“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.” — Amanda Lindsey Cook
Bethel Redding worship leader Amanda Lindsey Cook is a gifted singer/songwriter, and her music can be heard in churches around the world. 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. 
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. 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.”
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.
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.
1. Amanda Lindsey Cook, Her Facebook page, April 19, 2019
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).