.

You don’t want to be the one resisting a movement,” Kris said, sounding as if he was about to cry with the intensity of his words. “When a dad gets angry, a good dad, you don’t want that. There is something about finding the mood of God and adjusting for it.” My children know what I mean, he said, sounding both apologetic and ominous.

That kind of fathering sounds like dysfunctional enabling and codependency to me, but I haven’t found a Bible verse to back up my opinion, so let’s move along.

Mr. Vallotton’s personal politics and values were pretty clear from his mention of “the mutilation of transgender children” paired with statements about “strengthening the hands of those who do evil”. “The church can no longer embrace wickedness” Vallotton said. “We want sinners to come to church, but there is a big difference between embracing sinners and normalizing sin.”

At times he paused, obviously for applause, which was weak, prompting him to ask: “Are you guys OK?” — another of his favorite sayings, intended to inspire stronger audience applause next time he pauses. I know Mr. Vallotton probably doesn’t intend to manipulate his audience this way, but it does seem to come to him very naturally.

The audience laughed weakly, trying their best. As someone who has heard many Bethel sermons, it’s obvious from this laugh track that the crowd is not on board with Kris’s message, though from the occasional cheers I think it’s safe to assume he has some strong supporters there.

“They’ve switched off Bethel TV by now,” Kris said, likely in acknowledgement of his subdued audience and in reference to the fact that the church tends not to televise its more controversial messages. But he continues on, unfazed. After all, a prophet is merely the voice piece of his God.

“This is a sovereign moment,” Kris said.

When used as a noun, sovereign means “a supreme ruler” as an adjective, someone or something possessing supreme or ultimate power. Truly a telling word to use in a sermon designed to reinforce the power of Trump. And that was the intent of this message: to declare in the voice of Bethel’s leading prophet, that God stands with Trump, and we must, too.

If this is not campaigning for the sitting president, I’m not sure what else it is. Certainly, there is no purpose in this message, other than to instruct the audience what their views on Trump and impeachment should be, unless it could be construed instead as a warning to save those opposed to Trump, or in support of his impeachment, from the sudden death inflicted on biblical characters who failed to recognize the will of God.

According to the IRS, non-profits, including churches, are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office”. So I hope the IRS is watching this church with $60 million in income, 10,000 local attenders, and both a national and international television presence as it promotes a sitting president’s next victory as the very will of God, instructing their sheep that to resist Trump is to anger God himself and risk death. Because if the Johnson Amendment was made for anything at all it was made for moments such as this.

I guess that’s why at a recent Presidential prayer breakfast Trump vowed to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.”

Allow churches to campaign for him, he means. But not to worry, Bethel is already doing so.

###

(Editor’s note: Pastor Kris Vallotton did not respond to Thursday’s request for comment.)

Editorial Note: This article was updated at 8:10 am on December 21, 2019 for readability and accuracy. A previous version of the article that stated that Mr. Vallotton did not know the meaning of the word sovereign was incorrect. The word he references in his sermon as not knowing is “providence.” The title of the sermon referenced in this article is “Sovereign Providence”. A Bible verse reference has been deleted as it does not appear to be accurate. A reference to the exact timing of audience laughter has also been edited. Corrections have been made to the spelling of Mr. Vallotton’s name.

Annelise Pierce
Annelise Pierce is fascinated by the intersection of people and policy. She has a special interest in criminal justice, poverty, mental health and education. Her long and storied writing career began at age 11 when she won the Louisa May Alcott Foundation's Gothic Romance short story competition. (Spoiler alert - both hero and heroine die.) Annelise welcomes your (civil) interactions at AnnelisePierce@anewscafe.com

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96 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Oh dear. And seemingly intelligent people are in step with this used car salesman. Feathers and glitter must affect gray matter.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Did someone inside the mothership come to realize that feathers and glitter are probably traceable back to their point-of-purchase and manufacturing origins? I haven’t heard of that supernatural phenomenon occurring in quite some time. It almost seems that if you didn’t see it way back when, you missed the boat—kinda like the former nightly firefall off of Yosemite’s Glacier Point.

  2. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Fascinating, well-written article. Thank you Annelise.

    I’ve run across articles on this subject all over the country, so I doubt it’s escaped the attention of the IRS. Unfortunately, given the pandering of the current administration to this extremist religious element, I doubt any action will be taken. Perhaps when we have a sane (Democratic) president, he or she will create an Office to give these law-breakers the attention they deserve.

  3. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I have no idea how Bethel is set up, governmentally. I do know that ordinary non-profits have boards that exist to ensure that the organization stays on mission—that’s the job description. But that said, many non-profits have boards made up of toadies, glad-handers, stooges, lickspittles, doormats, brown-nosers, trained seals, flunkies, lackeys, and close friends and relatives whose sole purpose is to say “aye.” I imagine Bethel is set up like that, but I’m just guessing.

