Bill Johnson, the senior leader at Bethel, is speaking out today after massive backlash for his statements on voting for Trump. I can relate, at least on a smaller level, to what he is dealing with.
After writing two articles that didn’t even mention Trump—Prophecy: On Election Day, a Kingdom Will be Toppled and Prophecy: After Wicked Kingdom Topped—Jezebel Curse Broken Off America—I was called a racist, told I was mentally ill, and it was suggested more than once that I should spend eternity in hell. I’m grateful to those like Alveda King who stood with me during a rough week of curses, witchcraft, slander, accusations and more.
I’ve included Bill’s statement in its entirety below. Saints, I appeal to you to pursue love and peace. A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25) and the devil is trying to divide us so he can advance his wicked agenda in the midst of the strife. Please, let’s put an end to this now.
Here is Bill’s statement:
We just finished the most painful and traumatizing election process I've ever seen. It has left nearly half the nation rejoicing while the others mourn. We are a divided nation. I've never witnessed this level of anger and hatred that we've experienced in recent days and weeks, tragically from both sides of the aisle. Sadly, believers are often affected by that same mean political spirit.
I wrote an explanation for my vote in response to being accused of being ignorant of the Bible, and even making an immoral choice. It might be good to note that it wasn't written before everyone voted. It was the day after. I'm not offended by those who stand on political platforms, endorsing particular candidates. I just didn't think I was supposed to do it, or I would have.
In my 40 plus years of ministry, I have never seen those who confess to be followers of Jesus Christ curse and accuse at that level. It's so disappointing—not that so much for what was aimed at me, but that such hostility was aimed at anyone. It's inexcusable. Chalk that one up to ignorance on my part.
I choose to not live in reaction to accusations, as people's opinions of me matter very little. My motto is, "if I don't live by the praises of men I won't die by their criticisms." I rarely feel the need to explain myself to the those who accuse me. Social media makes the goal of not reacting a daily assignment, and sometimes hourly. Yet, in this case, I chose to give a response to one who became the loudest accuser to show those close to me my values and thought processes. I feel somewhat obligated to show the inner workings of my heart and mind to those who look to me as a leader.
None of us get it right all the time. Yet that possibility must not keep me from attempting to carry out my assignment. One of my main goals is to help those around me to think from God's perspective, and in doing so, think for themselves as God designed them to do so. Tragically, many live under the influence of the news networks mantras, or the lyrics of the latest popular song, or the political insights of a famous actor or actress. Most of it is without eternal value. Discovering and living under Biblical principles and values is my delight. It is from that place I chose to write. My response was not careless or an emotional outburst. It was calculated with reason. But I did so knowing there would be backlash. It seemed to be worth it if I was able to effectively help those in my target audience. Even now I don't offer this as an excuse, just an explanation for those who might be interested.
I wrote out of my conviction, addressing the things that still concern me most about the U.S. I feel I must. Tragically, my actions negatively affected people that I love and care for so much, namely Kris Vallotton, Dan and Lori Frost, and Rachel Molano.
We have given ourselves to love and serve those in the political arena, on both sides of the aisle. Our people in Redding, Washington D.C., and London have done this with such grace that it would be difficult for anyone to know what their personal political convictions might be. That in itself is an astonishing accomplishment. But they've gone far beyond that. They have an intense love and loyalty for those who serve the nations. I've watched them and have heard their heart for these people. Their service for them is both rich and without bias. I learn from their examples and am better because of it.
However, I will admit that I live in a tension that I do not understand, nor do I see anyone clearly model what I carry in my heart. My tension is to love and honor those in positions of the rule, without a personal agenda, (which I strive to do) while at the same time addressing what I consider to be unbiblical ideologies that work to undermine the welfare of our nation. Both actions are motivated by love—one, a love for the leaders we serve, and two, a love for the people we influence. While my voice has hurt many, my silence could hurt for generations to come.
Many assume that pastors and spiritual leaders shouldn't speak about such things, at least not in a public forum. I don't agree. The United States was founded on a much different value system, one that required leaders of religion, education, government, etc. to voice their concerns or values. While it's become less and less popular, I believe we must hear from all our leaders. By the way, over half of those who signed our Declaration of Independence had seminary degrees.
At least 99 times out of 100 I choose silence on political issues because I really want to protect our assignment. I champion my friends and their acts of service offered to those who serve us in the political offices of the land. On this occasion, I spoke in the public forum, and my friends are suffering because of it. What was intended for a fairly small audience has been picked up by various groups and posted on their websites, and in at least one case, put in a magazine (who then used it as ammunition against us.) It's gone viral. Bummer. I wish I could undo that result. Those who agree with my position seem to use my post to back their position. I get that. I would probably be inclined to do the same if I were in their shoes. And then some of those who disagree with me are using it as fuel yet another barrage of attacks against the church I help to lead—Bethel Church, of Redding, CA. I live with the awareness that my actions will cost me regardless of what they are.
The most painful part of this ordeal is seeing my friends suffer from my actions when I know that none of them would write what I did, nor would they advise me to do so if I would have sought their counsel. As a result, they are being rejected, criticized, and mistrusted because they are my friends. Ugh. Guilty by association. I will admit I hate that, and I've been on both ends of that "association."
Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. There is one thing I would change in what I wrote if I had the opportunity to do so. I wrote to address ideologies and used "Clinton" as the title for my target. I have worked my whole life to protect people I disagree with while at the same time addressing what concerns me. In this case, I made it about her. That wasn't considerate. While my thinking was about principles and ideologies, my writing was about her. I'm especially sorry for that. If I ever would have had a chance to serve Bill and Hillary, I would have done so with tenderness and kindness, without bias or personal agenda. Jesus died for them every bit as much as He died for me. That, by the way, is my history in loving and serving people who differ from me. I'm sure that whatever remote chance there might have been to show God's love to them, it's gone now. While that saddens me, I know there are believers in the D.C. region that really have The Clinton's interests in mind, and can serve them with love and care, and that without bias.
I can't change what's been written, but I would at least ask you to please not attribute my actions to my friends. Thank you.
Praying for our nation.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.