MELBOURNE — An Australian group that identifies itself as “Christalignment” is drawing concerns over practices that have been deemed New Age and occultic, including its use of “expert seers,” who provide “destiny readings,” dream interpretations and “energy impartation”—all in the name of God and evangelism.
Christalignment is run by Ken and Jen Hodge, who are the parents of Ben Fitzgerald, a listed missionary with Bethel Church of Redding, California. According to the Christalignment website, Jen Hodge is characterized as a “seer [who] specializes in healing from negative energies/cleansing.”
“The Christalignment team, based in Melbourne, Australia, are trained spiritual consultants, gifted in various modalities. We practice a form of supernatural healing that flows from the universal presence of the Christ,” the site reads. “We draw from the same divine energy of the Christ spirit, as ancient followers did and operate only out of the third heaven realm to gain insight and revelation.”
It outlines that its team members are trained in “destiny reading, Presence therapy, trauma recovery, entity cleansing, relationship alignment and physical healing using divine energy,” and also offer dream interpretations and “encounters coming from the third heaven realm.” Other services noted by the group include “prophetic” henna tattoos, deep rest therapy and color therapy, as well as meditation classes, which are held at various times throughout the year.
Christalignment has a booth four days a week at Dandenong Market, and also offers its services at events such as Sexpo, Rainbow Serpent, the Melbourne Queer Expo and Mind, Body, Spirit.
“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,” the group claims. “They are able to give profound insight into relationships, career and spiritual life.”
Some of the cards read “gifts,” “acts of service,” “quality time,” “words of affirmation” and “physical touch,” and include photos of Christ or other drawings. On the back is a saying that addresses struggles or other issues the person has been going through.
In addition to “destiny cards,” the group also uses Psalm cards, animal cards and color cards for its readings. Each card is stated to have a particular prophetic meaning for the person obtaining a reading.
“Psalm readings are similar to tarot in that cards are counted out according to your birth date date & year. Only three cards are used and these will represent your past, present and future,” the site read—that is, until Christalignment altered the wording within the past month after the matter was reported by Christian blog sites, raising deep concern over what appeared to be a similarity to tarot cards.
The group claims that it purposefully attends New Age festivals and other events where the lost are present to be an “undercover prophetic evangelism deliverance ministry” with the goal of seeing the unregenerate “saved, healed, and set free.” It denies that it is involved in New Age in any form, but asserts that it is rather seeking to work against the movement by bringing people to Jesus instead of psychics.
“The team is trained not only to be able to release deep encounters with the Spirit of Truth to clients, but to also release words of knowledge and healing. For clients to see Jesus standing before them in an encounter is not uncommon, and many of them get born again,” the Hodges claimed in a recent letter to Bethel’s Kris Vallotton following controversy over the matter.
“The prophetic word given over us four years ago was that we would see hundreds of witches come into the kingdom, thousands of people turn from darkness, and that tarot cards would be disabled,” they wrote. “Praise God this is happening!! As a deliverance ministry, we are able to stop clients ever going to a psychic again and this is our aim.”
Vallotton had previously repudiated the use of “destiny cards,” but soon retracted his words by posting the Hodges’ letter to Facebook, remarking that the couple was being “destroyed by the fake news media.”
While Bethel itself has also officially released a statement advising that it is not “formally affiliated” with Christalignment, and that the only connection is that some members are related to the Hodges, it went on to defend the group as engaging in biblical evangelism and doing its part to reach the lost in difficult places.
“Reaching people where they are with the truth and love of God is our job as believers. Many people will not come to our churches, yet they are in great need of a personal encounter with Jesus. The Hodges feel called to share the Gospel with a people group that most of us would feel unsure of how to approach. We value their efforts to minister to unbelievers in the ways they can more easily receive it and in the places they are going, like New Age festivals,” it wrote.
“This ministry is a way of getting people to stop and engage with fellow humans so that they might encounter the love of the Father and the truth of His Son, Jesus Christ. If one of our sons or daughters was away from the Lord and looking for truth at a festival, we would be praying for them to meet believers like the Hodges who know the love and truth of God,” Bethel continued.
It urged those with concern to go directly to Christalignment themselves to work out any disagreement.
However, not only have Christalignment’s practices raised concern among Christians who believe that the practices are indeed modeled after the New Age—no matter how much the group denies it—but so did Bethel’s statement in defense of the organization.
“[W]hen Pulpit & Pen broke the story, Jen Hodge pulled two of her videos that were clearly letting others see they were practicing what is recognized as legitimate tarot card readings. When people gave links to Kris Vallotton from the Christalignment website where it was explained how destiny cards are similar and used like tarot cards, Jen Hodge altered her website,” notes Church Watch Central.
“Bethel leaders suggest Christians are narrow-minded if they oppose creative means of evangelism. This, of course, assumes that using destiny cards is no problem,” also writes Holly Pivec of Spirit of Error. “… What practices would Bethel be willing to repudiate? For example, if a group put together a Christian version of a Ouija board—but called it a destiny board and said they were using it through the power of the Holy Spirit so that people could have an encounter with God—how would this be any different? Where would Bethel draw the line and why there?”
“How does Bethel teach its people discernment? What guidelines do they provide? What biblical support for them? Is their flock expected to trust all discernment to Bethel leaders? If not, how are they being equipped to exercise mature discernment?” she asked. “Why not simply deny affiliation with Christalignment and leave it at that? This looks like a defense of the practices of Christalignment.”
Jeremiah 14:14 reads, “Then the Lord said unto me, ‘The prophets prophesy lies in My name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them. They prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.'”
Leviticus 20:23 also states, “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”