    I bring that topic up because, knowing many young Bethelites personally, I can’t imagine them putting up with this intellectually clumsy, backwoods-rube, used car salesman blowhard forever. The ones I know are too intelligent and well-educated to fail to recognize this for what it is: A grotesquely obvious ploy to get everyone in the church in line with Rube #2’s (and presumably Rube #1’s) politics, using the demand of absolute obedience, because see, he’s just channeling God. Disobey at risk of DEATH!

    I mean, Jesus God. How could any reasonably intelligent human being see it as anything else? If Bethel is set up such that the young leaders could bounce this buffoon, I’d say it’s inevitable. But I’m not holding my breath, because I doubt it’s set up that way.

    I’m fascinated by the psychological underpinnings of the megachurch phenomenon. As I’ve said many times, I understand the appeal of the big-group dynamic. I’ve compared it with attending sporting events or concerts with thousands of other people—the personal ecstatic experience multiplied by the frenetic or even frenzied crowd.

    But man, I DO NOT understand the blind obedience to these hayseed hucksters. Daddy issues? Fugifiknow.

    Oh, by the way, has anyone else noticed that Bill Johnson seems to prefer to keep his hands clean? Seems like it’s always Vallotton delivering the weird news that could blow up in their collective face. Bethel appears to be set up such that, should something like this spin out of control, Vallotton is tailor-made to be kicked into the path of the oncoming bus. If I were Kris, I’d watch my backside.

    • Avatar Annelise says:

      Steve, for more information on how Bethel is set up see some of my other articles which I have linked here. Bottom line: they manage themselves. Senior leaders are also head of the board.

      https://anewscafe.com/2019/07/11/redding/the-really-big-business-of-bethel-part-2-whos-in-charge/

      https://anewscafe.com/2019/05/13/redding/the-really-big-business-of-bethel-church-part-1-show-us-the-money/

      The problem with accepting that people hear directly from God is that it becomes difficult to argue with them. In fact this is the problem with much of Christianity in my opinion, whether it is a direct word from God or interpretation of scripture, both are subject to our personal biases. It is this kind of religion that has been used to harm others throughout history.

      • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

        It is difficult to communicate with religious zealots. They have a common trait with trump believers.

        Must be the lies, myths, the capitalist desires, pent up hypocrisy, …., that attract people to go all in like this.

    • Steve, just as you are the one who created the term “the Bethel effect” – I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone make the distinction between BJ and KV as succinctly as you do here. (…with KV being seen as more the ” intellectually clumsy, backwoods-rube, used car salesman blowhard…” as opposed to BJ as the guy who keeps his hands clean.

      As I’ve shared here before, I grew up in Bethel, and my impression of the elder pastor Earl Johnson, and now, his son, Bill, is of kind and Godly men. For the life of me, I cannot figure out where Bill became derailed and allowed himself to be on the current Bethel path, but I absolutely do not see BJ and KV as cut from the same cloth. I’ve watched videos where KV does his female impersonating and outrageous stuff, and you can see Bill in the background, kind of laughing, as someone might at a goofy little brother, who, as my foster dad would say, “Just don’t know no better …” It’s a puzzle made up of distinctions, and I believe you’re right that KV would be the most expendable one.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        An older friend also went to Bethel when Earl Johnson was pastor. Friend also hired Bill when Bill was a high school student. Friend agrees entirely with you, Doni: where and when did Bill become derailed.

      • Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

        My son attended Bethel when Earl and Darlene Johnson were pastors. I knew them and I highly approved of their youth group which kept my son busy playing in the church band along with other youth activities. I thanked God for their influence every day. It was a youth outreach, family friendly, community minded church. I echo Beverly’s sentiment: “where and when did Bill (Johnson) become derailed?”

    • Avatar Boojum14 says:

      Well said.

      But Johnson too sometimes weighs in on funky stuff. Here is a quote from the current version of the “resurrection” article in the R-S: https://www.redding.com/story/news/2019/12/17/bethel-family-seeks-bring-daughter-back-life-through-prayer-song-and-praise/2676273001/

      “Bethel Pastor Bill Johnson posted a video on Facebook on Tuesday night, explaining the church’s involvement in the attempt to resurrect the child.

      “We have a biblical precedent. Jesus raised the dead,” Johnson said in the Facebook post.

      He said there was no time limit on how much longer the prayers and singing would continue, but added that the child remained at the county coroner’s office.”

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        See, I read Johnson’s remarks as cautionary. He’s basically saying, “All things are possible with God, so we’re giving it a shot. People have been resurrected before—it can happen again.”

        That’s a far cry from watching two strikes go over the plate, then pointing at the center field bleachers. He’s left himself lots of wiggle room.

        Johnson probably should have referenced Lazarus as the precedent, not Jesus….but who am I to argue? He’s the prophet.

        • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

          Steve (who is not the prophet) -I promised myself to stay out of this. However, when you mentioned Lazarus as the (better) precedent, well, I can’t stop laughing, Guess he’s not fashionable these days?
          Just saying…without you on this ANC site, and a few others, for me, I wouldn’t engage. It’s that time of the season to express appreciation? Anyway, thank you for your insight, humor, and being accountable with the research. Merry X-Mass?

