Mike, it is with a heavy heart that I present this response to your borderline slanderous comments about the church I pastor, FloodGate, and myself. I must say thank you for finally ending your subtle threats and innuendos. Thank you for finally bringing your issues to light. I am not going to present a rebuttal. There is no need for it. I will only offer some clarifying points to set the the record straight.
Yes, I am an educated man. I have been a seeker of truth for many years. I have earned degrees from Pentecostal schools (where I began my educational pursuit), and from a Baptist institution (Liberty). I love the Word of God. God’s Word is the central aspect of my life and the life of FloodGate, as you pointed out with one of the points about our Statement of Faith. I am a Fundamentalist theologically, and I make no apologies for my beliefs.
And I don’t apologize for my friends, regardless of who they are, including you. Mike, we became friends. I still accept you as a friend. I suppose one of my faults is I trust people, especially those who I call friends. But that doesn’t mean I either accept or believe everything a friend advocates.
Yes, Bill Johnson is a personal friend. I have known him since 1978. That’s a long time. I met him when we were both in the A/G. I remember telling you this shortly after you began attending Floodgate. I also told you that although we are friends, there have been, and are ongoing, numerous areas that I both question and disagree with Bill, and more importantly Bethel, including the school, BSSM.
It’s too bad that you and Bill have never conversed, as you both have commonality with children who have disabilities. Bill, like you, has a son who is deaf. I assume that you have endeavored to offer help and assistance to the deaf community just like Bill. Incidentally, as much as people assume Bill Johnson has no grid for the acceptance of anything less than divine healing, that is far from reality.
As to my personal disagreements with BSSM, the NAR, or esoteric behavior of various groups, I have enacted the biblical injunction to approach a person privately and have had discussions with Bill about my concerns. To do otherwise would be to disregard Bill Johnson’s admonition when he said, “The only thing worse than dealing with those who avoid conflict is dealing with those who pursue it.” Although I rarely quote Bill, the man has some great quotes that speak truth, doesn’t he?
It rests with that, although I do accept Romans 16:17-18 as a reason why I have kept my personal concerns personal. Paul wrote: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep your eyes on those who cause dissensions and create obstacles or introduce temptations [for others] to commit sin, [acting in ways] contrary to the doctrine which you have learned. Stay away from them.”
This is relevant wisdom from an apostle, Paul aka Saul of Taurus, who became an apostle after the original big 12.
Another point to consider about associating with Bethel and Bill, and disagreeing with some of the Bethel extravagances, I recently posted a critique of Bethel the church, Bethel music, and the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Some of the respondents appreciated the graciousness of my comments. Some were Assembly of God ministers who, like me, harbor serious concerns, yet remember fondly times where all of us labored together under the same denomination’s banner. That camaraderie is special, especially when it is developed by working together for common interests with a larger group.
Understanding the reluctance to disassociate with others who you have worked with in the past is something that has to be experienced to understand. That’s what happens in denominations or Congress. It’s too bad the people kept you from gaining the personal insight that comes from working together with others, but maybe they suspected that you were incapable of operating in a system of mutual cooperation and chose to refrain from sending you to represent them. I certainly question your ability to represent we the people.
BETHEL (NON) AFFILIATION
However, as much as I will not disavow my friend Bill Johnson regardless of who wants me to do so (it is a free country), it is important to note that neither Floodgate nor myself are associated with Bethel. I had spoken there numerous times in the past, ending in 2001. I occasionally see Bill at conferences, and at one point he offered to take me on as an associate pastor. I declined based on my disagreements with certain positions and practices. But again, those are private matters.
As to Bethel music, yes, we use some of their music, as in your admission, just like most of the Evangelical community worldwide. We also use numerous other sources for songs. I assume that most churches practice the same thing in finding material. And yes, we have hosted former Bethel worship leaders including Sean Feucht and Jake Hamilton, although at the time I invited Jake upon meeting him, I had no idea he was a former Bethel musician. And I would never fault any song writer or musician from associating with Bethel Music, as their music label provides music for almost the entire Evangelical world. If you don’t like Bethel Music, Elevation Music, HillSong Music, Jesus Culture Music, Vineyard Music, or whatever other modern music label you’re inclined against, find a church that doesn’t play their music.
Concerning Sean Feucht, Sean is like you. He ran for a State seat in California, and like you he did not prevail. Now he is attempting to stir up conservatives toward action nationally, talking defeat and turning it into something positive. And he is doing it rather well in my opinion. Enough said.
DL MOODY ADVICE
Concerning the music and our Charismatic endeavors, I would ask you to consider the advice DL Moody gave to a women who tore into him for his evangelism practices. Her concern was over his introduction of the sinners prayer and its employment before catechism. Moody responded, “may I inquire about your evangelism methods?” She promptly replied that she had none. His response was that although his methods were imperfect, he would continue to use them until something better came along, at which time he would change.
SCRIPTURES AND SERMONS
I need to say that my sermons are not sprinkled with Scripture. My messages are saturated, sprinkled. I attempt to saturate each message with the Word, citing MULTIPLE passages that are Germaine to the subject.
