I came across this photo on Beni Johnson’s Facebook page. Beni included the following description with the photo:
“Oh you know just a little soaking with the youth today. Berne, Switzerland conference. That was fun.”
In this article, I will provide a definition of “soaking,” its roots, and how Bethel Redding’s engagement and promotion of the practice serve as yet more evidence that it is not the Holy Spirit at work in this cult.
“Soaking” or “Soaking Prayer” is defined as follows:
“Since the 1990s there has been an increased focus on mysticism within various segments of Christianity. Bordering on the esoteric, these mystical experiences broaden the division between a ‘factual faith’ and a ‘felt faith,’ and threaten to replace sound biblical teaching with emotion-driven response. Soaking prayer is one such mystical activity. It is described as resting in God’s presence. This is accomplished by playing some gentle worship songs, either sitting or lying down, and praying short, simple prayers for an extended period of time, but otherwise keeping your mind free of other thoughts. At the point when you sense God’s presence through some type of manifestation like tingling skin, a sensation of heat or cold, or even a gentle wind seemingly blowing through your body, you are to just ‘soak’ in that presence.”
In order to present a balanced assessment of this practice, making sure I’m representing “soakers” accurately, I turned to Scott Epp.
Scott Epp advertises himself as a “certified life coach and international speaker.” He leads an organization called Abundance Coaching. The slogan for the organization is “Becoming Your Authentic and Amazing Best!”
On September 25, 2014, Epp posted a video on his organization’s YouTube page titled “What is Soaking and How to Soak in the Presence of God.” In the video’s description, we learn more about Epp and his spiritual influences.
“Scott Epp helps people breakthrough their BIGGEST challenges so that they can live their life purpose with passion and abundance! Scott graduated from Toronto’s Catch the Fire Leaders School in 2007 and was part of the amazing Catch the Fire revival ministry from 2006 – 2008 in Toronto. Scott’s wife Nicole worked as an assistant to the leaders, a speaker and Soaking School co-ordinator with Catch the Fire Ministries for about 6 years. Together Scott and Nicole have a fire and passion for God to move through the Power of the Holy Spirit and they choose to be vessels for His love and revival. Scott is a motivational speaker for corporations and an influential preacher. His messages of The Father’s Love, Awakening the Wild Lion Within and Living Your Life Purpose with Passion and Abundance are among Scott’s favorite topics to speak on.”
Catch the Fire Revival Ministry is the group led by John and Carol Arnott. If their names ring a bell it’s because Catch the Fire is simply a repackaging of the Toronto Airport Vineyard and the false revival of 25 years ago known then as the “Toronto Blessing.” The Arnotts provide a “soaking school” to train people to “soak.”
In Epp’s video, he begins his message by teasing his audience be telling them he has a “secret.” This idea of allegedly receiving new revelations of knowledge from God, of course, fits with neo-gnosticism of the heretical New Apostolic Reformation, the Word of Faith movement, and other new age mystic groups that have infiltrated the Church.
In the video, Epp asks and answers the question, “Who is soaking for?” According to Epp, soaking is for those who are “spiritual dry,” “who need a vision,” “who want to start something new,” “who are searching for an answer to a question,” “who feel trapped by habitual sin,” “who have relational and intimacy issues with God, a friend, or a spouse,” and those “who want to simply have more intimacy in general.”
As has always been the case with these false spiritual movements, the Word of God is relegated to a text book. Experiences and feelings rule the day. The answer to all of the issues Epp mentions in his message are found in the Word of God.
Sadly, “soakers” are encouraged to simply lie down, turn on some music (and play it over and over again), and wait to feel something–to “feel the presence of God.” The “soaker” then subjectively interprets those feelings and automatically assumes the interpretation is of the Lord and from the Lord.
Epp provides his listeners with a dictionary definition (a definition cannot be found in Scripture) for “soaking”: “To become thoroughly wet; or saturated by immersion; to drink excessively; even to become drunk; to take in; to soak up.”
As Epp reads the definition of “soaking,” people in the audience begin to make noises and laugh. It’s clear that people are already beginning to check out and go to their spiritual happy place–a place void of the Spirit, void of Christ, void of Truth.
“Soaking” really is just a new name for an old unbiblical practice. During the days of several false revivals: The Toronto Blessing, The Pensacola Outpouring, and the Brownsville Revival, “soaking” was referred to simply as “carpet time.”
Beni Johnson and the rest of the false teachers of the Bethel Redding cult teach and practice “soaking,” going as far as to include necromancy in the practice, by visiting and interacting with the graves of dead revivalists, healers, and the like. While Beni denies she engages in “grave soaking” (also known as “grave sucking”), the evidence is clear.
“Soaking” is just one of many unbiblical activities occurring at Bethel Redding. And this practice is reason enough to stay away from Bethel Redding and to warn others to do the same.