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Some people hypothesize that Kris Vallotton is actually a true believer (although I believe he clearly suffers from delusions), while Bill Johnson is a very deliberate prosperity gospel scam artist.

        I agree that KV is likely being used to get Bethel’s message out, so that BJ can appear to be more dignified and “godly”.

      • Well, yeah, you’re correct that BJ participates in and talks about some “funky” stuff, to, including grave sucking and the whole glitter and raising people from the dead, and the whole glory glitter cloud and feathers era (Steve’s right that both seemed to have ceased. Have I mentioned lately that ANC will give a reward for any credible proof that Bethel was supplying the feathers and glitter, which has always been my suspicion.)

        I’m going to digress for a moment and talk about the raising of the dead topic. Here’s what I’ve never understood: If someone truly believes everything that happens is God’s will, and God has a plan, and his eye is on the sparrow, then why do some believers come undone and try to pray someone back to life, or even pray for a healing, of say, cancer? If you believe it’s God will, why should our prayers change anything? And if you believe in heaven, then why would we be so selfish to prevent our dying loved one from being there in that heavenly place, rather than being down here in the land of pain and suffering?

        • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

          Doni, dear, you’ve captured my thoughts exactly. I’ve always questioned prayer circles for the very reasons you have stated. If God is all-knowing, He/She is already aware of how people feel about a subject and has made up His/Her mind about the outcome. Fervent but answered prayers are just going to make those who are praying feel rejected.

          • Avatar Annelise says:

            Doni and Beverly. Bethel church’s theology is that we are partners in bringing heaven to earth. In heaven there is no death or sickness, so on earth there should also be none. Adherents to this theology believe that God deliberately restrains himself in such a way that we can partner with him to create positive change in the world. By aligning our hearts and our prayers with the possibility of resurrection or healing we are creating the movement needed to activate the kinds of miracles that Jesus has already paid for with his death. In many ways this is a very reassuring theology which creates more positive action and less fatalism than other branches of Christianity.

          • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

            Oops. That was suposed to be UNaswered prayers.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Prosperity gospel churches like Bethel focus almost exclusively on “miracles” (and almost nothing else “Christian”) because that’s what brings in the money. Desperate, gullible people who are seeking a magical solution to all their problems make easy marks for these charlatans.

        • Avatar Brian Marker says:

          You have simplified this thing referred to as the gospel, the good news, to one useful and convenient spoke on a wheel filled with hundreds, dare I say thousands, of spokes. The gospel, if you believe it as I do, was given to us from Jesus, the only perfect One of us flawed humans.. He stated several times, “go out into all the world, make disciples; heal the sick, raise the dead”. This same gospel says we can be transformed and in fact are transformed and dare I say, resurrected from our old life into a new life, dead to sin and alive to God. When you simplify it down to believing it’s God’s will and therefore we have no say in the outcome, you have completely and utterly missed the point of believing in God. He is a loving God, so loving in fact, that He knew from there beginning that hugs creation must be given free will, the option of choosing God of our own free will, by faith; so that he can then put himself into us. Then we get the priceless priveledge of partnering with the God of the universe to do His will, which is to Heal the sick, Raise the dead, make disciples… That’s why we pray, knowing full well He’s in charge. And I commit to Praying for you, and if I get there chance, to buy you a cup of coffee and listen to your story…

  4. Avatar Rob Belgeri says:

    Granted, the version of US history taught since white former Europeans began writing the script is not long on the full story. However, as was emphasized by many during the presidential administration immediately preceding this one–and who were opposed to I–those who advocated and fought for the establishment of this nation weren’t much in favor of sovereign anything. “Sovereign” connotes monarchy, and not very subtly, either. Slathering monarchy with a religionist patina doesn’t obviate establishment intent: to create three equally powerful branches of government, two of which exist so the third does not evolve/devolve into a deviant hybrid of King George III and King David.

  5. Avatar Kathy says:

    Wow. Perhaps I’m reading too much into his rhetoric, but he was right about a “sovereign moment”. Trump wants to be king and behaves as if he is. Apparently the pastor feels the same way.
    He also made thinly“veiled threats” : “Do not go against God in the sovereign times ( some people died when they did so). All you need is just ONE of his followers to hear this or read it and decide to make things “right” for god and their pastor” . In my world, this alone should be reason enough to revoke their non profit status. The book of Isiah reference is a stretch in that it can be interpreted anyway one chooses and the pastor has stretched it to the limit.
    This is dangerous.
    This is not a church.
    He is not a pastor.
    He is a cult leader.
    What came to mind as I read this was David Koresh and all the other cult leaders.
    What came to mind was the slaughter of innocents at the behest of a false prophet/preacher.
    This is NOT religion.

    At the very least the IRS needs to be alerted.
    City, county state and federal agencies must monitor this group and their “pastor” closely.
    This is scary.

    • Avatar Kathy says:

      Thank you, Annelise.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Not to quibble, but you and I have very different understandings of the meaning of “thinly veiled.”

      Don’t find yourself on the wrong side, resisting—God might decide to kill you. So sayith the Prophet Vallotton.