Currently, we are doing a verse by verse examination of the Book of Galatians, as I am a practitioner of expository preaching. Even when we are not expositing a book of the Bible, I preach using a methodology called topical exposition, whereby the topic is subjected to the relevant scriptural passages with exposition occurring. These methodology’s were imparted to me in school many years ago, and they serve as the guideposts for my preaching.
And I remember your enthusiastic endorsement of my messages, declaring that I was the most biblical preacher you had ever heard. And your confession was that you never found anything that you disagreed with concerning my theological bent. Again, I exposit Scripture. In the 13 years where I have served as pastor at Floodgate, we have exposited Acts, Ephesians, Hebrews, Revelation, major segments of the Old Testament, and now Galatians.
PROPHETS (and apostles)
And yes, we do accept prophets as real expressions of ministry today. Again, we are Charismatic, which means our hermeneutical approach disavows cessationism. In our case, that includes apostles and prophets into the ministerial fold, as they are acknowledged in Scripture along with pastors, teachers and evangelists. To disenfranchise one should necessitate the exclusion of all the offices collectively to be biblically accurate. Unlike some schools of thought, we don’t pick and choose which biblical concepts we are comfortable with, excluding the others.
On a different line of reasoning, I find it disingenuous when there are those who lament the inability to penetrate the Black Christian Community while decrying modern apostles and prophets, as these are longstanding titles that have been used by the black church for ministers predating the American Civil War. Caucasian evangelicals are slowly shifting in the modern acknowledgment of these offices, but that is not the case in much of the Christian world. I for one do feel it necessary to offend fellow believers over ministry titles.
THE CROSS, REPENTANCE AND OTHER TOPICS
Mike, you know that FloodGate and myself as a preacher am unafraid to address controversial beliefs and practices. This included my willingness to face imprisonment over our refusal to shut down FloodGate, regardless of threat and Executive Order. This boldness also includes the fearless message of the cross preached, repentance, new birth, new identity, baptism in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, prophesy, healing, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists. ALL of these subjects are regularly addressed from the pulpit.
We also reject the traditional notion of dispensationalism, as it discounts the present application of major segments of the Bible, bifurcating God and His dealings with humans, changing His approach and methods. We believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. But I digress, as churches are free to embrace that theology and its restrictions if they so desire. However, we are neither Calvinist’s nor are we Armenian. We are Biblicists.
I will not build a case for supporting Cindy Jacobs, suffice it to say she is a graduate with a Master’s from Baylor, and she has ministered at Floodgate long before the COVID complications to church life. She is a friend who along with others are attempting to figure out how to effectively reincorporate the apostolic and the prophetic into the church. A lot of the activities are trial and error, which is to be expected. If you want further insight into these matters, we occasionally offer classes that are set at the collegiate level on these subjects.
THE CROSS DISPLAYED
As to your attempt to mix FloodGate into the toxic milieu of seeker sensitive, woke, liberal churches, for our lack of a painted or otherwise display of the cross, shame on you. As you point out, we do display the Cross as the symbol of Christ’ completed work PROMINENTLY on our video screens that practically covers the front of the sanctuary, and are strategically placed throughout our building.
Furthermore, if you had only asked, you would have been informed that our furnishings for the building are not complete, as we have only been in the new building for about six months. It is our plan to prominently display a large scale mural featuring the CROSS on the eastern wall of the building, facing 23. The artwork should be visible to 23 when completed and the overgrowth in shrubbery and trees are cut back. Maybe you will be available to slap paint on the wall when the time comes to do the outdoor mural.
DETMER FLOODGATE PARTICIPATION
Mike, you are being too subtle in your confessed participation at FloodGate. We didn’t meet on the campaign trail. We met when you brought your family to FloodGate. And your attendance wasn’t just a mere 4 months of faithful attendance. It was for over a year total. This can be documented, not through giving records, but through the contract with the interpretive service you referred us to for your son.
DEAF SERVICES RENDERED
To clarify a point here, you approached me about interpretive services, asking if there was anyone at the church who signed, as you and your wife wanted to enjoy church, enter into worship, and focus on the word, of which you said was the best preaching you had ever heard. You called my messages the most biblically sound messages you and your family had ever been exposed to. Anywhere.
As you know Mike, I tried to recruit a volunteer(s). When one could not be found, we employed a interpreter to serve your family at your request, and we were honored to serve your son, you, and your family, through the employment of a professional interpreter. If I had a question concerning your concerns, why did you allow your son to be subjected to the message prescribed at FloodGate? If you hadn’t requested the signer, you could have given him any message you desired, protecting him from FloodGate’s sermons.
My calendar indicates that we met several times to council. As they were counseling sessions, the topics and content are off limits. You can divulge whatever you desire.
SPEAKING AT YOUR CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCEMENT
As to your desire to leave FloodGate, I remember your last Sunday. It was the day after you had asked me to speak at your official campaign kickoff, as you were announcing your decision to run for US Congress. This was not the first time you had asked to either speak at or pray over your campaign events. This also included your being invited to speak at numerous Town Halls we hosted at FloodGate. And we let you organize and use our space for your events.
