Bethel Redding singer Amanda Lindsey Cook’s Jesus as “Enlightened Master”?

“Happy Good Friday everyone. I never know how to greet people on this day….a day we mark as a moment in time when the Enlightened Master seemed to descend into shadows.”[1] — Amanda Lindsey Cook

Enlightened Master?

Bethel Redding worship leader Amanda Lindsey Cook is a gifted singer/songwriter, and her music can be heard in churches around the world.[2] After an interview with the Christian Post to promote her latest album, Cook drew attention for her strange comments about God–so strange, in fact, that Holly Pivec, co-author of two books on the New Apostolic Reformation, wrote:

In light of this interview, I believe churches should reconsider their use of her music and any other music coming from Bethel Church (or elsewhere) that is written by songwriters with such a woefully deficient view of God. [3]

Readers who follow Holly Pivec’s reports on the NAR and other subjects know she is not given to hyperbole. In her article, Pivec noted some of the puzzling statements Cook made about God during  the Christian Post interview:

  • “Every day I increasingly felt like gravity and the great beyond, called God, was working in my favor.”
  • “I love this divine essence that we so commonly refer to as God. I think it becomes this common, almost familiar thing that it has connotations because we basically impose our belief system on whatever we think God is when we say the word ‘God.’”
  • “I love the names that this essence and this divine presence gives itself. In the Old Testament, where God describes themselves as ‘I am,’ also the name Yahweh, ‘the intake and the exhale of breath.’”
  • “It’s this common acknowledgment, this communal aspect of living, where we’re all connected, we’re all part of the common thread … to be connected at the source to this divine presence, this Christ consciousness…”

Some of Cook’s comments seem as if they come from a contemplative practitioner or even from a new age perspective. My concern grew as I discovered she addressed Christ as the “Enlightened Master” in her Facebook post on Good Friday.

Who or what can enlighten God? Why would she use such a term?

Amanda Lindsey Cook has been in Bethel Redding for a number of years now. Is it possible her new age term for Jesus, “Enlightened Master,” and these other strange comments about God are the result of exposure to Bethel Redding teaching and to the deception of contemplative prayer?

Bill Johnson believes in a teaching called kenosis, an unorthodox, heretical belief that the Incarnate Christ laid aside His divine attributes and walked the earth as a completely limited, human man.[4] According to Johnson, Christ “performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God . . . not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unobtainable for us. But if He did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything.”[5]

In other words, Bill Johnson believes the miracles Jesus performed came about because He, as a man, and only as a man, had access to the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Johnson teaches that Christians should be capable of wondrous feats of healing and miracles due to our own relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Thus Johnson’s kenosis doctrine serves to reduce the biblical Christ and elevate man. As one apologist points out:

Jesus is no longer unique, but only a special enlightened one who could lead the way to many such enlightened ones in the future. Thus we have a New Age Christ.[6]

Kenosis comes from a faulty understanding of Philippians 2:7:

but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Kenosis is proven false by the simple fact that Christ not only created the universe, but He holds it together. If Christ had given up His divine power and attributes and had operated only as a man until Resurrection, all creation would have come apart.(Colossians 1:16-17).

Is there some kind of explanation for some of Cook’s statements? Unfortunately, as of this writing there has been no response to questions we sent, and which were received by her management.

In Part 2 of this article, many of Cook’s disconcerting statements about God will be examined within the context of the theology-altering practice of contemplative prayer.

 

Source Notes:

1. Amanda Lindsey Cook, Her Facebook page, April 19, 2019

2.https://bethelmusic.com/artists/amanda-lindsey-cook/

3. Holly Pivec, Spirit of Error

4. Kenosis, Christology, and Bill Johnson, Crosswise Blog, http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/kenosis-christology-and-bill-johnson-part-ii.

5. Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles, op. cit., Kindle location: 259.

6. Bob Dewaay, “An Invasion of Error” (Critical Issues Commentary, Issue 124 Jan.-Feb. 2013, http://www.cicministry.org/commentary/issue124.htm).

 

 

“Behind the music: The baffling views about God held by Bethel Music’s Amanda Lindsey Cook” by Holly Pivec

According to Holly Pivec over at Spirit of Error:

I was baffled and dismayed by the responses in an interview the Christian Post conducted, in April, with Amanda Lindsey Cook, a prominent worship leader and songwriter with Bethel Music. The interview was about her most recent album, House on a Hill, and about what Cook was thinking about God as she wrote the songs for this album.

I was baffled because it is very difficult to make any sense of Cook’s words. And I was dismayed because she makes a number of statements about God that raise many serious questions, including, most basic, what is her view of God? You can read excerpts of her statements below, but the bottom line is she seems to have some very confused and unbiblical views of God.

Yet, despite her muddled and misleading statements about God, her music is very popular. Some of her songs that you may have heard include “You Make Me Brave,” “Closer,” and “I Will Exalt.” They’re played on Christian radio stations and sung in churches throughout the nation. But the combination of Cook’s half-baked theological views and the popularity of her music raises the question: does the songwriter’s viewpoint or intent matter when it comes to writing songs for others to worship God?

Consider that question as you read some excerpts from her interview, below.