      Nothing subtle about that. Pretty explicit, in my mind. Concerning because it just takes one wack-job to decide they’re the right hand of God.

      • Avatar Kathy says:

        Steve.. I just toned it down a bit. I think this guy is nut. So, yes.,it may be a direct threat.
        I too, am amazed that people follow.
        Give me all your money and possessions and I will guarantee your salvation?
        Huh?
        Hayseed hucksters? Slick snake oil salesmen? False prophets.
        What the heck is lacking in people’s lives that they are so easily led? I’ve asked this questions for years.
        Obviously, I’m not just talking religion here.

      • I have two words for you: Williams brothers.

    • Avatar Anita Lynn Brady says:

      Bethel meets the criteria of CULT. Sadly, those located in Redding seem to be OK with this entity taking over so many aspect of our community without so much as a whimper. “Bethel are such nice people.” “They seem like the want to help the city.” “They bring commerce to our area.”

      Meanwhile, they preach hate about so many minority groups, they use the Seven Mountain Mandate as their guide to “consuming” the community and call us “haters” when we question or push back against their methods. No, Bethel are not nice people. They are perpetuating and financing the insidious takeover. No, Bethel do not want to help the city; they want bribe to get their way, they want to install themselves in positions of power within the city and they want to take it over. Winter and Vallotton have both written about this- Remaking Redding into their vision of what God would do. No, they may bring commerce here, but they have also exacerbated the housing crisis and driven up rental prices which leaves many homeless or financially worse off.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Anita – Well said. Bethel leader Bill Johnson has also written books on world religious domination, and Bethel’s “Expansion Mandate” and other writings clearly state that its goal is to “infiltrate” and “take over” everything locally, in order to make Redding a world-wide example of how to turn an entire city into its version of a theocracy.

  6. Avatar Katie says:

    The teary breakdowns, and the threats to “get out of the way” were an interesting touch to this over the top “sermon”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I also can’t believe I just bought a record player in 2019, I wonder if God told Kris 30 years ago that turntables would be popular again in 2020? Great article!

  7. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    BTW – Just to the left of Trump in the photo above is Bethel leader Bill Johnson’s son and daughter-in-law, and the Bethel member who is running for Congress in the 3rd District. That these God-in-government Dominionist fanatics have the ear of the president is scary as hell. Yet another good reason to vote this demented criminal OUT.

  8. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Unless I’m off the track, Kris Vallotton is not an ordained pastor, just the heavy-hitting spokesperson for Johnson and Company. I wonder if God’s message came to him while he was driving one of his $100,000 vehicles or when he was overlooking the Sacramento River from his penthouse office ? Yes, it’s a matter of time this Elmer Gantry is tarred and feathered on the stage of the Bethel rented Civic Auditorium. Where, as a matter of fact, they sell copius amounts of beer & wine and let their event attendees get sloppy drunk, this coming from a first hand witness.

  9. Annelise, few people can write about this topic with as much heart and knowledge as you do, though I can only imagine the price you pay with regard to potential risk to some of your friendships and connections. Thank you.

  10. Avatar Jenni says:

    The good news is that Mr. Vallotton might be their loosest cannon and very well the one that brings them down or causes them to check themselves. I am still wondering why no one has questioned his prophesy that ‘everyone will get new cars’ in the year after the fire….oh yeah, maybe because he still has 11 days to make that come true.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Easily explained away with a just-so story: Those who put their faith in the prophecy now have their new cars. Everyone else can hold their thumbs and forefingers to their foreheads in the shape of an “L” (for loser) because they didn’t believe hard enough.

      That’s pretty much how prosperity gospel works. It’s all a posteriori (after the fact, backward-reasoned) hand-waving nonsense. Oh, you got rewarded? You must have done right in the eyes of the Lord. Oh, you didn’t get rewarded? You must have failed in the eyes of the Lord.

      It’s also how the higher-ups confirm their righteousness. After all, they’re rich.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Or – more likely – they didn’t pour enough of their hard-earned money into Bethel coffers.

        Also, Bethel is exploiting this little girl’s death by trying to raised $1,00,000.00 through a GoFundMe page (it was more than halfway to that goal yesterday). This vast amount of money is obviously not for hospital bills, since she passed away suddenly at home.

        If any of this money winds up in church coffers (and by extension in the pockets of Bethel leaders), I believe Bethel’s leadership should be prosecuted for exploiting this family’s suffering to run yet another financial scam.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      Perhaps he’ll go back to selling cars in those 11 days. The Prophet’s profit and prophesy in one fell swoop.

      • I’m feeling kind of bad that it might appear aspersions are being cast upon car sales people. Not so.

        • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

          According to other comments here, KV’s job prior to becoming a prophet was selling cars. I was referring to him and him only in my comment.

