There are plenty of Bethel-haters out there. There are plenty of rumors and criticisms out there about Bethel and BSSM. I watched all the exposés and read all the blog posts before applying to BSSM, so I am pretty familiar with the claims. Here are my personal answers to a few submitted questions and other common questions about BSSM and Bethel:
Is Bethel a cult? No. Leaders emphasize “freedom and responsibility,” and as students, we were encouraged to use critical thinking and decide for ourselves what we believe, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Many of our homework assignments asked us to list both areas of agreement and disagreement with Bethel’s teachings. Bethel is big on honoring all people, rather than exclusively gathering around shared doctrine.
Does Bethel promote witchcraft or New Age teaching? No. Bethel teaches the Word of God, including prophecy and other spiritual gifts which are, believe it or not, in the Bible. 😊 Any New Age practice is simply a counterfeit of the original. My advice? Stay away from the counterfeits. Pursue the Biblical originals.
Did BSSM teach grave-sucking/grave soaking? No, it was never mentioned in school and Bill Johnson has refuted the rumors that Bethel promotes it. (It’s discussed around the 15-minute mark in this video.) Bethel recently released its own video to refute the grave-soaking accusations, as well.
Is Bethel Church Assemblies of God? No, but it was until the mid-2000s. There are still similarities to AG doctrine, but Bethel leaders don’t all hold identical eschatology beliefs, for one.
Is it hard to get into BSSM? Not if you’re living according to Biblical standards and genuinely seeking to follow Jesus. If you are currently living a sinful lifestyle, you probably won’t get in, although you could in the future if you change your lifestyle. (I’ve heard some people have the option to attend BSSD instead, but I don’t know much about it.) The application questions are pretty personal, and your references will have to vouch for your character.
Is BSSM expensive? Not really. BSSM is not accredited, so tuition is much lower than it would typically be at a college.
Is BSSM accredited? No.
Are there scholarships? No, unless you win an award at the end of First Year – then you get your Second Year tuition paid! As mentioned, though, tuition is not as high as it would be at a university. Many people work part- or full-time while they are in school.
Is the Bible read or taught at BSSM? Yes. Constantly. Bill Johnson’s favorite line is, “I love my Bible.” 😊
Does Bethel support The Passion Translation? Yes, as do I. BSSM usually refers to it as more of a devotional and utilizes other versions for studying.
Will BSSM also offer Second Year online? Yes, starting in September!
Were you able to make connections with other students? Yes, and I was pleasantly surprised how connected I felt! I wrote a whole post about it here.
What did city service look like as an online student? It was actually never mentioned during my year at BSSMO. The BSSM website says online students are required to serve in their home churches, but I’m assuming this wasn’t possible for everyone depending on local COVID restrictions, so it was never discussed during the 2020-2021 school year. I have a local small group that I was hoping would fulfill my city service requirements, but ultimately, the topic never came up.
What else do you want to know about BSSM or Bethel? Drop a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.
Hey! I'm Brianna and I'm a millennial. I'm also a reader, writer, God-lover, introvert, and recovering perfectionist. ☺️
I want to inspire millennials to retain their morality, hope, and faith as they transition into adulthood and full-fledged "adult."