There was an American TV show that began in 1956 and has continued to run in one form or another since 1956 called To Tell the Truth. There were three panelists. All of them trying to convince the celebrity guests of which one of them was the real person described. At the end of each episode the final line was said “Will the real (insert name) please stand up.” At that time both the panel and the home audience would find out how accurate their educated guess was.
Lately, from the conservative evangelical side there has been a lot finger pointing at Bill Johnson and Bethel as false teachers. While I must concur that I too disagree with a lot of bad teaching comes from Bill Johnson’s theology, however, from what I have been able to discern, he has never attempted to hide who he was or what he believed. He has been honest from the very beginning.
Yet on the other hand, Ravi Zacharias totally lied about who he was and how he conducted himself. But those headlines read as an apologetic for a fallen man who lived a wayward life. No one dares point a finger at this guy. They will not openly state he was a false teacher or that they supported a false teacher. Ravi in their eyes was only guilty of misconduct. Reducing rape to misconduct is indeed a dark day for the church.
So I ask you the honest question, which of the two has been true and which has been false? The unspoken theology is that it is better to live a hidden sinful life and say all the right things than be honest even if not orthodox.
My opinion is that Bill Johnson and Bethel are more akin to the Samaritans, mixing truth with local spiritual pop culture. Jesus did not repudiate the Samaritans as false, only worshiping what they do not know.
- John 4:22 NASB – 22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Yet look carefully at what we read about Judas:
- John 13:24-35 NASB – 24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell [us] who it is of whom He is speaking.” 25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, [the son] of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one of those reclining [at the table] knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night. 31 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32 if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33 “Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Notice that the command to love one another follows on the heals of Judas’ betrayal. The one who betrays is the one who fails to love one another. Who has betrayed the faith by failing to love, the one who is honest about who he is and his weird belief system, or the one that raped and manipulated women?
Jesus also made the famous statement:
- Matthew 26:52 ESV – 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Living by the sword to kill the ministries with whom you disagree with is a failure to love one another. They have eagerly pointed their finger and made money off of “Look a false teacher.” Yet all along protected and revered one who raped and molested. Their credibility has literally died by their own finger pointing.
I am reminded of the teaching of the woman caught in adultery:
- John 8:7-9 ESV – 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
I’ll openly admit at one time I could look over my life and say because I know the truth, I can stand up and be judge and jury for the truth. But as I have aged, I have come to realize that without the grace of God, no one stands. I find myself more and more like:
- Luke 18:10-14 ESV – 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I do not rejoice in Ravi’s revelations and neither do I take pleasure at the wayward theology of Bill Johnson and Bethel. You see, one day there were two teachers, one mixed faith with culture but asked for mercy and the other proclaimed I thank God I am not like that false teacher and I know my doctrine forwards and backwards, and expose false teachers. So I ask, which do you think will be justified before the Father? Will the real false teachers please stand up?
Love much my friends, the fallen, the wayward, and the proud . . .