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The ‘Christian’ Tarot card controversy at Bethel Redding

There’s been controversy in recent days, after a few Christian sites–including Pulpit & Pen and ChurchWatchCentral–reported that people associated with Bethel Church in Redding, Calif., and others who are part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) have been using “Christian” Tarot cards, called “Destiny Cards.” One couple, in particular, was identified as promoting the use of these cards–Ken and Jenny Hodge.

The Hodges lead an Australian organization called Christalignment, which takes teams of undercover Christians to New Age festivals. These teams set up booths, that look like psychic booths, and seek to evangelize New Agers by offering Christianized versions of psychic services. Their services include “Destiny Card” readings, modeled after Tarot cards. The Hodges report that many former students from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry have joined them in offering these card readings.

In response to these reports, Kris Vallotton–a senior associate leader at Bethel Church and co-founder of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry–wrote a lengthy post on Facebook condemning the use of these cards and urging anyone using them to “repent.” He insinuated that the use of such cards by any Bethel graduates would be a misapplication of Bethel teachings.

Sounds good, right? A prominent NAR leader condemns an unbiblical practice. Not so fast.

Kris Vallotton’s major flip-flop

Soon afterward, Vallotton retracted his condemnation. His scathing post mysteriously disappeared from his Facebook page, without an explanation. But you can still read it here. Today, he wrote a new Facebook post–completely reversing his previous denunciation of the Destiny Cards. He described the Hodges as “amazing people trying to be destroyed by the fake news media.”




So now he acknowledges that they are using the cards and approves. What caused Vallotton to flip-flop–going from urging anyone using the cards to “repent” to describing the cards’ proponents as “amazing people”? What changed his mind about the cards?

Apparently, he was persuaded when Jenny Hodge wrote him a message on Facebook, opening with some major name-dropping. She revealed that she and her husband, Ken are the parents of Ben Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is a former, long-time pastor at Bethel Church and a graduate of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. He now leads a prominent NAR organization called Awakening Europe, which maintains a formal partnership with Bethel Church. The Hodges’ close relationship with a Bethel giant surely caught Vallotton’s attention.

Jenny Hodge also told Vallotton that the card readings they do are similar to those offered by other NAR organizations and that the cards are not Tarot. She said that they have taught their “card reading” method of evangelism in many Australian churches and have even taught it to students at Bethel Church when the Hodges visited Redding, Calif.

Damage control

Jenny Hodge also posted a public video statement on her Facebook page defending the use of Destiny Cards and seeking to clear up “misunderstandings” about them. In short, she says that Destiny Cards are not Tarot Cards because they are original decks of cards, created by “prophetic artists” working with Christalignment. And, unlike Tarot cards, Destiny Cards do not predict the future, according to Hodges. Rather Destiny Cards provide “destiny revelations,” which she says simply reveal “giftings you are born with in your life.”

She goes on to show some of the different sets of Destiny Cards her organization uses to provide readings. These include a “Love Destiny” set, which appears to be used to reveal an individual’s spiritual giftings. They also include animal and color sets, which purport to reveal the meanings of certain animal or color impressions people may receive during an encounter with God at a New Age festival.

In short, Hodge attempts to downplay the similarities to Tarot cards. Yet, check out this advertisement that her organization, Christalignment, posted for their booth at a New Age festival. Take note of the types of questions they claim their “seers” will answer, including questions about “life issues, jobs, and relationships”:

Going into new realms: This year Christalignment are offering you amazing encounters from the Third Heaven realm together with highly accurate destiny revelation using our own cards in the one service. As we guide you through the encounter,our seers will also answer your questions on life issues, jobs & relationships. The following modalities are also offered: Dream interpretation, Spiritual cleansing,Emotional Healing, Animal & Colour card readings.

This advertisement makes it sound as if their seers make predictions. Yet even if the cards don’t make predictions, they purport to provide revelation into present situations. So the similarity between Destiny Cards and Tarot cards may be closer than Jenny Hodge cares to admit.

Despite Jenny Hodge’s portrayal, Tarot cards are not used only to predict the future. They’re also used to provide revelation into the past and present, as this beginner’s guide for reading Tarot cards explains. And types of information Tarot cards are used to reveal include an individual’s talents and special abilities. For example, that’s the purpose of this five-card spread of Tarot. But this seems awfully similar to the “Love Destiny” set used by the Hodges.

Tarot cards also contain many symbols–including symbols of colors and animals. And Tarot card readers are encouraged to learn what messages the symbols are communicating to them. But doesn’t this sound a lot like the color and animal sets included in the Hodges’ Destiny Cards?

What makes Tarot Tarot?

What makes a Tarot card a Tarot card is not just if it predicts the future. Tarot are decks of cards that are used for divination. Divination is an attempt to obtain information by supernatural means, apart from God–not just about the future, but also about the past and present. And divination is explicitly forbid in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10).

For those who might object by suggesting that there’s nothing wrong with Destiny Cards because their users are seeking information from God–and not from other spiritual entities–consider this question. Where does Scripture support seeking information from God in this manner? And if there’s nothing wrong with so-called Christian divination, what’s to stop Christians from making their own version of the Ouiji Board?

