Home Christian News Former Bethel Pastor Addresses ‘Wild Rumors’ About Grave Sucking and Gold Dust

Former Bethel Pastor Addresses ‘Wild Rumors’ About Grave Sucking and Gold Dust

Bethel Church does indeed regularly draw criticism for a variety of reasons. In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took off in the United States, Bethel paused its hands-on faith healing work in the interest of safety, a decision that some people found ironic.

Kris Vallotten, a Senior Associate Leader at Bethel, was one of several Christian leaders who publicly apologized for prophesying that Donald Trump would win the 2020 presidential election. ​​“I really want to apologize, sincerely apologize, for missing the prophecy about Donald Trump,” said Vallotton. “I was completely wrong, I take full responsibility for being wrong, there’s no excuse for it. I think it doesn’t make me a false prophet, but it does actually create a credibility gap.”  

Another debate surrounding Bethel Church is whether or not it is wise for other American churches to use Bethel‘s worship music, one argument being that the songs have poor theology. 

RELATED: A Defense of Singing Songs From Bethel and Hillsong

Costi Hinn, the nephew of televangelist Benny Hinn (who is known for preaching a prosperity gospel and practicing faith healings), is an outspoken critic of Bethel Church. Hinn has called the church “blatantly heretical” and even labeled it a “cult”—although elsewhere he has said he believes the church’s motivations are good and that members are not trying to “build an empire of heresy or some cult.” 

Among Hinn’s critiques are that Bethel’s pastor, Bill Johnson, has said that Jesus set aside his divinity when he performed miracles. Hinn acknowledged the church has “walked this back a bit” (Johnson has also said that Jesus never stopped being God), but Hinn maintains Bethel is still promoting this teaching about Jesus’ divinity. Another teaching Hinn believes is problematic is that it is “always God’s will” to heal people. 

One of the most attention-grabbing stories related to Bethel within the past few years had to do with the tragic death of Olive Heiligenthal, daughter of Bethel worship leader and songwriter Kalley Heiligenthal. Olive passed away suddenly on Dec. 14, 2019, at the age of two. 

Kalley posted about her daughter’s death on Instagram, asking people to pray that Olive would come back to life. “We’re asking for prayer,” she said. “We believe in a Jesus who died and conclusively defeated every grave, holding the keys to resurrection power. We need it for our little Olive Alayne. We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life. Her time here is not done, and it is our time to believe boldly, and with confidence wield what King Jesus paid for. It’s time for her to come to life.”

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.