The phrase “declaring life and resurrection over … Olive” was lost on the media as well as many mainstream Christians. Yet Bethel’s call for declarations wasn’t lost on the insiders, i.e., those who hold to Bethel teachings. This can be seen in the nearly 3,000 comments posted on the church’s Facebook page, in response to the call. Notice the many Bethel followers who used the words “declare” or “declaring,” such as this comment posted by a Rick Davis: “Praying, and declaring resurrection Life for Olive … Little Olive, arise, in Jesus’s name!”
(Holly Pivec – Spirit of Error) The story out of Bethel Church in Reddng, California, this past week — following the sudden death of two-year-old Olive Heiligenthal — is tragic. The hearts of people across the nation have gone out to her parents in compassion — not just because they lost a child, but also because of the false hope they’ve clung to that their little girl would come back to life.
Many news sources have already reported on this story. But I want to point out what has been missed. In their coverage of the fiasco, reporters have noted that the parents’ church, Bethel Church, has rallied around the parents’ prayers for a resurrection — calling for people across the globe to join them in those prayers. But what Bethel Church has been engaged in, since Olive Heiligenthal died on Saturday, is not prayer. They’ve actually been making “declarations.” There’s a big difference.
Prayer vs. Declarations
In the New Apostolic Reformation — the global movement that Bethel Church is part of — equivocation is common. By equivocation, I mean that leaders in the movement often call two different things by the same name. The result is ambiguity that allows them to promote non-biblical teachings while cloaking those teachings in biblical terminology.
Case in point: Consider Bethel Church’s use of the word “prayer.” Historically, prayer has been understood by Christians as making petitions or requests of God to do such-and-such a thing. That’s how prayer is taught in the Bible. And that’s the understanding most people will have of the word prayer when they read articles stating that Bethel Church is “praying for a resurrection.”