Book review – “The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense” by John Bevere
[April 27, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
The very first sentence in the preface of this book has a red flag. Bevere writes:
The book you hold is quite possibly the most important confrontation with truth you’ll encounter in your lifetime.
Say what? Why didn’t he just say “I am”? The author’s arrogance, heresy and thinly veiled narcissism is already screaming. It gets worse. The author goes on to state,
If you stay free from offense you will stay in God’s will. If you become offended you will be taken captive by the enemy to fulfill his own purpose and will. Take your pick. It is much more beneficial to stay free from offense.
He fails to actually define “beneficial”, but it is safe to say that for himself at least, the author would define “beneficial” as “monetary gain”, as in moneychangers in the temple, narcissists in pulpits. Bevere has made millions with this false gospel, and like Piper and others, has sold numerous books, videos, study guides and seminars all designed to enslave.
Bevere uses the classic snake ploy of taking a text out of context.
Using Luke 17:1a as a basis Bevere builds a very convoluted, errant thesis. He fails to quote this verse in its entirety for he quotes only, “It is impossible that no offenses should come” and stops there. He never completes the verse, “….but woe unto him through whom they do come.” He does not include the context of causing the vulnerable to stumble, and what we should do about it (as in Luke 17:2).
Let’s recall the first three verses of Luke 17:
(NKJV – the version Bevere quotes) Jesus Warns of Offenses
(1) Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!
(2) It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
(3) Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”
(ESV) Temptations to Sin
(1) And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!
(2) It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.
(3) Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,”
But rather than pay attention to this context, Bevere gets out his scripture-twisting monkey wrench and defines “feeling offended” or bait in a trap, and being caught by it — offended — is “a tool of the devil to bring people into captivity”. He actually says being offended is due to the “heart’s true condition” — pride, which is sin. And the cure? Yep, you guessed it; trial by fire and tribulation — becoming purer gold by being reminded and tested by fire. So, if you are offended by abuse, it is due to your own sin of pride. And that is just Chapter 1.
He goes on like this for 14 miserable chapters. I had to force myself to read this book, and I did so only out of respect for my soon-to-be-ex-friend who gave it to me with a note saying: “Friend, few books have impacted my thinking as much as Bait. May the HS (Holy Spirit) use it in all the best ways. Hugs.”
After the preface and chapter one, I began to research the author and I discovered that the original book was printed in 1994 (titled The Bait of Satan: Your Response Determines Your Future) with a preface written by none other than Benny Hinn. I had to blink and re-focus. The 10th Anniversary 2004 edition which my friend had given me had a different subtitle (Living Free From the Deadly Trap of Offense) and the original preface was replaced with one written by the book’s own author, John Bevere. Not a big deal, perhaps, but a glaring deception if you have written a book about NOT being offended, but then change the title and remove a previously written preface by someone who clearly WAS offensive (and has since fallen from grace). Isn’t that rather duplicitous, er….offensive????
More research revealed that John Bevere had been a protégé of Benny Hinn’s, a fact that Bevere conveniently excludes in Chapter 5 and elsewhere when he relates a story about “serving this pastor”. And note, mind you, that Bevere doesn’t say “serving God”, but serving this man. Bevere described how he was close enough to this pastor to “see his flaws” and questioned some of his ministry decisions. Bevere became “critical and judgmental, and offense set in.” He goes on to say, “….I sensed no inspiration or anointing. His preaching no longer ministered to me”. So Bevere left this particular church, but returned later to meet with the pastor (Hinn) and “repented of being critical and rebellious”. Bevere says that Hinn “graciously forgave me”.
Ah, the “King of Anointing”, the “chosen one”, the “almighty-pastor”, decreed his minion forgiven. Forgiven of what exactly?