          As an aside, when we purchased our most recent car in 2015, the 2016 model had just come out. The salesman had done a truly great job of defining all the reasons the 2016 was superior to the 2015, and we were sold on it. A red 2016 had to be delivered from Sacramento, and as we were chatting about its arrival time, a manager came out offering a helluva deal on one of a different color on the lot. It sounded great – until my husband noticed that the car being offered was a 2015 not a 2016. The manager had conveniently skipped over that small detail. That particular car company does an after-purchase survey; so since I was really ticked about the bait-and-switch attempt, I described what happened. He was no longer there when I went back for service on the 2016.

        • Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

          Only car salesmen that douse their cars with copious amounts of snake oil!

  11. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    As I’ve previously written, the Johnson Amendment has not been enforced for decades. In fact, various evangelical leaders have purposely broken the amendment in an effort to drag it into court and challenge it on 1st Amendment grounds. The IRS and the feds have so far refused to take the bait, because they’re concerned the evangelicals will prevail in court. If they were to prevail, it would change the rules for political participation not just for churches, but for all nonprofit institutions. The Johnson Amendment was originally aimed at these nonprofit institutions, particularly those with a socialist bent. The powers that be don’t want these institutions to have political power, so they will continue with this facade, and creatures like Vallotton will continue to exploit this lack of law enforcement.

  12. Avatar Bob says:

    I foresee smoke and mirrors and some type of high tech trickery to fool the sheep into believing
    Baby Olive has been Resurrected from the dead.

  13. Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

    How long can a deceased body be kept refrigerated before the prayer is determined ineffective?
    By the way.
    Every day this little girls body lays in state at our county office is another day we tax payers are paying for this cults nonsense.

  14. Avatar Anita Brady says:

    “Since the article was posted by Right Wing Watch, not exactly the most unbiased news source, I read it with a grain of salt.”
    Since Right Wing Watch most often posts items that link to the rhetoric that the professed rightwinger spew, I am surprised by your comment. You never post a direct “they were right” to this comment, when it seems that the Vallotton garbage is as bad (or worse) that the site portrayed.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Norman Lear’s Right Wing Watch is not only extremely left biased, it also has a history of publishing fake news like “Melania hired an exorcist”

      https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2018/feb/19/yournewswirecom/fake-news-claims-melania-trump-hired-exorcist-clea/

      If Right Wing Watch targeted/ridiculed radical Islamic leaders the way it does Christian leaders, I’m sure the SPLC would list it as an anti-Muslim hate group.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Tim,

        Fortunately there are a vast number of other websites and media sources that have carried this story (complete with the video of this sermon as proof).

        And Kris Vallotton went far beyond any “line”. He basically said that people who don’t support God’s chosen (Trump), and/or who are in favor of impeachment, risk being struck dead by God.

    • Avatar Annelise Pierce says:

      Anita: If I was a conservative, a site named “Right Wing Watch” would certainly not feel like a valid news source. Their bias is written into their title, right? This does not necessarily mean that they get many things wrong and I did not use the term bias to imply that they are intentionally unfair. I linked to the article out of respect for hearing the information there first. More about Right Wing Watch: https://www.rightwingwatch.org/about/

  15. Avatar Tim says:

    If you listen to the sermon I don’t think it is quite as cut & dry as presented. KV acknowledges that he had a period of 10 years where none of his prophesies came true and that even today he has difficulty making sense of what he sees/dreams. He also seems to imply that everyone else is capable of receiving their own prophesies.

    As far as the Johnson Amendment goes, KV seems to do a pretty good job of skirting right up to the line without going over. He never endorses, nor directly tells the congregation to vote for Trump. He keeps the political framed within the religious: ‘I had a prophecy that Trump will win in 2016’ and ‘I had a prophecy that Trump will make it through a messy impeachment…’

    At a different point in the sermon he rambles on about how sometimes God allows free will and sometimes He takes control in “sovereign moments” and how KV prophesies that we are entering one of those sovereign moments where you must follow God.

    None of that is an endorsement or intervention in a campaign – it is the telling of a religious prophecy. It comes close, but I would not be surprised if an attorney for Bethel reviewed a draft before clearing the sermon.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      He says Trump is POTUS because it’s God’s will.

      He tells is followers that if they stand against Trump, they’re standing against God’s will. God might kill them for it.

      I don’t know….it’s hard for me to imagine a more ringing endorsement to vote for Trump.

      (Short of: “Vote for Trump or I will eat your heart. Before you die, I will put your children to the knife, so that you will know your seed is wiped out forever.” Apologies to Magua of “Last of the Mohicans.”)

      • Avatar Tim says:

        “He tells is followers that if they stand against Trump, they’re standing against God’s will. God might kill them for it.”

        Maybe I zoned out during that section, but I don’t recall anything that explicit. What is the timestamp?

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        Great movie and great scene.

