During a dinner interview with Phil Johnson, the Media Director at Grace Community Church, Todd Friel asked, “If you went on Google and typed J-e-s-u-s *space* C…what would you hope would come up?” The startled Phil Johnson replies, “Jesus Christ of course.” Todd Friel then corrects him by saying that when typing those characters, the first thing that will be recommended is Jesus Culture (this was before the release of the best-seller Jesus Calling, a book which I will address in the future), the worship band out of Redding, California.
The Jesus Culture movement began as a youth conference in late 1999 that wanted “to serve other churches and lead young people to experience the radical love of God.” Today, it is considered to be one of the most popular worship groups in the United States. Every year Jesus Culture sells out tickets for conferences and concerts. Their music has been described by their own worship leader Kim Walker-Smith as “an awakening from God to the body of Christ.”
Let me be the first to say that I was a big fan of Jesus Culture, and at one point I loved their music. They seemed to have a passion for Jesus, but I didn’t know what kind of Jesus they were truly following. They seemed to have a desire for revival, but I didn’t know their version of revival deviated from the Scriptures. They seemed to have a connection with the Holy Spirit that was to be envied, but I didn’t know that they were falsely attributing their blasphemies to the Holy Spirit.
Everything about them is different from anything ever witnessed in the Christian faith. Not only is the group comprised of heretics and false teachers, but it is a growing movement. Young people around the globe flood to these conferences to experience their revivals and to hear their teachings. Many have either supported Jesus Culture through participating in their new style of “worship” or through just listening to their music.
Despite being a big fan of Jesus Culture at one point, criticizing anyone who was against them, I know now that they are not a group that wants to align with the orthodox faith, but rather bring a new gospel and a new message; this makes Jesus Culture a hazard to not only evangelicalism, but also Christianity in every aspect.
1) Jesus Culture Teaches Dominion Theology
It is to no surprise to anyone who has heard the teaching of Jesus Culture that the movement holds a postmillennial view, but it is not the postmillennialism of Jonathan Edwards or B.B. Warfield. Their view is an entirely new idea called Dominion Theology, a teaching that emphasizes global domination in government, music, film, and etc. so that Christians could dominate the world (ergo dominion). They also believe that God depends on us to take back Satan’s dominion of the earth, so that God can finally set His reign. This theology is not only ridiculous, but it is foolish.
God does not need man for anything, nor does he depend on our will to return to establish eternity. Another thing is that Jesus didn’t command us to take dominion, since Matthew 28:18 makes it very clear that all authority and dominion has been given unto Jesus Christ. The one who has dominion over everything commands us to preach the gospel and to baptize those who believe. Christianity has no room for an eschatology similar to that of Islam, in the sense that we must dominate the world because it is God’s will.
2) Jesus Culture Promotes False Signs and Wonders
Bill Johnson of Bethel Church stated that the Jesus Culture youth has experienced many signs and wonders. They include walking on water, gold dust, feathers, strange manifestations, and visits to heaven (I wish I was making this up).
When it comes to walking on water…serious doubts arise. Let’s get this straight: there were groups of youth that claimed to have walked on water, but there was not one teenager that pulled out a cell phone and at least took a photo. These claims of walking on water were made in 2014, so how come there is not one proof of this happening. It’s a youth group! There should be hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and videos to prove that signs and wonders are happening, and you would definitely see them all over instagram, snapchat, and twitter (not Facebook because that is for old people).
However, there are video takes of “the glory cloud”. The glory cloud is a “manifestation of God’s glory” in which a cloud of gold and mist comes down upon the audience, but pay no attention to the ventilation system because you don’t want to ruin it for yourself…it comes from the ventilation system. “Gold dust” is just another myth from the Jesus Culture and a product of special effects. It is not found in the scripture, save for when Moses sprinkled gold dust over the waters of Israel as judgment of their idolatry and blasphemy of the one true God (ironic).
As for feathers and the visitations to heaven, those are much easier to disprove. So far, Bill Johnson and his wife were the only ones to testify of these manifestations. Also, the scriptures are clear that no one has ascended to heaven and come back, and even if they did they shouldn’t be boasting about it, but rather give glory to God.
3) Jesus Culture Believes In Another God
Jesus Culture’s leaders and guests will never preach on God’s holiness and anger. They tend to focus solely on God’s radical love. I agree that God is love and that it is only out of His love that anyone can come to salvation, but we must never forget about God’s attributes. He is described in the Bible as a holy, just, and jealous God. He is not a God who forgets sin or is passive aggressive. Christ demands perfection and a life that is pleasing to Him, even from His own people, so that we may be ready for Heaven.
Banning Leibscher, the leader of Jesus Culture, said in one sermon, “God is not some angry maniac who just goes around being angry at people.” The truth is found in Romans 1:18 (ESV): “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” The argument could be made from this verse that God is only angry at the actions of the ungodly, but John 3:36 (ESV) says otherwise, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” The Bible is very clear that God’s wrath is upon sinners who don’t accept the truth or obey the Son.
The most startling thing however, is the preaching of the hyper sensitive Jesus that doesn’t care about theology. In the 2014 Jesus Culture Conference, a guest speaker by the name of Christa Black Gifford said, “God has a girly side.” It got even weirder when she began describing how God created mankind (I apologize in advance for the erotic language), “they were naked, they are naked, they were naked in front of one another and they said, ‘Let’s have kids, let’s birth life.’…that’s what God means when He says we’re birthed out of love.” What a strange depiction of God’s creation which is held by Gifford, Leibscher, Walker, Johnson, and other leaders of Jesus Culture. In my Bible, God formed man from the dust of the earth. Either I have read my Bible the wrong way all this time, or Jesus Culture is really perverted.
4) Jesus Culture Blasphemes the Holy Spirit
This movement has not only faked many of its signs and wonders, but it has also attributed these things to the Holy Spirit, thereby blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I have been told by several Christians who support the Jesus Culture phenomenon that I shouldn’t judge them and that I am rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit, but every time I have to ask this question: Are you not doing the same thing?
When was the last time Jesus Culture preached on the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit? They never did. When was the last time Jesus Culture preached on the Holy Spirit’s work in election? They never did. When was the last time Jesus Culture asked the Holy Spirit to bring revival in which multitudes come to true repentance and turn form sin? They never did.
How often does Jesus Culture preach on being slain with the Holy Spirit? All the time. How often does Jesus Culture preach and promote the actions of the Kundalini cult and associate it with the Holy Spirit? All the time. How often does Jesus Culture call upon the Holy Spirit to bring revival in which there are healing and miracles but no regard for the eternal destination of individuals? All the time.
Imagine the kundalini manifestations, the false miracles, and the “fire” calls never happened. The very fact that Jesus Culture doesn’t preach the true work of the Holy Spirit and its involvement in salvation is terrifying. Not only do they not preach it, but they ignore it and instead opt to use the Holy Spirit like the Mormons use Jesus: a crutch to get more followers and more people to fall for their schemes.
Not only am I convinced that Jesus Culture is a hazard to the Christian faith, but I also believe that it must be challenged. This is a theological battle that needs to be fought with the help of the Holy Spirit so that God could be recognized, so that Christ’s glory would be proclaimed, and that the Holy Spirit’s power would be manifest.
Psalms 119:162-163 (ESV) says, “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.” And verse 165 says, “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.” As long as we hold fast to his word, we will not stumble when we hear sacrilegious teachings; as long as we preach the truth of God’s word, we will always have combatants of Satan; and as long as we believe the words written in Scripture, we will have no trouble to fight the good fight and to save people from any cult that plagues our fellow brothers and sisters.
Soli Deo Gloria.