In a future post, I intend to tap into a larger problem with NAR, which is the common teaching that Christians need to “reclaim” many practices that have been stolen by New Agers.

Update: Destiny Cards are predictive, after all

Shortly after I published this post, I was contacted by a reader who found the following statements made on the Christalignment website about their Destiny Cards: “Our cards lead the way,” and “We believe they are more predictive and higher than most tarot, and can address a current life question that you may have.” Read the statements here. The reader said, “I don’t understand how they can say they are not like Tarot, yet compare them to Tarot, and say they are ‘more predictive,’ but they say they don’t predict the future?”

Very good questions, indeed. I’d like to see Jenny Hodge answer them.

Also take note that the Christalignment website descriptions of the Destiny Card sets are very different from the descriptions Jenny Hodge provided in her Facebook video. Not only do the cards serve predictive functions, according to the website, but they appear to have other things in common with Tarot cards. For example, in the Facebook video she indicated that the Psalm Card Readings are merely Scripture verses. But look at the following description from the website:

Psalm readings are similar to tarot in that cards are counted out according to your birth date date  & year [sic]. Only three cards are used and these will represent your past, present and future.

The description of the Animal Card Readings set sounds eerily similar to the animal totem spirit guides found in Tarot cards.

Many people are connected to animals and in a reading using these cards 3 will usually appear in the encounter. The meaning of the animal will have great significance to the client and could give deep insight to life issues.

And, finally, consider this description of the “Destiny Readings” set, which sounds like the set she called the “Love Destiny” set in her Facebook video.

Our unique Destiny cards, which we have developed, are so accurate, that even if your life circumstances change dramatically, on your return to do them again years later, you will find the results identical, such is their accuracy. They are able to give profound insight into relationships, career and spiritual life.

How are these not like Tarot cards again?

Another update

Since writing this a couple of hours ago, I noticed that Christalignment has altered their website descriptions of their Destiny Cards, removing the word “tarot” and making other significant changes to the wording I cited above, including distancing themselves from animal totems and their claim that their cards will certainly predict the future. See an archived image of the page as it appeared just a few days ago, on December 13. Then compare it to the current page, after they altered it.

And here are screen captures from the original page.


Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

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18 Responses to “The ‘Christian’ Tarot card controversy at Bethel Redding”

  1. Daniel Walter Says:

    This has me the most uneasy of NAR. Where is mention of Jesus as Lord, Savior and Brother; if I may include the relationship of Brother.

  2. Sharon Ressler Says:

    Awesome post Holly. I think “this” is really where fault line of the NAR lies.

  3. Donald Bate Says:

    If this is an example of what the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry teaches it’s students, I hate to think what else is in the curriculum. Can you imagine Jesus sitting on the Mount of Olives surrounded by his disciples, spreading cards in front of them to determine what his Father wants to communicate? When the Lord commissioned them to go to all the world to make disciples and to “..teach all I have commanded you”, do we really think he added “..oh and don’t forget your tarot cards guys, you’ll be lost without them!” But wait, we need to call them destiny cards instead, then God won’t call it divination. (sigh).
    Sadly, I see the blind leading the blind. We need to pray for them, that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to the truth: Jesus said “If you love me, obey my commands” (John 14:15) and then, if we fulfill this condition of obeying his commands, he promises.. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth”. Isn’t that the help we’re looking for? Satan attempts to mimic that promise through tarot cards, and, as is typical of the Deciever, changes the name to make it seem “Christian”.

  4. Chris Says:

    It’s easy enough for those of us on the outside to examine the bizarre practices of Bethel and their allies and recognize them for the occult methods that they are. What can be truly disheartening, though, is seeing the number of times the “like” button was hit on Vallotton’s bit of damage control on Facebook and realizing that there is still a huge number of people who are so steeped in NAR mysticism that they cannot see the demonic influences behind it even when they are shockingly overt. It is hard to see this as anything other than the “falling away” spoken of in 2 Thess. 2:3.

  5. Richard Says:

    Funny that the web site was changed a couple hours after your post. Could it be that they are followers of your blog?
    Good work, Holly.

  6. Jeff Says:

    It seems like they see many people come to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ through a creative and unique method of evangelism. There is no end to the means by which we can make disciples of all nations. My wife takes roses and Bible’s into strip-clubs and tells the women God values them.

  7. bill (cycleguy) Says:

    I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry Holly. Laughing is definitely not the way I believe Jesus would react to this, so I weep. This shows me this is not only getting weirder and weirder (more and more weird)but also scarier and scarier. I just cannot fathom the depth of spiritual blindness which comes from the Hodges’ as well as those who really think this is “from God.” And using New Age tactics and material-like to reach them? That is much different Jeff than going into strip clubs with a rose and a Bible. Much different. I commend your wife for her ministry. What this is practicing is pure divination, much like the grave sucking that goes on.

