Spiritualism or Scam Within Bethel Church and the New Apostolic Reformation?

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This article was updated after we found the video mentioned below on Bethel.tv’s Facebook page (it had previously been deleted from YouTube).

 

Shawn Bolz claims he can see deceased people in heaven and pass down messages from them. Either this is spiritualism, which is clearly forbidden by God, or it is a scam.

When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium , or a spiritist, or one who callsup the dead. “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before  you. “You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. “For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)

For other biblical references: link

Shawn Bolz recently gave Bill Johnson a prophecy that Bob Jones, who passed away in 2014, was giving him from heaven. The event takes place at Bethel Church during a “leaders”‘ conference.

You can watch it here on Bethel.tv’s Facebook page.

“Choice morsels:”

  • I was in two spaces at once and I’m seeing Bob Jones in heaven […]

  • Bob Jones was saying that first you have to go down Olive Street, which is about the anointing oil, the anointing to press the olives into wine, and he was talking about wine, and then you have to go to Gold Street

  • talking to Bill Johnson: Bob Jones prophesies over you again, from heaven, your next installment is coming, you’re going to be a sign post to all of us of the beauty of God

Is Shawn Bolz really seeing all this, which would be an abomination to God, or is it a scam (which wouldn’t be much better)?

There is first an odd element: Shawn Bolz begins by giving some indications in the form of street names, which are supposed to “speak” to someone in the room. This person would then be the recipient of the “prophecy.” Shawn Bolz looks at Bill Johnson (first row), but the latter does not react. Someone in the room raises their voice, but instead of talking to them, Shawn Bolz ignores them and directly talks to Bill Johnson about his father:

  • your father’s name is Earl and the name of that man (whom he sees in heaven) is Alvin or Melvin or something like that

Bill Johnson then answers that his father was Melvin Earl Johnson (Shawn Bolz and people in the room react).

If we analyze Shawn Bolz’s message, we find that he delivers a restricted amount of information to cause the audience to give credit to his message, and then goes on to place Bethel Church and Bill Johnson in the spotlight. He also doesn’t fail to mention financial matters.

To give credibility to his message, he claims that the Holy Spirit is revealing him things that he doesn’t know about. In this video, these are:

  • Bill Johnson’s father’s middle name;
  • the fact that Bill Johnson’s family used to live in Minnesota;
  • the fact that Bill Johnson’s family is of Swedish descent.

None of these pieces of information prove that they were revealed to Shawn Bolz. With a quick internet search, one can find out about Bill Johnson’s father and the fact that the family lived in Minnesota. The Swedish roots are not difficult to discover either. And let’s not forget that Shawn Bolz is a close friend of Bill Johnson.

In the eyes of a won-over and undiscerning audience, his credibility is thus established (as evidenced by the audience’s exclamations).

This enables him to share the following messages:

  • God is going to pour out blessings onto Bethel Church;
  • The project of museum to the glory of the “Revival Generals” is supported;
  • Bill Johnson has a role of guide;
  • A lot of money needs to be given to Bill Johnson/Bethel Church.

Let’s build on this last point. Here is what Shawn Bolz says:

There has been people who have had… the word I will use is financial wounds… but hey have money and resources and accounts that they have been afraid to trust anybody with, but they’re wonderful, wonderful people. And I saw heaven crying out for deposits to be released now, and I saw hearts on earth saying, we’ll trust Bill.

There is a high probability that people in the room or watching the video online have a lot of money saved up for God but aren’t sure yet to whom they should give it.

These elements, along with the analysis of several videos featuring Shawn Bolz, lead us to think that such messages are a scam, rather than spiritualism. But we leave it up to each person to make up their mind about it.

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2 January 2016 admin News 8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Brian

    January 25, 2018

    A major problem with the suggestion of Shawn Boltz being a spiritist is that the relevant ban in Deuteronomy 18 is about calling *up* the dead, but the Bible is clear that those who sleep/pass away in Christ do *not descend down* to sheol or hell, but *up into heaven (and eventually New Jerusalem and the new earth) where Jesus himself is seated. There is no ban about what contact can be made between those asleep in Christ and those on earth in Christ. Even if there were such a ban, it is nearly inconceivable that the former group would actually have a heart to disobey God’s commandment from their blissful position with Christ in heaven.

    • admin author

      January 29, 2018

      Hi Brian,
      There is not a single example in the New Testament of communication with the dead (in Christ or not).
      The flaw with your argument is that it is only valid if Shawn Bolz really communicates with the dead in Christ. What if he is communicating with other spirits ?
      Beside this why does he use a cellphone or tablet?

      • Brian

        February 1, 2018

        Brother, thanks for your thoughtful reply. It would seem we don’t currently have enough information to answer these questions decisively. Anyway, May God bless your ministry. And, “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.”

      • R.C.

        June 8, 2020

        Hi, Admin,

        Your reply to Brian is a good start, but has a weakness and needs expansion.

        Given the premise (which is Scriptural) that the dead in Christ are (a.) broadly aware of our trials and circumstances on earth, (b.) praying for us (Rev 5, 6, 8), and (c.) able to converse with at least Jesus (c.f. Moses and Elijah the Transfiguration) on current topics while being seen and heard by Peter, James and John, people like Shawn Bolz CAN reasonably argue that the dead in Christ COULD share information with us IF God deputized them to do so. People making this argument can reasonably add that, sure, the Transfiguration is the only known example, but that’s because there aren’t many “dead in Christ” by the time the New Testament closes. Also, the New Testament is a normative, but not exhaustive, description of Christianity in that era. (Just ask anyone trying to informedly re-enact a first-century worship service, complete with hymnody!)