    • Avatar Annelise says:

      Tim I almost entirely disagree with your comments above and welcome all to listen to the sermon and think for themselves. It is linked in my article.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        Here is the link directly: https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmV0aGVsLnR2L2VuL3BvZGNhc3RzL3Nlcm1vbnMucnNz&episode=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmV0aGVsLnR2L2VuL3BvZGNhc3RzL3Nlcm1vbnMvZXBpc29kZXMvNDc4&hl=en

        And here is my original post broken down into statements with the corresponding time stamps from the sermon:
        ——-

        KV acknowledges that he had a period of 10 years where none of his prophesies came true (~5:15)

        and that even today he has difficulty making sense of what he sees/dreams. (24:00)

        He also seems to imply that everyone else is capable of receiving their own prophesies. (23:55)

        As far as the Johnson Amendment goes, KV seems to do a pretty good job of skirting right up to the line without going over. He never endorses, nor directly tells the congregation to vote for Trump. He keeps the political framed within the religious: (~35:00-45:00) ‘I had a prophecy that Trump will win in 2016’ (39:45) and ‘I had a prophecy that Trump will make it through a messy impeachment…’ (40:20)

        At a different point in the sermon he rambles on about how sometimes God allows free will and sometimes He takes control in “sovereign moments” and how KV prophesies that we are entering one of those sovereign moments where you must follow God. (6:20 – 22:45)

        None of that is an endorsement or intervention in a campaign – it is the telling of a religious prophecy. It comes close, but I would not be surprised if an attorney for Bethel reviewed a draft before clearing the sermon. ( “I have been sharing it behind the scenes 24:45)

        ——-
        I’d also point out that KV didn’t ask “Are you guys OK?” after the applause you described as weak. (29:50) He asked that 2-1/2 minutes later when transitioning to Nebuchadnezzar

        The first mention of Trump is 37:20. The last (as a “him”) is at 41:20

        • Avatar Annelise Pierce says:

          Tim: thanks for your reference to the location of audience applause. I listened to the message again and you are correct. The article has been edited with an editorial note added.

    • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

      Difficulty understanding his own visions and dreams”

      Sounds like the anointed one is a mere mortal.

  16. Avatar Dan says:

    Another interesting read Annalise, thank you. I wasn’t aware Bethel considered themselves prophets. Wow. How did they miss all the “signs” and “handwriting on the wall” (from residents and state agencies) of the potential CARR fire?

    P.S. The IRS has taken a back seat to investigate politicized religions for a number of years. Meanwhile, California has jumped into the front seat on this issue, in the neverending search for more revenue. They have even gone after the slumbering YMCA. Contact: http://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/formspubs/pub160.pdf

    • Avatar Annelise Pierce says:

      Dan: Bethel adherents believe in the five fold leadership model. This ministry model espouses that there are five positions of leadership in the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. According to those who believe this theology, every christian has one of these callings. Some are called to be leaders over others with these callings. At Bethel Church Bill Johnson in the senior apostle of the movement while Kris is the senior prophet. Here is a link to a test you too can take to find your gifting. 🙂 https://www.fivefoldministry.com/static/learn-about-the-five-fold-ministry

      Yes, a reference to the Johnson Amendment wasn’t going to get me far. I will be checking out the link you’ve shared here. Thank you.

  17. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Fleecing of the Sheep…what a sham and what a shame. The Golden Arches will fall down around them; leave now before the curtains are opened and expose the real Wizard.

  18. Avatar Kirsten says:

    Annelise…..every time I read your articles, I realize how well you fit into this “hole”.
    Thank you for enlightening me…..again.

  19. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Some have indicated this $100,000 Gofund account is to pay medical and other costs to the family. But the comments of those who have actually donated to this fund clearly expect this child to be resurrected #wakeupOlive. More than a few have predicted this child will be resurrected on December 31st.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Bruce,

      The little girl passed away at home without warning (I believe from sudden infant death syndrome). There were no hospital bills or medical costs to speak of. There’s really no indication of what this vast amount of money is for or where it’s going.

      I suspect a good portion of this money will just go into Bethel coffers, in which case this would be just another of Bethel’s money-making scams.

      • Avatar Dan says:

        Patrecia, what source states “she passed away without warning?” I am unfamiliar with their beliefs regarding prayer vs medical treatment for children. I remember a past lawsuit in Redding regarding delayed medical response because members wanted to pray before calling 911 a few years ago. Been some recent court cases in Oregon I believe. Can anyone shed some light on this?

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Dan,

          They aren’t giving out any details other than that the little girl stopped breathing unexpectedly at home in her sleep. There’s no indication that she was ever ill.

          Given Bethel’s practices and history it would be easy to believe that something nefarious is going on, but there’s no evidence that’s the case here.

        • Avatar Tim says:

          RPD confirmed the autopsy has been done, that there was nothing suspicious so far, that the cause of death has yet to be officially determined, but that the investigation is not over and it may take a month.

  20. Avatar Carla Clark says:

    Has anyone read Under The Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer? This is a nonfiction account about people who also believed they had a direct line to God. It is a dangerous belief.

  21. Avatar Randy says:

    ” Everyone take a knee, bow your heads and repeat after me, climate change is a hoax!, Climate change is a hoax!, Climate change IS a hoax!. In the name of God and Trump climate chnage is a HOAX!!!”

    • Avatar Tim says:

      The end is nigh! Or in 7 years! Maybe 12! Or it could be 20! But the end is Nigh! Repent of your carbon guzzling gluttony and embrace the new lord Sol!