  8. Mike Says:

    Praise the Lord, Holly! God’s Word tells us He will expose the deceived and the deceiving and He is using you along with many others to do just that. We pray their spiritual eyes and those of them they are misleading will be opened and that they repent and truly trust King Jesus!

  9. Donald Bate Says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I agree with your first statement, the Holy Spirit can and does lead us with unique and creative methods. However, to say “there is no end to the means..” cannot be correct, as it implies God removes all boundaries and we can just go ahead and do anything in the name of evangelism, even disregarding what He has predetermined are wicked acts. The use of tarot cards (or similar, renamed or otherwise) is not something Jesus taught, nor would he ever do so today; God is righteous and He hasn’t changed. Jesus’s friendship with sinners and tax collectors wasn’t accomplished by sharing in their sinful activities to win them over. Likewise, do you think your wife’s ministry would have God’s seal of approval if she changed tact and became a “Christian stripper” ?!?

  10. james Says:

    All one has to do is read the following at http://christalignment.org

    Festivals, Amazing People, and Workshop & Training

  11. Steven Says:

    This participant even engaged the card readers to check if her grandma is in heaven !!

  12. Holly Says:

    Which participant are you referring to, Steven?

  13. Steven Says:


    Check out the video . She just had a card reading session by Christalignment. The video was posted by Christalignment.

  14. Pseudo-Nemo Says:

    I think it is safe to say that the N.A.R. is nothing short of an overt satanic attack, whose goal is to “satanify”/”occultize” or “gnosticize”, (but I repeat myself.) the churches, and it seems to be a concerted attack as well, notice how “apocrypha”, and other gnostic & occult texts (the so-called “book of enoch” being one of them) are gaining prominence at the same time, and the explosion of false prophets as of late as well? This corrupt behavior also serves to provoke chasing after signs & wonders, and false prophets claiming the end of the world is at hand, thereby perpetuating the cycle of insanity. Times very similar to the 1800’s, it would seem.

    Keep up the good work.

  15. Thinkcat Says:

    I think there are basically three ways to see reality. In one, a person is a participant in a created reality, and can be nothing else. That is the ancient, medieval and Catholic view. In another, a person is an objective, independent viewer and processor of reality and information. This is the Protestant, modern and nominalist view. And in the last one, the shared and created reality is secondary to pure mind and pure will. This is the Charismatic, gnostic, postmodern Rudolf Steiner view of reality.

    It is not just that they hold arguably wrong doctrines. Or that they see the same reality and know the same information, but process it in a wrong way and make horrible mistakes. It’s about being attracted to a whole different idea of knowing and existing. That’s the horror of it that makes my head spin a little.

  16. Virgil Says:

    This whole topic on tarot cards/destiny cards used by a Christian to discern someone’s future is spiritually absurd as in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (kjv). It’s quite obvious someone is spiritually asleep at the wheel and to think that a so-called Christian is trying to defend this wickedness is preposterous!

  17. Aron Dahlberg Says:

    I just want to point out that one of the pastors at BSSM, by the name of Theresa Dedmon, wrote a book that was published in 2012. Bill Johson have written the foreword of the book. And in the begining of the book in the section of endorsements we find Kris Vallotton, Danny Silk, Senior Team leader at Bethel, and Heidi Baker praising the book.

    The book is called Born to Create: Stepping into Your Supernatural Destiny. And it talks about how they’ve been using Destiny Cards at BSSM to read new stundens and staff…

    This is a presentation about Theresa Dedmon taken from her own site,

    “I am on pastoral staff at Bethel Church in Redding, California, where I oversee the Creative Arts department for the Church and School of Supernatural Ministry. I instruct on worship expressions and arts events within the church, as well as strategy and coordination for city transformation and outreach.

    I also speak at national and international conferences, equipping and activating people in prophetic and healing ministry as I show them how to step into their supernatural and creative destinies.

    I have been in pastoral ministry for over 25 years. I earned my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Biblical studies from Vanguard University, and also have received a certification in Arts and Healing from Chapman University.”

    Now back to the book and look what she has written, remember the book was published 2012:

    “During the school year, I have the School of Ministry
    students sit at Bethel’s welcome table and prophesy to newcomers through
    DESTINY CARDS, singing, and playing instruments over people. People, some for
    the first time, hear a love song from their Father in Heaven or receive a picture
    about God’s thoughts for them, which can radically transform their lives. There are
    so many creative avenues to bless those who are looking to belong at our
    welcome centers.”

    This is found in the third chapter “Supernatural power of creativity” of the book, under “Welcome Ministry, staff, and Small Groups”.

    Here is a preview of the book where you can read it for yourself and read the endorsements too:


    It’s nothing new at all, and have been going on AT BSSM! Christ Alignment just have taken hold of the practices that BSSM been teaching and made it public…

  18. Utahred Says:

    Apparently Jenny and her husband don’t read their bible (which is problem for many Christians). Otherwise, they would know that the prophets, apostles and Jesus never used such devices. They would also know that in the old testament, God forbids witchcraft, divination, fortune-telling, etc. If I was a member of that church I would run, not walk, but run out of that church. Pray for the church membership that they see the error in this.

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