In my last post I began an examination of “The Physics of Heaven” put out by the leadership of Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church, Redding. I only got about 1/3 of the way through the book on that one, and now I just want to focus on the middle section. Here are a few quotes from “The Physics of Heaven” which highlight Bethel’s teachings on sound, music, and worship.
- “We live in the ‘Information Age,’ an age of increasing revelation, prophetic insight, and sensitivity to the spirit realm… I believe that the Holy Spirit has given me some of the pieces of the puzzle to heaven’s sound, so the information I share with you about sound, light and vibration will be based on scientific fact, confessed speculation, and spiritual revelation” (65,66).
- “Everything that God has ever brought forth has come from His creative voice–the same voice which impregnates the earth with light, sound, music, and glory, the elements of God. The sound of heaven that is called the “sound of many waters” in Revelation 14:2, encompasses all the frequencies in the sound spectrum. The four universal elements are water, wind, fire, and earth. The sound of heaven–all the frequencies of the sound spectrum–can be heard in water, wind, and fire. We are made of the fourth element which is earth. When He created us, He simply animated dirt… We are the creatures God chose to give free will to accept or reject His sound breathing in us… we have a choice to align our sound with the sound of heaven… we have been given the creative ability to release the sound of God” (66,67).
- “Sound has the power to change everything… Music is the indicator. Sound sets the tone for her [the church’s] destiny. Throughout the generations of history, the spiritual climate of God’s people has always responded to a musical indicator. With every revival, there has been a release of new music or new sound… the sound changes as God’s people respond to what God is doing and saying… God unveils new songs and new sounds in relationship to the new revelation of His presence in His people” (69,70).
- “Particular sounds, tones and frequencies motivate us to particular responses… When the sound of many waters, which is the song of the Lord, comes illuminating out of heaven and joins the realm that we are living in, phenomenal things happen… When the sound of heaven is magnified by the creative force of God releasing His authority to the earth, the sound of corporate worship is heard… Every time that sound visited the earth something phenomenal took place. When the sound that resonates out of the heart of God’s people comes into agreement with the sound resonating out of God’s heart, we find worship on Earth as it is in heaven” (72,73).
- “We produce a sound that’s been in us since the beginning of time. We bring to life the full meaning of Emmanuel–Christ with us, Christ revealed in us… Christ will be revealed as we hear His sound and release our individual, God appointed sound as His unique instruments… Christ in you is the hope of being ‘lit,’ or the hope of being ‘sounded.’ Christ is your hope of producing the sound that has resided in you since the beginning go time… The sound God desires to release will chase religion from the church and bring truth”(74,75).
- “Modern scientific discoveries have recently joined the voice of ancient sacred writings to pull back the veil of ignorance that once shrouded the power of sound in God’s universe. Today these applied sciences and theologies can be woven together toward the redemptive understanding of sounds that heal, deliver, destroy, and open up portals in the heavenly realms… Quantum physics serves as one of the great scientific disciplines bridging the river of confusion between science and biblical kingdom thinking” (77).
- “Trees, plants, rocks and people are perhaps music that has taken on visible form… How can we begin hearing more? How can we increase our sensitivity to the sounds of God in whatever form they appear? Open your heart, your eyes, and your ears with an expectancy to encounter the sounds and sights of heaven on a new level… No more passive seeing or hearing. Activate your sensitivity to your aural and spiritual environment. When you suspect a unique sound or light encounter–follow it” (82-86).
For those of you who are aware of the false teachings of Bill Johnson and Bethel Church Redding but still defend the practice of using their music in your worship setting because the songs themselves don’t appear to be saying anything unbiblical, please consider the ideology behind the music. This isn’t about throwing a song out because of the compromised lifestyle of the author (if that was the case we wouldn’t be singing some of the Psalms of David or “It Is Well With My Soul”). This is about promoting and participating in a form of worship based on manifestly unbiblical teaching and New Age practice. Can the church be too careful about the ways and means we use to worship a Holy God? Shouldn’t we at least make sure that what we are singing was written with that same triune God in mind? Take for instance the following hymn lyrics:
“We thank thee for every blessing
Bestowed by thy bounteous hand.
We feel it a pleasure to serve thee
And love to obey thy command.
When dark clouds of trouble hang o’er us
And threaten our peace to destroy,
There is hope smiling brightly before us,
And we know that deliv’rance is nigh.”
Those words certainly seem just as edifying as any modern worship song’s. And yet when you add the first stanza, you should have reason for pause:
“We thank thee, O God, for a prophet
To guide us in these latter days.
We thank thee for sending the gospel
To lighten our minds with its rays.”
This song is straight out of a Mormon hymnal, which also includes many favorites from the Protestant church. Should we throw out some of our hymns because the Mormon church has adopted them? No! Should we maybe examine them and see if there is any untruth in them that promotes Mormon ideology? Yes! Should we think twice before using Mormon hymns in our own corporate worship? Yes! Should we think twice before using worship songs that are being produced in an environment with a known penchant for false teaching? Yes! Is our God not worthy of our highest praise? Please church, let’s stop settling for less simply because it’s popular.