Does God cause Sickness? “I refuse to create a theology that allows for sickness… You can only give away what you have. Can God give away sickness? No: He’s not sick. You can’t give cancer if you don’t have it….Does God ever choose not to heal? No. ~Bill Johnson.
Shasta County in California has announced that they are implementing stricter lockdown policies and curtailing a host of business activities on account of a dramatic spike in COVID cases, the vast majority tied to Bethel Church’s School of Supernatural Ministry (SSM).
The County, which has been in Tier 2 up to this point, made the decision to entered into Tier 1 after 274 positive diagnoses of COVID cases were reported at Bethel’s SSM. As a result of the downgrade, the County is enforcing the following restrictions:
- Places of businesses like hair salons may be open while abiding by the mask and social distancing rules.
- Retail stores can be open but with only 25% capacity.
- Places of worship, gyms, movie theaters, wineries and restaurants will be required to move all services all outdoors.
- Bars that don’t serve food will be required to close.
- People who work in offices will be required to work remotely.
The Megachurch of 11,000 has been called out specifically by Dean Germano, chief executive officer for Shasta Community Health Center, after Bill Johnson’s wife, Beni, called masks “worthless” in a since-deleted (but saved here for posterity) video.
“It’s disconcerting to see leadership in any role disavowing the basic public health tenets of distancing and masking…It’s infuriating particularly for those working in the health care side of things (who are) dealing with the repercussions of people failing to do this.”
Many residents of Shasta county are outraged over the actions of Bethel Church, which already has a mixed “love them or hate them” public image, with one business owner saying “It’s because of these idiots that I have to close my business again. I can’t sustain this. I’m going to go bankrupt because these a****** hate science. And I’m not the only retailer who thinks so.” and another commenting “Can you imagine being responsible for a quarter of a million people re-entering lockdown? From a church that is all about miraculous healing and supernatual [sic] miracles? Unreal. ”
Kris Vallotton, a spokesperson for Bethel speaking about the virus spreading among church members, called the criticism unfair:
“I think it’s important to note although we’ve had some spread and our students have participated in that spread, there are churches that have been having services in our city,” he said. “We’re not one of them.”
Bethel shut down their healing houses 8 months ago, discontinued in-person classes at the School of Supernatural Ministry weeks ago, and Bethel Church has been closed since the pandemic began.