      But wait, there’s more! If you convert to solar now we’ll throw in lithium ion batteries that don’t harm the environment… much… that we know of right now.

      Hucksters indeed…

  22. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    My first post on the Johnson Amendment apparently didn’t go through, so here it is again. LBJ wrote it back in the 1950s, not to stop churches from politicking, but all nonprofit organizations, especially those with progressive values. Height of the McCarthy era. Anyway, all churches are included under the law, but in the past two decades, the Johnson Amendment has rarely been enforced. In fact, activist evangelical pastors, including BJ and KV purposefully cross the line in the hopes of sparking a prosecution by the IRS so they can drag it into court on 1st Amendment grounds. The Feds are worried they’ll lose such a case, unleashing the power of all nonprofit organizations, not just churches. That is why the Johnson Amendment is not enforced. This has very interesting implications.

    • Avatar Annelise Pierce says:

      R.V. Do share more on the interesting implications. I know we’d all like to learn. What are your thoughts on whether the Johnson Amendment should be enforced?

  23. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    When it comes to IRS checking tax evasion Bethel must be small potatoes. The Mormon Church’s investment fund, $100 billion, has been flagged by a whistleblower who is seeking the IRS finder’s fee for tax evasion. Where is Bethel’s whistleblower? The outcome, if it even goes forward, could point the way for Bethel IRS audits.

  24. Avatar Common Sense says:

    “The church can no longer embrace wickedness” Valloton said.

    Yep, well neither can these folks!

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/19/us/christianity-today-trump.html

    So tell us Dear Anointed one Mr. Valloton, Does God not love the Christian Today Followers? Or did God say they were just too far left for him to love?

    • Avatar Annelise Pierce says:

      Common Sense: It’s an interesting time when some are stating that all Christians must oppose Trump while others are stating that all Christians must support him since God is the one who wants him in power. Personally I think we are best off sharing our personal convictions including the moral and or religious basis for those convictions without telling other people what God requires them to do, because I’m convinced that we have a tendency to remake God in our own image. And that means when we speak for him we have a tendency to tell other people to look more like us.

  25. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Excellent article Annelise. You took the work out having to sift the actual words and message away from the emotion, tone of voice and body language that captivate so many people.
    What can be done to spur the IRS into at least investigating this blantent disregard for the Johnson Amendment?

    • Avatar Annelise Pierce says:

      Joanne thanks for your note. As some have pointed out, I have shortened and simplified the message. I did so in order to attempt to capture the most important parts of the message as well as the feeling you’re left with after listening to it. I also wanted to pain a picture of Mr. Vallotton’s personality and tone and the way it impacts the listener.

      Although I unintentionally failed to post my usual disclaimer, I am a graduate of Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry and a former member of Bethel Church. This offers me some unique insight into these issues.

      I await RV’s instructions on how we might best move forward from here, see his comment above. 🙂

  26. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Again, I call for the City of Redding Attorney and City Manager to cut the ties with Bethel and the Civic Auditorium. A lawsuit is only minutes away based on any simple action at one of the concerts or BSSM activities. I recently went to a concert with my granddaughter at the Civic and the entire front row was slobbery drunk, a concert aimed for children. I complained at intermission and nothing was done about it. Beer & wine concession line was a mile long, folks carrying it back to their seats, spilling all over the floor board. Apparently this is an OK thing with Bethel leaders. Bethel has the City duped into thinking if they give a few million dollars here and there, they can do whatever they want. Same with the Chamber leaders. Time to back away from this trap.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Urban Prophet,

      What’s missing from your link is that Bethel leaders only believe it’s OK to be gay if the person behaves as though he or she is straight – no intimate gay relationships, no gay sex, etc. They still consider actually living a normal life as a gay person an “abomination”.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      This is nothing new. Bethel has always held that God loves you if you’re LGBTQ+. It’s okay to *feel* that way. You’ll notice that they’re not saying it’s okay to *act* on those feelings—that remains a sin.

      I don’t want to call it weasel-wording….but it’s weasel-wording.

      • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

        One of the reasons that Bo Burnham’s song “From God’s Perspective” struck a chord with me is this line.

        “You make my job a living hell
        I sent gays to fix overpopulation
        And boy, did that go well”

  27. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Interesting development – Bethel has apparently hired a celebrity “crisis manager” to help it overcome all the bad international publicity it got around its efforts to raise the child who died:

    https://pulpitandpen.org/2019/12/21/bethel-church-hires-lindsay-lohan-crisis-manager-over-dead-baby-controversy/?fbclid=IwAR0al2ndR_D4qrgA70gUfVL5YVUqBBu9dPd6MV6KPRAw3OhlAIomWhNXeQU

  28. Avatar Annelise says:

    Brian and Jenn Johnson and Kris Vallotton as well as Dr Andre Van Mol have signed but I didn’t spot Bill Johnson’s name. https://www.christianpost.com/news/nearly-200-evangelical-leaders-slam-christianity-today-for-questioning-their-christian-witness.html

  29. You know, I was along for this article all the way to the end, even as a church-going Christian, until you called me a programmable sheep. Think maybe you can speak to the other side without insulting them? Just a thought.