Amanda Lindsey Cook’s peculiar statements about God

  • “Every day I increasingly felt like gravity and the great beyond, called God, was working in my favor.”
  • “I love this divine essence that we so commonly refer to as God. I think it becomes this common, almost familiar thing that it has connotations because we basically impose our belief system on whatever we think God is when we say the word ‘God.’”
  • “I love the names that this essence and this divine presence gives itself. In the Old Testament, where God describes themselves as ‘I am,’ also the name Yahweh, ‘the intake and the exhale of breath.’”
  • “It’s this common acknowledgment, this communal aspect of living, where we’re all connected, we’re all part of the common thread … to be connected at the source to this divine presence, this Christ consciousness…”

If that interview isn’t cause enough for concern, Amanda Lindsey Cook also teaches at Bethel Church in Redding, California, home to Bethel Music. Given her unclear and curious responses during the interview, one may wonder how she ever was approved to teach at any church, let alone one as large and influential as Bethel Church.

What’s the right response? (Click here to continue reading Holly Pivec’s article)

GOD’S HOLY NAME, MISUSED AND ABUSED, EVEN BY BELIEVERS by Marsha West

(Marsha West – Christian Research Network)  You can run, you can hide, but you can’t get away from it, “God knows I’ve tried.”  It seems that wherever you go, whether it’s to the mall, a movie, the golf course, the hardware store, or even a buffet line, God’s name is being misused loudly and proudly.  It’s so common that most people don’t even notice.

But some of us do.

It’s rare to watch a TV program without hearing G-d this, G-d that….”Oh my G-d!”  Some people like to punctuate each word, “Oh – my – G-d.” Others say it as if it’s a single word, “OhmyG-d!” And there are those who shorten it to “Oh G-d” in a despairing tone. If he’s a guy of few words, just saying “G-d!” will make his point.  For added punch, some people tack on damn, as in “G-D America!”

I don’t mind when someone says, “God bless you,” or “God be with you,” or my mom’s personal favorite, “God love ya.”  I take offense when someone uses God’s name as a curse.

It’s disheartening to hear the Lord’s holy name abused, especially by Christians who say they love Him. The way we use God’s name is an indication of how we feel about Him. (Click here to continue reading article)

The Shack author brings new “Reformation” to the church

In an interview with The Shack author Paul Young several years ago,  Bethel Redding’s Kris Vallotton asked, “Do you think that this book is really a catalyst for Reformation in the church?” [1] (27:13 in video)

Paul Young replied, “I think this is part of whatever this is that the Holy Spirit is doing in the world.” [2] (27:23)

In another interview, given around the time the movie was released, The Shack author said, “I think that’s a move of the Holy Spirit. … I think we’re on the cusp or inside the beginnings of a Reformation.”[3]  (emphasis mine)

Great changes have indeed occurred within the visible church due to his books, beginning with The Shack, and now with Eve and Lies We Believe About God. Yet, this is not a Reformation, but a Deformation. This is not a move of the Holy Spirit as the author claims, but an infiltration of unclean spirits.

Bethel Redding’s Kris Vallotton is not alone in his admiration for Paul Young. Popular Bethel Redding speaker Abi Stumvoll frequently promotes Paul Young, his book, or his movie. [4] Young’s heresies are apparently irrelevant.

On Mother’s Day, the influence of The Shack was very clear when a congregation worshiped “Mama Ghost” and the “Mother”. A church leader spoke about the “Mother Heart of God” [5] which is also the title of a Paul Young teaching. [6] Reformation indeed.

One of the heavy hitters within the Bethel Redding sphere is Shawn Bolz, who has featured Paul Young on his podcast. Incredibly, Bolz plugged Young’s latest book, Lies We Believe About God, a book where The Shack author confirms his belief in universal reconciliation, also known as Christian universalism!

This is the belief that Christ’s death means all can enter heaven–every atheist, Buddhist, and New Ager, anybody and everybody, whether Christ has been accepted as Savior or not. In other words, heresy. Yet Shawn Bolz blithely mentioned the book at the beginning of the podcast. He said:

So today we’re talking to William Paul Young, he’s the author of The Shack, Crossroads, and Eve, and he recently released a non-fiction book, his first one, called Lies We Believe About God. [6] (37 seconds in video)

It’s also there in print on Bolz’s YouTube channel (July 9, 2018) :

In this Episode, Shawn Bolz interviews William Paul Young, who is the author of The Shack and his newest book, Lies We Believe About God. [7]

How is this even possible? By the time of this interview, Lies We Believe About God had been out for months. In the book, Young states, “Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying!” (pg. 118)

Far from confronting his guest, Bolz also brings up the “R” word:

And what I love about this is you not only wrote this book [The Shack] but you’ve been defining a thought pattern, I think I don’t know if that’s the right word, but you’ve been defining a Reformation of connection to God, and I think it’s very beautiful. [ 8] (23:06 in video)

Paul Young is being used to hollow out the church from the inside. By the time this is all over, there may be a Christianity that appears biblical on the surface, but is lost in heresies and errant teaching.

James B. DeYoung, a retired seminary professor, has been warning about the effect of Paul Young’s books on the Body of Christ for years. He has written a book exposing the heresies in Lies We Believe About God.

This book of DeYoung’s should be in the hands of  pastors and church members everywhere. It is badly needed.

The Shack author has been used to bring far more than the Mother Goddess into the church. Here is the link to James B. DeYoung’s Exposing “Lies We Believe About God”: How the Author of The Shack is Deceiving Millions of Christians Again.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)