I will not write off the entire charismatic movement because I believe there are authentic Christians who attend these churches, but I will focus on non-biblical practices in this movement which seem to be in line with mysticism. One such ritual is the observance of the presence of God in the “glory cloud” at Bill Johnson’s church in Redding, CA, the home base of the hugely popular band Jesus Culture.
In the first video, as the Jesus Culture band plays “Show Me Your Glory” the crowd is fixated on the lights in the ceiling waiting for the “glory cloud…” and it appears at minute 1:45. Please observe and decide if that is the presence of God…
The next video is a short documentary on Bill Johnson and the “glory cloud” phenomenon at Bethel in Redding, CA.
Let us go back to the Bible and reflect on some passages that tell us about the presence of God and the what truly happens when God “shows up,” and then we can compare such descriptions with what we see in these videos.
1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost…”
16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.
18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.
The point I am trying to make is that when God truly shows up in a physical way like Bill Johnson claims, THERE WILL BE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES. Holy men like John fell “as though dead” in the physical presence of the Lord. Isaiah said “woe to me” and temple’s foundations shook. Israel could not bear to hear God’s voice and stand in the presence of God “lest we die.”
And Bill Johnson is trying to convince us that the “glory cloud” made of glitter and fanned by the air conditioning is a sign and wonder of the presence of God?