FINAL FLOODGATE ATTENDANCE AND DEPARTURE
If you remember, I addressed the need I believed we had for someone like you take on the Democratic machine and Slotkin on Saturday evening at the Shooting range. When I saw you the following Sunday morning, I had you get up on stage and we did a mini-interview about your campaign that was officially launched against Slotkin. You seemed a little skittish, but you did express your desire to beat her in the campaign. Afterward, you told me as you had said on stage that you were not prepared for what I had you do, and that we needed to talk. That was your last time at FloodGate, breaking your extremely regular attendance.
I called you a few days later as you requested. It was during this conversation where you informed me that You had decided to end your campaign (before it started) against Slotkin. You apologized that you had not told me before I attended and spoke at your event. Yo also told me that it was suspect that you would succeed in the campaign and that you were being advised to run against a different government official.
You were going to primary out, if successful, Lana Theis, our areas State Senator. You also asked for my support. If you remember, I was very disappointed and expressed that sentiment to you, as I would not have attended your campaign unveiling had I known. You knew that Lana and I know each other and that she has asked me to cover her in prayer and to use me as a sounding board.
But that wasn’t my point of concern. You knew from previous conversations that I believe it is allowable to primary a person in the same party, just not advisable. But that wasn’t my main point of concern. I am an adherent of Ronald Regan’s philosophy, “thou shall do no harm to a fellow Republican.” Your response was telling. You told me that as a politician, you basically had two shots at an election. If you couldn’t win on this go around, your future was murky at best concerning politics as an elected official.
As you had lost your first attempt at office, you were in the “do or die” zone. You said that your advisor(s) were telling you that you needed to win, and that you thought Lana was vulnerable and that you felt that you could unseat her. You asked for my support. I told you that I would have to wait until after the primary, as I would not take sides with two Republicans running against each other.
I implored you to not abandon your run against Slotkin. Since then, you once wrote, “Folks, I may be many things, but I’m not a sellout.” It’s hard not to think that is exactly what you did and are doing now with your attack against Floodgate.
I am sure that you remember my admonition during the early days of the shutdown concerning visitors. I would say something like, “friends, if you are here because your church has shut down, please take advantage of what we have to offer. I’m sure your church leadership has made the best decision for their circumstances and beliefs. You can stay as long as you like, and when this insanity ends and you go back, we will miss you.” It feels like you did take advantage of our generosity and then some, soiling our carpet on your way out.
You seem bent on disparaging our hospitality over your anger that I wouldn’t submit to your demands for support when you turned away from running against the democrat that you initially promised you would defeat. I still believe that you would have prevailed, but we will never know, will we? Since then, we have talked. I apologized to you for feeling that you deceived me by not telling me that you had changed your mind before I spoke on your behalf. You said you accepted my apology and I proffered my own apology to you, which you supposedly accepted.
Your anger is invalid in my opinion. Floodgate is and probably always will be a Charismatic church. We are conservative theologically and politically. That isn’t going to change. My advice to people who disagree with our positions is, find a church that fits your theological beliefs if you cannot accept us as we are. But rest assured, Floodgate is not, and never will be, a Bethel affiliated church. Floodgate is not, and never will be, a NAR affiliated church. Floodgate is not, and never will be, a Word of Faith affiliated church. Floodgate is not, and never will be, a Seeker Sensitive church like 242.
As we are a Charismatic Church, there will be commonalities of belief and practice along with other likeminded churches. We believe that faith is a big deal. We believe having healthy, academic discussions about topics such as apostles and prophets ongoing place in the church is not only healthy, it is essential for the development of sound orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
Exploring the definition and application of faith, healings, and other doctrinal functions are critically important. You may not know this, but I actually wrote curriculum for Liberty University that addressed some of these subjects, integrating Charismatic thought into Baptist understanding.
We do accept people with other perspectives, and even allow them to be a part of FloodGate. We even cover ministers who are staunch Calvinists and severely critical of Charismatics. Unfortunately, in most instances you are going to find yourself immersed in a church that is severely compromised theologically and culturally.
Ralph Rebant’s Lighthouse Ministry is a department of Floodgate. Ralph is considered an associate pastor at Floodgate. For those who don’t know Ralph, he is a retired Presbyterian Pastor who ran for Governor and is a cessationist. Ralph thinks I am sound theologically and would attend Floodgate fairly regularly if they lived closer, although Ralph and his bride love and appreciate Floodgate, including our music.
As a final comment, please note the following post about FloodGate approximately eight (8) months into Mike’s attendance at the church, well after he heard Todd White, Dan Mohler, and the infamous Cindy Jacobs. This was also well after our extensive and thorough discussions about Bethel, NAR, Charismatic beliefs, etc. Mike readily endorses us as his church, saying that FloodGate is awesome.
On this point I wholeheartedly concur with Mike Detmer. Floodgate is an awesome church! Perfect? Never this side of eternity. Awesome? You bet and a whole lot more. Thank you for the endorsement Mike. And thank you for your criticism. As in all things I will commit to praying about your comments, even as I thank you for your publicity.
Humbly In Christ’ Grip,
Dr. Bill Bolin