For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (2 Tim:4:3).
Sixty thousand people are expected at The Send stadium event, scheduled for February 23, 2019. According to the organization’s website, it is “A NEW ERA.” We may indeed be entering a new era, but not necessarily one of increased evangelism or missions, which is the purported goal of The Send.
Something is very different in the visible church these days. According to a recent PEW survey, many Christians now accept concepts associated with the new age, such as “belief in reincarnation, astrology, psychics and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects like mountains or trees.”
One of the speakers scheduled for The Send is Ben Fitzgerald, now a Bethel Redding pastor. Bethel Redding leader Bill Johnson will be speaking as well. Readers may recall that Fitzgerald was one of the Bethel Redding people who tried to absorb or soak up the “anointing” from the bones of the controversial evangelist, Smith Wigglesworth.
Most grave soakings involve touching or lying on the grave of a deceased saint. Whether Fitzgerald and his group did this is unclear. The video shows Fitzgerald and others at Smith Wiggleworth’s grave where Fitzgerald, in the role of spiritual middleman, tries to transfer the “impartation” into those viewing the video. He states:
And God can release this same impartation to you (1:23 in video). We release the anointing of God that’s in this place … we release right now the anointing. (2:15) Thank you Father that what was on Smith Wigglesworth’s life, let it come on us (2:52). Later in the video, there is a similar effort at Moriah Chapel in Wales, where evangelist Evan Roberts is buried. (3:08)
Fitzgerald has recently “responded to commentary about ‘grave sucking’, suggesting that he had acted unwisely but that he was not attempting to draw out the spiritual powers of dead saints. Instead, he visited the tombs for inspiration and prayer (to God, not to these dead saints).”
That is not entirely accurate. The video makes it clear he was attempting to summon and transfer the “spiritual powers of dead saints,” as writer Murray Campbell puts it. Why? Why would Fitzgerald believe he could do this? Bethel Redding’s Bill Johnson has belatedly stated his church does not teach or accept grave soaking. Here, however, is Johnson’s statement about anointing and mantles in the book, The Physics of Heaven:
There are anointings, mantles, revelations and mysteries that have lain unclaimed, literally where they were left, because the generation that walked in them never passed them on. I believe it’s possible for us to recover realms of anointing, realms of insight, realms of God that have been untended for decades simply by choosing to reclaim them and perpetuate them for future generations.
And [there] is a screenshot of Beni Johnson, Bill Johnson’s wife, lying on the grave of C.S. Lewis. Note that one comment states, “Grab some for me.” (https://kmrciugjeu-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/grave-sucking.png) This would seem to indicate that grave soaking is familiar to Bethel Redding people.