  30. Avatar Kipp says:

    Dear Annelise,
    Kris could have done better connecting some of the old Testament text, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered to you if he did. One of the best understandings and applications from the book of Daniel I’ve heard to date. Study the life of nebuchadnezzar. He was very narcissistic, eratic, and prideful. Not only did God call him friend but chose to reveal to him first, instead of more orthodox men like Daniel, prophetic pictures that are still being worked out today (see Daniel 2) God worked the pride out of him. (Read his testimony in Daniel 4). Unfortunately what a lot of Christians arn’t understanding is that God does what he wants, when he wants, and employees whatever method He wants and doesn’t ask our permission to do so. (probably a nice working definition of Gods Soveriegnty) I highly recommend folks that have a hard time understanding how these actions of God harmonize with His attributes, spend more time prayerfully reading the new AND old testament. Also, as with any prophesy, it will make much more sense after it comes to pass. If nothing else it might be wise to hold your comments until then.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Kipp,

      Let’s get real. The only reason right-wing Old Testament-banging “Christians” voted for Trump was that he promised to give them special privileges and help them inflict their primitive beliefs on the rest of the population through force of law (in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state, and at everyone else’s expense).

      The only reason they continue to support him is because he delivered on that promise – in spades. He’s placed God-in-government fanatics of the Bethel variety in charge of nearly every federal agency and commission, and has loaded the federal court system (which is now ruined for generations) with fundamentalist religious throw-backs who can undoubtedly be counted on to destroy 50 years worth of hard-won civil rights.

      Trump and his minions are even now pushing through a law that would allow his very UN-Christian supporters to deprive entire groups of housing, employment, and medical care (and a whole slew of other basic rights and services) under the guise of “religious freedom”.

      He invites these religious extremists (including Bethel leaders themselves) into the Oval Office to advise him on national and international policy – as though our country’s laws and policies should be based on their interpretation of some brutal, discredited ancient religious text. This unprecedented access to the president of the United States is what’s responsible for the smirking in-your-face violation of the law by Kris Vallotton and other’s of his ilk.

  31. Avatar Smirking Sue says:

    Patrecia
    The reason this Christian voted for Trump was for a complete change in government. The special privileges that were promised and kept…here’s a small sampling: economy, wall, peace, Jerusalem, unemployment, etc (please refer to previous post for a more detailed list). You bet I’m going to continue to support this wonderful President cause he keeps America First; as will more than 63m Americans. Our Country’s motto is “In God We Trust”.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Smirking,

      The phrase “In God We Trust” was not added to U.S. coins until the Civil War era (several generations after the founding of our country) in response to pressure from a national group of ministers, and despite the fact that the founding fathers made clear that our government was NOT to endorse religion in any form.

      That phrase wasn’t added to paper money until 1957 (at the height of the Cold War, and at about the same time the words “Under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance)) to supposedly differentiate the U.S. from so-called “Godless Communism” – again despite the fact that the founding fathers made clear that our government was NOT to endorse religion in any form.

    • Avatar Larry Winter says:

      Sue,
      Big money still rules Washington. It’s as big a swamp as it’s ever been.
      My view about Christian support for Trump is the Strict Father syndrome. Those that have a “Lord” that tells them how to live can easily listen to Big Daddy in the White House. Big Daddy is never wrong, so sayeth he, just like the “Lord” in the sky.
      Pretty simple, pretty easy to follow, pretty easy to disregard facts on the ground.
      It’s America First as long as Big Daddy defines what America means. The rest of us are the enemies of the people. So sayeth he.

    • Avatar Miguel says:

      Well — the “complete change in government” certainly came to pass. Checks and balances — rule of law? Meh! Who’s sweating the small stuff?

      “Special privileges” is a very curious turn of phrase. Is that code for something in Evangelical?

      And I have no doubt at all that you will continue to support “this wonderful president.”

  32. Avatar Smirk says:

    Miguel, the “special privileges” was on reference to a post I was replying to. Now let me respond to you; you better believe I’m going to continue to unabashedly support OUR wonderful President.
    Larry, yes there is still Big Money in DC. I’m not going to address your Daddy issues.

  33. Avatar Derrick says:

    Next up on the Bethel lecture circuit: The Divine Right of Kings

    We are inching ever closer…

  34. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    Anyone who diss.believes that a true profit of God walks the streets of Shasta is missing the obvious sound of CHING CHING CHING CHING CHING PROFIT +!+

  35. Avatar Kathleen Williams says:

    I am certainly glad I had the inclination to divorce myself from the influence of this group-Bethel and their teachings. I attended Bethel as a visitor as one of the conferences attendees about 6 years ago. They had many break out classes and one was with Kris. I sensed at that time he wasn’t working on God’s behalf but on a misplaced self professed prophetic walk that is not in step with God at all. He seems to be self commissioned to be involved in many things political which he is not equipped for. I see he has really strayed off the path even further now. I am saddened to see this

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