Bethel Pastor Contradicts Bill Johnson’s Narrative on the now Infamous practice of “Grave Sucking”

Grave-sucking, or Grave-Soaking, is the charismatic and occultic practice of trying to get an anointing or “mantle” from the dead.

Banning Liebscher, a pastor at Bethel Church in Redding California, did a tell-all interview in which he gave testimony conflicting with Bethel’s previous narrative on the topic of their infamous 2015 grave-sucking trend. It was widely reported throughout Christian discernment media in the summer of 2015 that students at Bethel College – led by certain staff members of Bethel Church – had engaged in the occultic and necromantic practice of “grave sucking.”

The practice basically entails lying upon the grave of a departed saint, and trying to “suck” or “soak” out their presence in order to obtain a portion of their supernatural “anointing.” Kris Vallotton, one of the lead pastors at Bethel, claimed on his Facebook page that he personally had never heard of such a thing being done literally, but that the idea (laying on graves to be imparted an anointing) was an “inside joke” among Bethel leadership.

However, Bill Johnson suggested the idea of obtaining an anointing from departed saints in his book, The Physics of Heaven. Later in an interview with Michael Brown, Bill Johnson claimed he really wasn’t aware of what was happening, but couldn’t be blamed for what some of his students might do.

Below is a video of Bethel students sucking the grave of Smith Wigglesworth (who happened to be the first faith healer to hit people as part of his healing process)…

In his interview with Michael Brown, the following exchange took place (transcript courtesy of Churchwatch Central)…

MB: Do you endorse, preach, teach, encourage the practice of going to the graves of deceased men and women of God to attempt to suck the anointing out of the earth?

BJ: No. Absolutely not.

And yet, here is Bill Johnson’s wife promoting grave sucking…

So then, in spite of his wife being at the epicenter of the grave-sucking phenomenon, Bill Johnson is not for it and Kris Vallotton has never hardly heard of such a thing. Riiiiight.

Liebscher, who not only is a minister with Bethel but the founder of their Arian Snare band, Jesus Culture, explained the grave sucking phenomenon as follows…

“I’m not a proponent for it, I’m just saying like there’s an anointing on Elijah or Elisha, there’s an anointing on his grave that made the guy come back to life, and maybe there’s an anointing…And then it started getting to where like, I don’t know man, I don’t know what students were doing. But it was weird. But that’s the stuff that all of a sudden has blown up all over the place.”

In this interview, Liebscher aknowledged that Johnson was in fact aware that grave sucking was going on (no kidding; his wife was leading it), but that he chose not to interfere with it…

“And at some level, in all honesty, and this is not a negative, he just doesn’t care what people think. People can speak into his life, but he just wants to please God. That’s his main passion. … And Bill is a supernatural guy. He believes in the power of God. He believes in the supernatural working of God. He believes in healing. He believes it is part of the atonement, and it’s available, and deliverance and all that stuff” [emphasis ours].

According to Liebscher, grave sucking was actually discussed at a Bethel Church staff meeting, but Bill Johnson refused to act on it. Liebscher continues…

“But the deal is that Bill is not going to get up in the pulpit because Bill doesn’t mind a little bit of mess. Bill’s like, ‘Where there’s oxen, there’s mess.’ So I’m not going to get up, because he doesn’t want to shut down those that are really seeking and those that are really trying to press in for more of God, he doesn’t want to shut that stuff down by starting to get up and police everything from the pulpit.”

He further continued…

“Bill does not want to control things. Students may be out in kind of the fringe. They’re pressing into the supernatural in a way that’s like, ‘OK, that’s weird man. That’s weird.’ But Bill’s not going to publicly get up and start reprimanding everybody. We pastor it one on one.”

Of course, “policing” (IE reproving and rebuking) occultic practices within the church is precisely the job of the pastor.

The point, however, is that this interview directly contradicts the narrative of Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson, that Bethel leaders didn’t know anything about grave sucking in their midst. The fact is however that they did know and chose to let it continue, up to and until the discernment community started throwing red flags.

One would think that those given such powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit would have the spiritual gift of discernment.

Please see the video below.

[Editor’s Note: HT Churchwatch Central, Charisma News]


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