        So, it’s a tad weak to say we don’t have an example in the New Testament. The possibility is clearly there; and it’s not certain nobody experienced this anytime in the first century; and if they didn’t, there are now arguably a lot more “people up there.”

        I think the better reply goes like this:
        1. Nobody denies the dead in Christ are aware of the trials of the saints on earth. Nobody denies they intercede for us before the throne of God. (What, does being in the presence of God make them want to DISOBEY the Biblical injunction to “pray for one another?” On the contrary, they’re in Christ, who intercedes for us before His Father; naturally anyone in Christ will do likewise.)
        2. However, God knows that we’re tempted to use spirits other than Him to get information about the future or what we should do; that is, to practice spiritism and use mediums.
        3. The dead in Christ would not sin by tempting us to spiritism.
        4. Therefore, while the dead in Christ certainly watch us (“great cloud of witnesses”) and certainly pray on our behalf (the souls of the martyrs beneath the altar) they do NOT communicate information TO us.
        5. Therefore, any spirit claiming to communicate information to us is tempting us, and is not of God.
        6. Therefore Shawn Bolz is either deceived by demons, or a fraud.
        7. There is reason to believe he’s a fraud; namely, his techniques are identical to famous fraud spiritists “cold reading” a crowd.

        • Anonymous

          June 8, 2020

          Dear R.C.
          The NT is clear that there is indeed a “cloud of witnesses” consisting of those heroes of faith who have gone before us. In fact, they include OT saints, and all are waiting to “be made perfect” through our faithfulness at the end of the age (Heb.11:40). This is a “communion of the saints” that isn’t often acknowledged, and you were right to point it out.

          But when I looked up those verses you cited to prove that saints in heaven “intercede for us” – I found nothing of the kind.

          Some of these verses refer to incense which represents our prayers. But I note that the heavenly beings who present them before God make no comment about them. When they say anything at all, it’s in a song of praise to the Lamb for what He’s already done for us. Maybe this is their tactful response to Catholics who mistakenly address petitions to them, instead of to The Lamb Himself? 🙂

          The martyrs (Rev.5) specifically say a prayer to God for their OWN needs: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging **our blood** on those who dwell on the earth?”
          God’s answer is not to tell them to pray for the rest of the martyrs, but just to wait for them to arrive.

          In contrast, there are NT verses identifying who “intercedes for us”, and they all explicitly name The Son of God or The Spirit of God. Period.

          The addition of other heavenly intercessors is a human extrapolation (3rd century AD) from the Scriptures that command saints on earth to intercede for one another. Like all other “logical” additions to Scripture, it is a slippery slope. The decision of who can “more effectively” intercede in heaven required still more “logical” additions… until the saint’s personal achievements became the driver, rather than God’s gracious desire to answer.

          Thus the Catholic catechism (no.956) claims that heaven’s residents have leeway to pray for us based on “the merits they acquired on earth”. It’s just one more step of logic for Shawn Bolz to claim that deceased prophets can still send guidance from heaven, based on their supposed earthly merits as a prophet. The NAR teachings build on Catholic teachings in other ways as well.

  2. Hannah w

    February 15, 2018

    Unfortunate translation. Deut. 18 in the original Hebrew doesn’t distinguish between “up” or “down” locations of the departed spirits – it says we are not to “inquire” of the dead – i.e. seek advice or hidden knowledge. That chapter also tells us where we CAN inquire: the proven prophets of God who walk among us.

    This was clearly carried into the New Covenant by the Holy Spirit who gives the prophetic gifts “as He wills”. That being so, there is no need for the Lord’s people to be communicating with saints who have “fallen asleep” as Paul put it.

    Not to mention that Bob Jones – of all people – did not prove himself a prophet of God, even when alive.

  3. Jaeson

    February 27, 2019

    Yep- Bob Jones physically harassed women and could be classified as a mentally ill person.. yet the ‘new apostolic reformation’ considers him a prophet!!!! This is how removed they are from reality. I know I know, their favorite verse is “God uses the foolish things to confound the wise” and they would say that Bob seemed foolish but was being used mightily by God… except.. 1) Bob’s prophecies are not verifiable, 2) Bob’s prophecies are all personal stories that have no witnesses except maybe his relatives which – lets face it if your family member is a lunatic and you can make money off of it are you going to say anything? Bob’s track record — which is strings of false doctrine and basically evil (like telling women to undress in front of him and be “naked before the Lord” to receive a “word” from him) tell us FAR more than anything. It is insane to think that anyone welcomed him back in as a “prophet” after that scandal… but no– the NAR think he is a super snowflake for God. In his 9 disc vision for IHOP that Mike Bickle uses and forces all students of his to listen to, it is very clear that Bob isn’t hearing from the Jesus of Scripture.

  4. Jaeson

    February 27, 2019

    So, in conclusion if someone says they are seeing Bob Jones in Heaven and he’ll give a prophecy from there to you, it is time to RUN out the door! Bob Jones is quite possibly in hell for preaching false doctrine and listening to lying familiar spirits.

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