Perhaps Bevere had a genuine nano-second of clarity, realizing that Hinn was a charlatan who needed to be exposed. Instead, he rather quickly regretted his decision (after all, it wa$ more beneficial) and twisted reality into an offense from which he needed to repent. Like many patriocentric and other abusive churches, Bevere had left without the blessing of the pastor. This too was an offense. In fact, Bevere was now opining that to be openly critical of church leaders is offensive to God. Claiming that God is the One who puts pastors in authority, only God can remove them and that God will use corrupt leaders and it is not up to others to expose their corruption. Bevere then twists scriptures to fit the narrative and uses the example of Samuel’s wicked sons as evidence that God alone should remove evil ones. Bevere actually claims to be in the will of God by staying in a church with a corrupt leader. I guess his Bible omitted Jude and 1, 2, 3 John, Titus, Timothy, and Paul and Jesus and the prophets.
Obviously the Word of Faith doctrine is being used here in all its abusive heresy. This book is filled with so much heresy, on nearly every page, that it is hard to pare it down. Bevere has written many books, including “Under Cover” and “Honor” and they each teach this same notion of being under the authority of others, even corrupt pastors.
Trigger warning: the following paragraph contains an account of multi-dimensional abuse via “spiritual counseling” of a woman.
In The Bait of Satan, Bevere goes on to say that seeking justice is seeking revenge. In Chapter 12 he tells the story of a woman who had forgiven her ex-husband….“but as she listens to me talk about releasing offenses, she realized she did not have peace inside.” When this woman tearfully approached Bevere, he immediately accused her that she had not truly forgiven her ex-husband. When she protested in tears he then asked her, “Well, what did he do to you?” She went on to describe a familiar story of abuse and abandonment as her pastor / husband left her and their three sons for a prominent woman in the church, who was an “asset to his ministry” while she had not been. Her ex placed all the blame on her and never admitted his sin of destroying his family and marriage. But Bevere told her SHE was offended and unwilling to forgive him, thus in bondage to human justice. In the quaint way of the Pharisees, Bevere placed the heavy burden on her shoulders and lifted not a finger to ease it! Furthermore, this poor woman was never affirmed for desiring biblical justice, but rather scolded for being unforgiving and vengeful!
The obvious, errant theology Bevere proclaims is this: stay free from offense if you want to stay in the will of God. Can you imagine the abuse that will occur? Can you see the abuse that will be excused, based on that ridiculous notion? How many abusers will falsely accuse their victims of seeking revenge, holding a grudge, being unforgiving or demanding retribution? It is so spiritually abusive in its scripture twisting followed by foolish theology and poor Biblical knowledge that I was in knots while reading it. Bevere (unwittingly) gives numerous narcissistic examples of bestowing his own forgiveness and reconciliation on various unrepentant people, in which he then described in great detail how it benefited HIM. But how do you reconcile with the unrepentant? Even Jesus can’t do that.
What fellowship has darkness with light?
Needless to say this book is not only bad, but dangerous. Men, women, and children could be seriously harmed or killed if they were to take this nonsense to heart. It is anathema. If it hadn’t been given to me by someone that I know and I thought I trusted and admired, I would have trashed it after the preface. And that same person is in an influential position in a huge mainstream evangelical church. I answered her with copies of A Cry For Justice and Not Under Bondage with a note that said, “Praying the truth of scripture contained within these books will clarity much and stand in opposition to Bait“.
I never heard back from her. I suppose I “offended” her, but if so, then she, too is duplicitous. No? We had a friendship dating back forty years, but she fell victim to falsehood and heresy, and her counsel regarding my abuser was based on not being offended. Abuse was not the problem. I was the problem for being offended by abuse. Can you imagine the guilt-tripping Christian counsellor who would burden a victim with that nonsense?
So the very person who believes the false theology that being offended (abused) is a greater sin than actually causing the offense (abuser) is now offended that I have pointed out the error of that doctrine, but refuses to reconcile or forgive me of such sin and has instead discarded a 40-year friendship on the altar of offense so she can stay free from offense in order to stay in the will of God and…. Well, you get the idea. Sigh….
[April 27, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to April 27, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to April 27, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to April 27, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (April 27, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]