Bethel Church Scandal: Bethel Music Use, Why is it Scandalised?

bethel church scandal

Bethel Church Scandal is growing every day. A major scandal is Bethel music. Over the past ten years, a small number of megachurches have produced the vast majority of worship music, with songs like “Goodness of God,” “What a Beautiful Name,” “King of Kings,” and “Graves Into Gardens” becoming worldwide sensations.

Worship leaders at Hillsong in Australia and Bethel Church in California continue to sing music from these congregations despite scandal and controversy.

According to a new survey published on Tuesday, worship leaders heavily rely on the so-called Big Four megachurches that dominate contemporary praise music (including Hillsong and Bethel).

Rather than seeing the song at the top of the charts or on a list of new songs, the study revealed that most worship leaders engage with songs because they have experienced them firsthand at a conference or by listening to them online, or because a friend or church member recommended them.

According to the study’s co-researcher, Elias Dummer, a Christian musician turned marketer, most worship leaders believe they have valid reasons for picking the songs they use in worship. 

However, people might not realize that cultural norms, such as the prevalence of a particular church, influence their decision-making.

Dummer observed that although people claim to value the music, they consistently attend one of four churches.

The researchers surveyed over 400 church worship leaders in the United States and Canada. They sourced the participants from online worship leader communities and an email list maintained by a prominent music publisher during the fall of 2022.

We polled worship leaders to find out how often they listen to new music, how they decide which songs to use, what they think drives the creation of new songs, and if they would choose or reject a song based on the artist or church that created it.

When looking for new music, worship leaders typically consult with their peers in the church.

The final number surprised Marc Jolicoeur, who serves as the worship and creative pastor at Moncton Wesleyan Church in New Brunswick, Canada, and is also a member of the research team.

Their desire for more music indicates an interest in hearing a more comprehensive range of theological perspectives, musical styles, or vocal performances.

Dummer pointed out that worship songwriters probably have contracts to meet and that they do not necessarily create every song due to a sudden and profound spiritual experience.

A lot of things are being “thrown against the wall,” he remarked.

Still, research team member and Baylor University postdoctoral fellow Shannan Baker argued that worship artists are more likely to be writing from personal experience rather than seeking to transmit religious truths. That’s because using the wrong words or expressions could easily lead to an incorrect interpretation.

He referenced “Overcome,” a song composed by Jon Egan, a coworker at New Life in the early 2000s. After New Life pastor Ted Haggard resigned in disgrace and after a shooting at the church, the congregation found strength in that hymn.

He said, “That song became a blessing to our church.”

Packiam, who currently serves as pastor of Rockharbor Church in Costa Mesa, California, researched worship music as a ritual in pursuit of his degree.

He claimed that once songs are out into the wild, their meanings will shift depending on the listener. That could bring solace to the bereaved or courage to the challenged. Once people start singing these songs in worship, they take on their own life.

When and why did Bethel Church begin? 

Robert Doherty founded Bethel in the early 1950s. Bethel joined the Assemblies of God in 1954 and remained a partner of that church until the turn of the century.

Church records show that there are 11,000 members. Weekend crowds typically average over 8,000 people. By most accounts, Bethel qualifies as a “megachurch.” 

The school needs to clarify whether the 2,000 students they claim to have are full-time enrollees or those pursuing a degree.

Who is Bill Johnson In Bethel Church?

Bethel Church appointed Bill Johnson as senior pastor in 1996. Even though some people left the church because of his goal for supernatural ministry, Bethel has grown substantially ever since.

Before enrolling at Bethel, Johnson participated in the Toronto Blessing revival, which led him to focus his ministry on the paranormal.

What is “Bethel Music”? 

The music program at Bethel Church is called Bethel Music. Cory Asbury’s “Reckless Love” is only one of several hits from the ministry’s record label. At Bethel Church, the band Jesus Culture, famed for songs like “Your Love Never Fails,” got its start. 

Why Is Bethel Church Scandalised?

Some of Bethel Church’s charismatic tenets and activities have drawn criticism. Charismatic Pentecostals have criticized the church and aren’t the only ones who have. 

The worshippers at Bethel Church were showered with gold dust and feathers when the ceiling fell during services.

Bill Johnson claims that church leaders have no explanation for such occurrences other than God’s particular presence. 

During worship sessions, a smoke-like cloud appeared, which Johnson compares to the pillar of cloud described in the Old Testament.

Johnson has denied that Bethel engages in grave soaking, the practice of lying on the grave of a Christian who was thought to have a unique bond with God after death. Many try to “soak up” the deceased person’s soul. 

Johnson rejects claims of grave soaking, but his teaching is that modern Christians can reclaim the anointing of those who died without passing it on. 

The Cross in Other Languages Many people have strong feelings about the Passion translation of the Bible since it differs significantly from traditional English versions of the Bible. Only one person, a man named Brian Simmons, translated it. 

Some critics have pointed out that the translation is imprecise, makes careless use of Hebrew and Greek, and inserts material into the Bible that the original authors never intended to include. 

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